Between being sick, having a new son in the house, and my wife being even more sick, I cannot find any narrative inspiration this week; so what follows will be a mere dry recounting of the facts of gameplay and diplomacy, without embellishment or flavour.
The war against the Indians, despite immense battlefield defeats and the treacherous sinking of my glorious navy by the backstabbing English, ended in victory, in that I gained two provinces by abusing our peace rules. The Indians, feeling the weight of English metal on their eastern front, began desperately looking for a way out of the war without great loss; thus they offered me several treaties with tiny territorial gains and vast diplomatic concessions to puff up the score. By this means they intended to cheat England out of its rightful due, since the peace rules forbid taking more than 100% warscore from a player in one war. However, I nobly resisted temptation, and refused five or six of these dubious offers. The seventh included the province I had a mission to take; well, when there are two provinces in the peace offer, that’s entirely different! And besides, the English player had himself told me to take offers if they included land; I was perhaps not thinking entirely straight (I have been fighting a sore throat for a week now and was running a low-grade fever at the time) and neglected to ask him just how much land he was thinking of.
I proceeded to rebuild my navy, take Plutocratic ideas for my fifth group, and annex what was left of Malaysia, unfortunately annoying the Japanese player who had been farming them for colonies. Coastal colonisation is now at an end; no uncolonised provinces remain except inland ones, and a few in Hudson Bay where nobody except Denmark has range, or tolerance for the cold. Speaking of Denmark I am a little annoyed at them suddenly showing up in New Zealand, but I will have to live with that for now. I then returned to my old haunts in Tripoli; as we have failed to find a player for the Templar Republic, its AI protection ended this week and it is fair game. Because of the aforementioned peace rules I only got two provinces; in fact, it is still, I think, a viable player spot, provided of course that people stop tearing at it like vultures if it does acquire a player. If it’s going to be continuously at war with all its neighbours, that’s something else again. But if you’re interested in taking a rather vulnerable and abused country and leading it through great difficulty to glory, give us a call. (Or me a PM, as the case may be.) If we don’t find a player, my plan for next week is to seize Tunis, thus enabling me to get in a “shores of Tripoli” reference in some future AAR. (“Halls of Montezuma” is going to be more difficult.)
All this aside, the main point of interest this week occurred outside the session: I have made peace with Egypt! In particular, I will give up my claims to Kilwa and most of (what’s left of) Venetian East Africa, but will receive the Suez Canal provinces and the most important Zanzibar trade provinces in return. Also, obviously, I will give up my paranoid fantasies about the so-called “Jackal”, and accept Egypt as a normal member of the community of nations. Really now, what was I thinking? Blaming my problems on some sort of mystical, otherworldly entity that coordinates all the people surrounding me to cause me endless difficulty… well, to be honest, it’s kind of classic, isn’t it? But no worries, I’m much better now! Obviously there are no Other entities playing Paradox games; I mean just for one thing, the interface is seriously unsuited to tentacles. (And hands. But tentacles would be even worse.) I feel a lot better now I’m not worried about that any more. And of course, Egypt is a natural ally for Venice anyway, what with not having any ambitions in Italy and having a large army but no navy to speak of. Really, it is time for me to stop waffling about with this silly rivalry and engage some of the truly dangerous Powers in the world, like India.
For interest, I post the text of our treaty:
His Pharaonic Majesty, Thutmose, Twenty-Fourth of that Name, the Son of Ra, the Crocodile Who Protects the Nile, He Who Brings the Flood, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, King of Outer Egypt, Overlord of Transjordanian Egypt, Master of Africa, recognising the just claim of the Serene Republic to be the finest hagglers, barterers, and hucksters of the Erythrean Ocean, hereby in His mercy grants to them the provinces of Damietta, Suez, Mombasa, and Zanzibar; to be held by them so long as the floodwaters rise in the Nile.
The Serene Republic, for its part, recognising the intrinsic righteousness of African rule of African lands, cedes, grants, transfers, and renounces its claim to the provinces Quelimane, Tete, and Sena, which henceforth are to be held by the aforesaid Pharaonic Majesty, to have and to hold, to honour and obey, cleaving only unto him, for so long as men engage in truck and barter to better their lot. His Pharaonic Majesty shall also retain an option for improved furnishings in these premises, to be determined later.
In addition, the two High Powers above mentioned agree that there shall be peace between them, that the current borders shall stand, and that their respective merchants shall be granted all privileges in each others’ ports, without fear or favour, to let the best peddler win.
Eurasia, 1627. Notice the glorious green colour spreading west across Africa, in accordance with the manifest destiny of the Egyptian people – clearly it is God’s will that they should rule from sea to shining sea!