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Europa Universalis III

After Action Report Print

By Chris Stone

Just thought I would give you a brief AAR about a test game I was playing this morning using yesterday's latest beta. I started a game in 1453 as Castile; with the primary purpose being to test, a few things so I can close my last remaining bug reports. Most related to colonization and such, so Castile seems as good a choice as any.

As is my habit, I began the game by building up my military into three solid armies (2 at 4k and 1 main one at 6k...that's about all I can afford to maintain) positioned along my border with Granada. This involved recruiting in many of my provinces (I generally do not use mercenaries except for emergencies since I do not want to miss the tradition, and I hate paying double maintenance) and then marching them all into position. With somewhat limited cash, my preference is for infantry-heavy armies with a small portion of cavalry -- usually more than sufficient against Granada. During the year or so that it took to get that done, I expanded my trade into various local CoTs and invested heavily in government tech so I could get my first idea. When I got it (do not recall exact date) I picked the Quest for the New World so I could begin exploring westward and do my bug-report tests (normally I would not pick this until later).

Since Portugal owns the Azores out in the Atlantic, I arranged a royal marriage with them, and then later I convinced them to give me military access so my ships could use the island as a staging point for exploration (and can return there to repair attrition damage). I also RMed Aragon in the hopes that I might get lucky and inherit it which would also let me confirm that the creation of Spain historical event is still WAD (have not done that in a while, so thought it would be worth checking).

In December ‘53, I have all my forces in place and DOW Granada. The ensuing war is uneventful since I vastly out-number them and they have no allies to help them. I think it took me less than 18 months to bring them to their knees and capture all three provinces. As usual, I demanded Gibraltar and Almeria, which will make Granada an easy target for annexation later.

Therefore, all of that is fine...and while I am waiting for the sieges to finish, I am gradually exploring my way to the Caribbean. Anyway...I make peace with Granada, war exhaustion begins to recede, my troops continue to replenish some of their combat and attrition causalities, I spend a ton of cash (part of it war tribute) and am just about to send a colonist to Bermuda (my explorer happened to notice it in passing) when.... 

This screen is the political map mode from just after the Granada war, when my coffers are still flush since I have not yet blown it all on some other stuff. I did not think to take one when the succession war started, but this will give you reference to the provinces, etc.

On Sept 18, 1454:


Oh! Crap! Yikes! I have to choose whether to side with Aragon or Portugal to determine my succession. Thinking that this is a different way to try for the creation of Spain, I side with Portugal since I figure I'll smack the AI around a bit, grab a bunch of Aragon's provinces, and be somewhat closer to being in position to satisfy the Spain formation trigger requirements.

Hmmm....I have virtually no tradition from the Granada war because I didn't fight many battles of note (Granada only had 3k compared to the 14k I attacked with...I didn't even bother converting my ruler into a general since I didn't need the leadership with those odds) and I only completed the 3 sieges. I also have somewhat less cash than I would like since I recently spent money on the explorer and I used the remaining cash for merchants and expanding my pre-existing colony in the Canaries.

Oh well...I use what little cash I have to recruit one general -- an okay 0/1/1/1 leader which isn't bad considering the 12% tradition and the era (and my DP settings). I also start marching my scattered military northwards to assemble in Toledo. There, I will merge them and then create two balanced armies...one to deal with the 4k (2kcav/2kinf/0art) Aragon army I can see in a border province, and the other to go and begin the long process of bringing Aragon to submission. It will move up the coast and kill stuff along the way.

There is nothing I can do naval wise right now, since I only have two combat-class vessels, and they are half a world away trying to discover America, etc. I cannot convert my ruler into a general, of course, because it is a succession war over my country (so I am currently the junior in a personal union with Portugal). I also have almost no money, and only a little reserve manpower since most of my manpower has been used to replenish losses from the Granada war.

I guess I should be okay, because I have a decent sized army that's mostly recovered, and he doesn't seem to have much...plus he hasn't been involved in a war yet that I've noticed so he probably doesn't have much of an army or any military tradition either.

That is all fine and good; until I see, the next Aragon army comes into view: a nasty 7k force consisting of something like six cavalry and 1k infantry...and lead by the king himself! Wow...Alfonso is taking the field and he is bringing pretty much his entire realm's army with him (I hope!). Hmm…he is heading towards my currently undefended capital of Madrid. Why exactly didn't I leave an army there? Oops. Hmm...do I vaguely recall that Alfonso has a decent military rating? I check his monarch stats via the diplomacy interface. Yikes! He is a mil 9 ruler...that might be bad because he is far more likely to be a kick-ass general. Ouch!

I guess I had better send a bigger army than originally intended...Unfortunately, my army is mostly infantry but I should be able to get to Madrid before he can, and he will have to attack me there. The terrain selection for the battle stands a very good chance of being hills, which would favor me, and he will have to cross a river so I will get that bonus. I create the 8k (roughly) army, from my semi-strength regiments and send it to Madrid (that'll be enough, right...and it will get some reinforcements at the end of the month as well, so it should eventually grow to about 10k); and then send a small 4k force to Valencia. The best laid plans and all...

Well I guess good ol' Alfonso has a great maneuver rating because he manages to arrive in Madrid just before I do. Drat! That is not good. No I am the one attacking across a river and into the hills. Hmm...no...not hills...just my luck...it is a plains battlefield. I suddenly have a bad feeling about this...

(this is taken from the save game file)

name="Battle of Madrid"
attacker= (that's me)
defender= (that's Alfonso)

As you can see, he thumped me pretty badly. He managed to get his 4k army to the field before the battle was over (hence his nearly 11k total force) and I had not recovered as much via reinforcement as I had hoped to.

I won't give you the full blow-by-blow because it would take too long, but I'll post a few of the major battles as Alfonso methodically ripped my armies to shreds, laid siege to my provinces, and basically handed my ass to me on a platter. Yes...the AI totally DOMINATED me in the field because I was poorly prepared and had bad army composition to fight with. (No...I did not have enough manpower to recruit more, and I did not have enough cash to hire mercenaries).

After a brief pause, he leaves a 1k siege force in Madrid and proceeds to chase my retreating army to Toledo...and he has another 2k marching in from the FoW to join his siege. Yikes!

(this, and all subsuquent code, is taken from the save game file)

name="Battle of Toledo"
attacker= (Alfonso the Annoying!)
defender= (me...still smarting from my loss in Madrid)

I retreat, abandon my plan of sieging in Aragon and recall my only other army, then after I have assembled and regained morale I attack his siege of Toledo:

name="Battle of Toledo"
attacker= (me)
defender= (Alfonso the Increasingly Scary!!)

Oh boy! I re-assemble everything I have been left and move it all to Salamanca to recover morale. By the time this is done, he has successfully captured Toledo and has returned in force to besiege Madrid. I shudder at the thought of losing control of my capital so I have no choice.

name="Battle of Madrid"
attacker= (me...that's all I could muster)
defender= (Alfonso the Increasingly Scary!!)

Ouch. Now I am kind of up a proverbial creek...I raise war taxes, take a loan, buy mercenaries, recruit a general (my tradition's not too bad now after those previous battles) and try again...

name="Battle of Madrid"
attacker= (Me the Desperate)
defender= (Alfonso the Godlike!!!)

Here is a small selection of notable battles from the save game file:


Battle date: 1459.8.11
name="Battle of Madrid"
attacker= (Me the Lowly Worm)
defender= (You Know Who)

2. Battle date: 1460.4.11

name="Battle of Salamanca"
attacker= (Mr. Hopefully)
defender= (My Nemesis)

3. Battle date: 1461.3.9

name="Battle of Madrid"
attacker= (Me after another loan and purchase of mercenaries)
defender= (*at a loss for words*)

Therefore, I realize that I'm screwed and change tactics to at least try to capture some of his provinces and hopefully soak down his manpower to try to reduce his ability to recover from attrition and my occasional pathetic combat attempts. With any luck, I can lure him back out of my country, or at least slow him down and hope that Portugal (who has been fighting naval battles and has launched an invasion of some of the Aragon islands but does not seem to be having any more success than I am) can do something. At least Portugal will periodically send an army to recapture one of my lost provinces for me if it is on the Portuguese border. Overall, that is good.

I have some success with this strategy, managing to capture a couple provinces while also sneaking a second smaller army in behind him (when out of range) to recapture some of my provinces.

Here's a screen shot from March 1462 (8 years into the war!). I have captured Valencia and Barcelona and am besieging Aragon and my lost provinces of Madrid and Castilla La Vieja. The Aragon army has just captured Salamanca, and is besieging Badajoz and Toledo (both of which I had lost earlier, recaptured, and then been repulsed from). Portugal has an army moving from Beira to help me recover Salamanca. Note how effectively Aragon is blockading Portugal's ports after having managed to gain control of the seas. Again, this is in political map mode.

Frankly, I was looking for a way to surrender but then suddenly the main Portuguese army of about 12k, which was led by their ruler (I didn’t make a note of his name), managed to attack Alfonso in Salamanca. Alfonso only had about 6k cavalry and 2k infantry with him so I watched the battle unfold in the hopes that Portugal might succeed where I had failed. Then the miraculous happened: Alfonso died on about the 4th day of battle! Leaderless, the Aragon army was quickly crushed by the Portuguese ruler, who then proceeded to recapture Salamanca for me (for about the fifth time at least).

Even though Aragon still had some decent forces in the field, and had a bunch of generals, none of them was as impossible to defeat as Alfonso had been. I took another loan, hired some more mercenaries, recruited another general (a good one since my land military tradition was now at something like 85%), and proceeded to methodically push back their armies and retake my provinces.

Finally, towards the end of 1464, just over 10 years after the War of Castilian Succession began; Aragon sued for peace, offering to cede me the province of Aragon (which I had captured). I happily accepted because I was already in serious war exhaustion trouble (3-5% in all of my provinces) and it would have taken me ages to achieve a more complete victory. Aragon also had too large a navy for me to contend with, so I would never have been able to achieve a 100% war score.


Anyway, I just thought I would share that with you...one of the most intense 10-year wars I have had, and an incredibly entertaining bit of game play. I will definitely have to adjust my tactics and army composition strategies (a lot!) before playing a "real" (not-bug-check) game else I think the AI will crush me.

Well done, Johan, on your latest AI tweaks. Cool!