The Great Game: The Dance Begins

For the EU2 era, I changed my writing style quite a bit. Rereading this, I see I haven’t quite found my voice yet in the flavour sections; the drama tends to the melo. On the other hand, since it is interspersed with plain descriptions of my ingame actions and intentions, it may be easier to follow for the non-player.

OK. EU2 really doesn’t lend itself to the saga style I used for CK. I’ve been experimenting with various narratives, but none of them seem likely to be scaleable to a full 400 years; and I hate running out of ideas partway through. So I’ll split the AAR into two kinds of text : Narrative, where I just explain what I’m doing and why; and flavour – extracts from chronicles, poetry, scenes from the court, whatever takes my fancy. I’ll separate them by having flavour in italics.

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The flow of time is a great river, which carries all life with it on its way to the ocean whence it came. It is a journey unmarked by signposts, its stages imperceptible to those who sail its flow. But though the years are long, still they come at last to their end. The time of sagas and heroes is done; their bright swords and mighty deeds glide slowly away, however much they resonate in our hearts.

But if the laughter of gods and giants no longer resounds in the lives of kings, still the affairs of nations must continue in their course. And although ours is an age not of sun-gleaming steel but of paper and gold, it is the only age we have to call our own. So I set down the chronicle of these leaden years, for the instruction of the sons of Yngling. For it is no longer enough that our scions be brave and honourable men; in a time where steel no longer rules supreme, we must also strive for wisdom.

And that, too, is worth a saga.

————————————–

My first task is to build an army to dissuade my vassals from decamping. The wealth I’ve built up in CK, around 250 ducats, goes out quite swiftly; in addition to 20000 men and some ships to move them about (in MyMap, there is no strait between Skåne and Sjælland), I need to build some tax collectors. Decisions, decisions…

Iceland, Novgorod and the Livonian Order break away, but it could be worse; Trav down in Italy apparently didn’t realise he needed an army quick-like, and had to deal with most of Italy breaking off. I don’t really care about Iceland; it has a population of 500, and since I have a shield on it I can snap it up whenever. Novgorod, in this scenario, owns two completely useless provinces in Russia, surrounded by my vassals, so I’m inclined to let them go for now. Later on, however, my vassal Wurzburg (which somehow ended up in Russia, about where Muscovy would otherwise be) saves me trouble by DOWing them, the upshot of which is that Novgorod now controls one completely useless province, and has no money. As for Livonia, I didn’t notice their defection for a while, and Sterkarm (Poland) got there first, the bastard.

Meanwhile, I’ve been gathering my more important vassals into an alliance; Denmark, Sweden, Wurzburg, and Finland between them have the bulk of my CK possessions, and now that my army is ready seem happy to stay with me. I’m a little less happy with Denmark DOWing Holstein, also my vassal, but what can I do? Annex ’em, is what, and solve the problem for good.

Whatever money I can spare from armies goes into tax collectors, with excellent results : My yearly income goes from 37 in 1419, to 166 by the end of the period, when I’ve got tax collectors all over Scandinavia and in most of Germany. With that amount of income, I’m thinking I should use my newfound Infra 2 and build my first manufactory. However, this is the moment that my esteemed vassal Wurzburg, already at war with Muscovy (a former Polish vassal, which I have no access to, or the war would be much shorter) chooses to declare war on Poland. Thank you kindly, Wurzburg.

Actually, if the truth were told, I’m not so displeased as all that. I would need to deal with Poland at some point anyway; it might as well be now, with my navy able to dominate the Baltic (Sterk hasn’t built one yet) and our armies not too uneven. Also, I have two good generals – one of them with siege 1 – and an admiral. And, with no Burgundy player and both England and Hungary dealing with rebellious vassals, there’ll never be a better time to really settle, mano a mano, who is boss of the Baltic.

Europe in 1428 :
Europe, 1428
The black lines show the borders between empires. Note that the southern half of Italy no longer swears allegiance to Traveller; Egypt and Morocco are independent, as is Iraq. Also, Ireland is aflame with rebellion.

As you can see, Poland is a rather impressive sort of empire; even so, that green in Germany is split into a lot of provinces, so it’s a source of more wealth than its size might indicate. One of my longer-term goals will be to build up my position in Germany, absorbing as much as I can of Bohemia and pushing back Burgundy to our old Weser border or beyond. For now, though, my goal is more modest : Beat Poland soundly, and regain Novgorod and Ingria, thereby restoring my land border with my vassal-ally Wurzburg. It is a fairly powerful and aggressive nation, and it would really be a pity if it gained independence, after all my efforts to build a strong position in Russia. Of course, Novgorod is a COT, and has been a bone of contention between me and Sterk for centuries; it’ll require a major defeat, indeed, for Sterk to hand it over. It should be an interesting war.

————————————–

This is Norway : Stark mountains, unadorned by any softening
green. Houses sheltering in deep valleys. Fields scrabbled out of thin
earth. And always the sea, source of life and death alike. There are
few men in Norway who do not go to sea; and there are many who never
return from it.

This is Norway : Tall, powerful men. Long-limbed, gold-haired
women. Children who learn quickly how to handle sword or spear, and to
face a storm undaunted.

This is Norway : A realm stretching from Iceland to the Urals, from
the arctic North to the plains of Germany. It is a kingdom forged in
battle, its borders uncertain lands of raid and counter-raid. The long
shadow of the dragon ships is woven into the cloth of its banners, and
the terror of Norse fury goes before its armies.

This is Norway : A land without slaves, where no man can be held in
bondage if he is willing to fight. A kingdom of freemen, whose least
farmer has the right to be heard at Ting, and will defend the right
with his life.

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One response to “The Great Game: The Dance Begins

  1. Pingback: The Great Game: Trade and Dominion « Ynglinga Saga

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