Thursday, May 11, 2017

God Empress of Prussia: Part 24: 1639: The End

There's no challenge left, and I couldn't really think of any meaningful additional goals, so I'm just ending this megacampaign, 769-1639, or 870 years, 375 of which under God-Empress Weslikan IV, who's 389 years old by now.

As final post, here are stories of my tributaries Jianzhou and Bunyoro.

Jianzhou is in extremely dire situation:
  • Near-zero horde unity (and decreasing -3.5/year), so repeated tribal rebellions
  • Near -100 prestige
  • >90% corruption
  • Only +5 income at 283 development
  • -25 expenditures - half of it due to being over force limit (just 26) and paying interest
  • Near permanent bankruptcy an a result, and every bankruptcy risks another civil war disaster
  • >97% devastation and >75% autonomy in every province except around capital fort which reduced that
  • 4/6/8 tech with zero ideas taken ever, while civilized countries are at 19/19/19
  • literally no institutions except feudalism, so total penalty to tech was +189% institutions, +90% corruption, +50% bankruptcy, with zero hope of getting there; completely swamping -75% neighbour bonus, -5% tributary bonus, and -10% tech cost from some event
  • 15% inflation as it all above wasn't enough
I've never seen country so ran into the ground, and I don't think it was even possible before devastation and corruption systems. And the only reason other AIs like Korea didn't just destroy Jianzhou was because they were my ally and then tributary.

I don't think there's any way for AI to recover from this. I tried sending them money, even building free manufactories in their territory, it was all hopeless.

It would be hard even for player - best I could think of is just deleting armies and one ship, taking loans or debasing currency, spending all on institutions (3 were embraceable, Global Trade would spread there soon too), and going bankrupt as many times as necessary until all were embraced.

After that just avoid building armies and further bankrupcies, try to pay back corruption and inflation. Building a bunch of low level castles could reduce devastation - even if autonomy has to stay awful.

From that point on, neighbour bonus can really help catch up in tech, and maybe after that there's even a way to reform out of steppe horde. I guess if it goes well, there's hope to turn it into a functioning country by the time for Vic2 conversion.

And a second story - of Bunyoro. Institutions fall into groups:

  • first four spawn (or are pre-spawned) in specific places, usually Europe, and if you're not in Europe
  • last three can spawn anywhere, so they are super easy to get - especially Global Trade is trivial as any center of trade gets it
So it's really no surprise that Bunyoro in deep Central Africa has Global Trade. But how the hell it still lacks anything before that?

Well, they only spread from neighbour provinces, but its only neighbour is Karangwe, and they're rivals, so spread is very slow. And then Karangwe's only neighbour is Buha, who presumably was a rival for most of their history, as there's only so many rival slots they have.

And then there's some uncolonized land - amazingly borders over Lake Tanganyika counts as neighbouring provinces for sake of institutions spread.

After which it starts all over, with multilayer rival sandwich - until it finally reaches European colonies.

And that's only thanks to 1.20 rules. If the whole campaign was in 1.21, trade company provinces would not get the institutions just because their owner embraced them, so none of Central Africa would ever see anything - at least not until it comes province by province from Europe.

It seems that Central Africa would be quite a challenging campaign.

So a few thoughts about new mechanics:

  • absolutism is overpowered, if you care about late game, even without cheesing things
  • Court and Country is pretty much mandatory crisis to self-trigger if you care about late game
  • absolutism means republics got nerfed silly, as well as constitutional/elective/English/Dutch monarchies, and any government type that doesn't use legitimacy
  • Ming is overpowered
  • unless you're in East Asia and can do it early, actually taking over Emperorship of China feels like mostly a bad idea - by late game losing 20 absolutism (+8% admin efficiency, +1% discipline, -10% foreign core duration) is probably worth more than Emperor bonuses you'll get, and you have to jump through silly hoops to get there
  • the whole age goals and bonuses system is seriously underwhelming

As for tributaries:
  • Tributaries are super useful - but you only get them as Confucian, Buddhist, Shinto, Steppe Horde, or Emperor of China
  • Buddhist varieties still seem like awful religions, being penalized for expanding in game about expanding
  • Confucian seems underpowered, but at least it's unique. Price to pay for harmonizing is quite steep, so you might want to take religious, and mix conversion with harmonization.
  • Steppe Horde is absolutely awful government type
  • Empire of China is only worth it if you can get it early
  • Shinto got unique mechanics, but I still have no idea what they are - and I really have no clue if Japan is any good
As for megacampaigns:
  • Early CK2 was really fun
  • Last few centuries of CK2 were rather boring, as I was blobbed as hell
  • Then it became fun for a while in EU4, but only because I did this ridiculous level of nerfing
  • And then it became boring again
  • CK2 and EU4 are both such long games that straightforward converting after them feels rather silly
  • I have a feeling that something like Vic3 to HoI4 could be fun, as you can start as tiny country, grow into medium tier power, and then there's still fun game ahead. Then again, there's no such converter, and no Vic3 in the first place.
  • Highly gimmicky CK2 campaign could turn into nice EU4 campaign. Like random character every generation tier gimmicky.
  • I'm not sure EU4 even supports meaningful gimmicks
  • a lot of EU4 content (unique events, ideas, missions), is disabled in converted campaigns, even if tags match
Some campaign ideas:

  • start in Ming tributary area, or near it (Japan, India, or Indonesia), play as tributary for a while, and fight for mandate against initially overwhelming Ming
  • just let CK2 play itself for a while, convert, and have fun with that - possibly as High American minor, or as whichever weird religion/culture combination seems like fun
  • deep African minors might actually be interesting - different parts of Africa having different strengths and challenges, but institutions always being a problem. There's big choice to go Sunni or Coptic, or remain Fetishist (which got some unique mechanics recently)
  • CK2 trying to go through as many religions as possible within same dynasty might be fun, now that switching is so much easier in latest patch and its updated secret religion system (released after I finished CK2 campaign)

Institutions are so silly they had 5th institution before any other

Failed state of Jianzhou

Monday, May 8, 2017

God Empress of Prussia: Part 23: 1629-1639: Everyone is Great Power now

Intervening in Deccan-Rajastan war by attacking both was fun.

I discovered that when you're attacking a force sieging a fort, they take the penalty, even if it's not your fort. And then when you defeat their army, you inherit all their siege progress. This could be useful.

Court and Country ended up with +10 max absolutism. The way the disaster is setup, I can only get +20 max absolutism when my max is already reasonably high - so not being a monarchy cost me twice, first -10 max absolutism, and then -10 from worse Court and Country outcome.

I now have max absolutism of 89 - in theory I could have 90 if I got my religious unity from almost-100% to 100%, it's silly rounding down system.

I passed final 5th Chinese reform March 1632, and that's with Fun and Balance mandate nerfs. They're not going even close to far enough.

I got Alaska from Ming, and expanded it from Aztec lands. Overall I grabbed a lot of minor islands from pretty much everyone.

To clean up the map I've been settling leftover African provinces, as that causes wasteland to take my color.

Everybody remaining is a Great Power, 4 of them are legit:
  • Deccan 802
  • Incas 636
  • Rajastan  610
  • Aztecs 553
And 3 are a bit of a stretch
  • Nubia 206 (awkwardly split between coastal and deep inland parts)
  • Arabia 126 (would be fully annexable if half of their lands weren't deep inland)
  • Ming 85 (I could have fully annexed them previous war, but it was not worth the OE)
My tributaries Egypt and Kilwa have been repeatedly fighting Nubia and Arabia, quite successfully. Both used to be a lot bigger, and in case of Nubia, I didn't take any of their land.

World conquest progress:
  • own: 10858 ⇒ 12518
  • vassal: 4011 ⇒ 3031
  • colony: 1569 ⇒ 1757
  • tributary state: 4146 ⇒ 4374
  • foreigners: 3821 ⇒ 3017
  • uncolonized: 658 ⇒ 558
Deccan took my island, I took their island

China is almost taken
Indians pushed back into India

New World
I still lack 3 possible CNs, in Peru, Louisiana, and California

Saturday, May 6, 2017

God Empress of Prussia: Part 22: 1618-1629: Court and Country

I broke alliance with the Inca, and I was just cycling through wars with everybody, and they didn't even want to join my Aztec wars as they were "too distant". Like they have anything better to do.

I got nearly 200% OE from Ming, and Court and Country crisis started ticking. I needed it to tick, as that's the only way to get higher max absolutism without tag switching shenanigans.

So I had two million peasants to fight, as well as another million of other rebels - and this time there was no accepting of anybody's demands.

Unfortunately that overextension didn't last long enough, so disaster wouldn't trigger. I reduced my stability to -2 on purpose just to make sure. Well, 3 million rebels dead, the crisis could finally start.

I hired a lot of extra generals, and a huge number of mercs - not because of manpower reasons, it's just faster this way. Merc cost me more upkeep than my regular army. Peasants even sacked my capitals for a while, which was fairly embarrassing, but we got it back quite quickly.

Oh and now I think I have a pretty good idea how to trigger it in controlled manner - just get unrest over 1 but less than your tolerance of true faith minus 2 (for wrong culture). This will trigger crisis, and make separatists rebel, but none of your core provinces will.

That wouldn't be possible for me, since as Confucian I have so dismally low tolerance of true faith (+3, mostly due to intergating all those religions all the time), so I can't do that - best I could do is keep it between 1 and 3, which would trigger separatists and wrong culture rebels - but it would still save me from peasants and particularists, so I'd be fighting a third of what I did.

And that definitely should be done with stability reduction, not overextension, for better control, and to avoid OE bonus to rebels and random events. If someone feels adventurous, they can delay coring, but that's hard to dig yourself out of.

The disaster felt rather underwhelming. It's -20% tax, -20% goods produced, -20 max absolutism, +2 unrest, and 10 year timer until it ends. But I spent all the mana to instantly get my stability from -2 to +3, and there weren't even that many people left to rebel - I just got a few tiny separatists that somehow didn't get included in previous round, and a few minor events.

Like, event spawning 13k rebels really doesn't impress after what I've just been through. Now I need to wait 10 years for all the events to happen.

Somehow Deccan and Rajastan decided to rival each other on their own, and went to war, after my futile previous attempt at having them do it.

That's nice, as my truces with both are done now, and they're still busy fighting.

World conquest progress:

  • own: 10417 ⇒ 10858
  • vassal: 3833 ⇒ 4011
  • colony: 1276 ⇒ 1569
  • tributary state: 3980 ⇒ 4146
  • foreigners: 4558 ⇒ 3821
  • uncolonized: 770 ⇒ 658

There are 10 independent foreign countries left. Quite soon, everyone will be a great power.

250k particularists is not too bad, right... 

First million peasants, second million came later
At least they're fighting particularists for me
On top of that, rebellions in China, Japan, Africa, Indonesia etc.

3 million dead rebels all agree - I am the State

Brazil decided to put three level-4 forts in a row in place which will never see any war just because

This was messy and bloody war, with level 4 mountain forts
Inca lost four such forts in the North, and one annoying fort in the South
It would be nice if La Plata and Brazil filled that wasteland between them 

New World is still dominated by two native blobs, but they've been cut in size somewhat

Friday, May 5, 2017

God Empress of Prussia: Part 21: 1610-1618: Empress of China

I attacked Ming again, reduced to just 8 forts now, so I could march on all of them immediately. Except I didn't have 8 generals, and didn't want to hire more while below 60 army tradition - every 20 tradition there's a big discontinuous bump. In upcoming patch aristocratic ideas supposedly give siege pips, so that might be the first time military idea group is worth taking.

Speaking of idea groups, I had trouble picking up 5th after exploration/expansion/administrative/espionage:

  • religious (or humanist) - I avoided them in age of reformation, so it felt silly now; Confucian in any case works differently - it doesn't convert (like religious) or accept (like humanist) the heathens, it just incorporates them into your primary religion
  • all military ideas - unless they help with sieges, what are they doing for me at this point?
  • economic/innovative/trade - I don't really need extra money
  • diplomatic/influence - there seems to be a shortage of countries to do diplomacy with, and I stopped caring about AE long time ago
  • maritime - that's some serious joke idea group

I ended up delaying that decision for now. I thought I might go quality for a change, but sword mana is really useful for boosting absolutism, so I'll need it for now. Maybe trade or innovative just for flavor? None of the choices will matter much.

I took over mandate of China in June 1611. That removed my legitimacy and introduced meritocracy instead. Well, no more legitimacy reduction tricks for easy absolutism, but I still paid 300 sword mana to increase my mandate by 30 and absolutism to 27, for 20.9% efficiency - compared with 20% pre-Mandate-of-Heaven system I'd have.

As soon as I cored Ming's lands, I attacked their tributary Anxi, and white peaced them to reset truce timer from 15 to 5 years.

I was getting not just 6 mandate/year, but also tons of events, so I managed to pass first reform in June 1612, admittedly at cost of a lot of money and mana.

I got second reform passed in January 1616.

I got my absolutism to 61 (max sadly only 79, would be 80 if I got 100% religious unity), at which point I need to intentionally trigger a crisis to increase the max by 20.

Now the truce with Ming expired, so I'm going to unify the rest of China.

Ming somehow lost all their tributaries (no idea how) and have +10 unrest from "Mandate of Heaven Lost" (new in 1.21).

World conquest progress:

  • own: 9664 ⇒ 10417
  • vassal: 3941 ⇒ 3833
  • colony: 1192 ⇒ 1276
  • tributary state: 3852 ⇒ 3980
  • foreigners: 5036 ⇒ 4558
  • uncolonized: 896 ⇒ 770

There are 12 foreign independent countries now, 4 Ming's tributaries became independent, otherwise we'd be pretty close to everybody being a great power.

Deccan's War Plan was to take Australia, and then something?
I made sure they lose colonies so this silliness won't happen again

 My War Plan was a bit more straightforward
I plan to remove their coastline over next few wars for my convenience

Korea is gone but a lot of Koreans live in deep Siberia
Other than that Asia is getting unified under rule of God-Empress

Thursday, May 4, 2017

God Empress of Prussia: Part 20: 1599-1610: Age of Absolutism

Global Trade spawned in Aberdeenshire, in North Sea node, which is 17th richest trade node. Wasn't it supposed to always spawn in top trade node? Then again, CK2 converter overrides instutitution files.

I only achieved 4/7 age of reformation goals, and got 10/11 bonuses - but that included all the good ones, and even some worthless ones, so not exactly complaining.

I captured Kyoto and got some event, that said something about daimyos becoming independent, but Japan kept its one vassal.

I accepted Greeks and 2 Chinese cultures, just to avoid silly "Empreror of China in name only" disaster.

In October 1603 Byzantium got "internal conflicts", a "decade of utter chaos", but I ended it in August 1604 by full annexation.

Fighting Aztecs I got into huge naval battle with 17 heavies on each side, which I somehow won. I messed up that war, with all troops going South, and very few North, and Aztecs attacked Northern armies and actually beat them.

It seems like Aztecs deleted a lot of forts this time before upgrading to next level, so once my Southern armies broke through it was quite easy.

After that I just waited a bit, as it was absolutely essential that I'd start new era while at peace. I even let Ming truce lapse for 2 months.

Well, and here was the idea: go to max absolutism (90 in my case asap). Sadly what I could do was quite underwhelming, I could only decrease autonomy in a few provinces for +10 absolutism, and do one harsh treatment for +1, at cost of 90 sword mana, which is not exactly amazing exchange rate.

Actually, I had a sweet idea. Whenever I load the game every vassal offers me royal marriage, which reduces legitimacy, so I can spend 100 sword mana to strengthen government for +2 absolutism. Well, 21 is a decent level to get week one. All that gave me 8.5% admin efficiency, on top of 10% from technology.

I got to 100% mercantilism. I had so much money, I just paid for manufactories in every possible province in my tributaries - good chunk of their trade leaks to me, so it's not completely crazy.

World conquest progress:

  • own: 9138 ⇒ 9664
  • vassal: 4016 ⇒ 3941
  • colony: 974 ⇒ 1192
  • tributary state: 3632 ⇒ 3852
  • foreigners: 5291 ⇒ 5036
  • uncolonized: 1031 ⇒ 896

There's 11 independent foreign countries left.

I start with 3 age goals fulfilled:

  • 3+ trade companies
  • 5+ universities
  • 200+ force limit
Three more will be in progress:
  • be emperor of China
  • have 90+ absolutism (I suspect getting China will reduce my max to 80 as +10 of my max is from legitimacy which I'll lose, so it might be impossible without shenanigans)
  • have 5+ accepted cultures (I have only 4, I'd need new states to get another)

I think this event does nothing if Japan is already united, but thanks for free mana

The only way to save them from their internal conflicts was full annexation

Aztec borders pushed a bit so many times, still very far from their core territory

God Empress of Prussia: Part 19: 1589-1599: New Patch New Wars

I updated the game to 1.21.1. That was rather messy - and there were 5 holes in the map for new provinces. One thing that would have mattered a lot that was too late to fix now was that in 1.21 trade company provinces do not spread institutions. That would have given me massive technology advantage. Well, too late now.

Deccan-Rajastan alliance I broke once happened again. I'm not sure why they won't simply rival echo other - they seem like natural enemies, each controlling half of India.

During my next Ming was I pondered getting mandate from them, but I let them keep it once more, as connecting my holdings in Mongolia, Korea, and South Chinese coast seemed more important, and these provinces took some crazy warscore to get.

Ming annoyingly managed to upgrade their forts to next level. Ming also managed to get defensive ideas, some discipline from national ideas, and +20% morale from some event that it could actually fight way better than during our previous war.

I took less than 200% OE, but there was still ridiculous rebellion on the way. Turns out that even unrest as low as 0.4%, multiplied by province count, makes million strong particularist and peasant revolts inevitable.

You don't normally see it, as you take religious (or humanist), and that brings tolerance high enough not to matter. However, I have neither, and Confucian zero Harmony (what you get for harmonizing nonstop) gives -3 tolerance of true faith, so my max reasonable OE is a good deal lower than a more "normal" country would have.

I gave nobility some land to get a lot of sword mana, used that to increase my legitimacy, just to increase tolerance of true faith slightly and get rid of that 0.4% unrest, which would cost me like 500k dead mercs. #MercLivesMatter. Just kidding, if I need to burn through millions of mercs, so be it.

With such tactics and some serious use of increase autonomy button I managed to limit rebellions to just China and Japan region. The button becomes basically banned starting next era, as it reduces absolutism, so I might just as well do it now.

Actually now that I think about it, maybe corruption button is the right way to reduce unrest in an emergency. -2% unrest for +10% mana costs is pretty expensive, but it would just be a temporary measure.

I had free time, so I attacked Deccan and Rajastan, but let them both get away with half the warscore - some Central Asian border cleanup.

World conquest progress:

  • own: 8125 ⇒ 9138
  • vassal: 4353 ⇒ 4016
  • colony: 896 ⇒ 974
  • tributary state: 3532 ⇒ 3632
  • foreigners: 5822 ⇒ 5291
  • uncolonized: 1125 ⇒ 1031

Amazingly there are only 14 foreign independent countries left. Soon everybody will be a Great Power, even OPMs.

 So many forts, and they did fairly little
At the end of the war Ming lost all their coastline
Next war will be end of their empire status

It must really suck to be a foreign ruler
You can also see some uncolonized gaps in Europe due to new provinces in 1.21

Monday, May 1, 2017

God Empress of Prussia: Part 18: 1582-1589: Attempted Burger Coup

Aztec's attempt to get Ming's mandate failed by ticking warscore, and had to pay reparations, but they first took advantage of silly bug in current patch and separate peaced Ming's Alaska CN for some land.

I've been threatened by a plutocratic coup, so I actively tried to reduce my trade income - I slowed it down by bringing it from just over 50% (+10% burgers influence) to just under 50% (+5% burgers influence). I wondered if I could reduce it under 25% (-5% burgers influence), but the only way to do so would require moving my trade capital to a silly place - even diverting every flow away from the English Channel, I just couldn't make it work. That's how overpowered end nodes are.

Fortunately estate events happen on an strict and predictable timer, so I had one shot at avoiding the disaster last minute. And if not, it would only cost me 200 bird mana and something like 3k gold to avoid.

Once that got resolved, losing me a good amount of money, I attacked Korea and their buddies Oirat. Then I attacked Japan - who went for advanced strats and gave away wargoal to Shoni mid-war, so I wouldn't have ticking warscore.

Instead of continuously shuffling my 40 heavy fleet between Asia and Caribbean, and never having them on time where I needed them, I just split them, so I have freedom of naval movement on both theaters without necessarily going for total naval dominance. A lot of them got sunk fighting Japan, but that's just how heavies are - low construction price, high upkeep, and very expendable.

After that I had to deal with the Aztecs, and it was just as awkward as before. I got their periphery - rest of their backwards march Muisca for Venezuela, half of their lands in New Prussia, and their newly colonized lands in Brazil - 3 finished for my CN, 2 unfinished abandoned on peacing out.

After that I politely asked Rajastan for a low development border province so I have nice coastal border with Deccan, just in case.

World conquest progress:

  • own: 7125 ⇒ 8125
  • vassal: 4899 ⇒ 4353
  • colony: 710 ⇒ 896
  • tributary state: 3408 ⇒ 3532
  • foreigners: 6337 ⇒ 5822
  • uncolonized: 1211 ⇒ 1125

Whole Japanese army was on this tiny island, so it was one battle war
A lot more fighting happened on the sea, I lost 10 of 20 heavies, and captured 1
At least I won't have to pay for ships they sunk

 I feel like I've done this a few times by now
And I'll probably do it a few more times - I'm only taking peripheral regions
Aztecs had 30k in Brazil, everybody else in South Mexico

I thought they'd smash besieging stacks in bad terrain, but they only tried this once
Mostly they divided their armies and got smashed themselves
It doesn't help they had tech 13 to my 15

 This time going for 100%
Very hard to maneuver due to overlapping ZoCs with no clear rules
Aztecs managed to defeat quite a few of my small stacks, but big ones were safe

 Ming realizes just how useless their troops are, and throwing them out to eat attrition 

Decent chunk of land in Korea and Japan