The Great Game: Diplomatic archives

The requested maps :

Europe 1656

Europe; the borders are largely unchanged from 1590. The infrastructure is a lot improved, though, especially in Burgundy.

Asia 1656

Asia – a different matter! AI Bengal isn’t doing too badly, though the players have raped it for the COTs. China is put back together again. England dominates southern India, and has gotten the good COTs and Japan, the bastards.

South America 1656

South America, where the rivalry has basically ended in Spanish victory. The remaining Norwegian possessions are unimportant, the Polish stuff even more so.

North America 1656

North America, jewel in my crown. The last AI nation is gone. Norway looks huge! Of course, most of that is colonies and piddling little cities of 2000, largely unfortified. Still, it does give me quite an impressive census tax. Note all the little Burgundian islands; every last one of them produces sugar, and has a refinery! A most tempting target for looting, to be sure, if you happen to have a strong navy sitting around just collecting its pay.

Not much happened this session, except that I tripled my trade income, which now exceeds my production income for the first time in the game. (At last!) I built some ships; my blue-water navy is now larger than Spain’s and approaches England’s, though my galleys for Baltic defense are still rather scarce. A few manus, including my first naval ones; some chief judges; a lot of colonising; some forts. A quick war with the Huron, dividing them with the English. But mainly, managing my trade.

This being so, I thought I would instead dip into the archives of the Norwegian court, and take a look at the diplomacy behind the scenes – red-hot secrets in their day, but old and stale now, and safe to bring forth. Here, for example, are some PMs that went back and forth between me and Trav in the bad old days when Poland was a colossus threatening to swallow all of Europe :

Trav to me, ca 1200

Dear King of Norway

It is imperative that you respond with haste to this dire emergency. Poland has become a demon in the east. Devouring huge tracts of land, and swallowing whole kingdoms. This danger if unchecked could foretell the destruction of our Kingdoms. Castille, Flanders and Byzantium are all of like mind with myself. I must know if we can count on your aid when the time comes. I have more details upon request.


A piteous plea, to be sure! Well, I was certainly not averse to attacking Poland together with the powerful king of Italy, so :

Me to Trav

I don’t have time to reply in character, as I need to go to work, but I have to tell you, I’ve been worried about Poland for a long time. I’m certainly with you if you want to go to war to re-establish the Rus and Cuman kingdoms. To tell you the truth, I’m not too thrilled with Hungary extending so far east, either, but that can wait.

Is Norway’s situation really as bad as RP and Sterk have been saying? I hope I can bring a bit more than 50k to the Second Baltic Crusade.

Later, back from work :

(…) That said, Poland is my more immediate worry. I have age-old claims on Novgorod and Gotland that I think I will try to get this time, since just releasing Rus doesn’t seem to slow him down appreciably.

On tactics, I think one thing we learned from the previous Great War is that it is not good to concentrate your men too much. 20k soldiers is about the maximum practical size of army. So, given that Lurken can muster (last I checked) somewhere in the region of 500k men, I don’t think he needs to confine himself to one front. Maybe his Middle Eastern provinces could invade Jerusalem while his Iberian troops attack Burgundy? But these are details.

Trav was probably not very surprised, Norwegian-Polish wars had been a staple of the game for a while. Anyway, he sent me a Battle Plan :

Trav to me

Dear Olaf II, King of Norway and Denmark etc. etc.

Brother your positive response to this dire situation emboldens us all. As you requested I shall endeavor to explain how we may deal with the terror in the east. With the help of my faithful Spy Master and Capable Marshal I have devised a magnificent battle plan. Know this, the double crossing Duke of Bavaria, the nefarious Spiders, will most likely fight against me and join with the Poles. Therefore my plan takes into account this inevitable treachery.

The key to victory is the complete control of Poland’s demesne. The impetus for war will be the arrival of these “Mongols” you’ve spoke of. Once on the scene I will declare war on Poland using my claim on Venice. Bavaria will no doubt strike at me.

I will now take this opportunity to break down the Order Of Battle (OOB).

  • Naples strike Venice, move to subdue Bavaria then strike Krakowski
  • Castille will stage in Byzantium, help subdue Bavaria then strike Krakowski
  • Byzantium will stage in Hevest, strike Galich, Lyubech, Pronsk then Sieradzko
  • Norway will stage in Finland, strike Novgorod then Plock
  • England will stage in Norway, strike Scalovia, Aukshayts, Polotsk then Plock
  • Flanders will stage in Anhalt, strike Praha then Sieradzko

Trav's plan
Battle Map detailing Staging Points and OOB for each Kingdom.

With our Allied Kingdoms pre-staged for attack and moving in concert we should over-whelm the Polish dogs. Our War Goal will be the establishment of a free Rus kingdom. Rus’s new ruler will have absolutely no relation to any Piast. The ruler can be any worthy courtier from one of the Allied Kingdoms. The War Goal will be given to Poland upon the commencement of hostilities.

I hope this worthy goal and battle plan meet with your approval. With God’s blessing we shall triumph over this evil that has gripped the east. I eagerly await your response.

You brother for life,

Drogo de Hauteville

(OOC) Please talk to Dominus. If he could convince Prime that he won’t double cross him Prime will be more than willing to help. Also if Dom could use any political clout with France to have them either join us or promise not to attack Prime while he’s at war with us would be helpful as well. Lurken and Blackeye are 100% in favor of this attack and have viewed the battle plan.

Strong stuff! I must say I wasn’t totally convinced of the merits of his battle plan, but at least it did have an overall goal and order of battle. You gotta start somewhere. Either I’ve lost a PM somewhere, or Trav was being eager, for the next document in the archives is a suggested treaty from him to me :

Draft of Pact

To all those present know this. That on the nineteenth day, of the month of July, in the year of our Lord twelve-hundred and eleven, the undersigned rulers met. Those rulers, hence forth referred to as members, who signed below do agree and swear before God to uphold the following articles here in.

Article I
That the purpose of this conflict is to retake the Rus lands usurped by the King of Poland and to establish a new King of Rus not of the Piast line.

Article II
That during the ensuing war members will support one another and protect each other from attacks by other kingdoms until Poland surrenders and agrees to the terms of Article I.

Article III
That no lands, wealth, or spoils of any kind will be appropriated, accepted or received by a member from Poland.

Article IV
That for a period of not less than five years from the cessation of hostilities with Poland, each member will support the other if attacked by Poland.

Article V
That during the same five year period from the cessation of hostilities with Poland, any member nation that is attacked by another member shall be supported by the remaining members. The aggressor member shall receive no quarter and will suffer the most severe punishment the righteous members can inflict.

(OOC) I did my best, if you can add to the artful use of words in the Pact please send me your amendments. Thanks.

Well, I like Trav, but I have to say, he’s not the best wordsmith I know, especially when he tries to be formal. I tried to improve a bit on his treaty, thus :

Did a bit of research into treaty language, I suggest the below.

Year of Grace 1211

Declaration at Lubeck

To all those unto whom these presents come : Hear ye! Know, that on the nineteenth day, of the month of July, in the year of our Lord twelve-hundred and eleven, met in the city of Lubeck the undersigned rulers; and as God saw fit to move them to accord, they do agree and swear to uphold these high principles :

Whereas the man Mieszko Piast, who now styles himself King of Rus, has by foul and unnatural means come to the sovereignty of the cities of Rus,

whereas he has by his heresy transgressed against God and nature, and given offense to the High Contracting Parties by reason of his arrogant contumely,

whereas there is in all things a higher justice, that moves mankind to great deeds, the High Contracting Parties do hereby proclaim that they shall not rest until the Crown of Rus rests on the brow of its rightful possessor. And to this end they have signed these Articles :

Article the first
That the purpose of this conflict is to retake the Rus lands usurped by the King of Poland and to establish a new King of Rus not of the Piast line.

Article the second
That during the ensuing war the High Contracting Parties shall see it as a duty to come each the other to aid, as brothers, stinting nothing, either in men or armament, in gold or ships, even to the blood of kings. And this aid shall last, until the man, Mieszko Piast, surrenders and agrees to the terms of Article the first.

Article the third
That no lands, wealth, or spoils of any kind will be appropriated, accepted or received by any of the High Contracting Parties from Poland; for it is not for wealth or power we fight, but only to restore the natural order of things.

Article the fourth
That for a period of not less than five years from the cessation of hostilities with Poland, the High Contracting Parties shall come to the aid, each of the other, if any one of them is attacked by the armies of the Polish Realm.

Article the fifth
That during this same five year period from the cessation of hostilities with Poland, each High Contracting Party undertakes to come to the aid, each of the other, if God should so will it that one of the High Contracting Parties should fall upon another. The aggressor Party shall receive no quarter and shall suffer the most severe punishment the righteous members can inflict.

Signed this day by

Olaf II, Rex Norvegiæ et Danorum
Drogo de Hauteville, King of Naples

This particular correspondence ends there. As you know, the war failed of its purpose, and Poland remained overlord of the Russian lands. Still, they were weakened by the loss of Bavaria and (IIRC) Novgorod and Gotland. (In the end, seeing that the alliance would not hold, I went for a gain to Norway rather than see all that blood spilled for nothing. At least, I remember this happening in one of the Great Eastern Crusades. It might not be this one, though.)

Ah, well, old wars, old peace, old arts that cease… Here’s another; I must say, I’m still absolutely shocked at what those people have done to the nice place that used to be France, but Sterk’s treachery made it impossible to do anything about it :

Me, around 1440?

Hi Sterk, I don’t know if you noticed, but Dominus has annexed what was left of France except for Paris itself. I would venture to suggest that this is in nobody’s interest, especially since he is also waging war against Burgundy, and is allied with Castile. Perhaps we should consider intervening in that war on behalf of Burgundy, or rather, of France. We should be able to force the restoration of considerable territory, and therewith quite a bit of balance in Western Europe. We really cannot be having with a England dominating France so completely; the Loire should be a fine border. (I don’t know that I want Burgundy getting much bigger, either, but that’s a somewhat separate problem that we can hammer out at the peace conference, depending on the fortunes of war.)

I will also contact Trav with this; I suspect he will be appalled at what is being done to France, and eager to force the release of some lands. That will presumably bring in Byz. I don’t know if I want to bring in Hungary, mainly for metagame reasons : Ego is likely to take it as a gangbang, which is true, and quit, which would be bad. Anyway, Ear might not be too concerned about a strong England. Still, a promise of neutrality would be good; failing that, I would support you with troops in any defensive action against Hungary, even including the release of Persia – nothing, though, that adds territory to Poland, as I’m sure you will understand.

I believe I have a sufficient navy to defend the Baltic and contest, if not dominate, the North Sea. Between us, we should be able to come up with considerable expeditionary forces, and Burgundy is still in the fight – indeed, the battle is on English soil. (Of course, our interests and Burgundian ones are not identical; I would like to ensure a France that is, if not necessarily strong, at least viable. I suspect Burgundy would rather annex the territory to himself, which is not in my interest and perhaps not entirely to yours, either – traditional ally, well and good, but you’d be exchanging one hegemon for another.)

We’ve had our differences, but a unified France-England threatens Europe in a way that even Poland-Russia doesn’t. Can we work together to deal with this?

Here is Sterk’s reply :

Yes, I believe we can work together. I have been concerned with England’s growing power in France for a long time now, but I’ve been able to do little about it (an AI Burgundy and no way to get troops west means no war). I would be quite interested in bringing down England and Spain, especially as the war might weaken Italy somewhat (and hopefully delay its expansion into colonial areas a bit in the future). My goals for the near future are to hold most countries from expanding into the New World and to free Persia from Hungary so they don’t explode into India. Also I believe it would give Sid a better nation to play than China (I think China would be far, far too powerful by Victoria if played by a human through the entire EU2. That is unless I circumnavigate the globe and land in Beijing with Jan Sobieski’s Hussaria).

And now England is indeed the dominant power on the continent, and therefore in the world, and Sterk’s betrayal (he inveigled me into delivering the DOW, then stabbed me in the back) has robbed him of much of his strength, and Novgorod. Who says there’s no justice?

While I was at it, I spoke to Trav. This is me being rather Machiavellian, I must admit.

Hi Trav,

(The same as I say to Sterk, and then…)

After this is done, we should perhaps think again about Eastern Europe. Have you noticed that Poland has no less than three COTs? Perhaps Ear might take the one in Ukraine (right on his border) as compensation for the release of Persia? Of course, such a thing would have to be done in a secret clause of the treaty, with Sterk not told about it, since we’d need his support in the war to make Ear accept the loss of Persia. I do strongly feel, however, that Poland is actually more of a threat to the BoP than Hungary. Its territories are more compact, it has those three COTs, and above all, Sterk is perhaps the most skilled of our players. I urge you to consider this potential hegemon in the most serious light.

Hah, I was worred about three European COTs, and now Bob has nine, of which most are Asian!

I also find this little fragment, a little later in my archives. I sound quite desperate, don’t I? How things have changed.

Ear, we have got to deal with Poland. Three COTs, major manpower, and now all the gold in Russia. If he gets into Siberia we are both done for. It is now 1451 and your NAP is over; the AI annexed some of your vassals for you; and you have a vast army. In a year or so I will annex Finland. When that is done, let us for God’s sake grind Poland to dust.

More specifically, I suggest Kazan and Samara to me, Ukraine (with its COT) and another province of your choice to you. We cannot let Sterk colonise Siberia, he’ll be unstoppable.

Well, it’s now Hungary that’s unstoppable, but what do I care? I have no quarrel with them. Anyway, their economy is rather behind; without Norwegian subsidies, they’d be in trouble in any long war. (Still, I wish I was the one that money was the limiting factor for. All the manpower of Siberia… *Drools*)

So, gentlemen, that ends our archive tour, for now at least. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. There are more diplomatic messages in the archives, to be sure, but as they approach the present day, they must remain hidden from public view for another little while.


1 Comment

Filed under Great Game

One response to “The Great Game: Diplomatic archives

  1. Carbo

    It is, as always, intriguing to compare the last Great game with the current, staying tuned for more AARs

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