Like Alexander, if he hadn't died in the field

| Thursday, March 13, 2014
Last post I wrote about my utter failure at domestic policy. Maybe violence in games is more common than anything else because it's so much easier. Destroying things can be a matter of simple brute force or cleverly identifying a weakness, but once it's done, it's done. It helps that games, and media in general, don't portray the mess that is left behind. It's fun to wave the flag at the top of the Reichstag, less fun to figure out what to do with millions of stained consciences and a rubble-based country.

I had to deal with that aftermath. My wars gave me land and that land gave me some wealth, but those wars also gave me a bad reputation and a larger army that took that wealth. Strangely, this was a more immediate crisis than any battle. I'd made huge military mistakes in the past, but worst case scenario I could just end the war. Failing on the domestic front could destroy my country now and in the future. Action had to be immediate and on a large scale, before it completely overwhelmed my economy and foreign relations.

I had to take aggressive action. As much as I could, I trimmed my army. I switched my one national idea to the national bank (reduces inflation). I centralized my government (less inflation, more taxation). I stopped starting wars of blatant aggression and instead guaranteed the independence of small nations, waiting for them to be attacked (the tribute and vassals were too valuable, and necessary for my budget). I invested in government and trade research. Eventually I managed to balance my budget for the year and even started bringing down inflation. War exhaustion went to zero and the rebellions died down. Since then I've closed most of the tech gap with my rivals, built a navy, and cut overall inflation by more than two thirds.

Despite my switch to a domestic focus, I did still wage a few, highly-successful wars. They took down Castille and Lithuania, two countries with a long history of attacking me.

Things were looking good. Rebellions we down, revenues were up, everything was looking good.

I saw opportunity in the east of Europe: vast empires with backward armies. I went for it and it worked like a breeze. I looked south and saw the powerful Ottomans. They looked backward too. They turned out to be close enough in technology that I couldn't just knock them out in a single battle. The war dragged on, but my slight technological edge and rapidly-growing army won the day. All seemed to be okay. I even had a strategy to take down some of Castille's friends so that I could, someday, directly confront them again.

Then came the endless wars. I didn't start these fights, not all of them, or even most of them. But they happened and I had to win them. My vast armies marched all across Europe fighting everyone from Hungary to Sweden and even out to Asia for a fight with Persia. Countries, big and small, declared war. Algiers, my supposed vassal and ally, not that I blame them for their actions, supported rebels that knocked out my stabilization forces in northern Africa. The southern force was occupied with endless rebels. That was the theme: endless rebellions. As the war weariness inched upward so did the revolt chance, breaking 30%, and resulting in multiple provinces lost, though most regained before it was too late. I ended up losing two provinces in northern Africa, though at least they defected to a vassal, so it's not a total income loss. A terrible, tiny African country declared war, and with my African armies in shambles, managed to take a few provinces.

Tax revenues plummeted, leading me to use minting to balance my budget. Thankfully, I have two masters of the mint, centralization, and my national idea to keep inflation from growing. Army spending has to stay high as I am fighting constant rebellions and expect that one of these days the Ottomans are going to want revenge. Meanwhile, I suspect Castille and Austria are waiting for their moment.

Yet it is not all bad. I have the armies needed to keep down revolts. I am at peace. I'm returning some annexed provinces to vassals as a way to reduce the areas of revolt. Inflation is slowly creeping down. Except for Austria, the Germanic areas are almost entirely vassals. My colonies in Africa are growing and Brittany saved the day with its own armies. I crushed Sweden and liberated Norway and Finland. Newly-liberated Georgia is not very friendly, but at least it means that Persia is divided. France is stable, without debt, and at technological parity with anyone.

If it were not an absolute monarchy, I can only imagine that it would all make for some excellent spin from government and opposition parties. In retrospect, I wish I'd kept the administrative republic, but, "L'etat c'est moi."


Dàchéng said...

" ... took down Castille and Lithuania, two countries with a long history of attacking me."

Lithuania attacking France? I'm keen to know the borders of those two countries in your game! Is yours a France that also owns Hessen, Hanover, Saxony, Pomerania, Poland and Prussia?

Klepsacovic said...

I stubbornly refuse to end wars without some sort of payoff, or at the very least, hurting my enemy. This meant that when the Teutonic Order (Prussia) declared war, after I'd finished cleaning up other problems, I marched across Europe to conquer them and take a couple provinces in the treaty. That put me right in the middle of Brandenburg (oddly aggressive for a third-rate power), Poland, and Lithuania, with Muscovy, Novgorod, and Tyver close enough for it to be worth their time to bother me. As I got into wars I took more land in the area; mostly from Poland and Lithuania. Then things snowballed when I went to war with the Atazarckians* and now my east Europe / west Asia holdings are bigger than the French region.

* I can't remember their name, but they were light-blue, west Asian, and lost their entire army in one battle.

As of writing this reply, the Great War has just begun. What remains of Hungary and Poland joined Austria, Muskovy, and Castille in declaring war on me. There might also be some trivial Germanic province too; those generally get captured by a vassal and then I bring them into the fold.

Jarrod said...

Sounds like my Castille game. Started with the reconquista. Ended with Spanish Africa. Literally, the whole thing. And getting the throne of France by accident thanks to a royal marriage.

Once you get big enough you just can't not be at war.

Klepsacovic said...

I'm beginning to see the part about never being at peace. The war exhaustion is going to tear my country apart. I haven't gotten any place lower than 20% revolt chance in years. I'm trying to reduce my exposure to nationalists and patriots with a mix of vassals and allowing rebels to win if they're from a vassal. This way I can preserve my control without needing to do all the work. In an effort to reduce my exceptionally bad reputation, I'm also trying to make large countries liberate small ones, thereby making them possible to make into vassals, rather than taking provinces directly.

I regret having become so open-minded. I don't know how I'm going to end the religious turmoil when my yearly missionaries are negative. I could fight my way back to being narrow-minded, but damn, this is looking even harder to deal with than inflation.

Post a Comment

Comments in posts older than 21 days will be moderated to prevent spam. Comments in posts younger than 21 days will be checked for ID.

Powered by Blogger.