If Blood Be the Price of Admiralty: Let Nothing You Dismay

As the first session of Victoria wasn’t very eventful, I shall combine my AAR with some notes on the last EU4 session.

  • The Vistula War: There are three Big Powers in this game: The Latin Empire, Medina, and Khazaria. As is the custom, there have been rumblings that the Great Powers are too powerful, that the balance of power has become an excuse for stasis, and that we may as well declare a winner and start over from Crusader Kings; and as is also the custom, a coalition formed to test these claims, and attempt to end the stasis by force. In particular, Bohemia, also known as the Holy Roman Empire, bravely led the Ynglings, the Chinese, and the Koreans to attack Khazaria, the Yellow Colossus of the East. Khazaria was joined by its ally Medina, making two of the Three Greats on one side of the war; the Latin Empire stayed neutral, although the threat of the tercios marching from Anatolia to the Caucasus was an important part of the diplomacy surrounding the peace treaty. Occitania was also supposed to join the coalition, but like the treacherous surrender monkeys they are, stayed home to maintain their protective alliance with Medina; on the other hand Leon joined at a late point – too late, as it turned out, for the hordes of mercenaries to stay the tide.

    Various diplomatic delays had, unfortunately, given Khazaria fair warning, and by the time we attacked Siberia was completely, continuously fortified from Lake Bajkal to the Urals. The war’s strategy therefore resolved itself into two parts: On the eastern front Khazaria would stand on the defensive against China and Korea, while those two powers blasted a path through the immense fortresses in some of the world’s worst terrain. Meanwhile, in the west, two Great Powers would fling their immense armies at Scandinavia and at the Holy Roman Empire, trying to knock them out of the war before the Asian armies could reach the Urals. For the Ynglings, therefore, the war was very simple: All we had to do was stand off two powers each of which was twice our size, while our allies sieged their way through Siberia.

    Simple is not the same as easy.

    The war opened with Khazaria’s armies swarming across Bohemia’s eastern border:

    The “Battle” of Mazyr – dignified by that name mainly because it was the first engagement of the war; fighting on this scale, if it had occurred in 1806 or 1807, would have been labeled an “action” or a “skirmish”.

    The battle of Mazyr immediately showed the pattern of the war: The Yngling armies could inflict more casualties, but lacked staying power relative to the Khazarian armies with their modifier upon modifier for morale; the Imperial armies, especially the Vassal Swarm, were useless except as cannon fodder. However, the easterners had to attack, as the coalition was on the defensive in Europe; so after the initial hard-fought border battles, in which we turned back the invaders but were unable to pursue them into the depths of Russia, we formed a vast defensive line, and the war became attritional:

    Polish Front, 1806.

    Then, every so often, the easterners would win a siege, and move to attack one of our armies; we would move our surrounding stacks into the defense, the whole Khazarian and Medinan army would be drawn in, which in turn would draw in the entire coalition side, and we would have a battle with half a million men on a side:

    The defense of Warsaw.

    Depending on who won, the front would move one fortress either east or west; but because of their morale advantage, the easterners would win slightly more often than they lost in spite of taking more casualties – which their greater manpower reserves allowed them to absorb. (“That’s why they’re called Great Powers.”) Nevertheless, while the front was yielding it was by no means collapsing; and meanwhile the Asians were taking one fortress after another.

    Spring counteroffensive, 1807, after the Khazarian retreat from the walls of Warsaw.

    Rearguard action at Braslaw.

    After the failure of their spring attack in 1807, the easterners changed tactics slightly: Instead of pushing into Poland they began to probe north, towards the Yngling domains. I naturally shifted my army north to ward them off, and inflicted vast casualties:

    Kovno, 1811; the Medinan army has reached the Baltic coast and is striving to widen the breach by driving the Ynglings north into Finland.

    However, by sheer weight of metal the Medinans forced their way to the Baltic coast, splitting off my army from the Imperial one. Here I made a mistake: Obviously I had full control of the Baltic, and thus in effect could operate on interior lines even with the enemy controlling Konigsberg. However, believing that they would next attack Finland, I moved to defend the Fortress City of Viborg. The eastern alliance, however, kept their eyes on the ball; realising that without a Bohemian front I could be isolated and made irrelevant, they struck hard for the Oder, and drove back the Imperial Guard fortress by fortress. It was at this point that Leon joined and that Occitania’s betrayal became clear. Both Leon’s army, and my belated shift to the Polish front – which was rapidly becoming a German front! – were too late.

    German front, 1812; the eastern alliance marches on Prague.

    Even a series of brilliant Yngling victories, and the advance of the Asian armies halfway to the Urals:

    The Ynglinga Hird, striking at the exposed northern flank of the Prague salient, inflicted immense damage – but too late.

    The Asian armies’ advance. While it does not look too impressive on the map, note that each and every one of these provinces had a level-8 fortress, and many of them are mountains.

    could not stop the Russian steamroller in its drive on Prague. With the Emperor’s capital in enemy hands he had no choice but to sign their diktat. The peace, admittedly, was generous, since the victorious easterners had still taken well over a million casualties each and were perforce looking nervously towards the Alps, wondering whether half a million Latin Dragoons might be riding to the relief of Prague; the very polite presence of Latin “observers” at the conference assured a rapid convergence on a treaty without annexations.

    Final result of the war: We ran through the int32 casualty limit, in fact we likely did so twice, but no provinces changed hands.

  • Weak Piping Times of Peace: With no great dramas to occupy our attention, we whiled away the last few years of EU4 by trying to develop our provinces for Great-Power status; in this contest I was defeated by the barest of margins by those cheese-eating traitors in Occitania:

    Great-Power rankings. So close!

  • Truce of God: For the first ten years of Victoria no player can attack anyone; this is to ensure that everyone gets a chance to have their army in order after the conversion.

Eurasia, 1821.

Americas, 1821 – missing the Vast Green Blob that is Brazil.

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Filed under If Blood Be the Price of Admiralty, Song of the Dead

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