Anyone up for some co-op Europa Universalis III?

It’s not subterfuge, but you can ask other countries to become your vassals, you need very good relations, a military alliance, and a royal marriage. And it helps if your monarch’s diplomacy skill is very high, and even then it’s not likely they’ll agree. And asking and getting refused drops your relations, so you’ll have to build it back up again before you ask again. And once a country has been your vassal for 10 years and you have very good relations you can ask to annex them. Again, it’s very likely they’ll refuse, your relationship score will drop, you’ll have to build it back up, and try again. But it can be done. And note that diploannexing doesn’t hurt your reputation nearly as badly as military conquest, although each new province you get gives you a reputation hit…when I annexed Castile I nearly doubled the size of my country, and that shot my reputation through the roof. From an in-game standpoint that’s supposed to represent how scared the other countries are that I’m going to attack and conquer them, so when you take over another giant country everyone gets nervous, and rightly so. In some ways having a powerful vassal is better than outright annexation, especially if they have a different religion or culture or aren’t connected by land to your capital.

However, this doesn’t mean you can skimp on your military, because if your military is weak that means your neighbors will think it’s a perfect time to attack you. You’ve got to stay strong enough to deter attack. And you’re going to be attacked, although lots of times it’s your allies that get attacked, or attack their rivals and you’re swept up into the war. If you’ve got a minor vassal next to a major power, that other power is going to try to grab it up eventually, and then you’ll either have to fight or let your vassal be annexed. And there’s the matter of religion, countries with different religions will tend to be your enemy, and there’s no way to avoid this. Even if all your neighbors share your religion and are friendly with you, they’re going to border on unfriendly countries, and those unfriendly countries are going to attack your friends, and if you don’t help your friends they’re going to get their asses kicked, and then the borders of those unfriendly countries are going to creep closer and closer.

Didn’t the 1.3 patch make it much harder to annex powerful nations, though? I’ve had some difficulty making it work with anyone larger than a few provinces.

No, you can still diploannex large countries. The biggest change is the warscore rating. Countries are much tougher about negotiating peace treaties. And the score for vassalization has been changed from 70% (plus ownership of the capitol) to a score dependent on total value of all owned provinces. That means you can milvassal small countries easily, but forget about milvassaling large ones, since your warscore is capped at 100% and large countries will have a total value in the hundreds and will never agree to vassalization. It used to be pretty cheezy, milvassalizing huge empires then diploannexing them 10 years later after pumping them full of gifts.

Hmph, those Swedish barstards are really starting to become a pain… I’ve poured so much money into making them happy that Spain will almost certainly send an expedition to the new world before I do. I think I WILL end up leaving a pretty nice middle-eastern trade base for future monarchs, though.

Speaking of monarchs, I’m probably going to finish my reign this weekend… should I just email a copy of the 50-year save file to everyone who’s interested in participating?

Sure!

(I have no clue what I’m doing.)

Psst: neither do I! :slight_smile:

It actually puts me at ease, that we have a few beginners hanging around… I’d be worried about annoying people if they were all doing nothing but picking up after obvious mistakes I made in the first 50 years.

On that note, I have to caution you not to read too much into the way I’ve run my country; I started as a military power and switched over to a diplomatic one midstream, which is kind of a silly thing to do. My inflation is also through the roof as a result of my early campaigns, which had a rather negligible return. If I was going to play it over, I would quickly raise an army in order to disuade the Teutonic Knights and Riga from invading; it’s initially expensive, but in the long run it’s a lot better than swallowing the costs of a war.

I…I…I don’t know how to do any of that. I think I’ve got a handle on trade, but I can’t quite wrangle up a monopoly.
Hmph.

As far as I’ve ever been able to tell, monopolies just require a bunch of merchants and a bunch of persistence. You can really get in trouble if the area you invest in starts refusing your merchants, so I intentionally chose to invest in markets that sit in countries that I’m 99% sure will never get involved in my military or diplomatic affairs.

Hm. I haven’t been embargoed in any of those situations.
I just get my ass whooped military-style.
Stupid game.

You can only get monopolies once you’ve reached a certain level of trade tech, I don’t remember how high.

And of course, it’s always better to send merchants to a COT that you control. Except I find sending merchants to be a boring game mechanic, I always forget about them and then every so often notice that I’ve got five stacked up, likely for the last 50 years.

The real key to avoid getting your ass kicked to find a larger country and try to join their alliance. The larger your alliance the better off you are, never stop trying to find neighbors willing to ally with you. Of course, you’ve got to have victims too, but generally it’s always worthwile to ally with a country even if you plan on attacking it later, because there’s always ways of getting yourself into a war. Find a country with an alliance with the country you really want to attack, and DOW them, and your real victim will DOW you. And so on.

I agree with the merchants. There should at least be some feature that you can designate which areas of trade you want to keep tabs on and be able to dispatch them as they appear.

DOW?

One thing that I dislike about these games, and I understand why it’s done, is France, for example. They’ve got a huge empire. They should be raking in the cash. It should take a LOT for France to start losing money. It doesn’t. They start out with the same monetary resources that everyone else does. It’s all in the name of fairness, I get that, but it’s not very real.

I dunno. I think I may be losing my taste for this game. It does a bunch of things that I really like, but battles seem almost too random for me. I can out number an army, 3 to 1, and come away with repeated losses. Also, what’s annoying is attacking an army, winning, and then the losing army goes into the province you just vacated, meaning that you have to turn around and chase them through the rest of your provinces until you corner them.

DOW=Declaration of War.

And I disagree with your contention that large empires should be swimming in cash. History has shown that not to be the case. Sure, large empires take in large amounts of cash, but they have gigantic expenses too. Large countries could frequently find themselves bankrupt trying to maintain everything. In game terms, think about how much it costs to maintain one regiment every turn. If you are a one province country and that one province only generates a small amount of money, you might find that you can barely afford one regiment. Now imagine you’ve got ten provinces, you can afford that one regiment, but you can’t support ten regiments. You have more gross income but not neccesarily more net income. So having a large number of low income provinces means that those provinces cost more than they’re worth. What you want is those high-value provinces. If you’ve got a large empire you’ll be making less per-province than rich small countries like the german and italian minors, but you’ll eventually get more disposable income. And remember that those small countries have several other advantages…they are probably of uniform culture and religion, they probably don’t have overseas provinces, and they probably have large allies that are your enemies, so you can’t attack them unless you’re ready to take on their buddies too. Of course, there are also small poor countries. Look at those Irish minors, they’ve got one dirt poor province.

The key is to look for high value provinces to annex. If you take over a province that is lower in value than the average of your provinces, that province could be a net economic loss, rather than a gain. Don’t bother grabbing up worthless wool, grain, or fish provinces unless there’s some strategic reason, otherwise those provinces will cost you more than they generate.

If you’re losing battles where you outnumber the enemy 3-1 then you’re doing something wrong. The key factor is morale…if your army is at low morale it can easily lose to a much smaller army with high morale. Essentially, never attack with an army that isn’t at maximum morale. If I’m invading another country I typically have a couple of stacks that I move leapfrog style. One army attacks a province and wins the battle, but it’s now demoralized. Your other armies move forward to keep the retreating enemy off balance, while the first army sits down to besiege the province and doesn’t move until I’ve taken the province, and by then it’s morale has repaired back to maximum. Or once that army has reached maximum morale you can split it, leaving a covering force to continue the siege and sending the bulk forward.

Another possibility is that the enemy’s land technology is much better than yours. If you’re still using longbowmen and he’s using tercios, then his forces will stomp yours…invade one of the native american empires if you want a demonstration of how high-tech armies can stomp low-tech armies.

I agree that it’s frustrating when you stomp an army and it retreats back into your territory and you have to chase it around, stomping it in every province but you can’t kill it. The way around that is to remember that retreating armies have no choice about where they retreat to. They’ll retreat according to set prefernces…they go to unoccupied friendly territory if they can, then unoccupied neutral territory, then unoccupied enemy territory, then occupied friendly territory, then occupied neutral, then occupied enemy. So if you have small covering forces you can force retreating enemy troops to retreat to a particular province. And if the enemy is forced to retreat to a province where you’ve already got an army, your high-morale army will easily defeat him, and force him to retreat again. If he’s in a situation where he can’t retreat to a safe province he’ll bounce around losing battles and his army will quickly be destroyed. This takes some careful planning, and becomes pretty frustrating if you’re fighting in an area with no fortifications like the Americas, since even if he retreats he’ll take control over a province the second he reaches it. So you’ve got to be very careful managing how the enemy retreats so he can’t retreat past your lines into your rear and start scooping up zero fortification provinces.

Another issue to look at would be your generals; unless you started out with the explicit goal of running a military state your Army Tradition is probably quite low, and as a result your generals won’t really be up to snuff… if you run into an enemy stack that’s organized by a general with halfway decent stats, there’s a fair chance that he’ll take your forces to the cleaners.