EUIV - Amaranthine Invitational #2 (1475)

Author: kamichi
Published: 2017-12-23

Part of the campaign:

EUIV - Amaranthine Invitational

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Game: Europa Universalis IV

EUIV - Amaranthine Invitational #1 (1450)

Images: 52, author: kamichi, published: 2017-12-18

1475. Just over 30 years have passed us by since the beginning of the game, and while that's far too short a time for the ultimate winners to emerge, it's more than enough time to ascertain the biggest losers.

Even on the global political map, there are already big differences.

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After 25 years of spread, the Renaissance is just about reaching the tips of Europe, and has jumped to North Africa thanks to Legendia's Tunisian holdings. The one speck of green in Russia is Moskva, capital of Medvedstrana, where they have kickstarted their own Renaissance rather than waiting for it to slowly spread to them

The rest of the world is bereft and, if other rulers don't follow Feodor Voytek's lead, they'll fall far behind the Europeans.
We can see that the Renaissance is spreading outwards from Moskva. It's possible to 'seed' institutions in a province by developing them. That means spending one of your main forms of currency - Monarch power - on improving a single province.

(It would take a whole lotta words to explain further, so if you want to learn more about monarch power, which is probably the most important resource for any given country, see: )
We can see that Moskva has been improved from 17 to 30 overall development. Every time you 'develop' a province, it gains a percentage of the oldest unembraced institution. For Medvedstrana this is the Renaissance. For Qizil Bronxo, this would be Feudalism.

Moskva is a grassland capital city, as well as a centre of trade which makes it a lot cheaper to spend points on developing there. Additionally, it produces iron, which is an excellent trade good. It's right in the centre of its country which means the institution will spread evenly throughout the country. Overall, an A+ decision by the AI.

This means that the Renaissance will reach Equestria and Qizil Bronxo a lot faster, so seeding your own institutions can be a double edged sword, but as we'll later see, Medvedstrana's main threats lie westward, not east.
Interestingly, Central Doab - capital of Takeela - is now the city of the world's desire. It has been improved from 25 to 32 development, perhaps due to Takeela trying to do what Medvedstrana did with Moskva. Likewise with Cairo, capital of Denial Valley (24->32).

It's a balancing act. By spending monarch power on development, it means you aren't spending points directly on technology. Seeding institutions is usually very profitable long term due to the immediately increased income/manpower and not taking increased tech cost penalties later. However, if you temporarily fall behind in technology, particularly military technology, your neighbours can take advantage.
Institutions are so important because of how heavy a penalty they can have on technology cost. This is the technology map mode and you can already see Asia falling behind Europe, despite all 'civilized' nations beginning at the same tech levels (3/3/3).
The importance of Institutions is emphasised by how the game calculates Great Powers. The Asian quartet should be #2 to #5 but they lose out due to having not adopted the Renaissance.

The next institution is Colonialism which can spawn from 1500.
Finally, before we jump in to the country by country update, here's the glitchy looking Devastation map mode. In green are the areas of the map completed untouched by war, occupation and piracy for long enough that they have achieved Prosperity and receive some lovely bonuses. In varying shades of red are areas which have been devastated which receive penalties on a sliding scale dependent on the severity of looting, ransacking and general maliciousness going down.

Yep, bad things have happened. And are continuing to happen.
Amaranth have had a near perfect start. They've all but eliminated their nearest rival, Australia Minor, and will be able to pick them off at their leisure. Their other enemy, the New Pacific Order, have a larger army, but with Amaranth's development so spread out over the Malayan archipelago, they can use their superior navy to limit the Pacifican threat. Amaranth aren't the best colonisers, but they're now the closest major power to the remaining uncolonised Spice Islands and have already been taking advantage.

284 -> 410
30 -> 43
Arkansas took two bites of the lovely red Georgian apple, reaching the Caspian coast in 1456 and later taking their capital Shirvan once the truce ended in 1468. Their one major ally is Kabus, which secures their north and west. I'm surprised they've shown no inclination to push into Oman; Muscat is the one trading province in their home node of Hormuz which they don't own. Instead, they're looking eastward, with claims raised on the Aagdesh warrior priests. With Aagdesh embroiled in a losing war in defence of their allies, Arkansas could (and should) swoop in.

268 -> 318
42 -> 49
The biggest loser. What happened to Ashwinder doesn't need much explaining. The Confucians struggled to find anyone willing to ally with heathens and Neroland considered them too far away to bother with.

Friendless and defenceless, Ashwinder was partitioned between the three neighbouring powers, with Erit Lux grabbing Italy, Savage Men (finally) pushing in from the south, and Grunhammer taking the rest. Cleverly, Grunhammer took Friaul, which cuts off Erit Lux from easily taking any more Ashen land.

There's not much to say about Ashwinder itself. They're dead as soon as Grunhammer cares to put them out of their misery.

242 -> 45
23 -> 5
Australia Minor seem to be dying a slow death. They actually have quite a lot of their development left considering they've actually lost two wars and their capital to the naval superiority of Amaranth. However, not even the minor countries on Java (Karta & Demak) will consider allying with them and, indeed, Karta are in Amaranth's (sizeable) pocket.

The first war was lost in 1458, wherein Australia ceded their portion of Borneo and gave Amaranth a foothold on their home island of Sulawesi. Then in 1473, they lost their capital.

Australia still hold the richest spice island provinces of Ternate and Tidore and Amaranth still have to deal with considerable separatist and religious rebellions, so you can't count them out just yet. However, if Amaranth press on after the truce expires in 1487, then I can only see one winner.

280 -> 178
33 -> 21
I mentioned last update that a potential problem Austurstrond faced was a lack of land connection to their allies. They solved that problem by partitioning Minsk between themselves and PRD. Simple. Job done.

Minsk were (and still are!) allied to Medvedstrana, leading to Austurstrond gaining the tiniest bit of land directly from them in the same war which effectively killed Minsk. They have further ambitions in the east and south, with claims across nearly the entire border with Medvedstrana and Perm. Medved have strong allies; Perm do not.

Interesting economic note: having started with cheaper tech costs and now enjoying cheaper ideas too, Austurstrond has used the excess monarch points on development. They've jumped up by over 40 development despite only taking 20 via conquest. Capital Neva is up by 10 development, and centre of trade Novgorod is up by 6. A successful attack on Perm and a solid economy would leave Austurstrond in a very strong long-term position.

251 -> 293
39 -> 41
We left India in 1450 just as Gauravdesh had bitten off more than they could chew against Samudr and Takeela. Who won? Bengalistan. First of all, they took advantage of the war weary Samudr to annex Velanadu without much of a fight by 1461. Then they pushed into the remnants of Gauravdesh and split the country in two by 1473. Their gains included the province of Golconda, the most valuable gems mine in the world. They are the premier Indian power as it stands and as their income is based on trade, that advantage will only grow as time passes.

However, this naked aggression has worried their fellow Indians, who have just watched them swallow one fellow Indian Hindu state and cripple another. Samudr and Gauravdesh are angry enough to join a coalition against Bengal. Takeela are on the edge. Baroda need a bit more convincing. The Indochinese states to the east are looking warily over their shoulder.

If any four of these countries are angry enough to form a coalition, their combined power could easily force Bengal into a humiliating defeat.

331 -> 440
36 -> 43
Denial Valley

It was all going so well for Denial Valley, until it wasn't. Jordan are all but wiped from the map following Denial's 1454 push into the holy land, despite having been one of the largest non-custom nations in 1444. In 1460, they integrated their vassal, Lasta, in the south, expanding the Ethiopian frontier.

Then they picked a fight with Tolkmaria and now they're dying.

Actually, they have a few things going for them. One: there's a vast expanse of attritional desert between Cairo and the Tolkan border which has already taken its toll and completely drained Tolkmaria of manpower. Two: the Denial focus on Tradition has bred the greatest general in the world, Makarios Denial (a 3/4/4/4 for those keeping track at home).

Bad news: There are literally no forts between Cario and the Tolkan border and Makarios Denial is outnumbered, behind enemy lines, and about to walk into a trap.

It's an interesting war that could still go either way. If Tolkmaria lose then obviously it's not great for them, but they can still muscle their way down the African and Arabian coasts. If Denial Valley loses then they'll be surrounded on all sides by more powerful foes with nowhere to run.

later edit: i hope denial valley loses if only so they get a whole load of Revanchism and use it to roll back over everyone else.

279 -> 355
48 -> 60
The war machine with no brakes. Epiphany will fight anyone, anywhere, at any time. First up was Pirineos, from which Epiphany took nearly all their French possessions. Next up were Versailles, who were the only major power to defend the minor independent province of Barrois, while Lahndahn cowardly betrayed them. Two Versailles provinces (and Barrois itself of course) fell to the warrior king Geraud Epiphanus, leading his own armies from the front.

1471 saw the beginning of the Epiphanine Conquest of Vizcaya, a major war against Neroland joined by Pirineos versus Epiphany and allies Patria and Erit Lux. It's the perfect diplomatic play - Erit Lux and Patria both help surround the war targets and bring large armies, but don't actually share a border with Pirineos or Patria and would struggle to take land for themselves. It's an actual genius play that I as a human player would've been proud of.

Despite the total occupation of their homelands, the Neroland and Pirinean armies were actually still intact and made an amazing push all the way to Paris in an attempted decapitation strike, which was only thwarted by Patrian troops just as the walls of Paris were crumbling. You can see the remnants of that push on the map still.

In summary:

[3:32 AM] kamichi: lol ive just checked Geraud Epiphanus' personality
[3:32 AM] kamichi: i started him off as a 3/3/6 conqueror
[3:33 AM] kamichi: he's since picked up Strict and Tactical Genius
[3:33 AM] kamichi: while he himself is a 5 shock general
[3:33 AM] kamichi: no wonder everyone's fucking dead

Now, like with Bengalistan, this aggression has not gone unnoticed and could create a really interesting situation in western Europe. Versailles and Pirineos are already far past the point of coalitioning against Epiphany. A lot of minor Holy Roman Catholics are right on the edge (Luxemburg, Metz, Elsass, Pfalz, Aachen) and while Neroland currently don't care, they will once they lose territory in this war. Most interestingly, Schwarzwald aren't happy with how fellow Norse county Pirineos were treated.

All in all, unless Epiphany are extremely careful with the peace agreement for Neroland, they could easily see a massive and varied coalition which would undo the past 25 years of conflict and more.

324 -> 446
19 -> 28
So much happened to Equestria in 25 years, yet there's so little to say. Their sole ally in Kabus betrayed them when they were attacked almost literally from all sides and everyone's taken their own little (or large) piece.

They don't even have a standing army any more after the Tribes revolted and killed them all.

Once the truces expire (and there's a lot of truces), Equestria will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

350 -> 140
47 -> 19
It doesn't look like Erit Lux expanded that much, but this is northern Italy in the 15th century where you're just falling over rich provinces. Verona, Treviso and Venezia have an average of 22 development which is massive, and Venezia is the most important province in the very rich trade node of the same name.

Erit Lux are now the dominant trading power in both Italian end nodes which gives them the highest income in the world by far. Furthermore, they are a member of the emergent Triple Alliance (better names on a postcard please) with Epiphany and Patria. If this position holds then Versailles and even Legendia could be in a lot of danger, in spite of their own allies.

Neroland and Pirineos are currently finding out just how powerful the #1 and #2 great powers are when they're fighting together.

310 -> 376
19 -> 22
Look at how fucking little Free Scotland did. They literally gained ONE (1) point of development in 25 years.

Despite being overwhelmingly dominant on the British Isles, they're in danger of being diplomatic outmanuevered. Scotland have no allies, but Lahdahn have one ally of note in Epiphany. Lahndahn's superior ships securing the English Channel, allowing masses of Epiphany's troops to cross would spell utter ruin for Free Scotland.

275 -> 276
27 -> 27
What was once a proud teal diamond dominating the centre of India is now a sorry looking mess. Things seem pretty grim for Gauravdesh, but there's still a glimmer of hope. Bengalistan are close to triggering a coalition against themselves, which could see Gaurav's eastern cores returned. Honestly? I don't think it's going to happen.

Gauravdesh walked into a trap somewhat of their own making. They made the first aggressive move in trying to annex Velanadu. They didn't lose anything to Velanadu or their ally Samudr Lee Katha, but Takeela swooped in and picked up a massive chunk of land from the north. This left Gaurav weak and isolated enough that Bengalistan simply marched in an took whatever they wanted, and they wanted the greatest diamond mine in the world in Golconda.

We started with five powerful countries in India. By persuing the first war of aggression, Gauravdesh influenced them into allying each other, leaving themselves as the only target. It's difficult to see any way back for them.

256 -> 154
24 -> 14
Georgia look remarkably healthy for a country that has been fully occupied on at least three separate occasions. Their tale is a familiar one though: isolated by religion and surrounded by powerful countries meaning it was only a matter of time until the first nibble. Georgia had (and still have) some of the most defensible terrain in the world, but when you're so heavily outnumbered, nothing else really helps that much.

239 -> 83
30 -> 11
The Viridian Hammer is swinging. Ardus Grunhammer did actually become Holy Roman Empire for the last two years of his life, which temporarily made Grunhammer the most powerful country in the world. However, their new ruler, Ardus' daughter Marlis, was prevented from ascending to the imperial throne due to rampant 15th century sexism.

(In actual history, Charles VI issued an edict in 1713 called the Pragmatic Sanction, allowing women to inherit the Habsburg Empire. There's a similar decision in the game which allows women to become Holy Roman Empress, but it requires Imperial Authority which no country will ever have in this campaign)

Regardless, imperial chicanery did nothing to stop Grunhammer taking a massive bite out of Ashwinder and securing an impressive list of allies, one of whom has just started what could be the largest war we've seen so far (see: Lurtzland).

There is a potential danger for Grunhammer however. Their four enemies: The Savage Men, Nordischreich, PRD and a more powerful than you think Switzerland all sit right on Grunhammer's border and are ready to move as soon as they sense weakness. Indeed, with Grunhammer currently at war with Vikingar and the PRD, The Savage Men and Nordischreich might consider it the perfect opportunity to move in. Switzerland could bring in their allies in Epiphany and Legendia.

It's a whole lot of coulds and maybes, but it makes for intriguing viewing.

291 -> 371
30 -> 38
All hail the Celestial Emperor. It didn't take very long for Shimei Jeoh's vision of a Dutch Chinese Peasant Republic to be corrupted by the power promised by the throne of China. Jeohia have expanded out in all directions, taking land and tributaries wherever they go. They have an amazing set of allies in Bengalistan and Sonyeo Sidae, leaving Jeohia to mop up China for themselves while ostensibly protected from other main powers like Junlin and the NPO.

All this is moot though, because the Celestial Throne is a poisoned chalice. The Empire of China has a unique Mandate attribute. A high Mandate (above 50 out of 100) gives minor bonuses and allows the Emperor to pass Celestial reforms (by spending 80 Mandate). A low Mandate (under 50) gives the Emperor horrendous bonuses on a sliding scale. Jeohia's mandate is at 38.82 and is decreasing by 0.12 per MONTH. They're already suffering increased unrest and an 11% penalty to goods produced and all types of damage taken, which is already obscene and is only getting worse. At 0 Mandate that 11% becomes 50% and the Emperor becomes the largest paper tiger you've ever seen.

The only way Jeohia can turn this around is by forcing as many neighbours to pay tribute as possible. This means war with any country who won't voluntarily submit: the New Pacific Order and Qiuyu among others. It's not going to happen.

267 -> 330
30 -> 37
All hail the King of China. That's not an official title, but it might as well be as the Archon dynasty has absolutely secured itself as the rulers of the most powerful country in China.

They've taken the vast majority of Ninjakorutsu's valuable mainland provinces including the centre of trade in Girin, which gives Junlin the largest share in the Girin node. This allows them to route all the trade from the north east into Beijing instead of Nippon and Japan which is where it was going before. Moreover, unbeknownst to Changzhi Archon, Girin directly takes trade from the California node too, meaning that even if Junlin themselves don't colonise, they'll still profit directly from ever-expanding global trade.

Their temporary alliance with Sonyeo Sidae has been cancelled, meaning that there could be a combined attack from Korea and their Chinese allies Jeohia. Jeohia will soon be suffering from low Mandate and Sonyeo will be splitting their armies between Korea and Japan, so much so that I believe that Junlin could win against even a two pronged assault, especially once they boost their Morale of Armies by taking one more idea.

Junlin still have masses of claims on Ninjakorutsu, but the Siberian horde of Buryatia or the Qiuyu metropolises are both there for the taking, if they're not scared by the potential Korean threat.

321 -> 403
33 -> 40
Kabus nearly won an award this session. They came in second place in the 'most impressive growth of a non-custom ally' as they've fought multiple wars with Urfa (their orangey brown south east neighbours) by their side and fed them most of the spoils. To what end? I don't know, they're being stupid.

Kabus themselves took 9 provinces from Georgia and Jordan while Urfa took 19. That's a whole lot of development which should've gone to the Romanian led Turks and has really limited Kabus' expansion options. A sliver of Jordan remains on the coast before the next target is Denial Valley, while Georgia still holds its underdeveloped Caucasus provinces.

Beyond Urfa, Kabus are also allied to Arkansas, which will help dissuade their biggest threat: the relatively well connected and warlike Savage Men. Kabus are in a reasonable, if very static, position moving into session #2

276 -> 341
34 -> 39
Lahndahn weren't session #1's chief antagonist, just for how under the radar they were. They took one province - Koln - from the HRE state of Cleves (RIP), in a war they struggled with as half of their Dutch possessions came under occupation from such mega powers as Pfalz, Trier and East Frisia.

Diplomatically they're clinging on to Epiphany's coattails with all their might, who are their only ally of worth. This led to a major flashpoint in the 1460s, where Epiphany declared war on Barrois, a Lahdahn protectorate and a Versailles ally. Lahndahn betrayed Barrois and left them to die, and left Versailles to take on the roaring lion by themselves. If Lahndahn had been stronger willed, then we'd have likely seen a far weaker Epiphany which now seems to be snowballing out of control.

To be fair to Lahndahn, their relative inaction has allowed their land to prosper and they've grown far richer from majority control over the English Channel trade node.

To be unfair to Lahndahn, their leader's name is Humphrey le Despenser. Yeah.

302 -> 316
20 -> 21
Taking the #1 spot in the 'most impressive growth of a non-custom ally' competition is Legendia who, somehow, someway, vastly increased Malta's holdings by giving them a parcel of land in Africa. I've never seen anything like it without human interference, which makes Legendia my new favourite country.

Legendia though, are in a slightly worrying position. They've expanded their north African holdings by making short work of the Nahuatl pirates, despite Denial Valley's condottieri, but most of what they've taken is completely undeveloped desert - they already owned the richer Tunisian provinces.

Their biggest problem is that they now border - and are the main target of expansion for - two members of the Patria-Erit Lux-Epiphany Triple Alliance. Obviously, they're busy dismantling the Iberian Peninsula just now, but that shouldn't take much longer. Most worryingly of all: Epiphany should not be expanding further due to coalitions and aggressive expansion, but there's absolutely nothing stopping them from helping their allies push into Legendian lands.

Legendia are allied to Versailles and Switzerland. Together they could certainly take on Erit Lux. They could probably put up a good fight against Erit Lux and a recovering Epiphany. They should not be able to win a two front war against the full Triple Alliance.

The Serene Republic does actually have a somewhat hidden advantage however - they are the current Papal Controller and they have been busy.

They were able to excommunicate Annie Anarch, Queen of Patria. This means that until the Queen dies or abdicates, her country will suffer some quite severe penalties to prestige and religious tolerance, among other things. Most pertinently, it gives a massive penalty to relations with other Catholic countries, which has driven a wedge between Patria and Erit Lux. It also means that Legendia, if they feel feel ballsy, could declare war on Patria citing the Excommunicated Ruler CB, and Erit Lux might not defend their potentially heretical ally.

277 -> 308
23 -> 30
This session has shown King Olaf Rask to be a masterful plotter. Surrounded by enemies (Vikingar, Nordischreich and PRD) and unknowns (Austurstrond) Lurtzland had bided its time, taking only the Aaland islands in 1447. Knowing they cannot match might with their neighbours on their own, they've slowly built up a diplomatic power-base and have just now cashed it in.

Lurtzland, with her allies in Schwarzwald, and most vitally, Grunhammer, declared war on Vikingar over the incredibly important trade province of Hamburg. The PRD jumped to Vikingar's defence but the numbers advantage is decidedly with the aggressors. If this war plays out with no interference, then Lurtzland should achieve their wargoals

There could be two wrinkles in the plan. Firstly, the Vikingar, somehow, have the most powerful open water fleet in the world. The Oresund and Kattegats are considered Inland Sea which means that Lurtzland's galleys should be more effective than Viking heavy ships when controlling the strait crossings, but it could be intriguing to see. Secondly, Olaf Rask has gotten cocky and has split his armies. Half are to deal with Vikingar at home, while the other half have been sent through Finland (!!) to the PRD. This actually leaves them outnumbered at home (22k vs 24k) which could end in tears.

Additionally, as detailed in Grunhammer's entry, there could well be interference in this war. If this happens, ignore everything I just wrote, because it could get very messy indeed.

261 -> 271
33 -> 33
I remember the old Medvedstrana which started off looking like a nice and orderly, if slightly lopsided square. Now look at it.

They took a huge bite out of Equestria in 1453, mostly very gamey meat consisting of low value steppes and forest, though Nizhny Novgorod is a nice 12 development copper centre of trade.

Then in a valiant, perhaps misguided attempt to defend Minsk, the Medveds not only failed, but lost their own province of Mologa in the north. It's a mostly barren grassland, fit for nothing more than grazing livestock, but it's now an ugly black blot on the map, and a statement of intent from Austurstrond. The Medveds are out for revenge and have a couple of impressively sized allies - Perevorot and Qizil Bronxo - to help them do it. Other than that, Equestria is there for the taking once their truce expires.

293 -> 352
37 -> 43
Where will you be when Epiphany strikes? Unfortunately for Neroland, the answer was 'the wrong place at the wrong time' as they found themselves as the next target for the Triple Alliance.

They actually managed to pick up the Triple Alliance's previous target, Pirineos, as their first and only ally. However, all of Iberia combined still can't face up to the owners of the richest provinces in the world (and their plucky North African friend) and here you see the results. There was a hugely impressive push by Neroland & Co towards Paris, as detailed under Epiphany's entry, but ultimately it was thwarted, and all that is left is for Neroland to wait for judgement.

Neroland actually declared their second offensive war against Cordoba months before the Epiphany war. If they submit to Epiphany while keeping their armies intact like they've mostly managed so far, they might be able to turn around that war and keep expanding south, even while losing ground in the North.

In the first war against Cordoba they took their capital and the very important trading province of Sevilla. Things would've been going well if not for the near total isolationism of the Confucian regime.

271 -> 315
24 -> 26
Despite other countries losing more, or being in more perilous positions, I still believe that Ninjakorutsu's performance in session #1 was the worst we saw. They managed to lose their most valuable provinces in Manchuria and in the Japanese homeland in successive one on one wars. They weren't outnumbered, they were just rubbish. They managed to lose 7 provinces to Sonyeo Sidae, including their capital, despite Sonyeo being a primarily Korean nation.

I can't see any way back for Ninjakorutsu, which is great because I hate typing their name. Their oppressors in Sonyeo and Junlin both hate them and are hungry for war. They went out of their way to declare Buryatia as their rival. Qiuyu are now too far away to have a hope of befriending. They're completely isolated and wholly outgunned (outbowed? when did guns historically see use Japan? like 16th century through Portugal, right?).

They're gearing up for one last gasp assault on Buryatia, but even if that succeeds, the Chinese-Korean axis will still coming at them. They could also adopt colonialist ideas and try to run away to America. That's genuinely what I'd do in this situation.

274 -> 154
45 -> 32
Nordischreich's early acquisition of Braunschweig in 1447 was the only expansion they were allowed, surrounded as they are by major powers on most sides. Further west, they border Hanover and Luneburg, under the protection of Schwarzwald and Vikingar respectively. Central Europe was always going to be very tight for expansionists, and is being deliberately kept that way. Nordischreich probably suffered the most from this and had needed to bide their time.

They may well decide their time has come though. Every one of their three rivals, Schwarzwald, Lurtzland and Grunhammer are at war with Vikingar and PRD.

If Nordischland declare war on the weakest link - Schwarzwald - and bring in their uninvolved allies - Austerstrond and The Savage Men - they will not only tip the balance of the current war, but could run rampant over Schwarzwald and completely disrupt the balace of power in Europe.

Genuinely, I'm finding this situation so interesting. I imagine we'll all be disappointed by nothing actually happening, but WHAT IF
Patria have picked up just the one small, undeveloped, but hugely strategic province of Gibraltar from Cordoba. This means they can far more easily secure the Strait of Gibraltar and be safe from any attack from the north. Their truce with Cordoba is up and they still have plenty of manpower despite the ongoing occupation of Neroland and Pirineos, so they have ample opportunity to expand further into Spain and take a bite out of the lucrative trade profits of the Sevilla node.

They're in a position of diplomatic strength given their membership of the Triple Alliance. However, despite overall military success in their current war, their navy was completely obliterated by Neroland's. Any potential invasion of Legendia should be postponed until they rebuild back up, but will they?

255 -> 263
39 -> 40
The biggest winners from the disintegration of Equestria, Perevorot have expanded nicely, have some solid allies (Grunhammer and Medvedstrana) and still have a couple of avenues for expansion, though their truce with Equestria has a long time to run (1485).

They were able to sneakily take two provinces from Minsk in 1464, which was after Minsk was partitioned by PRD and Austurstrond, but before Medvedstrana re-allied Minsk after having the alliance annulled by the initial war terms. This gives them the slightest of borders with another enemy, Austurstrond.

Perevorot lead yet another faction that could play spoiler in the Lurtz vs Vikingar war. They have raised claims on the outnumbered PRD and could be tempted to enter the war as a big Slavic bloc with the Medveds, though that would bring in yet more countries in PRD's defence.

The possibilities aren't endless, but there are far too many to write about. I'm just sitting here hoping for fireworks.

248 -> 338
32 -> 44
Pirineos, the mountainous, very defensible, though isolated Norse crusader kingdom. Its centre was the legendarily unassailable fort of Pirineo itself, where the de Gobbs retreat to in times of war as the last bastion of the Norse faith in western Europe.

The fort has now been breached, taken, and most certainly assailed.

To be fair, Epiphany didn't quite manage it during their first war, they just took the very rich French provinces from the north. To be fair, Versailles didn't quite manage it either, they just took the famous wine producing province of Toulouse and the important Pyrenees fort of Roussillon. Then, when Pirineos rode to the defence of Neroland - two oppressed and isolated countries at the top of Europe, banding together in one desperate survival attempt - Pirineo fell.

They shouldn't lose much in this war, but that is only because Epiphany diplomatically cannot afford to take anything. They've still lost their richest land, and the only reason they are still economically afloat is because Lahndahn is paying their bills (who knows why).

If they don't want to be eliminated next session then they need to make a change. They could reach out to Schwarzwald who might consider allying their Norse brethren, they could quest for the new world and rebuild, far away from the Triple Alliance. They have options, but they can't just sit there doing nothing like they did in session #1.

263 -> 150
22 -> 14
The PRD currently have an impressive list of allies - The Savage Men, Austurstrond, Vikingar and Nordischreich - so much so that any direct attack against them would probably fail. The problem with such a wide ranging net of allies is that your enemies will just pick a different target. This is how they've been dragged onto the outnumbered side of the Lurtz-Vikingar war and will soon have Grun and Schwarz armies piling over their southern border.

The partition of Minsk in 1459 was a great move which gained them some decent land, helped them secure a share of the Baltic Sea trading node via Memel, and gave them a border with another ally. Everything was going pretty much fine for PRD until they were undone by their own 'strong' diplomacy.

264 -> 325
23 -> 27
Qiuyu needed a fast start and, despite their best intentions, they failed and fell hard. Qiuyu declared a very early war on Fujian and lost in a stunning display of incompetence. Stripped of half their land and of the ownership of the Celestial Throne* by 1451, Qiuyu were heading for an even quicker defeat than Ashwinder or Equestria.

Since then, they've actually managed to fight back. The map you see here depicts a country which has somehow risen from its nadir. With Junlin occupied in the north, Qiuyu was able to fight mano a mano with Fujian and managed to wrest back their two most southern connected provinces as well as the exclave of Wenzhou.

They're still in a horrendous position. They're worse off than when they started while their main rivals have all grown substantially. They quite literally have the worst ruler in the world in Xiaoying Leet Guy, a 0/0/0 16 year old with no heir. To top it all off, they now have a direct land border with Jeohia. Emperor Jeohia. The Jeohia that has permanent claims on all of China and is racing against time to conquer and tributise enough of their neighbours.

270 -> 211
20 -> 16
Despite the abundance of targets, Qizil Bronxo has stayed on trend and merely took two large bites out of Equestria, with their second war of conquest concluded literally one in-game week before this update.

The Bronxos have what could be the most secure position in the world. They have no realistic military or diplomatic threats. Even if they did have threats, their land is mostly poor enough that nobody would really want it.

They were mistakenly made into a Tribal Confederation, rather than a real tribe like a Steppe Nomads. This means that they share many of the tribal mechanics, but not Horde Unity which completely destabilises nearly all AI tribal nations. They could sit still for the next 300 years and I bet that not much would change.

The one interesting thing to look out for is that they have to choose another rival and have possibly the widest range of choices in the game right now. They're already a rival of Takeela, and can choose from countries as geographically varied as Austurstrond, Kabus and Arkansas. Whether their next choice of rival actually dictates their foreign policy is anybody's guess. Hopefully it's interesting enough that they're forced to do something. Preferably within the next three centuries.

319 -> 375
52 -> 59
Samudr Lee Katha have been kept static in session #1 through a combination of geography and circumstance. They were saved from what could have been a losing war against Gauravdesh by Takeela attacking from the north, but as they were defending an ally, they weren't able to take land and could only watch as Bengalistan swept in while the truce timer ticked down. Now, Samudr have the claims and they have the numbers they need to declare their own war against Gaurav, as well as an alliance with Takeela to help protect against Bengali aggression.

Long term, Samudr's prospects look somewhat bleak and that's almost entirely due to their rivals and enemies. Samudr somewhat sensibly chose their direct neighbours as their own rivals, which is what helped secure the Takeela alliance. However, the countries that rivalled Samudr are Bengalistan, Amaranth and Tolkmaria. It'd be a struggle for the latter two to successfully invade Samudr, but they both have substantially easier opportunities for expansion, and both will ultimately want control of the Ceylon trade node which Samudr controls.

244 -> 254
23 -> 23
As we reach the end of our alphabetical list of countries, there's very little I can say about Schwarzwald that hasn't already been said. They border many of the remaining minor states of the Holy Roman Empire but haven't even raised claims, never mind declared wars against them. It's not like they're that well protected either. Declaring war against Pfalz (orange, two provinces) would bring in Luxemburg (blue, one province) as well as Emperor Switzerland. That's a winnable war for Duke Rolf Denny, especially if he calls in Lurtzland.

Fear of intervention is what's holding back expansion in Europe. That's what makes Geraud Epiphanus stand out - as a Conquerer with a Militarist personality, he just doesn't care, and that's why he's (currently) the #1 Great Power.

The Lurtz-Vikingar war could really flip the finely poised balance of Europe, and I suppose if Schwarzwald come out on top, as it looks like they're going to (if nothing changes), then they'll have played their cards right.

266 -> 282
26 -> 26
At this point in time, it looks like Sonyeo Sidae have done everything right. They quelled the greatest threat to their existance by allying with them. Sonyeo and Junlin both took huge bites out of Ninjakorutsu, before Sonyeo declared Junlin their rivals.

Sonyeo have undeniably won the war over Japan, having taken Ninja's capital and the majority of their mainland developed provinces. The issue remains that they have to split their armies between their Korean homeland and new conquered, full of rebels Japan (which now has the majority of their valuable stated land (58%)). Now, they'll soon have complete naval superiority of the Inland Seas around Japan and Korea, having started with Galley Combat Ability and soon unlocking Morale of Navies. However, in a hypothetical war with Junlin, they'll have a lower quality, smaller army to begin with, and Junlin will only be looking to occupy Korea.

Long term, if I were in King Sang Brandon's position, I would be looking to heavily fortify the Junlin border, move my capital to Japan (I hear the Chinaware of Settsu is to die for) and ultimately shift culture from Korean to Japanese. Actually, my plan is just to become Japan. It's me, I was the weeaboo all along.

286 -> 351
36 -> 44
Takeela, perhaps moreso than any other country, have taken their opportunities well. They strangled their potentially strongest military rival, Gauravdesh, in the crib and took a lot of rich AND easily defended land. They allied with Samudr Lee Katha which both protects themselves and curtails further Bengalistan dominance of India. Now, they're helping out their western ally Sind Sagar against Kashmir and Aagdesh which, again, prevents Aagdesh (a Bengali ally) growing into a greater threat on their border.

Unlike the other leading countries, Takeela have somehow done this while accruing almost no Aggressive Expansion at all, meaning they're at absolutely no risk of coalitions and are still well liked by many of their neighbours.

As a compliment, I would say that Takeela's play has been the most human-like: they're diving onto opportunities when they present themselves and gaming the system to their own advantage and it's pretty cool to see.

316 -> 399
26 -> 35
It took a while for them to get going, but in 1472, The Savage Men finally spilled over an enemy's border in anger as they mopped up what little was left of Ashwinder after Grunhammer had finished with them. It's mostly defensible, if underdeveloped mountains which would have a human player scrambling to fortify in case Grunhammer turn south.

The Lurtz-Viking war actually presents The Savage Men with an interesting opportunity to get involved as detailed in many other more relevant countries' updates. It's all a bit of a pipedream, but the 15th century could see the first truely Europe-wide war.

Aside from beating up Ashwinder, The Savage Men had a very interesting little war against Infinite Citadel of all countries. The Savage Men were able to take Rhodes, despite Infinite Citadel's ally Denial Valley intervening. This was made possible by TSM's naval superiority on the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

If a sea or ocean province is consider an Inland Sea, then the rules for naval engagement are changed a bit, with the maneuverability of Galleys becoming more effective than the firepower of Heavy Carracks. This means that The Savage Men have quietly built up the most powerful fleet in the Mediterranean, and they've proven they know how to use it.

Among other things, this really secures their border with Kabus as their fleet can stop the Kabus armies crossing the straits over the Sea of Marmara. It gives The Savage Men a lot of flexibility in future wars, so long as they can maintain their naval advantage.

244 -> 326
25 -> 33
Tolkmaria's first session was looking like the most disappointing. We like winners. We like losers. We like movers and shakers. We like countries that bring the fight. We can understand when a country can't make moves due to a disadvantageous
geopolitical position.

What we don't like are countries who have so many interesting options who just sit back and do nothing.

However, through no fault of their own, they've wound up in a major war, defending against Denial Valley aggression and, to be fair to them, they've turned the war around and are making advances. Due to the way that the AI calculates war score and peace treaty concessions, they won't be able to take any land from Denial unless they take Cairo* though they could already settle for money and reparations. If I had to make a prediction, I actually think that if the war goes on long enough, Denial will turn it around again, because Tolkmaria are running out of men far quicker and they're losing more to desert attrition. See Denial Valley's update for a more in depth look of what could happen in this war.

*Cairo is considered the nearest fort, even to the border provinces, which means that any attempt to take land is met with a'Demanding [province] without occupying any forts in the area: -1000' penalty.

This war is the first interesting thing that's happened involving Tolkmaria so far, so let's hope this kickstarts them into moving against their weaker neighbours.

318 -> 324
59 -> 59
Hey Versailles, you're looking different. No no, you're looking good, did you do something different with your hair? Oh wait, I know, you swapped the provinces of Bourbon and Auvergne for Toulouse and Roussillon didn't you? I knew it.

Ignoring the geopolitical reality, Versailles' country has actually improved for the swap. They picked up their new provinces from Pirineos in 1458, declaring their own war after Epiphany had mostly finished with their own landgrab. Roussillon is a quite defensible hill fort, which gives Versailles control over the eastern Pyrenees pass. They lost Bourbon and Auvergne in 1466 while attempting to defend the now deceased country of Barrois from yet another Epiphany conquest (their second of three in just session #1 alone). If Lahndahn hadn't deserted them, I feel like they'd have had a chance at taking down the beast, but Lahndahn ran away, so now we'll never know and now both Lahndahn and Versailles have to deal with the most powerful country in the world at their doorstep.

Versailles' new provinces have slightly higher development, better strategic worth vs Pirineos, though they have worse trade resources (Iron will become much better than Wine). Taking into account the geopolitical reality however, the Versailles capital of Languedoc is now right on the Epiphanine border and is now pretty much indefensible in any direct war between the rampant leader of the Triple Alliance and the slightly cowed southern Franciens.

To be fair, Versailles have put their diplomatic nous to good use and have a wide net of allies - Legendia, Grunhammer and Free Scotland would all be called in if Epiphany comes knocking. However, alliance chains like this are only as strong as your weak link (see: Vikingar). A war declared against Legendia could avoid bringing in Grunhammer. A war declared against Free Scotland could avoid both Grunhammer and Legendia.

245 -> 257
16 -> 16
Unfortunately, there's a lot to be said about the future of Vikingar, but by being last alphabetically, it's already been said in other entries. As we all know by now, they're in a defensive war with the PRD against Lurtzland, Grunhammer and Schwarzwald. If the war plays out according to current numbers, Vikingar will lose and lose big.

Despite having a far larger land area than Lurtzland (although is that just due to the map projection? or is Norway actually that 'tall' irl?), their land is mostly completely undeveloped arctic mountains and forests. Their one grassland province is their capital, Borgarsysla, which has been developed a massive 20 times. Not only is that such a ludicrous amount of new development that it was probably a waste, but their capital is still mostly undefended and right on the Lurtzland border. If you're going to pour that many monarch points into a province, at least have a proper fort on it.

If Vikingar are left to go head to head with Lurtzland, they'll still be outnumbered but could potentially pull out a military victory through playing tactically. Trondelag is their one defensible province: it's a mountain fort with a Severe Winter.

Lurtzland are going to lose a lot of troops to attrition trying to take that fort, and if attacked by an army of similar size and quality while sieging, they should fold and get chased down. A lot of things could, but more than likely won't happen during this war. The most probable outcome is Lurtzland taking away Vikingar's most important provinces (their capital & the wargoal of Hamburg) and after that, there's no real way back for the Vikings.

189 -> 215
30 -> 30
Ok, so, this update was nearly 8000 words, so I'm going to stop here after a few admin notes and another stat screen dump. Future updates will be far more condensed, especially since the stream itself was more popular than I thought it'd be.

I'm holding a competition alongside this campaign: if you can predict which country finish first in score, you can win your own copy of EU4 or a relevant DLC - Entries will close whenever I feel like it, probably before session #3.

The stream itself will be found on my Twitch - My plan is to stream most Sundays at 9PM UK time which includes tomorrow (Christmas Eve) because anyone who wants to watch but can't make it live can always catch the vods on Youtube -

If you have any questions you'd like me to answer then please ask them however you can, because I genuinely really love other people showing interest in stuff like this. I'd be running this game regardless of viewers but if people enjoy watching it then I'll enjoy presenting it. Even if the reports are 8000 fucking words long.

Next chapter:

Game: Europa Universalis IV

EUIV - Amaranthine Invitational #3 (1500)

Images: 62, author: kamichi, published: 2017-12-30

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Game: Europa Universalis IV

Novgorod the Russian Republic: A MEIOU&Taxes AAR Part 1 Controlling the North

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