There Will Be War: The Big Picture II

Another overview post.

It’s been a while since anyone uploaded a map, but here we go: Europe in 1151.

Europe 1151

I think it’s fair to say that blobbification is almost complete. A quick list of the players:

  • Norway, light blue, me. Unification of the peninsula almost complete. Dominating the Baltic littoral looks a bit out of reach at this point. I’ve got some scattered inheritances in England and Scotland; alas, although I could certainly be a factor in a three-way struggle for power in Scotland (the other players would be England and Ireland, of whom more later), the other two players are both more-or-less client states of the Greater Breton Co-Prosperity Sphere, the annoyed attention of which sensible mid-level powers Do Not Want.
  • Prussia, beigish-yellow, carillon. Started out as Saxony, conquered Lithuania, now has a split personality, or at least a split territory. Like me, got some territory out of the ultimatum to Russia. Like me, in a good position to also receive some retaliation, now that the attention of the Great Powers seems likely to go elsewhere. A natural ally for me, then; but also a competitor for dominance of Finland, the Baltic, and Germany.
  • Bohemia, medium green, hyme. A nation of few words and many lances. A powerful player in Central Europe, verging on Great Power status; but also bordering on several ambitious smaller states who would like to expand, could naturally do so into Bohemia, and who have few diverging interests.
  • Russia, dark green, Sid Meier. With the independence of Georgia, it looks a bit less like the Blob to End All Blobs, but still a fairly impressive size, roughly equal to any two of its neighbours not counting Georgia. Somewhat annoyed with its recent loss of territory; a revanchist power in the making.
  • Georgia, medium blue, fasquardon. Currently dealing with a vast rebellion exacerbated by some weird AI vassalising, hence the outbreak of virulent red. When that’s over, they will still be a Great Power, possibly even the strongest such, since they are insulated by distance and some smaller buffer states from the other two. I don’t think they are particularly expansionist, though. Being already quite large and in a good position, fasquardon has no reason to antagonise the rest of us by absorbing his buffer states. Hence the recent, generous treaties, and the pacific outer demeanour. But beware! The court of Georgia has been infiltrated by Ynglings descended from Anja, and a connection to the mother country has now been established, in that we are trading fosterlings back and forth. At some point, blood will tell, and the Bagratunid Ynglings will come forth riding pale horses, conquering, and to conquer. And then… There Will Be War!
  • Arabia, darkish grey, TheConqueror. Started out as South Italy. Currently engaged in a land transfer with its patron North Italy, by which Arabia moves to Africa and hands over its remaining Italian possessions, receiving Egypt in return. The Eastern Med is going to be an interesting place in EU2, with five or six powers in the area.
  • Bulgaria/Byzantium, dark blue, Eird. One of the interesting powers, being too small to be satisfied with its borders, but large enough to plausibly enlarge them given some good alliances. If I were Serbia, I would be looking south with some anxiety.
  • Serbia, light grey, Lurken. Not, I think, in a good position, being surrounded by stronger nations, at least one of which needs to expand a bit. Recently shut out of Hungary by Bohemia; recently warned by Italy not to take advantage of rebellions in Byzantium. Needs a patron. Russia, perhaps? Russia could surely do with a client state that will allow it to project some power into the Balkans.
  • Italy, light green, Varyar. Third among the Great Powers, and nervous about it. Also in the worst position geographically, being in the middle of the action. Probably has the largest wealth density, though.
  • Brittany, medium blue, ulmont. The Original Blob, and still the biggest. Nonetheless, ulmont is apparently sufficiently worried about a coalition that he is taking great pains not to appear aggressive. Since he’s been in Realm Duress for about 38 years of the last 40, I can’t say I blame him. Quite likely it would only take one good boot in the door for the whole jerry-rigged structure to come crashing down. I’m not holding my breath waiting for volunteers to supply the boot, though.
  • France, deep blue, Anders. A client state of Brittany, awaiting its chance to turn into a powerful merchant republic in the EU period.
  • England, orange, Gollevainen. Still recovering from its recent Death Spiral. Skirmishing with Ireland for control over Scotland – both parties, however, have expressed a united determination to keep Norway out.
  • Ireland, still part of ulmont’s realm, Ike. Will be made into a kingdom at some point; right now, just a Duke controlling all of Ireland.

With humans, alliances, oppositions, and client-patron relationships all tend to be a bit fuzzy, of course. So take this with a grain of salt; it’s just how it looks to me, and it’s quite possible that, say, Ike would be very surprised to learn that I regard Ireland as a client state of Brittany. With that caveat, these are the power blocs as I see them:

  • Brittany, with its clients Ireland and France. England is well within its sphere of influence, certainly to the extent that outside interlopers would be thrown out. The ambition of England to control all the British Isles, and of Ireland to control Scotland, could be a chink in the armour of this bloc, where another Power might be able to insert itself.
  • Italy, with its client Arabia and an ally in Bulgaria. This bloc’s dominance of the Eastern Med seems pretty secure. There are possible sources of friction on its eastern borders, however: Either Arabia or Bulgaria, or both, might well want to adjust the borders of Georgia a bit. It remains to be seen whether Varyar can keep his client/allies under control if such is the case.
  • Georgia and its ally Russia: The former superstate now has somewhat diverging interests. Georgia is, to all appearances, a satisfied power; there is nowhere for it to expand without creating a frightened coalition. Russia, on the other hand, can skirmish and intrigue for influence in the Baltics and Balkans both. Moreover, Russia, unlike Arabia and Bulgaria, is a large enough tail to be a credible dog-wagger; it could plausibly get into a war on its own, and only call for Great Power aid if another Great Power intervened on the side of its target.
  • Bohemia: An enigma wrapped in a conundrum! I really have no idea what hyme will do next. He could reasonably retreat into isolation, attempt to crush Prussia or Serbia for their territories, or start a campaign against Russia. In the latter case he would presumably try to mobilise some of his smaller neighbours as allies or clients as well. Lots of options, no clear path.
  • Norway and Prussia: Unaligned and small, we recently signed a defensive treaty (which I’ll be writing up for this thread) in response to Russian sabre-rattling. However, that won’t be enough – we both need to expand. A problem here is that for Norway at least, the natural victim of expansion is, in fact, Prussia – which I need for defense against Russia. It doesn’t seem likely that any of the Great Powers will interest themselves in our expansion, although they might well find it in themselves to maintain our independence. (A point of interest: Note the skillful way in which ulmont and Varyar made sure that all the territorial gains from the recent Russia-nerf fell to Norway and Prussia, thus dissociating themselves from any revenge even though they provided most of the muscle that made the ultimatum possible. Great Power politics at its finest! The other side being that Norway and Prussia did in fact get territory, and presumably strength therewith.)
  • Serbia: A client in search of a patron! Serbia might reasonably associate itself with Bohemia (or Russia, or even both) against the Italian bloc and hope to gain from Bulgaria; with Italy (or Russia, or both) against Bohemia, for expansion into Hungary; with Bohemia against Russia (although here Lurken missed his chance last week, in spite of being invited), or with Norway and Prussia against Bohemia. Round and round she goes, and where she stops nobody knows! But it’s pretty clear that Serbia needs some allies.

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