The best kittens, technology, and video games blog in the world.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The one true EU4 idea group ranking

kitten on the keys by Chris Blakeley from flickr (CC-NC-ND)

People just love to discuss EU4 idea groups, and to be honest almost everything they say is completely wrong.

I have no intention of joining this making stuff up contest, so instead here's a ranking that's as close to correct as it's possible to get.

The algorithm not only gives meaningful relative rankings, it gives meaningful absolute values - expressed in monarch points.

I've written it a while ago, but I'm posting it now, as next patch will mess with the values.

The Algorithm and its limitations

Value of +1 monarch point per month is 1, and that's the unit everything is expressed in. As dip/adm are far more valuable than mil, they're both worth 1.1 and mil is just 0.8, so they average to correct value.

The game has huge number of bonuses, and they're reduced to other bonuses based on some sensible assumptions. Algorithm has simple models of income, spending, military power, envoy use, monarch point budget and so on, and given such assumptions vast number of bonuses can be reduced to just a few.

The ranking has serious limitations, which are completely unavoidable:
  • Assumptions used to calculate point values are based on a typical country, at typical point in the game - maybe extra colonists wouldn't be much use for you as Ulm and maybe you really value galley combat strength over everything else as 1444 Byzantium, but ranking merely expresses how good those bonuses would be on average
  • Algorithm is completely linear. It tries to estimate how good +1 of some bonus would be, and makes linear extrapolation from there. Some bonuses are better in multiples (-10% galley cost is weak, but -100% galley cost is pure exploit territory), some are weaker in multiples (like you really need that 6th missionary most of the time), the algorithm just tries to estimate how much value would an extra one have for a typical country. The game is helpfully linear, so two +10% bonuses are identical to +20% bonus, but that's not the same as being twice as good.
  • Algorithm for the same reason ignores any synergies or anti-synergies between different bonuses.
  • Algorithm just focuses on bonuses, it ignores all events, decisions etc. based on idea groups.
  • Algorithm ignores order of bonuses, so it doesn't care if good ones are early or late.
There are also limitations which could be improved upon:
  • Assumptions and numbers are reasonable ballpark estimates, but they don't have amazing precisions, and you could easily tweak them getting somewhat different rankings.
  • After we reduce handful of bonuses to some values like "5% higher income", "10% more powerful armies", or "1 extra diplomat", how do they compare with universal unit of +1 monarch point/month? Numbers I've chosen here could definitely be challenged.
  • There is not enough distinction made between "X" and "base X". For many things it's just fine, but "trade income" and "base trade income" are typically quite far from each other, so good ballpark estimate of trade income would still give wrong estimates of how much trade income bonuses are worth, as they apply to base trade income instead.
  • There could be bugs.
Fortunately it turns out that numbers algorithm returns are not even close - some ideas are drastically better than some others, which makes worries about precision less important.

A few examples

The whole algorithm is on github. Here I'll just present some examples of the kind of reasoning it uses.

Algorithm estimates that typical country spends 40% of its budget on land forces, and 50% of its army budget on infantry, so -10% infantry cost is equal to -4% army cost, or +2% extra money.

Algorithm estimates that you'll be hitting +1 stability button once every 15 years, and its base cost is 100 (actual cost is irrelevant due to how bonuses stack). So -X% stability cost bonus is worth +X adm points every 180 months. In other words -10% stability cost is estimated as +0.055 monthly admin or +0.061 average monarch point (as adm mp is worth 1.1 mp).

Algorithm calculates that throughout the game you'll spend 4 points a month for base cost of techs - this is surprisingly robust, as we know how many years there are in game, how many techs start to end, and what it's base cost (600/tech). It doesn't need to know how much you're paying for actual techs, bonuses are applied to base cost. So -10% tech cost is worth as much as +0.4 bonus to each monarch point, or +1.2 points/month total.

Algorithm estimates that diplomats spend 25% of their time travelling, colonist 10%, and merchants 1% (missionaries just teleport), and average country has 2 diplomats, 2 merchants, and 1 colonist, so -X% envoy travel time is comparable to +2 * 25% * X% diplomat, +2 * 1% * X% merchant, and +1 * 10% * X% colonists.

Algorithm estimates that usually stability is what you'll be using papal points for, so 100 papal points is about as good as 100 adm. Then it converts +1 yearly papal points to +1/12 montly adm points, and takes 50% as good guestimates how likely you are to be able to take advantage of that. That 50% is somewhat dubious, as much fewer than 50% of countries are Catholic, but typically European countries get this kind of bonuses.

Algorithm estimates that for a typical country, 25% of infidel provinces are heretics, and 75% are heathens, so +1% missionary strength against heretics is worth as much as +0.25% against everyone.

Algorithm estimates that extra siege pip speeds up sieges by 17% (that's based on some spreadsheet simulations), and 30% of sieges have leaders (that's just a guess), so +1 leader siege is worth 5.1% siege ability.

If you're interested in such calculations, script explains its choices in comments pretty well.

And it all reduces to...

The last step is most arbitrary, covering all things that have no good conversions:
  • +1 colonist - +3 points
  • +1 diplomat - +2 points
  • +1 missionary - +1 point
  • +1 merchant - +1 point
  • +1% missionary strength - +1 point
  • -1 unrest - +1 point
  • -0.1 autonomy - +1 point
  • -10% warscore cost - +1 point
  • +10% money - +1 point
  • +20% siege ability - +1 point
  • +10% defensiveness - +0.1 point
  • +10% military power - +1 point
  • +10% manpower - +0.3 point
  • +25 colonial growth - +1 point
  • +0.5 point for every minor ability (like infiltrate administration, reduced stab impact etc.)
  • +1 point for extra CB (religious CBs are treated as 2 different CBs)
  • +1 annual legitimacy - +0.5 point
  • +1 annual republican tradition - +1 point
  • ability to explore - +2 points
  • +1 advisor pool size - +1 point
  • +1% hostile attrition - +1 point
  • 10% better relations over time - 0.2 points
  • -10% AE impact - 0.2 points
  • +1 diplo rep - +1 point
A lot of bonuses like prestige, IA, fervor, heir chance, trade range, interest, ship recruitment speed, enemy core creation, spy offence etc. are ignored completely as either far too situational to be of use to a typical country, or basically pointless.

To help with those numbers I took decisions and policies like "+1 missionary strength +1 unrest" (maybe yes, maybe no - so these bonuses are worth about the same), "+1 colonist for -1 dip" (so ridiculously good so they removed it in patch), which is not terribly scientific, but it's a good starting point.

Idea groups

And here's the ranking of idea groups:
  • 11.76 Exploration Ideas
  • 9.54 Religious Ideas
  • 8.23 Diplomatic Ideas
  • 7.58 Expansion Ideas
  • 5.22 Humanist Ideas
  • 4.80 Influence Ideas
  • 4.50 Plutocratic Ideas
  • 4.14 Trade Ideas
  • 4.10 Aristocratic Ideas
  • 3.62 Espionage Ideas
  • 3.58 Defensive Ideas
  • 3.42 Innovative Ideas
  • 3.40 Quantity Ideas
  • 2.40 Offensive Ideas
  • 1.94 Economic Ideas
  • 1.66 Administrative Ideas
  • 1.35 Quality Ideas
  • 0.96 Maritime Ideas
  • 0.56 Naval Ideas
As you can see every single military idea is total crap, and naval/maritime are just ridiculously bad. I don't expect anybody to possibly be surprised by top 5.

National ideas

And here's the ranking. Personally I'd value Russian, Spanish and American ideas above Najdi - Najdi ideas are very good, but its +5% missionary strength is perhaps not worth 5x as much as +1% missionary strength bonus would be, so algorithm's linear character arguably overestimates it.

Only one country has ideas which algorithm estimates as (within margin of error) worse than default ideas, and I totally agree with this assessment.
  • 10.85 Najdi Ideas
  • 10.49 Muscovite Ideas
  • 10.36 Spanish Ideas
  • 10.10 American Ideas
  • 8.88 Colonial Ideas
  • 7.54 Jerusalem Ideas
  • 6.96 Byzantine Ideas
  • 6.92 Norwegian Ideas
  • 6.86 Bremen Ideas
  • 6.74 Austrian Ideas
  • 6.55 Manchu Ideas
  • 6.49 Sukhothai Ideas
  • 6.42 Mapuche Ideas
  • 6.42 Assamese Ideas
  • 6.39 Canadian Ideas
  • 6.38 Carib Ideas
  • 6.32 Teutonic Ideas
  • 6.32 Bosnian Ideas
  • 6.29 Native Ideas
  • 6.24 Iroquois Ideas
  • 6.15 Kievan Ideas
  • 6.08 French Ideas
  • 5.84 Lan Xang Ideas
  • 5.79 Kanem Bornuan Ideas
  • 5.73 Québécois Ideas
  • 5.63 Romanian Ideas
  • 5.55 Divine Ideas
  • 5.51 Kurdish Ideas
  • 5.41 Cherokee Ideas
  • 5.38 Malayan Sultanate Ideas
  • 5.37 German Ideas
  • 5.36 Provençal Ideas
  • 5.34 Palatinate Ideas
  • 5.32 Armenian Ideas
  • 5.27 Krakowian Ideas
  • 5.26 Shawnee Ideas
  • 5.20 Japanese Ideas
  • 5.11 Tibetan Ideas
  • 5.09 Knights Hospitaller Ideas
  • 5.07 Welsh Ideas
  • 5.03 Ajuuraan Ideas
  • 5.01 Mossi Ideas
  • 4.95 Savoyard Ideas
  • 4.92 Vindhyan Ideas
  • 4.91 West African Ideas
  • 4.88 Central Indian Ideas
  • 4.86 Novgorod Ideas
  • 4.86 Trebizond Ideas
  • 4.79 Javan Ideas
  • 4.78 Lithuanian Ideas
  • 4.67 Karamanid Ideas
  • 4.58 Hungarian Ideas
  • 4.56 Songhai Ideas
  • 4.53 Sinhalese Ideas
  • 4.48 Moldavian Ideas
  • 4.47 Papal Ideas
  • 4.45 Hausan Ideas
  • 4.45 Tapuian Ideas
  • 4.44 Bulgarian Ideas
  • 4.44 Ragusan Ideas
  • 4.43 Athenian Ideas
  • 4.42 Polotskian Ideas
  • 4.42 Fulani Jihad Ideas
  • 4.40 Danish Ideas
  • 4.40 Irish Ideas
  • 4.39 Sumatran Ideas
  • 4.35 Client State Ideas
  • 4.34 Circassian Ideas
  • 4.33 Pskovian Ideas
  • 4.31 Transylvanian Ideas
  • 4.26 Finnish Ideas
  • 4.24 English Ideas
  • 4.23 Horde Ideas
  • 4.22 Ryukyuan Ideas
  • 4.18 Afghan Ideas
  • 4.15 Scottish Ideas
  • 4.13 Siberian Ideas
  • 4.10 Italian Ideas
  • 4.10 Polish Ideas
  • 4.09 Montenegrin Ideas
  • 4.06 Prussian Ideas
  • 4.04 Swahili Ideas
  • 4.03 Dai Viet Ideas
  • 4.01 Ashanti Ideas
  • 4.00 Ethiopian Ideas
  • 4.00 Chinese Ideas
  • 3.99 Ryazan Ideas
  • 3.98 Huron Ideas
  • 3.96 Bohemian Ideas
  • 3.96 Kongo Ideas
  • 3.92 Nepali Ideas
  • 3.90 Siddi Ideas
  • 3.90 Tarascan Ideas
  • 3.89 Hejazi Ideas
  • 3.89 Wallachian Ideas
  • 3.87 Ayutthayan Ideas
  • 3.85 Breton Ideas
  • 3.81 Bavarian Ideas
  • 3.79 Bahmani Ideas
  • 3.77 Mesoamerican Ideas
  • 3.77 Anatolian Ideas
  • 3.74 Zaporozhian Ideas
  • 3.71 Vijayanagar Ideas
  • 3.70 Yaroslavlyian Ideas
  • 3.69 Khmer Ideas
  • 3.68 Brazilian Ideas
  • 3.67 Holstein Ideas
  • 3.63 Mexican Ideas
  • 3.63 Arabian Ideas
  • 3.61 Shan Ideas
  • 3.55 Chachapoyan Ideas
  • 3.54 Kazani Ideas
  • 3.52 Taungu Ideas
  • 3.51 Portuguese Ideas
  • 3.51 Pueblo Ideas
  • 3.47 Mughal Ideas
  • 3.45 Milanese Ideas
  • 3.43 Ottoman Ideas
  • 3.41 Khivan Ideas
  • 3.41 Wurzburgian Ideas
  • 3.40 Aztec Ideas
  • 3.39 Daimyo Ideas
  • 3.37 Ruthenian Ideas
  • 3.35 Venetian Ideas
  • 3.33 Air Ideas
  • 3.33 Candarid Ideas
  • 3.30 Hamburger Ideas
  • 3.29 Malian Ideas
  • 3.28 Swedish Ideas
  • 3.27 Theodoro Ideas
  • 3.22 Saxon Ideas
  • 3.22 Indian Sultanate Ideas
  • 3.22 Jaunpuri Ideas
  • 3.20 Croatian Ideas
  • 3.17 Hessian Ideas
  • 3.17 Naxian Ideas
  • 3.17 Serbian Ideas
  • 3.16 Dutch Ideas
  • 3.14 Berber Ideas
  • 3.11 Guarani Ideas
  • 3.10 Couronian Ideas
  • 3.10 Ming Ideas
  • 3.09 Muiscan Ideas
  • 3.09 Navarran Ideas
  • 3.04 Tuscan Ideas
  • 3.03 Beninese Ideas
  • 3.03 Cypriot Ideas
  • 3.02 Korean Ideas
  • 3.01 Tverian Ideas
  • 3.01 Bengali Ideas
  • 3.01 Arawak Ideas
  • 3.00 Granada Ideas
  • 3.00 Gujarati Ideas
  • 2.99 Creek Ideas
  • 2.99 Punjabi Ideas
  • 2.96 South Indian Ideas
  • 2.90 Danziger Ideas
  • 2.86 Georgian Ideas
  • 2.84 Silesian Ideas
  • 2.82 Incan Ideas
  • 2.77 Italian Ideas
  • 2.70 Chimu Ideas
  • 2.67 Permian Ideas
  • 2.64 Timurid Ideas
  • 2.55 Chickasaw Ideas
  • 2.42 Omani Ideas
  • 2.41 Dahomey Ideas
  • 2.38 Mogadishan Ideas
  • 2.35 Hanseatic Ideas
  • 2.32 Charruan Ideas
  • 2.31 Maratha Ideas
  • 2.31 Mamluk Ideas
  • 2.22 Pacific Northwest Ideas
  • 2.20 Orissan Ideas
  • 2.18 Aymaran Ideas
  • 2.16 Smolenskian Ideas
  • 2.04 Persian Ideas
  • 2.02 Rajput Ideas
  • 1.92 Swiss Ideas
  • 1.91 Pomeranian Ideas
  • 1.87 Burgundian Ideas
  • 1.87 Tupi Ideas
  • 1.79 Neapolitan Ideas
  • 1.73 Gutnish Ideas
  • 1.72 Andean Ideas
  • 1.60 Caucasian Ideas
  • 1.51 Albanian Ideas
  • 1.44 Aragonese Ideas
  • 1.34 Default National Ideas
  • 1.30 Genoese Ideas

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fun and Balance mod for EU4 now on Steam Workshop

Little kitty ♥ =^..^= ♥ by Viola's visions from flickr (CC-NC-SA)

As was requested so many times, it's now available on Steam Workshop:
I also created permanent URL for the mod, instead of just repointing it at latest post about it on this blog every time I wanted to link to it. I still need to setup some pictures.

If you don't want to use Steam Workshop, or you need older version, you can get it directly from my Dropbox share folder.

A bunch of CK2 minimods on Steam Workshop now

People kept asking for Steam Workshop version of Fun and Balance, so I finally made one. (I still need to setup screenshots, links etc., but it's a perfectly usable already)

Anyway, I also put a bunch of CK2 minimods on Steam, none of them affect gameplay in any way:
I absolutely detest dynastic names for countries, and I refuse to play any game without fixing that, even if everything else about the game is pure vanilla. It seems a lot of people share my views, as this mod got fairly popular pretty quickly without any announcements anywhere.

Localized landed titles I can tolerate if they're used sparingly (like West Francia / France, Pannonia / Hungary, Danzig / Gdańsk etc.), and early versions of CK2 did just that. Unfortunately Old Gods onwards it went on Norse renaming binge, and major parts of the map use completely dumb names with dumb non-Latin characters in them. If I wanted to play Swedish version, I'd choose Swedish version. Is it that hard to get?

Localized ranks are not quite as bad, but I made mod to fix them for completeness if you want to play that way. I'm not really decided which way I like more. I don't mind a few Exarchs and Grand Princes, but all they Walis, Beylerbeys, Farins etc. - is this really seriously necessary?

All mods are meant for vanilla, they're compatible with each other, but no idea if they're compatible with anything else.

If you don't want to use Steam Workshop, use Steam Workshop Downloader or get it from my Dropbox shared folder. Code is all on github but you'll need to do some symlinkery to actually build from there.

If you want to see all mods I put on Steam, here's my Steam Workshop page.

These are all cosmetic mods (even if 2/3 change checksum). I usually play with a bunch of balance-affecting minimods too, I'm not sure if that would be easy to extract into something workable.

In any case, enjoy.

Pictures from Vegan Week

As I said before, this is now a food blog.

In act of self-inflicted misery, I decided to try the whole "Vegan" thing for a week. Sadly, I did not develop any superpowers. Why would Scott Pilgrim lie to me?

Instead I felt tired, hungry, and miserable pretty much all week. But's let disregard my first world problems and get to what people want to see - the pics.

If you want to see all the pics, not just selection, they're on flickr stream with live commentary.

(footnote: It's not actually a food blog)

Vegan sushi

This is probably the best one I made. First, cut some vegies into tiny strips:
Then place them on rice and nori:
 Cut into pieces, add some soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger, and omnomnom:


The most obvious way to eat vegan is the whole "vegetable" thing. Vegetables are wonderful company for chicken, but the radical notion is to eat them on their own, or with some olive oil.

Steamed vegetables, could definitely used some butter if it wasn't banned:
Some simple salad with haricot beans, red onions, olive oil, and salt. I'm not saying it wouldn't be better with some tuna:


I usually eat fruit with honey or chocolate. Chocolate I have here actually turned out to be vegan, but I didn't even notice that and assumed it must have milk products in it... Yeah, I was just so totally prepared like that.

So instead I tried some maple syrup:
No offense to Canadians, but it's just not very good. I tried with agave nectar as well, and that was even worse:
That was even worse, so I just decided to eat the rest of fruit I had raw:

Caffeine deficiency

The first thing that hit me during the vegan week was caffeine withdrawal. Sure, I had some green tea, and some red bulls (which turn out to be vegan contrary to obvious urban legend).

I tried making vegan mocha with instant coffee, dairy-free chocolate, and almond "milk", and it was just awful:

Constant hunger

Eventually I got over caffeine deficiency, but instead I was constantly hungry. Like I'd stuff my face with everything I could, and two hours later I wanted to eat more. Preferably chickens stuffed with cheese. That was just horrible.

Normally I try to avoid too much non-paleo food, but there was no way more fruit would help at all.

So, some steamed potatoes and carrots:
Some rice with stirfry vegetables:
Bread with houmous:
Bread with vegetables:
All that just slightly delayed coming of hunger.


My usual nuts, almonds, raisins, and honey dessert, except without honey:
I already mostly prefer dark over milk chocolates, so it wasn't hard to find something good:

The end

To summarize, the food tasted just fine. Most of it would be better in non-vegan version, but except for that almond "milk" fake mocha abomination, these were things I wouldn't mind eating every now and then.

The problem was how not eating any animal products led to some severe deficiencies to which my body reacted with near constant exhaustion and hunger. At first I thought it might just be caffeine, but I drank generous amounts of green tea (not pictured), some red bulls, and my sleep tracking app didn't notice anything extraordinary, so I doubt that was it.

Half of the last day I spent looking at clock every 5 minutes wondering if it's finally midnight and I can finally eat some cheese.

So it was a fun thing to try once, but never again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

EU4 Holy Kebab Empire AAR

Post 1 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-03 23:12:59 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 01: 1444-1458: Constantinople is well worth a mass

Due to laptop hardware problems I had to put some more ambitious projects on hold, and I'm going for an easy game of Fun and Balance instead. By easy I mean restoring the Roman Empire in its full imperial borders as Orthodox Ottomans, with capital in Constantinople, restoring Pentarchy, unifying HRE, crushing Miaphysite heresy, westernizing, and doing such fun casual stuff.

In the olden days - by which I mean EU3 - the best day zero move was 5 separate DoWs on every Turkish minor holding my cores. That got unfortunately removed in EU4. Second best way was to start those wars as soon as possible, before Turkish minors get any allies, as you couldn't make allies during war, and you couldn't call in anybody except during first 60 days. That is unfortunately also gone, and anybody can ally anybody they want at any time and jump into any war many years into it. For defensive wars there's not even any real penalty for that.

So instead, it's going to be fairly slow recovery of my cores. Or it would be, except somehow my limited wars against 2 Turkish minors escalated to pull everybody who had my cores except Qara Qoyunlu - and nobody else.

I ended up letting Karaman get away with it completely free of any territorial concessions - mostly because I had mission for +1 stability for 50 prestige, and making them break alliances instead of taking land was the only sensible way to get that, and I was taking too much AE anyway (reconquest CB should give 25% AE for all cores, it affects only cores taken from war leader, you get 100% AE otherwise - at least 0 dip, except tooltip doesn't even know that).

My second war was ridiculously obvious Byzantium and its Orthodox friends. But interesting thing happened. While I was carpet sieging Bosnia, it got attacked by Serbia, Ragusa (with Milan), and Hungary. I can get into that many defensive wars for some tiny AE from vassalizing Bosnia? That sounds sweet.

Unfortunately under new rules which I don't like at all Hungary was able to call its allies into offensive wars long after it started - allies like Mantua and Castile. I vassalized Serbia, let Ragusa get away with reparations, and focused on Hungary/Castile.

Castile opened by sending its fleet of 7 heavies, 1 lights, and 7 transports to try land in my territory - all that ended up as fish food. Do they have any other fleets? My discovery mission ran into them, and returned saying there aren't any left.

I forced Hungary to release Wallachia - Bosnian vassal it ate just a few years ago. Then I took diplomatic ideas (religious would be totally obvious, but I really need first Ottoman ideas for +3 tolerance for heretics, and going religious would take unreasonably long compared with going diplomatic). I'll need to go diplomatic for HRE game anyway.

I took advantage of that, and convinced Wallachia, Cyprus, and Theodoro to join vassal club - in addition to Bosnia, Serbia, Athens (which I inherited from Byzantium and gave all Byzantine provinces to, except Constantinople for which I got free core by decision).

My ally Crimea got into some stupid wars with Genoa / Austria, Golden Horde, and who knows who else, so I called them into my wars, making them break our alliance, so now my alliances are 100% Jesus-approved.

Unfortunately I ended up with Orthodox zealots and Epirus nationalists - I couldn't handle all that with what few troops I had left after fighting Hungary. So I accepted zealot's demands, giving me -2 tolerance to anyone who's not Orthodox, which will result in Sunni zealot uprising sooner or later.

By the way my original hope for Hungary was making them release Croatia or Transylvania, I expected Wallachia to still exist at that point. Oh well.

Oh yes, now it's time to finish Karaman. After that was done, I allied Circassia, which was being attacked by Gazikumukh (some Shia Dagestani minor). I tried enforce peace - of course they rejected, bringing me to war as minor party on Circassian side. The nerfs, when will they stop... Once upon a time that was a separate war or taking over as war leader or maybe there was even a remote chance of them accepting my enforcement. Oh well.

As soon as war was over, Circassia understood they can't survive in this cruel world without my protection, and accepted my overlordship. I thought about diplovassalizing Ragusa, but Serbia had claims on it, which seemed totally legitimate to me. They were only allied with Siena, but Burgundy got this ridiculous notion that they're somehow defender of the Catholic faith, whatever that means.

I left Ragusa to my vassals to deal with, if Burgundy actually shows up, I'll do something, but no sooner, as I had to crush an uprising by 62k Sunni zealots. That might be the worst one ever - as soon as -2 tolerance due to accepting Orthodox zealots demands expires, and I get +3 tolerance from my ideas, I doubt I'm going to see that many rebel problems.

And then I got surprise attacked by Qara Qoyunlu. What? Well, technically they have 51k troops, which is a pretty impressive number, and at this stage horde troops are still pretty strong. I can't help but think of them as relatively minor pest, not serious rival like Mamluks, Austria, or Castile (assuming they ever rebuild their fleet).

No matter, thanks to my dominance over Constantinople I already have second highest income of all known countries behind only Ming, but distance between me and England, France, Austria,  Castile, Timurids, Burgundy, Mamluks, Venice, or even Lithuania isn't really that high. So I can spam mercs... Or not, I ended up taking tons of loans anyway.

Surprisingly Georgia just barely accepted vassalization in the middle of my war against Qara Qoyunlu - apparently impressed by my merc spam.

Qara Qoyunlu was much less impressed by the mercs, and I agreed to white peace after getting them into serious war exhaustion. 300 gold in loans just to get them to stalemale meant I'd need to pay crazy amount of money to actually win.

(this is second attempt, the first one was very quickly abandoned after I realized that calls to arms and alliances don't work quite as they used to - I could get out of the mess I accidentally created, but I much prefer to understand the rules of games I'm playing, so I restarted instead)

Opening war. I honestly did not plan to fight everyone.

Orthodoxy was not very successful at converting anyone yet.

Post 2 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-04 02:22:27 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 02: 1458-1466: Patriarchate of Antioch

I had many options:

• disband mercs, take it slow until my manpower recovers and loans are repaid

• attack Hungary (who has some allies but fairly distant ones) for Serbia's 2 claims. That would be fine, but Hungary is not my rival yet, so that war has 0 PP potential, and I preferred getting Dalmatia from Venice first, releasing Croatia there, and attacking Hungary for the rest of Croatia.

• attack Knights pulling in Venice as non-cobeligerent (and they weren't allied with anybody else), get their islands for Athens, and maybe Dalmatia for Bosnia (probably negotiating with Knights not Venice) - the most appealing part of the plan was that the entire Venetian army could be trapped on their island - the least appealing part of the plan was that even though they had similar force limit to mine, they decided to build ships to twice their limit, so I had no chance whatsoever of doing than. Also I wouldn't get any PP for that, as DoW would be against Knights, and "lost provinces in war against rival" seems to reliably trigger only for returning cores, not for giving provinces to vassals. I could humiliate Venice, but that would require 30% warscore against them directly - which might not happen without invading Italy, and then I couldn't get anything useful except converting Knights.

• take mission that gives me free claims all over Levant, and attack Mamluks for them. Now Mamluks had allies all over the map and I'd be outnumbered on both land and sea - however their allies were geographically dispersed and could probably be dealt with separately, and Mamluks had 12k stack standing at the border just next to my doomstack and inviting a day one stackwipe. This option would also do most to help Orthodoxy (released Syria would convert holy sites), and easily give me most PP. The main downside is that this would cost me the most in reinforcements and new ships, so it would drive me even deeper into debt.

There's also a bunch of silly things I could do which would involve antagonizing Austria, but it's not yet time for that.

So Mamluks it was. Expected day one stackwipe of that 12k Mamluk army didn't quite happen, fortunately naval stackwipes did, leaving none of them with any fleet.

By the way, how the hell can I disable "Automatic Transportation" nonsense? It keeps turning itself back on whenever I merge or split fleets containing any transports. Arumba owes me an apology here.

Weirdly my ally Bohemia became emperor, and called me into war against Teutonic attack. Totally accepted and totally didn't care to help, and I ended up having to concede defeat.

Mamluks lost some provinces - I setup Syria there, disbanded most mercs, at which point my vassals started behaving less than loyally. What could I do... Weird I can annex Athens, but I had it as vassal less than 20 years - oh, it counts how long it has been a vassal, not whose vassal, and it's been Byzantine vassal before me. That's one Catholic country down, too bad their claims on Venice will go unused.

Of course that only made matters worse, as it tanked my diplomatic reputation. Fortunately 5th diplomatic idea solved the whole problem, at least for the time being.

After that I don't have any good openings:

• it's still 13 years until Deus Vult
• Qara Qoyunlu is still ridiculously powerful (and it will make a lot more sense to wait for Deus Vult anyway)
• I lost my claims on Mamluks by canceling the mission, and it won't come back (not due to any Fun and Balance stuff, it just requires direct border which we no longer share) - it was a mistake I guess, it's not like I got anything useful in 5 years between our truces anyway
• Venice even after war with Castile with some naval battles still has significantly larger fleet than me
• It might be a good idea to annex some of my existing vassals before setting up new ones like Croatia, Iraq, Crimea etc. (which will happen after Deus Vult anyway) - with 20 year wait, it's still long time until I can annex anyone.
• I'm not even sure if Deus Vult 0 dip conquests work when giving territory directly to vassals - if not, it's going to be awkward

I could always attack Mamluks for remaining 9bt of Syria's cores in about 18 months. Nothing huge, but with 5 year timers and less ridiculous length of war penalty there's no need to make every war to the death.

Territorial gains were modest relative to amount of blood spilled

War for Patriarchate of Antioch

Post 3 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-04 12:57:29 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 03: 1466-1479: Deus Vult!

I attacked Mamluks with Syria's pretty borders CB and they saw reason very quickly.

I wanted to attack Knights to humiliate Venice for some delicious PP, but just before DoW Venice decided to unrival me, which made our rivalry invalid. I need to change plans again.

Rival choices - in addition to entirely reasonable Mamluks and Qara Qoyunlu - are Timurids, England, France, and Castile. I want none of that to be honest, but Castile is sort of halfway reasonable pick.

Doesn't matter. I attacked Knights anyway - they were allied with Venice and Genoa. I expected serious naval warfare, but Genoa had almost no ships, and Venice split its fleet into far too many groups.

All that was useless because vassal claims CB is bugged as hell, so if I took anything for myself, or even for my other vassal, I'd be paying 45 dip a province. Even tooltip said different thing in table and different thing in summary. Fuck that, Knights are now Orthodox and one of Circassia's cores is returned.

Time to stop this vassal claim nonsense and get a real CB, 8 years ahead of time or not. Deus Vult, Qara Qoyunlu! It was also God's will that they'd be involved in multiple other wars at that time.

I expanded Georgia a bit and setup small vassal Iraq and Persia. Iraq, Persia, and Syria all take defensive and religious as first two idea groups, which is the best choice for a vassal - sadly Syria is still adm tech 5 and has serious trouble converting anything.

And it's not like God stopped willing it, so it was time to take Jerusalem from the Mamluks. Jesus has shown their infidel allies (except black stone worshippers in Hedja) futility of resistance so Mamluks were nearly alone in all that.

The biggest loss of life on my side was not even a battle - my army was passing through a province sieged my my dumb vassal Circassia and they decided to press assault button and kill 8k or so of my men, of course failing the siege anyway because it's not CK2 and assault button is useless.

Anyway, Syria got all the provinces with any religious or trade significance - which gave them massive overextension and delayed the time when they'll be able to get admin tech 7 and religious ideas by even longer, but I don't really care all that much.

Thanks to recent uprising modifier stacked on autonomy increased modifier, giving vassals massive overextension (and it wasn't even that high, 140% or so) and crushing their rebels once or twice is really much easier than decades of babysitting required in some older patches.

Time to finish my business with Qara Qoyunlu before I turn west. There are 75 Catholic (and 4 Coptic - counting only countries I know of) countries that urgently need some help in understanding proper way to worship Jesus.

Qara Qoyunlu getting into a lot more wars than is healthy

Not quite as good as Justinian I, but we're getting there

Post 4 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-04 18:05:06 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 04: 1479-1494: Bible Distribution Service

There wasn't any terribly urgent need for this war, but Qara Qoyunlu's existence was getting on my nerves. Once I get rid of QQ, I'll be able to repeatedly beat Timurids for easy PP, but it's not like I have PP shortage.

That wasn't too hard, so I wanted to deal with Venice, but I noticed that there's a lot of Muslim haters in the Middle East, and it would not be good if they setup any kind of coalition against me. Fine, I'll crush the Mamluks once more.

Nobody except for Hedjaz wanted to support the Mamluks, so it was easy war. Come on Bohemia, join our glorious crusade! What do you mean you won't? This dishonored call insults Jesus, you'll regret that... What do you mean it only applies to defensive calls now? That's such bullshit. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get good CB on half of Northern Germany from Constantinople?

Fine, let's cleanse those Venetian heretics, cobeligerent everyone. 77 heretic states is far too many, so it's as good a place to start as any.

Oh, Croatia rebelled out of Hungary. There goes my plan to force Hungary to release them and diplovassalize them. Or maybe not, Croatians, would you mind if I helped you worship Jesus properly? You seem to be confused on some minor issues. Oh come on, no need to be so hostile about it. After I helped them sort out church matters and made Venice return some of Croatian territory, I tried to convince them to become my vassals, but somehow they were a bit annoyed by some incidents during church cleanup. No matter, they'll come to their senses by next Christmas.

Venice lost 3 trade posts (such a shame you don't get massive amount of loot whenever you take a province where a merchant republic setup one), leaving a lot more trade power for me. That's 72 heretic countries to go including every single elector.

In spite of my best effort to preemptively crush them, a coalition of fairly irrelevant Muslim countries popped up. I sent some diplomats to try to improve our relations, even giving away free Bibles! It turns out those illiterate sheep herders completely misunderstood refined language of international diplomacy and took that as declaration of war. Come on, who could possibly misunderstand free Bibles?

No matter, haters were removed from power and I made arrangements to ensure safe distribution of free Bibles in all local languages.

To preempt any future hatred, I decided to setup another missionary order, this time in Mecca. There were also some confused Miaphysites in Alodia, who needed my protection in that dangerous part of the world, so I happily offered that, and I'll help them clean up their centuries of accumulated religious mistakes later.

That's really late, and my efforts to spread Ortohdoxy to HRE have so fair been unsuccessful.

Syria grew too big (over 100 base tax), and can't handle own administration any more, and it failed to distribute Bibles in Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, or the other Antioch. I think I'll need to do that myself.

Persia in 3 separated parts is definitely awkward, but it's not really time to fight Timurids. I urgently need to spread correct word of God to all the people who got it wrong.

Next stop - Rome.

Regional Bible Distributors

Orthodox Christianity returning to its birthplace

Post 5 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-04 22:40:09 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 05: 1494-1509: Holy Toddler Emperor

I declared war on the Pope. There was big problem - I couldn't take Rome without fully annexing his 4 provinces, only 2 of which I had claims on, so instead I made him release Provence (in Avignon, France fully annexed what was left of it just a moment ago) and Urbino.

Qara Qoyunlu and Yemen set another coalition against me, so I instantly declared war on them before anybody else got stupid ideas. Golden Horde as cobeligerent. Hilariously Timurids and Najd joined coalition just a few days later. Those illiterate goat herders can't coordinate paperwork.

A much more concerning problem than those two wars were uprisings by Sunni zealots and random patriots my vassals were not able to deal with properly.

Anyway, Tuscany annexed what was left of Papal States - which presumably wasn't too difficult as I forced Papal States to break all their relevant alliances. Well, Tuscany was Orthodox, so if I didn't just have Pentarchy mission (which is the only way to disable curia forever) I'd probably let them get away with it.

As I couldn't, it was time to attack the HRE! Except Bohemia noped, so I took Rome with almost zero fighting. The clock is ticking fast. Aragon calling me into their silly war against Naples? How about I reorganize their churches instead, would that be OK?

Let's try something else... Hungary, allied with elector Saxony, that might lead somewhere useful. And it did, Hungary got away with reparations, but Saxony and Mainz got their church affairs sorted out.

Event triggers for emperor, not for electors, so it sort of doesn't matter how many electors are there, but I might just a well continue spreading Orthodoxy with another HRE intervention. Wait, it triggered already? It tooks January 1503 to July 1504 with mtth 120 months.

I have no intention of waiting for them to build up a massive league. Too bad I had to wait to cancel military access to Bohemia and annul marriage of my cousin to some Czech girl, otherwise I would start league war day one.

Anyway, the war is going to be:

• Orthodox League: Ottomans, Mainz (Orthodox elector), Ferrara, Siena, Knights (respawned at Malta, stayed Orthodox), Hungary (Catholic, hate Bohemia)
• My non-league allies: just kidding, like AI would join offensive wars
• Catholic League: Bohemia (emperor), France, Alsace, Papal States (respawned in Baden), Burgundy, Frankfurt, Trier (elector), Palatinate (elector), Urbino, Livonian Order
• Bohemia's non-league allies: Ulm, Magdeburg

Unfortunately French and Burgundian doomstacks went straight for Rome - which was in the middle of very slow conversion.

Understandably, I ignored all that and went after OPMs I could kick out of the war quickly:

• Elector Palatinate - Orthodox
• Protestant reformation triggered - in Mazovia, England, and Sweden
• Ulm - Orthodox
• Frankfurt - Orthodox
• Rome fell, breaking my really slow missionary progress
• Elector Trier - Orthodox
• Papal States - out of the war with reparations, sadly I can't make them release Baden out of their whole territory like in old versions
• I got Greek rebels, really unfortunate timing
• Siena surrendered to the infidels with reparations
• Ferrara surrender to the infidels releasing Modena (Orthodox) and returning Romagna to Papal States
• Alsace - Orthodox
• Magdeburg - Orthodox
• Doomstacks moved to siege my capital instead, and even got Edirne. I blockaded the straits and started recruiting mercs on the other side, and bringing my troops home, but it was not fun times.
• I surrounded French and Burgundian doomstacks in Greece, blocking their way out - they'd either eat attrition and die, or attack me in the mountains and die. They decided to attack me.
• I got a regency council for a 1 year old...
• And then it was slow and painful - I was at permanent +40 from battles but no ticking score from battles, and occupation was pretty close to 0.
• Massive coalition against France triggered (sadly I could not join it, not enough AE). That's as good time as they'll ever get, as I keep destroying French, Burgundian, and Bohemian stacks, but bastards are still not willing to peace out
• Huh, that's weird, I actually got 100% and call to peace from just occupying Bohemia. That probably means Great Britain in Commonwealth campaign had some overseas provinces I wasn't aware of. Oh well.
• Urbino - Orthodox
• Rome missionary work resumes
• Orthodoxy is now official HRE religion, league flips - Bohemia and Brandenbung are Catholic, Cologne is Protestant, the reset of electors is Orthodox
• My now 3 year old gets elected with 3 votes, with other electors splitting votes between Corsica and Saxony

Right now I'm just waiting until 1516 for my missionary in Rome to finish. I'm not really sure how much I'll be able to do during regency. That's the longest one I ever had - I had tons of child rulers as Manchu, but they got dealt with in traditional ways.

To make matters more fun I'm getting ticking disaster "Janisary Decadence". I didn't even check what the hell is that yet, but it's probably safe to assume it's going to be really painful.

Roman Empire, West and East

Even France is going to have trouble with these wars

Post 6 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-05 16:38:53 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 06: 1509-1521: The Wonderful Childhood of Mehmet III Osmanoglu

The kid actually has complex backstory - Muscovy was without heir, so I royal married them to maybe get my dynasty on their throne, as PU over Muscovy would be pretty damn nice. That of course did not work (I got 0 PUs in all my EU4 campaigns), and they got their heir, while mine died. So for a few years the game threatened me with PU under Muscovy on ruler death (or succession war, the tooltips didn't agree with each other), which would be pretty hilarious. Then my ruler popped a new baby. Then he died in the middle of league war.

There wasn't too much to be done. Since my armies would be bored, I reduced autonomy everywhere so they could at least keep practicing on rebel scum. Then I got event for free -10% autonomy or -1 stab in every province - I took autonomy reduction, points has been surprisingly plentiful this campaign, thanks to >50 PP, -10% western arms trade (first from Naples, then from Tuscany) and surprising lack of crappy events.

I diplovassalized Naples, so together with HRE I now control most of Italy.

HRE shows very little enthusiasm for reelecting me - even some Orthodox electors are in Catholic league, and heretic electors obviously vote against me - by the way electors are 4 Orthodox, 2 Protestant, and 1 Reformed, for 0 Catholic electors, but Diet will only trigger as none of heretic reform are in enemy league. The leagues are basically entire Europe now, with theirs being significantly larger.

I thought about supporting Persian rebels, but it would take obscene amount of money and would be completely worthless anyway under new rebel system, even with Fun and Balance increasing value of foreign rebel support from +4 to +6.

Coalition wrecked France.

Venice took 2 unlawful imperial provinces, but I couldn't do shit about it because I'm in regency council. (Bavaria and Milan did the same thing later)

At age of 8 emperor Mehmet III managed to convince bishop of Rome to embrace the Orthodoxy - there's still a heretic bishop calling himself "pope", but nobody takes him seriously any more, and curia disbanded. Sadly countries misled by the heretics still cling to their mistakes.

I got Janissary Decadence disaster, which gives +25% tech/idea cost, -25% manpower, and mtth 10 years for Janissary Palace coup, which replaces a ruler with one with min 2/2/2 stats (or spawns rebels), and which would actually be pretty good right now.

It feels like the whole disaster makes no sense:

• I can disband Janissaries outright, which loses me modifier giving +10% manpower recovery, +10% infantry power, +5% discipline, and ends disaster forever without any bad events.
• I can keep decadence ongoing forever with massive penalties to mana points (and random palace coups which are totally welcome)
• I can delay it with any ruler with 5 in any stat (like I have any fucking control over that), but it won't even help once it started.

If those penalties were let's say 10% tech/idea cost, it would make some sense.

And there are also two more events ("The Threat of Janissaries" and "Increased Recruiting") that as far as I can tell can never trigger. Did they start coding this and never finished? Looking at older version of the game they look like some leftovers from pre-disaster system, that got broken during transition to 1.10. Oh well, button pressed it is then, what a fascinating event chain it was.

There were still a few years to go, and Muscovy called me into their heresy cleansing against Livonian Order, supported by Poland. I promptly sent 2 diplomats to fabricate some claims and pressed accept.

I sunk Lithuanian and Moldavian navies (no interest in sending my fleets to the Baltic, and I don't think I even could with one terra incognita province on the way), took some border provinces hoping Muscovy maybe will give them to me, and stayed out of it. Muscovy was getting completely wrecked, so I sent two stacks north to see what the hell is going on. I uncovered terra incognita of Lithuania and Livonian Order (seriously game, Turks don't know how half of Lithuania looks like in 15th century?), and then headed back home, with no interest in fighting this futile war.

I decided to support Persian rebels anyway once they rebelled, I'm sure they'd get crushed by Timurids on their own, but it was just a few months before end of regency, so I can try pressing their claim in direct war. Maybe I'll get a lot more territory this way than I could be return core. I've heard it massively inflates vassal liberty desire as well, we'll see how it goes.

There's no coalition against me, so I can tidy up borders a bit. I don't terribly care for assorted East African Copts right now, but that's something to do for later. I'm much more interested in restoring North Africa to Roman rule, but much more urgent matter is dealing with religious mess in the HRE before I die and lose emperorship to Corsica who will then get instantly wrecked by the Catholics.

Post 7 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-05 21:19:04 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 07: 1521-1531: Can't enact HRE reforms during religious conflict

On the first day of his rule, emperor Mehmet III declared war on the Timurids to support Persian freedom fighters, and then it only got better.

I found first bug right away - even though these are friendly rebels, I still can't change leaders on territory they hold. At least I get instant warscore for all rebel occupied territory.

The emperor negotiated white peace in this foolish war against Poland his regency council started, and told Naples to cleanup last Mamluk lands instead.

I got even that gave me an option to give Alexandria for free to Venice for some relations boost. The fuck game? Apparently AI has 10% chance of taking that dumb option (unless both Ottoman navy and army are larger than Venetian, then it's 0%). I don't know why they even bothered. I mean, giving them some cash or trade power maybe, but that's just ridiculous.

Anyway, supporting rebels. It cost me about 900 gold in rebel support fees (with slider at minimum, it only goes down to 50% not to 0% for it used to, and I don't know if I could disable it after war started), gave me shitty wargoal (occupy capital), and I got a ton of Persian provinces for it for 0 dip and 0 AE. Sadly not all their cores, just ones where Persian were primary rebels, that in Persian culture ones. Timurids still have 10 Persian cores to go.

Oh and that also doesn't count as losing provinces for PP purposes. Every patch we get another half-assed mechanic, seriously.

Anyway, time to reform church in Austria, cobeligerent everyone. 58 heretic countries to go, and so little time. They even claimed to have larger army than ours, like I ever cared for that. AI is so bad at managing its armies anything below 2:1 is a slaughter.

By the way look at one of the screenshots below - my army separated into 4 neat stacks just below attrition limit (which is about 20-30 for most provinces at this stage, will get much higher in two techs) vs AI doomstack sitting on 5%+ monthly attrition. Just in case you wonder why I never bother any military ideas - AI stupidity is the only one I'll ever need.

And you get a lot of tactical advantage if you recognize when to tactically retreat (as seen on another screenshot).

I withdrew behind the straits and recruited more artillery, as my army composition was nowhere close 50% infantry 40% artillery 10% cavalry I usually like to have. Inherited vassal armies just had way too much cavalry all the time. You can see third screenshot with my enemies falling for my feigned retreat.

The first country to fall out of the war was Papal States, which returned Romagna to Tuscany, as sadly the fake pope would not accept true religion. No matter.

Saxony was forced to cancel all treaties they had with me and release Brunswick - as Orthodox state, so I'm generally fine with that.

I generously allowed Poland white peace, taking pity at Lithuania and Moldavia who wanted out for ages. That's internal HRE affair. They should not be involved at all. Polish disregard for its subjects' men meaninglessly losing their lives in wars of no concern to them offended Lithuanians so greatly they decided to choose a king from a different dynasty instead.

Palatinate was already Orthodox, so my diplomats had no trouble convincing them to go home. After that massive counterattack started. Actually things were so one sided that I took 1 of my 4 stacks back to help Persia fight Shia zealots.

Everybody who's already Orthodox? Just get out.

Catholic Wurzburg, Gelre, Bremen, Anhalt, Hainaut, Luneburg, Utrecht, Aachen - Orthodox.

Reformed electorate of Brandenburg - Orthodox. That's one center of reformation down.

Protestant electorates of Bohemia and Cologne - Orthodox.

You're too big Munster? Just release Cleves.

Brittany? Just pay for your foolishness.

Livonians, Savoy, Norway? Just GTFO.

What to do with Austria? Oh yeah, they're my rival, I totally forgot about it. Fine, give me 30 PP, I'll make you release minors later.

So much IA, I'm going to pass... What do you mean I cannot reform HRE while in religious conflict? Oh come on. Fine, I'll go for Africa next.

Now that there are 0 heretic electors event to pass religious supremacy can happen. It has mtth of 5 years which is not too bad. Except it can only happen when I'm at peace, and the chance of me being at peace for 5 years... Yeah, we might have a problem here.

Not a league war, just Austria, its friends, and their friends

Safe zone for regrouping, single light ship protects all armies

AI attrition management

Political map of HRE

Tactical retreat

Religious map of HRE - Orthodoxy slowly advancing

Political map of the Middle East

Post 8 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-06 02:18:59 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 08: 1531-1545: It is official, the Diet has confirmed, Orthodoxy is one true Christianity

47 heretic countries to go. I need to try staying at peace every now and then, to give league wars chance to end, but mtth of 5 years is pretty painful.

The only other way is provoking their league to attack, but that doesn't seem likely. I hoped I could make countries drop from enemy league, but none seem interested. common/defines.lua say something about 5 year cooldown, but I don't remember anybody dropping, they just keep joining, and leagues have been active since 1504, so not sure if that's still possible.

Of course game could just randomly give me regency forcing me to 15 years of peace. And then event with mtth of 5 years still has pretty decent chance of not happening.

Well, I can't do much in HRE until league wars end, and it's totally my fault that I reverted 1.11 change I guess. I somehow didn't notice that it requires emperor to be at peace, I thought it just meant not in league war, which would be a fairly obvious requirement.

So I'm going to take longer breaks between wars. Like half a year or a year, to transport troops and let my vassals repay war exhaustion. First wars - remaining province of Qara Qoyunlu and all of Muslim North Africa. Getting proper CBs required some temporary province ownership, setting up 3 vassals, and not letting monthly tick happen between releasing a vassal and declaring holy war I'm about to lose.

Second series of wars: Timurids, Najd, Oman, and assorted heathens. Timurids were extremely aggressive with suicide stacks that still caused a lot of damage, but my Persia was all the better for it.

Third really quick war - Poland wrecked Hungary leaving it with just 3 provinces, no alliances (except Thuringia who wouldn't even join) and a lot of cores, so I sent my armies to reform their churches, then allied them. I'm going to vassalize them soon.

And then in May 1545 religious leagues operating since July 1504 were disbanded, with Orthodoxy being accepted as one true religion of the HRE. With 100 IA accumulated the first imperial reform was immediately passed.

Coming next is another round of HRE interventions, as I can see 46 heretic countries out there. (this number doesn't seem to ever decrease, I'm trying to simultaneously convert countries to Orthodoxy and split blobs, and these two processes balance out)

Oh, and finally we got spread of discoveries - now we know how to get to Norway. How cool is that?

Post 9 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-06 16:10:39 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 09: 1545-1554: Instituting Reichsregiment

There's just so much to do. I spent too much time staring at massive alliance networks trying to decide who to cobeligerent and how to minimize involvement of blobs, but with 5 year timers is it even that big of a deal?

There's also the problem with babysiting rebellions in vassal territories - North African ones are easy, as I can just send boats quick, but revolts like in Persian or Circassian lands take a whole stack or two away from frontlines for too long. Fighting all heretics on the map and some of their misguided Orthodox allies is fine, but doing that while half of imperial legions are away crushing rebellions? Too much mess.

And while I'm at it, annexing Circassia to free some diplo slots desperately needed for imperial politics, as most of the time it seems that I won't even have votes to get reelected. I used 3 slots for North Africa just to get it done as quickly as possible, and here's the downside. I can recover from losing imperial elections now that at least someone Orthodox will be ruling no matter what, but it's just going to be unnecessary complication.

How about some easy wars until my vassals are more stable?

• Medri Bahri (Coptic minor in East Africa), church reorganization, nobody cobeligerent, then diplovassalized them
• Tunis, holy war, zero allies anyway
• Najd, holy war, Yemen cobeligerent
• Genoa (which fell out of HRE once Milan took its capital), church reorganization, nobody cobeligerent, Poland/Lithuania as silly allies
• Timurids, holy war, they lost their Arab allies, vassal rebellions were over by that point so I could commit all 4 of my legions

I politely asked Switzerland with its Reformed center of reformation to go Orthodox, which is somewhat unusual in that minor countries are much easier to convert by force, but they had no good allies, and shutting down center of reformation is always a good idea.

Then I asked Hansa to convert, and that made a lot more sense as they were too big to do it by force. It's generally better to force convert first, ask for conversions later, as asking for conversions gives me big relations penalty with all heretic princes, but force conversions doesn't, so the fewer the heretics the fewer the problems.

Anyway, Venice kept conquering its way into HRE, so they needed imperial intervention. I was reasonably close to passing second reform, so there was no need to start massive war. Nobody cobeligerent is fine.

Weirdly I didn't have any option to return cores to Milan (not even with diplo) - just to release minors or take land myself. OE would delay the reforms, so I made Austria (who happened to be allied with Venice but in no mood for fighting) release some OPM, and Venice to release 3.

Tunis and Yemen setup coalition against me, so I eradicated Tunis.

Now that I'm back at 0 IA, it's time for a much bigger war.

As for minor plans foiled, there doesn't seem to be any way in hell Genoa would accept diplovassalization, so I won't have a pet merchant republic. I guess I could make Milan return their capital back, not sure if they can move back to HRE if it's their historical capital there.

Post 10 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-06 19:52:40 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 10: 1554-1562: Reforming the Hofgericht

I started with a big war with Poland and friends - Ansbach and Bavaria converted, Genoa got its capital back (and was able to migrate back into HRE without asking me for permission), Austria lost one vassal, and Poland returned some cores to Hungary, broke relations with Lithuania, released Moldavia from their overlordship, who soon shifted their loyalties to me.

It was the first war in which I tried to really take advantage of short retreat strategy. It is quite amazing how good it works - I managed to win a battle where I attacked into mountains, outnumbered 2:1. I'm not entirely sure it was worth it, as losses were rather big, but it's good to have options.

Next I tried to politely explain to Aragon how Sicily is rightful Neapolitan land, and it would just be silly for restored Roman Empire to not hold all of Italy, but they misunderstood me. How hopeless are my diplomats?

My fleet of trade ships faced war fleets of Portugal, Aragon, and France - and of course easily crushed them.

I discovered pretty annoying thing - if I integrate a vassal and one of their provinces is occupied by the enemy, enemy takes over the province instead of me. At least that's what happened here.

Anyway, Provence got Orthodox - it would be totally diplovassalizable if it didn't have really dubious distance between borders penalty. I hate this distance metric more than anything else in the game, maybe other than Arumba transport system. I got Luneburg to release some minors, and passed third reform.

And then I was able to pass the third reform. This reset IA to 0, and if 55 year old Mehmet III dies now, Saxony will be the next emperor, which would be extremely unfortunate. Even generous gifts to electors don't seem to do enough, and I'm still only getting 2 votes to their 3.

I might try somehow convincing Provence to become my vassal - they lack just a few points even with diplo rep advisor, but there are always lucky events, or I could get more base tax or some provinces near them.

I finally got the most important admin tech in the game - one that gives 20% discount on army maintenance thanks to treasuries and 4th idea group as a bonus. I might recruit another legion or two.

The big question is which idea group to take. Possibilities:

• trade - always safe option for tons of cash
• expansion - CB on all of Asia is sweet, not sure if I have much need for it, I could just casually conquer India, but without merchants why even bother?
• exploration - it feels really late for that, but spread of discoveries to non-western-tech nations is ridiculously slow by design. It would help me decide if I at least knew when it's going to happen.
• exploration, uncover route around Africa then cancel and get trade or something - that's a bit silly, but gets me what I need for just 640 dip points (2 ideas, 10% discount from humanist, and 10% points returned after cancelling)
• influence for some diplo rep? it's a fairly dubious group otherwise

I don't really see much use for anything else. As western tech I'd just make trade companies for extra merchant, but nobody else can do that. Maybe I should just mod it so that eastern and ottoman can do trade companies too? It is a bit silly as they can't really westernize without jumping through ridiculous hoops to make themselves fall behind on tech.

Or I could just remove tech requirement for westernization, press button, and proceed with trade companies this way.

Post 11 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-07 00:20:52 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 11: 1562-1571: Western Gemeiner Pfennig

I got rid of westernization tech limit, restarted the game, pressed the button, got trade ideas, and sent all of my legions to Morocco, Oman, and Ethiopia (which needed two for carpet sieging its vast territory without proper blockades in place) so they have something better to do than interfering with changes to the society.

As soon as treasuries finished, I needed major army reorganization and expansion, into 5 legions of 16 inf, 4 cav, 10 art each - with all units from wrong provinces disbanded (artillery was all from right provinces, but some inf/cav was vassals' and was totally fine until now).

I was getting old, and my electoral chances were slipping even with 4 alliances with electors and 200 relations with each - some just slightly preferred someone else anyway, and Saxony loved me but since Palatinate was voting for them, hey, free emperorship, right? So I joined HRE, with silly looking narrow path of land just to my capital. That loses me CBs after 5th reform, but at least I'll still be able to add the rest of my lands for easy IA.

That at least secured me 4 votes. I'd get 5th from Saxony, but there's still free crown argument.

Then Gelre ate electorate of Cologne, so I gave new vote to my best buddies Tuscany. I don't care terribly much about fights between HRE members, as long as they're small and Orthodox. They even managed to spread true religion this way a few times. It's only when Catholics or very large countries expand that I intervene.

I just barely convinced Burgundy to go Orthodox. Austria, Pomerania, and Savoy are the only remaining countries too big to force convert.

I diplovassalized Ryazan just to screw with Muscovy (no forming Russia for you now), who's been blobbing annoyingly quickly holy warring the hordes. Then I allied and married Muscovy. I can't quite make up my mind.

It was time to crush Austria once more. They were involved on Gelre's side of anti-Gelre coalition war. Gelre blobbing again, please nerf.

Austria, CB - Defender of the Faith, defend Palatinate (chosen from a dropdown of every Orthodox country they were fighting). How does that even work? No idea, I'll just crush Austria.

Tradition loss from westernization event turned out to be fairly painful, as my 5 legions had just 2 generals and 1 old king in charge (and a pretty poor leader), and I really didn't want to spend mil power on shitty generals.

Sadly due to some failed tradition rebalancing you mostly get land tradition from carpet sieges, and mostly get naval tradition from protecting trade (and privateering). Battles do pretty much nothing whatsoever to it.

Milan, Aquileia, Oldenburg, Silesia! Go Orthodox please, and break your alliance with Austria, it's no good for you.
Venice! Just pay up, I have better things to do right now.

This defender of the faith is pretty much the worst CB I've seen. I get barely any warscore from battles, and ticking warscore says "not enough decisive battles for bonus warscore". Basically, they broke it at some point and never fixed it.

The only thing it has going for it is dip-free vassal release, but only for war leader, so I can't make Poland release anyone, and with the way warscore is calculated... Whatever, release Tirol, I need to be at peace for 4th reform.

Westernization was fairly smooth, losses were:

• really tiny rebellion (or else some adm points, or local autonomy in one province)
• just outright small rebellion
• 100 dip (or else lose 120 progress, which is exactly 120 points, so why would anybody take that?)
• 30 prestige (or else lose 120 progress), 3 times
• 30 army and 30 navy tradition (or else lose 120 progress) - fortunately these decay very quickly anyway
• 10 years of increased decentralization (-1 unrest at cost of +0.05 monthly autonomy; or else lose 120 progress)

I wonder if land tradition will completely break next patch - now it only works thanks to carpet sieging and that's out. Naval tradition is already completely broken.

Anyway, going western gave me 1 free merchant and +5% global trade power from founding Ottoman East India company, by decision (and completely unrelated to trade companies).

As far as I can tell, if I got infinite IA (like from adding ridiculous number of provinces, sadly that no longer works as only European ones can be added), I would be able to get everyone except 8 countries to swear fealty to me.

I'm preparing for another great war, so I just barely managed to convince Provence to become my vassals and finish off all of Arabian peninsula.

I accidentally took wrong provinces from Ethiopia so now I have no CBs whatsoever over there. Oops. That was a minor side show anyway.

Political map

Religious map

Post 12 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-07 04:32:20 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 12: 1571-1580: Last Roman Elections

If we divide Roman empire into Eastern, Central, and Western parts, I conquered Eastern part to extent greater than any Roman emperor ever did (still missing one estuary held by Lithuania), I sort of control Central parts through HRE (except Dacia, Sardinia, Urbino etc.), and I barely have anything in Western part - bits of North-West Africa, and loyalty of Provence. Time to do something about it.

But first, I noticed that Provence has core on Bar. Who's conveniently allied with Hesse, and Loraine, and nobody else who would join. That's 2 heretics to convert and one OPM to release in one trivial war.

I royal married, guaranteed, and got trade power from Savoy costing me precious diplo slot just so they'd go Orthodox peacefully. That leaves Austria and Pomerania as the only too big to force convert countries.

OK HRE, here's 5 new provinces, please pass 5th reform, no more infighting. Yes, I understand that means my continued attempts at reorganizing church in Austria as well.

Now that I have no IA and my emperor is really old, it's too risky to go like that. Diplo limit is just a number, every elector can be my ally, why not.

And time to attack Castile, Tuscany and Lithuania cobeligerent. Well, alliance chains did not go quite the way I wanted them to, but I tried to make best of that anyway, releasing 2 OPMs, converting 1 of 9 remaining heretics, getting some land in North Africa and what remaining coast Lithuania still had.

France was wrecking Burgundy, so I wondered if I want to intervene there or go for something easier first. Well, if a coalition happened, that would be quite useful... And 20 base tax worth of provinces generated barely any for me, because game's stupid obsession with map distance. As emperor I would definitely damn care.

I so want to fight France, but that means Aragon and Portugal, and all the colonies, and generally it would be messy. I'd like at least 2 full transport fleets of 30 each, 6th legion as a spare, and light ships to the limit if I were to fully commit to 100% warscore against France.

No need for that, imperial ban on Venice, Austria cobeligerent, the best way to crush France is to deny them any hope of HRE minors as allies. Oh and France/Aragon are fighting Castile? I'll focus on Austria and Venice then.

Well, I lost 76/87 light ships and 5/30 transports in fight with Venetian 35 war galleys (which all sank). That was not pretty. At least Aragon is not in this fight. No matter, money is not much of a problem, and neither are shipyards.

I decided to create 6th legion as well, just in case, and probably for the next war.

Venice took my lesson in peacing out minor allies separately. That didn't help much, as they got fully sieged really quickly. I got Austria to return some Swiss cores and release Augsburg (sadly damn heretics), Venice to return Milan's cores, but just before my emperor died, and a new one came to the throne.

The first thing he did after signing peace treaties was passing 6th reform. I mean, who else are the going to elect, Corsica?

Then same day he declared that a lot of formerly Eastern Roman land is now part of HRE, and at 96 IA everybody agreed to just swear oaths of fealty, even Austria. Another nice thing was that Lorraine, which was vassal of France, decided to peacefully become my vassal instead.

And as if 53 vassals of all kinds weren't enough, apparently there's now room for 4 more.

Official list of enemies of the Senate and People of Rome is announced as:

• France
• Aragon
• Castile
• Portugal
• Poland
• Lithuania

Anybody who interferes with imperial reunification might find themselves added to the list.

Post 13 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-08 02:02:53 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 13: 1580-1589: Legions Triumphant Over Barbarians

I politely asked all vassals to accept Orthodoxy, and they all agreed, except for the silly "pope" in Baden who refused to even acknowledge the request. I'll let him indulge in this as a local curiosity, I'm sure given time it will become a valuable tourist attraction.

Even without counting the Baden pope, that's still 30 other heretic states out there.

A lot of minor countries were basically requesting imperial overlordship, but it took a while to arrange such things. Livonian Order was originally established by the heretics, but they've seen the light thanks to Muscovy's efforts. Unfortunately Muscovy also took some of their lands, but I'm sure we can arrange some way to get them returned.

First order of business were Poland and Lithuania - Poland's center of reformation was spreading heretic propaganda and needed shutting down, and Lithuania's papists were oppressing mostly Orthodox population (and somewhat Protestant, with 0 Catholics except their king as far as I can tell).

Muscovy offered help in my intervention, but the last time there were some issues with control over captured territory, so we politely declined. Muscovy did not like our attitude, so they declared their own war against Lithuania (presumably with blackjack and hookers).

Auxiliaries did a fine job with Poland and Lithuania and much less so with France, so that's where I focused my legions.

I made France break their alliances with Portugal and Aragon (they can keep one with Poland for all I care), got Urbino who somehow also got into this to cancel all their alliances, and created some horrible temporary border gore in Poland and Lithuania - taking temporarily uncorable Kiev and Warszawa for myself.

Now this Germany thing is not really traditional Roman region, but envoys from Hansa made a very convincing PowerParchment presentation that everything in Lubeck node is their rightful possession, and there weren't any Danes in the room to present counterarguments.

The war involved Great Britain, and mostly shown how awkward it is to fight in Baltic and Atlantic area with trade fleet based in Crimea, and transport maybe in Provence but not too enthusiastic about going out of Mare Nostrum unprotected. Danish government just evacuated itself to Bornholm, and there was no easy way to convince them to agree to anything without hauling my transport all the way around and landing troops there.

Due to awkwardness of transportation, imperial army expanded to 10 legions (16k inf, 4k cav, 10k art), 4 transport fleets (30 ships each - one in Indian ocean, one in the Baltic, two in Mare Nostrum), small Indian trade fleet (15 ships, might get expanded later), and big Crimea trade fleet - Crimea and Gulf of Aden are weirdly the only places worth patrolling, as everything else was either not transferable to Constantinople, or already >90% dominated.

Awkwardly I don't have border with Iberians, but I have border with their allies like Tlemcen (which respawned as OPM and changed heresy since then at least once, original Muslim Tlemcen I fully annexed long ago) and Venice, and Castile still has one province in North Africa. With so many legions and auxiliaries eager to fight, why wait for one war to end before starting next?

I annexed Medri Bahri, reorganized church in respawned OPM Adal, setup Leon as new vassal (once missionaries were done), and continued the beatings. Muscovy became my rival, so I decided to push recover Livonian territory and generally tidy up the border a bit. At the same time I attacked France as well, under some silly excuse, mostly to reorganize church in their ally Brittany and make them stop the nonsense about being "defender of the heretic faith", or whatever they call it. Oh and another round of Poland beatings, and since Lithuania dishonored their alliance with Poland, they got a separate one. What's 4 wars for Roman Empire?

I even supported independence of Portuguese Brazil, which got them over 100% liberty desire (due to relative strength of our alliance versus Portugal) - and then they declared war on Portugal while I still had very long truce, so they're on their own. That does not sound like best QA ever.

To add to general clusterfuck, Portugal got PU over Norway and France attacked them in succession war to challenge that.

I took more land from Poland and Lithuania - the end goal being their total annexation of course, converted Brittany, got Muscovy to release Novgorod (200 dip well spent), and got some French money.

Novgorod instantly accepted vassalization, Perm (I don't even remember when that got released, I only discovered those parts of the world recently, probably back when Muscovy tried to beat Poland/Lithuania and failed miserably) did so as well day after Novgorod did, just as soon as distance between borders got recalculated. Brittany is still a bit salty over supposed aggressive expansion, but we'll probably come to an understanding in a few years.

The major problem is that even though my truce with Portugal expired, I can't really do much about helping Portuguese Brazil. They don't show any interest in calling me (would they if I saved and reloaded the game?), and I can't enforce peace as technically they are attacked in independence war, and I have no CBs on Portugal, their only ally Norway, or their remaining CN Rio da Prata.

Roman Empire expanding in wrong direction

A few tiny wars

France is so weak!

Post 14 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-08 17:45:21 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 14: 1589-1597: Let's All Burn The Heretics Together

Reloading the game did nothing, Portuguese Brazil still didn't call me, I had no way to help them, so they lost. I'm sure sooner or later I'll wreck Portugal and they'll try again.

Castile's CNs are successfully seceding one by one, and I'm not even the one who's been destroying Castile, it's mostly Aragon.

I got into fights with Ethiopia and Castile. One with Castile was fun - Kongo was sieging Aragon in unrelated war and transferring occupation to Castile. I was not hostile to Kongo so I just followed them and same day I started sieging it back from Castile and giving it to Aragon for automatic opinion boost. Not sure if that can be exploited in any way.

I was a bit worried about AE, but then I got diplo rep advisor, Brittany accepted vassalization, so who cares about AE, I have all the vassals I'll need in that region.

That also finally gave me CB on Portugal - colonialism as their gold mines in Cape (possibly best overseas province on the map if that happens) bordered Brittany's colonies in South Africa. If there was ever a single province worth fighting a war over, that's one. Or Constantinople. Did I mention how it gives you a merchant from South African trading company just on its own? Portugal has free merchant even though Britany and Great Britain both have loads of provinces there and Portugal just this one.

Result of war with Castile was predictable border gore, just as ugly as what happened in Eastern Europe. I don't like how it looks, but border gore is the most efficient way to wreck another country, and I find it very hard to refuse such as opportunity.

The game also promotes border gore because holy war / cleansing of heresy CB (as well as many other CBs) really want direct border, not through a vassal, and you can normally only feed vassals if they have direct border, so you're trying the target to keep border with both you and all vassals you're feeding, while avoiding their unannexable capital, for some serious gore.

If you could press holy wars from vassal borders a lot of that gore would go away. It can be done, but avoiding silly situations where your vassal has different religion from you would take some careful coding. Maybe I'll take a look at it in the future, but then next patch supposedly redesigns CB system anyway. (that didn't stop me before, Fun and Balance had subject cores CB before vanilla)

Anyway, Muscovy - the biggest country on which I had no good CB - was getting so wonderfully wrecked by Sibir horde, Finland, and even Golden Horde rebels (whom I decided to support).

It turns out support rebel CB is really bugged. Saving before sending offer, just in case, I got:

• Golden Horde spawning in 4/10 cores
• Golden Horde spawning in 9/10 cores

All 10 had Golden Horde nationalists as primary rebels. 8 of them were their primary culture Mishar, 2 were Crimean. One province that did not work was Mishar, so no idea why. Some provinces were occupied by me, others by rebels, but there's no pattern.

They also spawned as Sunni, even thought every single province they ever held was Orthodox.

As all that was extreme case of game bug, I fixed it in console by making them Orthodox and giving them their last core (which was Mishar and occupied by me).

Persian rebels did not have all Persian cores, but that was actually correct - they got ones from Persian culture where Persian nationalists were rebel types, and did not get ones where Ardabil or Khorasan nationalists were primary rebels, so it worked correctly at least once in two tries.

I guess that's because Persia was a fresh country, while Golden Horde was a respawned one, and respawning countries has somewhat frequent bugs (mostly with country starting with non-blank diplorelations).

That respawned Golden Horde was also not even allied with me, even though that's the point of supporting rebel CB. Fortunately at least they had all the positive diplomacy bonuses.

While trying to figure out that Golden Horde I decided to fix another thing that has long bothered me - religious CBs requiring strict border. Now it is changed (and it will go to next Fun and Balance version) so it works for subject borders as well - but only if you both have Deus Vult.

As additional obvious limitation, for cleansing of heresy you need to be same religion, and for holy war same religious group. Some kind of limitation is necessary, or Catholic Poland ruling over Orthodox Moldavia could cleanse heresy of both Hungary's Catholicism and Wallachia's Orthodoxy (at least until Poland borders Wallachia, after that it gets own CB), and that would be silly. This is symmetric with already existing situation where Orthodox Ottomans bordering Orthodox Moldavia can't CB Catholic Poland this way.

A case could be made that if Wallachia goes Protestant, Catholic Poland and Orthodox Moldavia could both agree to take them out. Or if some Christian country has Hindu vassal and wants to holy war some Muslims in India, but I left that out. It's not a huge deal as annex and release makes them your religious group.

One limitation that I'm less sure of is that currently both of you need Deus Vult. It makes flavor sense, but then the last thing religious ideas need is being even better than they currently are. I sort of want to counter that by applying modest opinion penalty (like -10, decay -1/year) to everybody of given religion whenever you declare religious war on them. It wouldn't matter normally, but if you go into extreme holy warring that won't go too well with target's coreligionists. I'll think of it for next version.

For this campaign this gave me CB on Coptic Kaffa (my vassal Adal borders them but not me directly), Catholic Portugal (thanks to Leon), Catholic Aragon (from both Leon and Provence), Catholic France (from, Leon, Provence, and Brittany), and Baden Pope (from every one of its 4 neighbour OPMs). I already had one on Castile thanks to their North African province, but now I'll be able to keep it even after they lose it.

Realistically it will be somewhat more powerful (I wished to cleanse heresy against France many times before but only had worse CBs), but not so much - usually you can get those CBs already at cost of some border gore. That's pretty much what I did to Poland/Lithuania. If I could do the same while keeping borders pretty... Or maybe I'd do the same, Warsaw was center of reformation, and Kiev I had holy site mission for, so it might look just as gorey.

Post 15 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-08 23:35:59 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 15: 1597-1611: Mare Nostrum Secundum!

Just as soon as I resumed the game after new CB, Finland took lands from Muscovy and got border with Novgorod so it's time to save good Orthodox people suffering under heretic rule. Novgorod took religious ideas as 4th and just unlocked Deus Vult like literally a moment before that.

I started applying fancy tech of naming my units with names like "Legio V Africa" with both number and current assignment. That might not sound like much, but with so many legions and simultaneous operations it helps get good idea where I can commit my forces.

It was war everywhere. The biggest problem was organizing new administration. My attempt at dividing administration of Hispania between just Leon and Provence did not go too well. I thought about releasing Granada or Catalunya as well, oh well. Adal is trying to westernize so it's permanently stuck at -3 stability, 0 legitimacy, and way too many rebels, so that's not quite on hold, but slower than I'd otherwise do it.

I didn't have any fancy CBs on Muscovy, but my vassals were really aggressive about fabricating claims on it.

For a while I had 3 legions in Hispania, 2 in Scandinavia, 1 in East Africa, and 1 in Ukraine dedicated primarily to fighting rebels. That's majority of imperial forces. Fortunately Mare Nostrum provides easy way to shift legions around wherever they're needed.

I supported independence of Portugal's and Castile's colonies - my main contribution being just wrecking their armies in unrelated wars, but that was good enough.

As a deviation from usual policy, I force vassalized Wales together with church reorganization instead of doing it diplomatically, Wales being the only minor there with religious ideas.

It's almost time to press the button, I'm just waiting for my HRE vassals to finish coring, and one, maybe two more wars with France to give them all their cores back (French land is ridiculously expensive).

I also have space for new idea group. Not entirely sure which one to take. Taking expansion and making it Asia game could be fun. I've been talking about conquering India since forever.

I'm not sure what to do with colonizers - I could either just kick them out of Europe, or force vassalize them. The primary problem being number of slots it would take (England, Norway, Portugal, Castile, and France - some of them lost their ports already, but that can be arranged). Fortunately expansion gives me +2 relations just as I lose 2 by pressing the button. I'm not hurting for relations all that much, but 5 is a bit.

Anyway, I'm not totally sure what's my end game plan. I definitely need to restore Roman borders and remove all heretics out of Europe, not sure how much after that I plan to play.

Post 16 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-09 18:48:17 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 16: 1611-1627: Failed Conquest of Gaul

There's something to be said about the idea of mothballing armies - ships don't need that because light ships pay for themselves, and transports are really cheap, but I've been recruiting like crazy, numbering legions clockwise. Area designations changed as situation evolved, here's what it looked like at one point:

• Legio I Africa (mostly rebel duty, some trivial wars)
• Legio II India (reserve, could be mothballed)
• Legio III Persia (reserve, could be mothballed)
• Legio IV Kiev (mostly rebel duty, Golden Horde decided to westernize)
• Legio V Finland (tons of rebels)
• Legio VI Sweden (tons of rebels)
• Legio VII Denmark (mostly fighting France)
• Legio VIII Scotland (fighting rebels or Britain)
• Legio IX Brittany (fighting France or Britain)
• Legio X Leon (very heavy rebel duty)
• Legio XI Granada (very heavy rebel duty)

Back when rebel infestation was less severe, many legions had peaceful designations like Rome, Greece ("Constantinople" was a letter or two too long), or Egypt, which basically meant they chilled there drinking wine and waiting for transports to pick them up if need be.

Animist Mutapa which controls southern half of East African coast went Protestant, leaving me with no choice but to help them. They employed interesting strategy of losing all their army to rebels, so I had no warscore from battles, and it would never start ticking.

I force converted and vassalized Norway, getting second colonizer after Brittany. Disloyal due to -397 AE? I'm sure they'll get over it. If Timurids are at 0 AE now.

Brittany was conveniently same culture group as Ireland, so I ended up dividing western parts of historical Roman Empire between Leon (Portugal/Castile), Provence (Aragon/South France), Britany (North-West France, Ireland) and Wales (Britain) - with HRE minors getting as much of Eastern France as possible, so I don't have to setup 5th vassal there.

Of course two reserve legions saw tons of action - Legio II India joined Legio I Africa in dealing with rebellions in Adal, and Legio III Persia had to deal with Multan on the other side of the border being overflowing with rebels and them spilling onto our side constantly.

By the way look at that fully occupied France giving me 0% warscore (long, and that after 2 year timer). Totally makes sense, right? I had to hunt French colonies all over the world until it figured out I had full occupation. Of course I had massively negative warscore from battles because it scored tiny colonial fights by some OPMs way higher than actually crushing French army. CK2 warscore system was dumb, but this? Sadly not possible to fix by modding.

Meanwhile in a shocking development Haiti tried to invade Mare Nostrum. We showed them why it's called what it's called.

I managed to squeeze in wars against Muscovy (for Ryazan's claims), Tyrone's last province, Great Britain, Castile, and Portugal, all while waiting for the French to figure out that they pretty convincingly lost this one.

So I was hunting French overseas provinces - 2 next to Kongo, taken. 3 islands in Indian ocean, taken. It was 6 years into the war when I noticed they had one island in Caribbean. Even with that the best warscore I got was 13%. You know what France? You got me this time. I'll just grab those of your overseas provinces I got this time, and I'll come better prepared when we face each other next.

It was not that different in case of Britain - I only gt 49% warscore by full occupation of their home provinces (and no battles happened), but at least I got enough land for there.

Maybe I should send France and Great Britain some cash before next war so they can setup a token army and I can get some warscore from battles?

Screenshots are highlight roll from the conquest, with captions explaining what's going on.

Very Nostrum. Much Mare. Wow.

England tried to outmaneuver me. I never used forced march once, and AI spams it so in theory AI is faster, but it keeps failing anyway.

Easy rebel problem - many stacks but all tiny. Ones in Leon needed 4 legions full time because rebellions were much bigger and needed 2 legions together to crush.

0% warscore against France, right?

Which part of "Mare Nostrum" don't you understand Haiti?

France still stands.

Post 17 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-10 02:35:29 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 17: 1627-1636: Renovatio Imperii

And I pressed the button, reduced autonomy everywhere, disbanded all inherited auxiliaries, and moved my merchants to better trade


• income - 702, up to 1030
• trade income - 296, up to 449
• profit - 466, up to 780


• legions - 364/690
• auxiliaries disbanded - 558
• imperial navy - 120 transports, 216 trade ships (of 378)
• auxiliary navy disbanded - 30 heavies, 35 galleys
• auxiliary navy kept - 39 transports, 84 trade ships
• non-HRE auxiliaries remaining - 153 (plus some navies but harder to count those)

This of course messed up with accepted cultures. All German cultures are automatically accepted by HRE, but nobody told accepted cultures mapmode, so they're all red, even though many of them would be accepted anyway without it.

My modifiers are:

• -50% humanist
• -15% ottoman tolerance
• -10% multilingual diplomats policy
• -10% trading in silk

For total of -85%, so any culture 1.5% or larger should be accepted. The only way I can improve that is by switching to Enlightened despotism, which is tech level 29 so never going to happen (and even if it did, apparently HRE is locked at empire), or by getting plutocracy (which has second policy for -10%), which is doable, but awkward as I'd need to go republig somehow, or by culturally enriching everybody just like I enriched Albanians, Armenians, and a few other cultures time forgot before.

Anyway, with Europe mostly taken care of, so it was time to reorganize into a global empire!

Fun and Balance partial westernization really limited my option here, as did full westernization Mysore pulled based on Portugal's free core on Goa. I'm not 100% convinced partial westernization should still be in the game - I added it before Goa and before new world natives got alternative westernization tech, now it seems somewhat less necessary, and it nerfs expansion ideas hard.

The Dutch started revolting, giving me option to give them 100% local autonomy or ~40k rebels, over and over. I got them in Ghent, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelre, Antwerpen, Friesland, Breda, Brabant, Vlaanderen, Limburg, and Holland (was that like all of them?). I explained them my stance on local autonomy, however this explaining kept a lot of my legions busy for long time. To be honest, this event chain feels like total bullshit. Yeah, just 400k rebels out of zero unrest provinces, why not?

Sadly it took ever more legions to keep order in East Africa - half of Adal's territory fell to rebels and their stacks were really big. It's totally fine to give 200% OE to tiny country, as their rebel stacks will be tiny - giving 200% OE to country that's already a blob, not a good idea. At peak 6 legions were committed to fighting rebels and sieging stuff back.

With so many legions tied up, my conquest of India did not go all that well, and conquests in Europe had to be put on hold.

Even worse I absolutely had to fully annex Multan to release them, but some bastards decided to attack them in unrelated war, and I couldn't even attack those bastards as I had unrelated truce.

I setup Sind, Orissa, and Multan as vassals in India so far. I had much more ambitious plans, but rebel infestation in Netherlands, Leon, and East Africa really slowed me down.

In othernews, I finally got Muscovy for Novgorod.

An unrelated issue is that game started having some weird performance problems, especially while scrolling the map on distant zoom level. I trued turning off graphics mod, but that didn't seem to make much difference.

So, for future plans:

• I think situation in Netherlands is over. Leon and Adal are not.
• All Western European remnants are allied with half of New World. With most legions on rebel duty I can't do much about them.
• Muscovy is doomed.
• India's network of alliances is dense (one of the wars got all the way to Sibir and Kazan), but there are openings. I want to setup at least one more vassal - probably Vijayanagar. Maybe 2-3 more, but not sure which ones. Being too stingy with vassal slots ends up costing me forever waiting for OE to go down and rebels to go away. I'm mostly looking for ones with religious ideas, for both CB (expansion CB has 50% cost but doesn't affect any provinces except warleader's, holy war has 100% cost but affects all provinces - both have their uses), and for conversions and resulting higher stability. North Africa by comparison took very little babysitting as I setup 3 vassals in relatively small territory. It's not unlikely I'd be done with Western Europe and East Africa if I setup Granada and Kilwa there instead of burdening Leon and Adal with all the OE and rebels.

Why not imperial purple?

Imperial India

200% OE is just a number. Down from 6 to just 4 legions on babysitting duty.

Post 18 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-10 18:20:37 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 18: 1636-1648: Roman Empire from Canada to Japan

Vaguely related, here's my UI enchancement wishlist:

• many UI dialogs are ridiculously tiny - I guess there are mods for that, but I had mixed success with them
• truce map mode, we need it
• protecting trade or privateering lists trade nodes in completely random order, why not alphabetical? clicking name orders them alphabetically, Z to A
• attrition tick on arrival is really horrible
• detach siege is broken - it doesn't work since they added attrition on arrival and attrition on siege tick. Let's say you just arrived at level 2 fort, taking attrition tick, and click detach siege. It will detach 1k artillery (that is 2 units of 990 each), and as much infantry as is fort level (that is 3 units of 990 each, to match 2000 garrison). That's dumbest way ever. Correct ways would be 1art+1inf (if you expect attrition to go away) or 1art+2inf (if you don't), never 2art+3inf.
• the only way (that I know of) to select unit while it's sieging is by selecting multiple units, then clicking Select on its card. I need to do that every time I want to detach siegie properly.
• you can name your armies, but they'll appear in outlines in random order anyway
• every time you save and reload outliner tabs are in completely random order, why not just use same order every time?
• loading game sort of breaks it until 3 monthly ticks later. You instantly lose all "trading in X" modifiers. Losing trading in silk makes you lose many of your accepted cultures. Then you gain trading modifiers back on second monthly tick. With Fun and Balance you'll regain accepted cultures on 3rd monthly tick - in vanilla where accepted culture loss/gain thresholds are different you may never regain them!
• tolerance modifier to unrest not being applied on game load until monthly tick can easily screw you if you have serious rebel problems - and this one is trivial to apply
• just kill this Arumba transportation crap, I never want it under any circumstances, and it keeps ticking itself on
• some kind of notification that mana is at or near cap
• some kind of notification that rebels are in vassal province
• I really don't need notifications that my vassals joined my war, but I definitely need notifications that other countries joined the war. Or at least make it "those countries joined the war: list of all HRE minors"
• when you assign objectives to allies, why are they in completely random order instead of alphabetical? Not like AI cares much about that anyway
• I like notifications that units arrived somewhere - but unit template builder should not make those 30 times for 30-unit stack
• Why not let us issue diplomatic orders before waiting period, and they'd just travel a few extra days?
• It would be really nice if army/navy tradition decayed at yearly tick like most other things, not monthly - it's hard to micro them to 100 otherwise. Also it wouldn't hurt if it actually worked with reasonable gains from battles.
• I understand that we need diplomat to send offer, but we should be able to get all the way up to that point even with zero free diplomats, and even if that country is on 30 day timeout. Especially Sue for Peace option needs this desperately.

By the way I've just noticed that in sugar producing provinces you can build either refinery (+100% goods produced, 500 gold and 10 dip) or plantation (+100% goods produced, 500 gold and 10 adm). That feels like a bug.

Anyway, I continued expanding. Horde involvement in my Indian wars annoyed me, so I setup vassal Bashkiria, which allowed me to annex Novgorod a bit earlier than otherwise for net zero new vassals.

Major Daimyo fell out of Japan making them just about right size, so I annexed and release them. Catholics sadly, but there's always glass half full way to look at that. Conquest of remaining daimyos an Ainu was really quick.

By the way while fighting Ainu allied with one of Japanese daimyos I found out that you can blockade provinces you haven't discovered yet.

I decided to work around warscore system, and declare on OPM Aragon, France cobeligerent. Then when I fully occupy it and France and wait 2 years, I'll get 100% and get them to give me some French lands. I don't think colonial whackamole with France directly would lead anywhere - they just keep making new colonies all the time so I'd never be able to get 100% warscore on them. Same with other remaining European countries.

During that war, as I already had troops in Japan, I grabbed Taiwan from Portuguese colonization attempt.

I got into awkward situation with Great Britain too as with France before - I got all their European provinces, but that was only like 15% warscore. I didn't bother waiting forever, I just took 4 bits of Canada from them. If the only way to bring Europe under Roman control is by establishing bases in New World as well, so be it. New World countries aren't particularly powerful, they just have obnoxiously high base tax (which is not distant overseas for them), screwing my attempts at getting decent warscore in Europe.

Legion naming system changed again, there are enough legions they really needed to be grouped by theater of operation, with names like:

• Europe I Granada (4 legions)
• Africa II Kilwa (3 legions)
• India III VJJ (4 legions)
• China I Taiwan (3 legions)
• America I Canada (1 legion)

For a total of 15 legions plus 4k colonial protection unit. I guess I took the advice to have more stacks than generals seriously. I might end up adding even more.

After so severe rebel infestation issues, I decided to make a chart which vassals can take more lands and which can't. Mostly OE, but special circumstances like bankruptcy or westernization attempts marked too.

It was awkward that Japan (and Taiwan I captured from Portugal) was so far away from India, so I wanted to link them somehow. Almost nobody in China and South-East Asia has religious, and most of them were already Muslim (or even Western) tech, so there weren't that many obvious candidates for vassalization. Ming was reduced to just 9 scattered provinces, so they'd give me ton of reconquest CBs, but even they were Muslim tech by then.

About half of India is imperial (Multan, Sind, Orissa, Vijayanagar)

Almost connected all the way to Cape

Imperial Canada being organized

Post 19 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-11 20:13:44 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 19: 1648-1659: Imperial China to Imperial Murica

I modded the game to give me imperial purple color. It looks much better.

Indian vassals were at OE limit, so I wanted to expand Bashkiria a bit more first. I generally managed to keep Indians at close to OE limit as practical without ever going over 100%.

Chinese minor Qi was reduced to OPM with huge number of cores, promising fast expansion in China even if they had shitty ideas. Sadly they did not have religious, but that's still a good chunk of Chinese lands I can take - and I opened with holy war on Ming, cobeligerent Manchu on same day I released Qi. God bless CBs lasting until monthly tick, God bless them with his Vult.

I got into another war with Aragon, France, Portugal, Castile, and half of new world - opportunistically grabbing a few colonies here and there. That's how I often end up playing - first it's "I need a province in this area as base", then it's "map looks ugly, I need to conquer everything between there and my territory to tidy it up".

Then after I released Qi it was endless war, about 5 wars concurrently, with new ones starting as soon as old ones ended. I sort of had to give Qi >200% OE, that was my only shot at good holy war CB.

Not a huge deal, just 40k rebels per province, and -20 recent uprising will stabilize them just fine. From micromanagement point of view, it's much more convenient that rebels all trigger pretty much at once. From reinforcements outside your own territory (50 soldiers/month instead of 100/month), it's somewhat awkward.

They handled it better than I expected, and are down to only 104% now.

I setup Imperial Canada, which is the best kind of Canada, obviously. Then I annexed all of former French Canada, and some British colonies to it. I even started setting up Imperial Murica, as USA (former New Norway) was constantly interfering with my attempts at finishing off Aragon, France, and Great Britain.

There was interesting thing here - Brittany had colony, which USA seized. I could seize it back, but I couldn't give it to Brittany in any way, before or after peace. At least no way that I can think of. I tried selling it to them, but they wouldn't take them.

Apparently at next diplomatic tech I'll get ability to setup client states, and extra CBs. Nationalism CB for all provinces in your culture group I totally approve of. Imperialism CB feels like bullshit. It's just totally overpowered CB you always get against absolutely everyone and there's no need to ever use anything else for the rest of the game. I get it that they wanted to make world conquest possible in spite of 15 year truce timers, but basically throwing out the whole CB system just for that?

I did church reorganization in Kongo - no place is safe for the heretics, and they're ready to be diplovassalized. Together with some colonies captured from France, a few colonists I sent here and there, and tiny campaign against Funj, my control over Africa keeps growing.

The only parts of the world remaining where I have minimal presence are South America (where Brittany has tiny Brazil) and South-East Asia.

Muscovy is finally over.

Bashkiria and Japan are getting annexed now. Leon is finally coring its last province, so it will get annexed soon too.

There's like 7 provinces in Europe and 1/3 of India that I definitely want to conquer this campaign, the rest depends on how I feel about it when times comes to it. I want to connect imperial territory in China and Japan with mainland, but that doesn't necessarily require conquering everything on the way.

I got one funny event - 25 army tradition or 350k or so manpower. I was capped with both. That's how ridiculous this game is getting - and I still can't get damn London anyway because warscore system.

Post 20 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-12 04:44:19 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 20: 1659-1676: Into Age of Imperialism

I continued casually expanding along African coast - taking it from French, Portuguese, and from natives - while setting up new vassal states in China and expanding their territory.

Conquest of India was moving towards completion - Vijayanagar got annexed, Sind is getting annexed next, and Multan/Orissa are mostly just cleaning leftovers.

I made significant progress in Europe as well, reducing Great Britain's, France's, and Aragon's presence to just their capitals. Every such war their new world allies would rush in to beat Brittany's CN and provinces, so my Legio Canada and Legio Murica at least push back in the North. Brittany's Brazil is still.

In another such war, Aragon happily gave me Paris if I'd only spare them.

Sadly Great Britain was allied with Brazil, and full occupation of everything Great Britain had in Europe, North America, and Africa was still not enough to get to even 10% warscore required for any demands whatsoever. What's worse Brazil's doomfleet was sailing around the world, being threat to undefended transports in Mare Nostrum (every Mare is Nostrum). I needed to take my entire light fleet to chase them - finally cathing up in open ocean south of India. Fortunately light ships are faster on strategic map than anything else.

With seas under control, I sent two legions down to Breton Brazil as permanent protection. Brazil got white peaced, and after that it was just those 2 remaining provinces in South America to get damn 100%.

For that I took London, made them break all their alliances, took all their money and reparations, and still had enough left to reorganize their church. Weirdly one of their provinces in Greenland somehow seceded a bit before that and now exists as OPM Scotland.

That leaves just some leftovers in India, and one province in Europe (well technically those tiny islands Castile and Portugal colonize are in Europe, but they don't count).

Inca and Cusco were creating each other in an infinite loop, presumably due to bug with Fun and Balance extra formable nations. Turning off extra formable countries from menu stopped that.

This campaign is heading towards completion.

I'm surprised how many warscore issues there have been once new world started. It seems to only happen if you have allies in new world, not own distant overseas colonies (which count, but for very little) or CNs (which don't count). Allies have huge base tax and are not distant overseas, so you don't get much warscore from normal occupations, and you don't get free 100% from fully occupying warleader even if they have one tiny distant overseas province (and would get 99% without their damn allies). The fix is trivial, but can't be modded.

Global Roman Empire

Post 21 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-05-12 19:08:15 UTC

Holy Kebab Empire: Part 21: 1676-1679: Rome Victorious!

By the way, I ended up creating border gore in China anyway, I fully annexed and released Shun, but they had 2 recently conquered and uncored provinces, so that was awkward. And they're out of my coring range (it's not that far to Japan, no idea why it doesn't extend range through vassals this time). I guess I could sell them back now.

Anyway, I was cleaning up India, when my ruler died, leaving 0 year old heir behind with regency council in charge. I'd say that's as good a place to end the campaign as it will ever get.

Europe has 1 unconquered province which can be left as tourist attraction, Bengal got reduced to OPM - the only interesting event was that Brittany got mission to conquer Indian coast, so I could transfer some provinces to them, somewhat reducing OE load on Multan and Orissa. About half of China is conquered. I have dominant presence on all continents - and with dip level 22 I also have free overpowered CB on the entire world (a CB I don't like terribly much).

No point continuing this, so I'll just end up with image gallery.

So much pretty purple

Jesus approves

Breton Brazil not highlighted because game bugs. Also my troops there keep getting exiled because game bugs.

Everybody enjoys good kebab

India, Japan, and half of China are Roman.

Just the tip.

Breton Brazil with constantly exiled troops.