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Rhoth

Hessian Mercenaries - Rhoth's EU4 Hesse Ironman AAR

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My Hesse game is coming along fine, or rather my...3rd...Hesse game. :lol:

 

In my first attempt I couldn't score an alliance with anyone of note. By the time I did score an alliance with Brandenburg it was several years on, and by that time every single one of my neighbors was set into an alliance web of at least three other nations willing to protect it. I eventually took an alliance with Cologne just because I wanted someone else to help me with wars. But no one was willing to go to war with anyone else. Absolutely no one. 15 years into the game I decided to restart because nothing had changed since the beginning of the game.

 

In my second attempt I was able to score an alliance with Saxony right out of the gate (they rivaled me in the first game) and Brandenburg a little later on. An alliance web started to form again, but it somehow ignored Cologne. They had no alliance and were therefore my target even though they weren't a rival. I declared war solo on them and won the war. Took 2 of their 3 provinces as my prize, with the intention of giving one back for the inevitable unlawful demands request from the emperor. Playing on hard difficulty it's much more difficult to secure an alliance with the emperor when you're weak, and I had no other winnable war I could chain into (the emperor can't use the unlawful demands request if you remain in another war until you finish coring the province you took, and once it's cored it's considered lawful territory). So I gave one back. But at least I had expanded a bit.

 

A little while later I got a bit too overconfident of my abilities. I attacked one of my rivals, Mainz. They had a capital fort, but on flat land, and two less troop regiments than I had, though they had two allies in the Palatinate and Cleves (and I didn't have 10 favors built up with Saxony or Brandenburg yet). But I figured that I could beat Mainz' army straight up before the allies showed up and then work on the allies piecemeal when they showed up. I wasn't counting on rolling zeroes and ones in the battle phase though. What should have been an easy victory turned into a horror show of rolling three zeroes, a one and a three. I won the battle, but it cost me the war as my casualties while defeating Mainz army were very high. I also forgot that the Palatinate starts with a super-good 3-star general at the beginning of the game. I managed to win a battle against him, but was now so weak that when I chased him down to try to stackwipe him I was the one that got stackwiped when Mainz' other ally showed up. So yeah, there went that game.

 

It was time to start another. More to come in a bit.

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I'm now in my third attempt and it's going much better than the previous two. Allied Saxony and Brandenburg again. I didn't get a nice no-alliance neighbor, but after a while I decided to try out another 1 on 3 battle with Nassau, Frankfurt and Aachen this time. While I didn't have superior numbers, this time I did have tech on my side as I made it to tech 4 (a very important tactics and morale boost) before any of them. Frankfurt, like Mainz, was a fort in flat land so they wouldn't have any bonuses, and I had a much better general this time too (3-2-3-1). Nassau and Aachen didn't have large armies either, and I decided to pay the cost of going a few regiments above my force limit before starting the war this time.

 

This time the battle went very well. I started the battles against Frankfurt, even though I declared on Nassau (Frankfurt is a free city so if you declare war on it the emperor may protect it). I stackwiped Frankfurt before Nassau could show up, then stackwiped Nassau right after that. Aachen showed up a bit later and by now I was weakened, but still able to beat them. I couldn't chase them back to Aachen though because Frankfurt had built a full fort and it exercised a zone of control preventing me from heading that way. So I settled in to siege it down (once again my general was helpful since he had a siege pip). Aachen would show up again a few times since I couldn't block him from healing or training new troops, and I eventually had to merc up a bit since I needed a minimum of 9 troops to maintain the siege of Frankfurt. Eventually it fell though. I wanted to take the province because it has high development, a trade center, and was in my capital state, but I hadn't made them a co-belligerent and it would have meant full annexation so the warscore cost was quite high, and they wouldn't dream of taking that peace deal. Looking back I think it was because I had also clicked on the button to humiliate them and the combined war score cost was too high, but I didn't think of that just at that moment and peaced them out without taking the province for humiliation, war reparations, money (I was sinking into a lot of debt from needing those mercs and also needing to be a couple regiments above my force limit just to siege Frankfurt), and annulling their alliance with Cleves.

 

It all turned out okay though. As I went to siege down Aachen I realized that Cleves now had no alliances. I didn't have a border with them, but once I took Nassau in the peace deal I would. So while sieging down Aachen I built up spy network on Cleves. Once Aachen was out of the war for war reps, money and annulled rivalries (more prestige than annulling alliances) I prepared my diplomats. It would take some quick turnaround. I ended the war by capturing Nassau and all their money, waited a day for it to go into effect, forged a claim on Cleves now that I had a border with them, waited a day for it go into effect, and immediately declared on Cleves in order to chain my wars to protect my coring of Nassau from the emperor's unlawful territory demand. Luckily he wasn't quick on the draw with it during those mandatory wait days.

 

The war with Cleves was quick and predictable, though I didn't end it until Nassau was cored. I demanded full annexation with the intent that I would give the province of Kleves back when the emperor demanded it, as I had no new war to chain into (not one I was prepared to fight at least). Unfortunately he demanded Berg back instead (the province that bordered me, which was strange since it had less development and was not the capital province of Cleves), and if I gave him back Berg then I couldn't core the province of Kleves since I would no longer had contiguous coring capability. I decided to risk it and told him where he could stick his demand. I was royally married to Austria, but we were not allies (small nation and hard difficulty) so he would get a CB on me for awhile, as well as me getting the relations hit with the rest of the HRE and extra unrest in Berg.

 

But luckily the emperor didn't attack me and I continued on. I now had 5 provinces (started with 2) and spent some time stabilizing while I was waiting for Saxony and Brandenburg to tick up to 10 favors. With my conquest Saxony had gone down to needing one year per favor, but Brandenburg was still two years per favor. I also picked up a third alliance in Munster, who requested it almost immediately after I conquered Cleves since I now bordered them (smart).

 

Eventually I had enough favors with Saxony to think about a new war and decided on one of my other rivals in the elector Cologne. I now bordered their capital province (they were split by Cleves) which also has high development and a center of trade. They were allied to Trier and Mainz, two other electors, but Mainz was having issues with rebels who occupied their only province and were up to 42% chance to take the province. One of the nice things about destroying the rebels of another land is if you're in a war with that other land then you take over the siege at the same siege tick, and for some reason despite having no army Mainz was still willing to come to the aid of Cologne. I called in Saxony for this war as Cologne also starts with a really good general and I would need the bodies. But my first order of business was to destroy the (now small) rebel stack occupying Mainz and take over the siege before they could finish. It only took me two siege ticks to finish the siege and I immediately peaced out Mainz for money and prestige. I could have captured their territory, but I wanted to save my aggressive expansion hit for the province of Koln itself.

 

The rest of the war went swimmingly as well. With Saxony's help I crushed the armies of Cologne and started sieging their territory. Trier was hiding behind a fort so while I was sieging Koln Saxony started sieging their fort. Munster decided to try to jump in here and attack Cologne too, but I already had the siege leader on Koln and had sieged the other two non-fort provinces already (luckily). Eventually the forts fell and I peaced out Trier for money and prestige. Now here I was thinking of chaining my war again to protect my coring time in Koln, so I prepared to start a war with Brunswick, another rival, who had three allies, but none that were super scary, and I now had favors from Brandenburg allowing me to bring them into a war. It would have to be another bang-bang peace out with Cologne and immediately start one with Brunswick though, as I couldn't call Brandenburg into a war if I was still in one with Cologne (I momentarily forgot that I could have started the war, then peaced out with Cologne, and then called in Brandenburg a day later, but oh well it worked out).

 

More to come later.

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So my new war was originally supposed to just be a humiliation war where I could take a 100 point "show strength" peace deal for power projection and 100 monarch points of each type. I wasn't intending to take any territory as I had just captured Koln and Westphalen (with Paderborn remaining as leavings for Munster to capture, which they did). But I went out of the declare war interface to check something and when I went back in I forgot to change it over to the humiliation CB again. Oh well, I couldn't do show strength for the monarch points, but I could then take money and prestige out of the peace.

 

I ended up taking the brunt of the damage against Brunswick and his allies (Anhalt, Luneburg and Friesland) which was great for participation score, but not as great for the manpower reserves, but eventually they were reduced to only one regiment left and that over in Friesland. The capital province of Brunswick eventually fell (it was a full fort, not just a capital fort) and we started working on Brunswick's allies. Brandenburg started sieging down Luneburg, while I split up my remaining forces to siege both Anhalt and Friesland (both just capital forts so I had enough men). I wasn't expecting Brunswick to hire condottieri though. :lol: A 7 stack of condottieri were hired from Magdeburg right next to my weak forces in Anhalt so that army got crushed. Oops. Still the rest of the war went well and ultimately I peaced out the other participants for money and prestige.

 

Now I had a choice. My AE had decayed enough that if I waited another few months then I would suffer no coalition if I took the province of Brunswick in the peace deal (since it was a conquer CB and not the humiliation CB I'd originally intended. It would mean telling the emperor to go suck it again as I had no new war to chain into now that my manpower reserves were low and my alliance favors were mostly used up. But I took it anyway. The emperor pulled out his unlawful demands request, but didn't go any farther with it. Even more hilariously, now that I had weakened Brunswick and their allies Munster decided to charge in again for the leavings and ended up taking both of Brunswick's remaining provinces. They are my ally right now, but they hold several provinces in my states now, so they won't remain my ally forever with them trying to gobble up after me. I intend to use the favors I've gained with them in a war with someone else, and then annul the alliance.

 

With 49 AE with all of my neighbors (except my allies), it was time to settle in for awhile and focus on other things. The Renaissance was taking a long time to make its way up to my land, despite it starting in Northern Italy, and I was avoiding taking tech because I didn't want to pay the extra institution cost that kept growing (1% for every year before 1450). So instead I started working on development. First I built my capital up to 20 which helps the spread of embracement, plus merely clicking on the development buttons speeds along embracement in the province where the development is done. It was still taking a long time and I was hitting my point caps so I continued to develop the capital a bit beyond 20, and then started working on Kleves and Koln, as the Renaissance had spread to Burgundy and was now right next to Kleves and Koln so they were working on embracing much faster. The nice thing about development is that, while is speeds up potential embracement, it also has the long term effect of making my provinces better. I built churches in those provinces too, and each one would give me a very nice return on investment thanks to having high base taxes. Once I have the ability to build workshops those will provide a nice return as well since the provinces also have high base production development now (my leader for a long time was a 3-3-0 so I didn't do much military development). Eventually the Renaissance spread to all three provinces in 1476 and ended up being cheap to embrace because all three of my high development provinces already had it. I'm not quite caught back up in tech yet, but mostly, and I have several high development provinces making me a nice bit of ducats each month. I also took my first idea group: Innovative. It's already one of my favorites, but it serves a dual purpose in this game. The primary achievement I'm going for in this game is Hessian Mercenaries. You have to be Hesse and own 50 regiments of mercs with no loans. Hesse itself has a merc maintenance reduction national idea. But both the Innovative and Administrative idea groups have merc maintenance reduction ideas and I intend to take both groups eventually.

 

More to come later...

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Coalition war!

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Coalition war!

 

Wha...???? B-b-but everything was good. ;)

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It got a little dicey for a bit. ;)

 

I've been continuing to expand, of course. Bohemia became a rival and they had taken over Wurzburg's two provinces (after Wurzburg had conquered a province from my ally Saxony in a war I wasn't invited to). Bohemia and Saxony allied each other and I had another rival slot come up so I annulled the alliance with Saxony and made them a rival, and then attacked Bohemia. Saxony would have come to their defense and our alliance would have annulled anyway, so I decided to make them a rival and humiliate them while I was at it. They were at the limit of their usefulness anyway. I ended up taking one province from each of them, and humiliating both, so I had a lot of power projection for quite a while. A little later I also took the province that Wurzburg had taken from Saxony.

 

For a while I was actually the heir to the empire as I had 3 nations voting for me, and only 2 for Austria, but the emperor was young and ultimately it didn't happen. The moment I was the heir though Austria was suddenly willing to become my ally, which I jumped on. I also allied Poland around this time and decided to drop my alliance with Munster. Every single one of their provinces was in an area I had already made a state so I wanted their stuff.

 

I expanded a bit in the south by vassalizing the elector Mainz, which pretty much put an end to any chance of becoming the emperor since the other electors don't particularly like electors being vassalized. I really had no desire to become emperor though, as what I'd really like to be able to do in this game is to dismantle the HRE, something I've never done before (and there is an achievement for doing it).

 

Then I made the decision that could have been very bad. I've been wanting Frankfurt since the beginning of the game. Not only was it a well-developed province, and the final province in my home state, but it was also the other trade center for my home trade node (I already owned Koln). If I had become the emperor I would have attacked Frankfurt right away as the only thing that was saving them was being a free city and Austria protecting them. Ultimately though I declared war on one of Frankfurt's allies. Originally I was just going to take stuff from Munster and peace out Frankfurt for money and war reps as I had done in the past, because taking the province was worth 60 AE since I couldn't make him a co-belligerent without facing Austria.

 

But after sieging down the province I decided "hell with it" and took the province (didn't take any provinces from Munster after all). There was a very large potential coalition in the making with a good 15 or so nations involved. I was a little worried about it, but I figured I had 25 regiments of my own (at the time), Austria had 40, Poland had 30, and Brandenburg had 15. I had a not inconsiderable defensive alliance web. I wasn't able to head off the coalition by attacking it after only a few nations joined (and thereby avoiding the 30 point coalition boost to war desire) as all the nations in the coalition were in the HRE and I couldn't call Austria in to attack an HRE nation, plus I didn't have 10 favors with Poland yet since they were a newish alliance.

 

It was looking okay for a while as the coalition members weren't declaring on me. And then they did. With about 40k more troops than my defensive alliance. :eek:

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So...the coalition war. It started off kind of badly as my forts weren't providing a good zone of control since all the nations had access in and out of territories thanks to borders. I still think the zone of control mechanics are a little weird. If there is a ZOC then it should stop them from coming in, but because of pathing between provinces they managed to start occupying some of my provinces that should have been protected from the ZOC. Anyway, a ton of troops poured into my lands and Poland and Austria were still a ways away from helping, so I retreated east to try to link up with them as quickly as possible. Within a few months most of my non-fort provinces were sieged down and we'd lost a big battle where every single coalition nation had reinforced what should have been a small fight. The plus side of that though was that they abandoned any progress on sieges of my forts and my forts took back all of the adjoining provinces. The nice thing about my fort setup right now is that almost every province is adjacent to a fort so they are protected from any negative problems with rebels, and the forts will take back any sieges on non-fort provinces that aren't occupied if the fort isn't also occupied.

 

From there we regrouped a bit and then started picking off smaller army stacks wherever possible. I kept making feint attempts at the coalition leader's capital to draw their forces off of sieges on my forts. Eventually the smaller battles started adding up, both in war score and troops lost for the other nations (and increasing their war weariness which made some rebels start popping up and causing them to have to go back and deal with their rebels. A loss of 6 or 7 troops wouldn't hurt me too much in the war exhaustion, but for all of the OPMs attacking me that was their entire army and they would get a lot of weariness. Plus I have the Optimism idea from Innovative which reduces war weariness by .05 per month even at war (it's a highly overlooked idea because it seems so small, but it's incredibly effective at keeping you going in a war without needing to spend monarch points to buy down war weariness).

 

Unfortunately Poland eventually decided to go their own way in the war and managed to attract most of the rest of the coalition forces into a battle where neither Austria or I could reinforce in time and they managed to get themselves stackwiped, which hurt. Austria also started getting distracted by another war for one of their allies in which France got involved on the other side. By now though I had the maximum 40 warscore from battles, as well as a ticking score from winning the battles (coalition war is a show superiority CB), and my opponents hadn't managed to siege any forts and only one province (Trier from my vassal) was even sieged, but I had yet to siege down any forts either. My opponents still had a decent army, though their total army was now less than my entire alliance, even after Poland got stackwiped. But with Austria distracted and Poland still rebuilding it was going to be tough for me to hold out against the rest of the army. I was about 8 points from white peace, but many of the rest of the coalition forces were heading my way. Because I was so close to white peace though, and almost every one of them had 10+ war exhaustion, they were willing to end the war if my vassal gave back the province of Trier to the nation of Trier.

 

So I did that. Not a huge loss since the province itself was cut off from Mainz' capital (the result of an unlawful territory request before I vassalized Mainz, and it was still considered a Mainz core so I would have a reconquest CB eventually. By now the aggressive expansion for all the coalition members had burned off below the danger threshold too, so there would be no future coalition when the treaty ran out, as long as I stepped carefully for a while (I satisfied my bloodlust by declaring a "show strength" war against my rival Bohemia for power projection and 300 monarch points).

 

Sooo....crisis averted. I knew full well what I was doing when I took Frankfurt, and the possibility of the coalition, but I'd actually thought my alliance web was strong enough that they would not start the war. Oh well. I came out of it surprisingly well, as did Austria and Brandenburg. Only Poland got really hurt, and that only because they didn't stick close to the rest of us.

 

The only annoying thing was that the Protestant Reformation showed up during the war and I couldn't adopt early (to get the reformation center and the free money) because I was at war. I wanted to turn Protestant in this game as in my last few I have remained Catholic. Not sure if I will take part in the League War or not, but I still wanted to be Protestant. Luckily all three of the centers of reformation happened close-ish to me so my provinces started being auto-converted, and when my religious unity got to the danger level I officially converted over.

 

More to come later...

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So my coalition war wrapped up nicely. There is an achievement to join a coalition of 5 members or more. I've never gotten that one. It would be much easier if the achievement were to cause a coalition of 5 or more members. Maybe even start it at 10 or 15. I would have had that one long since (though to be fair most of the time I try to avoid them, and when I don't avoid them it's because I generally know what I'm doing nowadays, which was not the case during that Hungary succession game where I captured a quarter of Italy and then conveniently died and made Penry and Nik fight the resulting coalition war). :lol:

 

After the coalition I was still interested in warring, having come out of it with little to no losses (about 2/3 of my infantry is standing-hire mercs as my manpower limit and recovery rate are still not very good, and I don't want to take Quantity ideas to boost them). So I declared a humiliation war against Bohemia, who also brought Saxony in again, though I was no longer able to rival Saxony, having eclipsed them after the last war. Normally I don't declare humiliation wars as they aren't necessarily easy. You can't take any province claims and the real benefit requires a 100 point peace deal, but since I had just gotten out of a coalition I didn't want to start taking more land right away, and I wanted more power projection and monarch points.

 

It went resoundingly well. I called in Brandenburg just because I had a lot of favors from them (I'd helped them with a few wars too). There wasn't really much to the war. Bohemia isn't weak, but I had the superior army and a good siege general. It took a while to get to a high enough war score for the "show strength" finisher, but I eventually got there. In the meantime my AE was ticking down more slowly than I would have wished (thanks to my king at the time being a naive enthusiast personality (-20% relations penalty, which affects AE decay). He also developed a negative second trait (lower heir chance)...so he was naive and bad in bed. He didn't have great stats and already had his better younger brother as an heir so he became a general and I was happy to see him go.

 

With my AE with my neighbors reduced to more manageable levels (though not as far as it could have been), I went back to conquering and made Verden my own to finally give myself a port city, as well as be able to start making claims on my newish rival Denmark. Sweden was already out from under their thumb so their lands were looking like a tasty treat of non-HRE territory. It would be a little while before I attacked them though.

 

Around this time I also received Colonialism spread. In my Poland game Colonialism started in western Spain and took for-frickin-ever to spread east. With this game it started in England and quickly spread to France and up the coastline of the English Channel. I bordered Brabant in the west so once they received it I started getting Colonialism fairly quickly, and I've been keeping a high reserve of ducats banked for paying the institution cost. I've already built the money-producing temples and workshops and marketplaces that made sense and I don't like wasting my ducats on a low-return building, so all the money I've been grabbing in various peace deals was sitting around for institution spread and eventually paying for manufactories. They cost a bit, but if you build them in the right places you can develop a gigantic income. In my Poland game I built a ton of manufactories (and became the country where the manufactory institution began because of it) and by the end of the game my production income dwarfed my tax income.

 

In this game I'm expecting to do some of the same. My current income is only okay, enough to pay for my troops on full pay with a bit of leeway, but not enough yet to be a major player, but down the road I expect to be richer. The main goals of the campaign are dismantling the HRE and paying for 50 merc regiments at the same time with no loans so I need a better ducat reserve anyway. I eventually want to move into the Lubeck trade node, which is much richer than the Rheinland, and perhaps the English Channel, though I haven't decided on that yet. When I was playing my Scotland game I took over the Netherlands area and kept having gigantic Dutch revolts until I managed to start a war on the Netherlands in order to revoke their cores. The Netherlands hasn't spawned yet, but those provinces are also very high development so it won't be easy to deal with taking them yet.

 

More to come later...

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Two more coalition wars and a succession war! :D

 

The second coalition war wasn't my fault though. I was helping Austria with Bohemia and helping Brandenburg with their own succession war with Burgundy and the Low Countries over Anhalt, both at the same time. And both gave me provinces at the end of the wars, to the tune of 4 not necessarily small provinces. And this soon after I had conquered a few provinces from Denmark. I all of a sudden had a coalition of basically the trading nations in the Lubeck node, and Anhalt right next to me, with only a capital fort and no non-coalition allies. Prevailing wisdom goes to attack the coalition if possible, and go for a weak target that you can siege and get their war exhaustion ticking up so they peace out quicker. This then avoids the nasty +30 modifier to war desire when they attack you with the coalition CB. Anhalt was definitely a weak target and the coalition was not scary at all. I only took money though, as I wanted the AE to tick down, not continue up.

 

The third coalition was my fault, mostly because of irritation. I attacked Denmark again a while later and took the rest of their provinces on the mainland. I timed it quite nicely with my AE so that only two nations that weren't peace-locked with me would be eligible for a coalition. Except that I gave my vassal Dithmarschen (I had diplo vassalized East Frisia and Dithmarschen in addition to my elector vassal Mainz) the province of Holstein...completely forgetting that vassals will pretty much always give back an unlawful territory province and they aren't allied with the emperor. So Holstein went away, but I still had the AE hit for it. And I was irritated so I worked up a claim, declared on them and conquered them all over again, even though I got the AE for it again.

 

The coalition formed because of that, but it was mostly the same nations as last time, with a few more thrown in, and no Anhalt. Trier was in it though, and I still had that reconquest CB from Mainz floating around so I used it to declare on the coalition again before it could get scarier. This brought in Trier's allies too, but they also had only a capital fort and one level 2 fort. Half of the coalition was in the north and basically cut off from helping those in the south so I smashed the southern nation's armies and settled in to siege down Trier. Brandenburg helped in the north and once again the coalition had little teeth to it and my vassal got his province back (the one I gave up in the first coalition war).

 

It was a little bit scary right off the bat though as soon after I started the third coalition war I got a pop-up telling me Sweden's monarch died without an heir and England would take a PU over them if I didn't contest it (both of them were my rivals, along with Poland). Well of course I was going to contest it. :D Once the third coalition war was over I focused entirely on the succession war and smashed Sweden while he was trying to land some troops, then went off to siege down his territory. England? Well they never set foot in my land at all. It was almost like they didn't care that they could force a PU over a relatively powerful nation.

 

The sieges took a while, in part because I couldn't get through Denmark and had to go all the way around into Russia to get there, but I got it done. But I still didn't have enough war score to force the PU and there was no way I could hang with England in the naval battles. I only recently gained coastal provinces so a naval landing would be impossible. Luckily Portugal was called into the war on England's behalf and I could get there without even needing to spend my diplo points on going over the relations limit like I did to get my troops into Sweden. I went and smashed Portugal's army and sieged down Lisbon and then had just enough war score to force the PU over Sweden.

 

Nice! :D

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Sick today. Played some more this morning.

 

After my successful succession war with Sweden I ended up playing around a bit more with marriages. I noticed that my ally Brandenburg had a 50 year old duchess with no heir and -25% heir chance. If she dies without an heir then a Hessian monarch ascends the throne and then in the future I'll have a chance to claim the throne. The one I'm a little salty about is that France had no heir and a monarch getting up there in age. I didn't have any dealings with France before, but noticed that the "on monarch death" thing was a succession war between Spain and Poland. I managed a royal marriage with them since we're not rivals (yet) and knocked Poland out of the potential succession war in my favor. Unfortunately though when I checked a few years later the French king had just died, but his consort squeezed out a baby about a month before he died. :rant: It would have been veeeerrry nice to put France into a PU. They most certainly would have been rebellious right off the bat as they are stronger than I am and combined with Sweden I would have a malus for subject armies being greater than my own, but it would have been glorious to rule over all of France and Sweden as Hesse. :D

 

I also annexed two of my vassals: East Frisia and Dithmarschen. With vassals being willing to give back unlawful territory there was no reason to keep either one around anymore, and with Sweden in a PU I was now over my relationship limit. Both of them were OPMs so I integrated them at the same time in less than a year.

 

In other news I finished off Denmark. All they had left were the islands, and I wanted them. He had a few allies, as well as a weakened Norway (Sweden had taken most of Norway's land -- sorry Nik, Norway always gets eaten by someone in my games), but none of them put up much of a fight. The main issue was getting enough boats put together to cause his remaining fleet to flee long enough for me to get my troops into the islands. Eventually though I managed it.

 

Almost immediately (as soon as they were cored and stated) I moved my trade capital to Sjaelland and started moving trade toward the Lubeck node. My trade income increased by over 50%. I wanted more than just the two estuaries in the Lubeck node though and after a bit of AE cool down I decided to make a play for Lubeck itself. Hamburg and Bremen, the other two remaining trade center/estuary provinces in the Lubeck node (Stettin is controlled by my long-term ally) are free cities and protected by the emperor, but Lubeck was not. His web of trade league nations and allies was large, but scattered. Basically about 9 OPMs ranging from Riga all the way down to Ragusa.

 

I did make one costly mistake in the war though. I didn't really need Brandenburg's help, but I called them in anyway. It wasn't until a little later in the war that I realized my mistake. I wasn't about to take any more land than just Lubeck as the AE hit for it alone was large, so I started peacing out his trade league partners and allies for all of their money and war reps. All but one of those had somewhere between 300 and 500 ducats apiece, and Lubeck alone had 3300 ducats! Brandenburg did help with some battles, and sieged down Bremen by themselves, which netted them a 30% participation score. Which meant they got 30% of all the ducats I took in the war. I estimate I lost somewhere between 1500 to 2000 ducats by calling in Brandenburg when I really didn't actually need their help. It would have taken a few months longer since I would have needed to siege Bremen myself. Oh well.

 

More to come later...

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Wow, that is quite a haul.

 

I will have to remember that the trade league is stacked.

 

And yeah, I know about the Norway thing (in my game), that is on the agenda right after I get my homelands in control.

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And yeah, I know about the Norway thing (in my game), that is on the agenda right after I get my homelands in control.

 

Norway usually ends up as someone's *****. :p:lol:

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So after Lubeck was conquered I was looking around and realized that the Lubeck node was now the richest trade node, and if I moved my capital to that node then I'd be able to spawn the next institution (Global Trade) in 1600 (or it would spawn in Hamburg or Bremen, which are on my borders). If I was on the ball better I could have saved the 200 diplomatic points I'd spent to move my trade capital there first, but then if I hadn't moved my trade capital maybe I wouldn't have conquered Lubeck so soon. I don't know. In any case I moved my country capital to Lubeck. Alas when Global Trade came up it started in London. They'd managed to sneak the English Channel node back up to .2 ducats more than Lubeck right before the institution spawned. :mad:

 

The HRE event to stop the League War also spawned...in 1592. Not only did the start of the League War event spawn late in the game (1560-something), the event to end it without a war spawned super early. I'd never seen it spawn before 1600 before. So the HRE is now officially Catholic, which means that I don't have to worry about accidentally becoming emperor during my quest to dissolve the HRE. Because most of the northern and central HRE became Protestant there were only a few potential electors left and two of them were in Spain's back pocket so he became emperor. This was good for me though, since it would mean I could keep Austria as an ally, and two of the three electors (Holland and Munster) were on my borders and allied to Spain. All I needed to do was take care of Switzerland (an OPM by now) and give that province to Austria in a war, and Switzerland was allied to one of my neighbors.

 

So I started that war and gave Switzerland away, but Spain still had one more potential elector up their sleeve in Memmingen, they had just declined to make them an elector before. Unfortunately Memmingen is not allied to anyone right now and they don't border me so the only way I can start a war with them is a no-CB war, though that would have the boon of calling in Spain to the war too, and hopefully their allies. I've been contemplating it. It would cause a 2 stability hit, as well as 35 AE hit without even taking anything, but it would likely bring in the emperor and all three electors into a war at the same time, which is ultimately what I want. To dissolve the HRE you have to control all of the electors one way or another (through occupying their provinces in a war, or them being a vassal or ally of me) and then occupying the capital of the HRE, and then hitting the button to dissolve it. The only bad thing about Spain now being the emperor is that the capital of the HRE is now all the way down in Toledo in the middle of the Iberian peninsula. Spain also has a ton of troops and manpower thanks to the Iberian wedding incorporating Aragon and Naples, the HRE bonuses to manpower and force limit, and taking quantity ideas.

 

I haven't been able to bring myself to start that war quite yet, but I'm still pondering it. With Austria and Brandenburg's help (as well as Sweden and severely weakened Burgundy, my PU and vassal respectively) I outnumber them in troop count, but Spain's manpower reserve is over 100k right now, while my max is at 38k (I haven't been pushing manpower cap since I've been using a lot of mercs) and Austria has almost none right now after getting out of a war with France.

 

So I'm basically on the verge of wrapping up the campaign. The two achievements I want are dissolving the HRE, which involves a really big war, and 50 mercs with no loans. I have 40 mercs right now, with positive income and 11k ducats in the bank so that would be no problem to get up to 50. I've just been cautiously expanding my merc count so I don't deplete the available mercs if I decide to go to war with Spain to dissolve the HRE.

Edited by Rhoth

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Do eeeeeet!:eager:

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You just want me to die a fiery death for my Norway comment. :p;)

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What? Nooooooo.......:cute:

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:lol:

 

As it turned out I couldn't anyway as my ruler died and then the consort died. And then Austria attacked Baden for a cleansing heresy CB and called me in against Spain. Unfortunately none of the electors were called in so I couldn't dissolve the HRE. And even more unfortunately Austria actually did make them Catholic again instead of taking the province for themselves, so now there is another potential elector. :rant:

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I decided to do it up right instead of declaring a no CB war. Austria returned Baden to Catholic and they became an elector again, and I was leery of declaring the no CB war on Memmingen and then not having all of the electors come in. Taking a 2 stab hit, 35 AE without even conquering a province, and 2 war exhaustion would be a high price to pay if I couldn't even dissolve the HRE in the war.

 

However a new route turned up as Baden started voting for themselves and Memmingen joined them. I figured if I could get at least one of Spain's ally electors out of the game (either conquer them or force them to be Protestant) then Baden would become the emperor and that would be a super easy war. I declared a proxy war on one of Munster's allies, and then during that war forced Munster to turn Protestant. I then figured I might as well do that to Holland as well so that once Baden became emperor there were only two electors left and they were both allied to each other.

 

Declaring war on Holland meant tangling with Spain though. They were also allied with Austria, but I was involved in a war with Austria that they had declared (Austria went war happy after losing the title of emperor) over reconquest of Gorz from Venice so I could safely declare. I sieged down Holland's forts and kept an eye out for Spanish troops but none arrived. Then the war with Venice ended and suddenly Austria decided they'd honor Holland's call, so my long-term ally suddenly became my enemy and I was at war with both Austria and Spain (along with Holland and mini-Scotland) all alone. I outnumbered Austria though and still no Spanish troops had arrived so I turned around the forces marching on Spain and started sieging down Austria. He put his entire force on one of my level 4 forts so I had free reign to siege down his west and quickly put him out of the war, though it had ended our alliance.

 

I had a better alliance waiting in the wings though as France was friendly now (they were rivals with Austria) and wanted an alliance as soon as I got out of the war. I headed on down to Spain and started sieging his forts and still no troops. It turns out he had completely stripped his core of troops for another war in Africa and they were all still down there, or somewhere else. :eek: I fought exactly one battle against Spanish troops (a 9 stack) and sieged down his entire Iberian core and was working on his Italian cores to do a humiliation and war reps and all of his money, while Sweden worked on sieging down Scotland for me (I took the Orkney Islands so I have an entry into the British isles if I want it in the future, since England is one of my rivals). I ended the war with both Scotland and Spain and then forced Holland to become Protestant, removing them as an elector. Then I allied France of course. :D

 

Now I just had to wait until Baden became the emperor and then declare that no CB war on only the two remaining electors, one the emperor, and both OPMs and I'd have the achievement.

 

Or so I thought...

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After the war with Spain/Holland I settled in to wait a bit by kicking Norway out of Europe. :D I was originally intending to just try to take their colonial nation of Vinland in Canada, but I couldn't do that so I settled for taking their remaining core provinces, as well as Iceland and their last island province. Their new capital is in north America. ;)

 

Then Austria decided to try to mess up my plans yet again by declaring war on Baden (and Memmingen via alliance). When they conquered and took Memmingen outright I got a little leary. I wasn't sure what would happen if all of the electors were suddenly gone. Would the HRE dissolve without me being the one to click the button, thereby denying me the achievement? I didn't know. I had a truce with Austria so I couldn't declare war on them directly even though I bordered them, and they only had one alliance left in Albania. But they were protecting Alsace and my vassal Burgundy had a claim. Alsace would bring in a bunch of other HRE nations, but that was okay. So yes I declared war on Alsace just to keep Austria from occupying Baden. ;)

 

Since half of the remaining HRE (except for the emperor Spain) was involved in the war I would be peace-locked with them after the war, which meant I decided to throw caution to the wind and take a bunch of provinces in the various peace deals, even at the cost of diplo points (which I had an excess of). The war wasn't easy as I didn't have a gigantic superiority of numbers, and I did lose a few battles, but ultimately my forces carried the day. I also merced up the final 15 I needed to hit 50 merc regiments for that achievement.

 

In all I conquered three OPMs (Friesland, Trier and Alsace), one province from Brabant (leaving them two), one province from Bohemia (leaving them two), and two provinces from Austria (so that I now bordered Baden). Everyone in the HRE intensely hates me now with the exception of Brandenburg, who actually has almost 80 AE with me now too, though they remain my ally. Even with that high number, after the war no one who isn't peace locked was willing to join a coalition because they would have no shot of winning a war. I'm stronger than the rest of the core HRE combined (once Spain is no longer the emperor), plus I'm allied with a strong France.

 

Right now I'm working on a claim on Baden and as soon as I have that I will declare war. I don't think that will call in Spain, but I can vassalize Baden instead of conquering them, which means I will control the sole remaining elector for that requirement. I am rivaled to Spain so I can then just declare a humiliation war against them once our peace is gone and then all I have to do is occupy Toledo and I can dissolve the HRE.

 

I'm not positive if I will end it there or not. The game is still in the early 1600s. There is still technically one more achievement I could do if I really, really want to go all out conquer...Mare Nostrum, which is restoring the Roman Empire, which involves conquering a ton of provinces, including most of France and Spain, and a bunch from the Ottomans. Not sure I really want to do that with this game or not. Starting as Castile would be a much easier way to accomplish that since I currently own almost none of the required provinces. We'll see. I may go try out Ceylon again and hit my head against a wall that way instead. ;)

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And done. Baden allied Spain so all it took was declaring war on Baden. I crushed them and their OPM allies in the north, occupied their lands, and then headed down to Spain. After a few quick sieges (having a 4 pip siege leader is quite nice) I crushed their army and occupied Toledo. Click! HRE is gone.

 

Probably not going to continue the game. All of my focus has been in the north and the Mare Nostrum achievement requires heavy focus in the Mediterranean. It would be better to start as Castile or Aragon to get that achievement.

 

Thinking about doing a few easy achievements I've been ignoring so that they don't keep showing up in my possible achievements list.

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Good idea. :b: And congarats on destroying the HRE!

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You know you have to do both, right? ;) But my vote (albeit shaky, as both sounds like fun) is the Persia route.:)

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Heh, of course I will.  There are still many nations I have to play.  As many achievements as I have, I still only have around half, and many of the rest are ones where I need to play specific nations.  Believe it or not I don't actually have any "as Castile/Spain" achievements.  There are also a few that are related to Russia as well, though the hard one in that is to essentially form Russia starting as Tver or Yaroslavl (one of the tiny nations) and end the rest of the Rurikovich dynasties on the way.

I'm still kind of leaning toward the Papacy right now for the next one though.  I have about a month to play this before the new Stellaris expansion, so I might even get two games in, unless I start wanting to play another game in the meantime.

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