I will not cease from mental fight

Nor shall my mouse sleep in my hand

I screwed up my Europa Universalis III game.

I saw that that the Napoleon’s Ambition expansion was available, so I installed it and the NA-compatible Magna Mundi Gold user mod.  The good news is that Napoleon’s Ambition runs well—faster than regular old EU3, actually.  The bad news is that my old savegames don’t appear to be compatible with either EU3:NA, Magna Mundi Gold, or both.

Kind of a shame, really, since this is the most success I have had in a game of EU3 to date.  As of A.D. 1500, England had managed to secure her French holdings, take a huge chunk of Greece from the Ottomans, hand that chunk over to the Duchy of Athens (which promptly lost a lot of it to Venice), peacefully vassalise Scotland, enter a personal union with Brittany, capture Judea and Lebanon, inherited most of Burgundy (France got the rest), and freed the Netherlands.

The Burgundy thing turned out to be a giant mess because of how the game handles diplomatic repercussions of your conquests.  You get “badboy” points for taking provinces (whether via war, diplomacy or inheritance).  The less-peaceful the method of annexation, the more badboy points you earn.  They fade, after time, but at certain levels the AI governments and diplomats really don’t like you very much. Inheriting Burgundy all in one shot tanked my diplomatic reputation.  I had to create a bunch of vassals (like the Netherlands) out of the inherited territory, or I would have found myself at war with most of Western Europe.  Some guys like to play world conquest and relish the whole “badboy wars” situation.  That’s not my style.  I like to set a couple of objectives up front and see how close I can get.  Speaking of which, let’s review them.

OBJECTIVES

  • Annex Scotland and Ireland to form Great Britain.  FAIL: But just barely.  Annexed 3/5ths of Ireland peacefully, royal marriages with the two holdouts.  Vassalised Scotland, about 20 years away from diplomatic annexation. Governed it as personal union, briefly.
  • Take and hold Jerusalem and Lebanon.  SUCCESS: The armies of Henry VII liberated Judea and Lebanon from the Mamluk Sultanate in A.D. 1503.
  • Guarantee the independence of the Papal States and the failed crusader state of the Knights of Rhodes (until the Reformation, if there is one).  FAIL: The Knights of Rhodes got invaded and annexed by Genoa in the midst of one of my Anglo-Turk wars.  I didn’t lift a finger to save them because I had no surplus men or matériel.   They were eventually freed again by another Muslim state, irony of ironies.  The Papal States got annexed by Sicily around 1504 and I was reluctantly preparing an invasion to liberate them.
  • Guarantee the independence of the Duchy of Athens (someone has to buy the Elgin Marbles!).  SUCCESS: Athens survived to 1504 (my last save date) and I eventually gave it the entire chunk of Greece I took from the Turks.  It then got into a war with Genoa and had to cough up Salonica, but the rest of it was intact.
  • Seek the independence and unification of the Netherlands.  SUCCESS: After inheriting the  Burgundian Low Countries in 1504, I released the Netherlands as an independent state.  Eventually I would have had to referee a fight between Utretch and Netherlands (both allies), since they had cores (i.e. territorial claims) on each other’s territories.
  • Control much of the territory of the historic British Empire, appropriate to its holdings in 1793, by the end date.  FAIL: Didn’t make it to 1793.  But I did control a lot more territory than the England of 1504, and without that nasty War of the Roses, to boot.

LESSONS LEARNED

Military Alliances:
Though protecting piddly little Crusader states (Athens, Crete, Knights Hospitallers) in the Mediterranean appeals to one’s sense of noblesse oblige, don’t do it.  Little states in EU3 behave like small nervous dogs with self-image problems.  They want to fight all the time, and see a larger ally’s army and manpower pool as their God-given arsenal of victory.  Try to pick allies that are around the same size, they’ll be less likely to try and use you as cannon fodder.

Curia Controller: Trying to direct the policy of the pre-Reformation Roman Catholic Church can be fun.  You can steer it towards responsibility and reform, or heedless self-interest and corruption.  Being Curia controller also comes with badboy-reducing reputation modifiers, which is why I tried to maintain an iron grip on it.  But it’s also a pain, because when somebody comes to kick the Pope’s ass, you are supposed to protect him (and suffer penalties if you don’t).  In the future I will probably be a lot more laissez-faire regarding the Curia.  The reputation modifiers are nice, but not really worth the hassle of having to keep the Papists out of trouble.  See that whole point about military alliances, above.

Besides, if England doesn’t turn Protestant, who’s going to write the hymn Jerusalem a few centuries down the road?  An England without Jerusalem isn’t a world I want to live in.

Holy Roman Empire: Being the Emperor is a good thing, it gives you lots of manpower and civic bonuses that come in handy.  But eventually the Elector states will get tired of an Emperor with a lengthy reign, so if you’ve been in the big chair for a decade or more,
they’ll almost definitely select another country once your monarch dies.  You get income from the members, and can sanction or denounce the conquest of HRE members by other members, preventing a lot of the larger German states from getting too huge too quickly.  The Emperor’s title is worth going after just for the bonuses and benefits.

General Statecraft: After kicking French ass in the Hundred Years War, I did my best to repair relations with them so as not to be in constant cross-Channel warfare.  The downside of having those ancestral Anglo-Norman continental possessions is that you have to
maintain garrisons in most of them, or France will see your weakness and try to take them from you.

A lot of people try to ally with Burgundy to balance out the French problem.  That was my strategy in the early going, until I got Normandy.  Then I realised I needed to take Picardie order to connect Calais to the rest of Anglo-Normandy, and let good relations with
Burgundy lapse.  Probably would not seek another royal marriage with them as the potential for the inheritance thing is a pain.  Inheriting the territory is great, but the territory comes with land claims by France.  Getting into wars with France over turf you don’t even want is generally a bad thing.

That’s the downside of royal marriages:  they can land you in succession wars or have you inherit lands you never wanted.  In the case of my succession war with Scotland, that was okay.  Scotland sided with me and we were fighting France together.  If Scotland had sided with France against me, then I would have been hosed.  All of my armies were off in Greece fighting the Umpteeth Anglo-Turk War and I could not have repelled a Scottish invasion.  I’d hazard royal marriages with nearby nations (i.e. the Scots and the Irish counties), but try to avoid royal marriages with places where you wouldn’t be able to fight and win a succession war.  Royal marriages do have an upside—they increase positive relations between the member countries—which is why most people accept them.

I’ll give it another shot with the new expansion and mods, but I’m warning you now that the whole re-taking of English France thing was a bit of a virtuoso performance whose opportunity only presents itself once in a blue moon.  Nine times out of ten you have to cry like a little girl and give up Gascogne and/or Calais in order to make the game-starting Hundred Years War nightmare go away.

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