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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

EU4 Novgorod Campaign AAR

Post 1 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-07 17:10:56 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1444: Introduction

Campaign goals:
• Survive
• Remain a merchant republic
• Russia: Form Russia and unify all "Russian" lands
• Orthodoxy: Protect the Orthodox faith, its holy lands, and its people
• Colonization: Colonize Siberia and defeat the steppe hordes
• Trade: Dominate trade in Baltic and Black Sea

Novgorod would be a fairly strong country if it was located elsewhere, but it starts in extremely perilous position, squeezed between three potential superpowers - Muscovy (who gets mission with free claims on all of Novgorod's lands), Denmark/Sweden/Norway (who seems to be better at staying unified these days), and Poland/Lithuania. Usually under AI control it collapses to Muscovy really quickly, but if it survives first couple of decades its future looks a lot brighter.

It's extremely hard to form any alliances, as the only other significant Orthodox power in the world in Novgorod's mortal enemy Muscovy, republics have much harder time getting alliances than monarchies, and any relations with Poland or Lithuania might break at any time depending on their special events.

On the upside, this mod makes Novgorod start easier than vanilla:
• Hordes are a serious threat early game, so Muscovy might be busy
• Drastic republics nerfs are reversed - but this will only help later
• Conversion between Orthodoxy and other branches of Christianity are possible, so fun things might happen

I plan to do quite a bit of mid-game modding if needed, as neither republics nor trade are very well balanced in the game, and I didn't touch any of that before.

Wish me luck.

Post 2 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-07 18:23:49 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1444-1449

Timing is extremely critical, and as I ran the game on observe mode a bunch of times to test the mod, I have some idea of what matters and what doesn't.

Lithuania day zero rivalled Teutons and Muscovy. Poland rivalled Teutons, Livonians, and Bohemia. That means Lithuania did not rival me, and that's some awesome news so far! I'm not sure if Novgorod is even doable if everything aligns against you.

So day zero:

• Disband all nontrade ships
• Recruit up to force limit, cav-heavy to get a bit more edge here (cav is not money-efficient but it's force limit efficient)
• Set rivals that will align be with Poland and Lithuania - Muscovy, Teutons, and Livonians
• Embargo Muscovy
• Guarantee Lithuania

Day one Lithuania, Cyprus, and Athens all went Orthodox. Oh yeah, that decision. That's actually totally awesome, since it greatly increases the chance of Lithuania accepting an alliance. Unfortunately it also prevents my cheesy plan of me going Catholic for a while to get quick alliances with both Lithuania and Poland (only to get back Orthodox at -100 prestige once situation is less desperate).

Lucky event two - Muscovy got mission to subjugate Tver, not me.

And December 28th, Lithuania accepted military alliance. My desperation levels are rapidly dropping now.

Mission to insult Teutons successful made my knyaz so happy he passed out of heart attack, so in a quick elections a 4/5/5 candidate for desperate times got elected. And what's the next mission, conquer Tver? That's awesome! Getting there before Muscovy is going to be huge.

1445-08-06 Muscovy declared war on Tver while I was sieging it. And Kazan declared on Muscovy three days later. My luck is pretty much infinite this game.

Now the hard choice - I can either vassalize them and get into early defensive war against Muscovy while they're losing hard to Kazan, or annex Tver and not. Among minor spoils are -50 diplo points and 63 gold for vassalizing with wrong CB, but I can't afford to worry about such matters when the question is war with Muscovy or not.

And I decided to just annex Tver, and release them again. The big reason is that I'm in this war alone, Lithuania would not join due to 60 day timer (I understand why they added this timer, but I sometimes wish they didn't).

Oh and what's that? I can attack Muscovy anyway in a reconquest war, and Lithuania will join me? I'm defiitely pushing my luck here, but he it comes! Novgorod, Lithuania, and Tver have 23k infantry, 14k cavalry, and 6 trade ships. Muscovy, Perm, Pskov, and Yaroslavl have 13k infantry, 4k cavalry and war against 27k strong Kazan horde with their 40k allies Crimea.

I did what I could with my tiny armies, which is to siege some border provinces, hoping Lithuania, and the hordes will do any heavy fighting. And they did, and Muscovy in fact lost its entire army! (they were still at 22k manpower) Lithuania even fought rebels for me!

I decided that force limit is more of a guideline than a real "limit", recruited a bunch more regular troops to siege faster (I'm in permanent manpower crisis in pretty much every campaign anyway).

And Sweden with Teuton support declared independence from Denmark/Norway, while Denmark was trying to invade the Livonians... Does it get any better?

Apparently not since Muscovy stack wiped one of my sieging stacks I wasn't careful enough with... And then fucking Polish-Lithuanian union happened, breaking our alliance mid-war. I so fucking hate this fucking event. Poland at +96 is still neutral towards me and won't take alliance... And my war is at just +10%, but at least Kazan is still all in.

Finally Poland accepted that damn alliance at +102 relations. Won't help me this war, but some kind of backups is really necessary - and it's absolutely critical that I get this alliance now so AE from my war with Muscovy won't break it completely.

In the end, hordes took huge chuck of Muscovy (including one of my cores) and took Perm as a vassal.

Meanwhile I got the max possible warscore and demanded:
• my core Vologda
• Tver's core Rzhev
• Pskov as a vassal
• completely unclaimed provinces Beloozero and Kostroma
• independence for Muscovy's last vassal Yaroslavl

I seriously expected this fight against Muscovy to take until 1500 maybe, it turns out it's basically over in 5 years. And hilariously they took the dreaded "Subjugate Novgorod" mission midwar. Yeah, good luck about that.

Wow. Muscovy is basically over, I have hopefully stable alliance with Poland/Lithuania, Denmark is fighting Sweden (and unfortunately winning). Luck was somewhat on my side (would be more if Lithuania stayed independent, or Sweden won their independence war), but It went so far beyond my expectations.

I'm playing this game extremely aggressively, and when Lithuania got under PU and bailed out of my war I was briefly worried that if Kazan also bails out I might lose this campaign to Muscovy's infinite manpower and lack of potential alliances. Fortunately Kazan went for 100%.

Of course it goes without saying that my manpower is very negative, but my income is really high that early into the game, so mercs won't be a big deal.

Oh and I turned on random new world. Won't really matter much as I don't plan to go much further West than North Sea node, but it could be some added fun for the Westerners.

Post 3 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-07 22:12:19 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1449-1460

The great war that happened wasn't my plan. My plan was just waiting Muscovy out while I'd vassalize minor powers along the Baltic coast, until I either had alliances with both Poland and Lithuania, or the interregnum ended without PU. Going into war against Muscovy with one unreliable ally (who ended up bailing out via event) was extremely reckless, but one has to take the odds one is given.

I'm not terribly worried about the hordes. Sure, Kazan is annoying - they have scary numbers of troops (and alliance with Crimea with even more), border with me, my core, and they block any chance of expanding into Siberia. Fortunately in the long run their tech is only going to fall further and further behind mine, and hordes will hopefully mostly remain busy fighting each other, pretenders, and assortment of rebels. But then so hoped Muscovy...

I sold one of two taken provinces to Tver, coring the other one, since I needed it as base to fabricate claims from. By the way they really should close this gamey tactic where you can fabricate claim next to your uncored provinces.

Livonians, Riga, and Teutons were already fighting Poland/Lithuania/Mazovia/Moldavia and Denmark/Norway/Holstein/Brandenburg/Bremen/Utrecht, and had basically zero armies, so it was too good an opportunity to pass. Unfortunately I had zero manpower to take advantage of it, so I hired a ton of mercs instead, as well as a cabinet of level one advisors, something I finally felt I can afford.

The alternative was to intervene in Swedish war of independence, against Sweden. Sweden is big enough that PU enforcement would require 100% occupation, and as long as I occupy some provinces Denmark wouldn't be able to get anywhere - and then I would annex those provinces. Sadly I didn't consider that scenario early enough, so I had no claims prepared for such an opportunity.

Muscovy entered coalition against me. This is so fucking rich coming from a country with a mission to "Subjugate Novgorod". Fortunately the only other countries that care about my conquests are Yaroslavl, Ryazan, and Lithuania (being junior PU partner under ally doesn't give AE discount, and they're Orthodox too). Hilariously, Golden Horde (who previously vassalized Ryazan) now attacked Muscovy to finish them off.

Anyway, the war. Teutons bailed out, and Livonians and Riga had just 7k between the two of them. The war was easy, except I couldn't actually finish it since that would get me into war against Denmark (whatever) and Poland (sometimes the game gets you into a fight against you ally, sometimes it doesn't, it's so unpredictable).

Denmark and Sweden peaced out - Finnish rebels got one province, Sweden renounced some cores, and got back under PU.

Finally Poland peaced out Teutons, so I could vassalize Livonians. Then Denmark peaced out their invasion of Osel by paying me 40 gold. Now that I think about it, maybe invading them wouldn't be such a horrible idea, but crushing one of my great rivals is good enough, I don't need to crush another.

I got trade ideas because I'm a merchant republic, and also because nothing else in diplo is terribly important right now - I can't have many relations anyway, I can't explore from my current location, and neither naval nor espionage are terribly good. I need admin and military points more right now.

Muscovy and Denmark were both in coalition against me, and Poland did not feel like joining that war due to debt and distance (Poland is a shitty ally, I wish Lithuania was independent), so I just attacked Yaroslavl for now while I'm spamming armories for some more manpower.

Denmark and Muscovy were in coalition against me. I could wait for AE to go away since Denmark didn't have all that much. Or I could go ahead - Denmark, Norway, and Sweden all looked extremely wear from their war against each other. Unfortunately Denmark would be war leader in that war, and that would make it pretty much pointless, regardless of my ability to defeat them.

So wait a few years, annex Tver, Poland got into war with France... This game would be ten times easier if Lithuanian didn't get under that damn PU, seriously.

Some more years, annexed Pskov, got to military tech level 5. Now I need to consider my options. Denmark has only -15 AE against me, but is in the bullshit coalition anyway. Also -105 desires your provinces - 1 base tax Estonian culture Osel with no decent modifiers. Yeah, "desires your provinces" is totally broken. Poland is still little shits who won't join any of my wars because they have 2.3 WE and 1 loan. It's completely ridiculous how trivial allies' excuses tend to be.

So I could wait some more years for one of the following:
• Denmark leaves coalition
• I annex Livonian order
• Poland decided to be a reliable ally
• I get even larger tech advantage over hordes
• Hordes are at war with each other

Or I could just attack someone without Poland.
• I could attack one of the hordes - Kazan or Golden Horde, since they're all military tech 3. Unfortunately they're allied with pretty much everybody from Timurids to Ottomans, and it won't do me any good to defeat suffering massive casualties them only to get crushed by the second wave.
• I could attack Denmark/Sweden/Muscovy/etc. coalition. It would be extremely painful war without Poland/Lithuania helping me, since Denmark would be war leader and I would have to fight through all of them to get to Denmark. I could always just sit on the war target and wait for warscore to tick up, instead of going for full victory. Mostly I hope the coalition falls apart sometime soon.


Post 4 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-08 00:54:28 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1460-1469

Fuck it, war against Kazan it is. Their biggest ally Crimea bailed out, so it's just me and Livonians vs Kazan/Perm/Chagatai, or 29k vs 54k. I'm getting pretty decent intuitions when AI allies are going to bail and when they're going to join wars, I haven't been wrong about this often lately, at least not in a way that would come to bite me.

Kazan was technically at war against Ottomans and Qara Qoyunlu, but not really involved in fighting. They've sent their 13k stack all the way into my territory, and it got completely wiped at Olonets with just 2.2k losses. Nice start. They got the rest of their forces into a doomstack, managed to wipe out Livonian army, then proceeded to lose to Russian winter, and I crushed what was left of them.

Technically Chagatai still had 18k soldiers, but they were really far away, and I didn't expect them to come.

Kazan had to give me Perm as vassal, and provinces of Ustyug (my last core), Nizhny Novgorod (vassal to release), and Viatka (for no particular reason), as well as 50 gold. That's not really breaking Kazan, but it will give me access to Siberia.

Denmark finally left coalition against me, and Poland finally got its act together, so it was time to attack Sweden, bringing everybody into the war (screenshot attached).

I left all the big fighting to my allies, got ton of mercs since I didn't have that much army from Kazan war, and went straight after Muscovy. Poland/Lithuania wouldn't be of much help offensively, but they'd hopefully protect me from Swedish invasion while my army was busy.

Neither of us was sure who's superior on the sea, so I blockaded Sweden, they blockaded Poland, and we didn't really feel like testing it out. Then a bunch of sea battles erupted out of nowhere, I committed all my fleet, they didn't commit all of theirs, and we sunk more than they did.

Denmark got impatient, committed all their troops to Neva, which was far too close to Lithuania for AI to screw this up, so Lithuania managed to get their armies together for that battle, and that was the last time they tried to invade.

Brandenburg bailed out by annulling their alliance with Denmark and a small fee. I was happy to grant them that since Denmark was still scary big, even if it lost a bunch of early battles. They immediately really themselves with Poland.

1465-08-28 I finally vassalized Muscovy. War against Denmark took a few more years. I took all provinces with Finnish cores - except for that one that was actually independent Finland, so now I needed to fabricate on that, and return their cores after they're already my vassals.

Burgundy became the Emperor, in highly divisive vote - it got only 2 votes, as did Wurttemberg; Bohemia, Hesse, Palatinate got 1 each, and Austria got zero. Strange times, and it reminds me of EU3 so much.

And just as I managed to fully setup vassal Finland and started annexing Livonians, Pomerania attacked Brandenburg, Poland became war leader, and called me into the war. Pomerania looks really screwed, the only problem is that Hansa and Pomerania might sink my trade ships, as AI is really bad at helping with naval battles.

Overall, things are going really well. To form Russia I'll only need admin tech level 10, a few provinces from the Golden Horde, and some vassal integration.

Another thing - playing with just 2 diplomats is so hard. I'm so used to taking diplomatic ideas as the first thing, and now my diplomats are so few, and so slow.

The war to finish Muscovy

Big Green Blob

War against Pomerania

Post 5 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-08 22:41:29 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1469-1484

I've just noticed they nerfed western arms trade bonus, so now you won't get that bonus from your western-tech vassal like I was doing in my Timurids game a while ago.

Anyway, the war involved some fighting on the Baltic, where I lost a few ships, but overall did pretty damn well. After I integrated Livonians I moved my trade capital downstream to Riga, which didn't make a huge difference, but every little helps here.

I used Livonian territory to fabricate claims on Teutons and Pomerania. Pomerania I couldn't attack since they're HRE, but Teutons were an easy target. That vassalization got me into some silly war I couldn't care less for, and it got Poland to break our alliance because they want those damn Teuton provinces so much.

I wanted to explain mistake in Polish ways by means of force, unfortunately it turns out I guaranteed them, and breaking a guarantee now results in a one-sided truce. WTF game? Not that it matters all that much - Poland got allied with France and Burgundy (with whom I have a truce, but truces no longer apply to defensive wars these days).

I waited for that stupid inherited war to finish (since apparently being on losing side of a war loses you defender of the faith, not just when you peace out. that's stupid as hell and never explained anywhere, but that's the game), then I paid 500 gold to become Defender of the Faith for extra missionary since I started to expand into infidel territory and I planned to do that a lot more.

And then the long wait happened. I wanted to tech up to level 7 in January 1479, then get artillery and use it to rush against hordes. None of that happened of course, since Kazan declared war against me, and its coalition buddies Denmark/Sweden/Norway with it, as well as Crimea. Total was 45k on my side vs 87k on theirs (or 59k if Crimea sat it out). I so regret Poland/Lithuania not being here with me any more...

Anyway, Scandinavians were busy sieging Finland, while I was fighting Kazan horde. Crimea as expected didn't bother showing up. My military tech advantage and lack of coordination by their armies resulted in some really one sided battles. I could have pushed that war to 100%, but it was pointless so I let Kazan get away with returning one core to Muscovy and giving me some spare cash. Some wars worth pushing to the bitter end, some aren't.

Oh, and second idea group. Initially I wanted expansion, since it's normally so much stronger than exploration thanks to its amazing CB, but this CB doesn't work against Muslim tech countries (only Nomad/Indian/Chinese), so partial westernization in the mod makes it a lot less useful - by the time I get to India or China (if ever) it will be all gone. Also I really want religious as third idea group, and I prefer to go diplo ideas twice rather than admin ideas twice. The fact that Muscovy has cheaty ways of revealing Siberian provinces but I don't and I need to do it slowly makes conquistadors extremely desirable too. So exploration it is!

Denmark integrated Norway, so I started annexing Finland - I'm sure Swedes are very happy squeezed in the middle between two emergent empires. Denmark was briefly at slightly negative prestige, so if it was CK2 I'd take massive loans to pay assassins ton of money to kill Danish king that very moment - unfortunately EU4 lacks assassinations. It's possible that Danish victories over Finnish armies got them over 0, so I screwed this up the second time (the first time not intervening in Swedish independence war).

Anyway, the plans might have been delayed by that Kazan war, but hello Golden Horde. 237k troops total you say against my 47k? Let's see how many of them are actually going to show up. Horde armies got easily crushed, Ottoman army was defeated with some losses, so it was all fun until Timurids showed up contrary to my expectation. In any case, Timurids were the war leader and they were much less impressed than the Golden Horde by what was going on. I hate the mechanic where you can't negotiate with war target, but here it is.

Crimea decided to take advantage of this and attacked Golden Horde as well. They did not do well, but they provided useful distraction. Soon it was 45k (not counting Crimea's side war) vs 123k. I didn't push them war, and Timurids were too busy to get into serious fighting too, so the war score was slowly ticking in my favor. Finally they accepted 2 provinces for 40%. It was somewhat painful in terms of manpower reserves, but Muscovy was so happy I returned some provinces they got into annexable range.

I got to second exploration idea and recruited two conquistadors to explore Siberia, even though I don't really have much ability to colonize it fast.

After I annex Muscovy I'll need either Smolensk (Lithuania) or Ryazan (Golden Horde) in order to form Russia, as well as admin tech level 10 which is still decades away.

My AE against Denmark is currently 0, but they can't leave their damn coalition since they're at some minor war. If they ever do, that's going to be some fun times.

Post 6 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-09 22:58:13 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1484-1495

I got a random event for over 750 gold, so I went on a building spree and got myself up to 10 cogs (1 I had captured in a previous war and kept just in case - all captured galleys I disbanded right away).

I got into a war against Kazan - which made Qara Qoyunlu war leader and made it impossible to negotiate with Kazan directly, even though Qara Qoyunlu was too far to get involved into the war. That's total bullshit - everybody who's not a vassal should be able to negotiate in every war period - unfortunately the only moddable part is disallowing war leader changes completely, which would probably go too far. And my Siberian explorers got exiled when war started which prevented them from exploring. Basically more bullshit. I'd love it if both issues here were fixable, but they're not.

I had to send my armies south through Golden Horde territory into Qara Qoyunlu, and my supremacy over the hordes was pretty evident when my 18k stack massacred theirs 28k with very low losses. Even then I took just two provinces, since extended war that far away wouldn't be all that amazing for me.

Next I got into war against Denmark. On sea I sunk pretty much all they had, but at cost of a lot of ships. On land half their army was on the wrong side of the Baltic, and I managed to deal with the other half just fine. I took two Swedish provinces and Skane on the route connecting Denmark with Sweden, while destroying Danish prestige, hopefully enough to get their union over Sweden to break.

Then I got into another war against Uzbek - hoping to lure their only ally Golden Horde into it without triggering everybody up to Timurids. Unfortunately Golden Horde bailed out on that one - not too surprising since they were already in another war (Ottomans vs Venice with massive alliance chains on both sides). I was really stretching my manpower reserves, and a trip through far North to get to fight the hordes really destroyed what little I had, so I had to fall back on mercenaries. Loads of mercenaries. In theory my annual manpower growth is very respectable, so I thought I wouldn't need any more mercs this campaign, but I've been pushing my armies hard.

Fortunately Uzbek horde with no allies offered very little resistance, and was extremely happy to hand over their lands into Novgorodian administration During the war they even briefly captured my colony, fortunately they were kind enough not to burn it.

I unlocked 4th exploration idea for +20 settler growth, 6th exploration idea for second colonist, and captured Uzbek lands are next to non-arctic parts of Siberia, which can be colonized much faster.

A minor thing is that Hansa offered an alliance as they were so happy about me crushing Denmark, which is fine. I tried to work a bit on improving relations with Hungary, but they apparently already have two great power allies, so that won't work.

Overall, things are going way better than I expected. I can't realistically fight Poland/Lithuania for Southern Baltic coast, since they're allied with half of Europe, and HRE would be hard due to transportation issues, but other than that every direction is very open.

Post 7 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-10 22:09:33 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1495-1503

I really wanted to get into fights against the hordes, but between low manpower and rebel problems on both West and East end of the country I took a short break.

Not that it helped much - Kazan/Denmark coalition went after me. It wasn't actually that impressive - Kazan had 35k low tech troops, Scandinavians just 23k troops and 14 ships. Me and my vassal Teutons had 40k troops and 40 ships. I sunk Scandinavian ships, crushed Kazan's army, and got a single province and some cash out of the war. That province was actually pretty good, since it cut Kazan to vassalizable size, and got me access to already vassalization-sized Nogai.

Minor downside of the war was that the Hansa dishonored our alliance. I almost got Venice to be my ally, but then Number of Great Power allies hit instead. It's really hard to run any kind of diplomacy as a republic, especially as infidel republic (the only two Orthodox countries in the known world are me and Lithuania, and Lithuania is under Polish PU). Anyway, I tried my best and I got Hungary, Switzerland, Brandenburg, Hansa, and Munster (the HRE on) as my allies.

Anyway, I got into that war with Nogai I wanted, Golden Horde and Chagatai joined - I separate peaced Golden Horde for Ryazan's provinces to release them just afterwards, vassalized Nogai, and while Chagatai was vassalizable-sized as well, they're still half-undiscovered so I don't have any good ways to get decent warscore out of them.

Danish-Swedish union finally collapsed, but soon after Denmark attacked Sweden to restore it. I really want to intervene to make sure that doesn't happen, but then I currently have truce with both due to Kazan's attack. Of course not even 1 out of my 5 allies would join me.

So far campaign goals:

• Unify Russia: 40% - Muscovy defeated, I'll have all required provinces once I annex Ryazan, but Russian region is big and mostly under hordes
• Dominate Baltic and Black Sea Trade: 20% - I have about half of the Baltic trade, none of the Black Sea trade, and little in between
• Colonize Siberia: 20% - it will take long time, but it's going really well
• Defeat the hordes: 20% - only with the most recent war horde lost all territories they conquered earlier this campaign
• Restore Orthodoxy: 0% - Constantinople fell, not even close to Jerusalem or Rome

I'll probably wait a year for truce timers with Kazan, Denmark, and Sweden to expire - then either intervene in the Denmark-Sweden war if necessary, or go after Kazan/Uzbek coalition against me otherwise (hopefully without triggering alliance chain to Ottomans or Timurids as was the case in most of my horde wars).

Post 8 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-11 18:14:52 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1503-1507

I had a bit of a mess because changing monthly policy cost from 1 to 0 changed some tooltips, but not others - fortunately it calculates correctly, and when you mouseover your points on top of the screen it shows correct totals but incorrect breakdown. Tooltips lying? Like that's something new, but it's still annoying when I have to stop the game to investigate bugs.

And speaking of modding, now that I thought a bit more about that maybe holy sites for Western Christians should be Rome, Jerusalem, Paris, Vienna, and Canterbury (or something near them) for gameplay reasons? None of the Western sites would make terribly much historical sense - Lourdes maybe could work but it's still a bit too far from all the fighting. That's for the next time.

Anyway, back to the game. I reevaluated my options. My truce with Denmark and Sweden was still one year away, but Danish army was stuck on the wrong side of Oresund, while the Swedes were winning the actual fighting. And while Denmark had some powerful allies like Austria, England, and Connacht (4/5 of Ireland), none of them joined their offensive war, while Swedish ally Hansa did join, as well as East Frisian rebels against Denmark who currently had bigger stack than what was left of Danish army. It was a really good move to take Skane (I even built a March there since it's very hard to defend) and prevent easy Danish movement over Oresund - while allowing Swedes and their allies to pass through at will. So hopefully the war will be fine without my intervention. Neither Denmark nor Sweden can ever be my ally due to (fairly reasonable) desires your provinces penalties, but that's life, and my AE against them is not too crazy.

Meanwhile coalition against me was Uzbeks - who recently stopped being a horde, and Kazan, who just lost a war to other hordes and Ottomans and saw its armies wiped out, so it was a good time to break up the coalition. Golden Horde also joined, but nobody big bothered to show up. Quite a few hordes settled down already - Uzbeks, Nogai (my vassal), Chagatai (and possibly some other hordes I can't see yet), which feels like about the right pace historically.

Anyway, my original plan was to vassalize Kazan with its 4 provinces - but instead I got 4 provinces for Nogai and 4 claimed provinces for myself (2 of them sold to Nogai anyway). It's probably better to setup one big vassal there instead of a ton of small ones. On the downside coalition against me expanded and now includes Uzbek, Kazan, and the Golden Horde.

By the way, now that I see maps of the random new world, it's just way too tempting, so I'm changing plans for this campaign and I want to setup 5 colonial states there in full control over their regions, in addition to my existing plans - which turned out to be much easier than expected since Muscovy collapsed early, and hordes even with help they got from recent patches and my mod got outclassed much sooner than I expected (they seemed pretty damn strong even up to 1600 when I played as Chinese tech nation).

That will mean adopting expansion idea group as 3rd group instead of religious, conquest of Iceland as staging area for colonization, and extending my idea of "dominating Baltic trade" to full control over North Sea trade node as well.

Iceland you say? That would require setting up a vassal Norway. So here it goes! I even got my ally Hungary to join it, hoping they'd deal with Danish ally Austria, but Austria bailed out on this war, already fighting Poland/Lithuania, Burgundy, and basically half of Central Europe.

So it was 54k vs 39k on land (Denmark itself had just 8k and was in war against Sweden) - unfortunately England and Connacht joined, and English navy was way bigger than mine. As I was planning to setup another vassal, and I wasn't really sure why the hell I thought an HRE OPM like Munster would be a good ally, I called them into arms, and they refused, freeing my relations slot. Oh well.

Sweden hates me with passion, but apparently anybody will let your troops through thanks to "+150 at war with neighbouring rival" modifier to that option. Hungarians had one transport and sent it over all the way around, somehow managing not to get it sunk by the English.

Pomerania decided to join the anti-Danish pileup as well, I got a tiny Norway as a vassal, and Sweden got two of its provinces back.

That was a pretty good war, except rebels broke my core creation in Tambov while I was away and cost me 90 admin points. Not as bad as a comet at least. Coming next is Sweden!

Post 9 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-11 20:25:25 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1507-1514

I took exploration idea, but I can't explore Siberia due to exile nonsense, so maybe I can at least send some ships to see the New World instead. Or are they going to make ships exiled in the next patch as well, given that day 0 trade fleet ambush is a pretty common and somewhat abusive strategy?

Speaking of exile, it's such bullshit that vassal armies don't get unexiled on their overlord's territory, they have to go all the way back to their own instead. Of course none of that is moddable.

Anyway, war with Sweden. The only Swedish ally Hansa bailed out, preferring to remain my ally instead. The war was as straightforward as wars get, and Norway got all the spoils except Sami Lappland which they didn't want.

Explorers did some exploring (I got 2 eventually, both maneuver 0), but the closest colonizable province is 376 from Iceland, and my current tech and bonuses only allows to colonize 240 away, so that will have to wait (not to mention I don't even have Iceland yet, I just discovered it a year ago or so), and I think they closed all the loopholes like conquering natives (can't core past colonization range), or even annexing vassals (can't annex vassals unless one of their provinces is corable). It's possible they overlooked something (what if I vassalized some of them, gave them already cored province in Europe, then integrated them?), and I'm pretty sure I can vassalize and integrate one of countries with preexistent colonies like England, but there's no rush - there's whole Siberia still to do.

I got into a fight against Chagatai in order to get their ally Kazan into the war without trigerring coalition. Kazan joined the vassal club, while Chagatai got away with just conceding defeat.

Hungary attacked Venice for some trivial province, and while I don't care terribly much for random HRE minors I happen to be allied to, keeping alliance with Hungary seems like a good idea.

Coalition against me is now pretty big: Sweden, Denmark, Poland (with Lithuania), Golden Horde, and Uzbeks are all in, but I'm sure I'll figure out some way around it, since alliance networks in Europe are so dense.

Timurids formed Mughals, Oirats and Chagatai settled down as well, so that's majority of the hordes now. Genoa got most of Crimea, in sweet revenge for EU3. I finally got embassy built, and 3 diplomats are just so much better than 2. Not that I would mind 4th and 5th.

I'll be able to form Russia as soon as I tech up (I can already, but it's pretty big ahead of time penalty) and am at peace.

Post 10 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-12 13:21:38 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1514-1518

Coalition against me is Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Golden Horde, and Uzbek. Poland will drop out in a few years if I stop expanding and is also the only one that's scary. So should I take it easy for a while? No way!

I attacked Pomerania. Its various allies - especially Sweden - joined the war, but the emperor didn't, so it wasn't exactly hard. The only defeat was when my general had a heart attack while on a boat so landing was unexpectedly without any leaders in addition to usual landing morale penalties.

I planned to take Sweden as a vassal in the war, as I cut it just below vassalizable size, but it turns out 5-province Pomerania was also vassalizable, so why not that too? Well HRE AE multiplier would be a good answer why not, but I don't plan to go too deep into HRE territory, Lubeck node is the only thing I really need. Should I try to dismantle HRE someday perhaps? I've never done that in either EU3 or EU4.

During the war I got that awesome event for ton of gold again, this time getting 1500 gold and buying 20 training fields right away. Random events in EU4 are a lot more likely to be lucky, not just comet after comet EU3 used to have.

Protestant reformation started - awkwardly in Teutonic territory, but so far none of the countries flipped to new religion.

After the war I moved trade capital one node down to Skane in Lubeck node - I don't have any other provinces there, but I have some really impressive trade fleet at least - and then I waited for the inevitable coalition of half of Europe to emerge and attack me.

No such coalition came so far, but that's likely because Europeans are too busy fighting each other. So 1518-01-01, as soon as admin tech level 10 stopped being ahead of time of time and I formed Russia, and immediate set up Russian partiarchate and passed Conventicle Act, whatever that might be but at least it gives nice missionary bonus.

I made a minor mistake of taking achieve religious unity mission and then annexing Nogai with its 10 years' worth of extra Muslim provinces.

So now it's the choice of either waiting for Europe to get over my recent vassalizations, or pushing even harder.

Pretty much the only direction I can attack where they still don't hate me is Oirat/Chagatai - but I left them unmolested so they wouldn't burn down my Siberian colonies in case of coalition war.

Post 11 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-13 00:59:05 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign 1518-1525

Math time!

Tech level 14 becomes proper time in 1570, or 52 years ahead. I'll need to spend 3000 points on admin tech, 2000 on expansion ideas, at 10 points/months I'll have 6240 generated in that time, so that still leaves some for amount for other things and I won't fall behind anyway. The reason I fell behind on diplo tech was that I start at level 3 and unlocked idea groups on level 4 and 7 - two idea groups in 4 techs, not just one. So nothing to worry about here, as long as I don't force conquer and core too many things.

The second math is republican elections. Rulers have skills from range 1-5, 1-5, 4-5 - average 3.50, and in a 3-way election best candidate will have average of 4.08 (assuming all points are equally valuable to you, less if they don't). But my actual rulers tended to be better than that. I forgot that you can decide to keep ruler or elect new one after seeing everyone's stats, so it becomes 6-way, 9-way, 12-way etc. election - with averages of 4.36, 4.50, 4.58 etc. And somehow unlike random let's plays I've seen where there were losing republican tradition all the time, I'm pretty consistently in 90-100 range, usually at 100 (between Novgorod ideas and power projection my increase is +2/year not +1/year so that explains some of it). I guess I tried to counter the nerfs a bit too hard here, and maybe I should roll it back a tiny bit.

Third math is AE. Decay is at 6.0/year thanks to +50% prestige bonus. My AE in HRE is in -55 to -90 range, going all the way up to -183 for Denmark. So even if coalition emerges, I'll need to wait 9-15 years for bulk of it to go away, and in 31 it will be completely gone. That's not the end of the war since I can still have wars in Europe to return cores to my vassals (as long as I don't trigger entire coalition at once). And I need a war against Poland before 1552 or Teuton cores will start expiring.

After all these wars I had two remaining allies in Europe - Hungary (who ended up losing to Venice somehow, even though they were winning so much I thought I'm no longer needed there) and the Hansa. The Hansa decided out of nowhere they really want Pomeranian lands, so screw me.

I got a stupid Russian event which assumes I'm actually Muscovy. The choices - "Let us reform" and "Let us become more like Novgorod". Of course we should become more like Novgorod, we are damn Novgorod! Apparently Muscovy is so overpowered it never even occurred to testers to check what happens when Novgorod wins.

Since it was the only direction where they didn't hate me yet, I attacked Chagatai and Oirats simultaneously - Chagatai got to be my vassal, and Oirat got to return 2 provinces to Chagatai. It was pretty much necessary to do it this way since Oirats cut Chagatai into 4 parts with those provinces. That got Mughals into the coalition. Oops.

And with that I ran out of neighbours I could attack. Golden Horde defiantly stood between me and my claims on Genoa, Crimea, and Qara Qoyunlu, backed by coalition of half of the world.

So how about instead of attacking coalition of half of the world, I'd attack half of the world directly, so I could separate peace and stuff? That's the plan. First, attack Crimea. I thought I'd take that slowly since they're allied with the Ottomans, but Ottomans abandoned them. OK, so Genoa too, why not. They're allied with Poland, France, Castile, Venice, Switzerland, Siena, Pope, protected by the emperor Burgundy etc. etc. Surely not even half of them are going to join, right? Guess what - all of them did!

On sea it's 75 vs 181 ships, and I really don't want to build any ships since I'm just a few years away from teching up to new types. On land it's 102k vs 171k. I expected a bit more from them actually, but then a lot of troops on my side are really underteched horde vassals. I guess I can handle that...

And then as if Genoa didn't have enough buddies, Poland became war leader and started calling it its own like Austria, Hansa, and Palatinate. At least that instantly refreshed Teutonic cores. 227k troops and 188 ships (plus a few on the bottom of the ocean already). Oh and 15k Sunni zealots spawned right there just in case I didn't have enough enemies already.

My only remaining ally Hungary wouldn't even join since they were in debt and just lost that war to Venice.

The war plan wasn't terribly fanciful - lower game speed, recruit more units, micromanage armies better than AI, and take advantage of War Exhaustion reduction from Defender of the Faith.

That wasn't going all that bad, but I'm going to admit I really overextended this time, and I would probably have been better off not starting this war (I expected maybe half of the countries to show up, not all of them), so in the end I let them get away with just paying me 106 gold, without any scrap of territory changing hands. Fortunately in the middle of war Polish/Lithuanian PU broke down, thanks to Poland losing all the prestige when it went Protestant - and now Poland is under attack by the Ottomans while hardly having any armies left. Lithuania of course -200 desires all of my provinces, but I got used to that by now.

At least I got 2 out of 3 Crimean provinces, the third being taken by Golden Horde while I was busy, and I finally teched up so I'm building a much larger fleet of caravels which will dominate all seas!

That was the least successful war so far, and I'm much less inclined to attack the whole coalition than I was before. On the other hand I don't want to wait 20 years for coalition to go away, so I'll need to think of something else to do. Maybe attack Manchus?

Too much war

Protestants are getting somewhere

Post 12 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-13 10:20:05 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign quick update - I tried to setup victory conditions as code to have fun progress bar.

They're probably literally impossible to achieve since it's not really tested code. colonial_eastern_america tooltip is already displaying incorrectly, maybe that's due to random new world stuff?

Anyway, I'll fix or adjust them as I go.

As of 1525, only 11/56 victory conditions are met, so there's plenty left to do until 1821 :-D

Post 13 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-13 17:32:55 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign 1525-1533

My army size increased to 93k in a recruitment spree during wars against half of the world, and that's way more than I have any reason to have in peace time. Solution - avoid peace time. I wish I could transfer some of these troops to vassals, disbanding feels like a bit of a waste. I gradually downscaled that army by merging units in case of heavy losses (I'm not sure how merging+recruiting again vs reinforcing works in terms of money and WE, it's the same thing as far as manpower goes).

I've noticed that I was losing tons of trade income (11/month) because the game decided to tell my merchant to transfer trade in wrong direction. The UI gives you a choice between "collecting trade" and "transferring trade", but it's apparently your fault if you don't double check where the game decides to send all that trade.

Anyway, I repeated the double war in the East - now instead of vassalizing Chagatai and forcing Oirats to return Chagatai's cores, I vassalized Oirats and forced Manchus to return Oirats' cores'

England converted to Protestantism a while ago, but they ended up with the biggest zealot rebellion I've seen - 4 stacks of a total of 26k Catholic Zealots were all over England while English army was stuck in Western Isles (ironically protecting a missionary there). Scotland was English rival, so they would not let them pass through. That's the first time I've seen religious rebellion successful in a country this size, and zealots apparently became the new English army afterwards. And a year later England went Protestant again, apparently the government doesn't care for the will of the people.

Ottomans were getting beaten by Poland and friends pretty bad and Poland even weirdly took Edirne in the peace deal (now occupied by Byzantine rebels).

So the day my truces after First War Against Half Of The World expired, I declared war on newly independent Lithuania - and just its allies Poland and Venice. This time even Hungary joined my side, so it was the reverse of previous war - 153k troops and 79 ships vs 76k troops and 94 ships.

Venice dealt with Hungarian distraction pretty quickly and went straight to Lithuania - perhaps if I avoided calling Hungary into the war Venice would stay there, since none of Ottomans, Hungary, or Austria have any love for them. Poland had some pretty massive discipline and combat ability bonuses, Lithuania had shock 6 general - it all ended up with me taking far bigger loses than I expected, but concentrated numbers and good terrain still matter more. AI was really aggressive - it attacked me twice in Mogilev - 42k vs my 62k and 29k vs my 78k, losing both times but with a lot of hurt on my side too. Technically I didn't have that many troops there day one of the battle, but it's not like they couldn't see my stacks literally next province.

The war was going OK, but I still took some really serious beating, so it was time to get back to mercs again. Lithuania got the one time Liberum Veto stack (Poland got one in war against the Ottomans earlier). Fine, I white peaced Poland, then Venice, then Lithuania realized how badly they're losing and gave me 5 provinces where I setup Ukraine as a new vassal.

Unfortunately it looks like Lithuanian provinces have +100% coring cost, which is going to be some serious pain since I want basically all of them except Polish culture Podlasie which I don't care for terribly much.

Coalition against me is just Denmark, Golden Horde, and Uzbek, but I have a feeling my recent conquests might make a few more countries rejoin. At least now the Golden Horde can no longer block my progress towards Crimea.

All the coalitions successfully stopped me from taking Iceland, but fortunately once I caught up in diplo tech, a few provinces in the new world are now barely within colonizable range, so that's where the action is going to be now.

Victory conditions progress: 12/56


Post 14 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-14 01:15:17 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign 1533-1542

Since it was pretty clear Lithuania would join the coalition soon, and Poland and Genoa might as well, I needed to attack it now or wait another decade. Waiting is never really an option for me, so it was just a question whom to target - Denmark, Golden Horde, or Uzbeks. Uzbeks are sure annoying, but they were allied with Mughals, and that would probably change war leader. Denmark I don't care about as much since I no longer need Iceland. Golden Horde on the other hand is a huge pain as it stands between my armies and the Black Sea. It was allied with Aq Qoyunlu and the Mamluks, but Mamluks are rivalled by all their neighbours so there was no way they'd send any troops except maybe by sea.

Since I control the Baltic, I just trapped Denmark's entire army in their capital, and the war was easy afterwards... Except apparently now in coalition wars 100% occupation of war leader doesn't count for anything, and there's not even point going for 100% of all coalition members (I assume that would do it, but who the hell knows). And of course I still need to pay full diplo points for any of my claims if they're not on direct war target, or for returning cores to matter where they are. It's shit like that which makes me want to just turn coalitions off completely.

So all I got for all this trouble was 2 provinces for Norway (not useful ones like Iceland, just ones that my vassals happened to occupy) and 1 province for Kazan. I still couldn't afford to create land connection to the Black Sea. Fuck coalitions. Of course day after that war Golden Horde decided to leave the coalition anyway. What the hell, game?

Since I no longer needed Iceland, I decided to go on annexation spree - Kazan, Norway, Chagatai, Oirat - all ready for annexation. That immediately resulted in some really painful religious rebels.

Anyway, screw Europe - I unlocked so many fun CBs with exploration and expansion ideas, why not use them instead? First, Manchu. All of it. Annex, release vassal. I don't really need that right now, but it will be useful when I resume colonization of Siberia, currently suspended while all the colonists are busy in the new world.

Next, OPM somewhere near my North American colonies. And wow, all the easy conquests from the old days are gone - I need massive fleet to blockade anything, and I get no bonus for sieging. And how the hell did these bastards get tech 9/9/9 while still in their shitty tech group while pagan? I checked them, and they're paying 2100 points per tech. Everybody else has tech 3 or 4. Is that some new bug I'm not aware of?

By the way, let's name the new world. It has 4 big islands - Northmost one is exactly colonial region Canada, so that's going to be Canada. Colonial region California is split between New Ukraine and two islands to the south. I'll just name them Central California and South California, since North California is on the mainland.

That leaves the biggest continent covering about 75% of the new world, as well as 10 colonial regions plus bits of California - let's call it Ivania, after Ivan Trostensky, 4/5/5 knyaz ruling in key years 1445 to 1463, seeing both Muscovy, and who died just before our victory over Kazan and opening of Siberia to our colonists.

Anyway, I conquered that OPM, even getting a claim just in case game was about to do something stupid. So there's no coring cost reduction, no coring time reduction, no OE discount, nothing what so fucking ever. What the hell game?

Fine, let's try another one. It's allied with everyone in the new world... Apparently some things never change between the old and the new. At least one thing that worked is easily winning 28k vs 5k battle, but sieges will take forever, so I sent a lot more troops there - 11/4/7 in total. I'll probably built a solid army over there, since I want to expand there fast before everybody else steals the best land.

I annexed 5-province Iroquois and started coring the hard way. Ouch.

Meanwhile in the old world my armies were getting bored, and so far coalitions are not that big that I'd need to coordinate both continents, so I declared another war on the Golden Horde, this time out of coalition. They brought Mughals as war leader, and Uzbeks, and Aq Qoyunlu just in case, and then that chain got extended to Hedjaz and Multan.

Uzbeks got vassalized in separate peace, at least that was easy enough. Then some ridiculous amount of fighting was necessary to even get 2 provinces for Crimea, but at least now everything is connected and I have land route to the Black Sea. I also have a ton of rebels all over the place, and no admin points for any more coring, so I'll need to stop and rethink.

The good news is that coalition against me is now down to just Denmark. Such a welcome change.

Extra map this time is colonial regions. I want these 6:

• Canada - northernmost island, fully settled by natives - I thought I can just easily conquer them and core at 90% discount like in 1.3.x but hell no (dark blue)
• Alaska - white, west tip of Ivania plus various islands (white)
• California - two southern islands and part of mainland next to Alaska (orange)
• Eastern America - where my first colonial nation of New Russia just emerged (light cyan)
• Louisiana - tiny region of Ivania just opposite Canada, so I'm not really counting it as a full region, Castile alraedy got here hard (weirdish blue)
• Caribbean - just south from me, where England and Portugal are currently settling (light green)

The South/East portion of Ivania I currently plan to leave for others, but my plans tend to change a lot. These are:
• Mexico - just East from California (yellow)
• Colombia - a bit more East (red)
• Peru - a bit South (dark cyan-ish I guess)
• Guyana - tiny region East from Peru (darker intense green)
• La Plata - almost southmost part of Ivania (purple)
• Brazil - southmost part of Ivania (dull green)

I wonder if anybody got my descriptions of 50 shades of blue/green, I should probably just open Photoshop and annotate these manually. (I'm not even sure if they look exactly the same in game as on screenshots)

Current victory conditions: 12/56. It was briefly a lot better, trade domination conditions seem to be going on and off a lot.

For a while I thought I won't need religious ideas, but 75% unity and endless rebel spam are a pretty good argument to maybe get them. Or I could go for Pentarchy, holy sites, conquest of Rome/Jerusalem/Mecca etc. as DIY religious ideas. It's not like I need anything else terribly much. Diplomatic and offensive would be nice, or economic and plutocratic for flavor.

Post 15 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-16 00:28:45 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign 1542-1548

So the new patch is coming, and I'm not sure if I'll migrate the campaign or not - but I'm definitely doing some fixes now:

• Culture conversion at 5/bt was just seriously too cheap, so up to 10/bt, especially since 1.7 will bring culture conversion discounts.
• Ottomans can now reform Byzantium if they want (without going through exploit Ottomans->Romania->Byzantium), as long as they're Greek, Orthodox, and hold right provinces
• Some holy site triggers cleaned up
• Electing same guy and diploannexations each cost 3 republican tradition. 10 was a massive overkill, but 0 is too easy. Elections are still EU3-style, with 3 random guys to choose from. Republics in 1.7 will be slightly more powerful from what I understand, so that will help a little.
• Partial Westernization cost increased from 200 to 250 of each point. You can now only do it at stability 3, or stability 2 if you're at admin tech level 8. It was just way too easy.
• Same with tribal reform - it requires stability 3, lowered to 2 at admin tech 8. It happened too often, too early.
• Restored enemy core creation discount of 50% for pagans. You only get small portion of the value since it goes to your colonial nation, not to you, so you should only pay part of the cost.

Anyway, back to the game. I had 60k of rebels or so all over the place from Ivania to Sweden to Kashmir to deep Mongolia, and pretty massive OE from my new world conquests, so I took it slow for a while.

Some trade started flowing from the new world to the North Sea, and I even sent some colonists down south as well, to establish serious presence before my competitors had a chance to move there. With random new world network of trade nodes there is really extremely awkward, but I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Once things calmed down somewhat, I attacked Ming and Korea one one side, and some natives in Caribbean region on the other side of the world. War against Ming was as much a war of discovery as as war of conquest. Then since Japan didn't join their war contrary to my expectations, I attacked them as well separately.

Annexation of Mikmaq hardly even counted as a real war. On and I figured out why those natives in my previous war were at tech 9/9/9. Apparently there's a natives mechanic which allows you to get 20-ish free techs if you border western tech core (not eastern tech) and fill native advancements. Mikmaq did the same, but it didn't help them much.

There was a really ridiculous battle of Kham. 54k Ming doomstack attacked 6k Uzbeks. I thought they'd just wipe them out, but Uzbeks stood their ground and were winning until my armies arrived like two months into the battle. Apparently Ming gets -25% discipline on top of shitty level 6 tech vs Uzbek's 10 (and -1 terrain, -1 crossing, and not being able to use their tech advantage)

Ming and Korea weren't terribly hard to defeat, except for this tiny issue that I couldn't peace them out while at other war or I would have ridiculous OE. And Japan didn't want to peace out - 2 Manchu provinces I took were worth very little, and ticking warscore was for battles not occupations. Fortunately they had a small army in Korea since they were at war, so I got a bit of warscore for that and it started ticking. Unfortunately Koreans (or more likely Ming) sunk their whole fleet so they wouldn't send anybody else, and it would take years to get there. So I sent 10 cogs all the way from Europe to Japan, trying to avoid huge Ming fleet. It turned out it wasn't necessary since the month I was about to land my troops warscore ticker just got to the point where they were willing to return those 2 provinces to the Manchus.

So after the war I released Shun, started annexing Manchus. Ming joined Denmark in 2-country coalition against me - but Denmark doesn't seem terribly committed to it any more.

In the new world I'm going to continue fighting the natives. It's not yet time to fight other Europeans, but New Russia got their stuff together and started fabricating claims on (Castilian) Florida. Russian Louisiana is still just converting things, but they already have all 6 provinces in their colonial region, so I doubt they'll ever do much. I should send some expeditions inland too, I mostly know what's on the coast.

I was wondering what to do next, since Europeans have their dense alliance grid with few good openings, and Muslims had second alliance grid, but then Oman's conquest of Hedjaz's Socotra turned into an all-Muslim war, with Ottomans being allied to both war leaders and deciding what the hell to do. Once they decide, I'll move either against the Mughals or against Qara Qoyunlu - it's still far away until we retake Jerusalem, but every journey starts somewhere.

Victory conditions progress: 15/56, but colonial regions conditions are pretty clearly bugged (not clear if due to random new world or in general), so I'll replace them with something else, like having colonial nation in every colonial region without requiring full control (which is the part that's definitely not working).

Post 16 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-16 19:11:58 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign 1548-1554

I waited a bit for the Ottomans to take sides in Mughal-Qara Qoyunlu conflict, but they refused, so I attacked Mughals, and Ottomans bailed out on that one as well.

First, I separate peaced Golden Horde to make them return one core to Crimea, then I vassalized Aq Qoyunlu (the Sunni one), and of provinces taken from Mughas I setup Persia where they were culturally Persian, gave them to Uzbeks where they were culturally Uzbek, and cored myself two 1 base tax Turkmeni provinces I needed to let my troops pass through.

The next step war attacking Qara Qoyunlu while they were still at war, so they couldn't join the coalition (currently just Ming, but Qara Qoyunlu, Hedjaz, Mamluks, Ottomans, and Oman all were in coalitionable AE range).

Weirdly my vassal Aq Qoyunlu was still part of that Qara Qoyunlu - Mughal war on Mughal side... I guess I couldn't join the war since I was at war with the Mughals when I vassalized them, and that is checked only on vassalization, not continuously. Sometimes these mechanics are weird, but this one actually makes sense.

Qara Qoyunlu was still a horde at this late stage, so I could use my overseas expansion CB. This time Oman and Ottomans both honored their alliances, so it was going to be slightly less trivial than most of my non-European wars. It was 75k enemy troops, but only 25k of that were Ottoman's quality troops (and even these days Ottomans are not that scary), mostly it was 41k of ridiculously outclassed hordes troops, and 9k Omani troops probably too far to even care much for. My side had 178k troops - a lot of them in really remote locations, but I committed some serious resources to this war, and I was willing to commit more. Most wars are not worth pushing to the limit, but this one was.

And as expected Oman didn't show up, hordes were easy to defeat, and Ottomans were a massive pain, winning battles against my vassals. Once I got rid of horde armies, I sent my stack against the Ottomans, but they just moved to Europe and blocked the crossing. I annexed all Qara Qoyunlu territory north of their capital in Azerbaijan - and that's massive number of provinces thanks to awesome CB - 12 provinces of total base tax of 44:
• 1 core to Crimea
• 2 cores to Persia
• 5 provinces where I setup Georgia
• 1 Azerbaijani province sold to Aq Qoyunlu
• 1 Azerbaijani province cored directly
• 2 remaining Azerbaijani provinces that nobody can core until either me or Aq Qoyunlu finishes that core

And I'm over my relationship limit again, but that's really not a big deal.

Meanwhile in the new world I conquered Pequot, Ottawa, Lenape, one province from Huron - it was loads of one-sided fun, followed by a lot of rebel fighting, and I set up my third colonial nation Russian West Indies there.

Coalition against me is currently only Ming, but I'd be shocked if at least Mughals and Qara Qoyunlu didn't join. But they can't join while they're at war with each other and my truce with Ming ran out, so it's not going to surprise anybody what I'm going to do next.

On the other hand there are also a few colonies I'd like to burn down before they get big.

Victory conditions progress (17/63):

• Territory: 6/17
• Religion: 1/18
• Trade: 7/14
• Colonial nations: 3/14

Post 17 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-18 21:10:12 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 6 April, 1554: Campaign migration to 1.7.0

After 110 years which brought Novgorod from verge of collapse to being the world's most powerful republic since ancient Rome, the world changed suddenly and drastically - with game upgrade.

The most immediately visible upside is in trade - between my inexplicably higher trade power (partly due to "ahead of time diplo tech" - which actually means "not behind time", so it's very easy to achieve for anybody Eastern and up; partly due to doubled trade power from buildings I already pre-spammed in key trade nodes without any idea they'll be getting even better soon), setting up traders faction in power, and spamming trade posts, my trade income increased from ~80 to ~110.

There's also ahead of time bonus to production from admin tech, but that it seems insignificant in comparison.

Second change is huge, massive reductions in desires your provinces modifier. From what I understand AI now also considers if it's strong enough to take them (patch notes: "Effect of 'Desires your provinces' is now scaled down for countries that are weaker than the country whose provinces they want to conquer."). Penalty fell down (-200 is what game will display as cap, it was actually bugged and applied to max just wouldn't show):

• Golden Horde -200 to -78
• Mughals -200 to -58
• Qara Qoyunlu -200 to -18
• Denmark: -200 o -29
• Lithuania: -97 to -5
• Ottomans: -70 to -4
• Poland: -39 to -2
• Japan -29 to -1
• Brandenburg: -16 to -1
• Byzantium: -12 to -1
• Burgundy: -9 to 0 (they still desire one province)

Penalties were clearly way too high, but it feels they went too far down with them. My vassal holds 5 Lithuanian cores, all neighbouring them, all same religion, 2/5 accepted culture Ruthenian. That's totally reasonable to hate me for it. Did I run away from everybody else in power level so much?

Another big change is my manpower increasing from 211k to 281k max. That seems to be technology bonus to manpower. This still doesn't explain why I got 30% bonus while everybody else is within +-10% of their previous values. Force limits didn't change significantly.

One huge downside is with colonists. The patch nerfed Colonial Expansion policy which used to give +1 colonist (my 4th), to just meagre +10 global settler increase. This is really painful as I faced the choice between going expansion and for the new world, or going religious and for Jerusalem, and that 4th colonist convinced me. On the other hand, they nerfed religious ideas pretty awfully, replacing absolutely amazing +50% Better relations over time bonus with really shitty -25% Culture conversion cost. In other word - I'd be hit by massive nerfs whichever way I want.

Extra idea groups got some good ideas from other groups, so basically everything there is somewhat weaker now. There aren't that many good ways to get 4th colonist. Policy from expansion + quantity gives me one, but quantity is not a great late game idea.

A small issue is that Better UI mod, while it got updated to 1.7, has currently too many display glitches, so I'll be playing without it until they get fixed.

The campaign will get back to you soon.

Post 18 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-19 18:14:49 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign 1554-1560

As great Russian statesman Dmitriy Clausevichov said "War is a mere continuation of politics by other means". This often means politically optimal time to start a war and militarily optimal time are not the same - diplomats might be eager to get into the fight, but military be completely unprepared, or armies might stand in the border in attack formation for years while politicians spend their time working through complex networks of international diplomacy.

It shows how little our republic's politicians think of Ming military capability that they didn't even bother consulting our generals, just informed them - "oh by the way, when you're done with those zealot rebels in Mongolia, go conquer some China". The generals first wanted to protest that the armies are nowhere near newly declared warzone, but then they imagined themselves winning one easy victory after another and said nothing.

That war was relatively boring. Ming and their vassal Korea were military tech 7, me and my vassal Shun were military tech 12, so there couldn't really be any surprises.

Meanwhile I setup new trade system - putting traders firmly in power over the guilds and the aristocrats, building trade posts in each node and so on. In spite of sudden death of one of my 4 colonists, it took my colonists until end of the month to figure out he's gone, so I could choose which of the colonies I want unmanaged, without over 1 year long trip, and fortunately that worked.

Then I started the first colonial war! Technically it was some war with Denmark over a silly Swedish province, but it pulled Poland, Austria, England, Ireland, Utrecht, as well as their assorted colonial possessions into it. I started by sinking Danish navy to make sure Danish army stays stranded on the wrong side of the sea. It didn't even matter much which side - even if they managed to move North, without reinforcements from their allies it wouldn't be a big deal to defeat them there.

Then I seized 2 English colonies - the real war goal. After that point white peace would have been perfectly fine. I couldn't get much more out of it, as on South Baltic coast the war was going somewhat poorly - my tiny vassals vs all armies of Denmark, Poland, Austria and assorted minors. Fortunately I knew I could get white peace whenever I wanted once I sieged down war target and Danish capital. However, I wanted to milk this war for one more thing...

Time to attack Lithuania! Lithuania was allied with an impressive list of countries - most already at war with me. Now these countries like Poland and Austria would have been a massive pain in a land war in Central Europe - fortunately I could wait 2 months, then peace Denmark out and none of them would get anywhere near Lithuania. That brought Milan into the war, but Venice and Savoy bailed out on that, and neither Poland nor Austria could join even if they wanted.

In war against Lithuania I sent one stack against theirs, won that a battle, but then I tried to move away on low morale and got caught by their second stack. Fine, no big deal, even if I lose that I'll withdraw and my armies were just coming back from Denmark... And the 1.7's new bug where units sometimes retreat to same province they're at hit me, second battle at 0 morale next day, stack wiped. Fuck's sake game... I've heard about this on the forums, but I had a lot of battles so far and that's the first and only time it actually happened. Oh well, I hate losing to bugs but I can survive one stack wipe every now and then these days, so I just recruited another army.

I barely got to 10% warscore, and I peaced out Denmark for war target province - it wasn't really good for anything, and I would have taken white peace too, but let's keep the pretense that this war was all about that. Ming gave up huge chunk of their territory to Shun for 0 diplo - unlike what it used to be a few patches ago Expansion CB now returns cores at 50% cost and 0 diplo too, not just conquests.

As Mughals and Qara Qoyunlu ended their war a while ago, they both joined coalition against me. My AE against them was fairly high, against Ming not even that huge since I was mostly forcing them to return provinces to Manchu and Shun, not taking that many directly.

All that left me with just Lithuania, Milan, and some rebels. I did a lot of ping pong - sadly their armies refused to retreat to the same province and get instantly wiped out like my stack did, and I played more defensively than I normally do because of that bug.

While I was at it, I decided it's high to end Golden Horde's independent existence too. Sadly due to another game bug that would cost me 200 instead of 50 diplo it ought to (I had 3/4 claims, couldn't claim their capital - but full annexation didn't count those somehow), so I only took 3 of their provinces. I've seen this bug in a few other contexts, bug usually it works just fine if I remember correctly. Oh well.

War against Lithuania ended up with them losing 4 just provinces to Ukraine, but that's 25 total base tax since Kiev is insanely rich (also a holy site, but Lithuania is already Orthodox so it doesn't matter).

The 2 English colonies I seized turned Russian Orthodox after a while. I was aware this event existed, but I didn't know how likely it is to trigger. It seems it's very likely.

Ming soon left coalition against me... I wonder what's going to happen the day after that truce timer is up.

Post 19 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-19 23:46:40 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1560-1572

PSA: Released version of the mod missed one of election events, and it's giving -10 instead of -3 republican tradition (scaled to election cycle). Please get new version.

There's is actually some urgency to what I need to do now. There are only 9 provinces in Guyana colonial region, and Castile already started colonies in 2 of them, as well as one just next to it in Peru region.

The question was only whom to attack - and I decided to go after one of 3 claims I had on Castilian colonial nation Florida.

I seized 3 Castilian colonies in and near Guyana. That sent my colonial maintenance through the roof. I really hate their formula - 2.16, 2.16, 2.20, 4.25, 10.41, 20.83... WTF? I get it that making extra colonies more expensive deals with microcolony spam, but come fucking on game. That 4th colonist would reduce my costs by over 18 gold/month now, it will get better once some of my existing colonies finish.

Since I couldn't really take over anything else, I burned down one Floridian colony in the north, and two English colonies deep to the South.

My enemies had massive superiority on the ocean - fighting Castile, England, and Portugal all at once is not the best idea. At least my Northern Colonial Stack took a break from constantly fighting rebels colonial states couldn't handle, and crushes all opposition very successfully. I started recruiting Southern Colonial Stack too, since there was no way to send them around by sea.

The war was pretty much over - I held the new world, they held the ocean, neither of us showed any desire to go all in in Europe, so we just waited for warscore timer to tick up.

OPM Mantua attacked Milan for Cremona, Milan called Hungary into the war who became the war leader, Hungary called me into the war and I became the war leader. That war is just awesome. OPM war leader allied with Genoa, Austria, and the emperor Brandenburg... And my 42k stack is standing next to Brandenburg's capital, just in case someone gets a stupid idea and tries to land there...

And Castile indeed gots its stack to Pomerania. Defeating that got me a lot of warscore... but what's that? You've just built 3 more colonies? Time to burn that as well... and peaced out. Now Castile has no colonial presence in the new world whatsoever, and even English West Indies lost 1 province. 350 diplo for all that was quite expensive, but I'm doing OK on diplo.

Next the easiest war ever. I vassalized emperor Brandenburg right away. I don't have any major territorial ambitions in Western Europe, but that's 4 provinces in Lubeck trade node. And then I made Mantua have Genoa return 3 cores to Crimea.

Just as soon as the war was over England and Castile sent their colonists again. I can't really stop them, at least they had good sense to keep more distance, and New Russia sent one of theirs to province where I burned Floridian colony.

My colonial nations were seriously overextended, as well as culturally and religiously overly diverse, so I couldn't add anything new to them for a while. Coalition against me grew to Ming, Mughals, Tuscany, Venice, and Utrecht. And I was 2 over my relations limit. So it was time to take a break, send all 3 diplomats to annex some vassals (it's usually a fairly poor idea, spare diplomat can be extremely useful), and help my colonial nations deal with endless rebellions.

I setup my 4th colonial nation Russian Colombia. Since my colonies finally sorted things out, I decided to invade the island of Canada... and it went bad real fast. I didn't expect any serious resistance, so I dropped my 10k stack in a chokepoint, with intention that it would stop natives from gathering in one big stack I'd have to attack. It turned out the natives had nearly 100k in massive alliance/federation network, and instead of accepting being cut off in half they all ganged up upon by landing party. Fortunately I withdrew without any glitches and my fully transported 23k stack was enough to take on anybody on the damn island. 70k vs 22k battle was very successful.

That wasn't the worst of it yet. My colonial fleet consisted of all highly outdated ships since I wanted my best ships in the Baltic, and over there natives (presumably) could do nothing to me anyway, and any war with England, Castile, Portugal etc. would require going back to port day one, so there was no point investing in colonial navy. It turned out natives actually had pretty decent ships and successfully sunk my whole fleet, stranding my stack on island of Canada.

Then came the most embarassing part - I didn't notice their 6th province. It's random new world so it looks weird in general, and that province was not only tine, it was some serious case of gerrymandering itself between two other provinces, but I should have taken a closer look... I started sieging that only way too late. And then when I left already sieged provinces for a moment, natives would get there, press assault button day one, and undo the siege before I even got there - at which point I'd massacre their army, but the siege would need to start again. They sure had numbers for it, and they had no chance in an open battle, so it might be a rare showcase of AI brilliance.

Meanwhile I attacked OPM Golden Horde and 2 province minor Tibet just for some quick cleanup. Nothing to see here.

Anyway, end result of all that - 112% overextension, and native bastards had some ideas that doubled enemy coring cost, so I can't even core it all at once.

And then tech 14 came and 4th idea group. With religious and diplomatic nerfed as much as they are, and my mod making both less necessary (due to more reasonable missionary strength levels, and higher base relations),  maybe it's time for something else. Like let's say economic. I have an idea here. First two ideas - +5 gold/month due to higher taxes, -20% cheaper buildings... this has potential.

All those integrations left me with seriously oversized 202k army. 50k of that is in New World, and another 50k in the Far East, but that's still plenty left for a war in Europe or two. Coalition members almost all got bored, so I can go back to serious warfare.

And with tech 14 also came new type of transport ships, so my Baltic stack of only once obsoleted got sent to the colonies. The twice obsoleted kind is now the Great Canadian Coral Reef.

Post 20 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-20 01:41:41 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1572: Progress towards total victory

Total score is 19/61. The breakdown:

Survive, remain a merchant republic, defeat Muscovy, form Russia - done ages ago. (3/3)

Hold all provinces in Russian region, as well as all Russian / Ruthenian / Byelorussian / Baltic / Finno-Ugric / Altaic culture regions (2/7):
• I hold all Russian culture provinces, as well as all Finno-Ugric ones.
• Genoa still holds two provinces in Russian region which weren't Crimean cores
• Lithuania holds a lot of Byelorussian, Ruthenian, and obvioussly Lithuanian (Baltic) provinces. Poland and Hunagry hold 5 more Ruthenian provinces - ones held by Poland are all Ukrainian cores, but ones in Hungary aren't. Full conquest of Lithuanian will happen.
• I hold most Altaic (horde) culture lands already - I need 1 Turkmeni, 1 Mongol (and 2 to colonize), 8 Uzbek, 0 Kyrgiz, 0 Khazak, 1 Tartar, and 1 Azerbaijani province to conquer, as well as 13 Yakut provinces to colonize.

Hold all provinces in Western Siberia, Eastern Siberia, Manchuria, Mongolia, Central Asia, and Persian regions (1/6). The only one I got is surprisingly Mongolia. I'm 1 colony away in Western Siberia, 2 colonies away in Manchuria, most of my way through in Central Asia, and only getting started in Persian and Eastern Siberia regions. A lot of fighting against Mughals is gonig to happen here.

All holy sites in Orthodox hands (1/5): only starting Kiev, but I'm pretty well established in the Middle East now.

Restore Pentarchy - own and convert to Orthodoxy Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Constantinople, and Alexandria (0/10).

Save traditionally Orthodox people - make sure everyone in Byzantine (Greek, Georgian, Armenian), South Slavic (Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Albanian, Croatian), and Ethiopian cultures is under Orthodox rule (0/3). I could have listed them separately, since Georgians are already all Orthodox, and all Armenians will be if I ever integrate (Sunni) Aq Qoyunlu. It's part of general push towards Constantinople and holy lands.

Dominate trade in the Baltic, Black Sea, and everything in between. (8/14):
• I'm dominant in Novgorod, White Sea, Baltic, North Sea; not in Lubeck but close.
• I'm dominant in Astrakhan, Crimea, not yet in Constantinople.
• I'm dominant in Kiev.
• Krakow, Wien, Frankfurt, and Antwerpen... I'm not entirely sure why I put them on the list when I started the campaign. If I control Kiev, Constantinople, North Sea, and Lubeck none of these nodes really matter.

I might redo this list. I definitely want trade domination, but what I'm really interseted is Asian trade - in long perspective, Hangzhou, Basra, Indus, Gulf of Aden... Malacca would only be good if I wanted to conquer India as well. Anyway, this list is not set in stone, and I'll probably make it more global.

Colonial nation is every colonial region (4/13):
• New Russia, Russian West Indies, Russian Louisiana, and Russian Colombia are all doing well.
• I have enough provinces to create Guyana and Canada as soon as they finish colonizing/coring.
• I'm really tempted to conquer English West Indies and (Portuguese) Caraibas, just to have walkable route connecting my northern and southern colonial nations.
• Mexico, California, and Alaska in the West just require spare OE capacity. Conquest will be easy.
• Peru and La Plata in the south are relatively easy to setup colonial nations at, I just need to make sure I don't let anyone block my way through, it's a long 2 province wide corridor, and they already have 1 of two provinces in many places.
• Brazil in deep south might require some colony burning or takeover.
• Australia is currently outside colonial range, but Indonesia is in range, so by the time I get to it I'll be able to colonize it just fine.

I'll probably tweak these conditions a bit, but that's going to be the general idea.

Post 21 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-20 14:40:58 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1572-1579

I wanted to attack Lithuania in a nice clean war, pulling in just Poland and nobody else important... And it turns out I don't have any claims on them. That is awkward, I had claims on the whole Russian region, I forgot I got all of it except for 2 cores already.

By the way, EU4 really needs vassal cores CB. Not vassal claims maybe, but vassal core reconquest is just common sense to have, like in CK2.

Whatever, Poland, Austria, Bavaria, Ferrara, Genoa, Lithuania, Naples, Palatinate - I should be able to fight them all at once. Unfortunately nobody whose colonies I can burn here.

At the same time I attacked Ming, which was pretty much my last chance before it falls apart completely on its own. Unfortunately it had a ton of allies this time.

I got 6 remaining Ukrainian cores, 2/4 Teutonic cores, and 5-province Xi (the 5th province was actually Shun's, it's going to take some missionary work to convince Xi to take it). By the way there's relationship bonus on returning cores (+40), and on giving provinces in peace deal (+10). Giving provinces saves 25 diplo (the vassal pays 50 instead), but it decays separately, so basically it's 25 dip saved for +40 relationship bonus lost. For merchant republics it's pretty hard to get that 190, especially against infidels, so it was my mistake here.

English West Indies attacked Russian West Indies with reconquest CB, got its ass kicked, unfortunately got away with payment of 55 gold. I wish they'd take at least one province on their own, but they don't seem interested. On the other hand they all happily fabricate claims on each other - good thing they can't actually fight.

By the way that thing where you supposedly can rival back whoever rivals you? It doesn't work. I'm rivalling Ottomans and Mughals since Poland is no longer valid. And I'm rivalled by Mughals and England. What about me rivalling England? Not possible.

Russian Canada successfully emerged. In theory I could leave them to sort things out and move my army to next colonial region, but they're in no state to survive rebels, let alone expand on their own into native territory. So I'll stay for a while, help them fight rebels and natives. Guyana and Mexico I plan to setup by colonization rather than conquest - Guyana didn't have anything to conquer in the first place, and Mexico is all temperate climate so that's some nice settler bonus compared with tropical and arctic most of the map.

Anyway, it was time to attack the whole coalition, namely Mughals and nobody else. I should probably take a look at that thing where vassals protect from coalitioning if Paradox won't. I suspect I know what causes it. Mughals had two allies - somewhat sizeable Hedjaz who noped out of the war, and OPM Multan, who separate peaced for breaking their alliance once I siege them out.

I also attacked some natives in Canada, and I wanted to attack OPM Oirats who spawned out of Ming's collapse - but apparently we hold great relations since they remember all that territory I returned to them so long ago even after annexation and respawn. I'm not sure if that's a bug or working as designed... Even sending them an insult wasn't enough apparently. I guess I have to generate some AE ;-)

But whom can I even attack? Most of India and even Bhutan went through partial westernization by now. It will have to wait.

By the way in 1.6 I got almost no events that made me lose republican tradition, that's why I increased tradition loss from reelections and annexations from -0 to -3. In 1.7 I'm getting them all the time, even with -0 reelections and annexations I'd be below 75, and now I'm at 56 (-14 of that is due to me missing one reelection event and only realizing after two reelections it's not calculating correctly).

So, I crushed Mughals, got some Indian Ocean ports for Persia, and my stack of 20 transports I sent from Europe arrived just as the war was ending. Now I have no delusions about invincibility of unprotected transports, but there's a lot of them, and they're ahead of tech, so at least against smaller Asian enemies they should be fine.

Anyway, India can wait a bit, right now it's time to send some money to Persian patriots in Mughal territory - conveniently cut into multiple small pieces just like Ming's, and to start a war with the Ottomans. Or technically Qara Qoyunlu, since Expansion's CB's Show Superiority wargoal is so much better than just conquest.

Meanwhile, the Hansa declared itself Defender of the Catholic Faith. Good for you Hansa, with your silly ideas. At least one thing I totally agree on - Catholic faith is in serious need of defending right now. In Europe Protestants and Orthodox are doing slightly better than usual, but usually Catholics absolutely dominate colonial game. Not this time - Orthodox provinces already outnumber Catholic provinces 265:262.

Back to Ottomans. Due to some weird glitch, I couldn't Qara Qoyunlu's capital no matter what. So instead I separate peaced out Qara Qoyunlu for 2 Iraqi provinces (isn't war target generally unable to negotiate directly?), then peaced out Ottomans for 3 Aq Qoyunlu's cores.

And in the new world, I finished some wars against the natives, giving Russian Canada 140% OE. They'll figure out a way to handle it somehow. Too bad I can't even send missionaries to their provinces - I could definitely help with at least that.

And the last thing - Ming partially westernized, invalidating my amazing CB. Half their country is occupied by peasants, and yet they technically fulfilled all requirements. I should probably add some kind of "no ongoing rebellions" requirement, or at least "no rebel occupied provinces" to it, but that's for another campaign.

Victory  conditions progress: 27/73 - I'm somehow barely strongest trade power in Basra and Canton nodes now, but that's more due to Ming's and Mughal's collapse than any major presence by me.

Post 22 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-21 01:45:07 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1579-1586

Now I get it! I thought it was some horrible bug that I couldn't take Qara Qoyunlu's capital, apparently they managed to colonize Maldives in 1546, and became a full city in 1557. Wow. I had not seen that coming.

Right now I have 18 colonial conquests in new world and 22 expansion CBs in Asia I could use - these numbers are only going to go hown, fast.

And why not start now? Ceylon, Oirat, Bhutan (well, 1 province which was on my way, they're no longer primitives), Makasar, Zhou, Majapahit...

Majapahit successfully blockaded straits between two of their islands, so I just got them to release Bali instead, whatever. Time to recruit 10 heavy ships with my new level 15 tech so that doesn't happen again. I'm not planning to do anything silly with them like fight England, just to provide cover for me 20k mobile stack tasked with "ensuring safety of Indian Ocean trade".

Japan partly westernized right afterwards, using border between their one provice in Korea, and Ming's one province in Korea. Fortunately Nippon trade node goes on way towards Hangzhou so it really doesn't matter if I hold anything in it or not.

Next set... People's Republic of Ming (with awful CB this time) - technically still an empire, but I'm fighting peasant rebels only, Huron in Canada since Canada was starting to get their shit together so why not throw some more problem provinces at them, 23k rebel stack in Makasar, Hungary's war with Bohemia (HRE) over some stupid insult... Come on Hungary, and not even decency to make me the war leader?

Anyway, war with Ming was far too much effort (I needed to siege things down, no free 40% + ticking warscore from just battles) for just 4 provinces. On one hand that feels a lot more "fair" than hat I've been getting away with until now. On the other hand they really shouldn't be able to westernize while being covered with peasant rebels.

At least maybe this time supporting rebels is going to work. Even with my mod increasing that from +4 to +6, it almost never does anything.

By the way colonial nations of England and Portugal started a war - which then escalated to include England and Portugal, but sadly not anybody else. I think 60 day rule applies here too. Shouldn't that reset on war leader change maybe?

Anyway, can't stop now, another go. Mughals, I think you have some of my vassals' cores!

And I got the combo: -20% build cost from economic ideas, -15% from policy (enabled by economic and expansion), -10% from guilds in power (I can't keep traders in power somehow due to events - in any case increased production from guilds increases trade just as well as increased trade power from traders apparently so I stopped fighting it), for total 45% discount on all buildings. I've been saving huge amounts of money on manufactory spam, I really hope that's good for something... And year later it turned out to increase my monthly income (before costs) from 346 to 351. Seriously? That's really, really underwhelming.

War with Brunei was pretty disappointing - apparently 30 ships are not enough to blockade the whole island these days.

The end result of all that is that I have an Orthodox vassal of Brunei and Makasar whom I plan to expand to all its cultural range. And Iraq with Persia got most of their cores back.

I thought economic ideas were worth a try - it is making me more money, that's for sure, even if that trick with building spam wasn't half as good as I expected. On the other hand, I'm over my relations limit, and I don't have my beloved Holy War CB available against Ottomans and Mamluks. Religious + diplomatic would probably be a better opening.

Next idea groups come at tech levels 17 (1609), 22 (1674), 26 (1730), and 29 (1785). Ideas I want the most are religious (for CBs), and diplomatic (for extra diplomat and relations), quantity (for 4th colonist from policy), and plutocratic (for flavor), but I doubt campaign will last long enough to get all of that. Even extending campaign goals to include colonial nation in every colonial region, and dominance over Indian Ocean trade won't prolong it all that much.

By the way it's completely ridiculous how just Ceylon without even all relevant buildings already gives me 27% of trade power in Ceylon node - almost as much as Vijayanagar who holds 2/3 of its provinces. The sad thing is that I don't really have any use for it - it's in the middle of trade route for which I control neither input nor output nodes. Yet. And an Indian tech OPM holds the only other important center of trade in the node and has about 14% trade power... Yeah, I can see where this is going.

As far as I can tell I can't set a trade company anywhere since I'm not western - and I can't westernize under silly vanilla rules which require me to fall behind a lot in tech - Portugal set a lot of them all over Africa, and Castile has one in West Africa node. I'm not going to let any of them go past Gulf of Aden, that one is for sure.

Post 23 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-21 17:58:19 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1586-1593

Heh, my derp with the manufactories, I thought they were going to take 1 year to build, but they take 5 year, that 5 extra gold I actually got from other buildings I set up in the same time. There were so many messages about building being completed exactly 1 year later that I didn't even notice none of them was about manufactories.

When manufacturies actually got build, my income increased:
• taxes - 65 to 65
• production: 80 to 105
• trade: 190 to 220
• gold: 13 to 13
• tariffs: 10 to 10
• vassals: 3 to 3
• total: 361 to 417

So maybe it was totally worth it after all. 55 gold/month is return of investment in 35 years or so.

Anyway, time to move against the holy lands. Ottomans hold far too many key holy sites - well, Antioch hardly counts as a holy site these days, but there's some speak about restoring the pentarchy, and in any case Ottomans are beating Mamluks and taking their territory every few years, but if I cut their one province wide land route there, it would be easy picking for me. It's also not completely irrelevant that I'm one military tech behind Poland, so that will wait.

Ottomans had a ton of fun - they were winning their war against the Mamluks (who were is very sorry state, so surrendered some provinces to the Ottomans pretty fast), but were losing to me, and Castille who was papal controller called for a crusade against them. Of course calling a crusade is basically meaningless these days, and nobody cared for it.

I took Kochin, and with just 2 provinces in Ceylon node I was already at 54% trade power (it went down to 39% once I started collecting).

Ottomans got cut into two pieces - straits were still blocked, but Hungary really showed what they're capable of, together with my HRE vassals. So now it was time to fabricate claim on Byzantium as located on Cyprus. I can be over diplo limit, but I'm really pushing me OE budget already.

I was setting my 7th colonial nation in Mexico - I had 4 colonies ongoin, but there was native OPM I thought I'd conquer as the 5th. Unfortunately while they were pretty close by land, they were on the other side of the uncolonized territory, and completely uncorable for now. Oh well.

Now Qara Qoyunlu entered a surprise alliance with the Ottomans. There was a ton of direct coring to be done here anyway, so as soon as I vassalized Byzantium I declared war on Qara Qoyunlu.

I did it mostly for 40% free warscore from battles that would bring, but apparently I can return Byzantine cores for 0 diplo and at 50% cost. That sounds sort of like a bug, but then most warscore issues work against me, so it's not all that bad if I abuse it a bit... So hi there Ming, I've heard you westernized but your ally Pegu didn't!

For just 80 warscore, Ottomans returned 8 cores to Byzantium (I really hope they don't flip to Catholic, they're mix of Catholic, Orthodox, and Sunni provinces and their 4 cores held by Venice and Epirus are all Catholic, I'll be really angry if that happens...), cancelled vassalization of Albania, released 4-province Syria, and gave me 142 gold. Hungary was seriously annoyed by me since it was the second time they got their claim on Serbia occupied, and I ignored them in the peace deal. Unfortunately Constantinople is Turkish due to move capital decision, so Byzantine cores on it expired. Pretty ironic.

Back to Pegu and Ming. Unfortunately Ming did not become war leader, so I had to occupy any province I wanted to return, which added up to a grand total of 11 cores. Ming is reduced to 4 provinces around its capital which sadly don't have anyone useful to spawn as, and 3 more landlocked in northern China, and 3 in the south occupied by various nationalists.

Meanwhile Castile has pretty much full control over Brazil colonial region, and La Plata is closing fast, so I'll need to fight them to get them all.

Victory conditions progress is 33/73. I'm shocked how I took almost all of Greece with Mount Athos holy site in one war, that's going to speed me up by a lot.

My awesome CBs are rapidly shrinking - from 18 to 15 native nations in new world, and from 22 to 13 low tech nations in Asia.

Post 24 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-21 23:07:30 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1593-1600

Expansion in Asia was very urgent since my CBs won't last much longer (for a while longer I can use alliance networks to abuse them a bit, but even that won't last that much longer). Aceh was very important target, since they hold two important centers of trade in Malacca node, I already have same culture vassal prepared for them, and they border partly westernized Ayutthaya. Majapahit doesn't directly border anybody except my Chinese tech vassal Brunei so they can wait a while longer.

Aceh is gone, now I need to convert it to Orthodoxy and feed it to Brunei at pace they can handle.

Mughals were still expanding in India hard, and had a coalition going against them. Sharing understandable outrage, I joined the coalition and went after the Mughals for some Persian provinces. My victory conditions require conquest of everything Mughals hold outside India, and my CBs on them are awful, so that will be a few more fun wars.

And then I got the mission to restore the pentarchy! That is somewhat ambitious at this stage, but let's give it a try. I hereby declare the war on the infidels holding seats of the ancient Orthodox pentarchy! All at once? Fine, we'll do them one at a time.

First, conquest of Constantinople! Wait, what do you mean Ottomans won't give me war target just because it's their capital? Damn them all to hell. OK, change of plans... Syria - you're annexed. Ottomans - give me 2 provinces around your capital, 3 in deep desert for no obvious reason, then give that damn province to Hungary or they'll never stop whining about it.

204% OE already? Oh come on, I barely even started... Byzantium, Brunei, Mexico, would you like some provinces? Wow you're picky. Well 108% counts as some progress at least.

And Mughals, Mamluks, and Hedjaz now started a coalition against me? Fine, that pentarchy thing will have to wait.

More seriously, I thought I could take Constantinople and nothing else if it was war target. This is usually true for fabricable claims - if their capital is isolated you can fabricate a claim on it, then take it in a war just fine. I guess that doesn't apply to claims from missions.

It's still going really well - I setup another colonial state in Mexico, and once all the coring finishes I'll take Jesuralem, Alexandria, and Constantinople. My remaining territorial ambitions in the old world are basically a lot from Ottomans, Mughals, Mamluks, Lithuania, Genoa, Venice, Papal States, and a few provinces each held by Poland, Hungary, and some minors.

Post 25 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-23 01:55:29 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1600-1609

So I was managing rebels - nationalists in Syria, Confucian zealots in Zhou territory, and so on, when I got hit by some amazing Raskol event:
• two stacks of 21k and 12k rebels, lose 1 stability, gain 50 patriarch authority
• gain 1 stability, lose 50 patriarch authority

I'd absolutely love this event early game since patriarch authority is so amazing, but I already had it at 100%. Oh well, support the church! Those big events are kinda fun when they're not trying to railroad the game for greater glory of France, even if this was totally negative for me.

Ottomans were kind enough to move their capital to Izmir, saving me a lot of trouble.

Hungary started an inconvenient war against Bohemia. Weakening HRE aligns pretty well with my interests, and I'm fine with stronger Hungary so I even sent them some help. Of course Hungary opened the war by losing battle 22k vs 14k advantage. That's what being Eastern tech and 3 mil tech behind does.

But since I was already at war, I thought I might have some fun - attack Pegu, bring Ming into the war, and since Ming recently got PU over Ayutthaya that also brings in them. This CB works for getting allies to return cores and release notions, but you pay full price for regular claims. Oh well, I returned one core to Zhou, and make Ayutthaya release Malacca and Pattani - these are neatly still Chinese tech, but will they still be in 5 years?

I got guild conspiracy event which gave me +1 stability, then national bank established event which massively increased loan size - I can have up to 73 loans of up to 2747 gold each now, or a grand total of 200k - and gave me another +1 stability. You're all being so nice to me event... Oh wait, that guild conspiracy event now which lost me 100 admin or my level 3 inquisitor whom I sort of need. Still a net win.

Since Hungary was dragging the war I quickly annexed Majapahit - I feel like I need to finish that fast, since Brunei is colonizing 2nd province and I don't particularly want colonial nation to spawn.

I ticked war leader can negotiate for us in Hungarian-Bohemian war, thinking maybe they'll give something to my vassals, but that couldn't possible work., so I got Niederlausitz instead. Nobody wanted to buy this since it was in HRE, and it had massively stacked coring modifiers for 200 admin for 4 base tax. Why the hell did I check that damn tickbox?

And then they demanded "unlawful imperial territory". Do you know what I think of your "empire" there Bohemia? I'm going to make a small demonstration by attacking Genoa right now. I hoped they'd join the war on enemy side, but they preferred losing 10 IA instead. Why did Austria join instead? Oh, you're calling yourself "Defender of the Catholic faith"? That's just ridiculous.

Total order of battle: me and Hungary vs Austria, France, Genoa, Savoy, Switzerland, Hansa, and the Pope. 185k soldiers, 50 ships on their side. 525k and 306 ships on mine, small fraction available in Europe. Austria had a lot more allies, but there were so many wars ongoing in Europe half of them were fighting each other and couldn't join.

The first things I did was accidentally sinking Hansa's fleet (they set the trap on themselves joining war while our fleets were on the same spot) and burning one of France's colonies, which actually was on the wrong side of the coast so I couldn't even send any colonists there just yet, and going for war target in Azov.

Austria's opening moves was crushing armies of Hungary and my HRE vassals.

I had a lot of troops, unfortunately the only way to Hungary and Austria I had available was narrow pass through Ruthenia. In battle of Szepes, possibly the largest battle in recorded history, my 98k lost to their 83k - which was really unfortunately because what I wanted was to relieve Persian stack which was defending there on good terrain, but it lost one day too early, and I was attacking into bad terrain instead.

While this was going on I sent my armies to conquer some provinces for Russian Mexico.

In another derpy moment I realized Poland would actually totally give me military access. That makes things easier. A battle of Szabolcs was at much nicer odds of 150k vs 60k.

What followed was a series of white peaces against most participants of the war. I got Hansa to release Saxe-Lauenberg and Bremen (ironically only in Stade, not actually in Bremen where important center of trade is), but they kept all 3 important centers of trade - Lubeck, Hamburg, and Bremen, so this didn't actually do all that much.

Austria was really obnoxious about terms of surrender, 2 provinces I wanted were 76% warscore for 9 base tax (one of them was important center of trade, but let's not get crazy here).

Ultimately the war with Genoa and Austria was a failure since I didn't vassalize Bohemia, I didn't break Hansa, I didn't take Rome from the pope (who was in the war), and I can't offload Niederlausitz in any way. It wasn't a total loss, since I needed those 2 provinces at some point, and that kills Austria's claim to being defender of the faith, so it's not a total loss. And speaking of HRE - I'm really, really, tempted to just dismantle it at some point.

I just got tech level 17, so it's time for new idea group. I can't think of any good reason not to take diplomatic.

As for victory conditions, out of 26 trade nodes on the list the only 6 I'm not dominant yet are: Western Europe, Antwerpen, Canton (will be once I annex Zhou which I'm doing right now), Malacca (will be once I annex Brunei, but that's a decade or two away), Gulf of Aden, and Constantinople.

I started sending colonists to Siberia again - it's about 25 provinces to colonize, so I'll need to do that at some point. I'm 1 colony away from setting up Peru; California and Alaska I'm going to setup by conquest, Australia going to be half-done by Brunei, and with La Plata and Brazil - well, that's a full blown colonial conflict, no way around that.

My power projection started falling since the game keeps removing my rivals. Right now it's back to Mughals, Ottomans, and Poland, but I'm sure game will cancel them a few more times.

Anyway, the next step is going for Ottomans and Mamluks for 3 seats of the pentarchy. I really hope Byzantium will take Constantinople, since it's 240 admin otherwise. I'll need 420 just for fragment of the coast from Judea to Alexandria alone, so I'm really short on that.

Post 26 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-25 23:53:26 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1609-1616

I just implemented two big features I wanted for a while: extra reformable countries, which in all likelihood won't matter at all in this campaign, and vassal cores CB. I would have been somewhat useful earlier with Ukraine, Iraq, and Persia (reconquest of Far East and Byzantium I managed with way better CBs than this one). Right now the only vassal cores I have are 2 Teuton cores held by Poland, 3 Byzantine cores held by Venice, and 1 Byzantine core held by Epirus. Epirus is the only one of those I don't have another CB on, so currently this CB is fairly mediocre, but it might have some more potential in the future.

Vassal core CB works on all subjects (vassals, junior union partners, colonial nations - presumably it would work on protectorates as well if I had them enabled), so England has CB on Russian West Indies for English West Indies' core they hold, fortunately English attack would bring me into the war, only wars directly between colonial nations don't. It doesn't really work on OPMs like Epirus, since you can't use return core on anybody's capital, but I can DoW them just fine, and if I can make Byzantium siege it, it still costs me 0 AE and 0 diplo.

I also tried to fix a bug that stops landlocked non-neighbour countries from joining coalition even if they neighbour your vassal, but presumed fix doesn't seem to do anything, so I'll be playing easy mode until Paradox fixes it. On the other hand I never really put any effort into exploiting this (I just learned it from Ryukyu WC let's plays), and for most part I spread my conquests geographically enough to avoid runaway coalitions.

I'm also reaching the point where I don't really have much I can do with money. To be fair, I'm a merchant republic, with trade and economic ideas, and territory optimized for trade. Maybe I should build a big war fleet, since my naval strategy is to cede control of the oceans to Western European powers, and only get dominance over minor powers in the Baltic, and over technologically far inferior powers in the Indian Ocean. Ottomans were able to get away with a lot thanks to their dominance in the Mediterranean, but not any more since I can access all their provinces through Hungary and Byzantium.

Anyway, back to the game!

I was extremely short on diplomats since I absolutely needed to improve relations with Brunei, annex Zhou, and I had ton of claims to fabricate. So first thing, I declared war on Epirus for return cores, letting Byzantines actually siege so they'd get the province not me, then on Qara Qoyunlu with overseas expansion CB to get Constantinople from the Ottomans, then I sent my last free diplomats to Saxony for claims and Burgundy for relations while the armies were fighting.

English West Indies attack on Russian West Indies failed miserably, and they were forced to give 3/6 of their provinces.

Constantinople alone was now 89% warscore - fortunately thanks to CB I got 40% of that for free from battles.

I got a plague event: -1 stab, -100 diplo, or -4000 gold. It's not like I have anything to do with gold right now.

OK, Epirus, Constantinople (and Maldives since they were only a few % of warscore) taken. Now time to finish off Malacca and Pattani - and most of all take Jerusalem from the Mamluks. Mamluks and Hedjaz are in coalition against me, but they're also allied with each other, so it's not really a huge deal either way.

I got Alexandria and Judea from Mamluks, as well as 2/3 provinces in between - I couldn't get unbroken land connection since Rashid was very expensive important center of trade and Cairo was their capital so neither was takable this war.

Interestinly Lithuania fulfilled the mission "Conquer Holy Site Jerusalem", since victory conditions is simply that the new owner is the same religion.

By the way it feels completely ridiculous how I have 58% of trade power in Bengal node now - from a single non-coastal province of Dali with nothing special in it - except my trade post plus massive stack of modifiers. It doesn't even have any buildings other than marketplace. At least my 73% in Ceylon and 62% in Indus make sense - that's 2 and 1 important centers of trade with trade posts and ton of buildings in all of them.

And it was time for more wars. Alliance system in Europe is so dense starting multiple wars is sometimes the only way to avoid trigerring alliance chains you don't want - especially since they also include HRE, defenders of Catholic (currently Hansa) and Protestant (currently England) faiths.

I started the following wars:
• Poland (war target, under return cores), supported by Austria, Bavaria, Burgundy, Lithuania, Naples, Hansa, Palatinate, and some HRE minors - total of 200k soldiers and 50 ships
• England (as defender of Protestant faith), supported by Bohemia (as HRE), Saxony (war target), and ton of HRE minors - total of 100k soldiers and 58 ships

Triggering them this way meant I could negotiate separate peace with Bohemia, and Hungary didn't join on enemy side even though they were allied with Saxony.

It was also nice that pretty much every major participant in the war was already involved in some other fights - in particular England and Poland were on the opposite sides of Burgundian reconquest of Holland.

I also had a lot of trouble with Brunei. They got an idea that they're competing great power, which I guess technically would be true if they were independent - so I let some rebels occupy their provinces before I came in and liberated them. Just a demonstration what would they do without me, for which they were very grateful.

I burned one of English colonies just to slow them down, even though they were too far away for it to matter anytime soon; and seized another which was closer to my line of settlement.

Bohemia turned out to be a bit too big for vassalization, basically breaking my entire war plan, so I got them to revoke imperial 1st reform instead - which also completely wiped out 63 IA, which they'd use to pass 2nd reform probably really soon, so at least I got twice as much as I wanted for it.

I got Lithuania out of the war forcing them to break alliance with Poland - not sure if that's actually worth much or not really.

I got ridiculous rebel infestation - over 100k rebels at once, and two rebellions in Judea while it was at 87% coring managed to wipe out my stack tring to rescue it - by some miracle I managed to recruit another stack and rescue it in a battle against nearly twice as many rebels.

I won a fairly impressive battle of Niederlausitz, 93k vs 98k attacking across river. 6 fire general and higher morale mean a lot.

It was still way too bloody for my taste. I let Poland get away with just returning relatively irrelevant province Neumark to Teutonic order, breaking alliance with Austria, and some spare cash. Then I got Luneburg to convert Orthodox, and England to give me some spare cash - which also meant they had to give up their defender of the faith title.

Just after the war Bohemia demanded unlawful imperial territory of Niederlausitz again - which was total bullshit since (unless I'm horribly confused) they can only do that after 1st reform and I forced them to roll that back. Oh well.

I finally convinced Brunei to start annexations, and did that to Byzantium as well, even though Venice still holds 3 of their cores.

Victory conditions (46/74):
• general 5/11 (now extra goal of dismantling HRE added here)
• territory 2/6 (they don't seem to be trigerring correctly, but I got Mongolia and Western Siberia)
• religion 10/18
• trade 22/26 (remaining nodes Antwerpen, Western Europe, Constantinople, and Malacca - two of them will be mine after some vassal annexations)
• colonial nations 7/13 (Peru spawning in 3-4 years)

The big question is if I want to attack Venice or the pope next.

Post 27 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-26 20:06:47 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1616-1625

I thought that Teutons would buy Niederlausitz from me, now that they got their core Neumark next door, it's accepted culture, same religious group, and they're not in HRE, but apparently not.

The question whom to attack - Venice or Pope, got solved with a compromise solution - Choctaw and Vijayanagar. Other than one uncorable HRE province my OE is zero, so Choctaw makes sense - and Vijayanagar is still Indian tech (probably not for much longer) and just conquered important center of trade in Bengal node, so they're basically asking for it. I'm fine with Indians keeping India, as long as I get to control Indian trade - and 4 centers (Deldi, Agra, Lower Sind, Bengal Delta) out of my control gets on my nerves too much.

I conquered just enough of Choctaw to setup a new colonial nation there, plus one colony they were trying to setup. From Vijayanagar I only took center of trade where I setup vassal Bengal as they had a ton of cores on nearby countries and I really wanted to conquer that region so I don't have to walk my armies all the way around Himalayas every time, or to Macau / Hormoz and then by sea that far.

There was one more business that needed urgent attendance - Portuguese Caraibas attacked Russian West Indies, and neither of other Russian colonial nations which had troops literally on the same provinces bothered to help, so Caraibas was winning. Enforce peace on them, none of Portugal's allies will join since they're the attacker and it's been over 60 days. Now hopefully my colonial nations will work together on this.

And Venice time! France joined the war, as well as defender of the Catholic faith Hansa and a lot of lesser powers. Hansa's fleet sunk, French almost done colony seized, Venetian fleets sunk a ton of my ships but they ended up pretty convincingly beaten anyway.

Russian Peru spawned literally one month earlier thanks to that seized French colony. War with Caraibas ended up with them ceding 3 colonial provinces (fairly useless now, but it's just 2 provinces away from being able to walk between all my colonial nations) to me for 150 diplo. Colonial wars simply cost ridiculous amount of diplo points.

Another colonial nation spawned in conquered Choctaw territory - California. For some reason they didn't consider it necessary to put "Russian" in the name.

I got Hansa to release Hamburg, and to renounce their silly title of "defender of the faith", which was of course immediately picked up by Castile instead (and then Hansa stole it back after a few months, weird). Venice finally gave Byzantium 3 provinces which rightfully belonged to them, for just 77% warscore. These provinces are somewhat irrelevant on their own - but Venice had trade ports in Alexandria and Constantinople nodes thanks to them (Corfu was in Ragusa node so it could put 3rd trade post there, but it had one in Ragusa already), so Venice was making ton of money stealing trade through them.

I still need to conquer the hordes territory, even if it's not technically been a horde for like a century, and all the primitives of the new world without exception. So I got some provinces from the Mughals to setup vassal Baluchistan there, give a few provinces to Uzbeks (dividing between the two along culture group lines obviously), and started push into native territory to expand California and create Alaska.

I didn't have any good opening to attack the Pope, but it didn't seem like I'd ever get it, with new defender of Catholic faith every time, so I went for it. Austria took the lead, supported by Aragon, Lithuania, Denmark, France, Hungary, Savoy, Siena, Hansa, Papal State, and Ulm. Total of 196k soldiers and 110 ships.

There wasn't any terribly deep strategic thinking involved in this. I took Lubeck and Rome, forced Austria to release OPM Croatia, and got a ton of gold. All that got me to uncomfortable 156% OE, but now I hold all Orthodox holy sites, and I'm one conversion short of reestablishing the ancient Pentarchy.

Victory conditions (53/74):
• general 5/11
• territory 3/6 (Manchuria all colonized)
• religion 15/18 (in addition to pentarchy and holy site related goals, all Byzantine culture group people are now under Orthodox rulers)
• trade 21/26 (this keeps fluctuating a lot)
• colonial nations 9/13

Good CBs remaining:
• Colonial Conquest - 11
• Overseas Expansion - 12
• Return Subject's Core - 5

I'm pretty damn close to it. Dismantling the HRE is the hardesh remaining goal.

Post 28 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-27 04:07:39 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1625-1633

I needed a nice Orthodox South Slavic culture vassal to save good people of the Balkans from heresy, and Montenegro was already there, embargoing my merchants. Then I went after OPM Albania who was just forced to abandon their alliance with the Ottomans.

Apparently once Naples conquered Sicily, it got 100% of Sicilian culture plus all other requirements, and decided to reform Sicily itself.

In year of our lord 1628, the ancient holy Pentarchy was restored, which I feel should give me cleansing of heresy CB even if I don't have religious ideas, but never mind that. In any case, the supposedly disabled curia still managed to declare a crusade - against Algiers, who surprisingly somehow is the strongest Muslim power. And then another crusade. And another. It was an endless crusade spam every few weeks, so I just disabled the popup (normally it's worth knowing). Bugs being bugs.

Vijayanagar reformed their government, so any easy expansion there is out of the question. Fortunately I don't particularly care about any of the lands they hold - all trade from them goes through my ports (or Mughal ports which will soon be mine).

I went after Incas. They unfortunately have 4 provinces in La Plata region and 2 in Peru region and are on far side of the continent. I couldn't really conquer them since that would be too much OE and too far to core, but my colonial range right now is the whole planet, and I've heard at diplo tech 42 you can colonize Moon as well. Never got that far into the game.

In some war I wasn't following too closely, Ottomans were forced to release OPM Serbia in Kosovo on which I already had claims. Oh well, if the game insists I might just as well take it.

I had 125k gold, 500 gold/turn, and absolutely nothing to do with it since I was really short on all mps except mil, so I decided to try the game with 0 mp / building instead of 10 mp... And the game weirdly makes that 1 mp anyway. Not a huge deal I guess, but it definitely used to work.

Now I actually like early game buildings costing mps - that creates an interesting resource management minigame since you need mps and gold for absolutely everything, and early buildings can be really useful. This change definitely helps blobs, but if you're at a point where you're flooded with money and just don't see any point in spending mps on buildings, it probably won't make any difference in terms of power level anyway.

By the way I know it's for balance etc. etc. but it is fucking ridiculous how rebels can spawn a stack in a single province which would literally be on top 10 world's largest armies. 10th is Austria with 29k, 30k rebel stacks happen all the fucking time, and I've occasionally even seen single 40k+ rebel stacks.

Anyways, DoWing coalition of Mughal and Multan to return some cores. I couldn't care less for Multan, so their entry into the coalition means I can now go through their lands during war, which is fine by me. 2 provinces returned to Baluchistan, 4 released as Indian minors (I don't care for any of Indian lands except for centers of trade and access to them).

Russian Australia spawned with me sending a single settler there ever, 100% Malayan, but I got a mission to colonize New Zealand so it will get some Russians.

I couldn't conquer anything due to overextension, so I went after Vijayanagar's friends for some of Bengal's cores - I got 4/7 in one war, and I'm now somewhat closer to having walkable path between Persia, Bengal, and China (or ideally Malacca as well, but that's not likely to happen).

Since the campaign is getting close to victory, here's the list of remaining victory conditions:
• full control over Russian region (2 provinces missing)
• all Ruthenian (2 Hungarian provinces), Byelorusian, Baltic (both in Lithuania only), and Altaic (Qara Qoyunlu, Mughals, and unsettled Siberia only) people under my rule
• dismantle HRE (no idea how to do that one)
• colonize Eastern Siberia
• fully control Central Asia and Persia (about half of Mughals territory to be done)
• have all Southern Slavic and Ethiopian people under Orthodox rule (that's awkward since I didn't take religious like I thought I would, so I didn't go for holy sites early, and it looks pretty far away even now)
• full control of trade in all relevant nodes. A few are borderline and flipping back and forth, but Antwerpen and Western Europe are way outside my reach now. I'll need to conquer at least one important center of trade in Antwerpen node (random HRE minors keep embargoing me, so it won't be hard to get a CB), then Western Europe is either merchant pulling or just by light ship spam.
• establish colonial nations in Alaska (as soon as California gets its act together and no longer needs babysitting I can send my armies there), and Brazil (fully controlled by Castile, so by war)

Random rendering bug showing nonexistent canals also made me want to build them for reals. Except I don't even control required provinces yet, and even if I did it requires admin tech 26, which is really far away. I might move them to admin 20 just for fun.

Post 29 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-27 14:29:32 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1633-1638

The game is sort of over, but I'm going for victory conditions as specified to test random stuff like HRE dismantling and canals.

Dense alliance networks of the mod are still making expansion difficult in certain directions - especially since AI started getting to 500 spare gold level and pronouncing itself defender of the faith. You can force a particular country to lose the title, but another immediately picks it the next day. And now Mali declared itself defender of the Sunni faith - that's potentially massive pain since if they ever become war leader I'd need to send my boats all the way there.

In some places where AI can't get any allies - like Mughals with no nearby Muslims other than two province minor Multan, it feels trivial like vanilla. Attack, not care about diplomacy. In Europe it feels like I'm about to accidentally trigger World War One every time. Dense alliance networks and high rebel stacks (my mod is definitely helping here with higher RR from nonaccepted culture and lack of religious unity) create more limits to expansion, they feel fairly natural, not "you're at 101% overextension, fuck you" or "half of the world is in coalition against you because you took OPM in HRE" kind of limits.

Time to declare some wars.
• Oman (Shia), got Qara Qoyunlu, Adal, and Mamluks into this - nice distraction since Mamluks are allied with everyone
• Ottomans - I hoped to trigger defender of the faith into this one, their only ally Qara Qoyunlu was already busy
• Hedjaz, Ajuuraan, Funj
• Bulgaria (Sunni OPM spawned from Poland while I had all the troops nearby already)

Ethiopia was allied with Hedjaz and I really wanted to get them into an easy war to see if they're small enough to force convert or vassalize in one go - but they didn't care enough for their alliance. Mali also didn't join either of these wars, but they're still listed as defender of the faith. I'm not sure how these mechanics work. Is Mali even aware I exist?

I established full blockade of all my enemies, defeated their armies, then proceeded to slowly siege them. Spoils of war were very modest:
• From Bulgaria - their 1 province
• From Ottomans - their 1 remaining European province
• From Hedjaz - 3 border provinces Tabouk, Jabal Shammar, Al Hasa
• From Oman - 4 provinces, and from Mamluks - 5 provinces in same war (not separate peacing, just in one go)

All that was shockingly low base tax. I thought about setting up vassal Nadj to sell all Bedouin provinces to, and I have 3 free relations to go, but then I want to keep some of them (Sinai for canal, Rashid center of trade, and once I get there Mecca and trade centers in Aden and Mucat) - and I'm probably going to be hit by a well deserved coalition right about now.

I've only just noticed how ridiculously obsolete my entire fleet became - early game I just counted on my ships being sunk a lot, so I never really had to disband old ones, but it was really high time to build 120 new frigates, then I have no idea what happened to my old trade fleet. Any rumors that they've been seen pirating in Antwerpen or Ragusa are just baseless slander. By the way this baseless slander generates massive levels of power projection - +20 against Venice, +9 against France, and +1 against England. These are my only allowed rivals. The way I see it Castile and whoever holds HRE are my real rivals, but it's better than not be allowed to choose any.

I also spammed a lot of buildings, to see if making them cost just 1 mp imbalances anything:
• temple, courthouse, spy agency, town hall (1-4)
• armory, training fields, barracks, regimental camp (1-4)
• dock, drydock, shipyard (1-3)
• constable, workshop (1-2)
• marketplace, trade depot, canal, road network (1-4)
• earth rampant, star fort (1-2)
• all manufactories
• all unique buildings

Caraibas attacked Russian West Indies, and got beaten hard for 2 provinces and 119 ducats. Now we're just one province away from being able to walk from New Russia/Louisiana/West Indien to Russian Peru/Guyana/Colombia. That leaves uncolonized land to get to Russian Mexico/California/(soon to be Alaska), and enemy land to go south to Russian La Plata/(someday in the future) Brazil.

Still, other than Portuguese colonial empire in Africa, and Castile's in the part of new world furthest away from me (as well as bits in Africa) nobody got anywhere with their colonies. France has a grand total of 4 colonial provinces, and England 15 which is less than bigger of my colonial nations.

I got in another fight with the natives, giving Califoria all native provinces in their region, and getting just the minimum in Alaska region to setup viable colonial nation there. Then since I was still waiting for OE to go down I went after one province Walachia with no allies.

Weirdly, Syria spawned from Mamluk territory. They have 1 Sunni province, but they spawned as Orthodox, probably because 5/6 their cores owned by me are Orthodox now.

The entirely sensible coalition against me consists of Mughals, Multan, Oman, Hedjaz, and the Mamluks, and all except Multan are very strongly committed to it, so I'll take it slow over there. It is about time to go for it in Europe.

Post 30 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-27 20:40:24 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1638-1647

I got into an awesome little war against Holstein, supported by Utrecht, Bohemia, and Saxony. That's like the most perfect war in history of warfare. Their whole army is smaller than rebel stacks I'm getting, and I'll get awesome things from every one of them. I wasn't even planning to win this that easily, I thought it would alliance chain to someone big and scary (well, it got to Bohemia), then I'd start other wars with much more relevant targets, but the game decided to be really sweet to me for some reason.

So I started another war against Arakan, to trigger alliance chain Arakan-Nepal-Vijayanagar with great CB, but they all bailed out, and my army in HRE (where I had access as I was at war with the emperor) got exiled. Oh come on now.

Anyway, I got province of Holland, and with it 34% trade power in Antwerpen node (only to be increased as I build it up), I got Saxony to convert to Orthodoxy (I plan to vassalize them later when I'm dismantling HRE), I annexed Holstein to build a canal there, and I got Bohemia to release Silesia, so they're vassalizable size next war. The only thing I couldn't do was getting them to revoke their core on Niederlausitz so it would be 80 adm not 200 adm to core. I don't really understand when revoking cores is going to be allowed and when it won't - back in the olden days (like EU3) it was on the list 100% of time, and it's useful so rarely that I wasn't paying attention.

Russian Peru attacked English Peru, so I sent them 3000 gold to help them a bit. Alyeska spawned as my 12th colonial state, and as soon as my truces expired I went off to subjugate the remaining new world natives. I've sent 3k to La Plata and West Indies as well, since they might get involved in some fights, and to Colombia, Mexico and California to maybe encourage colonization a bit.

Multan left coalition against me, which was just fine, since I didn't care for them one bit. Then Oman left. Nice! Not only I can get Oman's provinces (only 2 irrelevant ones, hard to claim far due to geography of the region), Mamluks joined as their ally, but didn't become the leader, so it's not a coalition war. I got 7 provinces out of it, for grand total of 11 base tax.

I got Ethiopia to convert to Orthodoxy is an extremely one sided war. Mamluks were guaranteeing them, which risked bringing the entire coalition into the war, but they just noped out of it. Assuming they don't flip back to Coptic next month a I've seen happen, that's just one province away from placing all Ethiopian people under Orthodox rulers.

Meanwhile Russian Peru completely annexed English Peru. Awesome performance!

And what the hell is that? 2 Castilian colonies on my Java? I grudgingly tolerate your occupation of Brazil and La Plata, and I couldn't care less what you're doing in Africa, but it stops here!

By the way look at these broken Spanish ideas:
• +10% morale
• +1 missionary
• +1 colonist
• +2% missionary strength
• -1 tolerance of heretics and heathens
• +3/year papal influence
• can fabricate claims on any overseas province
• +10% provincial trade powe
• +15% tariffs
• +10% heavy ship combat ability
• +1/year prestige
• +25 global settler increase

What the hell is this? It's like Mary Sue of national ideas. And they get to play with lucky nations in vanilla too? And chance of getting free Aragon with Iberian wedding event? How the hell they don't blob like crazy with this kind of power.

All I got was 1 merchant, +1% missionary strength, and a ton of basically worthless crap.

Anyway, war with Castile. What the hell do you mean I don't have a CB on them? Who do I have a CB on? Portugal embargoes my trade? Fine, that will do. So hello there, Portugal, Castile, England, and Genoa.

5 colonies seized as an opening, and wow, my outdated ships are getting some serious beating, and it probably doesn't help that all of them have a ton of ideas to help naval strength and I don't. Oh well, I have ton of shipyards and a ton of money.

So Portugal, how about a white peace since I got what I wanted already. Oh wait, what's this? -25% dip from idea group, -20% from event, 27 dip/province only, and somehow we're at 40% warscore? (mostly from colonial battles). So you're willing to give me basically all of Castille's colonies if I somehow manage to diplo that out of it... Yeah, I'm a bit short on diplo even with all the discounts. Fine, 5 provinces it is this time. Also all your gold and break your alliances with Castile and England now. This finally connects all my colonial lands in the new world, and I also get 2/3 of Madagascar - I don't really need it, but any settlement there is getting uncomfortably close to India.

And now I'm somehow spending 138/month on maintenance of 8 colonies... I can survive a few years of that just fine.

This will have to do for now. So Hungary, we have some old business to attend to, with you choosing pope's side over your most amazing allies ever...

Burgundy attacked my stack in Holland. First attack failed, second failed, but third succeeded... And we're back to withdrawal bug. The stack ran away one province to Zeeland. Got instantly attacked, somehow survived that, withdrew one province to Breda, stack wipe. Come fucking on now game.

Anyway, Tuscany accepted light of the Orthodoxy, Pope is hardcoded not to, unfortunately. Saxony is now my vassal, and 3 Serbian and Ruthenian provinces Hungary held are now all mine.

Awkwardly Hamburg joined coalition against me, which otherwise consisted of just random Muslims. Random HRE OPMs I can ignore, but if Austria or Burgundy decide to join, it's going to get awkward, and I'll need a detour to fight Nepal, or Ayutthaya, or someone else irrelevant with provinces I don't really need but might just as well get.

Post 31 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-27 23:41:39 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1647-1653

Just a few years after seizing Castile's illegal colonies in my territory, Portugal is building their own in Philippines. That's not Malacca trade node at least.

Oh well, Europe is getting more and more outraged about my "aggressive expansion", so I need to start a few wars quick before they organize some silly coalition against me.

Damn Ethiopia went Coptic while we still had truce. This is crazy, in EU3 if you were force converted you could never ever convert on your own. At least make it impossible for duration of damn truce timer.

By the way, random world generator creates so many damn provinces with the same name. Names are not unique - in vanilla map there's Bihar in India and Bihar in Hungary, of ones I've noticed, but it's so much worse with random new world. Especially when you get a mission to colonize one of them, and the game won't tell you which one it meant.

So, Lithuania time. Their allies were just Austria (busy with too many other wars, didn't really show up), Bohemia (welcome to Orthodoxy), and Milan (welcome you as well), and Lithuania lost 5 provinces to me. Weirdly Lithuania went Catholic jut after the war - provinces I took were 4 Orthodox, 1 Protestant, and provinces they got left are 2 Orthodox, 2 Protestant, 2 Catholic. Apparently they never bothered converting anything, even though it should have been easy.

Immediately after that I declared another war, on Anhalt, to get Bohemia into it. I have CBs all over the place since everybody is embargoing me for some reason, and this one was subject core return to Saxony (in addition to embargo which they also did). Bohemia of course joined, and they didn't even bother refilling their garrisons.

In this war Wurzburg went Orthodox, and Bohemia became my third vassal elector, passing on the imperial throne to Austria.

Lithuanian provinces cost me way too much adm, 35/bt instead of 15/bt due to Lithuanian ideas, but at least they cored quickly since we're in same culture group, and I finally managed to solve that damn problem with Niederlausitz by selling it to vassal Bohemia.

Basically the whole HRE and nearby countries were borderline about joining coalition against me - fortunately only Silesia and Hamburg did, in addition to Mughals, Hedjaz, and Mamluks.

I wanted to attack Mughals, but I'd prefer if it didn't involve coalition nonsense... The alternative is Europe, which would eventually get me that megacoalition I've been asking for for quite some time now, or Middle East, where I can navigate alliance network to maybe avoid trigerring that. Actually, who cares, other than Mughals, other members are scary OPM Hamburg, OPM Silesia, 3-province Mamluks, and somewhat larger Hedjaz.

And since I failed so miserably at diplomatic maneuvering around the coalition I declared wars on Funj, Oman, and Ethiopia as well.

I got 2 provinces from Funj, 5 from Mughals (I took no advantage whatsoever of coalition), 1 province from Oman, the last 1 from Qara Qoyunlu, and vassalized and converted Ethiopia in one go, since they just got beaten so hard they got reduced to 2 provinces.

And then Austria - a fairly well-blobbed emperor - joined the coalition against me. It was bound to happen eventually. And Castile got mission for Indian ports, so decided to go after completely crushed Mughals - for damn center of trade (technically estuary, and worth only half of much as "important center of trade", but I've been treating them interchangeably pretty much all the game).

Another intervention against Castile is urgently required now.

So I got to admin tech 20 (as modded midgame, 26 normally, but the game will probably be long over by then), and started building Suez canal. I'm going to build Kiel canal as well, just not the same time.

Victory conditions left:
• I have 25-26/26 on trade - Western Europe node keeps flipping, everything else is firmly in hands of my traders
• I still don't control all over Byelorussians nor Baltic people (I got 100% of Altaic/horde culture group). Lithuania is the only remaining country to conquer here.
• HRE still exists, and I can't do much about it as long as emperor also is in coalition against me
• I still don't control all of Eastern Siberia (12 to colonize), Central Asia (Balkh, Kabulistan, Badakhshan, Gazni), and Persian region (Quetta)
• Southern Slavic and Ethiopian people are still not under Orthodox rulers. Venice, Poland, Hungary, Funj, and Adal need to be defeated - Venice multiple times, the rest possibly just once each.
• I still lack Brazilian colonial state
• Neither of 2 canals exists. ETA for Suez canal is 1662

Post 32 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-29 22:27:32 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1653-1655

It was time for punitive expedition against Castile and their buddies England, for severe crimes including:
• illegal establishment of colonial nations in La Plata, Brazil, and West Indies regions
• illegal establishment of smaller colonies all across the new world
• illegal occupation of Indus estuary in Lower Sind
• attempted settlement of South California Island, and Central California Island
• illegal settlement in Madagascar and minor Indian Ocean islands
• following the heretic "pope", even though legitimate bishop of Rome was fully Orthodox
• following whichever weird heresy the English were following, I'm not going to concern myself with details, it's enough to know they'll all burn in hell for it

On enemy side were, Spain, England, Sicily, Kilwa, and their illegal settlements.

Sicilian army was easily crushed by army of Rome, blessed before the battle by the true bishop of Rome. Sicilians took revenge by launching an unprovoked attack on merchant ships. The guilty have been caught and punished.

Lower Sind was promptly liberated, but foolish regency council ruling Mughal sultanate refused our offer of further assistance in their war. Since they clearly couldn't be trusted to defend their people, one of our diplomats made arrangements to support local groups with hopefully more sense than that. Soon Upper Sind also fell to Castilian army, so I sent my troops over the border once more to deal with them, fortunately this time catching them unprepared and destroying their expedition.

3 minor illegal colonies have been placed under our protection.

Negotiating team have been sent to Aragon with armed escort - a necessity in these times - and they've been promptly attacked by Castilians, who foolishly thought the escort did not include any generals. On the day before battle the general showed up, surprising them with his flawless command, helped by good defensive position over the river.

As negotiating team seemed not quite up to the task, backup negotiating team was soon sent to support them.

As Orthodox Tuscany declared war on heretic pope in Romagna, I decided to gift them 2k gold to support their effort. Unfortunately all that money was wasted.

There was a weird lack of coordination between Castile and England. Castile attacked my blockading fleet, while the whole England was sitting next province too busy drinking tea to join the battle. Once they finished drinking their tea they actually managed to sink some of my blockading ships on the Atlantic side of Castile.

The war ended up with Castile releasing Granada as sovereign state, paying 262 ducats in reparations, as well as handing over 13 established colonies to their rightful rulers. That's unfortunately not even half of illegal colonies out there.

Since Suez canal was going reasonably well, I decided to start construction of Kiel canal as well.

By the way now that I'm sending perfectly legitimate trade ships libellously accused of piracy to Ragusa, London, and Bordeaux I'm getting +5 power projection for embargo and +20 for perfectly legitimate trade ships in each. That's +75 without any wars, on top of +30 for long term rivals. I'm over 100 power projection even if I didn't do anything else ever.

It's been just 2 years, but 16 provinces changed hands, in addition to Castile losing Granada (which they unfortunately managed to culture convert first, so they kept their cores).

Right now coalition against me consists of Mughals, Hedjaz, Mamluks, Austria, Luneberg, and Hamburg. Castile and England understand my rightful claim to the new world, and fully accepted outcome of the war without any nonsense about "aggressive expansion".

I'll deal with Funj and Adal holding Ethiopia's cores as soon as our truce expires. Hopefully that won't lead to any coalition war via Hedjaz.

And I really want to expand into lands held by Poland, Lithuania, and Venice. Hopefully that won't lead to any coalition war via Austria.

Wars in HRE will lead to coalition wars, no question about that.

There are some safer directions as well. I could go after Portuguese and French colonies, or after Ayutthaya's trade center in Siam node, or possibly connect my new settlement in Mozambique with Egypt by land. These aren't terribly high priority targets, but if none of the priority targets can be dealt with safely, these are all an option.

Post 33 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-31 06:02:53 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1655-1659

A lot of Europe were borderline on joining a massive coalition against me, but surely attack on Poland couldn't possibly lead to a global war, am I right here?

Good Baluchi people of Quetta understood that their future lies with us, and changed their allegiance from Mughals to my vassal Baluchistan, also completing my control over the Persian region without triggering any coalitions Mughals might be part of.

Palatinate accepted both Orthodoxy and my overlordship in one go. Lithuania gave me 2 provinces (and went Protestant, for Catholic->Orthodox->Catholic->Protestant cycle) and Poland gave me 3/4 of Moldavia. This was all very awkward, since both Lithuania and Poland have +100% coring cost.

All this made Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary join the coalition, but Austria left, so it's about even.

Then I made a quick detour against Funj and Adal to make all Ethiopian people return under protection of Orthodox rulers of Ethiopia, which was very successful and fulfilled another victory condition.

Canal are going extremely poorly. I always pick any option that will speed up the canal, since prolonging them makes even more bad events spawn. So far between two canals totals are: -8k gold, -300 adm, -500 dip, -70 mil, and 9 months of time savings.

Philippines suffer from literal infestation of illegal settlers, and there's a ton of trade companies Portugal and Castile started, probably based in tiny islands in deep ocean. Something ought to be done about all of them.

Post 34 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-07-31 22:08:53 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1659-1664

I had 4 electors as vassals, and Austria was allied with 3 others, so it was time to test if my understanding of HRE dismantling mechanics are correct.

I attacked Austria for some Bohemian cores. Strangely France took leadership in that war, even though it doesn't seem more powerful than Austria, especially considering bonuses emperorship brings. Of four colonizing powers I mind France the least, but I still took the opportunity to seize their 2 colonies.

The most worrying part of the war was that my HRE vassal armies got quickly defeated, my only stack in HRE decided to GTFO to Italy and wait for reinforcements there, and then Holstein with canal in progress got sieged. This isn't indicated in the interface, but siege seems to stop work on the canal (but not shitty events apparently). Fortunately there was no way they could blockade it, and I put fort buildings 1-4 there before I started the great project just in case something like that was about to happen, so they were sieging it at -7 penalty and making very little progress.

I sent 2 stacks north first, and they got attacked in Heidenberg by the entire French army - I thought I'm setting up a nice bait there, since the French were attacking against -1 terrain -1 river crossing penalty against a 4 fire 3 siege general, but apparently France gets huge bonuses and it was still winning (not by a huge margin, but winning). Fortunately my 2 other stacks arrived there just in time to save the day, even French bonuses can't deal with 161k to 87k odds.

Armies of Austria and Bavaria were similarly defeated in battle of Mecklenburg at 146k vs 91k odds.

France sieged Rome, so I got my small army who was chasing Sicilian 1k stacks, and another which landed from Alexandria engage in battle. They somehow had nearly no morale, so they lost. And we got into another case of 1 province withdrawal bug to Napoli. Where I lost again - then getting 0 province withdrawal to Napoli. Where I lost third time, withdrawing by 1 province to Lucania this time, here by some weird AI stupidity French stack decided not to follow me, saving me from a stackwipe of 56 units. Fortunately I had straits to island of Sicily itself blockaded, so I could run there for temporary safety, and embark transports.

Stacks of Austria, Bavaria, Lithuania, Sicily, Papal States, and various HRE minors (basically every ally of Austria and every ally of France was in the war, so it was a huge number of countries) got crushes pretty well, but the French still were able to put very good fight with large armies with extremely powerful bonuses. Fortunately they decided to stay in Rome, while my 4 stacks in HRE were sieging capitals of emperor and electors.

And finally, on 25 March 1661, the HRE got completely dismantled, at which point I could start negotiating with individual enemy countries:
• Cologne - converted to Orthodoxy, broke all alliances
• Lithuania - converted to Orthodoxy, broke alliance with Austria, 308 gold
• Salzburg - converted to Orthodoxy, broke all alliances, 325 gold
• Austria - gave back 2 cores to Bohemia
• French Peru - gave 3/4 provinces to Russian Peru
• France - 200 gold

Castile attacked Granada whom I got them to release. I understandably wanted to enforce peace on them, and I had great relations with Granada as they were grateful for my help in securing their independence, and monetary help in their war. Unfortunately war leader was already Portugal, and Portugal did not like me one bit for some strange reasons.

Oh well, you know the CB you damn Castilians and Englishmen. 2 Castilian colonies seized, 2 English colonies burned (since I already had 7 colonies by this point, and they were only 300-strong, with no decent trade goods, and awkwardly located). The war wasn't terribly difficult - apparently Castile and England were already losing to Portugal, so I got 13 colonies all over the world for it. That got me to 112.4% OE.

Suez canal finally got finished, ahead of time, and at ridiculous cost in monarch points. At least it's really going to be useful, Kiel canal is basically a job in terms of usefulness.

Coalition against me shrunk to Hamburg, Luneburg, Hedjaz, Mamluks, and Mughals, so I could attack Poland fairly safely... And of course war leader turned out to be Burgundy, making things so much more complicated. Anyway, Lithuania became my vassal, bringing all culture groups except South Slavic under my protection. Then the best I could get out of Burgundy was Moldavia from Poland and Hum from Venice.

The campaign is really close to the end. Victory conditions left:
• Make sure I control all relevant trade nodes (my small fleets keep getting sunk during wars, it's all very awkward)
• Finish Kiel canal (ETA May 1665)
• Finish setting up Brazil colonial nation
• Finish colonizing Siberia (3 ongoing colonies and 6 yet unsettled regions)
• Finish conquest of Central Asia region from Mugtals (Balkh, Kabulistan, Badakhshan, Gazni)
• Put Southern Slavic people under Orthodox rulers

Post 35 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-08-01 20:26:30 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1664-1669

I didn't want to waste any time, so I attacked Genoa in trade conflict to get Hungary and Venice into a war - Hungary took the bait, Venice didn't.

So I attacked Oman as well, to pull Mamluks into separate war, and then the rest of the coalition - Mughals, Hedjaz, and Luneburg. (Bremen was also in coalition, but it was involved in my war against Genoa already).

A big problem was that I couldn't peace out anything, since canals killed all my diplo points. (and then I got -50 dip trade wars events just to rub it in).

Speaking of canals, Kiel canal finally finished, and total cost of these two canals have been:
• 2x 20k gold initial investment
• 8k extra gold
• -800 adm
• -1300 dip
• -70 mil for harsh treatment when I got hit with +10 rr event

That's nearly 2 techs per canal. So fucking not worth it, especially in Kiel. It doesn't even provide that much trade value +20 is nice, but it's next to Lubeck, Hamburg, Bremen, and Sjaeland with their +20, +30, +10, and +20 respectively. At least Suez canal saves a ton of travel time and provides some decent strategic value, as would Panama canal if it wasn't for random new world.

I don't have canals, it was definitely a huge stretch to build two at once, and they provide some end game goals if you're not going for world domination, but they could be made more interesting than: would you like to lose monarch points now, or would you like to make canal take longer so you'll get more events like this?

It's totally possible that there is more optimal way to play this than alawys press whichever option avoids extending build time.

Anyway, war with Genoa ended with Hungary ceding 2 Croatian culture provinces they held to me, and Genoa revoking some cores in Crimea, since that cost 0 dip for some reason.

War with Oman ended up with 1 province from Oman (what I really want is their capital and center of trade, but I need to reduce them to OPM first), 1 fairly irrelevant province from the Mamluks, and some gold, and treaty breaking.

Then war with the Mughals ended up with them losing all remaining provinces in central Asia, and one in Indian region as well since it was Persian culture group too.

All these wars significantly increased size of coalition against me, to: Poland, Austria, Bremen, Hamburg, Luneburg, Hedjaz, Mamluks, Mughals, and Multan. That's really awkward.

Then Russian Brazil spawned, giving me full set of 13 colonial nations!

I still have 7 provinces in Siberia to settle and long truce with Venice. I'll probably need to fight Venice twice (if not more) to get what I want.

Due to lack of better targets I attacked Denmark - and seriously, EU4 assault button is ridiculous. I had 64k infantry, 24k cavalry, 33k artillery led by amazing general against level 5 fort. Sure, whatever, I can assault them. Instantly lost 64k infantry. CK2 was ridiculous in that you always assaulted no matter what, but EU4 is riduculous the other way, in that assaults are throwing manpower and 5 mil away for no value. Or is this because it also has march? Not sure what defensiveness does exactly.

Anyway, I finally sieged Hamburg... and it's 111% cost to annex. One fucking province. Seriously game, what the fucking fuck? It's a good province, but fuck this, there really absolutely needs to be 100% warscore cap on province cost. So that war was completely pointless then, since Slesvig is not really what I give any shit about. Oh well.

Victory conditions left:
• A few trade nodes are still flipping back and forth and not solidly under my control
• Finish colonizing Siberia (3 ongoing colonies and 6 yet unsettled regions)
• Put Southern Slavic people under Orthodox rulers - currently Venice holds 9 Serbian and Croatian provinces

And that's all. Epic campaign is heading towards the end.

Post 36 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-08-01 22:59:36 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1669-1673

I got into two wars right away:
• Castile, Portugal, England, Genoa, Hausa, Sicily,  and their illegal colonies
• Venice, Burgundy, Poland, Aragon, Savoy, Switzerland, Ulm

5 illegal colonies seized (technically this is really weak way to expand - 25 mil per underdeveloped colony, then ton of waiting and massive cost in money - except mil points and money are pretty much irrelevant, at least when you're playing as an European, so it feels like it's totally free).

Then it was a really slow war. Poland peace out by returning Danzig to Teutonic Order, finishing my quest for control of Teuton territory started with their vassalization in 1473 - 199 years ago. That's some long term planning. Actually I wanted to take that last province in ten different wars, there was just always something stopping that from happening.

Ulm went Orthodox - I didn't even notice they were in the war, my German vassals somehow sieged it out almost completely, so I thought I might just as well.

I sent a pretty sizeable army against Castile, but their and Portuguese stack were winning that battle. So a few days before the battle got lost, not only costing me warscore, but also risking possible stackwipe due to that stupid withdrawal bug, I just peaced them out for 10 colonies.

And we got into a huge issue. Total warscore cost of provinces I want from Venice was 200, so it would be two wars, except there's no way to split them into two exact 100s - it's mostly due to Ragusa alone being worth 83 warscore, and no way to make 17 out of everything else.

Unfortunately due to my aggressive moves in Europe, coalition against me grew pretty big:
• in India - Multan, Mughals
• in Middle East - Hedjaz, Mamluks
• in Europe - Hungary, Poland, Bremen, Austria, Luneburg, Papal State, Sicily

And it could grow at any time since all Catholics of Central Europe are really angry at me right now. Protestants and more distant illegal colonizers don't care terribly much. The worst part is that Venice didn't join, so I can't even abuse that to work around truce timer. I'm fine with waiting for one truce timer, but twice just because Ragusa + Istria are worth a tiny bit too much? That's so annoying.

I could still go full "stability is only a number" way, and just break the truce timers, but I'm waiting for Siberian colonists anyway.

I'm currently at 100% OE since Baluchistan doesn't seem interested in coring provinces they already got, Montenegro cores them but it will take time (both at 48% OE and won't take any more), and 4 provinces in Philippines I took from Portugal are worth quite a bit of base tax.

Next year I'll take the last idea group. I'm flooded with mil points, low on adm, and extremely low on dip (mostly due to damn canals), so I could complete plutocracy easiest, and on paper it's good: -5% all tech cost, +1 merchant, +10% army morale, -2 revolt risk, big bonuses to money. By my algorithm it scored 4th after exploration, humanist, and expansion, and religious only 5th.

However, big part of plutocracy's appeal is tech discount, which seriously won't matter any more, while religious ideas' cleansing of heresy CB used to be extremely abusable since it's the only easily available CB which doesn't allow for war leader change.

Victory conditions left:
• A few trade nodes are still flipping back and forth and not solidly under my control, but it's basically done, maybe I should have chosen more precise criteria here
• Finish colonizing Siberia - last 3 provinces all have colonists heading there
• Put Southern Slavic people under Orthodox rulers - currently Venice holds Ragusa and Istria.

Post 37 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-08-02 19:05:43 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1673-1678

As I'm not in any particular rush, I took a short detour to conquer Mutapa - last of 3 pagan states in existence (Ashanti and Oyo are noncoastal in West Africa, so I can't really do anything about that). I was actually a bit worried they might spawn Catholic, as they had one base 3 Orthodox core (which Castile took from them, and I took from Castile), and one base 2 Catholic core (which Castile also took from them, but then rebels flipped back), but they ended up fine.

My control over a few nodes (Gulf of Aden, Antwerpen, North Sea, Western Europe) was not absolutely secure, so I decided to take Muscat center of trade from Oman, now reduced to OPM.

By the way missions seem to be bugged. I got mission "create fortress in Haixi", then it magically turned into "create fortress in Halsingland". I had the same with Beijing and Smaland before. Not sure if that's random new world or what. It's not a huge deal, but I don't remember this problem before.

I want pretty much all the trade centers of the world, and Ostfriesland was one of them, but it was East Frisia's capitaland I didn't feel like taking the whole East Frisia just for it. Fortunately Denmark won their reconquest of East Frisia war, so now I attacked Denmark for that center.

I got just one province from Denmark, and got them to release OPM Oldenburg as I had so much spare warscore.

I finally unlocked religious ideas and awesome CBs they bring during war with Denmark. First, time for another Indian vassal. As I said, I'm not terribly interested in Indian territory, but land route between Kashmir, Bengal, China, and for that matter Malaysia would be nice. Unfortunately culture groups are setup very awkwardly where I want them, with 4 culture groups on my way - Northern Indian, Eastern Indian, Burmese/Tibetan, Mon - or Thai group as well if I wanted direct connection from Malaya to China instead of just thourgh Bengal. Not going to happen this campaign.

And what's that? Mewar forced Mughals (reduced now to 4 provinces) to release Sind, with its center of trade Castile tried to get in the war that got me so angry a few decades ago? Hello there my new vassal. And while I'm it I might just as well conquer Kathiawar and Mewat... Holy War CB is simply awesome.

By the way, I think I made a mistake in idea scoring algorithm. I'm treating extra CB as +2 points, making religious 5th best, but religious gives 3 different new CBs - holy war, cleansing of heresy, and defender of the faith. Defender of the faith CB is a dumb leftover from EU3 and they should either fix it (actually, I can fix it I guess) or remove it from the game - right now it only gives you CBs on people you already have holy war or cleansing of heresy against. So that should count as 2 (or with fixed defender of the faith let's say 2.5, since it only works when you're defender of the faith and not universally) extra cbs, making it 2nd or 3rd best idea group after exploration and maybe humanist, slightly ahead of expansion.

Wait, and Multan left coalition against me? Bad move Multan, very bad move. Now I need to conquer you to make sure you won't do something stupid like rejoining that damn coalition.

The 5-war failed in its original goal - Oudh turned out to be too big to annex in one go, so I set up Sind and Delhi, around 2 centers of trade. The last one remaining center of trade in India I don't control is in Mughal hands.

Line of settlement reached all of Siberia - the last remaining province without a full city is the Kurils which will get there in les than a year, and now my settlers are colonizing Hokkaido - which Japan also somehow decided to colonize, that's not going to end up well for them.

Coalition against me consists of: Mughals, Vijayanagar, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Venice, Luneburg, Bremen, and Hamburg.

The only remaining thing to do is to save Croatian people, either by taking Istria and Ragusa, or by making Venice accept the true faith.

Post 38 - Originally published on Google+ on 2014-08-02 20:10:32 UTC

EU4 Novgorod campaign: 1678-1680: The End

Religious ideas give two amazing CBs - for that matter I sort of nerfed one of them (cleansing of heresy), replacing ability to take any provinces for cheap warscore and 0 dip with ability to force convert for 25% cost. At least that's power level nerf, if you're more into roleplaying it's pretty awesome.

So step one was to attack Pope who left the coalition a while ago with cleansing of heresy CB which allows for no warleader changes. Occupying 100% of Pope's provinces meant 100% warscore since he was not part of the coalition, and since I also occupied Ragusa and Istria I could take one of them (for full diplo) - so I took Ragusa for 83% warscore. Pope is hardcoded not to switch religion sadly. While I was at it I got Ratibor for Bohemia from Hungary with some remaining warscore. Ratibor doesn't do much on its own - if I got a few more provinces it would let me walk around directly without going all the way through Ermland - I'd need Szepes and Pozsony from Hungary, and Odenburg and Gorz from Austria for nice path.

Settlement in the Kurils finished, so I started sending my colonists to Indonesia.

Now I normally wouldn't do that - fight half of the world for one province, but what the hell. Burn Polish heretics!

And in somewhat anticlimactic war Poland just decided to give me Istria when we were at 37% warscore from battles.

Some final thoughts:
• Kiel canal ended up having far more military significance than I expected - I was hauling troops between my isolated possessions on the coast, and a few weeks of saved travel time were nice. It wasn't close to being worth 1000 monarch points and 20k gold, but it did a lot better than a joke I thought it would be. On the other hand I assume 90% of players building it, especially at admin level 26, would fully control land around there anyway, probably having unified HRE, and then it would be fairly worthless.
• Money ended up being completely worthless late game, but then I've built my country around making tons of money.
• Manufactory spam made me even more money, see previous point.
• This meant that buildings at 1mp instead of 10mp made pretty much no difference. High level forts everywhere were nice since that gave my troops more time to get there and crush rebels.
• Exploration, expansion, religious, and diplomatic are still among the best idea groups. Humanist is the only new addition to top five.
• Rival system is still glitchy, but it's huge improvement over 1.6.x
• Making truces not count defensively closed ton of exploits but opened just as many other exploits - it took me a while to learn how to use that properly, but then I abused that hard - see 2 wars against Venice in 2 years, and once 3 wars against emperor Bohemia almost end to end (forcing them to release Silesia, then go Orthodox, then accept vassalization). I'm not a huge fan of this change, but that's just a choice which set of exploits bothers me less.
• 15 year truces with all participants of the war would make abusing the system pretty much mandatory. You won't see that in my mod ever.

That's all EU4 I plan to play anytime soon. I think I'm going to grab myself some shooter next, then Civilization 5 and XCOM - Long War mod look tempting.

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