- My old raspberry Pi (model B+, not 2 B) was not compatible with the kit, so I had to get new one
- SD card I used for old Pi was of the big kind, so I had to take small one out of my phone instead
- I needed to install confusingly named ruby1.9.1-dev apt package (which actually contains 1.9.3) before any gems would install.
- And my voltmeter seems dead, it's probably just batteries, but it uses 9V batteries which I don't have spares for so I won't be able to check that until tomorrow.
- Why do resistors have to use this ridiculous color coding system instead of just printing damn values as numbers? I get it that back in the 1950s printing numbers would be hard, but come on. Figuring out which resistor is which was pain, and I didn't have voltmeter to test them. (I never learned this damn color coding, as it was way easier to just check them with a meter).
- It took a few tries to figure out which pin numbering system Pi Piper uses - apparently the same one as is printed on Sunfounder expansion board. That will make it a lot easier.
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Friday, April 17, 2015
Monday, April 13, 2015
It was time to get a new laptop, and I ended up getting myself a Macbook Pro, surprising nobody. It was somewhat closer than usual this time, so I thought I'd write about it.
Operating systemThe choice was between OSX and Linux, the idea of using Windows or Chrome OS for primary machine being totally insane. I don't care all that much for Windows dual boot - it certainly wouldn't hurt to have such option for some gaming or cross-platform testing, but I have dedicated gaming machine, VMs are more convenient for testing anyway, and if I really needed some on the road gaming there's a bunch of decent cross platform games.
A few years ago I had very strong preference for OSX, mostly due to TextMate being the only text editor that didn't suck horribly, but a lot of editors incorporated TextMate's design lessons, and Sublime Text works pretty much the same on all operating system, disregarding a few annoying shortcut differences, so at least that's no longer a problem.
There's a few other programs that work better on one operating system or the other, but none of them are as important as text editor, and the advantage is not consistently same way.
All this makes Linux laptops viable, but all things being equal I'd still prefer Macbook Pro, as I can install Linux on MBP, but I can't install OSX on a Linux laptop, and for long term purchase like a laptop option to change my mind later is quite valuable.
Another thing is that most Linux laptops would really be Windows laptops I'd need to reformat and put Linux there myself. This runs into risk of hardware compatibility issues - probably nothing major these days, but minor things like power saving features, graphic card switching, or touchpad multitouch might not quite work on a different operating system.
On top of that all, while I have written guides for setting up OSX 10.10 and Windows 7 to my liking, getting stock Ubuntu to the point where everything works the way I'd like would probably take quite some time.
HardwareEven if I was getting Linux laptop, there was still the matter of hardware.
A couple years back, there was pretty much no alternative to Apple where it came to high end laptops. Most other companies' idea of high end somehow still included low resolution screens, mechanical disks, it was just a total embarrassment.
It got a bit better, but not by much. It's now possible to get a non-Apple laptop that has reasonable spec, even if I have no idea how good any of that is in practice. And of course any such laptop ends up costing about as much as Macbook Pro.
One thing where Apple really dropped the ball is insisting on integrated graphic cards even on its high end models, while pretty much every non-Apple high-end laptop gets a dedicated GPU. That's definitely a major downside. A smaller downside is that Apple hardware tends to have too few ports, and all the extra cabling to work around it is awkward.
And so I got myself a Macbook Pro again. For now it's running OSX. I'm not sure if I want to install any additional operating systems there - but given laptops' long lives that's fairly likely to happen at some point.
Tuesday, April 07, 2015
I often like to download stuff instead of using it in browser, and one of my favourite websites of all time - tumblr - has web interface atrocious enough that I mostly download stuff from it. Weirdly its Android app is OK.
Anyway, tumblr-sync gem I used for it didn't know how to deal with multiple images per post, and that's pretty common, so I fixed it.
Now normally I'd just pull request that and call it a day, but upstream doesn't seem to be active, so I might accidentally end up maintaining that.
If you have any requests for the gem (and upstream doesn't wake up), my repo is ready.
Monday, April 06, 2015
It's hard to discuss tests, as there's no agreement on what "X test" means for any value of X. In this post I'll use "unit test" to refer to low level test of various internal subcomponents, and "system test" to refer to high level and largely black box test of the whole system, or major part of it.
Once upon a time, before testing became widespread, I believed that unit testing greatly improves software quality. It was extremely obvious how awful the kind of code that had no unit tests usually was, and code with good unit test coverage was usually much more sensibly organized.
Many year later, once testing became the new orthodoxy, I started noticing something new - code that was reasonably covered by unit tests, but which internally was a total mess.
Was I wrong all along? Was it simply that early adopters of such practices as unit testing just write better code anyway, and nothing can help the mediocre masses? There's probably some amount of truth to that, but that's a really depressing thought, as it'd basically mean that unit testing is a pointless ritual, and we're doomed to suffer crappy code forever.
Then I understood.
Why do we bother unit testing?The obvious answer is that automated testing protects from bugs, but that's not really true. Testing follows the typical 80:20 pattern - 20% of tests can catch 80% of problems - so if you write a few system tests covering common cases, and then a handful of unit tests and regression tests to deal with parts of your codebase that need them the most, you're nearly as well covered as someone who unit tests absolutely everything, and you'll spend a fraction of time writing and maintaining your tests.
Adding more tests beyond that helps a little, but returns on effort are usually not impressive. If you don't believe me, check CI logs of just about any codebase for tests that always pass, or only fail as false positive, or only fail in groups of which you could pick one test and delete the rest.
What's worse, there are whole important categories of serious bugs - such as security vulnerabilities - which unit tests are very unlikely to discover.
So what is the point then? The most important one is that unit testing forces individual components to be able to work in isolation. If a component can only be used as part of the whole system, it's going to be horribly difficult to test, so you'll end up rewriting it in a way that disentangles it, and this process, iterated for every component, ends up improving structure of the code greatly.
And then someone invented mocking and broke everything.
Don't use mocks. Ever.Extensive mocking makes unit testing worse than pointless.
On one hand, you no longer need to care if something is hopelessly entangled with the rest of the system - you'll just stub, mock, and double all these connections, and you can write something that looks sort of like a real unit test, while your code is fragile spaghetti.
On the other hand - tests that mock a lot are just hilariously likely to pass or fail because the mock is necessarily different from the real thing, so they don't even test much, mostly only giving you false confidence.
What is even the point?
Mocks are C++ of testingI'm being unfair here. There are reasonable use cases for pretty much every mocking feature, and for most fancy testing framework features beyond basic test/unit style. People who came up with all that mostly had good reasons for them.
But the same can be said of C++. Pretty much every single feature added was there for a reason. It didn't matter - the end result of adding them all and using them indiscriminately was total disaster.
A tiny bit of mocking here and there when necessary probably won't hurt you, but it takes a lot of discipline to avoid this deteriorating from "tiny bit when necessary" into "well, I could test that properly, but mocking is easier, so I'll just write some fake tests" under pressure.
Donuts for mocksI thought about some easy guidelines for when mocks are excusable, but I can't really come with anything convincing, and I'm not terribly convinced by guidelines given by other people either.
So to avoid negativity, here's an untested idea - just like swear jars can discourage swearing without completely preventing it when really justified, why not put a similar fine on mocking?
If you're absolutely sure there's no other way, bribe your way out of the situation, and buy the whole team some donuts (or other appropriate sweets). If you don't, no mocks for you.
The next time you are tempted to mock it, ask yourself if it's worth a trip to Krispy Kreme.
I've been using beeminder for year and a half now, and I wrote about it previously many times.
A few things are extremely easy to quantify and beemind (canonical example is exercise - just use a stopwatch app on your phone), but such things are really an exception, and most of the things I wanted to change weren't easily quantifiable.
I tried a lot of approaches, all unsuccessfully - they generally took a lot of effort to track, and results were rather discouraging.
This year I tried something different - just a simple end-of-day checklist, number of ticks goes to a single beeminder task. Any major project, any "do this" or "don't do that" habit, they each get one box on the checklist.
And it's been working unreasonably well, compared with everything I tried previously, while taking much less tracking effort.
I keep my checklist and daily results in a text file (in a git repository etc.), but I can totally imagine that beeminder might one day add a checklist goal, where you can do all this online.
One difference between what I've been doing and what is the usual beeminder way is that any checklist adjustments (as it obviously won't stay the same forever) happen right away, not one week ahead. Technically you could use that to weasel out of approaching fail, but then you could redefine beer pong as exercise to avoid failing that, and it doesn't seem to be a serious problem.
So far I didn't bother giving different boxes different values - they're all worth 1 point, but that's a fairly straightforward extension of the system.
Or you could track percent of boxes ticked, which possibly makes more sense (and reduces potential weaseling) if checklist size keeps changing, but I didn't want another step in the process so I went for the straightforward option.
Monday, March 30, 2015
Welcome to another episode of adventures with 3D printing. Previously, I tried to make a chocolate bunny using small 3D printed mold, but I was too impatient to let chocolate set properly.
Well, first I printed larger bunny. Previous one was a 50% scale model.
You can see two problems here:
- There's some leftover chocolate stains from previous time - these are generally in gaps between printed layers (0.3mm/layer or whatever they are). Making layers smaller is possible, but I don't think it would help. I think maybe sandpaper to smooth it would be useful? Staining is more an eyesore than a serious issue. I'll think about it the next time.
- There are supporting rafts on bottom of each mold - they are not absolutely necessary, but they help 3D printed model stick during printing and then be removed from platform without damaging it. I'm sure I had precision knife somewhere, but I couldn't be bothered to look in my stacks of stuff, so I ordered first hit for "precision knife" on Amazon instead, and it just came, so let's go!
This is much more tedious than I expected. The blade is just way too small, and the whole thing is generally miserable. At least I remembered to do it safely. Here it is 2/3 done.
Fuck! Monty Python was right, bunnies are bloodthirsty bastards. I got distracted by making pictures, and when I got back to it, I had a brief safety lapse, resulting in extremely bloody cut on tip of my left index finger.
This wasn't particularly painful, but it's ridiculously difficult spot to bandage properly (especially doing it with just one hand), I went through 10 bandages before I got it right. That reminds me, TODO list: "buy more bandages".
Of course that did not stop me for more than a few minutes. Rafts got all removed by result is still ugly and uneven. I'll need to research better techniques for the future.
Chocolate filling both. The model has small studs and holes so both sides fit - for smaller scale version they're not really good enough so I used some rubber band too (as before). Another problem was that small one wouldn't stand on its own now (it was using raft for support previous time), so it leans against big one.
And it's now in the fridge. Just in case anybody wonders what kind of stuff I tend to keep there - it's all totally reasonable - cheese, fruit, tea, yoghurt, 3D printed chocolate bunnies, just the usual. By the way, I so wish I had American style double door fridge, it's all so small.
This time I just left it there for half a day. OK, it's definitely not molten. There's some overflow on the top because chocolate is hard to pour exactly, and some more on the bottom - I guess something to press two parts of the mold together more strongly wouldn't be a bad idea.
Using kitchen knife as level between two parts of the mold worked wonders to get one of them off cleanly. Also removing some overflow bits.
And I have no idea how to get it out of the mold without breaking it. Well, other than remelting the chocolate, that would kinda work.
Should I have greased the mold before doing anything?
I'll probably just break it out the messy way and devour the bunny.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Varangian Republic: Part 00: Introduction
In years of chaos after defeat under Manzikert, Alexios I Komnenos, Emperor of the Romans, sent appeals for help in stopping the Turkish menace to anybody who might possibly answer. Help came from many directions - Pope Urban II and many Christian knights answered, liberating many important cities like Nicaea and Antioch, but their Crusade failed to take Jerusalem.
To Emperor's astonishment, second wave of help came from unexpected direction. Descendants of generations of former Varangian Guard warriors, most only nominally baptized and still following the Old Gods in private, rushed from the North and took Holy Lands, holding them as vassals to the Emperor.
Over following centuries, they resisted countless waves of attacks by Turks and Arabs, and even acquired some minor Mediterranean islands where they established trade ports and forts. Unfortunately they were never numerous enough to push into lands held by the Turks, and ultimately they failed to save the Empire.
As often happens with small ruling groups, they gradually became assimilated into surrounding Greek culture, and as defenders of Holy Lands - as well as of the Orthodox Emperor for a time - they all accepted Christianity. It wasn't quite like Christianity of the Greeks and the Latins. Former Norse Gods got reinterpreted as Christian patron saints, and pagan rituals received sometimes just token Christian cover. It did not make the Patriarchs happy, but Emperors had better sense than risking civil war for purity of the faith like in a famous debacle many centuries before. With Emperors gone there was nobody to tell them their ways were wrong.
Varangians were ruled by series of doges, first as military commanders nominated by the Emperor, and after fall of the Empire elected from among their ruling noble houses. Without Empire to defend and with divided Turks attacking less often, they increasingly turned towards trade, but their military tradition never died out.
And if even one small butterfly can change the course of history, even more so a wave of Norse warriors - and so the world is very different in many ways. How will this history continue? We'll see in future episodes.
Technical notes: a bunch of things modded - Norse moved to Christian group, with patron gods but nothing else (the game is not too happy about one religion having two or more mechanics). I made royal marriages available to everyone - even if the Pope can't marry, his nephews and nieces can, and republics of the era were all ruled by high nobility even if not king level nobility. And most fun of all, all canals autobuild on one click (so Suez and Kiel get them month one, and Panama as soon as it's colonized).
Western tech, with capital in Asia (Jerusalem).
• tradition: +1% annual army/navy tradition - it's Varangian guard
• 1: tech cost - 10% - Roman Empire was way ahead of time, especially with a bit more Turk-free time
• 2: manpower +15% - everyone takes arms if need be
• 3: colonist 1 - if we colonized all the places from Novgorod to Normandy to Sicily and Holy lands, we might as well continue
• 4: light ship cost -20% - legacy of viking shipbuilding
• 5: local autonomy -0.10 - if Roman Empire was good at anything, it was administering acquired territory
• 6: monthly WE reduction -0.10 - it's not like Norse warriors ever got tired of wars if it came to it
• 7: tolerance for true faith +2 - as defenders of holy lands
• finisher: global settler increase +20 - with so little land available, there's plenty of volunteers to go to new lands
Nation designer thinks it's a fairly easy start, but being unique religion is a huge downside, and it's a potentially dangerous starting area with dubious location on trade network.
Goals for the campaign:
• survive in hostile environment
• have fun with El Dorado content
• restore the fallen Roman Empire, as Norse Roman Merchant Republic
• get all the shekels, some CNs, some Indian spices, some African gold and so on
• grab every place that could plausibly count as a holy site, Orthodox, Norse, Catholic, or otherwise
• convert all Greeks and Scandinavians to our better version of Norse Orthodoxy
• dominate over trade in every trade node, every center of trade, and every estuary in Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa (or something reasonably close to it)
To reduce mental overhead I use original province values and dynamic tags (currently a bit bugged in that their flag colors reset to white except for emblems, if any).
Varangian Republic: Part 01: 1444-1451
The first order of business is using my short tenure as a doge to find good spouses for all my nieces and nephews - hopefully with some alliances as well.
I got a bunch of weak allies - mostly defensive and unreliable, but it's better than nothing, and it was just in time as Ar-Raqqah horde attacked, with Tabuk joining the war halfway through.
I managed to heroically stalemale the war and have them satisfied with just me conceding defeat, costing me huge piles of money and manpower, and generally being fairly miserable experience.
Well, time to expand a bit. First target - Suez canal. Gharbeyya had 2 useless allies and was involved in 2 wars already. Not one of my 5 allies even seriously considered helping me - 4 had defensive attitude, and Trebizond was friendly but thought it's just too damn far. Oh well.
The war was not going too amazingly. Gharbeyya's armies were defeated, but manpower reserves were at 0 and the country had to take some loans from the Jews. That was enough for doge to lose elections, and next doge signed peace treaty taking control over 3 provinces and some reparations.
Afterwards I got to admin and military tech 4, got exploration ideas (huge surprise, huh?), and just waited for things to get better.
Ar-Raqqah is allied with nearly everyone in the region, and even if I explored some coastline I doubt very much it would be in range of any colonists, so maybe exploration was a bit premature.
My allies, now somewhat numerous, are totally worthless. I have no idea what they changed that makes them all defensive. It happened before, but not every one of them. Is it religious differences?
Annoyingly there are 0 other merchant republics in the random start (in some random tests in 1.10.1 patch there were always some), so I have no long distant CBs on anyone - and I can't fabricate any trade conflicts. Situation is still very far from stabilized.
Maybe I should try going to Greece (I have Malta, Crete, Rhones, and Cyprus for claim fabrication) instead of Egypt? I have decent fleets, but nothing amazing.
Varangian Republic: Part 02: 1451-1457
Two Ar-Raqqah allies - Tabuk and Taima - started a war, creating a fun opening for me.
Unfortunately at the same time Bari attacked my OPM ally Palermo. It was pretty hopeless, with 16k on our side vs 70k on theirs - even with ships it was pretty dubious 19 lights/galleys on our side vs 4 heavies and 29 lights/galleys on theirs - fortunately half of them on Baltic.
So I gained a bit of prestige on naval battles, but other than that gave up on Palermo as impossible to defend.
The war against Tabuk and Tarrana was going pretty well. And of course I got more defensive calls - from Qusayr attacked by Iskandariyya, and from Hafar Al-Batin attacked by Grane. A agreed to both, but game somehow ignored one of them and did not get me into war against Iskanariyya.
Palermo got annexed by Bari, fortunately my war ended with a victory, with Tarrana becoming my vassal, and Tabuk losing 3 provinces.
Naxos accepted vassalage peacefully, and my two vassals are now reasonably happy but if I started feeding them provinces it might go bad.
Overall, my allies are doing really poorly:
• Palermo got annexed
• Qusayr lost 3/7 provinces to Iskandariyya
• Hafir Al-Batin lost 2/12 provinces to Grane
• Naxos became my vassal
• Trebizond and Bessarabia are still doing OK, but got nothing so far
I'm on the other hand doing fairly well, all things considered.
My manpower situation is still fairly bleak, but at least I'm making some money now. None of my allies are of any use, and Ar-Raqqah horde is still a horrible danger. Even if we miraculously recovered all manpower, they'd still outnumber us by 2:1, and actual ratios are a lot worse than that.
The most annoying thing is that I can't explore manually (WTF patch?), and I have zero choices for exploration missions, apparently you need to be Portugal or Castile to colonize anything early.
Varangian Republic: Part 03: 1457: Modding interlude
It felt ridiculous that Crete is "distant overseas", so I increased the minimum from 150 to 400. That also includes Malta in my non-overseas range - I'm not sure how far it *should* go, but about half of Mediterranean feels about right.
By the way, I really like the flag I made for Varangian Republic - black imperial two-headed eagle on Byzantine purple background, with red and white Nordic style cross (red cross inside white cross is what Iceland uses, but it mostly just looked coolest). It would totally win Byzantine/Nordic fusion heraldry contest if there ever was one, disregarding of course the minor inconvenience that timeframes of all that don't match. If you want to learn more, check out Sheldon Cooper's "Fun with Flags" series on youtube, it's really fascinating.
By the way I wondered why the fuck are all my allies defensive, a problem I did not have in any of previous campaigns. I found the answer:
• allies are far more likely to be defensive if trust is negative, even minimally
• everybody starts at slightly positive trust with everybody else of same religion, and slightly negative trust with everybody of different religion
• so starting as unique religion is going to screw you
• Varangian Republic starts with -15 with everyone
• It seems to be slowly converging towards zero, it's -9 now. Not sure how fast, that's one point per 2 years, but it's integer not a float. Does it happen over time, because I answered calls to arms, or for some other reason?
• It's barely positive with Bessarabia, Hafar al-Batin, Qusayr, Trebizord (all +5), Tarrana (+3), and almost positive with Naxos (-2).
• It's below -9 with a lot of countries, mostly those I was at war with, but some I'm not sure why. It's entirely possibly they were some distant vassal of someone I was at war with at some point.
• Does it mean that in 20 more years (if 0.5 decay/year to zero theory is true), or 6 more answered calls to war (if +2/answer theory is true), I'll get to positive theory with most countries on the map?
• The whole mechanic either needs to be made transparent or removed from the game completely. As it stands, it's just bullshit.
• As far as I can tell, I can't mod anything that changes trust levels, or effect of trust on most diplomatic relations. The only modding sliders I have are trust's effect on liberty desire and on AI "friendly" attitude. Everything else is hardcoded.
• I could reset it to 0 for everyone in save game. That's not something I particularly want to do right now, as it is becoming less of a problem as time goes, and I'd still like to understand how it all works. The next time I start a campaign I might do this mass reset at start of the game.
Varangian Republic: Part 04: 1457-1463
Hafir Al-Batin called me into another silly war, nobles revolted in Rhodes, usual stuff.
Time for war against Athens. Now that was one war when Bessarabia would actually join - if it wasn't for bugged "would be called into multiple wars" -1000 penalty.
And mid-war Berber attacked Qusayr... Seriously, WTF is with so many ridiculous wars? Is it the patch, or something wrong with random setup?
War against Athens went pretty well, with 4 Greek provinces coming back under protection of the republic. It definitely helped that Athens was at war with a few other countries as well - but these days everybody is at war with everybody else apparently.
I tried to have a short break, get a few new allies (as Al-Raqqah forced Trebizond to break our alliance) and recover a bit, but that failed miserably as Grane attacked Hafar Al-Batin again...
Assuming I ever catch a break, my expansion possibilities in Middle East are shit:
• Taima - lost most to Hafar Al-Batin, what's left over got vassalized by Ar-Raqqah
• Gharbeyya - got annexed by Iskandariyya
• Iskandariyya - allied with both Ar-Raqqah and Fez
• Bangazi - vassal of Fez
• Qusayr - my ally, also allied with Muniyo in case I get stupid ideas
• Hafar Al-Batin - my ally, also allied with Muniyo in case I get stupid ideas
So basically by plans are keep beating Athens (and sometime later annex Naxos), or to attack Bari for Sicily, blockade straits, sit on ticking warscore while ignoring their army, possibly release Palermo as vassal there.
Thanks to allied to rival penalty it's unlikely Ar-Raqqah and me will ever find ourselves on same side of any war. That's a good change I guess, it was a bit of an exploit.
I wonder if this will ever stabilize or if I should expect a permanent war of everyone against everyone. A lot of DoWs I see are totally suicidal.
At least I got Theologian, so I passed reforms for +2% missionary strength at cost of -1 unrest, so I have some hope for converting things.
Varangian Republic: Part 05: 1463-1468
The difference between my playstyle and how most people play is that they reason:
• I want to expand in Egypt, but it's too hard, I guess I'll just wait forever
• I want to expand in Egypt, but it's too hard, attack anyway! WTF why did I lose this?
While my reasoning is more along the lines of:
• I want to expand in Egypt, but it's too hard, oh Albania is undefended.
By the way, why the hell is there basically 0 tradition for winning battles these days? They even nerfed prestige and warscore.
Anyway, I attacked Kosovo opportunistically, only to get hit by 16k Aristocratic revolt in my capital. And 21k from that war where I was defending Hafar Al-Batin invaded my territory (WTF is Muniyo - that massive blob occupying half of known Africa - doing?). And Bari attacked me. Fuck.
And then in the middle of war Lombardia decided to join Bari's offensive war. I just hate this. 60 day timeout, exploitable as it was, prevented a lot of bullshit.
The best I could do was white peace against Bari. I could take them alone, but with Lombardy also in the war... I barely defeated their fleets, with massive losses and was already deep in debt to just get mercs and replacement ships.
40k enemy troops was ravaging my homeland, showing me that maybe "ally everyone, in the worst case I'll just concede defeat early" strategy maybe is not optimal. My force limit was just 18k, even if I could transport them all at once without getting ambushed somehow.
I got Naxos two insignificant provinces out of war with Kosovo - sadly the gold mine were in their capital.
That left me with one more war - I was seriously considering giving them war reparations and a big stash of money, but they wouldn't take it (or anything else, "Suggest Demands" button greyed out and I was not cobeligerent so it's not like they could reasonably take my land anyway).
Fuck it, I'm going to lose this war hard, so I might as well win something for a change. And since my armies were already in Greece how about I vassalize Athens?
Oh by the way "Dishonored Call" CB I had against Hafar al-Batin expired while I was still getting screwed during their war...
Finally Grane decided to send their terms - 98 ducats and war reparations. Just lovely. How about no?
Well, 12k Orthodox zealots appeared out of nowhere in Corfu. How the fuck do they have 2/3 of my force limit?
Well, I got Athens as a vassal, even if disloyal one. Fine, I'll give you bastards that money and reparations - having half my country occupied and high war exhaustion is costing me a ton anyway.
So on one hand, the country is currently pretty screwed - and with no real protection if Ar-Raqqah decided to attack. On the other hand, I got half of Greece, and that's something.
Athens is disloyal, but that's mostly due to their opinion of me, relative strength is just at +38.6%. My two other vassals are reasonably satisfied, and I plan to annex Naxos - Tarrana is just worthless, and Athens can be turned around with some time and diplomacy.
I have no idea why the campaign is so damn vicious this time. There are 17 wars ongoing, none of them even involving me. Normally I'd expect less than half that much.
Varangian Republic: Part 06: 1468-1476
Order of business is integrating Naxos, turning Athens into a loyal vassal, increasing religious unity, repaying loans to the Jews (why can't we take loans then expel the Jews like our Medieval ancestors did?), rebuilding our fleet and manpower reserve, and avoiding all wars and rebellions if only possible. The republic is seriously overextended.
I'm even quick a bit behind on tech, with bird mana getting wasted on exploration ideas I can't use, and sword mana being wasted on suppressing rebels. At least I'm OK with paper mana. Even with colonial range, I hoped I'd have some opportunities to expand towards Gulf of Aden or towards Strait of Gibraltar my now, but it turned out not to be so. Greece is OK too I guess. Paper mana is plentiful - mostly due to national focus I set at start of the game to get to admin 4 quickly for exploration ideas, and to build all the trade posts and do all the coring (as vassals got nerfed)... Yeah, that was not the best idea retrospectively.
I managed to survive 3 years without anybody declaring war on me, integrating Naxos and repaying the Jewgold. The war between Grane and Hafar al-Batin showed no signs of getting resolved, so I decided to fabricate some claims and join the other side. Of course as soon as I did it, Iskandariyya attacked me.
It was so much fun waging two wars against two completely broken countries with no allies for a change.
Of course that didn't last long - Hafar al-Batin somehow became vassal of Grane, pulling the into the war. That at least had decency to get rid of war reparations. Of course Grane pulled a bunch of friends into the war as well.
I got Grane to white peace, which counts as sort of win, as the whole thing got rid of war reparations.
Then I attacked helpless Kosovo, taking all of their provinces except their capital. Their allies Peremyshl joined the war, so I couldn't get to 100% without going there or waiting longer, but I don't mind getting some cash instead.
It's impressive how quickly the republic got out of deep shit it got itself into after war with Grane. It's stable, with loyal vassals, as big fleet as it could have, it's 6th country by income of knows countries - with potential to get even further once Iskandariyya gets crushed completely (it was forced to break its all alliances by peace terms).
Out of its 5 allies 3 even trust it enough to be friendly... of course they still won't join any wars as they're all in deep debt, but one problem at a time.
A question to consider for 1479 is next idea group - trade and expansion will happen eventually, but not just yet - lack of bird mana and colonial range right now make them pretty dubious. Plutocratic and humanist are the most obvious choices. Religious would be reasonable as well, but being squeezed between Muslim blobs from all sides makes its CBs not that useful right now, and as long as I have inquisitor conversions are going OK.
I'm not sure where to expand next once I clean up Alexandria and Kosovo's gold mine capital (assuming they don't get taken over first). It's blobs in all directions, and everybody who's not a blob is protected by one of these (every one with ton of allies):
• Ar-Raqqah / Taima
• Ermland / Vidin - my allies
• Grane / Hafir al-Batin
Kayseri is allied with only Fez, but Fez alone is like 3x my army, 2x my navy etc. No rush, we'll get to it when time comes.
Varangian Republic: Part 07: 1476-1484
How is it that my allies continue to suffer horrible fate in spite of me responding to all calls to arms?
• Palermo got annexed by Bari (I failed to defend them)
• Qusayr lost some 3 provinces to Iskandariyya (call to arms glitched out, I gave them back 1 core)
• Hafir Al-Batin lost provinces to Grane and got vassalized by them (I failed to defend them)
• Naxos got diplovassalized and then annexed
• Trebizond got annexed (didn't even call me)
• Crimea got vassalized by Turov (didn't even call me)
Bessarabia, Teuk Khmao, Venezia, and Ermland did not suffer yet, but given this track record they should probably buy some insurance.
I'm not entirely sure why I gave Qusayr back their core - they had it occupied so I couldn't give it to my vassal Tarrana, but then I could have simply waited for the next war instead.
I got guilds in power, set Snotra as patron saint of the republic, for 20% discount on building cost - 4 buildings a year doesn't look like much on a map, but it really counts.
Anyway, I upgraded game to 1.11.1, so now everybody finally has flags. With higher diplo tech I finally have sensible colonization range - and exploration mission glitched (as far as I can tell), getting stuck on one tile. Really annoying, I disbanded them and gave myself 50 dip and 60 gold lost back via console, hopefully won't happen again... And it happened the second time almost immediately. WTF?
Well, Fun and Balance needs upgrade from 1.11.0 and 1.11.1, that's WTF is going on. Damn, I even looked there and didn't notice extra setting.
Well, I also had regular conquistador trying to explore, with military access to various East African minors - and as soon as I declared war on Kosovo it got exiles. I sometimes fucking hate this game for bullshit like this.
Anyway, Bari got itself into a series of wars - including against Lombardia - so now it was time to strike. Together with its allies it had only 51k troops, versus 28k on my side. More seriously, I had 24 warships vs their side's 14, and ticking warscore on Sicily war the real plan.
Naval part of the war was easy enough, on land it was a bit too close and with losses a bit too high, but I succeeded - getting Sicily (I told you Palermo I'm your best buddy and I'll come rescue you, no need to point out it took a while longer than expected), Ragusa for Athens, and a bit of historical Western Greek coastline for myself, with some spots to put my trade nodes in Genoa and Venice trade nodes - still fairly useless as I only have 3 merchants out of 9 nodes I have some level of interest in.
The best news however is not this small bit of European conflict - it's that with advisor I'm finally in range of Madagascar - the place with the most vicious natives on the planet, so I'm sending a stack of 6k infantry and 2k cavalry with general there just to make sure.
I feel reasonably secure now. If my army didn't have massive manpower hole in it after Bari war, and didn't have to send 1/3 of it to Madagascar I could probably defend my territory against any of Muslim blobs, well any one, two or more would probably still screw me. As for attacks from the North, my fleet is fairly strong as well.
Varangian Republic: Part 08: 1484-1490
I took it really slowly, doing basically nothing except manage rebels and colonists while my truce with Bari lasted. Bari got itself into very poor alliance situation - with only Barcelona (+ The Baleares), Provence, and distant to point of irrelevance Rethel willing to join them. That's 46k troops and 38 light warships on my side vs 40k troops, 2 heavy and 29 light warships on theirs.
The balance got a lot better really quickly as I could ambush part of their fleets and their armies on day one of the war. Of course without ships, Bari's allies weren't all that enthusiastic about long distance swimming.
Sadly because new province transfer rules won't even let me transfer war goal to my vassal over sea adjacency (only land adjacency), I could take literally one province from Bari, plus some spare change. Hopefully Rome next time. North of Italy is sadly where HRE starts, and I'd rather avoid that until reformation hits them and they start murdering each other.
Time to turn towards East Africa - Hafar al-Batin got revassalized from Grane to Chabahar, somehow. That's a shame, as I wanted to take Mecca, but I still can't do that without involving Ar-Raqqah into this.
Next option is Muniyo - they might be a really huge blog, but Coptic OPM, with Muslim tech, is currently beating them in a holy war, and they are generally miserable. Their only ally is Qusayr, who also happens to be my ally, and Ar-Raqqah's (as well as a few other countries') - basically they're covered on all sides.
So the best idea is to attack Muniyo for a bit of coastland, and force Qusayr to break all dangerous alliances, so I can safely vassalize them next war.
Varangian Republic: Part 09: 1490-1498
War against Muniyo and Qusayr went smoothly - Qusayr was forced to break all their existing alliances (of course they established new ones right away), and Muniyo gave me one coastal province.
In next war I got myself Kilwa and Afgooye as vassals - both meant to be expanded by a lot, but not just yet as 30k peasant army - larger than all but 4 countries - just rebelled.
With 4 vassals and 5th about to join - all of them hopefully expandable, it was time to annex Athens early, even though there were still 2 cores they had out there.
Well, war against Qusayr was no big deal, but 40k rebel army now... It feels like such bullshit.
Anyway, I avoided any "real" wars as my manpower is in deep deficit, I'm still trying to save gold for embassy (but then end up spending it all anyway somehow) so I'd rather avoid using mercs.
For expansion plans, minor fights along East African coast could slowly move towards establishing connection from Jerusalem to Cape - sadly there's no way to get all of African coast. The only real reason to fight in Europe would be getting some power projection - it's much harder to get than it used to be.
I'd like to grab Rome and Mecca while I'm on my way - they're not too heavily defended.
I'll probably establish some CNs in South America sooner or later - right now it seems nobody colonized anything, which is a bit weird.
Varangian Republic: Part 10: 1498: War statistics interlude
I wrote some scripts to analyze game history, and indeed the game starts with total bloodbath, and things stabilize later (wars counted as taking full years, even if fighting started or stopped mid-year, for decades it's averages by year):
• 1444 - 5
• 1445 - 13
• 1446 - 28
• 1447 - 40 - peak wars
• 1448 - 35
• 1449 - 38
• 1450s - 29.2
• 1460s - 26.8
• 1470s - 25.3
• 1480s - 24.3
• 1490s - 20.6
So far lowest is 16 wars during each of 1495 and 1496.
That answers my first question - yes, the game starts really vicious with countries blobbing out by eating OPMs but it stabilizes with time.
The second question is if dynamic start is very different from vanilla. I took my Novgorod campaign (1444-1680) for comparison.
• 1444 - 5
• 1445 - 18
• 1446 - 27
• 1447 - 29
• 1448 - 29
• 1449 - 30 - peak wars, down to 20 next year and never reaches numbers like that afterwards
• 1450s - 14.6 - went down really fast
• 1460s - 10.8
• 1470s - 10.3
• 1480s - 10.4
• 1490s - 10.0
• 1500s - 12.6
• 1510s - 8.5
• 1520s - 8.3
• 1530s - 7.5
• 1540s - 9.3
• 1550s - 9.4
• 1560s - 6.2 - no idea why it had low point here and high point a bit soon afterwards
• 1570s - 10.0
• 1580s - 12.0
• 1590s - 7.8
• 1600s - 9.6
• 1610s - 6.8
• 1620s - 8.4
• 1630s - 8.5
• 1640s - 5.8
• 1650s - 6.2
• 1660s - 6.1
• 1670s - 6.3
That's similar pattern with huge number of early wars but much faster calming down and stabilized much lower.
On the other hand it was many patches ago and map was a lot smaller back then, so it's not directly comparable.
Varangian Republic: Part 11: 1498-1504
I have 3 rivals - Fez, Kayseri, and Ar-Raqqah, and I need to attack one of them for power projection, as I'm not going to get it over 50 otherwise, and beating up Bari and Athens no longer counts. Sadly none of these wars look like a good idea.
So I thought about changing rivals - maybe to Muniyo - which looks like easily beatable blob. Sadly it was not on list of possible rivals. It was confusing, but there seems to be tech group limit on rival selection, so I can't choose any rival with tech group much below mine, and they're Sub-Saharan (and thus so easily beatable in spite of large territory).
Now it was a bit of a balancing act as I had 4 vassals which were not terribly enthustiastic about being my vassals (relations at -24, -20, +10, and +146), and I planned to grow their territory by a lot.
There was another problem of nowhere near enough manpower, but with 48/month income (11/month after expenses) solution wasn't too surprising. War against Hobyo was pretty easy, mostly just eating a lot of attrition, but getting Afghooye all 6 of their claims, so I started another war against Massapa/Zimbabwe while it was still ongoing.
And then weird shit started happening. And I'm not talking Massapa being same mil tech as me - they're surprisingly Indian tech not Subsaharan, so their 4/5/8 tech is somewhat weird, but let's disregard it.
For weird shit see the screenshot. I've seen that once before was I wasn't sure if that was a graphical glitch or whatever - this time my units definitely turned into "ships" - and disappeared on save/reload. Then all my transports disappeared, with everybody on board.
I lost total of at least 13 cogs, 1 infantry, 5 cavalry. Well, and some troops to similar glitch before, but I didn't count that. So I gave myself exactly 6000 manpower and 294 gold back, but it still set me back by a year.
Another thing I discovered is that now units damaged to 0 fucking disappear if they ever get any attrition tick - like for example by just passing through a tropical province. That is some massive bullshit. Anyway, thanks to game bugs, unexplainable mil tech ahead of its group, and attrition mechanic changes, Massapa successfully defended everything except for the wargoal. Pretty good performance for African minor.
And so my armies got reduced to 14k, I got random event peasants occupy Epirus, and my two allies decided to start a war - with defender whose side I had to take of course losing miserably.
Everything is going much more poorly than I expected by this point - and I'm really trying to save 800 gold for embassy, as having only 2 diplomats is quite painful.
On the other hand I have world's highest income, highest naval force limits, second highest land force limits, and rapidly growing colonial empire, so once current crisis passes I'll probably be just fine. At least until next crisis.
Varangian Republic: Part 12: 1504-1510
Apparently I cannot hire any fucking mercs in Greece, even though it's not distant overseas. Nope, just being regularly overseas is enough. I'll need to conquer myself a land connection there sooner or later.
I wanted to get out of Bessarabia's war, but demands (nearby 800 gold total) were ridiculous, so I hired some mercs instead to convince them to get off my lawn. Of course Bessarabia still lost -100%, I did maybe two minor battles durnig all of the war. Why doesn't AI just accept reasonable separate peace from non-cobeligerents it wasn't nothing from anyway? I'd pretty much always accept that.
Also, WTF? That's offensive war? I'm reasonably sure that it said defensive on the popup.
I sent a conquistador to Brazil, but since every province in it was already revealed via spread of discoveries - not even 60 years into the game - the "Hunt for Seven Golden Cities" button was completely disabled. Yeah, so much for having fun with DLC content this campaign - total fail here.
Well, let's do something useful with these mercs. Like maybe attack 3 province minor in Africa? That sounds doable.
Well, my admin points are overflowing... I guess I might get next admin nech ahead of time, get religious idea, and Deus Vult Muniyo! Other than 1st Deus Vult and 5th +1 tolerance I don't really care about any of religious ideas... Did they get nerfed hard or I just misremember?
So far my campaigns in East Africa are going well - and I plan to turn from there to Arabian Peninsula as well. It would be a good idea to setup another vassal or two in the region, otherwise my vassals might get too big.
I colonized St. Helena and sent first colonists to Brazil - but Armor (a bit oversized Britany), Derby (exactly Great Britain), and Barcelona (more or less Aragon) are already there. I'm not terribly concerned by them taking Caribbean, but Brazil node sounds like something worth fighting over.
My vassals seem to be completely uninterested in independence (LD between 2% and 7%). I'm completely uninterested in fighting my supposed rivals - colonial game is the thing here. Indian trade seems to be worth very little, but that might be expected - price of exotic goods increases with time by events.
Varangian Republic: Part 13: 1510-1517
My only policy towards my rivals was sending them insulting letters every now and then. Other than that, I just continued conquest of East Africa. I managed to cut Muniyo in half - good thing I managed to do that in time, bastards got mil tech 4 just after our war. Much scary. I plan to take over all of their eastern half, and parts of western half up to end of Ethiopia node. There's not that much value in West Africa's inland trade nodes like Katsina and Timbuktu.
I got into quick war against Bari, which I used as excuse to burn down Barcelona's almost complete colony in Brazil colonial region - they already have 2 provinces there, so they might end up setting up a CN there anyway. All I got from Bari was one province and some gold.
I got mission for Indian coast, so that's probably what I'm going to do next, probably starting with whichever Indian minor holds Ceylon first. India is tech 7-8 so my tech 9 is not that big of an advantage - but seriously, I added Suez canal to this campaign for a reason, and with majority control over Gulf of Aden trade node Indian trade is coming worth something for me.
Apparently my fixes for "cleansing of heresy" CB did not apply in this version, and it's back to vanilla (where it works identically to holy war). Oh well.
No problems with liberty desire so far, but then I di a lot of opportunistic blobbing, so all vassals relative power is at just +28%, and +200 opnion means -20% LD - that's not even close to dangerous territory. I found nobody whose vassals' independence I could support - but then it's not like AI ever plays vassal-heavy game. Maybe once CNs start spawning, I'll be sure to help every one of them. My colonial plans are really just La Plata and Brazil CNs, as it's too hard to get trade out of others, but that doesn't mean I can't spoil other countries' plans.
Weirdly, three accepted cultures are - Greek, Egyptian, and Somali. Syrian and Bedouin are out. Byzantine culture group used to be pretty good, including Georgian and Armenian, but now it's just Greeks and whole 1 province of Goths (whose main contribution is sort of inspiring this campaign).
Varangian Republic: Part 14: 1517-1527
My conquest of India started with Tanjore - a former regional power which lost half of its territory to other blobs - being left with 7 provinces, 1 of which occupied in a war it was losing against Golconda.
Of course the game ran into the usual bug - because war I got into had somewhat negative warscore, Golconda count spam me with surrender offers - as workaround for the bug, I just gave myself stability back. In all my campaigns, not once I felt this feature - or call for peace - was legitimate in given context.
And if that was not enough bugs, squadwiping their whole army somehow counted for less than +2 warscore, leaving "warscore from battles" at -20. Fuck you game, seriously. Anyway, due to this bug, I couldn't get all of Tanjore's cores, just one and one unrelated province.
After that I cancelled Indian coast mission - Tanjore's cores and claims will province enough opportunities for Indian warfare for the next decade or two anyway.
I got that awesome event that gave me buttload of money, so I started building spree. Then I got +3 tolerance of true faith for 5 years event. Is the game trying to make amends?
Anyway, I found myself involved in another Bessarabia-Ermland war - Ermland by now is definitely convinced we are rivals for life. By the way Ermland was definitely not on the list of war target's allies, so it's all suspicious. Did they warn Bessarabia, or was it something else?
Well, with Indian campaign on hold, and potential rebels temporarily distracted by prayer, I might finally turn against my rivals maybe? Maybe not attacking them directly, just something modest like attack Hobyo, bringing Ar-Raqqah into it as non-cobeligerent? I'm ridiculously cautious considering how blobby I end up anyway.
Sure, what could possibly go wrong, facing 76k enemies in one war, and 69k in the second, right?
The war against Muslims went pretty well - I never got close with individual score against Ar-Raqqah to humiliate them, but direct negotiation with war leader resulted in two Ar-Raqqah's vassals, as well as OPM Pate and 3 other provinces all going under republican administration.
The other war was much more awkward - with Ermland's armies ransacking mainland Greece. Maybe I should have built some star forts instead of temples and marketplaces... It ended up just like a war a long time ago, with all my armies moving to Greece, and awkward stalemate developing where they would keep their doomstack taking serious but not backbreaking attrition, but be unwilling to attack me; while I would keep my armies just wait for opening and prevent carpet siege while also being unwilling to attack. It ended up with me signing another separate peace with concession of defeat.
The best thing about it all was that thanks to WE reduction in my national ideas, I was ready to go immediately anyway. Well, I was, my vassals were not, so I took a break anyway to let them reduce their WE somewhat.
So I went back to fighting in Africa, and then I realized that Bessarabia got reduced to diplovassalizable size - except the most relations I could get out of them was +188, largely due to separate peace penalty... Damn. By the way isn't this weird that separate peace is so much higher than honored alliance?
Anyway, Ulm attacked Venezia. No way, I'm not fighting Ulm! Wait, Bari is Besarabia's rival. I could get that final few points with Besarabia, while getting myself out of this silly obligation...
And then in another turn of weirdness, it turned out nobody actually joined Ulm - I checked who Venezia was at war with, and it was a huge list, but it turns out everybody except Ulm was in some completely unrelated war. So my war with Bari turned out to be 100% pointless. Damn.
Sometimes my overcomplicated plotting completely misses, but it's going to be a good an opportunity to deliver some torches to Barcelona's colonies, and maybe to finally take Rome.
Derby (basically Great Britain) managed to establish first CN in Carribean, and is close to setting up second one in Colombia, and started working on third in Mexico by conquering some Mayans. They just went straight form Exploration followed by Expansion ideas, no silliness like I did.
Varangian Republic: Part 15: 1527-1536
Apparently you only get +10 relations with X for DoWing Y if Y rivalled X, not if X rivalled Y. Usually these declarations are symmetrical, so I didn't think about it much before Bessarabia debacle.
I got Rome, reducing Bari to OPM, and that caused -14 AE for Bessarabia, since apparently allies now take it normally.
Oh well. Anyway, now is the time to burn some manpower to get some power projection. Long overdue war against Ar-Raqqah, it is time!
It was a fun demonstration of power of light ships - 89 light ships and 25 transports (about half of them one tech behind), wiped out 11 heavies, 16 lights, and 18 transports Fez tried to send, losing 13 lights and 2 transports, and capturing 1 heavy (which I immediately disbanded) - even though they had 0/2/4 admiral.
Now it looks like I'm unfair here, comparing much larger stack, but in terms of maintenance, my stack is only 25% more expensive, that disregarding light ship cost discount in my national ideas and the fact light ships pay for themselves by protecting trade - in equal-cost battle light ship spam is the only true way.
There were also other naval battles, as well as land battles - all fairly one-sided, as I wasn't trying to gain any territory, just ramp up holy war battle score fast. Heavy ships are as overpriced and underperforming as apple watches.
I finally got necessary score to humiliate Ar-Raqqah. That's +10 power projection (-1/year decay) for declaring war, and +30 (-1/year decay) for humiliation. I wish there was some way to figure out how much manpower and money all that cost me. Another cost was truces with a lot of countries I'd much rather fight separately, but it's not like I have a shortage of targets and it's just 5 years.
I finally got a coalition against me - led by traitorous Ermland, and joined by Lombardia, Krain, and Karnten.
Ulm - a 2-province minor - somehow got elected HRE.
Ar-Raqqah, in spite of humiliating defeat, was actually doing really well, and managed to vassalize Chabahar - this released Chabahar's vassal Hafar Al-Batin, giving me really neat opportunity to get Mecca almost for free.
Weirdly Maros, the country that took half of Bessarabia, somehow ended up completely ally-less. I'm not even sure how that's possible with Fun and Balance's relations limit. So, I've heard you have cores I need? And let me show you how much I care about giving coalition more AE.
Let's try something else. Zagreb was just a bit under 100% warscore cost, in very interesting part of trade network, and without any strong allies, so extremely tempting, except they were allied with Bessarabia, so I didn't want to attack them and break our alliance. Not any more.
Oh and all that had a minor complication that all my armies were in India as I had a different plan before I noticed this opportunity. Oh well, nobody's perfect.
The wars were going decently, and of course something must have gone wrong - Barcelona with Derby attacked my ally Rouergue. Well, previous war ended up with 2 Barcelona's and 2 Derby's colonies getting torched, so why not try this again? Turns out the answer is 2+2 again, Derby had 3rd, but I wasted so much time on native stacks raising in every province on the way and getting wiped that Derby's 3rd colony turned into a full province by the time I got there. And I did the wrong thing by returning to my newly spawned CN after burning some colonies - Derby sent new colonists immediately afterwards.
Well, we're winning Rouergue-Barcelona war, without even much help from me. Coalition against me now spans 9 countries across 3 continents - and weirdly includes none of the countries I actually planned to attack - which would be all of India, all natives in Brazil colonial region, Muniyo, Kismayo (island OPM on Indian ocean), Massapa/Zimbabwe, and maybe Kayseri for some Bessarabia's claims, and Fez for power projection.
Sadly all my power projection shenanigans are already wasted, as Kayseri is no longer valid rival, so now I'm massively penalized for "not enough rivals" (I can't even pick them during war) and getting pitiful amount of power projection from "eclipsed Kayseri".
Right now I'm extremely unconcerned about the coalition - other than Ermland and Lombardia nobody else in it is even semi-serious threat, countries that are close to me are not in the coalition, and countries that are further away can't get to me thanks to my total dominance of the Mediterranean. On the other hand while it's not dangerous now, it could get worse if I ignore all caution, and let's say try to expand within HRE.
And one last thing - my vassals sieged some provinces from Barcelona, which got transferred to me. I can't transfer them to war leader - even though they're coastal and definitely within coreable range for them. On the other hand, I can transfer them to Galicia, who's also in the war and happens to border them.
Varangian Republic: Part 16: 1536-1539
Trying some UI mods this time. My awesome Varangian flag look more like a flag now, and seriously, it's amazing. I normally don't care about such graphics trivia, but come on :-D
In another show of power of light ships, my stack of 76 light ships (base monthly upkeep 6.31) stakcwiped Derby's 12 heavies 12 lights 19 transports (base monthly upkeep 6.76) losing just 20 ships - these were just my ships protecting Ragusa and Aleppo, Alexandria and Aden fleets didn't make it to battle, but I still achieved one sided crushing victory with much cheaper fleet. Don't bother with heavies, ever.
I got into a bunch of cute wars against Munyo/Kismayo/Najran (Najran is in coalition against me), and against various natives. I got some more territory in East Africa, and remaining Gulf of Aden Aden COT. Mecca is now Norse as it was always meant to be.
My 3 colonists, 1 Brazilian colonists, and assimilated natives rapidly grew Brazil, giving me another extra merchant. I plan to now rapidly setup La Plata CN. Derby has 2 CN - Carribean and Colombia, neither of which is even close to wanting to rebel, but if they ever do, they'll have my support. Barcelona is extremely likely to setup its own Brazil CN due to our truce. Both of them will benefit from +10 Treaty of Tordesillas bonus, which is fairly annoying.
A cute thing is that Panama channel exists now, even though Panama has just 16 people. I wonder if it will disappear if I burn it down.
Current plan is to get into war with Ar-Raqqah (not directly, they are Hobyo's only ally, and Hobyo has 2 provinces) and take over their vassalage over Amasya, then get back Amasya's cores in northern Anatolia held by Kayseri. Relations limit is only a number.
Coalition against me fell apart and now only contains Ermland and Lombardia. There's a bigger coalition against Breslau, but apparently I'd need -30 AE to join these days, not just -1 like in older patches, so I can't do that for shits and giggles any more.
Varangian Republic: Part 17: 1539-1548
And so began the war against Hobyo, Ar-Raqqah, and all Ar-Raqqah's vassals. Ar-Raqqah's stacks are still really big, but fortunately they were also at war with Ardabil, Yerevan, Azaraba, Rafsanqan, and Kayseri, so I had support there.
Amasya got liberated from Ar-Raqqah's horde overlords and case under republican administration. Of course the next step simply had to be liberating their core lands currently occupied by Kayseri. It was so much fun as they were still fighting Ar-Raqqah's and their allies - and for that matter losing.
One awkward bit was that Kayseri was allied with Fez, as wall as Ardabil, but those bastards wouldn't help them. Between them they had 65k troops (22k of that mercs, both at basically 0 manpower), 3 heavy, and 35 lesser ships. That means they got some serious beating recently, as they had total force limit of 87 land and 119 naval.
I ended up wiping out all their ships with 0 losses and 2 heavies captures, which I both disbanded because heavies are shitships. I even thought about selling them to someone for some petty cash, but then all my diplomats were busy, and I hate heavies, so screw them.
Of course the big distraction in form of 24k rebels in Hamasien and 32k rebels in Qusayr popped up. It's so fucking awesome when rebels have bigger armies tnhan anyone else.
Anyway, the war went pretty reasonably, expected manpower cost notwithstanding. Galicia (= Castile) nad Isbiliya (= Portugal) decided to use Fez's weakness and both attacked it to kick them out of Iberia.
I also got into a really quick war to get Kilwa's last core from Massapa.
Next stop - India. It's long overdue.
Colonial nations are at surprisingly high liberty desire already;
• Derby's Carribean - 34%
• Derby's Colombia - 21%
• Barcelona's Brazil - 22%
• my Brazil - 10%
Unfortunately it doesn't seem like just getting them to disloyar and good crelations will be enough. Silly penalties like not same religion, distance betwen borders, overlord army/navy strength, opinion about overlord etc. just pile up.
Barcelona's Brazil of course is going to see itself conquered, that's only matter of time, but I'd totally go to war to see Derby's CNs liberated.
Armor is close to getting 2 CNs (Carribean, Canada), and Galicia close to 1 (Florida). This sabotage could be fun.
Varangian Republic: Part 18: 1548-1555: Vassal tries to westernize
I started one campaign in India, and another in Anatolia. My vassal Hamasien decided to start a third for me, by clicking westernize button (can't they wait to get annexed and share my westernized awesomeness for free?), spawning tons of rebels of all kinds - like over 100k of them.
All that resulted in me being able to commit much fewer troops to India than I wanted, and Indians... well, it turns out there's a lot of them. I dominated seas around India, but that's not enough to stop them, especially not with new military access system - I'm pretty sure I'd be a lot more successful under old rules.
War against Kayseri was reasonably successful. War in India was a repeat of my first war against Massapa - I technically won 1 wargoal province (and a really shitty one at that), but amount of manpower spent at it was ridiculous. And of course my Indian vassal decided to do nothing to help me, they just had a stack standing there doing nothing.
And so I declared war on Bari - joined in it Metz, Barcelona, and Barcelona's Brazil (the real target). Weirdly for a wannabe colonial empire the whole alliance had 26k troops and 3 ships - all belonging to the CN. That's good, because I wasn't in a mood for fighting - another 50k batch of Hamasien rebels just spawned, and most of my troops were in India, in pretty poor shape.
That was a really nice war - I completely wiped out Barcelona's colonial presence - taking over 9 colonies and burning down 4 remaining ones.
All this mostly shows ridiculous disproportionality between expansion along lines of least resistance (10 provinces with almost zero loses) vs expansion by plan (1 province in India with really painful losses) vs vassal deciding to fuck you over for the lulz by westernizing.
Derby West Indies and Derby Colombia are at 35% and 25% liberty desire respectively - that's getting slowly closer towards my goal of liberating them. There's also Galicia's CN in Florida, and Armor's in Newfoundland, but they barely spawned and are not even close to being interested in independence.
I even settled Curacao and plan to settle Trinidad next, to make sure my support for their independence doesn't get silly distance between borders penalty (seriously, why the hell isn't stuff like that moddable? distance between borders penalty is ridiculously high for pretty much everything).
I thought about colonizing these regions (Colombia and Caribbean) myself, but there's no way in hell to get any value out of them unless I have decent control over Sevilla, Bordeaux or English Channel nodes. Unfortunately since my capital is in Asia, everything over there would be distant overseas (I increased the limit so it goes about to Malta and Italy, but not to Baleares - it no longer feels ridiculous, even if it hurts me here), unless I went on some major conquering spree, including fucking over my only two allies Venezia an Rouergue, then fucking over HRE, and getting into repeated fights against every single European power.
Next plans are to holy war Massapa / Zimbabwe for their delicious gold mines, and to expand La Plata to 10 provinces by colonization and conquest.
HRE leagues started forming up, I thought about getting involved in them, but apparently I can't as my capital is on a different continent. Number of ridiculous penalties you get for being even tiny bit outside Europe...
An interesting idea is to move my trade capital to Constantinople maybe. Between me and my vassals (Bessarabia and Amasya) we have 93% trade power, and remaining 7% belongs to Kayseri who's unlikely to survive much longer - except of course the vassals are not annexed yet, and won't be for a long while.
Varangian Republic: Part 19: 1555: War statistics second interlude
I've noticed that save games contain list of past wars with some information, so here's top 5 most brutal wars by battle losses:
Lothringen-Armor Punitive War (1524-01-05 to 1530-10-14):
• attackers: Lothringen, Köln, Savoie, Frankfurt, Breisgau, Luxemburg, Narbonne, Franche-Comté (lost 188358 troops, 0 ships)
• defenders: Erz, Stettin, Isbiliya, Kärnten, Venezia, Lombardia (lost 146110 troops, 0 ships)
Liangzhou Reconquest of Fengyang (1523-03-05 to 1531-02-22)
• attackers: Liangzhou, Jeolla, Hwanghae, Quanzhou (lost 158059 troops, 37 ships)
• defenders: Nanjing, Tamanthi, Sri Nakorn Lamduan, Hai Phong, Yumen, Champasak, Garze, Jeju (lost 169996 troops, 3 ships)
Yumen Conquest of Beijing (1469-06-04 to 1473-05-21):
• attackers: Yumen, Nanjing, Shiuhing, Garze (lost 157291 troops, 0 ships)
• defenders: Liangzhou, Hai Phong (lost 129462 troops, 31 ships)
2nd Halland Conquest of Holstein (1538-12-11 to 1544-01-20):
• attackers: Halland, Pskov, Moskva, Kargopol, Rethel, Finland, Lombardia (lost 165915 troops, 16 ships)
• defenders: Stettin, Maine, Holland, Kärnten, Ermland, Niederlausitz, Breslau, Cambray, Graubünden, Baden, Corsica, Luxemburg, Narbonne, Franche-Comté (lost 117797 troops, 5 ships)
• Garze Conquest of Qingzhou (1482-08-19 to 1488-08-19)
• attackers: Garze, Yumen, Nanjing (lost 92679 troops, 0 ships)
• defenders: Liangzhou, Jeolla, Hai Phong, Jeju, Chiang Rai (lost 152088 troops, 3 ships)
You know what's funny? Warmonger like me is not on the list.
The highest I'm on the list is 17th bloodiest 2nd Grane Conquest of Hafar al-Batin (1463-09-01 to 1472-05-04), where I defended my allie, but unsuccessfully, and got out of with cash and war reparations.
Then I'm in 31st bloodiest Venezia Conquest of Memmingen (1536-08-10 to 1539-05-11) where I provided just moral support.
The bloodiest war which was actually mine is 32th, which is coincidentally 1st by number of ships sunk:
Varangian Crusade against Ar-Raqqah (1529-03-06 to 1530-10-29):
• attackers: Varangian Republic, Tanjore, Hamasien, Palermo, Kilwa, Qusayr, Bessarabia (lost 41473 troops, 18 ships)
• defenders: Ar-Raqqah, Qazvin, Grane, Hobyo, Fez, Najran, Ferah, Chagai, Kayseri (lost 89468 troops, 96 ships)
And here's 2nd to 5th by ship losses:
Galicia Conquest of La Mancha (1513-05-06 to 1519-05-14):
• attackers: Galicia, Jayyan, Narbonne, Franche-Comté, Barcelona, The Baleares (lost 11490 troops, 58 ships)
• defenders: Fez, Kayseri, Taudeni, Najran (lost 27595 troops, 15 ships)
2nd Barcelona Conquest of Toulouse (1533-04-12 to 1539-01-20):
• attackers: Barcelona, Ulster, Derby, Derby West Indies, Savoie (lost 83046 troops, 43 ships)
• defenders: Narbonne, Franche-Comté, Varangian Republic, Tanjore, Bessarabia, Hamasien, Palermo, Kilwa, Qusayr, Maine, Galicia, Jayyan, Luxemburg, Krain, Zagreb, Graubünden, Baden (lost 45093 troops, 27 ships)
Holland Conquest of Hamburg (1446-05-06 to 1448-09-25):
• attackers: Holland, Narbonne, Lauenburg (lost 58893 troops, 34 ships)
• defenders: Bremen, Akershus, Rethel, Oldenburg, Artois, Ostfriesland, Nemours (lost 66364, 29 ships)
Rethel Conquest of Vlaanderen (1497-05-09 to 1503-04-22):
• attackers: Rethel, Galicia, Jayyan, Derby, Bremen (lost 20823 troops, 16 ships)
• defenders: Ghent, Ulster, Halland (lost 46168, 31 ships)
Sadly these are only losses in battles - attrition is not counted - and it would probably double loses as recorded, especially considering AI's love of doomstacks.
I'm not sure if it counts all battles or only major ones. Other things like siege assaults, battles with participants from multiple wars against same enemy participate, troops going down with their ships, rebellions etc. are not recorded either.
I'm really surprised I didn't even get into top 30. What's weirder - that huge war in Europe in 1520s with over 330k battle losses (so surely over half a million total losses including attrition), or any of other world's greatest wars, I totally failed to even notice.
The only wars not involving me I even remember happening were those involving my rivals like Bari Conquest of Dubrovnik (1457-12-05 to 1464-05-19) at 7th - where I really wanted to punish Bari, but I felt it would be unrealistic, and Ar-Raqqah Conquest of Yerevan (1538-11-17 to 1543-08-13) at 11th - where I first attacked attacker side to setup Amasya as vassal, then defender side to expand it. Their fight was how I got Anatolia, Constantinople, and North Syria almost for free, after waiting for such opportunity for nearly a century.
Anyway, shouldn't a huge war with losses that massive have some impact on nearby countries? Back in EU3 wars changed prices of goods, so iron/copper/naval supplies demand would increase with more countries at wars (as well as demand for grain, slightly), while demand for furs would decrease - and with supply of various goods being reduced by fighting, major price swings would result, so non-participants could earn good profit on them.
I'm not saying that was a good system - it was very non-transparent, and most players just ignored it except for preferring some goods over others, which they do now anyway, but surely there should be some impact?
My best idea is making trade power reduced by war exhaustion. That wouldn't reduce total value of trade, just redistribute it towards countries not involved in heaviest fighting (even if technically at war). I can't think of any major downside. It could even go all the way to -100% at 20 WE.
Varangian Republic: Part 20: 1555-1565
Apparently you keep Treaty of Tordesillas modifier even after your CN and all your colonial presence in a region has been wiped out. You definitely shouldn't, but whatever.
Anyway, some minor wars in East Africa and South America to pass time, then Ar-Raqqah gets into another war against Ardabil, leaving Kayseri (who were too cowardly to help defend their allies) alone. That's really sweet of them, as Ardabil and Ar-Raqqah and both fairly strong countries I wouldn't mind freeing of burder of managing too many provinces at once.
Ardabil was really helpless. They had really nice doomstack, but they were too afraid to commit it either against my troops sieging various mountain provinces, or against Ar-Raqqah's invasion. Instead they wandered aimlessly while their troops died to attrition.
Of course eventually they did the dumb thing and divided their army into three stacks - one trying to invade Bessarabia, one doing who knows what, one trying to ambush one of sieges in Caucasus with like 150k troops between mine and Ar-Raqqah's alliances all stanidng there. Yeah, good luck with that AI.
I hoped to attack Ar-Raqqah next, but Ardabil instead of putting up a good fight with both sides bleeding manpower pretty much just rolled over and died, so Ar-Raqqah alone was at 71k manpower on top of 56k troops, with tons of allies (on the other hand everybody outside Europe was falling behind in military tech more and more).
So I wondered about any other targets - sadly my only meaningful rival Ermland was world's 2nd in armies and had far too many allies. The other two allies game forced me to take were some completely ridiculous countries I was nowhere close to and had no chance of getting CBs againsst ever. You'd think so many patches in, the forced rival selection system would be fixed, or at least fixable by mods, but no such luck. And seriously, my real rivals would be Ermland, Ar-Raqqah, and Derby; maybe Barcelona, Fez, Galicia, Lombardia, Armor, or Maine (current Holy Roman Emperor - happens to be a non-member) as backups - definitely not Yumen and Potsdam game thinks should be my rivals.
Oh well, I'll think of something later, for now I can beat Bari one more time, seizing 2 colonies Barcelona is trying to build in Brazil colonial region, as well as 1 in Africa. I have so much money that it's reasonable to do so instead of jusn burning them. And that African one - there's no fucking way in hell AI isn't cheating with native uprisings.
This war had two important consequences:
• I used colony Barcelona cheated to get border with some African minors, annexed and released Bonoman by holy war, I'm now planning to use it to join it to my East African lands
• Barcelona was forced to selectively abort all their good alliances, but keep their alliance with Ulster. If that remains so until May 1567 - admittedly a bit of a longshot - I will be able to vassalize Ulster without too much trouble (no Ermland or Derby involved), and that will be a good platform for screwing with Derby
Kayseri unfortunately allied Ar-Raqqah, so they're no longer a convenient target.
I got expansion as 4th idea group (oh really?), and started setting up some colonies in Carribean - I'm not sure if that support independence thing ever actually works, and these are highest base tax uncolonized provinces I can find.
My fleet of 125 light ships and 35 transports is ridiculously small (160/300 force limit), so I'm doubling it to 65 transports (30 + 30 + colonial 5) and light ships up to naval force limit, so probably about 8 trade fleets of 30-40 lights each, one for every merchant I plan to have, except Cape where it's totally unnecessary (my naval force limit is rapidly increasing for all reasons).
My land force is 97/142, and that includes 16 merc infantry. Perhaps it's time to get rid of them and rely on regular troops? Or perhaps it's time to finally get onto the list of top 10 bloodiest wars.
Pic below is my primary rival (which game insists is not my rival at all) and their allies; as well as state of various regions.
Varangian Republic: Part 21: 1565-1572: The End
It's really weird how advanced military technology of some countries which are meant to have really shitty tech groups is. Level 14 just hit (I did it a bit ahead of time, expecting worse war against Barcelona's friends) and Matamba in Sub-Saharan group is at 13, Bagoe, and Joma are at 12. It's not all of them - Muniyo for example is at just 8.
Same with Indians - Sehwan (fairly irrelevant West indian 2 province minor) is at 13, Zimbabwe at 12, all of India is somewhere between 10 and 12. And it's mostly military - they're further behind on other tech.
Even in Chinese group, Pegu and Champasak are level 13.
Am I missing something here? I can't think of anything in either vanilla or Fun and Balance that could cause such a big difference. They don't have any special missions, they didn't border any western tech nations until recently (and most suspiciously high tech nations still don't), I guess there are fewer ways to waste sword mana than paper or bird mana, but this deserves some investigation.
Anyway, I waited 2 uneventful years, then waged war against Barcelona, Ulster, and their assorted allies. Ulster got vassalized, Barcelona paid me some cash and was forced to release Castilla La Vieja as what I thought irrelevant OPM, and that was it.
Oh wait, Castilla La Vieja would actually accept vassalization, and they start at +90 relations? (+100 released in peace, -10 tolerated heretics). And I've been coming up with so many crazy schemes on how to break into Iberia.
A surprising issue came up that Bessarabia was over 60 base tax and that gave them extra +25% liberty desire. I had an extremely ambitious plans for expanding them ever further - basically all the way around the Black Sea, but I guess I won't do too much of that - just take some territory to connect me with Greece.
Amasya is over 60 base tax according to game as well, but doesn't have this modifier. I guess game can't decide when to count temple base tax too and when base base tax only.
This modifier doesn't seem to apply to colonial nations (Brazil is way above that), just vassals.
I have an idea... I'll just tag switch to Derby Colombia, Derby Carribean, and New Galicia, and send request to support independence to myself (wanted to do same with Armor Canada, but they didn't have a free dipromat). Apparently AI Varangian Republic would be retarded enough to refuse with -150 or something. And instant 100% liberty desire for all three of them. AI in this game is ridiculously lame - and nearly 100% impossible to mode. Let's see how it goes.
Meanwhile, I have unfinished business with Ar-Raqqah, Kayseri, and Hobyo, as well as their assorted buddies. That was 128k soldiers, 10 heavy ships, and 39 smaller ships to destroy, not even counting any reinforcements, and my chance to get to top 10 bloodiest wars list.
Of course I didn't bother with carefully positioning my troops, vassals ignore any orders to be supportive, and the bugged as fuck warscore engine decided that 8k vs 9k battle my vassal lost is somehow worth -3.44 warscore. Did that ever even work, or was it broken all the time, I just didn't notice? Sinking 10 heavies and 14 transports in one battle - breaking enemy alliance's naval power, is somehow only worth +1.62. Yeah, totally broken, not moddable in any way.
Not that it mattered all that much - a lot of stack wiped happened soon afterwards. Sadly I lost enough ships that I couldn't blockade Fez's entire coast - and I wanted to wait for next diplo tech before building new ones.
I accidentally spawned third CN in Carribean - I thought I took 4 islands, turns out I took 5. Oh well. And Derby got its 3rd in Mexico.
Anyway, I took over remaining 2 provinces from Hobyo, completing my conquest of East Africa, I was about to peace out Kayseri for everything except their capital, when 2 Derby's CNs decided to declare independence together - I think that was immediately as soon as their existing war they were in ended (New Galicia was still in some silly war).
That is super awkward timing. Derby and their buddies had 32 heavies, 108 minor ships, and 142k trooops at generally top military tech level. I just wanted to do mass ship building in like maybe 10 years, not now. Fine, I'll build 70 light ships, and lift blockade of Fez to get some serious fleet going.
Fortunately the CNs weren't exactly defenseless - between my CNs and rebels they brought 2 heavies and 60 lights, as well as 60k troops for self-defense before my armies could finish their bussiness with Ar-Raqqah and arrive.
I decided to take it seriously, and ended up the war with 2 Hobyo's provinces, 6 Kayseri's and 4 Ar-Raqqah's, without pushing it too far.
Colonial war was going surprisingly well - native OPM allied with Derby for some reason got beaten and forced to give some cash to warleader.
Derby instead of fighting in the colonies decided to send 40k troops into Ireland, which I answered with 54k of my own backed by most of my fleet to prevent their escape. Weirdly, they didn't even have decency to group them into one stack.
I wasn't sure what to do with all the troops in Ireland, so Derby sent another 12k there just so they're not too bored. OK. Meanwhile Derby's HRE allies tried various small invasions - from Constantinople to Brazil - which generally ended in land stack wiped followed by naval stack wipes, all while warscore from controlling Colombian capital was ticking.
I took a long while until I sank all the ships from enemy alliance, and once it was safe I sieged London with my troops in Ireland. Derby surrendered while losing a bit over 30% warscore.
And that ends this campaign. I hoped for some El Dorado fun, but:
• random campaigns are still a bit bugged (but fun anyway, hotfixes fixed most of the issues)
• terra incognita is totally bugged (hotfixes supposedly fixed that, if you believe such things, but not retroactively of course)
• due to terra incognita issues, I did zero conquistador stuff, and explorer events I thinks fired once ever, adding 2 aggressiveness to natives in Antananarivo in Madagascar, from 9 to 11.
• liberty desire system sounds really awesome in theory, but fails hard in practice
• rival selection is close to as broken as ever - glorious wars against my true rivals Derby and Ar-Raqqah didn't get my any power projection, as game refused to acknowledge them as possible rivals (hilariously now I can set Derby as rival, oh well)
The game just keeps getting new features and changing stuff, but without proper QA half of them don't really work.
By the way, Derby Colombian War for Independence (1570-10-07 to 1572-08-06) barely got to 16th bloodiest war (42804 our troops and 135947 theirs lost) - at least it got to be the biggest naval war in history with 131 ships on our side and 145 on theirs lost.
2nd Varangian Crusade against Ar-Raqqah (1569-05-02 to 1571-04-08) barely registered as 38th bloodiest (21014 ours and 111045 their troops lost), and 5th on sea (26 our and 47 their ships lost).
It was a lot more one sided than it seems - I've been mostly losing obsolete light ships, they've been losing a lot of new heavies. Weirdly by that time even recalling every single ship away from protecting trade did relatively little to lower my trade income. It wasn't completely irrelevant.