It turns out that the elections of the Grand Principality of Denmark are not honest ones, in the following sense: They don’t stay bought.
Obviously, I made it a bit of a priority to get elected; the blobs are coalescing all over Europe, and we shall not see them splintered again in this game. All over Europe, that is, except in the Isles and Scandinavia – partly because these areas are poor, and partly (I assume) because of a slight reluctance to enter another player’s clear sphere of interest, and thus create an enemy. But such forbearance is not to be relied upon for any long run. Sooner or later someone will decide that they have a use for these poverty-stricken tribal provinces, even if I don’t. Indeed, zilcho (subbing Finland) tried it on even this session, with a Holy War for Trøndelag; the AI surprised us both by handling him rather roughly. Still, the omen is clear for those with the wisdom to read it.
Grand Prince Refil at the beginning of the session. Time presses…
I therefore delayed my conquest of York. At the beginning of the session I was 12 and Grand Prince Refil was 62. So, if I got lucky for the four years I needed to become electable, Refil would be 66 and could keel over any day; I needed to have a good reserve for a huge campaign fund, to overcome the 2000-point disadvantage of being 16 in a republic full of fifty-year-old patricians. No money, therefore, for the mercenaries I’d need to take York. Instead I amused myself with chasing tiny AI armies, losers in the five minor wars m’liege got himself into, across England-south-of-Thames. I also looked about for participants in my eugenics program; there seems to be a great lack of Genius, Germanic women of a reasonable age. My plan for this generation is just to pump out kids from whatever half-acceptable women I can, so to speak, lay hands on; one of them ought to be a Genius who can be designated heir. The rest will form the basis of a Norse-Germanic population explosion, drastically increasing the pool of candidates for back-breeding in the next two generations; the more women, the more likely that randomness will operate in my favour. Also, when we are sufficiently many and hungry, we will have a moral right to take away others’ lands to feed our children; and we will then be possessed of a very large and hungry army.
Kjartan Bjardsson as a hungry young man.
Eugenics aside, then, I did basically nothing for four years; but once I reached my majority, I sprang into action! To wit, I Ctrl-clicked the “add to campaign fund” button no less than four times! Which wasn’t sufficient; at this point the leading candidate had Respect of over three thousand. So I unclicked it – no prizes for second best, and therefore no point in buying the election until I could actually win – and picked Intrigue as my focus. This did at least give me the opportunity to repeatedly click the “No, I’m sure he’s up to something” option – action at last! This excitement aside, though, it remained the case that my full treasury wouldn’t suffice to win. And while Refil had lived to be 78 (!) in a single-player test game, still, the RNG had to be sharpening its scythe for him.
Insufficient money; does not elect.
Increasingly desperate, I appealed for loans, and Khan, very kindly, sent me a gift, a favour which shall not be forgotten. With this money I could bring up my campaign fund north of 600 ducats, and become expected successor. Just in the nick of time, too; Refil died mere months after I finally had the money. Aaaand the second-highest Respect was elected. Again.
I admit to finding this a bit annoying. Since the electorate had disappointed me, I decided to dissolve it and appoint a new one, by making the Midlands a personal Dreki fief, starting with York. This went well: Little bits of kingdoms cannot stand against enough money to hire mercenaries. This, at least, worked; I now hold York and Derby, and Lincoln will fall shortly. Added bonus: Handing out the baronies to the adult-male Dreki drastically cut my expenses.
The current election status.
I enter the next session, then, embittered but hopeful: I have what seems like a commanding lead in the next election, I have a Genius son by a concubine, and my Genius wife is pregnant. And, between me and the AI, the little kingdoms of England are looking pretty tattered and moth-eaten; if the Grand Prince would just do me the favour of dying at a reasonable age, it’s not entirely unreasonable to hope for English unification before the century is out.