Green Khmers #1 - For the Glory AAR

Author: SirAnjin
Published: 2017-08-24, edited: 2017-08-25
Hey there :)

What's good with y'all. I'm Anjin and 2day I'm gonna bring real fire to this AAR website of yours (which is a decent idea btw). Game of Games. The Legend. Recently, after concluding my EU4 adventures for good (with over 1100hrs clocked since Autumn of 2014) I've decided to go back to not-arguably the best video game of all time, Europa Universalis 2.

But it's not just EU2. It's For the Glory - fan-made remake, under Paradox supervision (much like Darkest Hour), although nowhere near successful :( Time has taken its toll, but I still think EU2 map - both graphics and, however incorrect provinces - is the most beautiful thing ever. I just can't stop looking at it, like, ever. And game itself maybe has like 1/5th of EU4 features, but, why would I mind? I've spent so much time playing, modding and writing AARs about EU2 and FtG.

There's something magnetic about this beast. Maybe just nostalgia. Maybe good fun. But it's something EU4 never had, and never will have. Now that I'm looking into some heavy modding again - with some tweaks this would be a really fun game again - I just want to play the game again and see what's what.

I've settled for vanilla FtG with 1.3 betapatch (praise MichaelM for making it!), especially since Grand Campaign has seen some actual changes. Among them, somewhat refreshed Cambodia - now Khmer Empire, with few claims around the place, and nasty event to cripple them if their capital is conquered. Nothing else. 'Tis gonna be a wild one! :D

So, if you want to see how map painting was back in the day, or just enjoy some good nostalgia trip, I welcome thee and please enjoy your stayings. I'll try to explain how everything works more or less, so you may learn a thing or two as well. Isn't it great.

All abroad the Khmer Train. Green Khmers best Khmers. None of that Red Ayutthayan crap!

Part of the campaign:

Green Khmers

There we are! My goodness, look at this beautiful map! Five provinces Indochina, Eurocentrism at its finest :D Jokes aside, original Europa Universalis map was copied from EU boardgame, which inspired the videogame. Now that shit was crazy, it was basically Europe, most of Asia was colonizable, and China only had provinces along the coast :D EU2 fixed some of it, but it's definitely far from EU4, not to mention this thinger called historical accuracy.

Little shields you see are cores. Ones with the ribbon are full cores - your usual core provinces. Ones without a ribbon to the north (Lan Xang) and west (Crappy Ayutthaya) are claim cores - you get CB to conquer them, and once you own them it takes 30 years for them to become full cores (ribbony ones). There's also casusbelli cores - they only give you CB - but they weren't used all that often anyways.

As you can see, Khmer isn't really well situated. We have random monarch - Ou, with generic 6-6-6 stats. Ou is just random name picked from random leader names for our country. Should I reload the game Ou could become Im or Thaing or something else.

Under the ruler you can see our techs - Land/Naval/Stability/Trade/Infra. There are 60 levels of land and naval techs, and 10 of trade and infra. Yeah :D We also have Khmer culture as our national one. Apart from events, there's no way to gain or lose national/accepted cultures.

Religion is Buddhist, yeah, no Theravada and Mahayana stuff for you, things were simpler back then...hah.

But before we unpause this badboy, let's check our DP settings, hidden under that little shield opposite of our religion...logo.
This is Domestic Policy, you may remember it from EU3. Not really balanced - there's no reason for you to go Decentralized. Innovativeness for some reason cuts your colonists per year. Free Trade always tops Mercantilism and Quality is always better than Quantity. Offensive is mostly better (morale bonus). Unless you're tiny country or stick to your religion and culture, Serfdom is the only way since it can halve your stability cost - while Free Subjects can make it 50% expensive. There's some more nuance to all of this. We are allowed to move one of our sliders once per decade. It costs 1 stability to do so. For now we'll do Centralization, to lower our tech cost.
And techs are damn expensive! We're in Asian techgroup, which means +40% tech costs. Unfair af! Johan why do you hate Asia so much, why? And yes, you can't change your techgroup - only events, and there are very few specific events for specific countries to change those. We're stuck with this penalty forever. :/

But we can work with this.

On top of that, at this moment we suffer from isolation penalty. Basically if we know less than 19 other countries, we get even more tech penalty. At the moment it's 110% I guess, but no worries, that one's easy to get rid of.

Techs are developed with money. And money was different back then. There's your monthly income - goes towards tech, stab, but also can go to your treasury, which causes inflation to happen. And yes, inflation is way harder to get rid off than in EU4. No silly buttons to remove it. Random Events and Governors (much later in the game) are the only option.

So, how do you earn money? Every year, on January 1st you get thingy called Census Tax. In this case it'll be shitty 7 or 8 ducats for now, enough to hire 1000 infantry :D What we need first is Bailiffs - one of three "buildings" from Infra technology. They come very early, at first Infra level. In Europe it would take a year to get there at best, but because Asian and Isolation we'll get to wait until 1424. Bailiffs basiscally triple your Census, they are absolutely neccesary. They also add some revoltrisk, but we don't like to talk about this.

For now, we'll focus on Infra 1.
Diplomacy is way simpler. There's only one-way relation level, alliances are more like coallitions - countries are allied together, there are no separate alliances. When you declare war, you have to call either everybody or nobody. And it's alliance leader who signs peace for everybody, so you can get screwed - or ruin others pretty good.

Early on we've joined some starting alliance led by Mon. Ayutthaya must be destroyed. They get historical monarchs, historical leaders, and will have no problem toppling us and causing that nasty Fall of Khmer Empire event. I could probably take them 1 v 1 but Champa is their ally. I need some backup, even if it means we're at Mon's mercy, they can peace out and end the gig anytime.

Let me tell you right now, early game warfare is total shitshow. When there's plains or desert around, you can kill everybody with mighty cavalry - hillarious, compared to EU4 where cavalry is an afterthought. Shockpower is immense, and Fire won't exist until Land Tech 9 (for Asia it could be 17th Century :D). Indochina is covered in marshes, forests and mountains - hardly good offensive terrain. However, every country around starts with terrible DP for warfare. Land 5, Quality 2 and Offensive 6 means barely any morale. It is literally all up to dice. Blind fate. And you can barely do anything about this.

So early game, there'll be lot of angery and screamings, fear and loathings. But also some good laughs, I presume.
Our rivals are subdued relatively quickly. Ayu gets dogpiled and we focus on taking out Champa. You can see the battle screen here. Aren't those sprites BEAUTIFUL AF?!!! I LOVE IT SO MUCH NO IRONY NO SARCASM. Seriously, EU4 will never look this good. 100% serious!

Anyway, we see beautiful shields, arrow in the middle apparently shows who's winning at the moment. In the corners you can see dice rolls. We get 6-2 and they get 5. This is really complicated stuff. Results of dice roll + modifiers are processed by thing called CRT Table. Complicated bussiness. But, talking about modding, I reckon I can cut game's randomness but fiddling with the table, so there's some potential.

One phase lasts five days. It alternates between Fire and Shock, but since there's no Fire phase at this low tech, we only get shock phase. Every five days dice is rolled anew, and if 4 against 5 isn't all that bad, next turn we obviously roll 0 while they do 9 and we obviously get shafted.
Repeated attempts at retaking Mekong Delta are total failure. Not only that, revolt in Da Nang destroys our covering stack there (we'll talk about it later). Not only that, our blockade of Da Lat is also defeated. Goddamit! We're in full retreat. On the flipside, Ayu is beaten.
Month later Mon signs peace and it's a good one. Ayutthaya is reduced to one province, which is absolutely neccesary. Why? Because you cannot annex nations which have more than one province...yeah, exactly. Well, you can annex pagans, and it's moddable, but by default you can only annex OPMs most of the time. It's a bit tiresome to deal with this crap, on the other hand there's way less provinces on EU2 map so I suppose that was the only way of dealing with this crap.
Year later total hillarity ensues in Vietnam. See, China (not Ming) starts with Vietnam under their foot, but since Le Loi's rebellion was happening at that time, revoltrisk in China's Vietnamese holdings is jacked up to the max, so that Dai Viet sooner or later pops up. But here's the real funny thinger - one of Champa's provinces was controlled by rebels too and when Dai Viet popped up, they've taken it too. But not only that, since Hanoi remained Chinese, they used that province (Da Nang) as their capital. And it's hindu. And cham culture.

So there's Hindu Cham Vietnam, without vietnamese culture or buddhist religion. Believe it or not, by EU2/FtG terms it's "crazy-ass shite". It complicated my plans a tiny but, but eeeeh whatever.

Also, we get Infra 1 and finally start working on bailiffs. One costs 50$ (assuming 0% inflation). We start popping them immediately, although we won't be able to bailiff up completely. Indochina is piss-poor with basetax, money is just not good :( It will be a long while before our economy starts actually being some sort of...good.
1424 arrives and look below at the history log. Boromoraja has happened, and he's also a leader for Ayutthaya - look at their army, yellow number indicates leader.

What does it mean? Well, EU2/FtG only has scripted leaders, they have your usual Fire/Shock/Maneuver/Siege stats, a rank (helps deciding who should lead the siege, basically it's siege-stealing mechanic). And regardless of their stats, they're always better than "minor commanders" (basically leaderless armies). Their stats add up to rolls and it can hurt a lot.

In this situation - with diabolically low morale and most RNG-prone era of warfare - leaders are extremely dangerous. That's why Red Ayu needs to be gone and Bangkok painted in Khmer Green. Not only it's richest province around, it also spawns dangerous leaders and shit like that.
We wait until truce ends (it's always 5 years) and DoW them immediately. I bring all my allies in, but it's dangerous. With no leaders on our side whoever gets to Bangkok first gets it. Also Ayu can easily mow us all down. Luckily Boromoraja went west and actually lost to Mon. Marsh provinces I suppose.

We charge in and look at this shit - our 8 is nothing compared to 9 + 2. 9 is maximum roll without leader, anything above it (10-16) can only be achieved with leader. And CRT table is merciless, those values really can destroy you. If it was plains, we'd probably get stackwiped. But marsh terrain halves shockpower, and we get away with a loss, although we cause them enough harm for this to be worth it.
Look at this! A true gift from gods. Okay look AI really isn't the best. It's a bit silly. But with 3k remaining forces, they have decided to use 1k leader stack to charge Arakan in Kwai...10 to 1 rule existed back in the day and so Boromoraja is killed! When leader's army gets wiped, he is wiped too. Basically dead.

Now we race towards Bangkok, but Arakanese have also set their sight there. My goodness is this tense!
...so we've lost 14k vs 3k in Bangkok - basically I've retreated first day because of this LOVELY 0 - 9 DICE LUCK LOOK WHAT THE SHIT. You know what's even better? Arakan arrived right after us, and lost too! And they've got sent back to Cambodia, while we've won at last. Siege is ours!

This is when restoration of Khmer Empire begins at last!
Siege lasted a few months, and finally, on August 5th of 1429 Ayutthaya capitulates. Bangkok is like only good province around :D Well not really, but basetax is great. And that's important! Because basetax with bailiff means good census money. And that's what we need. We need provinces with good basetax and bailiffs because they generate money.

It's really shitty, but unified France with bailiffs all around (can be achieved in 20 years) can get up to 300 ducats every year (!!!) while we, even with entire Indochina, will be lucky to get at least 100. Basetax in Asia needs serious buff, those countries were way richer...anyway...

After annexation we've inherited Ayutthayan fleet - nice little start. All we have to do now is get the bailiff going, and we'll climb from "basically incomeless" to "piss-poor backwater" level. So far so good!

That shall conclude first episode of Green Khmers, First For The Glory AAR In History Of This Internet Website Thing!

Hopefully you have enjoyeth the ride. Gotta say this is really handy system, I'm used to writing AARs classic way, on Paradox Forum, so it's all new to me. Well, whatever, until next time!

Next chapter:

Game: For the Glory

Green Khmers #2 - For the Glory AAR

Images: 29, author: SirAnjin, published: 2017-08-25

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