Ok, so this is the week HoI4 came out. I am therefore going to write up the session events first, and if I have time not taken up by recreating the Great War on the Belgian front, there will be a narrative section. If you are reading this without any in-character narrative, you’ll know what my priorities turned out to be. Incidentally, does it seem to anyone else that the German AI is kind of timid? Sure, the Maginot Line is pretty impenetrable, but once you’ve overrun the Low Countries it shouldn’t be that difficult to get ten panzer divisions together and blow through a line of only infantry. DOWing Switzerland in an apparent attempt to find a weakness in a line that covers frickin’ Belgium is really not called for. Especially when you have to thin out the Belgian line to deal with the resulting thirty Swiss divisions, and give France an opportunity to drive for the Ruhr!
Oh right. Europa Universalis, that’s the game we were playing.
A while ago I got annoyed at Korean pirates in the Adriatic, and DOWed to remove the Korean bases in the Med. I had won that war when Fox, bribed no doubt by copious amounts of firewater, allied itself to Korea and – give the devil his due – politely informed me that I could either stand down my blockade or lose my fleet, which would be the fourth time this game. I stood down the blockade and ceded Madagascar, gaining some Persian provinces in exchange. You would not know it from my cheerful demeanour and courteous chat, but I was actually a tiny bit annoyed. I therefore spent last week and some of this quietly building up my fleet, from fourth in the world to second; specifically, I went from 100 bigships to 250, narrowly beating out Fox’s 230. Then I declared war, and parked my navy off the American coast where the Foxy Fleet was sitting in mothballs. It was, unfortunately, a garrisoned location or I would have landed my marines on the mothballed fort and driven the unprepared ships out to fight and die. As it was, I had a stroke of luck when, shortly after the declaration, his light ships – presumably out
shaking down peaceful merchants going about their lawful business protecting trade – blundered into my heavies and sank shortly thereafter.
With complete naval superiority assured, it is of course only a question of time before the continental hegemon suffers economic collapse and bows to the just and reasonable demands of the small yet plucky trading republic. However, on the way to the inevitable victory of capitalists over feudalists dictated by the laws of dialectical materialism, there may arise some small contretemps and setbacks due to the efforts of the doomed ruling class to retain its unjust privileges. In particular, it turns out the Foxy Army has a discipline of 138. Given what I did to his sealift capacity, that isn’t the crippling issue it would have been if, for example, he was free to invade Italy; but there were various Foxy forces kicking about hither and yon in Asia and Africa, ranging in size from one-third to two-thirds of the entire Venetian army, and even the smallest turned out to be an individually formidable problem.
Check this out. Outnumbered four to one, the savages still kill three for every one they lose!
The Madagascar garrison is a case in point: Two 30k stacks guarding the war goal, on a three-province island. By the time I got around to them, I was feeling quite cautious about engaging Foxy forces on anything remotely approaching equal terms; I took my time. First I built some additional transports so I could sealift two 24k stacks simultaneously. Then I shipped most of my army to provinces close to Madagascar so I could land them all quickly. Then I landed 48k in Antananarivo, sieged it quickly while shipping in the rest of the army, and marched on one of the 30k stacks. I won the resulting 120k versus 60k battle, with a good general on my side, just barely, and wiped one of the stacks when it retreated to Antananarivo. So far so good. The other one retreated to Boina, where I could not pursue it because of the fort at Menabe. After the casualties I’d taken, it seemed unwise to try to attack it with a -2 landing penalty, so I unwisely left it alone while I sieged down the level-8 fort. Naturally I spread out my units a bit to try to reduce the attrition, including moving the worst-hit stacks across to Africa. That 30k stack, on its home territory, recovered to full strength much faster than my units; it went down to Menabe and killed my siege, boom. Then it turned around and zapped the reinforcements I had rushed into Antananarivo. The current situation is that there is one 30k stack guarding the three-province war goal… and if I take as many casualties reducing that to zero as I did in reducing it to one, I will be out of manpower.
The one major naval battle of the war; a glorious triumph for the Venetian Navy. I don’t know why Fox is still fighting; there’s no coming back from this sort of defeat.
Every theater is like this: A small Foxy army (in one case, a large Korean one), but with 138% discipline and enough combat modifiers to launch Poland into space. Nevertheless I persevere. The loss of Venezia-oltre-il-Mare is annoying but not decisive. Egypt is, as I well know, so fortified that it may take a decade to force anything on that front. Peshawar cannot add anything to my troubles on those two fronts; I’m not sure why they entered – I mean, yes, recover Girnar, but what damage do they expect to do so as to compel me to hand it over? Madagascar cannot stand against my full army forever, maneuvering difficulty or not; next time I won’t land in only one place and leave a retreating stack a sanctuary. And anyway history and naval superiority are on my side; the dialectic demonstrates it.
World situation, 1821. Note the near destruction of Fandango and the occupation of the Middle East.