EUIV - Amaranthine Invitational #5 (1550)

Author: kamichi
Published: 2018-01-07, edited: 2018-01-07

Part of the campaign:

EUIV - Amaranthine Invitational

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Game: Europa Universalis IV

EUIV - Amaranthine Invitational #4 (1525)

Images: 57, author: kamichi, published: 2018-01-01

1525-1550 was a tumultuous time in the histories of Europe, Asia and North Africa. Not a single country was untouched by war, and there was so much going on that I've probably missed most of it. I'm going to do my best to recount what happened. I'm also going to try to go a bit more in depth about the choices our countries have made. Feel free to ignore the extra analysis - everything gets simplified down to a rating out of 10 anyway!

## Campaign runs @ www.twitch.tv/kamichi every Sunday at 9PM UK time. ##
## Youtube VODs @ www.youtube.com/user/kamichi ##
## Stats @ https://goo.gl/EbrHk8 ##
The story of this campaign so far, one which has played out again and again and again, is this: you're only as strong as your weakest ally.

Since 1520, countries like Grunhammer, Nordischreich and Versailles have lost significant provinces despite never having wars directly declared against them. Indeed, a war declared against them would have brought in a number of powerful allies, but each of the aforementioned were undone by the weakest link. Conversely, you can see that the countries which have come to dominate Europe are those within self-contained alliance 'blocs.'

(The colours denote religion, for those of you not following as closely as me. Catholic yellow, Confucian light grey, Norse dark grey and Orthodox brown)
I don't have much to say here. It's just interesting to compare the main European power-brokers and let the stats speak for themselves.

I was surprised by how much weaker the Triple Alliance appear to be statistically, but it must be appreciated that there isn't a realistic scenario in which they would go to war against wither of the opposing blocs at this point. That would only happen once they border each other or once we reach the end game and the age of Imperialism, where Great Powers take whatever they please no matter where in the world it actually is.
And if you'd prefer a far more difficult to follow yet more geographically accurate (and complete) diplomatic map, then you're in luck!
I wasn't planning on actually showing you guys this. This is a wholly incomplete 1520-1550 timeline I made for myself as an aide that I never planned on finishing, but the past week has been so filled with illness, work, early morning wrestling shows, computer crashes and post-Christmas house rearranging that I'm desperately trying to cobble together this update on Sunday afternoon in the vain hope that somebody can read it before the evening stream.

Link to sheet, which may or may not have been updated since I made the image: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vKhmEQKKR5ZLUNsdG_yct8nuIZK1Ir6w-pMoNxGzr4U/edit#gid=427068463
Before we jump into the individual country updates, let's talk a bit about culture and religion, which certainly never caused any notable conflicts throughout early modern Europe and Asia.

The next institution is the Printing Press. It was introduced to (real) Europe in 1440 and grew in popularity, but it was really the Reformation (which started in let's say 1517), with its renewed focus on Christian scripture (SOLA SCRIPTURA LADS) rather than priesthood etc, that caused an explosion in printing. As you can see, it can spawn from 1550 as soon as any country meets the conditions.

We don't have any Protestant or Reformed countries (more on that later), but hey, we do have German countries. That means that we know that the Printing Press will spawn in Schwarzwald, Nordischreich, Grunhammer, Switzerland or a HRE minor. No matter who gets it first, it won't make a big difference gameplay wise. Printing Press will slowly spread to most European capitals automatically (those with at least 20 dev) and then based on geographical proximity, like the Renaissance. Again, it'll take many decades before it reaches the far east.

Lore wise, I'd love to see it spawn in Schwarzwald, during their war against most of western Europe. The Norse Outcasts desperately trying to print their own religious propaganda to justify their crusades sounds like something that could feasibly happen.
So how does one become a Protestant or Reformed country? You sit down and wait for the Reformation to begin.

The beginning of the Reformation is simulated by a global Reform Desire attribute. Reform Desire grows 0.5% per year naturally, and is affected by events and decisions that Catholic countries receive. The events are balanced so that, on a standard campaign of EU4, the Reformation is an inevitable consequence of gameplay and will probably occur at a vaguely historically accurate time. In 1550, the Reformation would typically be well under way, but it has been delayed in this campaign because a lot of Catholic countries have been replaced by Norse ones. Fewer Catholic countries receiving Reform events leads to slower accumulation of Desire, but as you can see, we've still climbed our way to 91% Reform Desire.

The Reformation can begin once Reform Desire hits 95% and once that happens, an event can fire based on a whole load of factors which will force a the capital of a Catholic country to convert to Protestantism and create a Center of Reformation which will automatically convert nearby provinces, which means that that country is very likely to convert. From there, all Catholic countries can freely convert to Protestantism. The first two to convert gain a free Center of Reformation (only three can exist per campaign).

The event which triggers the Reformation can happen to any European Catholic country apart from the Pope (not applicable) and the Defender of the Faith (currently Lahndahn). From there, there are a load of factors which make the event more likely to happen. To summarise, it's very unlikely to hit Erit Lux or Legendia. My guess is it's going to hit Switzerland or a HRE minor country and be a complete non-event. It could hit Epiphany and really put the cat amongst the pigeons.

Source: https://eu4.paradoxwikis.com/Protestant_events
The full Institution map is looking a bit more colourful now, with four possible levels of Institution embracement. We can see that, even a full century later, the Renaissance is only just reaching western India. Various countries have come close to developing a single province enough to seed it, but infuriatingly, they all stopped just short.

Colonialism spreads very quickly down coastlines, so it'll envelop the Mediterranean very quickly, spread through the Suez to Tolkmaria, before racing around the Gulf Coast. The spread of Colonialism is typically far less of a problem for Asian countries (especially if they spawn the institution themselves!) than the Renaissance or the Printing Press, which will take over a hundred years without help.

It's worth taking note that Institutions are spreading to the Americas via European colonies. If any of our Asian powers decided to rush across the Pacific Ocean to colonise Chile and Argentina, or across the Indian Ocean to colonise South Africa, then they could feasibly end up bordering fully Institutionalised European land and potentially gain significant advantages over their neighbours at home. I mean, that's probably what would happen - I've never tried it myself because I just develop to seed institutions because I'm not a complete moron.
So that's religion dealt with, now for the culture part. As a country progresses in tech (admin tech levels 5/7/10/14/18/22/26/28) they unlock Idea slots, which they can fill with one of the pictured Idea Groups. These groups will look familiar since they're what I based the country creation process on. Countries are forced to take a balance of Admin, Diplo and Mil Idea Groups, which is why the AI have broadly taken one Idea Group out of each category.

Ideas are the main way for one to customise what their country is good at, and in the hands of the AI, certain idea groups will completely change their behaviour, which is why it's so interesting (to me) to see who chooses what. For example, those taking Exploration ideas will be racing to colonise the Americas whereas previously they'd be focussed on their homelands. For a more in your face example, Schwarzwald took Religious ideas which unlocks the Deus Vult/Crusade casus belli. They've declared six (6!) crusades since unlocking it, terrorising the minor Catholic states of Europe.

There's a lot of factors that go into how the AI chooses ideas, mostly to eliminate nonsensical choices (Naval for a landlocked country, one country taking both Religious AND Humanist ideas, etc).

Stats for our AI idea choices: https://goo.gl/EbrHk8
Reference for AI idea weights: https://eu4.paradoxwikis.com/Idea_groups#AI_preference (I suspect the table is woefully incomplete, but it still helps)
Rather than bluster on for another thousand words about idea choices and bore everyone, I'm going to give you a quick tier list to provide a basis for my country ratings.

Top tier
Administrative - Core Cost Reduction is excellent for any conquerors. The Mercenary and Interest reductions really help AI who rely on Mercs and Loans more.
Humanist - Nearly eliminates religious intolerance, helps diffuse Aggressive Expansion and marginalises rebellions, all of which the AI massively struggles with.
Exploration - There are fewer places to colonise in this campaign, meaning those that adopt Exploration quickest will reap greater rewards.

Good tier
Offensive - Improves troop quality while still raising Force Limit by a good amount (20%)

Situational tier
Everything else - You can make an argument for most groups being useful dependent on the in-game situation. Even Maritime Ideas.

Literally never worth it
Espionage - There's nothing that Espionage does that isn't done better by Diplomatic or that is functionally useless.
Ruler: kamichi
284 -> 410 -> 457 -> 470 -> 538
30 -> 43 -> 49 -> 49 -> 56

Idea Groups
- Espionage (7)
- Economic (7)

Score: 155
Rating: 8/10

Amaranth have done everything they needed to do. They took out their regional rival in Australia Minor and have secured themselves against their main land-based threat in the New Pacific Order. While the Moldavis remain on the Throne of China, their low Mandate mean that Amaranth will win a one on one war every time. The only realistic forseeable threat to Amaranth is their alliance with Bengalistan potentially dragging them into a war against Takeela, Samudr and the NPO simultaneously.

Regarding idea choices, Amaranth lose a point on the rating for not just picking Espionage, but picking it first. They would have been better served by literally any other idea. I don't hate Economic Ideas as an early pick for east Asian countries. The last bonus you get from them is -20% Development Cost which can really help with seeding Institutions (HINT) and the Production Efficiency boost is worth more in provinces with higher value trade goods like Spices. Amaranth already produce a massive 30.6% of the world's Spice supply and they haven't even taken the most productive provinces from Australia Minor. Yet.
Ruler: Rey the Great
268 -> 318 -> 331 -> 442 -> 546
42 -> 49 -> 54 -> 70 -> 84

Idea Groups
- Humanist (7)
- Quantity (7)
-

Score: 63
Rating: 9/10

Arkansas have been slowly but surely consolidating their status as a regional power, and then went absolutely ham in session #3, becoming the the world's fourth largest country by development. They've willingly taken on multiple opponents at once, all without calling in any allies, the largest of which being their western neighbour of Kabus. With nothing to fear (for now) to the west, Arkansas are turning their eyes east, to Qumis and potentially even Takeela.


They might have the most defensible country in the world, with five (5!) well spaced mountain forts, combined with their National Ideas which increase Attrition for Enemies, give extra Fort Defense, and will ultimately reduce the attrition their own troops take by a massive 40%. Their idea group picks dovetail incredibly well. Their Quantity infused army will suffer a lot less losses from attrition. They're conquering a lot of religiously diverse land, but through Humanist ideas (as well as getting additional Religious Unity from their National ideas) they can simply

Most countries need to aim for religious uniformity (aka 100% of provinces) to not take penalties. Arkansas is currently home to five different religions, is not attempting to convert any of them to their main faith (Ibadi, 55.9% of the country) and yet still has a genuinely ridiculous Religious Unity of 127%. So much for the tolerant west.
Ruler: RevReb
280 -> 178 -> 168 -> 209 -> 158
33 -> 21 -> 17 -> 19 -> 14

Idea Groups
- Administrative (7)
- Offensive (4)

Score: 0
Rating: 4/10

But we just saw that screenshot - you're just showing us Amaranth again! Nope, what was Australia Minor is pretty much now just Amaranth. They've held on to a relatively impressive amount of development, considering what we've seen with other early losers like Pirineos and Gauravdesh, but Australia's only realistic hope of survival is surviving until someone else takes out Amaranth for them.

Australia were first to the Philippines and snapped up the Centre of Trade in Manila, but now they face competition there, not just from Amaranth, but from Bengalistan and Samudr who are all eyeing up their new colonies. I'd like to see Australia go for a hail mary by taking Exploration Ideas next and trying to make it to the Americas. It'd be far more interesting than sitting still, waiting to be eaten.
Ruler: Shamed
251 -> 293 -> 360 -> 450 -> 493
39 -> 41 -> 49 -> 66 -> 69

Idea Groups
- Administrative (7)
- Trade (7)
- Offensive (5)

Score: 750 (#6)
Rating: 8/10


The humanist and tolerant home of the scholars, philosophers and thinkers has proven to be a very able war machine. Austurstrond are in one of the most secure positions in the world on account of having befriended or derailed every single direct threat to their own existance. The Orthodox twins, Medvedstrana and Perevorot are powerless against the next Norse onslaught, probably coming as soon as the truces expire in 1562. Lurtzland will be in deep trouble unless they can get out of their current war quickly and find some allies - Austurstrond's truce with them runs out in 1556. I guess Equestria is on their border now. Oh no.

I feel like Austurstrond's main problem is long-term. What happens when there are no worlds left to conquer? It's not worth expanding into Siberia, and expanding past Scandinavia into mainland Europe could cause the implosion of the Norse Bloc, should it still exist. That said, why doesn't Austurstrond, as the largest northern power, not simply eat the other Northern powers?

I'm not a fan of Trade ideas here, because Novgorod is not a particularly wealthy trade node, and it only pulls from the relatively poor Kazan and Kiev nodes. However, if Austurstrond can expand displace Lurtzland and become the major power in the Baltic Sea, and Lubeck nodes, then Trade ideas would become worthwhile. Diplomatic ideas or Influence ideas would make the conquering more likely to happen in the first placed.

As a final note, at least one part of the Eastern Shore is the enlightened place it promised to be. Grand Kniaz Erik Shamed is a 6/6/4, the most skilled in the world, and recently renounced the traditional Feudal Monarchy in favour of an Administrative Monarchy.
Ruler: OoohYou
331 -> 440 -> 489 -> 502 -> 532
36 -> 43 -> 47 -> 44 -> 45

Idea Groups
- Administrative (7)
- Offensive (7)

Score: 579 (#7)
Rating: 7/10

Everything was going so well for Bengalistan. They were set to challenge Takeela for Indian hegemony, before a couple of diplomatic blunders saw them lose a good chunk of land. In 1520, and again in 1532, they were called to the defence of minor Indian states which saw them end up at war with Takeela and Samudr both times.

That Bengalistan honoured both alliances with the now non-existant countries while they dishonoured their alliance with Jeohia in 1523 is far worse than their territorial losses. Through their cowardice, they turned a relatively weak ally on their border to a strong enemy. A strong enemy which may well become an ally of Bengalistan's greatest existential threat in Takeela.

Bengalistan still maintain overwhelming of the Bengal trade node, which is the only way eastern Asian trade can enter India. As such, they're keeping pace with Takeela economically. Their alliance with Amaranth more than balances out the threat posed by the New Pacific Order, but if Takeela, Jeohia and the NPO all attack at once? There's nobody who could save them.

(Apart from getting Junlin involved too, but it'll never happen)
Ruler: Denial
279 -> 355 -> 369 -> 154 -> 45
48 -> 60 -> 60 -> 32 -> 10

Idea Groups
- Administrative (6)

Score: 84
Rating: 1/10

'It's one thing to lose a war, but quite another to lose a war you started' is a common adage on the EU4 Dev Clash multiplayer streams, which serves as the main inspiration for this campaign. Denial Valley went a step further. It's one thing to lose a war you started, but it's quite another to somehow contrive to do it twice. Denial Valley's second conquest of Ausa in Tolkmarian Africa weakened its armies enough that Kabus came sweeping in from the north. The Turks didn't take that much initially, but that first war was the pebble which started the avalanche. Tolkmaria soon took most of the Egyptian Red Sea coast. Kabus swept in again and took the Nile Delta, Alexandia and, most vitally, Cairo, which was enough to launch Kabus into the #1 Great Power slot. This precipitous demise was epitomised when Malta and even Infinite Citadel, separately, were able to defeat Denial Valley and claim land for themselves. All that remains now is a tiny strip of barely habitable desert, surrounded by enemies on all sides.

It's the kind of tragedy one might feel overwhelming sympathy for, were not entirely self induced.
Ruler: Epiphanus
324 -> 446 -> 563 -> 600 -> 635
19 -> 28 -> 39 -> 41 -> 44

Idea Groups
- Humanist (7)
- Exploration (7)
- Offensive (5)

Score: 917 (#2)
Rating: 10/10

Epiphany aren't the #1 country in any category, but they still received the only 10/10 rating. Why? Because they've played their hand pretty much perfectly. They started with four major powers for neighbours and, after a century, three of them have been nearly obliterated (Pirineos, Versailles and Neroland) while one is a 100 Trust ally (Lahndahn). They were able to expand very swiftly, very early on, all without triggering a coalition against them. They'll soon have the largest army of any country which didn't take Quantity ideas, meaning that they're keeping up with troop numbers without sacrificing quality. They were first to establish a Colonial Nation in North America and will soon be reaping the rewards through Tariffs, Merchants and increased home node trade. They have a very solid alliance bloc (Erit Lux/Patria aka the Triple Alliance). They've somehow managed to limit their allies' gains while still taking land for themselves, making sure that they are the central leading power of the Triple Alliance.

A lot of things have gone well for Epiphany. The only cloud visible on the horizon is the Reformation. The most likely outcome is that it'll spawn in one of the remaining HRE minor states which ultimately wouldn't be too troubling for any of the Triple Alliance. However, if one of the Triple Alliance was to convert to Protestantism or Reformed, that could well split the alliance and significantly weaken each of the members. Hopefully I'll have had time to go into a bit more detail about the Reformation earlier (everything gets written out of order).
Ruler: Ardus
350 -> 140 -> 134 -> 151 -> 298
47 -> 19 -> 17 -> 19 -> 40

Idea Groups
- Innovative (6)
- Quality (2)

Score: 0
Rating: 5/10

The REFORMATION, RECONCILIATION and REVENGE of Equestria, despite current appearances, is in full swing. I'm not too sure how it happened either. What I think happened is that Medvedstrana and Perevorot were forced to cede Equestrian cores back to Equestria as part of the peace terms in the various Norse wars they fought.

So Equestria had a bit of help getting back on their feet, but even before their cores were returned to them, they were winning their own wars against the formerly huge Siberian empire of Perm. Equestria's western border has not only been fully restored (bar the single province of Atkarsk) but has been expanded into the slightly richer Ukranian steppes.

A whole cavalcade of problems remain. A stiff breeze would knock over its current standing army, beset as they are by rebel Tribes, Orthodox Zealots and invading Arkansans. In fact, Equestria is five months away from succumbing to the Orthodox rebels and converting away from Sunni. Obviously they're losing this current war against Arkansas, who could take their remaining Caucasian territories. Beyond that, they still have no allies and no-one to turn to. They've forced Perevorot to become their tributary, although however amusing that is (it's very amusing), that means that Equestria will be called to their defence whenever any one of the Norse Bloc comes knocking. I think they're as doomed as they ever were really, I just rated them 5/10 because I love a good comeback.
Ruler: SolarS
310 -> 376 -> 376 -> 378 -> 388
19 -> 22 -> 22 -> 22 -> 22

Idea Groups
- Administrative (7)
- Trade (7)
- Defensive (7)

Score: 1111 (#1)
Rating: 7/10

Is it strange to be rating the richest and highest scoring country only 7 out of 10? Their ideas picks are perfect. Picking Trade early typically isn't great, but Erit Lux, as of Jan 1st 1550, make more than double the trade income of their closest competitor (Bengalistan). They're able to dominate the entire Mediterranean with their 5 Merchants and 75% Trade Efficiency. Defensive is my #1 early military pick for the relatively huge Morale bonus as well as Army Tradition. Administrative is probably my #1 overall pick, especially for AI countries who often end up needing to use mercenaries.

Erit Lux are in an amazing position, but they should be doing better. What have they done in the last century?

They pounced on Ashwinder, securing themselves Venezia and its titular trade node. They formed the Triple Alliance, probably the most solid of the three main religious blocs. Then they spent the rest of their campaign getting dragged into wars from which they gained absolutely nothing. They could've finished off Ashwinder long before The Savage Men finally did. They should definitely have taken Milan (the 30(!) dev Centre of Trade) from Switzerland, if not more. In multiple wars against their neighbour and direct Genoan trade competitor Versailles, they took nothing and, worse, sat back and watched Epiphany take Lyonnais, a Genoan centre of trade. To say nothing of Legendia. A war between the Triple Alliance and Legendia might have been close initially, but now it would be a slaughter.

Instead of expanding, Erit Lux has been a follower. Lux even found its way onto the losing side of the Schwarzwald crusades due to its former position as Defender of the Catholic Faith. They failed to stop Schwarzwald's relentless push to the North Sea and now aren't even part of the coalition to punish them. Somehow Epiphany are, and that says it all.
Ruler: Mello
275 -> 276 -> 282 -> 286 -> 229
27 -> 27 -> 29 -> 30 -> 25

Idea Groups
- Religious (7)
- Quantity (7)
- Exploration (7)

Score: 2
Rating: 4/10

The greatest disappointment in session #3 was the Lahndahn (w/ Epiphany) versus Free Scotland (w/ Versailles) war. Specifically, the whole of the Epiphany and a decent proportion of the Lahdahn ground forces were stuck in France, giving Free Scotland free reign to hunt down Lahndahn's home army, occupy their capital and force any outside invaders into an amphibious assault on the British Isles. If it was thought impossible in the 1940s, it was probably a really bad idea in the 1520s. Some smart manuevering could have potentially saved both Scotland and Versailles. What Free Scotland actually did was dance around mostly occupied Lahndahn, letting their armies live. With Versailles crushed, Epiphany's armies were free to sail across the English Channel and decimate Scotland. As it turns out, Free Scotland were the thematic weakest link, who knew?

Even ignoring that disaster of a war, Free Scotland are still screwed. They have no allies left apart from Holland, a minor HRE state whose land is coveted by at least four major European powers. They took Religious Ideas, which have been completely useless for the entire game. They took Exploration as their third choice, when they really needed to pick it second at the latest, as they've been beaten to colonising Canada by Epiphany. In fact, they haven't even discovered North America yet, despite owning half of Iceland. Even diplomatically isolated and militarily outgunned, they had the perfect platform for New World exploration and they've blown that too.
Ruler: Gaurav
256 -> 154 -> 99 -> 10 -> 11
24 -> 14 -> 9 -> 1 -> 1

Idea Groups
- Economic (7)
- Quantity (7)
-

Score: 0
Rating: 2/10

Gauravdesh have somehow held one as a one province minor for over two updates now. Shockingly, Takeela have no interest in North Konkan, no matter how nicely it would round out its borders. Samudr (and Baroda) both have claims and no truce timer. It's probably not going to be third session lucky for Gaurav.
Ruler: Devilyn Caster
239 -> 83 -> 13 -> 15 -> 25
30 -> 11 -> 2 -> 2 -> 3

Idea Groups
- Economic (2)
- Offensive (1)

Score: 0
Rating: 1/10

There's very little to say about Georgia. Separatists flipped back the province of Nakhchivan from Urfa, before Arkansas promptly obliterated the rest of Urfa, leaving the province completely surrounded by Arkansas. Interestingly, while looking up whether this would make the province of Nakhchivan an enclave or an exclave (it's both btw), I found that this is an amazing example of art imitating life:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakhchivan_Autonomous_Republic

I'd assume that the leader of Azerbaijan isn't the literal reincarnated devil and his nation wasn't attacked by a cavalry based my little pony fanclub, but I'm not very well read on Caucasian history yet, so I'm not going to rule it out.
Ruler: Ardus
291 -> 371 -> 371 -> 358 -> 355
30 -> 38 -> 38 -> 36 -> 33

Idea Groups
- Espionage (7)
- Economic (7)
- Defensive (2)

Score: 458 (#9)
Rating: 5/10


Grunhammer are the poster boy of how not to play this campaign. They spread their diplomatic roots far and wide and kept themselves perfectly protected from direct attacks against their own country. Then their allies were attacked. Again and again and again. Of the six wars Grunhammer have been involved in since 1466 (the beginning of Marlis Grunhammer's reign), they have started none of them, have been the target of none of them, and yet they have lost considerable ground on every single one of its neighbours and have had their capital Vienna occupied six times. That's not necessarily once per war, it's just one of many Hard Hitting Stats that make for shameful reading for what should be the best connected country in Europe.

Grunhammer's diplomatic nous is such, that they could still take their pick of Christian countries to ally. Any one of the Triple Alliance would be willing to sign up with them if they dropped their alliance with one of Versailles or Legendia. While I'm here, their idea picks are utter trash. If they'd have taken Diplomatic ideas instead of Espionage, like any reasonable country would have (note, there are no reasonble countries), they'd have been able to double down on their diplomatic National ideas and would absolutely not be in such a perilous position. They probably wouldn't have to sell Versailles down the river either.
Ruler: Jeoh
267 -> 330 -> 367 -> 378 -> 406
30 -> 37 -> 39 -> 39 -> 41

Idea Groups
- Economic (7)
- Quantity (7)

Score: 30
Rating: 8/10

I've rated Jeohia so highly for one reason: they are the only AI country I've ever seen to use the Mandate of Heaven well. They claimed the Mandate, they used the resultant claims to expand through China, then they gave up a couple of unaccepted culture (Vietnamese) provinces to foist the poisoned chalice onto the New Pacific Order, eliminating them as a serious threat.

Obviously it was a happy accident on Jeohia part, but if it were somehow a deliberate plan than it would've been the most manipulatively human thing I've ever seen from an EU4 AI, and there can be no higher compliment than that.
Ruler: Archon
321 -> 403 -> 461 -> 521 -> 521
33 -> 40 -> 51 -> 56 -> 51

Idea Groups
- Religious (7)
- Defensive (7)
-

Score: 420
Rating: 6/10


Ironically, given their leader, Junlin have expanded well but have suffered a complete failure of diplomacy, to find themselves isolated with no allies of real worth. They, like most other countries, currently have 4 diplomatic slots. They, unlike most other countries, are wasting most of those slots on Royal Marriages with far weaker countries and hold only one Alliance, with Huangzhou, who possess one single province and are a tributary to Sichuan. It's little wonder that when Sonyeo Sidae came calling, bringing their ally of Jeohia with them, that Junlin were forced to cede the remainder of their culturally Korean land. Whichever side cancelled the Junlin-NPO alliance made a massive diplomatic blunder, though it might have been an unavoidable consequence of NPO becoming Emperor of China. When they claimed the throne, they were automatically given claims over the whole of China, including most of Junlin's core provinces, which is not a recipe for a harmonious alliance.

I like Defensive as their first military idea. It doubles down on Junlin's already defensive National ideas and will make any war a hellish mess of attrition for the aggressor, especially given the mountains they've taken from Ninjakorutso in Manchuria. Religious makes a little bit of sense for them, given they're on China's northern frontier and border not just their fellow Confucians, but Vajrayana, Tengri and Shinto countries too. Deus Vult applies equally to all religions, not just racist white supremacists on reddit. However, Confucians have a unique religious mechanic called Harmonization, which means that they should not be converting provinces they annex, which is half the point of Religious ideas.

It's still possible for Junlin to out-expand Sonyeo Sidae in the short term, branching out into Mongolia and Siberia, but obviously prevail in the long term they need to find allies. With a little bit of effort, Amaranth could realistically become an ally, though they would be of little help in the event of an actual war. If Bengalistan colonise more of the Philippines and Junlin hold on to their little strip of Taiwan, thus eliminating the 'Distance between borders' penalty for AI choosing allies, then they're a feasible option too.
Ruler: Lebubu
276 -> 341 -> 424 -> 614 -> 758
34 -> 39 -> 43 -> 62 -> 81

Idea Groups
- Administrative (7)
- Quantity (7)
- Espionage (6)

Score: 866 (#3)
Rating: 9/10


I previously expressed my dismay that Kabus were allowing their AI ally of Urfa to take land that was more rightfully theirs. Well, they certainly turned that on its head as they demolished their former ally, after they smashed and grabbed their way down to Egypt. They're the country that has conquered the most land, and they opened with the best Idea Group for conquering. Their new lands, combined with both Quantity Ideas and their similar National Ideas, mean that they have to potentially to field the largest army in the world by some a huge distance.

They're no slackers diplomatically either, having picked up the other two major Islamic powers in Qizil Bronxo and Arkansas.

The only reason they haven't received a 10/10 rating is their choice of Espionage ideas.
Ruler: Tribute
302 -> 316 -> 348 -> 357 -> 414
20 -> 21 -> 23 -> 23 -> 27

Idea Groups
- Administrative (7)
- Offensive (7)
- Trade (3)

Score: 817 (#4)
Rating: 7/10

The primary issue for Lahndahn was always, and continues to be, how to deal with the English Channel. Honestly, their solution is pretty spot on: stand behind the biggest bully in the region and egg them on, peeking over their shoulder while hurling nationalistic epithets at everyone else.

Lahndahn needed to nurse themselves through a strategically weak start. Their naval National ideas have now (mostly) been unlocked, which means they have the most powerful open water navy in the world, with which they can secure the English Channel. They were able to use their alliance with Epiphany to essentially break Free Scotland, their only threat on their home island, which means they can take them on at their leisure. Their main continental threat is Schwarzwald, but they're probably going to lose a punitive war which eliminates them as a threat, if not from the campaign altogether.

Even if Epiphany turn on them, Lahndahn have options. Legendia and Nordischreich are already willing to accept alliance offers. With a bit of work, Austurstrond and Grunhammer would as well. I'd love to see a Lahndahn-Legendia-Grunhammer-Versailles bloc as a counterweight to the Triple Alliance but it's probably not happening. Maybe if the Reformation goes ham.

Taking Trade ideas as a non-colonist with a 68% share of the English Channel node is A+. Without American colonies (and a Trade Company in the Ivory Coast), it's going to be difficult to route trade into what could be the best node in the game. Obviously the solution is that Lahndahn should've colonised themselves, but the ship has nearly literally and figuratively sailed on that.
Legendia

Ruler: LegendoftheSkies
277 -> 308 -> 317 -> 318 -> 336
23 -> 30 -> 31 -> 31 -> 32

Idea Groups
- Economic
- Diplomatic
- Offensive

Score: 206
Rating: 6/10

The big problem with Legendia is that it feels like they're a human doing some kind of gimmick playthrough. Maybe LotS himself has snuck his way into the game and is posting his own AAR on the Paradox forums: 'The Malta Challenge - custom nation edition.' It's an entertaining playthrough which I'd certainly read, but it's not a strategy which will win the game for Legendia. The Maltese Maghreb is now not only larger (in area, if not development) than the Legendian Maghreb, it also holds the trans-Saharan route to western Africa, which means that Legendia don't even have the option to expand there themselves.

I feel like Legendia have a very basic, very good set of National Ideas, and they're built upon by each of their group choices. Diplomatic Ideas are an excellent choice here. With a little bit of effort put into improving relations, Legendia could secure alliances with Lahndahn, Lurtzland, or potentially even Tolkmaria or Kabus. This is in addition to their not entirely terrible current alliances of Versaille and Grunhammer. As an aside, they've managed to acquire a massive 6 diplomats (+2 base, +1 for being AI, +1 for Curia Controller, +1 for Diplomatic Ideas, +1 for Kingdom rank) so unlike with other countries, it's not impossible to imagine them actually managing to build up a friendship.

Economic Ideas were probably the best opening choice for a country which didn't expand all that much early on and has instead focussed on its own development and construction. Offensive ideas are always good.

Next up should definitely be Exploration ideas. Why? Because somehow, without any colonial bonuses, Legendia have managed to settle a colony in Brazil. They don't have an Explorer either, they just somehow found out about this strange and beautiful new world, stuck a few lads on a ship and told them to 'ave it, and that's something I can respect.
Ruler: DarthLurtz
261 -> 271 -> 363 -> 368 -> 382
33 -> 33 -> 42 -> 42 -> 43

Idea Groups
- Religious
- Offensive
- Exploration

Score: 477 (#8)
Rating: 6/10

As one of the Norse Outcasts, Lurtzland have done incredibly well in not just avoiding the Norse Bloc dogpile, but managing to expand their lands in the process. Their primary goal seems to have been to lock down the wealthy Lubeck trade node and they've done well, taking most of Vikingar's German and Danish provinces, crucially including Hamburg. It's difficult to tell just how much of the Lubeckian trade they truly control, because most of their German possessions are occupied in a massive war.

In fact, Lurtzland have been at a state of constant total war for at least six years now. Firstly they were dragged into a war in defence of Medvedstrana against the Norse Bloc, now they're fighting the entire west by the side of their Outcast partner Schwarzwald. This is why the short-lived alliance between Lurtzland and an ailing Medvedstrana was as infuriating as it was puzzling. Clearly it was an attempt to encircle Austurstrond, but that partnership ended swiftly in the only way it could: Medvedstrana were attacked, Lurtzland were dragged into a war without their best allies, and they were easily beaten by a numerically superior foe. They lost the Lubeck trade province of Stettin and Austurstrond have inched their way into Sweden proper.

I'm not as angry about the Punitive war. I feel like if they hadn't helped each other expand as quickly as they did, then the Norse Outcasts would've been slaughtered by the Bloc in the east and by Catholics in the west. If they have to swallow a punitive war rather than sit patiently waiting for their death, then that's a better choice. I feel like King Halvor Denny (of Lurtzland) could've perhaps said to Duke Gunther Denny (of Schwarzwald) to maybe have a rest after the fourth or fifth Crusade and not immediately push on with the sixth, but that's more of a Schwarzwald issue.

I have a massive problem with one of Lurtzland's idea choices. They've taken Exploration, but they are nowhere near having the Colonial Range required to actually reach North America from Denmark. I could understand if they'd taken the Shetland Islands from Vikingar, but they didn't. The only American province they can see (which belongs to Epiphanine Canada, so it would uncolonisable anyway) is 742.9 units away, while their Colonial Range is 487.5 units (NB I have no idea what the units actually represent). Thanks to trade winds, there's currently less distance to colonise South America, but they've been well and truly beaten to the punch there. If they can get out of this war relatively unscathed then there's nothing stopping them from beating up Vikingar and starting up the colonisation train, but at the moment they haven't even laid down the first rail.
Ruler: Voytek
293 -> 352 -> 345 -> 341 -> 285
37 -> 43 -> 39 -> 37 -> 28

Idea Groups
- Economic
- Espionage
- Offensive

Score: 78
Rating: 3/10

Medvedstrana are migrating eastward faster than the Renaissance. Or rather, they were, until they were forced to return cores to Equestria, which is a hilarious level of abject failure.

Also Espionage ideas.
Ruler: Nero
271 -> 315 -> 208 -> 266 -> 334
24 -> 26 -> 16 -> 20 -> 26

Idea Groups
- Economic
- Offensive
- Exploration

Score: 41
Rating: 5/10

A friendless Neroland are stil hanging on in there. They've started their own colony in Brazil and from there they should be the first European country to settle Colonial La Plata, so at least the next time the Triple Alliance come for them, king Robert II De Nero will have a tropical paradise to escape to.

I'm being flippant because I don't really see a future for Neroland. They're still a heathen religion to the surrounding Triple Alliance who already have plans to partition Iberia between Epiphany and Patria. They need to desperately scramble for allies, with Versailles, Schwarzwald and Legendia possible targets, in order of most to least likely. They'd need to secure at least two, if not all three to actually dissuade the Triple Alliance though.

They should see if Patria would take them on in an Honourable one on one individual battle. Then they might win. Then Epiphany would sweep in anyway of course, but at least we'd be momentarily entertained.
Ruler: ninja colt
274 -> 154 -> 80 -> 94 -> 66
45 -> 32 -> 17 -> 20 -> 15

Idea Groups
- Economic
- Offensive

Score: 0
Rating: 1/10

Ninjakorutsu's capitulation was immediate, pathetic, and wholesale. So much so that they even struggled to beat one of the weakest countries in the game, Kagyrgyn, who literally live on glaciers (according to eu4).
Ruler: Mistra
272 -> 274 -> 274 -> 279 -> 271
27 -> 27 -> 27 -> 27 -> 26

Idea Groups
- Administrative
- Trade
- Defensive

Score: 15
Rating: 5/10

I can't rate any country in such a strong diplomatic position any lower than 5/10, but Nordischreich are easily the weakest member of the Norse Bloc. Even while a member of the Norse Bloc, they somehow managed to lose Berlin to Lurtzland. To be fair, it wasn't their capital and it isn't even a very good province (12 dev woods), but still, where are they going to build the Brandenburg Gate now?

Their one route for solo expansion has been mostly cut off by Schwarzwald and Lurtzland, and while the Norse Bloc have made substantial gains, literally none of that has benefitted the Nordisch.

Taking Trade Ideas as the second idea set is typically a weak choice but defensible for those who dominate strong trade nodes. Nordischreich barely dominate (59%) their relatively poor and leaky home node of Saxony, even with all the benefits from completing the idea set.
Ruler: Anarch
255 -> 263 -> 325 -> 316 -> 314
39 -> 40 -> 48 -> 48 -> 48

Idea Groups
- Religious
- Quantity
- Espionage

Score: 45
Rating: 7/10


I'm struggling to believe that the premier colonialist country in this game, the first to have an actual colony, has not taken either Exploration or Expansion ideas. Even worse, they took Espionage instead, which I think is a misplay of ludicrous proportions. They're the weakest member of the Triple Alliance, which still makes them incredibly dangerous. If they can come to dominate the South American colonisation game, they'll get a large income boost, and they're already slowly but surely conquering their way to western Africa. The future is bright for Patria as long as they keep their allies by their side.
Ruler: RevReb
248 -> 338 -> 325 -> 288 -> 92
32 -> 44 -> 42 -> 37 -> 13

Idea Groups
- Religious
- Offensive

Score: 0
Rating: 1/10

Perevorot are literally a tributary of Equestria. They are paying Equestria money to protect them. Equestria, who have most of their recently restored country occupied by rebels at any given point, are considered to be better at protecting Perevorot than Perevorot themselves. Wow.

Yes, they were jumped on from all sides, but even then. It's literally Equestria.
Ruler: Gobb
263 -> 150 -> 94 -> 44 -> 50
22 -> 14 -> 9 -> 4 -> 5

Idea Groups
- Religious
- Trade
- Offensive

Score: 0
Rating: 2/10

There's a surprising amount of development left in the Pirineos pinata. Neroland need to drop that independence guarantee and smash it open before Epiphany come knocking. Again.
Ruler: iosif
264 -> 325 -> 325 -> 366 -> 405
23 -> 27 -> 27 -> 32 -> 37

Idea Groups
- Economic
- Trade
- Quantity

Score: 222
Rating: 7/10

Decent ideas, good expansion, solid allies. 7/10 would watch again.

yes there are only 5 minutes to go until i have to start streaming why do you ask???
Ruler: leet guy
270 -> 211 -> 284 -> 153 -> 145
20 -> 16 -> 20 -> 8 -> 7

Idea Groups
- Religious
- Quantity

Score: 0
Rating: 2/10

Qiuyu's race is run. They failed one too many times to beat down Fujian, weakening themselves enough that Junlin and Jeohia just split their lands between them. Now they're a Junlin tributary, which means they're nominally protected from Jeohia now. The top play for Qiuyu now would be to declare war on Fujian - also a Junlin tributary - for the third (?) time, and try to finally retake their core land.
Ruler: rsox
319 -> 375 -> 381 -> 377 -> 415
52 -> 59 -> 59 -> 59 -> 63

Idea Groups
- Administrative
- Diplomatic
- Defensive

Score: 3
Rating: 6/10

In a word, boring. In two words, boringly stable. Qizil Bronxo have no direct threats and are currently allied with Kabus, the most powerful country in the game. The one potential flashpoint is that Arkansas are expanding quickly and now threaten many of Qizil's smaller allies. A war with Arkansas, especially if they bring in Kabus themselves, would likely be a losing proposition for the Red Broncos.
Ruler: LegendoftheSkies
244 -> 254 -> 276 -> 366 -> 375
23 -> 23 -> 24 -> 32 -> 33

Idea Groups
- Diplomatic
- Administrative
-

Score: 3
Rating: 5/10

Samudr Lee Katha have attached themselves to Takeela at the hip and have followed them from conflict to conflict, declaring only one war of their own, to mop up the scraps left of Gauravdesh. They'll be safe, if not particularly prosperous so long as Takeela continue to see their worth as an ally. If that ever changes then Samudr may well be done for.
Schwarzwald

Ruler: Denny
266 -> 282 -> 320 -> 384 -> 444
26 -> 26 -> 28 -> 33 -> 38

Idea Groups
- Religious
- Quantity
- Espionage

Score: 451 (#10)
Rating: 6/10

Schwarzwald's campaign has followed a very human trajectory. They were completely stifled in the centre of Europe, with the Triple Alliance and HRE to the north and west, the hostile Norse Bloc to the east and a fairly well protected Grunhammer to the south. After a few sessions of sitting still, a frustrated Schwarzwald lashed out. They've single handedly destroyed a majority of the Holy Roman minor states in six (6!) different Crusades in the past 30 years. This, quite understandably, worried the survivors who formed a coalition against Schwarzwaldian aggression. Unfortunately for the Outcasts, the coalition leader, Switzerland, was able to pull Epiphany and Lahndahn into the Punitive War.

Now, Punitive Wars live up to the name. None of Schwarzwald's original land will be touched, but they may well have to give up a lot of their newly taken land for the sake of peace. This was never a war an AI could realistically win, even though, amazingly, the Outcasts currently have positive war score from battles. Schwarzwald are making their enemies pay for every step they take into their lands. The Outcasts have lost 111k troops, while the coalition have lost 180k and counting. It is easily the most impressive single martial performance from an AI in this campaign.

Ideas wise, they've obviously made great use of Religious ideas and I really, really wish they hadn't chosen Espionage. Quantity works really well for them given that they'll be mostly fighting in the high supply limits of rich Germany and their National ideas already give them high quality troops. They also have two of the three best generals in the world a 6/3/4/1 and a 4/4/4/1.

Schwarzwald are my favourites and that's why I'm annoyed that they're losing.
Ruler: King Brandon
286 -> 351 -> 397 -> 430 -> 487
36 -> 44 -> 49 -> 52 -> 64

Idea Groups
- Administrative
- Quantity

Score: 15
Rating: 8/10

In the last major writeup, I said that I wanted to see Sonyeo Sidae become Japan, and they've only gone and done it the absolute madmen. After this war with Ninjakorutsu they'll be the only country with land on any of the major Japanese islands. Combine that with their navally inclined National Ideas and they have an amazing defensive position against almost anyone in the world. They've actually been on the offensive anyway, isolating Junlin and annexing their culturally Korean lands. They'll be in prime position to take more land once the truce expires in 1560.

I'm not usually a fan of Quantity ideas, especially in the hands of the AI, who typically end up losing the extra troops and manpower to attrition. There's an attribute in EU4 called Combat Width which defines how many units can participate on your side at the same time in any given battle. Having substantially more units than your combat width is detrimental, because they will still take morale and attrition damage from the battle, but they won't be inflicting damage on the enemy. This is why I'm a proponent of increasing troop quality over quantity.

However, there's obviously a lot more to Quantity ideas than sticking your entire army in a single province to have one big decisive battle (although this did later effectively become actual Japanese naval doctrine) and Sonyeo's advantage in unit numbers was the big difference maker in Sonyeo's war versus Junlin. As well as them having allies and Junlin not. That helped.
Ruler: tequila
316 -> 399 -> 490 -> 540 -> 682
26 -> 35 -> 41 -> 51 -> 60

Idea Groups
- Economic
- Quantity
-

Score: 423
Rating: 9/10


Tequila will never read this anyway and it's 10 minutes before I have to start streaming the next session, so let me just say that I hope the concrete boot that is Takeela's alliance with the Mandate-less Emperor of China in the New Pacific Order helps drown the golden scourge of India. Long Live Gauravdesh.
Ruler: csm
244 -> 326 -> 361 -> 467 -> 537
25 -> 33 -> 36 -> 45 -> 54

Idea Groups
- Religious
- Quantity

Score: 772 (#5)
Rating: 8/10

I remember being frustrated with The Savage Men during the first session because they weren't being aggressive enough. Then they effectively sentenced one of their major neighbours to death (Perevorot), have another in their sights (Grunhammer) all the while under the shadow of the world's most powerful country (Kabus). The Savage Men taken their opportunities well, have no 'dangling' alliances outside of the powerful Norse Bloc, and still pretty much have their pick of directions to expand in. I would absolutely love to see the Norse Bloc vs Kabus & friends, and given TSM's propensity to declare riskier wars, we might even see it. They even have the complete naval superiority they need to defend the Sea of Marmara, with 31 Galleys versus Kabus' 12.

When not busy persecuting Orthodox Christianity, The Savage Men love a Mediterranean cruise. They've declared war on Infinite Citadel - always specifically to claim Cyprus - on three separate occasions. In stark contrast to the competence shown in mainland eastern Europe, their attempts to finally kill off the islanders became a farcical game of whack a mole. In 1527, The Savage Men finally took and annexed all three Infinite Islands, only to find that the Citadel had been rebuilt in Cyrenaica. They later sailed across the Gulf of Bomba and took the offending province of Tarrana, only to find that Infinite rebels had retaken Cyprus.

We laugh, but that still means that a country made up of three tiny islands put up a better fight against The Savage Men than Ashwinder and Perevorot combined.
Ruler: tolk
318 -> 324 -> 325 -> 377 -> 401
59 -> 59 -> 59 -> 71 -> 74

Idea Groups
- Religious
- Offensive
- Espionage

Score: 79
Rating: 6/10

Through absolutely no fault of their own, Tolkmaria have found themselves in a position of great potential. Their victory over Denial Valley was sudden, complete, and mostly down to Kabus sweeping in from the north.

Tolkmaria, especially with the ability to Crusade from Religious Ideas, should be conquering their way down to the East African gold mines with very little opposition. As it is, they declared one war of their own last session, which was a little nibble at Mombasa. I was genuinely concerned that their AI might have been broken and unwilling to declare wars until I saw that in the game log.

The problem for Tolkmaria is isolation - par for the course for this campaign. If Kabus set their sights on the rest of Denial Valley (or worse, the Nile Valley) then currently there's very little Tolkmaria can do to stop them. They need to be sucking up to Arkansas with all the diplomatic nous they can muster because not only would Arkansas be the perfect ally against both West (Kabus) and East (Takeela and Samudr), it prevents Arkansas joining in with Kabus.
Ruler: MagicalTrevor
245 -> 257 -> 261 -> 232 -> 218
16 -> 16 -> 16 -> 14 -> 14

Idea Groups
- Administrative
- Quantity
- Espionage

Score: 20
Rating: 4/10


What do the Lahndahn Conquest of Yorkshire (1526) and the Patrian Crusade against Neroland have in common? Answer, Versailles was the biggest loser in both cases. A combined twelve years of fighting the Triple Alliance have left King Ogier Le Trevor with two halves of a broken country. Versailles epitomise the lessons of this update and of this campaign. They jumped headfirst into the fray to help the isolated Free Scotland and were too proud to let Neroland be swallowed up without a fight. For this, Versailles lost its capital and centre of trade in Languedoc and Lyonnais respectively. The most galling thing about those wars is that Neroland didn't even cede any provinces to Patria in the end. They simply lost the province of Aragon to Epiphany.

If Versailles sit back again, then war will finally come directly to them, or Legendia, or Grunhammer, or Holland, and after a century of losing ground to the Triple Alliance, even the strongest link may not be strong enough to resist them.

Some kind of maverick diplomatic jump to find new allies is the only thing I can see saving Versailles now. Schwarzwald, currently at war with Catholic Western Europe, are the only major country which would currently accept an alliance with Versailles, presumably because of the battering they're taking. With a little bit of palm-greasing, Lurtzland could be brought onside and, if Versailles were willing to drop their alliance with Legendia, then The Savage Men might be courted too. Sidenote: if they'd taken Diplomatic ideas instead of Espionage this paragraph would be moot because they'd have the greatest Diplomatic Reputation in Europe and could have their pick of allies.

There are options there for Versailles, and a human player could certainly rescue the situation. Can the AI do it? It's doubtful.
Ruler: quinoa rex
189 -> 215 -> 129 -> 116 -> 97
30 -> 30 -> 20 -> 14 -> 11

Idea Groups
- Administrative
- Espionage
- Quality

Score: 1
Rating: 4/10


Vikingar had the harshest start. They were saddled with mostly low development land with poor trade resources, but with a few very valuable provinces which ensured that their direct neighbours would conspire to destroy them. Now bereft of even their Nordischreich alliance (lost in 1547, with the last of their Danish land), Vikingar are a sitting duck once their leigion of truce timers expire.

They have two things going for them. 1. Their land now is poor enough that neither Lurtzland nor Austurstrond harbour any real desire to take it from them, which may postpone their demise. 2. Lurtzland are part of the Punitive war against Schwarzwald and could be weakened in a variety of ways. You have all the usual things (losing land, money, manpower) but particularly, they could be forced to return Vikingar cores, or they could be forced to annul their alliance with Schwarzwald. The Norse Bloc collectively view many Lurtzland provinces as a Vital Interest. Vikingar need to turtle and survive and hope that the Norse Bloc come for Lurtzland, before pouncing on the scraps.
And so begins the batch upload of assorted stats, diagrams and ledger entries that someone somewhere might find interesting. These next two are the the 1550 updates for the diplomatic diagrams.
Classic buggy looking devastation map mode. RIP non-Catholic Christianity
Religious map mode. Notable for the Norse incursion into Orthodox lands, as well as Sunni and Hindu into Coptic lands. Catholicism spreading into the Americas too.

Next chapter:

Game: Europa Universalis IV

EUIV - Amaranthine Invitational #6 (1575)

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