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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

EU4 Extended Timeline British Empire Reborn AAR

Post 1 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-12-05 05:02:46 UTC

British Empire Reborn: Part 0: 2014: Pre-campaign notes

I've played so many Rome reborn and Caliphate reborn games, I'm surprised I haven't tried to recreate the greatest empire of all times yet. Also I promised India game before, and what kind of British Empire would it be if it didn't include India?

So, goals of the campaign are:

• remain some kind of monarchy - I see no reason to abandon Constitutional Monarchy, but I'm not totally sure what government types Extended Timeline mod has
• recreate colonial empire including all the countries (controlled directly or as vassals) British Empire should have including Ireland, India, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Thirteen Colonies etc.
• win Hundred Years War, even if a couple centuries late
• take revenge for all other historical injustice, no matter how late
• 100% control over all 4 trade end nodes is highly desirable - English Channel, Bordeaux, and Seville definitely, Venice depending on how things go.
• 100% of provinces producing tea, obviously
• get some kind of vassal European Union, even if not necessarily in current borders
• stop this Secular nonsense and go back to our Christian roots at some point. For that matter why not go back to our Catholic roots (Anglican Church sits undecidedly halfway between Catholic and Protestant tradition anyway), as there are zero other Catholic countries, so it's free curia for whoever wants it.
• as usual, if I end up totally dominating the world without actually fulfilling some conditions, I'll call it a win anyway

But first, some pre-game modding. It's a problem with every start date except date zero (which for Extended Timeline mod is awkwardly Rome-Parthia War) that everyone starts with predetermined idea groups. You can cancel them, but you don't get your points back (well, you get 10%, but that's just silly), and it's a lot of manual effort to fix things by console, so I'm just going to edit mod files to set "historical ideas" I want.

Mod gives 10 and has some extra "early X" idea groups to choose from. Ideas I want are:

• Early Diplomatic - most countries have 2/3 here but Early Military and Early Administrative suck, so I'll just pick this one
• Aristocratic - is there even a question?
• Diplomatic - global empire runs on diplomacy
• Trade - the tea must flow!
• Influence - we need to manage our vassals
• Administrative - to core all the
• Humanist - to deal with nationalist nonsense in the colonies
• Expansion - we're the very definition of it
• Religious - we were Defender of the Faith before it was cool, and perhaps it's time to go back to that
• Economic - I wasn't totally sure about this one, I just don't particularly care for any other 10th idea

What's missing:

• Naval and Maritime are so shitty that they're worthless even for ocean-oriented empire
• Military ideas are not horrible, but it's easier to just get bigger army by expansion and trade
• Exploration is not that great with everything already explored, no Pagans to CB, and no empty provinces to colonize - there are still a few colonies in progress on the map, but we'll have 1 colonists from Expansion anyway
• Espionage - that's something a lot of countries are going to have at this date, so expect a lot of sabotaged reputation

There are very few alliances, as the game doesn't try to model NATO, EU etc., but we start in alliance with France. Not like that's going to save them from final chapter of the Hundred Years War eventually.

Post 2 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-12-07 10:46:36 UTC

British Empire Reborn: Part 1: 2014-2021: New European Union

I forgot to mention one more objective - we definitely need to build Suez canal as somehow there are no canals at this start date. Panama and Kiel canal won't hurt either, but they're option.

Oh and EU4 is bugged again - it has this "revolutionary target" system for Napoleonic Wars, but nonexistent countries (Revolutionary France - RFR tag) can remain revolution targets even after they're gone, so I had to edit game files to kill that as that basically forces every monarchy in Europe into war against them or suffer ridiculous penalties, and war isn't even possible. If another revolution target emerges somehow, so be it.

Also Extended Timeline is bugged in that Bermuda is in no trade node, so I fixed it by making it part of Chesapeake Bay like in vanilla. There seem to be a few more other provinces without trade node, maybe I'll write a script to validate this stuff someday.

(I reported both issues, I have way more trust in modders fixing their shit than in Paradox fixing base game)

Anyway, time to choose 10 policies, select rivals - Spain, Netherlands, and... Morocco I guess, that one's somewhat dubious, and start day 0 war against Spain. If you Spaniards thought the Great Armada invasion of 1588 is forgiven, you were gravely mistaken.

The problem with my starting position is that I'm only 18th country by army size - way below even Spain. Fortunately my vassal France is 5th, and hates Spain for some reason, so that will be relatively straightforward. Did I say vassal? Freudian slip here, of course I meant valuable ally.

And take some policies. I didn't consider policy implications of different idea groups, maybe I should have, I could easily swap 1 or 2 idea groups if that led to better policies. Anyway, I'm taking:

• Licensing of the Press Act (better relations +20%, AE -10%)
• Dissolution Act (AE -20%)
• Statute of Monopolies (trade efficiency +10%, production efficiency +10%)
• Religiously Sponsored Guilds (goods produced nationally +10%, missionary strength +1%)
• Overseas Dominions (tariffs +10%, income from vassals +25%)
• Vassal Obligation Act (income from vassals +25%, subject forcelimit contribution +25%)
• Manueline Architecture (build cost -15%)
• Multilingual Diplomats (better relations +20%, accepted culture threshold -10%)
• Encouragement of Merchant Navy (trade efficiency +10%, trade steering +20%)
• Importation Act (trade income +20%)

I've heard some rumors tariffs are bugged in current release, and count CN's ideas not overlord's, in which case Overseas Dominions is wrong choice. We'll see.

By the way these policies only make sense in this mod, since tech basically stops soon, and we're already maxed out on ideas, so we won't need points all that much, but we'll need money. And Fun and Balance makes policies free, otherwise optimal strategy would be to take zero of them.

Anyway, Spain and France adopted strategy of putting their stacks in Barcelona and Bearn and looking threateningly at each other, fighting the blinking war. France blinked first, moved its army to siege stuff, and Spain lost the war with intact 44k stack and 39 ship navy.

Making Spain my vassal dragged me into war against Morocco, who decided to use Spain's weakness to reconquer Ceuta. There's also another problem that Spain absolutely hates me.

Another problem was that even with my AE discounts Portugal really hated what I just did, and were likely to join coalition against me. To preempt that, I declared war on them right away.

Portugal took very little convincing - France wiped out their army in one battle, Spanish stack kept chilling out in Barcelona, I just sieged some things, so it was time for war against Ireland for decades of their covert support for IRA.

And then against Belgium as soon as they broke their only alliance with Brazil for some reason (French wouldn't help, but I can handle Belgium), as revenge against all the cigarette smuggling in English Channel trade node, and let's be honest clear - it's not like Belgian people can even govern on their own, they're still holding coalition talks. By the way Belgium ambitiously tried to attack Germany, and failed miserably, but Germany was satisfied with just war reparations.

My vassals did a decent job fighting Morocco, but I let it get away with war reparations, just so I could call France into my war against Belgium. My manpower situation was bad enough that actually fighting against Belgium would get me to zero. It turned out to be pointless as Belgian army waited out the war in their capital, and French army showed zero interest in moving out of Paris. Oh well.

I took advantage of one day of peace to set new rivals, as old ones all became invalid - this time Germany, Italy, and Argentina.

Of course I wasn't done. We have unfinished business with the Dutch after their unprovoked 1667 raids. All the cigarette smuggling across English Channel is not welcome either.

Now this was a much bigger war. I was facing not just Netherlands-Italy coalition against me, but also Luxembourg, Peru, Ecuador, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, wherever that is.

Dutch army decided to stand in their capital - not the worst idea as France and Belgium showed zero interest in helping, I had basically no manpower, and there were no mercs to hire. Dutch navy got defeated but with very heavy losses - fortunately rebuilding new navy takes just gold (or should it be dogecoin at this stage of the game?) and no manpower, so that's not a big deal. Italian navy successfully dominated Mediterranean over my vassals, and I didn't feel like challenging them there.

Once I suffered from enough attrition, the Dutch decided to move against me - I won, but I lost all my manpower, and pretty close to all my army. Even after fully occupying Netherlands I had to wait for Spain and Portugal to siege a bunch of Italian provinces before they were willing to accept vassalization. Coalition nonsense.

I got two monarch deaths, and now 26 year old 1/2/0 George VII of Windsor is in charge... I might reconsider that not going republic thing...

Meanwhile, highlights from other parts of the world:

• South Korea crushed North Korea and formed united Korea
• Greece conquered Cyprus, Albania, and Macedonia. Turkey then took Albania and Rhodes from them and forced them to release Cyprus.
• China conquered Taiwan
• Bosnia and Herzegovina conquered Serbia, Montenegro, and half of Croatia - someone's playing my Bosnia Stronk game even if it's not me
• Iraq and Syria defeated Caliphate rebels (sadly game starts with provinces rebel-occupied, but no rebel armies there)
• Poland won war against Ukraine and Russia (not sure why Russia was in it, they're not allied with Ukraine or guaranteeing it, was it warning against Poland maybe?) and took 2 Ukrainian provinces.
• Indonesia somehow attacked Syria, and got war reparation out of them

And so New European Union emerges, featuring:

• United Kingdom
• Ireland
• France (as ally)
• Spain
• Portugal
• Netherlands
• Belgium
• Luxembourg (as Belgian province)

8/28 in a pretty quick expansion. Between Extended Timeline (all the ideas groups, and modern times modifier), bonuses from English Ideas, and Fun and Balance doubling all the bonuses, my relationship limit is 22, so I can reestablish literal European Union (not trivially, many countries are not vassalizable in one go).

I'm somewhat disappointed that there's nothing to do with all that money - I can't hire mercs, and I'm spamming buildings as fast as I can and I'm still flooded in money. If that continues I'll consider adding mercs to the game. (as they're apparently gone in this era, not sure if it's intentional or a bug)

Post 3 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-12-07 18:30:05 UTC

British Empire Reborn: Part 2: 2021: Missing Mercenaries Interlude

So I wasted half a day debugging the game again. Remind me, why don't I ever play games where things just work?

The problem was that there are no mercs in the game after 1850s or so. I thought that might even be by design, but I couldn't find anything in game files. I had tons of ideas, all failed, until I finally figured it out:

• Extended Timeline late game units are same for every tech group
• merc code fails miserably if your infantry/cavalry units are not tech group specific
• it _probably_ prioritizes ancient unit types in your tech groups, and then fails miserably because they're way too obsolete

There are a few thing I considered doing about it:

• Add tons of extra western_ak47, eastern_ak47 etc. units to the game as mercs. This is actually even save game compatible since I'm just adding them, and can be done automatically by a script. It took me a lot of attempt to actually reach something workable like this.

• Just play without mercs. That's valid I guess (and my 21th century Caliphate game was like that too), but then what the hell am I going to do with all that money I'm making from my trade empire?

• Just add a decision to get mercs in your capital for gold, ignoring broken merc pool. Unfortunately scripting doesn't seem to have anything that would spawn mercs - just spawning regular units. It's possible there's a way, but other than what vanilla does in existing code it's hard to guess what would work and what wouldn't.

• Add mercs to pool directly by decision - again, that doesn't seem to be supported.

• Let you buy manpower with money for similar cost it would take to use mercs for that. That's easiest, but I'm a bit worried that AI would take infinite loans, spam that feature, and go bankrupt in every war it's losing. Presumably the only reason AI doesn't do that in normal games is small merc pool size.

• Do that, and add a timer. I could even vary timer and cost based on your idea groups etc. so it works basically the same as regular mercs.

How much would fair cost be? Assuming you go for infantry only mercs (AI doesn't, but AI is stupid), and they last 2 years before replacement (by fully reinforcing, or merging with another unit, or disbanding etc.), that's about 15 for recruitment + 25 for two year upkeep vs 10 for recruitment + 10 for upkeep of regular infantry. So 1k extra manpower costs you about 30 gold by using merc infantry. I'm assuming zero reinforcement costs here not because that's realistic, but because reinforcing mercs saved you more than 1000 initial manpower. I should probably bump it to 10k manpower for 500 gold, available once a year. (with possible modifiers based on idea groups etc.)

I'm still not sure which was to go about it.

All that does not make me terribly happy. Next time I'll just watch somebody's let's play of debugging a game, instead of debugging a game myself.

Post 4 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-12-08 04:30:45 UTC

British Empire Reborn: Part 3: 2021-2026: From Iceland to Guinea

So now that I know how to fix mercs, I decided to continue playing without mercs. If I ever find myself with 100K+ cash and absolutely nothing to spend it on, I might reconsider.

Fortunately I got event for 16k free manpower (or some army tradition - normally tradition would be better I guess) so I could rebuild at least a bit.

As I didn't want any serious wars, and coalition against me war already started forming, I decided to just invade Iceland with its 2 base tax provinces. Their annexation will end all their conflicts over cod fishing rights once and for all.

Next I got free stability event, so I decided to take the plunge and abandon secularism. And apparently I only got 2 missionaries (0 base, 1 religious ideas, 1 defender of the faith) instead of expected 4 (1 base, 1 religion ideas, 2 defender of the faith). This is going to take much longer than I thought.

Unfortunately not only Spain but also Netherlands were somehow unhappy about their membership in our glorious union, and treacherous Germans supported them. And France decided that it wants basically all of Belgium, which didn't make them break alliance, but it downgraded their relation to defensive, making their help in any war against Germany somewhat doubtful.

I allied Switzerland and Algeria (pretty much every country hates every other country due to imperialism CB, and in my case different religion as well), and to distract my unfaithful vassals, I declared war on Mauritania, bringing Morocco and Guinea Bissau into the war.

All 3 deserved it - for their attack on Ceuta, for support for Muslim terrorists, and for spreading Ebola. What do you mean it was the other Guinea? How many Guineas do they have? You sure they didn't have Ebola in the other one too? I mean, just for extra safety we should probably put someone trustworthy there in charge.

Morocco got vassalized as North Africa isn't even a colonial region (its 2 southmost provinces are in West Africa colonial region, but that can be handled later), the other two got annexed, and I'm coring 5/10 of their cheapest provinces just to spawn a CN to finish the job.

The Dutch changed their mind, and like me now, but Spain still wants independence. Maybe they'll change their mind once I integrate Portugal and Ireland.

My religious unity is at 50% (25% from provinces, 25% from humanism), but it will get better quickly once I lose Sunni provinces in Africa and get Catholic provinces in Portugal and Ireland. I have no idea how my CNs could possibly convert anything due to base 0 missionaries, but then again they'll probably all go Secular anyway.

Surprisingly Alsace spawned from France (rebel sat there forever, French stack sat in Paris doing nothing), as second Catholic country, but they don't seem to be competing in the pope game yet.

I got up to 39k gold already, gaining huge stash every month, and yeah, this game simply needs those mercs as money dump.

Post 5 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-12-09 05:28:41 UTC

British Empire Reborn: Part 4: 2026-2032: The Empire on which the Sun sets for only half a day

I'll leave mercs for a while. I'm thinking about adding some other money dump, like making level 5-6 buildings not exclusive. I never liked that exclusivity, usually how this ends is not building any of them (except for centers of trade where it's obvious what needs to be built) as calculating correct decision is too hard.

At least I modded it so that subject nations can't go secular, as secular prevents both religious conversion, as well as cultural conversion (as that requires province to have same religion as you, and provinces can't be secular). I should probably allow that if overlord is secular, but it doesn't really make much difference. The whole secular thing mostly annoys me.

I attacked Tunis, and they were only allied with Sudan, so it was no big deal. Except my ally Algeria decided to DoW Tunis while we were at war, so vassalizing Tunis would result in awkward war against one of my few allies - and I'd need to wait for 2 year timer (as Sudan was much larger than Tunis - fortunately that's not 5 years like vanilla), and deal with too many small vassals. I decided to give all Tunis's provinces except their capital to Morocco. That's not entirely safe, as vassals get hostile if they get too big, but that's still reasonable.

Portugal and Ireland got integrated under direct royal administration - Spain and Netherlands would be much more interesting, but they're less enthusiastic about it, so we're going to give them some more time to consider. Belgians would be fine with it, but that would mean direct border with France, and that's probably not something our country is ready for - well, unless it integrates Spain. Distant overseas vassals like Morocco will probably stay such for very long time.

I got alliances with Sweden, Poland, and Venezuela - I don't think they'll be of much use, but who knows really.

So, time for peace in the Middle East!

• Attack Palestine
• Palestine's ally Egypt (not cobeligerent)
• Palestine's ally Syria (cobeligerent)
• Palestine's ally Lebanon (cobeligerent)
• Syria's/Lebanon's ally Israel
• Lebanon's ally Cyprus

Such a great plan, other than Egypt everybody else on the list is a total pushover....

And Lebanon got Turkey as mid-war ally, so now I have to fight them as well. I really, really, dislike this mechanic. I tried to setup the entire thing as to avoid getting Turkey involved (it was allied with Egypt), as well as avoiding getting USA involved (it was guaranteeing Israel), but nope.

Of course none of my allies would be bothered by such a "distant war". I understand the reason this modifier exists, but it's ridiculously huge - France could easily send ships against Egypt or Turkey (which even holds Albania - really close from Corsica), and Poland could send some troops.  They are not that damn far away. And Algeria? Come on, how is that -112 distant war? Maybe I should lower it by a lot someday, like by 75%. (Algeria wouldn't help anyway as it's deep in debt, which is a much more reasonable modifier)

Meanwhile my ally Sweden dragged me into a war against Denmark, Norway, Czech Republic, Germany, and Italy, bringing on its side only Estonia, Lithuania, and Slovenia. Later Finland, Latvia, and Switzerland (breaking our alliance) decided to join the anti-Swedish pileup as well.

And so my minor regional war turned into two wars against half of Europe. I had enough naval superiority to dominate either Baltic or Mediterranean, not necessarily both.

But it wouldn't even be that bad - Denmark got some troops into Sweden, but Baltic was mostly under our control, so Germany couldn't join, and Sweden had more troops than Denmark. Except of course Swedish stack fucking stood there doing nothing, not even standing on war goal, which would make some sense, or on their capital, nope - they decided to take holidays in Halsingland. This is way worse in Extended Timeline mod than in vanilla, not just this campaign, every campaign.

Denmark managed to annex Slovenia, with Italy doing all the fighting there - I'm not used to this 1.8 stuff. Sweden then took one of Norway's province - it sent some 2k stacks to Norway, but none to challenge Danish invasion - seriously, what the hell, both sides are winning somehow, and it's and totally fucked anyway?

British Mauritania spawned as my first CN. There were some weird glitches - initially they had 75% autonomy, +15 unrest from nationalism, +5 unrest from intolerance, +1.5 unrest from almost no religious unity... Then weirdly nationalism went away in cored provinces and to 10 in uncored ones, intolerance went down to 1.25 unrest, and autonomy went down to 40% overnight, I can't trust the numbers... At least they spawned with same ideas as me fully unlocked, so they have a missionary to handle this maybe.

In war against Egypt / Turkey / Syria / Palestine / Israel / Lebanon / Cyprus I tried to mostly avoid Egyptian and Turkish stacks.

Egyptian stack stood in Cairo preventing me from getting 92% warscore needed, and Turkish stacks were walking around threateningly, so I sieged whatever I could from Egypt, put some small stacks in Sudan waiting, and moved my main stacks to Israel and Palestine.

Israel annexed, war target Judea occupied (didn't I change this timeout from 5 years to 2 years? why the hell is it still not 100%?), I tried to get Lebanon, but Syrian and Turkish stacks had better idea, so I GTFOed all my army to Cyprus and Rhodes. Oh wait, I can blockade the straits, occupy Constantinople, and maybe get Turks to see reason this way?

Egyptian stack decided to join defense of Lebanon for some strange reason, so my Sudanese army got Cairo and vassalized them, with no battles so far.

Germans, Italians, Czechs all piled up on Belgium and Netherlands, so I conceded defeat to Denmark, and rebought Defender of the Faith for trivial 500 gold.

Even with 4 Turkish provinces including their capital occupied, and them fully blockaded, best I could get was me conceding defeat and rebuying Defender of the Faith second time in a year.

After than opposition was reduced to Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. Syrian army stood in their capital, so I couldn't vassalize them without losing what little manpower I had left, so instead I just took all their other provinces leaving them as OPM. Lebanon got annexed and released as Catholic vassal (Egypt is somehow secular, so it won't buy any provinces ever - another problem with "secular" mechanic).

I plan to core Jerusalem and Cyprus myself, and feed everything else to Lebanon as soon as it's converted.

My subject have ridiculous problems with rebels now::

• Spain (force limit 73) got 27k Moroccan Patriots - I don't even care if they defect to Morocco, but that province is -14% unrest, WTF? Of course Spain has zero interest in dropping its 118k army there... (everybody in Extended Timeline massively overbuilds armies, as AI decides based on its income, not on its force limit)
• Morocco (force limit 40) got 24k Tunisian Patriots - Morocco totally has military access through Algeria, so it could go fight them, but nope. Spawned again in province with negative unrest. Fucking game, what is it now?
• British Mauritania (force limit 12) got 3x12k Tuareg Patriots - at least this is semi-legitimate as unrest was positive, but these numbers are completely ridiculous!!!

Of course I even really can't help them as I can't hire mercs, I can't send them money to hire mercs, and that trick with supporting rebels in your subjects no longer works...

I'm not terribly fond of modding game in the middle of it, but there's not much choice here.

Iran forced Iraq to release Abbasids - which is basically ISIS in this mod. In ironic twist they were spawned as Shia. They also had to release Kuwait and give Iran a bunch of territory.

Interesting question - if I give Egypt 20k gold, will they build Suez canal? That would be pretty sweet, as I'm not going to annex them anytime soon.

Post 6 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-12-12 03:47:06 UTC

British Empire Reborn: Part 5: 2032: Premature End of Restoration

There's a new problem - game decided that my last save (compressed) was corrupt. I do monthly uncompressed autosaves, and they worked, so it would lose me just a few day, but manually uncompressing the same (it's just a zip file) recovered it as well.

I modded some money sinks into Fun and Balance for Extended Timeline:

• buildings level 5/6 can be built in any number
• you can pay 1k gold for 20k manpower once every 5 years - only if you have no loans and are at war or face rebels - that feels much weaker than regular mercs, maybe weaker than it ought to be
• full occupation timer 2 years not 5 years (as was always meant to be)

And apparently AI will build canals, but only if it has 50k gold, not just 20k.

Anyway, I'm going for holidays now, and while I would be totally fine with playing games on holidays, the ratio of debugging to playing in this campaign is so high that it doesn't sound like a good holiday fun, so I'll just take a break.

Also, I have no idea how to solve the worst problem - AI passively sitting with its stack in one province while every other province it has is occupied. I've seen this AI dumb in previous Extended Timeline campaigns, but it seems much worse now. I'm not sure if there's some problem with Extended Timeline map, or AI is just as confused in vanilla, I just didn't notice.

Meanwhile the India remains uninvaded.

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