Tuesday, December 12, 2017

EU4 White Sheep Persia

Post 1 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-25 21:46:39 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 01: 1444-1454: Kurdish Renaissance

Cradle of Civilization came out, and there are a lot of minor mechanics. I thought of campaign to try a bunch at once:
• start as Aq Qoyunlu - 55dev Sunni tribal federation (new government type)
• become Persia - Shia feudal theocracy (another new government type)
• play with new Muslim and merchant mechanics
• interact a bit with local powers - Timurids, Ottomans, Mamluks, and Qara Qoyunlu, who all also got new mechanics

The goals are:
• reform tribal government (needs admin tech 8 plus buckets of paper mana)
• form Persia, which requires non-tribal. Persia creation criteria are weird, as you need to be Persian culture group except for some reason culture Turkish Aq Qoyunlu is totally fine too.
• go Shia (forming Persia has unique event for this)
• completely wipe out 4 aforementioned competing countries
• control everything Persia ever controlled or tried to, including Greece
• maybe unify Islam at this point, as that's just 10/14 provinces are in Greater Persia area, 2 are Sicily, and only last 2 in Spain/Morocco are awkward
• avoid colonization for reals

For more fun merchant game I switched trade nodes so English Channel and Constantinople are the two end nodes.

Before unpausing I deleted my fort, allied Mamluks, married Ottomans for protection as well, pissed off Dhimmi, made Ulema more powerful to speed up conversions of Copts.

Somewhat disappointingly tribal federation doesn't have free CBs. First war was fabricated one on Hisn Kayfa and Dulkadir, who conveniently found itself at war with the Ottomans as well. Of course AI didn't give a shit about Ottomans, and sent all troops against me.

I managed to get Hisn Kayfa, but Ramazan killstole Dulkadir, and Copts revolted with more troops than me, in mountains. Funnily enough Dulkadir won its independence revolt, which I then used to take it all over.

Well, I was pretty much stuck, so I didn't even take tech 4, just went straight for developing Renaissance in Urfa in 1454. Now I'm a bit weak and behind most of my neighbours in mil tech, but I got to 112dev, of which 55 was starting, 29 conquered, and 28 dev pushed.

Stuck between Ottomans, Mamluks, Qara Qoyunlu (with vassal/ally swarm), and Timurids (with vassal swarm). There's plenty of minors, but usually aligned with one great power or another. Like I'm sort of in Mamluk sphere.

Cultural and religious clusterfun is just as bad in 1444 as in 2017.

1-province Ramazan conquering 4-province Dulkadir and then losing it to revolt, whom I attacked day one was sweet. I don't remember the last time that happened, rebels are generally too weak.

Timurids fell apart as they're basically scripted to, so Persia is sort of open except for Qara Qoyunlu on the way.

For small fun things I attacked my "rival" Trebizond who were besieged by Ottomans and peaced them out almost right away for some free power projection.

Post 2 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-26 20:58:37 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 02: 1454-1474: Fall of the Black Sheep

I got into fight with Ramazan for one province and to humiliate Karaman and break their alliance with the Mamluks. Unintentionally I ended up sitting between Ottomans and Mamluks, preventing direct war. Would it be good or bad if one of them crushed the other? Hard to tell really

Also at mil tech 3 when bigger countries around me were at 5. After that it was pointless waiting. Favors took forever to accumulate (it takes 10 years only when you're already stronger than your ally, 20-50 years when you're weaker), and nobody went to war with anybody else except against tiny countries.

Golden Horde attacked Shirvan allied with Qara Qoyunlu, so I thought I'd see some action, but they just casually dishonored.

Ajam was the only country I could maybe all promising land, but they went into deep debt.

Qara Qoyunlu had 2 vassals and 6 allies, so they were really hard to deal with. Of course that's just mod making things harder.

It was a miserable wait. Finally Mamluks annexed their vassals and got border with Qara Qoyunlu, so I promised them land, and I got Ajam into war with both 10 favors and promise of land. Somehow Qara Qoyunlu got 6 shock general, and AI allies were AI allies, so it was pretty painful, but it was a make or break of my country.

As result of the war:

• Shia Mashriqi Mushasha became my vassal
• Shia Azerbaijani Abadil became my vassal
• Gilan handed over buckets of gold
• Hormuz handed over buckets of gold
• I waited for Mamluks to separate peace out so it wouldn't destroy our alliance
• I took a lot of land from Qara Qoyunlu, all for myself, and Ajam can go to hell

As result of the war I got deep into debt and corruption, but I kept Mamluk alliance, and Qara Qoyunlu got reduced from being much stronger than me to being about my tier.

A surprising new power emerged - the Great Horde made all Caucasus minors into its vassals and tributaries, and even allied Karaman to block my expansion.

There was far too much waiting, but I finally broke Qara Qoyunlu. Now Qara Qoyunlu, Ajam, Timurids, Transoxiana, Hormuz, Golden Horde, Nogai, Uzbek etc. are all approximately about my tier, as secondary powers. Everybody else is allied with one or another of them, but I'll probably find some way to expand East towards Persian heartlands.

Ottomans and Mamluks are far ahead of any of us, and probably very annoyed they can't fight it out. Then again, AI blobs were all crazy careful this campaign, none of the usual suicidal wars.

Post 3 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-29 07:15:44 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 03: 1474-1491: The Great Sheep Power

I managed to get the Great Horde to join my war for favors.

It was really mostly an excuse to get them busy, so I can take over Karaman. I didn't take all that much land, but all together it got to the point where I got my first coalition - including the Ottomans. It got bored really quickly, but it could be a sign of things to come.

Mamluks called me into their conquest of Medina, for which I got 40 favors. The system is actually almost OK, if only it had "offer to join wars" functionality.

After that I got into war to completely crush Qara Qoyunlu - and somehow it was far too close, with their allies Fars and Mazandaran punching far beyond their font size. Mazandaran became my vassal, Qara Qoyunlu got most convincingly wrecked, and Jewish bankers got really happy about interest I've been forced to pay to fund all my wars. I didn't want to waste Mamluk's favors, but maybe that was a mistake.

Now I'm finally on great power list. Ajam is a very obvious next target.

I feel I have zero chance of going professional. I have neither money to train my troops nor manpower to do without mercs. Maybe I could go quantity for my second idea group and enjoy professional peasant army?

It took far too long to more or less unite both sheep lands. Ajam can probably tell how much of a target they are.

Ottomans are strongest power after Ming, but they're a bit locked with this super cautious AI.

Arab minors are eating each others, so fewer countries to coalition me I guess.

Post 4 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-30 01:10:15 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 04: 1491-1505: Thousand years to figure out the right Caliph

I had a great plan to attack Ajam, but they allied the Ottomans. I took two worthless provinces from Haasa instead, but everybody dogpiled Haasa to prevent me from getting the rest.

I noticed that Najd is super close to diplovassalizable, but Mamluks got them one month before me. This is the first time ever AI does it like that.

I tried various shenanigans to go Shia early, but in the end I went naturally over 50% Shia after diploannexing Mushasha. Due to awkward timing I then instantly fell belowe 50% Shia.

It also broke all my alliances, and Mamluks took some effort to convince to ally back. Fortunately Ottomans were at war during that time, and didn't take the great opportunity.

The religious shift pretty much wrecked my country, and I already regret taking quantity as second. I was sort of planning to use quantity ideas to try no-merc army for profesionalism, but I'm still very low on money.

I'm also very low on paper mana, and it will take about 1000 to go non-tribal, so taking religious as third is going to be painful. Then again, playing a non-colonizing campaign really opens new possibilities of idea group picks.

There's a fairly convincing Ottoman-led coalition against me. I'd like to expand into Timurid land, but there won't necessarily be much left by the time I get there.

After two converter campaigns in a row I was confused why Aztecs and Incas weren't great powers.

I wonder about going into horde lands. Being closer to Poland and Hungary could lead to nice anti-Ottoman alliance.
Then again Ottomans are allied with France, Muscovy, and Tunis, so I can't really outdiplomacy them.

Post 5 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-01 00:19:34 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 05: 1505-1515: First Ottoman War

I feel that dev pushing Renaissance was a bad idea - I'm just a bit outside Europe, and it was bound to reach me just a few years later, and that delayed me by like 10 years for not that much long term gain.

Colonialism awkwardly spawned in Yorkshire, and I'm not dev pushing that. But there's a problem - because England has no land on the continent, and hates all 3 countries across the channel, it doesn't spread to Europe at all! Fortunately Portugal seems to have joined independently, so I'll get it eventually.

I was just chilling out, when Ottomans, Ajam, and Tunis attacked me and the Mamluks. My other allies Afghanistan and Hormuz dishonored our alliances. WTF is wrong with AI this patch, it's not even trying to roleplay?

It wasn't a coalition CB, as mod removes that nonsense, but I still couldn't separate peace Ajam as they were a coalition member.

I got a lot of money from France and Austria. France being allied with the Ottomans. I really don't like what they did to the AI. It's too calculating, and not roleplaying enough. But it still cancels sieges at 49% to go somewhere else.

In the war 120k troops died on our side, and 148k on enemy side, and all I got was 10 years of reparations from the second richest country in the worst - about 8 on top of my 22. This also broke coalition against me.

After that I got into a series of small wars, in which I:

• fully annexed Qara Qoyunlu and Baluchistan
• converted Anizah to the proper faith
• converted and vassalized Khorasan
• broke Ajam from Ottomans and took one mountain fort from them
• Afghanistan returned most cores back to Khorasan

My plan against inevitable next coalition is to wreck everybody as soon as truce timers allow it. They can't join coalition if they don't exist.

Army professionalism is surprisingly varied, ranging from Ming's 0% to Swiss 47 and Orissa's 55%. Median is 16% and I'm at 13% without drilling even once.

I'm definitely going religious for next idea group, there's no way I'm going to save my way out of Sunni heresy otherwise. Even with a lot of events giving provinces missionary strength bonuses, I'd only finish converting by 1600s if I stop expanding now. Or I guess I could conquer Mecca and Jerusalem, but I'm not fighting Ottomans and Mamluks all at once.

Muslims also have a way to spread religion in trade node using merchants, but I'd need 50% in a node for that, and I'm nowhere near that anywhere.

I pretty much surround Persia from every direction, and Ajam just lost most of its friends (including Transoxiana to some dishonoring some horde alliance chain).

Newly Shia Anizah is a possible vassal.

Habsburgs rule Austria/HRE, Castile/Aragon/Naples, and (electively) PLC. If game had EU3 style PUs it would mean imminent Ottoman doom.

Post 6 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-03 02:52:40 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 06: 1515-1527: This! Is! Persia!

I was really excited about using that new ability of merchants to spread religion, but requirements are really harsh:

• you must be in Muslim group
• you must have merchant present
• you control over 50% trade power in node (not just total of all countries of your religion)
• node is in trade company region

That's basically nowhere except Indonesia. Maybe you could manage to get it in India. Or China, but you'd need to take over Ming's coastline without Mandate of Heaven CB, as Muslims don't get that.

It sort of makes sense that Ottomans shouldn't use it to convert Balkans, but I'm quite annoyed by all the features which are basically locked to a specific country or very small number of them.

So I was pondering religious, but I somehow stacked so many modifiers that I got over 70% religious unity even without any ideas.

I spent about 1000 paper mana to reform out of my tribal federation into an iqta, and took trade ideas. Iqta has sweet ability to press button to get buckets of money. Tribal federation has button that gives horses, but criteria are way too hard.

Iqta stage lasted just 6 years, after that I became Persia and feudal theocracy. I did not take Persian ideas, as Aq Qoyunlu are way better. Here's comparison - Aq Qoyunlu:

• +1 diplomat
• -20% coring cost, -10% stab cost
• +10% morale, +20% cavalry combat, +1 leader shock, +25% manpower
• +10% goods produced, -10% land maintenance, -20% cavalry cost


• +1 prestige
• +10% morale, +15% cavalry combat, +15% manpower, +10% manpower recovery, +5% morale recovery, +5% discipline
• +10% goods produced, +20% caravan power, +10% tax, +5% production efficiency

It's like more or less comparable economic and military bonuses, and then diplomat and coring cost are replaced by +1 prestige. That's not even close.

Persian ideas are bad, but feudal theocracy is pretty sweet. I got extra missionary, +1% missionary strength, +2 tolerance of true faith. And buttons that give very strong bonuses for mana: -15% construction cost for 5 years for 50 paper mana, -20% dev cost and +1 dev in capital area for 50 bird mana, and a bunch of instant claims for 50 sword mana, for a poor version of Deus Vult.

As a Muslim I have access to +1 missionary from Defender of the Faith (if only it wasn't so expensive) - and eventually a few more once I get Mecca and Jerusalem. So I don't strictly need religious. Then again, which other ideas could I even take as 4th?

What I need is to save some money, press that button, and then spam buildings.

Meanwhile elsewhere, Castile/Aragon/Naples, Portugal, and the Pope were fighting Tunis and Ottomans, and Tunis won. Castile/Aragon then formed Spain. Colonialism just reached Cyprus, so I'll get it by 1550s maybe.

There are some really weird alliances here - Ottomans got France, Morocco, Tunis, Hormuz, and Muscovy.

Mamluks allied pretty much everyone to their South, me, and Morocco.

I have Mamluks, Hormuz, and Great Horde's tributary Samtshke, whom I planned to diplovassalize, but they developed their provinces way out of range. Khorasan and Anizah are my vassals.

All those overlaps between obvious rivals' networks. Then again, I never officially rivaled Ottomans.

Post 7 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-03 14:24:04 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 07: 1527-1543: Unification of Persia

As Persia, it was time to think big. I allied Poland, and attacked the Great Horde. That went a lot worse than I thought it would, mostly because I kept forgetting that hordes getting +25% shock damage in flat terrain.

Very late into the war Ming decided to give Great Horde's ally Chagatai some free condottieri, but they never reached the frontlines.

I made myself Defender of the Shia Faith, which is basically saying that I'll defend myself, my ally Bahmanis, and Yas and Afghanistan whom I both convinced of who was the rightful caliph.

Ottomans declared themselves Defender of the Sunni Faith, but that only works on same continent as their capital, so they're literally just defending themselves.

I got Timurids as new vassal, they have a lot of Eastern cores. At some point I'll need to turn West or South to get all my campaign goals, but these are difficult directions.

I sacrificed 10% army profesionalism for two deliveries of new manpower. It was either that or merc up and lose it anyway. I'm not sure it's wort going for it's much harder, and alliance chains extend very far. I could backstab Mamluks or Hormuz I guess, but then who'd help me when Ottomans come?

Morocco and Mamluks attacked Tunis and Ottomans. Predictably Ottomans won, but only because I forgot I gave Mamluks military access. If I didn't, Ottomans would be stuck, Mamluks would have wrecked Tunis, and that would be it. I swear I used to be better at this game.

Circassia tried to sell me a 12dev province for 400 gold. I did not take it.

Ottomans are backed by France, Muscovy, Tunis, and Hormuz, so I really can't attack them.

Afghanistan and the Great Horde are softest targets. Maybe I could wait for Ottomans to be busy, but every time that happened so far I was even busier. Even then without fleet it would be extremely painful.

Backstabbing Mamluks or alliance chaining + backstabbing Hormuz seem much more promising.

I could also wait for HRE leagues to trigger (after 1550), then if I move my capital to Europe I could do some shenanigans. I suspect Austria, Commonwealth, Spain, and me will be Catholic side, France, Ottomans, and Muscovy Protestant side, but it could really go many ways based on network of alliances and rivalries.

Post 8 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-03 22:50:40 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 08: 1543-1550: Fall of the Great Horde

I was fighting a minor war against Transoxiana and its Indian friends, and Gujarat had a 5 siege general. First time I'm seeing one, and they don't have any special abilities for that. It was really annoying how fast they sieged and unsieged everything with him.

I had a fun 87k vs 78k battle in this war, very narrowly won.

I then had to overlap a lot of wars to destroy Afghanistan, and Circassia and the Great Horde.

Muscovy and Ottomans guaranteed the Great Horde, but guarantees aren't called for cobeligerents, so I attacked their tributary Circassia. Circassia was also allied with Muscovy, but they were fighting Commonwealth, so they dishonored.

Ottomans sent condottieri to the Great Horde, but then changed their mind, and attacked Circassia instead. Between both of us, so little was left of the Golden Horde Muscovy is probably going to just clean it up.

Afghanistan was easier. I got all cores for Timurids, split Yarkand from Chagatai, and got some money from India. I'm not even seriously trying to avoid coalitions at this point.

My alliance with Hormuz broke by event. Mamluks and Commonwealth are rivals, so I might lose one or the other at some point too.

I got this ridiculous Persian event that gives 12 base tax, 12 production, and 6 manpower.

The printing press spawned in Trier, so it will be a while until I get it. Renaissance is only just on Ming's borders, and Colonialism is only halfway through India, so this time it's going more or less historically.

I'd really like to find a way to deal with Hormuz without involving Ottomans, but the only decent alliance chain would involve basically all of India instead.

Ottoman army is bigger and fights better than mine, but somehow my morale is highest in the world, and spamming barracks finally fixed my manpower problems.

I guess fighting Ottomans, wiping out their whole army, and forcing them to merc up would erase their professionalism, so that would be a thing. If I could get Mamluks and Commonwealth to both join, it would be glorious, but somehow I doubt that.

Post 9 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-05 00:43:05 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 09: 1550-1562: Coming Great War

I did a bit of drilling, as I was finally not real low on money. I even got one general from 2 to 3 siege. I upgraded diplomatic advisor (in his 30s, with 50% discount from estates) to level 4, it seemed worth the money. Those new buttons are not game changers, but they're occasionally nice.

I had such obscene bonuses to development cost on my capital, and such overflowing sword mana, that I pushed it to 40dev, getting free printing press. I didn't really have to, it only made a few years' difference, but i was the last time I could get that -20% dev cost from inviting minorities from abroad, as there are no Shiite provinces living under infidels anywhere in the world.

New coalition formed, with Ottomans, Hormuz, Delhi, Sind. Then Ottomans got bored, it dissolved, and I attacked the bastards, cleaning up Ajam, getting my culture group province from Sind, and breaking Hormuz's alliances.

Sadly the Mamluks then instantly guaranteed Hormuz. I thought about distracting them with another war, but the only one they wouldn't consider too distant would be against the Ottomans, or one chaining to the Ottomans.

So in 1566 I'll have 3 choices:

• attack Hormuz and the Mamluks
• no-CB Arabian minor to distract the Mamluks, attack Hormuz
• attack Ottomans and friends using Mamluks, attack Hormuz while fighting the Ottomans. I won't be able to call in the Commonwealth as they still have truce with the Ottomans.

I can't say any of them are particularly fun, and I changed my mind on which of them is the least unpleasant a few times already.

I built up my army to 120k, even bigger than Ottoman's 106k or Mamlukian 80k, but they'd be bringing a lot of buddies, so it won't be an easy war. And I still don't have even a single ship.

HRE Leagues triggered, with Austria, Spain, Commonwealth, Denmark, Hungary, Bohemia, and a lot of minor powers on Catholic side.

Protestant side was much weaker with Ottomans, Muscovy, France, Sweden, and random minors - basically Ottomans and their allies.

I think I'll remain in Asia and skip the whole league conflict.

Ming tried to conquer Bengal's jungle fort of Mong Yang, and as result had to cancel Arakan's tributary status. Silly Bengal, just take war reparations.

Everybody's stuck now and nobody's expanding. AI no longer does its usual random suicidal attacks to break such stalls.

That "allies undermining you if you expand too fast" thing they were talking about in dev diaries in definitely real - Mamluks guaranteed Hormuz against me twice. I don't think this improves gameplay in any way.

Great Horde is more understandably guaranteed by the Ottomans and Muscovy.

I vassalized Samtskhe after something like 50 years of trying, and then almost vassalized Kazakh, but they got Nogai as OPM tributary, and that blocks it. Multan is another potential vassal.

Post 10 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-05 08:15:11 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 10: 1562-1569: The Great War, Sort of

I was running some scripts on the save game, and amazingly the Palatinate has higher total AE than me. It's actually just a bit under 50 with everyone in HRE, so no coalition risk.

I finally figured out a plan to deal with Mamluk guarantee of Hormuz - I'd attack Great Horde, calling in Mamluks. They'd agree as Great Horde is guaranteed by Ottomans and Muscovy. Then I could safely attack Hormuz, and Great Horde is weak, so it will be easy to end that war with white peace.

Of course that fell apart in no time, as Commonwealth decided to attack Great Horde, Ottomans, and Muscovy first. I managed to occupy most of Anatolia, but my army took ridiculous beating.

Everybody else did as well, and Ottomans, Muscovy, and Commonwealth lost most of their professionalism to merc spam. Ally AI was retarded as usual - I was fighting Ottomans full time, so they had easy way of just separate peacing them for war reparations and then wrecking what's left easily, but why would AI ever do the sensible thing?

It wasn't completely useless - I got 6 provinces (48dev) and Commonwealth got 5 (40dev).

Halfway through that fight Mamluk guarantee of Hormuz turned into a full alliance, and they soon reestablished their alliances with Delhi and Bengal as well. My options are now reduced to no-CB some Arabian minor and fight Hormuz and half of India with a third of my manpower, or waiting another decade.

There's been about 1.5 dead Persian peasants for every 1 dead Turk mercenary. At least they're less professional now.

Great Horde is the only country that got seriously wrecked by the war, others lost one unimportant province each. I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing that I border Commonwealth now.

Post 11 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-06 00:27:44 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 11: 1569-1584: Freedom of the Greeks but not the Protestants

I took as my ideas: administrative, quantity, trade, economic. All highly questionable other than administrative.

I took stab hit to distract the Mamluks, and went to war against Hormuz, Arab minors, and half of India. The biggest action was 60k vs 67k battle of Roh against Delhi and Bengal, which I extremely barely won, it was enough to distract Indians for a while. I feel I never have enough troops to cover whole area of the country, and my forts are just temporary distraction for AI. At least I haven't noticed any blatant zone of control cheating yet.

I never built a single ship the whole campaign, so I couldn't get any of Hormuz's islands to 100% them, and so the only way to get anything out of the war was by getting all their allies out first - including invading Bengal's capital. It was very painful, but very profitable.

Religious Leagues war triggered, far more even than I expected, with 602k on Catholic side and 511k on Protestant side. The only major neutral countries in Europe being Burgundy (who soon had own war with Netherlands independence) and ironically the Pope.

Simultaneously nearly all of India went to war, with my two Indian allies on opposite sides, and calling me in. I took Mysore's (former Bahmanis) side, tried to avoid the fighting, but Indians kept invading so I separate white peaced a few years later.

With world on fire, as soon as my truce with the Ottomans expired, I attacked them calling in the Mamluks.

While I had two other wars, two province minor Mahra decided to coalition me, so without waiting for the second member I declared instant war on them, but I couldn't really send many troops there. It would be so inconvenient to think about coalitions that I don't. The whole Sunni world from Jolof to Brunei hates me to varying degree, and the only way out is to unify all Muslims under Shia faith, somehow.

The Catholic league had huge naval superiority, so it sunk the entire Ottoman navy, and I could walk to Constantinople. With that I somehow 100%ed Ottomans, released Greeks, and took two annoying border forts in Anatolia for good measure.

Emperor completely obliterated the Protestant League. The official faith of the HRE is now Catholic, but HRE is in very poor state, and Protestant zealots sacked and force converted Vienna. Territorially the biggest winner is Protestant Denmark who joined the Catholic league before flipping.

I got my capital moved to Isfahan by event. It turns out I was able to intervene in league wars without capital in Europe just fine, just a bit indirectly.

Right now the plan is to instantly declare war on anyone who even checks what "coalition" is in a dictionary. I sort of hope that if I stop expanding East, India will somehow get over it, and I'll be able to focus on more interesting directions.

I'm also thinking about making Ottomans release Bulgaria or Crimea next time.

At least it took Europe just 9 years to sort it out, not 30.

Same time as these major wars there was also Burgundy vs Netherlands, Mongolia vs Korea, Great Horde vs Kazakh, and Mahra/Hormuz/Adal/Aden vs me.

If EU4 had HoI4 style war merging it would be full blown world war.

Finally peace in our times. Ottomans lost Tunis, who allied Mamluks and me instead. They also lost France.

Greeks already got to 20 corruption, I have no idea how.

Post 12 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-06 22:24:50 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 12: 1584-1592: The Inevitable War of Spanish Succession

21 countries have >50AE on me, 13 of that >100AE. This isn't really sustainable, and the only way out is to eliminate those nasty countries.

First target was what was left of the Great Horde. Muscovy guaranteed them, so I used it to split them from the Ottomans.

Then OPM Hadramut.

Then Kazakh and Multan to convert them to the right religion. It doesn't affect AE they already have, but will reduce any future gain.

All that while reseting a bunch of truce timers with countries I didn't want to fight like Delhi.

Mongolia (Tengri/Sunni, but counts as Tengri for AE purposes) removed what was left of Chagatai.

Mamluks vassalized what was left of Hormuz. Not outcome I wanted, but it gets them off potential coalition members list.

I went over my relations limit to ally Bengal, gave away influence nations money like candy in India and East Africa, and even got an event where I gave away a lot of manpower to Mamluks to keep them happy just a bit longer. That got me into an easy war in India, weakening potential coalition members and strengthening my allies.

Pretty much no way coalition could form without Ottomans.

I got CoT in Indus node, so I finally spammed light ships to get trade power there to maybe use merchant to spread my religion, but at max force limit I only got 36% trade power. Ships are really weak. Then I noticed the divert trade power vassal interaction, and managed to get just over 50% by diverting their power. I'm not sure I'll be able to convert anything, as they're just one year away from being annexed.

A fun thing happened. Commonwealth (739dev), ruled by Von Habsburg and still elective, got PU over Spain (907dev). Austria/HRE must feel real jealous. The PU was challenged by Muscovy, who's weak and I forced them to break all their alliances except Odoyev and Oldenburg. Ratio of forces is 455k vs 107k, and wargoal is Madrid, so you can probably take a pretty good guess how it's going to end.

The only question is if Commonwealth will be satisfied by a quick beating, or if it will try to carve up Muscovy. I want to fight Ottomans in less than 4 years, so I guess I'll need to help, and it's going to be my 3rd invasion of Muscovy in a decade.

Meanwhile, after many previous failed tries, Ming managed to finally win a war against Bengal, taking over Hsenwi. Some thing never change, no matter which timeline you're in.

My alliances are mostly there to make strong countries overlook my AE. Keeping Mamluks as allies at >150 AE is quite a feat.

There are still 17 countries who could coalition me, but they're all allied, someone's vassals, or tiny, except Ottomans, Delhi, Oudh, and Adal.

This war is the kind of suicidal attempt AI never does, except in this case by event.

Another question is how loyal Spain is going to be to the Commonwealth. I suspect not so much.

Post 13 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-07 11:12:10 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 13: 1592-1604: Conquest of Constantinople

In next HoI4 patch troops will get acclimatization to hot/cold traits. With third invasion of Muscovy in less than 10 years, I'm sure my troops would have it by now.

Muscovy had all merc nearly pure infantry army at 0% professionalism vs mine 59%, so they fought really poorly, even disregarding how bad their numerical situation was.

What I didn't even originally noticed is that Muscovy decided to challenge Commonwealth/Spain PU while already losing a war to Sweden. This is seriously amazing. This is also quite awkward, as Sweden took Moscow before I reached it, so we were denied quick 100%.

Muscovy was wrecked, I got 3 provinces worth so little Muscovy counts them as -9 AE. More usefully Muscovy lost Perm as a vassal.

Sweden didn't take anything for itself, just made Muscovy release its other two vassals and restore all Kazakh's cores.

I like one-sided wars, so I attacked Ottomans as soon as truce expired - which by the way was 2 months before tooltip claim it would, how many patches and this bug is still unfixed. Calling in Mamluks, Greeks, and Commonwealth/Spain. The only Ottoman allies were leftovers of the Protestant league. Fun 534k vs 177k fight, and Spain alone could sink all enemy fleet. Not like in mattered, under new stupid rules Greek control over Edirne meant I could cross any time I wanted. I didn't do anything cute this time - just took Constantinople and a bunch of CoTs. I took 136% OE for a while, didn't even cause that many rebels.

I used the fact that Mamluks were distracted to remove their ally Aden from the map, and converted Mogadishu doing so.

I had massive stacked building cost discount (-5% renaissance, -15% feudal theocracy button, -10% economic ideas), so I spammed manufactories everywhere. As result Persia node is the richest node in game, and so Global Trade spawned in Mashad.

This is what I should have taken from the Ottomans in previous war.

Spain is disloyal partner under Commonwealth, but nobody supports them just yet. They'd probably be able to win independence war unless I intervened.

Great Britain finally formed. It's a reasonable bet that Russia will never form, HRE won't get rid of heretics or unify, and Ming won't explode.

Post 14 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-07 16:41:43 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 14: 1604-1613: Age of Absolutism

I vassalized Multan, and went to a quick war against Delhi and Mysore, finally managing to unify my culture group 5 years before relevant age ends.

I did some heavy trickery involving alt-tabbing to Excel and then reloading peace conference when I was off by 10 to get Ajuuraan as my vassal. They're a theocracy, so no royal marriages, wrong religion, AE, and distance penalties together made it really tricky.

In the process I gave Shia Funj a bit of land from Sunni Beja. I could have returned a few more provinces, but I missed new age by a few months, and lost -25% warscore cost on infidels bonus. Beja was not terribly bothered, returning cores doesn't cause truces, so they just attacked Funj right away, restoring it to previous OPM borders. I could have guaranteed them I guess, but I'm already over my limit. Oh well, you can't win every time.

I got over 60 absolutism and started Court and Country ticking year one of the new era. Disaster start March 1613, so ten years of fun. I had to wreck my country quite hard to get there, so every estate hates me. Autonomy decreased penalties last until 1640, so it will be a bit messy, especially if I try to do so without hiring any mercs. That 85% professionalism looks nice. Then again, I can cash 5 professionalism for 86k manpower. 86k mercs would cost 13 professionalism on top of extra cost, but only to hire, reinforcement would be free, so if I kept them for a few decades it would actually work better, at least if I ended up really desperate for manpower.

Commonwealth called me into their war against Muscovy, but didn't give me any land. Oh well. All I really wanted want border with Perm, as there's a gold mine there, but I think I reached the point where gold mine wouldn't even matter much.

I needed to be at war until ticking stopped, so I attacked Gujarat and made them Shia. Most of their provinces are already Shia thanks to my merchant, so it's silly that their ruler wasn't. Gujarat would be a nice vassal with all those cores, but I'm over limit and they have -130 AE on me.

I think diplomatic ideas would make nice 5th group.

I'm going to attack Ottomans on the clock, and maybe use Mamluks for the last time. They allied Tunis again, so Mamluks will have something to do.

Defender of the Sunni faith cycles between Ottomans and Mamluks - Ottomans are irrelevant, as they'd only defend European Sunnis, who don't exist. Now that Mamluks got the title, it's really annoying, as it stops me from cleaning up East Africa, as a coalition prevention measure.

Goals for the age:
• 5 universities - done
• 200 force limit - done
• 90 absolutism - as soon as Court and Country finishes
• 5 accepted cultures - I could, but I really want a big one like Syrian or Egyptian. Bedouis was OK, but they split it into 6 pointless microcultures.
• 3 trade companies - I could either move my capital to Europe, which I don't want to as it sort of goes against idea of being Persia, or conquer all of African coast including West Africa, which might happen before end of age, but probably won't
• be part of victorious side of religious league war - I sort of was, but game doesn't see it this way
• be emperor of China - no way unless I flip religion to Eastern or Pagan, but that would be quite hard - Tengri/Shia is closest I could do, but I don't think there's any way to flip to Tengri except as OPM

Political map didn't change that much, so here's religious map. PLC is over 30% reformed, but they're cool with that. New world colonies are all Catholic.

I'm permanently at about 90% religious unity, bonus missionaries without religious ideas have trouble keeping up with constant influx of new infidels.

Post 15 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-08 15:30:42 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 15: 1613-1623: Court and Country

List of countries with enough AE to potentially coalition me shrunk to just 13, two of them being my vassals.

The disaster was ticking so I didn't want to do anything crazy. I passed time converting some minors in Central Asia. My AE targets for next half century are pretty much all Sunni, so countries to my East will soon forget my past expansion.

For the next war Ottomans allied Tunis, France, and peasant republic of Dithmarschen. I had Commonwealth, their disloyal junior Spain (who wouldn't even defend own forts from France), Mamluks, and Greeks on my side. I messed up timing and had ongoing minor wars while truce timer expired. I keep forgetting about that bug that you can't call AI into your war when you're in a different war because it wrongly thinks it would be "called into multiple wars". It's been in the game since forever. Like other AI bugs, unfixable with mods.

Ottomans did far better than could be expected of them, sieging down Constantinople, Warsaw, Roussillon, and nearly off Greek lands before I could get to the frontlines and do something about it. The war was nastier than it should be at this stage, and they were very close to separate peaceing Commonwealth, but in the end, they had no chance of winning.

A much bigger disaster is that Mamluks broke our eternal alliance just after the war. 219 AE was finally too much.

The whole Court and Country disaster was ridiculously underwhelming. It was nearly the most peaceful my country has been. It probably helps that I stacked -11 unrest, -7.5 tolerance of true faith, and -100 in every particularist province by accepting their demands.

So what's going to happen next? Something tells me Mamluks are going to lose a lot of their 62% professionalism. I'm at 97% myself.

Post 16 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-09 01:41:31 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 16: 1623-1631: Conquest of Jerusalem

I needed to do something about the Mamluks. So DoW Adaled, cobeligerents Mamluks, Mogadishu, Kilwa, Mahra, non-cobeligerents Beja, Morocco, Antemoro. On my side Commonwealth, and their disloyal partner Spain who did nothing at all.

Enemy's ally Tunis was losing its war to Brittany and Pope over some West African colonies, so didn't join this time.

As the first thing I do whenever a war starts is drafting terms of peace deal, I discovered that province warscore cost game displays in province dialog is rounded down, but game uses a few decimal places in actual peace deal terms, so I couldn't get quite what I wanted.

Speaking of bugs, Mamluks tried to invade North Iraq, and after losing one battle shattered retreated by my count 13 provinces from Sulimaniyeh just next to Kirkuk to Kharkov in East Poland.

That kind of nonsense used to happen in version 1.0, I haven't seen it in years. I chased them and captured them North of Kiev. Then they withdrew just one province as they were supposed to. My chasing stack was so far from frontlines I sent them to fight Uzbek and Yarkand in a tiny side war instead. And then since Mongolia broke up with Ming, I got a few more Kazakh cores from them as well. I'm sort of helping Ming here, by shrinking their non-tributaries.

The rest of Mamluk army was in Central Arabia, not sure doing what there. I fought all that at speed 2, once war doesn't fit one screen, it's pretty hard to micro everything properly.

What I got:
• Maheran - fully annexed into my vassal Ajuuraan
• Yarkand - went Shia
• Uzbek - fully annexed into my vassal Kazakh with core returns
• Beja - returning a lot of provinces to Funj second time, Funj then agreeing to become my new vassals
• Mamluks - taking a lot of land including Jerusalem, Mecca, 3 CoTs, and 5 forts. Somehow never ran out of manpower, so as professional as ever.
• Mahra - fully annexed
• Kilwa - separate white peace, as Portugal invaded them first and took border provinces with Ajuuraan cores
• Adal - took their coastline, most of their forts, and CoT

It cost me buckets of bird mana - a lot more than amount of paper mana I need for coring. Maybe I should have taken influence not diplomatic to halve that cost?

I misread triggered modifiers, and only got +1 missionary for Jerusalem. The other one requires both Mecca and Medina. Oh well, next war.

Now that my short truce with Kilwa expired, I wanted to attack them, but Mamluks keep redeclaring themselves Defender of the Sunni Faith, so they'll join every single damn war in Africa. There really ought to be some timeout after losing that claim.

Ming decided to support Spain's independence. It sounds rather useless, but then again Spain can probably defend itself against AI Commonwealth.

My counter-coalition strategy is working amazingly well, as number of countries with enough AE is down to 9, and of that Gujarat is already my vassal, and Yarkand would like to be, but they're involved in some minor Indian wars. The rest will get removed from the map soon.

War against Sunni East Africa, pretty much. Tunis capital being sieged by Brittany over some colonies next to Kongo was unexpected surprise, they'd have made the war a lot harder.

The war lasted very long time, as 100% from fully occupying war leader only counts if they don't occupy something else. Mamluks invaded Commonwealth, occupied a bunch of provinces, and Commonwealth was just, yeah, whatever. I started tagging them as targets, and eventually they figured out what to do.

It took them like a year, but I had to wait about as much to core Mamluk lands before I could peace out Adal, so it wasn't too bad.

Great Powers. Notably missing - Ottomans, and Mongolia no longer under Ming. Portugal with its big colonial empire I can't see was briefly a great power as well.

Post 17 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-09 04:40:58 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 17: 1631-1637: Spanish War of Independence

I got into a quick war in Africa. It was so painful on bird mana all I took was Medina for an extra missionary, Ajuuraan's remaining cores, and most of Adal.

Spain with Ming's support declared independence war on Commonwealth, supported by me, Venice, Mainz, Savoy, and Livonian Order. It was a nice world war. I had no intention of invading Spain, and Commonwealth could handle it on its own just fine, but it definitely messed up with my war against the Ottomans.

Ming invaded me with all their troops. That did nothing to defend Madrid, but it was sure annoying. Spain invaded me in Africa instead of defending itself. Over 300k Chinamen died, pointlessly.

Meanwhile, I had to fight Ottomans, Tunis, and France almost alone, with only Greeks to help me. The opening was good, as I captured half of Ottoman army with almost zero morale, but they did another stupid 15 province shattered retreat. And then again a while later. There's nothing about this in any recent patch notes. There seriously needs to be much more reasonable limit of how far they can go.

It was the first war with level 6 forts - I hate those. But not as much as once fixed bugs from early patches returning.

Ming troops from the other war reached me at about the same time. But the worst part of fighting on my own was total enemy naval supremacy. Ottomans hold a bunch of islands I couldn't reach, and kept spamming mercs and dropping them around. I even recruited a small transport fleet in Mediterranean, but that was under assumption my allies will provide safety and I'll just need to drop some troops on Ottoman Rhodes or Mamluk Cyprus. That didn't work out this time.

And that new feature that you can level up advisors up to +5, best thing this patch. I'm using half-cost level 5 paper and bird mana advisors whenever I can. And even just getting level 1 advisor of type I want and levelling them up to level 3 is so much better than endlessly rerolling.

Spanish War of Independence with terra incognita lifted. Ming's losses to attrition were just as bad as could be predicted.

I tried to avoid fighting them as I had another big war going, but damn Ming kept running around, and I finally got one of their doomstacks in Yemen. By that time it melted away to half size.

Commonwealth has the usual randomly scattered fortifications, so it's protected from Baltic and Balkans, but anyone can walk to Warsaw from Bohemia, Ukraine, or Muscovy, and there's no fort in Warsaw so it can fall in a month with good rolls.

If Ming didn't try to siege my lands, and just walked straight for Warsaw, then maybe they'd have a decent shot at this war.

Post 18 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-10 02:03:15 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 18: 1637-1650: Conquest of Alexandria

Without terribly much conviction, I remade my army into six 20inf 4cav 15art stacks. Armies need to fight major battles (2 stacks at a time), sieging forts (1 stack borrowing half of artillery from second), carpet sieging (where infantry needs to separate and spread out), and not dying to attrition while standing still (every stack separately). It makes it pretty complicated even when manower, money, and force limit are not major issues, and this composition is not great for anything in particular.

Of course as soon as war started, all the stacks were total chaos again. And I needed to recruit another stack just for rebels.

Bullshit shattered retreats got even worse this time, with Mamluks retreating 16 provinces, from one next to Bahrain, through North Iraq and Syria all the way to Rosetta in Egypt. But that's 10 provinces by alternative route, passing through my fort. So does AI select target within 10 provinces (ignoring ZoCs), then selects a path of any length afterwards? This was how early patches' "Ottomans withdraw walking around black sea" nonsense worked, just back then it was blockaded straits not ZoCs.

Mamluks got to 86% professionalism, among the highest in the world. With all the shattered withdrawal they lost their land before they lost troops, and it's not possible to hire mercs in ally territory. Maybe it should be, it's not crazy.

A big problem I had was one uncolonized province West of Funj in terra incognita. AI kept going through it to invade my East Africa. I tried to buy or steal maps of it from everyone, turns out nobody knows this province except Tunis somehow.

I was really tired of invading Tunis over and over whenever I fight Ottomans or Mamluks, so I took their coastline and passage into Sahara. I can just put some forts there.

From Mamluks I took the rest of Aleppo node (except Cyprus with separate fort) and North African coastline. After that I was finally able to move my primary trade port to Constantinople. There's still a lot of trade leakage, but this can be fixed later.

All this cost me over 1000 bird mana, tanked my religious unity to 78%, and there was no way to get the deal I wanted without 153% OE, even doing it in batches. I even lost my Defender of the Faith and 1 of the missionaries, as Mysore stole my title.

By some spectacularly bad timing I tried to diplovassalize Oudh, and got involved into a war against Ming again. Oudh got attacked by Orissa, I sent alliance offer ignoring that because Orissa is tiny, but it turned out it was allied with Ming. This resulted in a lot of dead Chinamen again, somewhat fewer but still a lot of dead Persians, with nothing to show for it. Even more unfortunately I foolishly transferred Oudh's cores held by Orissa to Oudh without checking their development, and after the war they became too big to vassalize, at least for now. It's at -7 reasons, so I should be able to get there eventually.

Just one month after Ming war started, Delhi formed coalition against me, so I attacked them immediately before this stupid idea spreads any further. West Africans joined as well, but before I was able to deal with that, they changed their minds.

As I was getting into position to strike the Ottomans and nearly wipe out their country, Commonwealth called me into their conquest of Moscow. On enemy side - Ottomans. Damn. I was really annoyed, so I sieged down Moscow, and early separate peaced them for war reparations, and breaking that Ottoman alliance for I don't know which time.

I was quite annoyed by slow spread of map knowledge - that's one of the few remaining things that still depend on tech group, so I started buying and stealing them pretty hard.

Two English CNs revolted, with French support.

Manufactories spawned in Delhi of all places, but they'll spread very fast everywhere. They sort of fixed AI building logic this patch, so at this stage pretty much every province has manufactory.

The remaining campaign goals are:

• wipe out Ottomans and Mamluks - it's going to be 2 wars each
• reestablish borders of Achaemenids - just Egypt and some cleanup missing, Greeks are not my vassal, but they're in my sphere, so that's close enough
• unify Islam - 3 places in Spain and 1 in Morocco missing - this will be awkward as it means conflict with my biggest ally, not to mention my lack of real navy

Mamluk army all withdrew to Tunis, where they joined Moroccan and Tunisian armies and they were all doing their silly dance of going in my direction, cancelling day or two later etc. for months. It was so annoying I changed my original plans (of getting whatever I had claims on to minimize bird mana cost), and just took North African coastline instead, all the way up to fort in Kef which is being sieged now.

At least East African minors are all gone, just Kilwa left there, but Kilwa doesn't even like the Mamluks.

Post 19 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-11 00:22:19 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 19: 1650-1664: The Greatest War

EU4 ledger seems to be bugged this patch. On religions patch it shows how many provinces changed religions since last reload, instead of actual total. It's a tight race against Catholics, who are expanding by colonization about as fast as I do by conversion.

I didn't have any good pick for 6th idea group, and I was overflowing on paper mana, so I took religious after all.

I got Air as vassal, so at least some of the West Africans can learn who's the rightful caliph.

Next Mamluk war I made Tunis and Morocco cobeligerents, which brought in Songhai, Mali, Brunei, Kilwa, (Catholic) Kongo, Antenomoro, and most awkwardly the Ottomans. Oh well, I might start another one with Kanem Bornu while I'm here.

From using Mamluks to maybe make Ottomans think I'm not worth attacking to fighting both of them at once, plus a few other regional powers, we came far. The saddest thing is that EU4 has no way to tag someone else as also cobeligerent when they join, or add wargoals.

Brunei landed in India, which was basically undefended. I tried to land on Cyprus three times, with first two stacks getting wiped. Sadly my transport fleet is tiny, and half of it is in wrong place, and Mamluks recruited a lot of troops there.

I took 140% OE during the war, and then without finishing all cores 110% OE more.

In the grand war:
• got Morocco as vassal
• took whole North African coast
• converted Mali, Ashanti, and Kanem Bornu
• took a bit more coastline from Kilwa
• pretty much obliterated the Mamluks, including finally taking Cyprus

Then the real war started, against rebels. I still took a quick detour to convert Mossi.

Ming decided, out of on its own free will, to take some provinces from Mongolia and get border with my vassal Yarkand, so scheduled annexation resulted in their near zero mandate turning into definitely permanent zero mandate.

Hungary saw just how puny Ottomans were, called in Austria, France, and other allies, and took almost all their Balkan possessions.

And just as my truce with Ottomans expired and I prepared to deliver the final strike, Hungary decided to guarantee them. WTF?

Hungary became great power after taking Bulgaria from the Ottomans and they're already being nasty to me. I don't think AI changes made the game more enjoyable.

There are currently 11 Shia and 13 Sunni countries, but two of them are on my kill list. Of course by sheer size, we're dominating. A bit embarrassing that Sunni Bengal is still a great power, but that's not really Great Persia region, so I'll let them live.

Post 20 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-12-11 23:57:12 UTC

White Sheep Persia: Part 20: 1664-1669: The End

If Hungary wants to guarantee Ottomans, let's see how well they'll do.

I wanted to call in the Greeks, as they deserved to take part in the final blow, but they had some unrelated truce. So instead I only called in the Commonwealth to show Hungary how silly their claim to Great Power status was.

Hungary actually punched a good deal harder than I expected, but attacked from both sides, they had no chance, and I made them release Serbia just to punish them. Ottomans ended there.

Mysore called me into a silly war against Orissa and Ming. Guys, I have no place to properly bury so many dead Chinamen again! They probably didn't want to die without even a chance of proper burial, as none crossed my borders this time.

Since there was just one thing left to do, I revoked truce with the Mamluks, and fully annexed them.

And that's all. I got all of Unify Islam goal except 3 provinces held by Spain, as I'm sure my good ally Commonwealth will ensure good treatment of any pilgrims who would like to visit.

In those last decades Portuguese CNs became independent as United States, Louisiana, Brazil, and Brittany's CN became Colombia. Not really surprising with both their home countries getting wrecked in European wars - Brittany's capital in literally in 4dev Cameroon.

Some notes about the new patch:

• Ability to promote advisors is like third biggest balance change in all of EU4 history after absolutism and forts. It generates obscene amounts of mana for totally reasonable monetary cost while letting you choose 3 hand picked advisor bonuses instead of letting RNG pool decide. Obviously paid mod feature.
• Professionalism allows converting sword mana or money into manpower without going merc route, but rate you'll get is proportional to your max manpower, so it synergizes with quantity ideas etc. instead of undermining them
• Drill feels completely pointless
• Exploiting development is just really dumb and pointless
• New merchant mechanics were a lot lower impact than I expected.

Middle East:

• New Middle East map has surprisingly high number of varied interesting starting points and potential goals like forming Rum, Persia, Timurids, Mughals, Arabia etc., while blobs got nerfed just the right amount.
• It sort of integrates into steppes / India / China mechanics like going Golden Horde, Yuan, Hindustan, etc. Weirdly Europe is now the least interesting place to play, with extremely punitive AE levels preventing anything interesting other than colonizing.
• Extra Muslim mechanics and government types were quite nice. They are quite powerful.
• Now that Persia is no longer wasteland, region plays a lot better with the institutions than before


• AI is way too careful resulting in frequent stalls. Probably the "AI now more pessimistic when estimating help from allies before declaring a war." part in patch notes did this.
• I don't like own allies undermining you thing. It made perfect sense when Ottomans used guarantees and alliances to contain me, or even when Hungary tried, but my best allies Mamluks? It's not good gameplay and not good for immersion.
• Another round of merc nerfs was much deserved, but mercs are still potentially extremely strong, just require more finesse than AI spam approach.
• Slight Ottoman nerf was well deserved.
• There was a secret Ming nerf, with reform cost increased from 50 to 70, so reforming now inevitably results in periods of negative mandate. Can we get major Muscovy nerf too please?
• There really needs to be some timeout after losing Defender of the Faith before being allowed to claim it again. The Mamluks kept spamming it sometimes 3 times same year.

Great Persia, with Morocco, Air, and Gujarat as vassals.

Newly released Serbia trying to look inconspicuous.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

EU4 Bengal

Post 1 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-11 06:17:34 UTC

Bengal: Part 01: 1444-1450: Opening moves

So the modpack for this campaign is:
• exported Oman CK2+ campaign (1000-1350), with some edits to cover missing century and inevitable bugfixes
• some hacks to make "historical" events, missions, and decisions work (they're normally mostly disabled in converter games)
• trade node map edited so Oman, Constantinople, and English Channel are end nodes (not Genoa or Venice)
• latest Fun and Balance

Campaign outline plan is:
• playing Buddhist Bengal
• form Bharat, conquer India
• wreck Ming, become emperor of China
• wreck Oman, take over all Indian Ocean trade
• take administrative ideas first, maybe stay away from colonization for a change
• watch Europe burn - I'm hoping Spain and Russia appear (Great Britain can't as Anglo-Saxons can't form it)

For some historical background - empire of Oman, offended by Hindu caste system, conquered South, Central, and West India from the Hindus, and setup variety of Jewish merchant republics and Jain feudal minors. After Oman's withdrawal, many of its minors fell, so India is now a mix of 4 religions, and 11 cultures in 4 culture groups, not counting some Khazars and Lithuanian Ceylon - which actually happened centuries before Oman got involved.

Buddhist Bengal, ruled over by the ancient Pala dynasty, managed to avoid any conflict with Oman. Current queen is 29 year old Devavati, 2/1/4, secretive, and obsessive perfectionist. Her 6 year old relative rules in Orissa.

Bengal starts as 20th power with 143dev, and would actually just qualify for 8th Great Power in its 1350 borders, but Orissa gavelkinded and Bihar got good chunk of bordergore cleanup.

For Bharat it starts with 7/10 needed provinces, requiring Koch from Kamarupa, Cuttack from Orissa, and Bundelkhand from Delhi (with Bihar standing on the way).

Here are random ideas I got - nothing special:

• opener: -20% infantry cost, -15% cavalry cost
• +15% privateer efficiency
• -0.5% prestige decay
• -20% diplomatic annexation cost
• +15% manpower recovery speed
• +0.15 yearly inflation reduction
• +1 tolerance of true faith
• +10% religious unity
• bonus: +1% missionary strength

Overall nothing special. I could stack that annexation cost discount with influence ideas for -45%, but that's wrong kind of campaign for it.

So first war was conquest of Kamarupa, getting me first required province. Then I showed strength against Ava for some mana. Then took Cuttack from Orissa and humiliated them for age bonus.

Renaissance spawned in Alexandria, so maybe it's not completely hopeless. Oman took Alexandria, so if it spreads there, it's just Baluchistan and then West India. It might plausibly reach me by 1500.

I got a ton of tributaries, to deliver me desperately needed manpower.

I was taking a break when Ming's tributary U-Tsang attacked my tributary Nepal.

The first huge obstacle to my plans is that Bihar became Ming's tributary, and I need it to access last province I need to form Bharat. I guess I could fight Ming, they're only 5x stronger than me.

I'm mid-tier power stuck between Ming and Oman. If both of them leave me alone while I conquer India, this will be easy campaign. Otherwise, maybe less so.

This mix of religions and cultures sure helps with AE, but then hurts with unrest.

I got a few strong allies, and a ton of minors as tributaries. Nepal is at war with Garhwal, so they looked like a good target, especially if AI somehow ignored me.

For now I'm blobbing rather slowly, but due to so many mid-tier powers having similar development, I jumped from 20th to 9th place already.

Post 2 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-11 09:10:18 UTC

Bengal: Part 02: 1450-1462: Bharat

War between U-Tsang and Nepal concluded really quickly.

I wanted to threaten Bihar for one province, but they'd have none of it. Fortunately Ming tried to force tribute on Hsenwi, who were allied with Ayutthaya and Mong Yang, and they were losing. I planned to take advantage of their distraction, but another one of my tributaries got attacked by Ming's Lan Na.

Lan Na war ended, and I had decent shot at tech 5 before anyone else, so I just attacked Bihar. 19k vs 95k troops, not that bad. Ming only sent limited forces, so it was more like 2:1 against me, which with tech advantage resulted in fairly one-sided war.

Ming embarassingly ended up white peacing Hsenwi as well. Well, I had to milk it for all it was worth - getting 105% overextension in process, and having such mana shortage I only finished coring it all 7 years after annexation.

In 1459 I became Bharat.

U-Tsang started another war against my tributary. Ming's sphere and mine are fighting a lot.

Right now I could go on a conquering spree, but I'll probably be better off spending next 1500 or so paper mana on admin tech 5 and first two admin ideas to get double discount.

Ming sent one stack over, I had to fight them a few months before unlocking next sword tech. Against all West Indian minors it was a series of stackwipes, and Ming got exhausted with the war and white peaced out.

It went a lot better than expected. I'm still very far from able to challenge Ming in a fair war.

6 Old World Great Powers and their spheres. I rushed Bharat as it gives me permanent claims and therefore big mana discounts on all of India. Now I'll probably do nothing for about 10 years while getting next tech and admin ideas.

Ming got another tributary in India after I annexed Bihar, so that's a bit annoying.
Renaissance is spreading through Oman, but I'll probably have to dev push next two institutions.
I'm doing really poorly with age objectives. I thought I'd dev push Renaissance and get 30dev province objective this way, but now it seems too wasteful. I guess 5 CoTs (2 so far), presence on second continent (no-CB African minor), or conquering Oman's capital for 30dev province are possible ideas for later.

Post 3 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-11 20:26:13 UTC

Bengal: Part 03: 1462-1475: Turns out I'm not Ming-tier just yet

I had abundance of sword mana, so I used it to develop my capital up to 30dev for age objective.

I finally could reduce autonomy everywhere, build some temples.

My 2/1/4 queen abdicated to her 2/3/4 son. There's no good way to import agnatic/cognatic settings from CK2 right now, gender chances are hardcoded per culture.

Ming's tributary Orissa attacked my tributary, which reduced Ming's presence in India to one province. Another Ming's tributary Lan Na got annexed fighting my tributaries. And their U-Tsang attacked Guge second time.

The sphere vs sphere fights are really interesting. AI aggressiveness is crazy high among Ming's tributaries - do they think that Ming is going to help them or what?

The calm was broken when Ming attacked Hsenwi the second time, and I was called to help them. Their 90k vs my 32k and 25k by Hsenwi and its other friends. Not best odds. And those retards went charging into Ming's forts instead of playing defensively.

Fortunately all I had to do was defend minors' forts, and ignore what Ming's blockade of my coast was doing to my war exhaustion. Ming was soon forced into infinite merc spam - it will be nice when next patch nerfs it a bit.

In the end it was extremely painful, I ended up deeply in debt, with hugely negative manpower, and with rebels overrunning my territory. A far better strategy would be to throw Hsenwi under the bus when Ming atacked and build power base in India first.

Oh well, at least I got admin ideas now, so once my country recovers a bit I'll be able to expand in India.

Getting my country wrecked to defend Hsenwi feels like very poor use of my resources. Ming won't even care for all the mercs who died in its pointless war, and they'll repay their 3 loans in no time.

Ming is about 3x-4x stronger than me depending on how you count, and minor AI allies were all idiots.

Post 4 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-12 02:23:57 UTC

Bengal: Part 04: 1475-1486: Conquest of South India

I went into South India to conquer more land. It turns out I can core through my tributaries same as through my vassals - but I can't take land bordering them. So it only half works.

The first war was against Tamilakam and some minors, and it went relatively smoothly.

I was still slowly recovering after Ming war - Ming had zero trouble and repaid its loans ages ago. When it finally seemed like I could be getting ready to do something, I got called into multiple wars.

I accepted, decided I'm going to do absolutely nothing about it, and went to war against Maharastra, Jewish Ceylon, and random minors. They had nearly double my numbers, but were one mil tech behind, so it wasn't too bad.

Ceylon tried to invade mainland, then they'd withdraw to their island whenever my troops came to fight. It was overall fairly painful but very profitable in land and gold. 9 provinces I took had 5 forts. I think it's not even AI, it's the converter.

Converter bugs also caused one province to be of "noreligion", I'm not sure what exactly caused that so I console fixed it instead of investigating.

Renaissance reached Baluchistan, but is moving extremely slowly from there. It also reached my South India provinces via Omani Maldives.

Just as I almost paid off my loans, I need to start saving for Renaissance. And then maybe to create some kind of a fleet.

Hopefully Ming leaves me alone for a while, and there aren't any coalitions in spite of fairly high AE.

My lands are split into 3 part bordergore, and I seriously considered getting Saurashtra to turn into 5 parts just to be closer to Renaissance in Baluchistan.

I lost my last 2 light ships to misclick in Ming war, so the only way to walk between parts of my empire is through tributary lands of Udayagiri and Kalyani.

I had a nice alliance with Rajputana going, but it broke by event while I was in their war. The one with Maharashtra broke up randomly too a while back. All my alliances just keep dying like that.

I'd be best off allying Ming and dividing our spheres in South-East Asia, but AI Ming wouldn't agree to that.

Those random Itilian Separatists are from one Khazar province - leftover from Omani Jewish India plan. It was also noreligion, maybe some Jewish heresy didn't convert properly?

Post 5 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-12 05:54:02 UTC

Bengal: Part 05: 1486-1498: The Renaissance

So for I don't know which campaign in a row, I keep forgetting that I took free wartaxes bonus. It would have saved me crazy amounts of money. I haven't seen a single person streaming EU4 ever remember this either. There should really be some kind of free war taxes alert.

As Buddhist at permanent -100 karma, I have ministers resign like every other year, and that's extremely annoying. It feels like it's bottom tier religion. Karma is extremely negative for expanding, and what else is there to do?

I had some wars in India, intervened in some South-East Asian wars. I've been rapidly increased in power, it feels like I'm about half as strong as Ming, and a 3rd Great Power, even if it's very distant 3rd behind Oman and Ming.

Wait for the Renaissance was far too long, and I think I'd have been better off if I just dev pushed it day one. Even though I sort of neighboured Oman where it spawned - it still took very long time to spread from its origin in Alexandria to Maldives. I still had to take a big loan to pay 1100 gold for it.

I'm surrounded by tributaries on almost every side, so I might start having troubles with expanding soon. I could cancel some, but if I cancel and Ming offers protection instead, that's going to be quite painful. Normally I'd just colonize my way out of the problem, but I'm going to try just one campaign where I don't rush exploration ideas.

Time for some paradox math!
Spread via Baluchistan on which I counted didn't happen at all. If it wasn't for Maldives I'd be waiting until 1550 probably - and even that took some serious shenanigans to get in 1498 - natural spread would probably be 1520 or so.

Ming will probably catch up fast - I have good relations with my tributaries, so they'll get it quick, and then it will creep its way to Ming borders. Once I inevitably dev push colonialism, Ming will get it quite fast as well. I think older westernization system led to far better gameplay.

Sphere boundaries. India is almost all me and my tributaries, and soon I won't have anywhere to expand, unless I build a big fleet and no-CB someone in Indonesia or Africa.

Post 6 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-12 19:12:41 UTC

Bengal: Part 06: 1498-1504: How Hsenwi Won Against Ming

Ming attacked Hsenwi once more. It had 84k troops to my 35k. Hsenwi's 9k and Ming's vassal Mongolia didn't really matter. Stupid Hsenwi charged into Ming's forts and got itself stackwiped before war even started properly. At times like that I wish war leader switching was still in the game - it's just Ming vs me, but somehow some minor with no army is war leader.

I really hoped Hsenwi's ally and Ming's tributary would join on our side - and hopefully after that switch spheres - but they dishonored, exhausted from previous war.

I took next mil tech 6 years ahead of time. A big chunk of my army was waiting for rebels at 90% to popup, but they were taking their sweet time.

Ming took full advantage of its bigger army, and while I was trying to protect Hsenwi it invaded my lands from the North. It's all really asking for a fort, but since AI cheats with zones of control, and I'm low on money it probably won't get one.

Those idiots kept fighting even when warscore war 42% for us, and got Ming to cancel some irrelevant overlordships. They didn't even take war reparations, which would be the smartest deal.

Colonialism triggered for Incas in Argentina.

That seemed surprising, but here's how many countries took different idea groups:

• 66 economic
• 53 religious
• 40 espionage
• 36 administrative
• 23 diplomatic
• 20 humanist
• 19 trade
• 16 offensive
• 10 defensive
• 6 quantity
• 2 exploration
• 2 influence
• 1 innovativeness
• 0 aristocratic, expansion, maritime, naval, plutocratic, quality

The only two countries which took exploration are Incas, and Portugal, which got reduced to OPM with zero ships.

Converter setups different weights for idea groups, so I checked out vanilla, and it's actually the same, except some hardcoded tags have very high priority to pick exploration (Portugal, Castile, and Spain get 1000x factor; a bunch of others more modest factors). That's a bit silly AI railroading, and in this campaign none of these tags even exist.

Other than nobody taking exploration, and everybody taking espionage, these choices look sort of reasonable I guess, at least as much as AI choices ever do - top tier ideas like religious, administrative, diplomatic, and humanist are very popular, and bottom tier ideas like maritime and naval are not taken at all.

I wasn't interested in waiting, I just dev pushed a province next to my capital up to 40 to start it in 1503, just five years after the Renaissance. It will take a while to spread, as I don't have high dev core - good provinces are scattered randomly all over India.

Other than 4 provinces to clean up, I'm now fully enclosed by my tributaries from each side, so I can't expand any more.

My choices are to get cancel some of them, which feels like violation of some roleplaying rules, get exploration ideas after all (well, I just dev pushed colonialism), or no-CB some Indonesian and African minors.

Or I guess I could fabricate on Maldives and attack Oman, but that feels way too silly.

The main plan was to sit on three border mountain provinces in Hsenwi and let Ming bleed. I had to recall my rebel fighting stack and faced 100k of rebels everywhere.

Because EU4 has no meaningful attrition anymore, and there's infinite merc manpower, Ming just happily invaded through Bhutan multiple times instead.

Ayutthaya dishonored Hsenwi's call to arms, and Khmer is too far to join my sphere, so Ming remains with its sphere intact really. Khmer will either rejoin after timer, or just get conquered by Lan Xang.

Post 7 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-13 02:00:38 UTC

Bengal: Part 07: 1504-1517: Indonesian Expansion

I took colonization after all, and just massacred all natives preemptively. It costs obscene amount of sword mana, it used to be nearly free in early versions.

The reason to do so is that in trade company regions any unmasacred natives become majority culture/religion - but if there are 0 they'll be your culture/religion. Now if you can form trade companies you can safely ignore this, but if you're on same continent then you suffer penalty, but get nothing out of it.

I got crazy in debt again, as I needed to deal with dangerously corruption (caused largely by heretics), and by my need to create a proper fleet. And that before the inevitable 1000+ gold to embrace colonialism. I even seriously considered loaning up for colonialism, then bankrupting myself, but penalties for that are pretty steep.

So I went to war against Pasai, as it had gcold mine. For the first time the whole capmaign I was able to call in an ally - Ayutthaya. That actually backfired, as they just lost most of their troops, but somehow game thought they contributed a lot, so they ended up with about 400 gold and then white peaced out. That's really devious.

Soon I had to fight them, as they allied Malacca, so I hoped they might still have some of that gold left, but by then they spent all that money!

I finally got enough money - from gold mines, tributaries, war reparations, savings, estates, and every possible source I could think of milking of - to repay bank loans, but 1250 gold to get colonialism is soon on the horizon.

Ming and Oman finally figured out what this campaign is about and rivalled me.

By some silly events leftover from vanilla, Persia went Shia. Totally my fault, I mass enabled these historical flavor events, there's really no good way to check them one by one.

HRE passed its first reform. I doubt they'll do any more, reformation is delayed a lot in converter games, but it still happens.

I feel like I should move my capital to South India, it's crazy exposed where it is.

At least I force converted Champa from a wrong branch of Buddtism, so that's one objective for the next age done.

Ceylon has to go. They control crazy levels of India trade with their 3 CoTs and merchant republic Jew bonuses - and control over Ceylon gives me desperately needed +1 missionary to deal with my religious unity which is usually in 60%-70% range.

Udaygiri has a gold mine, so that's a possible target too. The rest are fine I guess. I used to have a lot more tributaries, but they mostly conquered each other.

Post 8 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-13 06:15:56 UTC

Bengal: Part 08: 1517-1529: Ming Wins This Time

I revoked tributary protection from two Jewish countries in South India, and invaded both. That accidentally resulted in over 100% OE and rebellions everywhere. I mostly just didn't notice, if I knew I'd just sit on one of two wars for 2 extra years instead.

I had to go into deepest debt yet to hire mercs to defeat about million rebels, and then Hsenwi got attacked once more! This time by Ming's tributary Kham. Nobody touches my Hsenwi! So I was taking a beating fighting in the Himalayas, but it seemed like it was going to work.

And then, when I was 2000 gold in debt, at one war, with almost no army except a handful of mercs, with crippling corruption, and overran by heretics and rebels, Ming attacked Hsenwi once more. You know what Hsenwi? I tried. More than any other ally would. And I'll definitely avenge you someday.

Using my favourite Great Power metric of income, Oman's first at 125, Ming's second at 110, ERE is third with 86, and I'm fourth with 82. By game silly metric of dev and institutions, I'm first, but that's not even close.

It seems I'm the first country to embrace colonialism, even Incas where it spawned didn't yet - but it spawned in some Argentinian coast province, probably very low dev, so it's going to take forever to reach their core.

Right now I need to cleanup Ceylon and Malacca, rebuild my country, catch up on tech as I'm 8/9/10 and 11/11/11 is supposedly just two years ahead. Actually due to the war institutions spawned everybody is behind on tech, and printing press is going to add to this hell.

Even with three missionaries from achieving both Buddhist objectives it doesn't look like I'll ever dig my way out of 60%-70% religious unity without taking religious ideas.

Ming finally got what it wanted. I'm in such a mess getting into another Ming war would set back my country by decades.

I'd probably still do it if it would make me war leader. I miss this.

Meanwhile my tributary Nepal is enormous at 267dev. I don't terribly want to cancel them, but AI at this size tends to become disloyal.

Post 9 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-13 10:16:42 UTC

Bengal: Part 09: 1529-1539: Recovery

Ming started its Golden Era just to celebrate their victory over Hsenwi. Ming also established tributary over Bhutan just over my border.

What was left of Hsenwi ended up getting completely annexed by Kachar. You will be missed.

I got called into two sphere wars at once - it one of them I was able to annex Bhutan. I built one castle there, and another on the coast, it should maybe slow down AI at least until it remembers it can cheat.

I expanded my sphere into Madagascar and East Indonesia, while Ming expanded its sphere into what's left of Malacca - all very awkward.

My corruption is finally zero, my loans are almost all paid, I replaced all mercs by regulars, and I'm "only" 4 techs behind optimum. Rebels are still rebelling, but not as crazy as before.

Thanks to some lucky event modifiers I managed to get my religious unity up to 73%, but it feels rather temporary. I still feel that taking religious next would probably be the best way, except paper mana is the most restrictive one. Trade and expansion are another ideas. Or military idea I guess, but I never really take them, even though they got a bit better recently with siege abilities added.

On the other hand, unless I'm really lucky with printing press, I might be forced to do another dev push, setting me even more behind on all mana types.

Buddhism is such a shit-tier religion, at -100 karma - which you'll inevitably have - that mtth for minister resigning event is 21 years. So all the good half-price estate and event ministers keep disappearing.

Here's colonialism 29 years after spawning. Nobody got it form spawn point, and it doesn't seem likely that anyone will.

Here's colonialism 39 years after my dev push. Ming doesn't have it yet, and is 3 techs ahead of me.

The spheres expanded into Indonesia. I don't have any good plans for dealing with Ming, and I can't expand too fast due to paper mana shortage. Right now my best idea is to catch up on tech, get religious ideas to make my mixed religion mixed culture country stable, and invade East Africa for gold mines.

Maybe if I could get Lan Xang to join my war against Malacca, and just time out Ming, that would lead to something useful.

Plans for Oman are much more straighforward - build bigger fleet, be defensive on land, and use my permanent claim on Maldives for 25% ticking warscore. Except right now I'd get absolutely nothing of value this way. Maybe make them release something. Long term I could take over East Africa, blockade Red Sea, and wreck them this way.

Importer revealed land but not sea of Europe, it looks so silly. By the way some Catholic Occitan country formed The Knights, and they currently control South half of France. Probably another minor quirk caused by my converter hacks.

Post 10 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-14 04:39:48 UTC

Bengal: Part 10: 1539-1550: South-East Asia is even worse than the Balkans

So I was thinking about all the ways I can wreck Ming, and apparently getting to admin tech 12 by 1550 by strictly budgeting paper mana is most promising of them all.

I got event for temporary -10% admin tech cost discount, so I was definitely on the right track, and achieved the right tech in 1545. I even developed 4 provinces up to 20dev just to increase my chances.

I made great preparations for 1548 war against Ming via Malacca / Ayutthaya, calling in Lan Xang, but my spherelings got me involved into multiple wars earlier, and all those plans went to hell.

All the overlapping wars erupted that:

• Kham vs Kachar & Nepal & Bharat
• Mong Yang & Lan Xang vs Kham
• Taungu vs Kachar
• Ayutthaya & Kedah vs Taungu & Bharat
• Sukhotai vs Taungu & Bharat

If I was at least war leader in wars I got called into, I might salvage something useful out of that.

At least by 1549 the wars were over, and I succeeded with my plan, as printing press spawned in South India. And I even managed to start religious ideas - sadly the CB is at the end.

So I guess it's time for Ming war now, even if it won't be as good as I wanted.

On subject of just how shit-tier Buddhist religions are. Karma is supposed to increase by +25 whenever you accept call to arms. And Buddhist as Eastern religions can have tributaries, which is about the only good thing going for them. But you don't get karma for accepting call to arms from your tributary, even though the popup says so (ally call to arms seems to work).

So the countries in these wars were:
• Nepal - my tributary
• Guge - my tributary
• Kham - Ming's tributary
• Kachar - my tributary, got coalition against itself
• Mong Yang (that blue thing East of Kachar) - just got gold mine from Kham, was Ming tributary, but agreed to be my vassal
• Taungu - was OPM, grew to 7 provinces in three wars where I was saving its ass
• Sukhotai - Ming's tributary, was 5 provinces, now 1
• Lan Xang - my ally and Ming's tributary, I hope to break its Ming relations
• Dai Viet - Ming's tributary
• Champa - Ming's tributary
• Ayutthaya - Ming's tributary and Malacca's ally, I wanted to cobeligerent them to connect my land
• Kedah - my tributary, then we went to war, then Taungu forced them to be my tributary again in peace deal
• Malacca - Ming's tributary and my target

As well as a lot of fallen countries.

Post 11 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-14 18:54:09 UTC

Bengal: Part 11: 1550-1562: Converting the last Heretic

My ally Lan Xang turned into Luang Prabang, presumably just getting admin tech 10 which unlocks most of such relabellings. Whatever they were called, there was no way to call them into Malacca war, they were just too exhausted after theirs.

So instead I asked OPM Sukhotai and Ming's tributary to become my vassal, and attacked Ming on my own.

My forces:
• Bharat - 90k troops, 15 heavies, 23 lights

On enemy side:
• Ming - 161k troops, 23 heavies, 27 lights
• Ayutthaya - 21k, 2 heavies, 6 lights
• Malacca - 8k, no fleet
• Malacca's noble rebels about to siege their capital - 11k

Within a month Malacca was 100% occupied, and Ayutthaya's fleet was on bottom of Gulf of Siam. My new vassals were probably already regretting it, as they got sieged by Ming in no time as well.

Ming couldn't walk through Bhutan due to fort, so they took slightly longer and even more attricious route through Guge and Nepal instead. I miss old military access rules where they couldn't just do this shit.

It was overall painful as Ming was fighting on three fronts - North-West India, former Hsenwi, and Malay Peninsula, and even once I sunk Ming's fleet which it foolishly divided I could have my armies in at most two of the three, with one or another being left for enemy to ravage freely.

Fortunately Ming lost its patience only a bit over 100k dead Chinamen later with nothing to show for all that.

In the end, it was not even worth it, Malacca lost its remaining 4 provinces, Ayutthaya lost 4 provinces, Luang Prabang remained Ming's tributary. I got a lot of gold, but that only about covered my investment. Ming got a bit embarassed, but its mandate wasn't challenged in any way.

I thought about invading East Africa, but apparently they have all the up to date mil tech, and as many troops between them as Ming. Institutions were the second worst idea EU4 ever had, just after zones of control. This is the kind of stupid nonsense that happens as a result. It's really annoying because old system worked just fine, making Africa militarily backwards.

At least I sent exploration mission to Africa in case I want to fight wars there later.

I'm about to get Deus Vult, and Deus very much Vult that African gold is turned into Buddha statues.

After that I'll take another shot at undermining Ming's sphere.

My country is finally stable with every last heretic converted. Religious ideas are amazing, humanist have nothing on them.

Here my troops are in Malay and Hsenwi regions, leaving West India undefended. There was constant shifting between 2 of the 3.

Forts in Bhutan and Dhaka forced Ming to take the long route, and its fleet got sunk early, so I had somewhat better mobility to somewhat balance fewer troops.

There was no way I could actually invade Ming. 9 forts, mostly in really awful terrain visible here, and that's just its distant periphery.

The big picture.
I only recently noticed that due to converter issues Japan is only half-colonized.
Europe is fun, with France divided between Liege and Knights with Aztec minor stuck between the two.

Conquest of East Africa will be necessary not just for golden Buddha statues, but also to challenge Oman once I'm done with Ming.

Post 12 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-15 00:46:02 UTC

Bengal: Part 12: 1562-1573: Nepalese Disloyalty

I used overwhelming force against Sofala to establish good foothold in Africa. And that exploration mission definitely helped too, I could actually see their provinces. It's not meant as any kind of major conquest, just to give settlers in South Africa access to gold mines to they can make proper Buddha statues for proper temple worship.

Nepal grew to 395dev and stopped paying me tribute. I let them go, and they instantly became 7th great power. 359dev Iraq becoming 8th great power made the whole region pretty crowded as well - especially as Khwarizm would be one too if it wasn't for institutions.

Oman became even more enormous getting PU over 716dev Roman Empire, 372dev Tunis, and 27dev Jazira. So much me splitting it up.

Kachar turned into Manupur, in another pointless name change caused by interaction of converter and Fun and Balance mod.

All my plans to go to another war with Ming over Ayutthaya pretty much died due to more local wars.

Instead Nepal is a much more important target. They were allied with two of my tributaries - Manipur and Ratapur. It was an amazing war, as I was able to take two provinces from Maniput needed to get border with Ming and tank its mandate, and also get some nice mountain forts from Nepal to make it harder for Ming to just invade.

Nepal lost its great power status in one war, but Luang Prabang told Ming to go to hell, and it's a new great power now.

Just while I was coring 120% OE Maniput became Ming's tributary and attacked Taungu. I used a fun double peace trick to destroy them. I took all their provinces in separate peace except those I transfered to Taungu. So I took a bit under 100%, and Taungu had instant 100% warscore, and together we took like 150% or so.

Taungu and Champa completely misunderstood this trick and I lost -10 trust with both for it. You just can't please AI sometimes.

Administrative + religious is such a nice combo, I got through 120% OE with just 5 minor revolts on newly conquered territories.

Fortunately Sofala broke up with Ajuuraan, otherwise it would take twice as many Africans, all at up to date tech.

If this was just this one time AI does something as stupid it would be fine, but it's been endless series of suicide attacks. Even not counting me, Kham would get wiped.

The only sort of logical explanation is if AI believes Ming is going to help it.

Oman/Tunis/ERE, Iraq, Luang Prabang as new great powers. Nepal was one, but got wrecked and now fighting Baluchistan and Guge+Khwarizm for survival.

Ming mandate is falling down fast, but there aren't any great ways to dismantle it. Any approach via the old Hsenwi route will result in massive attrition, and naval landing feels unsafe as I can only land so many troops, and they can match my navy.

Maybe colonize Taiwan for naval bases to launch attack from?

War goal for mandate is taking capital Beijing, which is really bad for me. Or I could go Deus Vult, that doesn't give warscore discount, but wargoal of winning battles might be easier to get.

Post 13 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-15 07:22:26 UTC

Bengal: Part 13: 1573-1580: Fall of South China

The new great power Luang Prabang still loved Ming, even though Ming hated them for no longer being their tributary, so they'd never join my war against Ming.

I allied Korea as well, but it wouldn't work either, as they were still a tributary. At high liberty desire, so it probably won't last long, but not just yet.

It wasn't going to be the best war, but there was really no point waiting, so I just attacked Ming outright for mandate and Beijing.

It was 130k troops, 15 heavies, and 27 lights on my side vs 170k troops, 20 heavies, 26 lights, and 20 galleys on Ming's. And somehow Chinese coast counts as inland sea for galleys, so I had to avoid that. I can't say it makes terribly much sense, as no other coastal sea got this treatment, other than obviously inland ones.

I had two ways in towards Beijing - first I could try to get naval supremacy and land on Chinese coastline directly, or I could force my way through line of difficult forts and then follow weakly fortified coastline.

I tried both. Naval warfare was hard. Ming kept most of its navy together, and by some crazy tag order thing, Ming is one day faster than me. When it says we arrive somewhere same day, they actually move first - which made it really awkward to chase their navy where every day matters.

I managed to win some naval battles, but with really nasty loses, and it took 2 years to replace lost heavy ships, so navy just did combat and blockading.

As for trying to quickly siege Dehong against -1 terrain, Ming threw all they could in multiple waves, I got a few unlucky siege rolls, and I had to withdraw everyone from losing battle at 49% siege chance, with about even losses of 45k on each side by that point. After that it was a bit of offence and defence, where between Ming penalties and AI skill levels their loses were a lot higher than mine.

I took a drastic step of taking quality ideas. I don't even remember what was the last time I took any military ideas. Not really because they're that useful, mostly because I have mana paper/bird shortage, and I'm going to be fighting some nasty wars anyway. I'm not sure which of military idea groups is actually best.

Once Ming got beaten back a bit Luang Prabang changed its mind about them, and agreed to join me halfway through the war. And then I discovered that both my plans were real bad, as I could have simply asked for military access through Luang Prabang and walked through coastal farmlands to Canton, and from there easily to Beijing. I swear I was good at this game once.

Ming merc spammed hard, always had places to shattered retreat to, so it never went below 100k troops, and even in last months of the war it kept winning major battles. No matter, I 100%, setup Miao and Yue, gave some extra land to Mong Yang, which I started annexing, and started moving my troops in position to reset truces by attacking Dai Viet, and then white peacing them in no time.

For a brief distraction I finished off Sofala. It's not high priority, but I suppose by the time Ming completely collapses I'll be ready to fight Oman.

Next level forts just got invented, so if Ming starts spamming those, next war will still be painful. I took
9 forts from them (12 more to go), leading to a bit of bordergore, and they won't have too much time to build them for next war I guess.

Forced my way through bad terrain instead of simply asking Luang Prabang for military access. Real embarrassing.

Ming managed to invade India via Guge, and even got my fort and beaten up army I sent to relieve it.

What I too is more or less occupied territory, plus 4 more forts just outside it.

Post 14 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-15 09:33:04 UTC

Bengal: Part 14: 1580-1586: Ming in Six Parts

Luang Prabang attacked Ayutthaya, tried to call me into their silly war, and I just dropped them, as that would delay conquest of China by 15 years. And after all, if Luang Prabang claims to be a great power, surely they can show it on the battlefield without my help, right? I'd be denying them this great chance. They ended up white peacing, which I guess is actually pretty decent result against Ming.

Just like before Kham attacked Guge and me, now Guge attacked Kham and Ming. It's crazy on every side.

The bordergore I inflicted on Ming is just amazing, mostly to take 8 of its nasty forts. Usually I restrain myself a bit and balance reasonable borders with power level objectives, but I want to get rid of Ming as soon as possible so I can start working on Oman.

Fortunately with just 4 forts remaining and no navy, next time I'll be able to clean it up a bit with a lot less difficulty.

England became the HRE, as previous emperor Franconia, still ruled by Karling dynasty, got a queen, and there are few Catholics remaining in it. The leagues are big, but there's no open war between them. They'll probably time out with Catholics winning by default.

So that's what's left of Ming. Korea is unsurprisingly independent now. I want to clean it all up, and I think I'll just destroy China, there's not that much value in late game emperorship.

A big question I ignored until now is how to get Chinese trade. I'll probably need more merchants, so maybe go trade ideas next.

Meanwhile in Europe. Some notable countries are Papal Spain, The Knights of South France, merchant republic of Magna Graecia, and reverse Sweden-Finland.

Nobody went Reformed, Papal Spain is the only Reformed area. Protestantism is basically half of HRE and nowhere else.

Post 15 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-16 06:50:31 UTC

Bengal: Part 15: 1586-1598: First Troubles with Oman

Oman got itself another PU - after ERE, Tunis, they got Portugal, which is now a 3dev OPM in Africa, and Oman can't even see their only province. Invisible PU, first time I see it.

The whole colonization thing really isn't going anywhere this campaign. Aztecs, Incas, Cherokee, English and Leon are the only countries doing any New World colonization at all, and with huge delay. In Asia it's just me and my tributary Ternare.

I reset Ming truce thanks to Dai Viet, and simultaneously attacked Ayutthaya and Kham to clean them up. And then Malindi and Nepal.

Ming invested in more modern navy and managed to sink 11/18 of my slightly older heavies with their 6.

After that I did even more aggressive truce reset, not waiting for coring to finish. I also called my ally Champa into it, which made them no longer Ming's tributary, so I offered them protection instead.

So I was ready to crush what was left of Ming in 2-3 more wars, when Oman decided to attack my tributary Baluchistan. This is really awkward, and they've not been too loyal to me, sometimes refusing to pay up their due. Not to mention they're sitting on a lot of my permanent claims.

The best thing is that it breakn Khwarizm-Oman alliance, so maybe I'll be able to get a new ally in the region.

The war with Oman is coming, but not just yet.

I colonized Kyoto and got the usual "fall of the shogunate, have some mana" event. I guess they could have some druid shogun or something, living in a forest.

HRE apparently went some kind of pragmatic sanction and elected Karoline I Karling of Franconi as new empress, ending brief time of English non-Karling rule.

My overall plan is to more or less destroy Ming by 1610 in two more wars (they'll have maybe capital left over after that), then finish Court and Country by 1625. Only after that I can deal with Oman.

I don't think I can realistically become emperor of China, any border with Oman would instantly zero my mandate, and it's not really avoidable at this point.

Best plan against Oman is to build up big fleet, as their juniors and probably half of their own will be in Mediterranean. Then I can sit on 25% ticking warscore from Maldives, and do something with it. That's still far ahead.

Post 16 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-16 13:54:09 UTC

Bengal: Part 16: 1598-1613: Age of Absolutism

I refused to come to Baluchistan's aim, and allied Khwarizm instead to support me from the West.

Global trade spawned in Harer, in Oman. No idea why, there are so many move obvious provinces in Gulf of Aden trade node. It's just non-coastal 6/9/2 with nothing special on it.

Next war against Ming was very different - I stack wiped everything they had in two battles first month. Awkwardly their two remaining forts got upgraded to next tier. I stripped them of all the coast and those new forts, including one in Beijing, so my navy can stay closer to Oman, just in case.

I tried to expand in East Africa, but Ajuuraan had 47% of warscore worth of money, so that slowed it down a bit.

I had some free time, so I broke up Ouchi into a lot of tiny daimyo who all wanted to be my tributaries.

Age of absolutism happened, and this time I was extremely prepared. I accepted demands of particularists and nobles just year before, then mass decreased autonomy everywhere, for 57 day one absolutism. Then some self inflicted stab hits to get Court and Country started.

I just missed one small thing - I needed to be at war for 34 months, and I forgot to leave myself OPM enemy. So the least bad option was Korea. At least I could use this obscure Buddhist ability that making countries release nations costs no bird mana because something.

Oman probably noticed that I was busy with internal and foreign conflicts, and used this to attack my tributary Maheran. Once more time, can't help you here.

While waiting 10 years for the disaster to end, I'm cleaning up remaining work in Asia - breaking up big countries, making small ones my tributaries, or annexing if they refuse. I left Ming as OPM just in case I somehow want to become Emperor of China later, but I seriously doubt I'll ever want that.

The disaster gives me +2 unrest in addition to spawning rebels directly. All 3 estates hate me - merchant guilds and nobles as side effect of fast absolutism strategy, monastic orders due to an unfortunate misclick. Estate problems could be avoided, but fast absolutism, milking them for 150 mana every 20 years, and never getting them unhappy would mean alt-tabbing to Excel a lot.

And there's +10 unrest from recently decreased autonomy pretty much every province, and there are still huge numbers of separatists. And yet, thanks to religious ideas it really doesn't even seem that bad. My tolerance of true faith is +5.5, and I could increase it to +6 with some legitimacy boosting.

Oman inherited Tunis. Oman and ERE between them have 3x my army and navy size, and 1.75x my income. It's not too bad, as I beat back Ming at such odds in Hsenwi wars, but only when not busy elsewhere.

Catholics are doing well in Europe. Catholic League won in HRE without a war, and the last remnant of Sunset Invasion fell, quite appropriately, to The Knights in 1606. Protestantism is limited to about half of HRE, and Reformed got wiped out completely.

That's what Oman sends against a 6-province minor. It's a good deal more than my entire army, and they also have naval supremacy to block me.

They're not afraid of me at all, and for a good reason.

Post 17 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-17 05:04:23 UTC

Bengal: Part 17: 1613-1624: Court and Country

After Korea and Luang Prabang have been cut to size, they happily accepted their position as my tributaries - but maybe I didn't beat them enough as they're still around 50% liberty desire, and keep my diplomats busy improving relations instead of doing something more useful.

I won Court and Country, and got to 91% absolutism. I'll get to 100% in a few years.

I'm definitely not going to be emperor of China, so I destroyed what was left of Ming. Leaving behind OPM at 500 AE is risky, as once fight with Oman starts, it would make it too easy for them to start a coalition.

I got CoT from Ajuuraan in Gulf of Aden end node, but not collecting there just yet. I took expansion ideas next, which start with colonist and merchant, another merchant from global trade institution, and one more on its way from Australia CN.

Brunei, which was pirating in my key nodes, got incorporated into the empire, and Taungu agreed to hand over their CoT in Bengal node. I think I'll incorporate the rest of Taungu in a few years.

With all that I have income of 310 (will be even more once overextension goes away), not much behind 370 Oman and ERE have together. I might develop my gold mines a bit more, build even more manufactories, and overall invest in even stronger economy to match them.

Things look a bit less well in terms of 452k vs 187k max manpower, 635 vs 225 land force limit, 339 vs 212 naval force limit. I think my fleet would be able to dominate half of their fleet, and my allies Iraq and Khwarizm could distract Oman for a while, so maybe it's winnable.

It's not even about land - forcing them to break PU is worth a lot of dead mercs.

I still have a huge number of unhappy peasants everywhere due to my absolutist reforms, but that should pass over next decade or two.

So technically I'm allied with Khwarizm and Iraq, so it would be three great powers vs one. In practice there's enormous gap between us as the rest of "great powers", with Aztecs distant 3rd at half our size, and 4th+ GPs just nowhere close to the same league.

I can imagine that even if both agreed to fight together, they'd just pointlessly suicide their troops, and I have no way to build good defensive line against Oman - Africa is flat, and only good mountains in West India are in Baluchistan.

Oman would also undoubtedly receive huge help from my rebels.

Post 18 - Originally published on Google+ on 2017-11-17 13:23:12 UTC

Bengal: Part 18: 1624-1630: Victory over Oman

Oman was integrating ERE, with due date in 1651, and all my allies refused to even consider joining any wars due to attitude towards enemies. I don't think I have any way to prevent that.

It's not a great situation, but I can either go to war and see how it goes, or wait another century just sitting on my ass.

203k troops (plus 76k vassal troops) and 30 heavies on my side vs 535k troops and 56 heavies on theirs. I split them between Africa and India, and waited.

AI opened with big naval battle for Coast of Maldives, where it lost 30 ships to my 7. I suspect AI still thinks of naval battles like they used to work before game introduced naval combat width. It charged 20 heavy 9 light 21 galley 51 transport into my 30 heavy 30 light stack. This would maybe work under old rules where all ships fired simultaneously, not any more.

On land AI decided to cheat zones of control and walked over my forts like they weren't even there. That was of very little help to them, as first three battles were stackwipes with 115k to 14k K:D ratio.

After that they lost interest in another invasion - and it turned out that Ajuuraan hated both of us, so nobody in Africa had military access.

The microing necessary to win the war was crazy. I walked my army from India to Oman's capital, and just as they were ariving dropped 80k from Africa.

Total losses were 55k and 8 ships vs 165k and 134 ships.

After that I only took Oman's capital and remaining CoTs in Gulf of Aden end node, so I now have all 3. Their humiliation is complete, and the victory is total.

My income is already 400 to their combined 330 before I even core, statify, and optimize that new land.

Sure, there could be more wars to achieve 100% control over the end node, but short of quick digging Suez Canal they have no way to challenge my navy, and with a bit of patience I could reduce them to Mediterranean power. They know it perfectly well too, as they've chosen Nablus as their new capital.

Initial disposition of forces. At this point I didn't have naval supremacy, and I didn't know which way Omani troops would arrive. Actually I never got full naval supremacy, I kept my navies together for safety, so Oman a few times almost landed on Maldives.

It turns out Ajuuraan didn't grand anyone military access, and for some reasons ZoCs bugged out (like that's news), so I couldn't walk through uncolonized land to the nearest fort.

All action was on the sea seen here (plus a bit to the South), in North-West India, and then around Oman's capital.

Tributary fleets are providing me visibility at random, that was useful.

AI casually walking through Khandesh fort, but my stack caught it  there. It was first wipe, and then two more around South Konkan down South, and around Garhwal up North.

I thought this was just the first wave, so I rushed to eliminate it before the rest of over 500k Omani and related troops rush in and overwhelm me, but nobody else came. The only other fighting was after I crossed into Arabia, and that was a rather sloppy battle.

This small amount of land gives me about half of Oman's trade income.

The two Gulf CoTs are very high supply mountain provinces, so I can put 2x 40k there without attrition, and massacre basically infinite number of enemies if they try to take it. And they come with strait to Africa. It all makes Oman's non-Mediterranean holdings completely indefensible in any future war

Oman's former capital is a CoT in Hormuz node. It's not terribly useful for defense on its own, but with a few more provinces it's two more straits. I could have waited a bit more for warscore to tick up so I could grab Hormuz as well, but it seemed like a win-more.