The Great Game: Trade Wars

Well, it was the wool, you see. We pretty much had the corner on the market in smokes. And they couldn’t get sugar to grow properly in New Norway, so the Spaniards had that all to themselves. But wool, well, everybody’s got sheep, right? So that’s where we were competing directly, like. Of course, the dons had a bit of an advantage, what with having their sheep in Iberia. So you might think we’d resort to tricks like burning down warehouses, that kind of thing. Not a bit of it! See, two can play at that game. We burn down theirs, they burn down ours, that’s fair, right? And nobody could make a profit off that. Ynglings would have done it, sure – well, the old guys, anyway, the ones who fought in the Reformation. Burn down a house as soon as look at it, some of them. But my boss, Herr Richter, he just wants to make a profit. So, subtle does it! Once, he paid some Jews to move into a couple old apartments, close to the Spanish quarter. Then he sent me off to the taverns to spend a bit of time drinking and talking over all that old drinking-the-blood-of-Christians stuff. Of course, it’s not very difficult to set off a nice murderous riot against Jews! And in your basic riot, of course, nobody is surprised if a bit of stuff disappears, you know? It’s a bit unusual for a whole warehouse full of wool to run off, I give you that, but it’s been known to happen. It was all untraceable stuff like that – we didn’t even keep the wool, we sent it off to be sold in Alexandria.

Of course, you can’t do stuff like that too often. Hey, dagoes are pretty dim, but by the third time they lose a warehouse full of wool, well, even a polak would get that hint! In fact, tell you the truth, that’s why we don’t trade in Venice anymore. Seems one of the Italians there was a bit sharper than the next guy, and had connections at court. Well, at the time there were more Italians in Novgorod than Norwegians in Venice, so the King, he just up and chucks the wogs out. Ynglings, y’know – getting an apology from them is like pulling teeth. I guess he felt kind of stupid when the Italians grabbed Kutch and kicked us out of there too! It’s tough at the top, as they say. I suppose he’ll be swallowing his pride and paying the wog King some money. I’d like to be a fly on the wall for that! It’s not often you see an Yngling bend the knee.

But I digress. I was talking about the wool trade. Well, tricks and all, we’re just about holding our own now. The Spaniards have begun subsidising their traders with the profits of their gold mines, though. I don’t know how long we can hang on against that. Oh, sure, they say there’s a big war coming, but they’ve been saying that for as long as I’ve been alive. Besides, even if we did win a war, how’s it going to change things? You can’t stop the outlanders from selling stuff to each other, not unless you was to conquer the whole world, and even the Ynglings don’t dream of that. Not yet, anyway.


Another peaceful session, apart from the collapse of China, that is; then again, who cares about them? I got into a brisk little trade war with Spain, which isn’t settled yet; he insists that the monopoly of Aleppo is rightfully his. I also managed to annoy Formula down in Italy badly enough that he banned me, to which I retaliated with a counter-ban instead of soft words and some money. At the time his trade in my COTs was bigger than vice-versa. Alas, I did not foresee his conquest of the rich Kutch COT. :oo Still, Norway’s trade income increased by about 50% this session, putting me behind, but in sight of, the big boys. Here’s a snapshot of the Aleppo situation :

Aleppo 1590

Note that the actual owner of the COT doesn’t have a single merchant in it. Economic imperialism at its finest!

Here’s my current domestic situation :
Domestic 1590

I’m moving towards plutocracy, since as the Ynglings become more numerous, there just isn’t enough land to support them as a traditional land-owning aristocracy. (And anyway, I need the trade efficiency; diplomacy is really not a consideration for this game, there’s no AI countries to speak of.) Likewise I’m going towards free subjects for the morale and production efficiency, not to mention literacy in Vicky. This also reflects the increasing numbers of the Ynglings : The more Ynglings there are, the freer the average subject of the Kingdom gets, since the Ynglings are contributing more to the average! (Admittedly I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here – there aren’t enough Ynglings yet to have such a large effect as this slider shows.) You’ll note that, on the other hand, I’m extremely narrowminded; this reflects the increasing arrogance and intolerance of the Ynglings, and even of the second-class subjects (those Norwegians and Finns who are not Ynglings) towards their foreign subjects. You’ll note that my narrator above is not very politically correct; a truly minor example of the sort of attitude that’s coming to permeate Norwegian society.

Finally, a look at the colonies :

America 1590

Poof go the Shawnee, with the usual dose of rape and pillage – if anything, they’re even worse off than the Iroquis. Although it doesn’t show on the map, my colonies have expanded quite a bit in numbers, and I’m now the leading manufacturer of tobacco. Bwah-hah-hah, I beat them with cancer sticks!


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