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Empire: Total War - Campaign & General Discussion
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Empire: Total War Heaven » Forums » Empire: Total War - Campaign & General Discussion » Spain Reflections
Topic Subject:Spain Reflections
posted 05-29-13 01:31 PM EDT (US)         
Pondering Grognirís posts about being willing to sacrifice regions from the start while playing Russia and the Ottoman Empire really got me thinking about whether my perceptions of territorial integrity need some adjustment. In some ways, the pump was already primed in that I have been giving up Rupertís Land to the Huron-Wyandot when I play Great Britain. However, Iíve never deliberately traded Rupertís Land to anyone for profit; this is an idea I wanted to pursue.

To this end, I started a game as Spain on VH/VH. To make a long story short, my experience with Spain through 1708 has validated some of my ideas and challenged others. For the moment, Iíll discuss what Iíve learned through the lens of swapping territory for profit. Spain starts in a position unlike that of many of the other powers. Spain has very little contiguous territory in 1700. Flanders, Lombardy, and Naples all are physically isolated from Spain. Flanders is directly adjacent to the Netherlands. Like the other Western powers, Spain has possessions in the Americas. Like Great Britain and the United Provinces, Spain has commodities-producing regions that are physically isolated, have a low population, and have very modest room for town growth.

I thought it would be very easy to complete the mission of acquiring Curacao, Texas, and the Leeward Islands to get New Spain and all her riches to join Spain. I also thought it would be fairly easy to use my Italian possessions as a springboard for capturing Austria. Following the advice of more experienced Spain players, I traded hard-to-defend Flanders to the UP for Curacao. So far, so good. Then the VH portion of the game setting hit me.

Morocco declared war right off the bat. I kept Moroccan troops from invading by controlling the Straits of Gibraltar. I also developed tactics for fighting galleys with sloops and brigs, which had been a major sticking point for fighting the North African powers. I was going to have to take Morocco and Portugal in order to establish a contiguous base that would require very little defending by ground forces.

Then Genoa and Savoy declared war out of the blue. Obviously, Lombardy was under direct threat. In previous games, I might have decided to try to hold Lombardy. This would have diverted resources towards my main effort, which was to assemble sufficient forces to invade and conquer Morocco. At best, my efforts to consolidate my base would be very badly delayed. At worst, I would end up sinking a ton of money into a defense of Lombardy that would fail. I thought of Grognir. I found a third solution. I traded Lombardy to Venice for a trade agreement (Venice had previously refused a trade agreement) and $2000. Venice accepted, and my troops in Lombardy were shifted to Sardiniaónow free for other operations. Though I had lost a region I needed for victory in 1750, my enemies were not strengthened thereby. Instead, I gained $450/turn in ďother goodsĒ trade that required no troops to defend. Within a year, the Italian States declared war. I traded Naples to Venice for $3000 and received a modest boost in ďother goodsĒ trade.

Looking back on these developments, I see a pattern out of my days of playing Risk and the board version of Shogun. Those who have played these games know that when you play with a random, card-based start you begin with territory all over the board. You canít possibly hold it all. The challenge of the first couple of turns is to consolidate control of a defensible region with as much internal area as possible and defensible. You have to let go of territory that cannot be included in the base, and you have to capture enemy territory that is local to your chosen base. This has been what Iíve been doing in my game as Spain thus far. Iíve lost more regions than I have gained to this point. Now that my base is partially established, I expect to reverse that trend shortly.

I captured Morocco in 1706 following a couple of epic battles of quality v quantity. Now that I have enough garrison troops and town watch in place to keep Morocco quiet for the rest of the assimilation process, I have started moving my main army on Portugal. Once I put Portugal in the bag, Iíll march First Spanish Army back to North Africa, capture Algeria and Tunis, then force peace and trade on the rump Barbary States.

It occurred to me that what Iím doing in Spain is a recreation of the strategic situation of Great Britain in Europe. The three European regions of Great Britain are contiguous with each other, but they are isolated from the Continent by the sea. With Portugal and Morocco in hand, I will have a contiguous base that is nearly as isolated. France is powerful and friendly. Only the Barbary States have land access to my base. Once I have beaten them back to a single region while imposing peace and trade, Iíll basically have a large island stronghold. This fits with my pattern of success with Great Britain, and it fits with my younger years of playing Risk and Shogun.

So, once again thanks go out to Grignir for inspiring me to change my way of looking at the game. I might have spent many game years trying to defend Lombardy and Naples. Win or lose, Iíd discover that warfare with Savoy, Genoa, and the Italian States in their back yards would have destroyed my ability to make headway elsewhere. Oh, and as of S1708 I have a 10-unit army en route to Dutch Guyana to secure that $5500 prize, after which Iíll return to the Pirate islands and capture them. Had I committed to fighting in Italy to hold what I had, I would not be in a position to take Morocco, Portugal, or any of the Caribbean islands. Thanks, dude!

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
posted 05-31-13 12:36 PM EDT (US)     1 / 14       
One advantage that I had is that I couldn't play ETW till the mac version came out. I switched some years back, an my last PC could barely play MTW 1. Further, as a former wargame geek, back when these were played on paper maps with cardboard units, the lack of regular opponents meant a lot of time for fully digesting the rules and reading strategy articles. So I had basically some years' worth of forums and posts to peruse before seriously getting into ETW play.

Many of the specific region trades I've mentioned I got from other postings. If I deserve credit for anything it's maybe just exhaustively going thru all the possibilities (and ramifications) and maximizing received gold for region trades (as far as the Russians and Ottomans go). For example, as Russia, I found lots of factions willing to buy Archangelesk, but since I wanted to take it back fairly early, selling it to e.g. the Prussians didn't seem that great an option. I didn't want to make war against Prussia, nor did I want Prussia to trade it to the UK or some such. Basically, I looked for the *dumbest* buyer, hence Persia. And Persia in Archangelesk means they (the Persians) always start the war, hence I avoid engaging in a global conflict since there's no need to call allies.

I haven't played yet as Spain, but it sounds interesting. I had read about trading Flanders for Curacao, and don't see any downsides to that, especially given it helps fulfill the conditions for New Spain to join the Spanish.

Your part about fighting galleys w/brigs & sloops was neat since it reminded me of using single light galleys (as the Ottomans) to fight individual brigs or sloops: I would just set it to attack the sloop or brig, speed up the clock to max, and watch the sloop or brig explode. It seems that light galleys have a good advantage over full-size galleys in that, while they can't absorb as much damage, they're such small targets that ships firing on them frequently miss even with a full broadside.

When you speak of the board version of Shogun, are you referring to the Milton Bradley game with the little plastic figures, picking swords for turn order and such? I had a blast with that game, as well as Axis & Allies and Fortress America.
posted 06-02-13 11:43 PM EDT (US)     2 / 14       
Itís S1710, and the revised plan for Spain is going well. However, to a large degree Iím simply exploiting the same opportunities Iíd exploit playing as Great Britain, France, or Sweden. At this point, I have an economy driven by commodities from the trade theaters and the Caribbean, plus revenues from selling captured enemy shipping.

Iím about to capture Portugal following a fight in S1709 that was an expensive learning experience for me. I invaded Portugal with an army that included 7 line infantry (LI), 1 pike (PK), 1 guerilla (GU), 1 light infantry (LtI), 4 demi-cannon (DC), a generalís bodyguard (GB), three regiments of horse (RH), and a colonial light cavalry (CLC). Generally, I donít like having so many types of infantry, because cross-leveling becomes more difficult. However, the PK, LtI, and GU all had a chevron earned in Morocco, so I was loathe to swap them out. The DC all had one or two chevrons, so I didnít want to replace them with 12 pounder foot batteries (12lber).

The Portuguese came out to fight. Iíd never fought an army like this one before. More than half of the infantry was irregulars. I chose the best ground I could for fields of fire for my DC, but the ground was pretty poor overall. I arrayed the guns in a shallow arc near the front of my box, hoping that the dead ground wouldnít work against me too much. It did. If I had been able to set up my guns a few yards forward, it would have been a different fight.

The enemy also came at me from my right, effectively putting two of my batteries out of the fight. If I had been using 12lber, I could have moved all of the guns into excellent positions.

The enemyís irregulars came up first. It was a bad time for my LI. I saw very early on that the Portuguese irregulars were going to sit in the blind spots and pour fire on my line infantry. If I moved my line infantry, the irregulars would move forward and slaughter my gun crews. So in a reversal of the usual modality, I moved my LI forward to protect the guns instead of having the LI fight within the envelope of fire of canister fired by the field guns. The contests were all unequal, with the Portuguese irregulars having superior accuracy and rate of fire vis-ŗ-vis my line infantry.

I used a grab-bag of techniques to counter the superiority of the Portuguese irregulars. I could not put my LI in a static position to fight because the enemy would simply shoot my LI to pieces. I had to move one regiment into range, then rush another regiment onto the flank, then move up one of my irregular units to provide fire support. Once the enemy was softened somewhat, I fixed my plug bayonets and charged. I couldnít do this very often, because as everyone reading this knows plug bayonets turn line infantry into second-rate PK. I knew that the enemyís line infantry were coming up, so I couldnít afford to me stuck without any firing LI of my own. So I repeated the bayonet charge tactic twice. This at least put my infantry on a favorable footing. I charged a 55-man Portuguese irregular unit with one of my LI that had been reduced to 65 men. After less than 30 seconds of melee combat, the surviving 25 enemy irregulars broke and ran before my 60 surviving LI. If I had had ring bayonets at the time, Iíd have had a much better fight against the enemyís irregulars.

Also, irregulars tend to be very vulnerable to cavalry. I destroyed two of the Portuguese irregular units with enveloping cavalry charges that stood me in good stead in my Rome: Total War days. Three RH make short work of an irregular unit when they hit from both flanks and behind within a few seconds of each other.

While I got through this stage of the fight, in which the irregulars and the enemyís cavalry attacked me with vigor and skill, I canít say I performed brilliantly. If I had had better fields of fire for my guns, I would have been willing to put my LI up against the enemyís irregulars within the canister envelope.

When the enemyís LI arrived, about 7 regiments in toto, I had suffered some very serious losses. His infantry, Irish Brigade troops all, proved superior to mine on a one-to-one basis. I moved my surviving infantry to my right flank and set up a line opposing the enemyís. While the LI traded musket volleys, I brought my PK, my bayonet-fixed LI, and my surviving cavalry onto the enemyís right flank and piled in. Sheer weight of numbers broke the enemy on his flank, allowing my troops to roll him up. That part, at least, went according to plan.

In the end, I traded about 650 of my troops for 1100 of his. This is a victory, but itís not a very good victory when one considers that the difference in casualties is little more than my cavalry running down his routing troops. On the field, I traded roughly 1-to-1. This is what happens when I fight without proper canister support from my field guns. Under good conditions, DC are awesomely effective. Under poor conditions, the advantages of the 12lber guns become clear.

On a different note, my friends and I loved Shogun, Axis & Allies, and Fortress America. We played throughout high school and college. We went to separate parts of the country after graduation from college, but at Christmas we would reconvene to play until we were all in our early 30ís. Then we started getting married and having kids, at which point game days became much, much tougher to coordinate. In the 80ís, Iíd have considered myself one of the best Axis & Allies players around. However, since the electronic version came out, friends who continued to play online against opponents all around the world have far outstripped me. The last time I played with the old group around the time ďFellowship of the RingsĒ came out, I played Germany while another guy who had not been playing throughout the 90ís played Japan. The Allied destroyed usóhandily. They strung it out for an extra turn so as not to shame us too greatly.


Iíve had an interesting twist. Itís W1710. I just took over Portugal, completing my plan to consolidate my base. Now, however, Venice has declared war.

Venice is a problem I helped make. When Savoy and Genoa declared war around 1705, I sold Lombardy to Venice in return for trade and cash. When the Italian States declared war around 1707, I sold Naples to Venice for cash. Naples became a major power and an important trade partner.

In 1708, I noticed a large Venetian fleet of about 10 vessels carrying a tidy combined arms army of about 14 units in the western Med. My first inclination was to believe that the Venetians were about to declare war and land in Spain. I decided to let accrue the penalty of breaking a trade agreement, since I had a more powerful army just moving out of Morocco at the time. The next turn, the Venetians did not land in Spain. They appeared off the coast of Portugal. I thought perhaps they were about to try to snatch Portugal from me on the verge of my victory. That didnít happen, either.

Two or three turns later, the Venetian fleet appeared off the Leeward Islands. I thought perhaps they were trying to snatch Trinidad & Tobago from me before I could complete the requirements for having New Spain join Spain. Second Spanish Army was already en route from Dutch Guyana. The force was small for landing on Trinidad & Tobago, but I took the port anyway pending the arrival of additional forces from Curacao the next turn. The Pirates did not attack.

The next turn, the Venetians appeared off Hispaniola. Now I was concerned that they were going to try to take Texas before I could complete my mission to bring New Spain into the fold. I thought that I probably would have to trade some land and money to get Texas but that this would be better than going to war. Instead, Venice declared war and landed on Cuba near Havana.

This is a couple of types of bummer. I have no troops at all on Cuba. The region is lost to me. Iíll miss the tobacco and sugar revenues. Iíll also miss the $500/turn trade in ďother goodsĒ and the $100 long term bonus. Between taxes, commodities sales, and the loss of trade with Venice, Iíll take a $1200/turn hit. This is real money. Also, Iíll now be challenged to hold the western Med in a way that I havenít been since I first faced the North African powers at sea.

There are some silver linings, though. Second Spanish Army is on the verge of capturing Trinidad & Tobago. My main fleet in the Caribbean is already en route to assault and capture the Venetian fleet, which will offset the lost revenues once I sell the captured ships. Iíll take the Leeward Islands with Second Spanish Army three turns after Trinidad & Tobago falls. At that point, the loss of commodities revenue will be completely offset. Iíll isolate Cuba and send Second Spanish Army to Texas, bringing New Spain into the fold. Once all that is done, I will send Second Spanish Army back to Cuba.

In Europe, Iím about to start moving First Spanish Army out of Portugal and back to North Africa. Iíll capture Algiers and Tunis, then force peace and a trade agreement on the Barbary States. Once that is done, I can wage war on all of the Italian nations. Iíll land on Corsica first, then land at Naples and move north. Iíll use the wealth of Spanish America to field enough troops to keep marching northward by maintaining a steady flow of replacements from Spain and a powerful force of militia to garrison Naples, the Italian States, Genoa, and Savoy as I close the ring on Venice. Venice herself is between 10 and 15 game years away right now.

I have to say that I am enjoying capturing high-wealth regions for a change. One of the down sides of playing Great Britain is that so many of the regions over which Great Britain fights have low value. Were it not for the commodities, the Americas hardly would be worth the effort. Morocco and Portugal are rich prizes growing richer now that their town wealth is expanding under Spanish rule. Iím excited about the prospect of conquering Italy without worrying about what Venice will think.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.

[This message has been edited by webstral (edited 06-04-2013 @ 00:53 AM).]

posted 06-04-13 08:55 AM EDT (US)     3 / 14       
Sounds like you're in for an interesting time.

One thing I've always done is block the Straits of Gibraltar as soon as I can. Parking a fleet there prevents passage in or out of the Mediterranean, making colonies and the Atlantic coast less vulnerable. It also prevents outside powers, such as Britain or the Netherlands, from intervening in the Mediterranean.

Spain is in an excellent position to do this, with two shipyards just off the Straits.

If you're prepared to run down the clock each time there's an attack, you can block access with nothing more than a sloop. If you actually want to provoke attacks, you can keep a stronger force separate but within reinforcement range.

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
posted 06-11-13 07:58 AM EDT (US)     4 / 14       
So the other day I started my very fist Spanish campaign. It took a few starts. Spain seems quite poor at the beginning, it felt (to me) much like the Ottomans.

Spain has fewer opportunities for trading territory for gold, but after playing around with it, I settled on:

1) Traded Flanders to United Provinces for Curacao. The Dutch won't do it if you ask for any money too, even though Flanders is worth much more. The spanish troops in Flanders get teleported to Lombardy.

2) Sold Florida to the UK for $7k. I knew I was not going to try and keep Florida. Selling it has the advantage that your garrison there is teleported to Cuba, whereas trying to remove them via ship means you will come under Pirate attack (even tho you can beat the Pirates here)

3) Sold Lombardy to the Italian States for an alliance plus $7k. Since from the start Italian States grants military access to you, you'll have to move your troops out yourself.

Selling off Lombardy looks good because otherwise it's a magnet and you'll find yourself at war with Savoy, Venice, Genoa, or somebody. In one of my previous starts Italian States declared war on me on turn 1 as I was moving the Lombardy garrison towards Naples.

I'm tempted to restart my campaign (it's now about 1753) just to make some corrections. I would:

1) Give New Spain all my techs. I just didn't think of this here. They might have improved their farms; they certainly had the money to build star forts in all their cities, even tho they were in no danger whatsoever :-(

2) Refigure the ports a bit. The 2 dockyards around Gibraltar seemed redundant, so I made the one in Spain a fishing port. I should have made it a trading port and then used the ports in Portugal and (later) northern coast of Spain for fishing ports. Most of my trade wealth is flowing into the trading port in Portugal which is very vulnerable to UK or UP blockade, and I'm finding that even a single turn of blockade wipes out the treasury and makes me bankrupt. OTOH I've captured or sold a couple few dozen 2nd Rates so there's that. Still, you have to fight every such sea battle manually: yes, your fleet of 2nd Rates will win against an invading sloop on auto-resolve, but it seems to cost half the guns on all your ships.
posted 06-11-13 07:21 PM EDT (US)     5 / 14       
I sold Florida to the Portuguese in return for a little cash and a trade agreement right at the start. I knew I'd be invading Portugal soon enough, anyway. In the interim, I had no intention of trying to defend Florida. I considered selling it to Great Britain, but Britain might actually make use of Florida. Now that I have invaded and captured Portugal, I can pick up rebel-owned Florida when I'm ready to invade mainland North America.

You got a good price for Lombardy, Grognir. Note to self.

I might swap the trading port at Porto, Portugal for a fishing port. I got traded the naval port at Cadiz for a fishing port. Right now, I have only 4 overseas trading partners: Great Britain, New Spain, the Maratha Confederacy, and the Ottoman Empire. The only other option open to me at this point is Prussia. I'd like to trade with Prussia, but the Prussians seem incapable of keeping Rostock open. Prussia isn't at war with Sweden, but as soon as I start trading with Prussia the Prussians and the Swedes will go to war. I might try putting a sloop off Rostock such that no one hostile can get in or out without fighting my sloop. First I have to construct a sloop for that purpose. Unfortunately, my shipyard is working full-time producing sloops for my fleets at the trade theaters. I don't like constructing 0-chevron sloops at non-naval ports anymore because the performance of a 1-chevron sloop is noticeably superior.

It's W1711 in my game, and I have just started researching Division of Labor at Salamanca, which has a college with 1 gentleman. I will be 9 turns until I can construct commercial ports and warehouses. Once I can construct commercial ports, I can upgrade Cadiz and Cartagena. This will obviate the need for a merchant port at Porto. Also, once I take over New Spain I will have a spare trading slot. So there's some reason to believe I can afford to turn Porto to another purpose soon.

I don't know when I will capture Texas and fulfill the terms of my mission to bring New Spain into the fold, though. I captured Trinidad & Tobago last turn. I'll move on Leeward Islands as soon as the troops on Trinidad & Tobago finish replenishing. From there, I'll move on Texas. It's hard to imagine that I will capture Texas much before S1715, though.

As an aside, the Venetians did capture Cuba, as expected. Bummer. I moved my Caribbean Fleet north and bagged their fleet. I have a sloop raiding the port of Cuba so that Venice does not profit from selling Cuban tobacco and sugar. For now, that's about all I'm prepared to do. I'll recapture Cuba after I have taken Texas and added the wealth of New Spain to my empire. That means Venice will hold Cuba until maybe 1717.

The research situation is bumming me out. I really need to get hold of Naval Shore Facilities so I can construct 5th rates, admiral's 5th rates, and 4th rates. As it is, all of my fleets are commanded by admirals serving on captured A5R. I just can't see investing the research capability yet. I just completed 4-Field Crop Rotation. The school in question is optimized for industrial research. I badly need to complete some research in metalworking and textiles technology. I will have a new school in Portugal next turn. Even then, though, I'm on the fence about whether I ought to go with naval research or army research. I really need 3 more research centers pronto. This is one reason why I'm going to invade North America after I recapture Cuba. The Cherokee can be relied upon to have at least one meeting house.

North Africa won't be very helpful in terms of research for some time. I want to convert Morocco ASAP, which means constructing a church in Marrakech when the village becomes a town. Casablanca is still 12 turns from becoming a port, which I will develop into a fishing port. My main army in Europe has redeployed from Portugal to the border of Morocco and Algeria. I'm waiting for a few more units to catch up before I invade Algeria. Once I capture Algeria, though, I'll go the same route of developing villages at the best possible rate so I can construct a church and start converting the population. This will mean turning the naval port into a fishing port in addition to continuing to conduct agricultural research at the best possible rate. I'll do the same with Tunis. In all likelihood, the game will be over by the time I can turn religious conversion into research or industry.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
posted 06-17-13 01:29 PM EDT (US)     6 / 14       
I'm obviously slower than anyone else ever who has played ETW. I didn't get Texas till 1740. It's currently 1787 and I'm at 35 regions in my World Conquest (H/H) game (need 50 regions).

At this point I need to be careful and capture european Dutch provinces before taking Amsterdam, as I don't want a batch of new countries (likely will full stacks of line infantry) to appear. Likewise I'm close to finishing the conquest of the entire American theater. I've taken Ireland and Scotland, but again want to finish of the Brits in america before taking London. Wars with the Dutch have been frequent and often short. It appears the Dutch don't get the concept of the El Doctrino del Monroeo and often send a fleet or two loaded with troops into the american theater, and I know they're up to no good. OTOH the war with the Brits & Poles & Austrians has been continuous for most of the century.

Was sad to find that a steam drydock in New Andalusia can build only regular 1st rates. Would have built another naval hospital had I known.

I don't know if it's a bug unique to the Mac version but note that enemy naval reinforcements get to escape post-battle, even if all have surrendered. Further, if I attack a fleet carrying troops, and enemy naval reinforcements enter play, the troops can apparently go with the reinforcing fleet, which, as noted, seem to be able to escape regardless of their fate in battle (I haven't noted if ships that get blown up or sink get to leave too).

Spain has been a bit tiresome to play, mostly b/c of all the naval battles, which I tend to almost always resolve manually. War wearniness has also affected home region morale, I was at -4 for lower classes in Spain without realizing it. I had a revolution in 1776 (heh) and am a republic.

I am unsure how population affects taxes. I'm also finding it a bit ridiculous that the very low population regions (like population of 5000 or less) in midwest america can field corps-sized armies, but what the hey.

I could never find a place to build a school except Spain & Portugal. The last two towns in Portugal I made into a school and a bawdy house, they were both very poor, but, natch, became prosperous after I built these. I've had some success with trading for techs and stealing one or two but am quite behind most of the rest of the world. I typically tear down schools in conquered regions.

Question: can Spain ever build galleys at naval docks, like maybe in the eastern med? I miss the 2-chevron light galleys available at steam drydocks.
posted 06-17-13 05:44 PM EDT (US)     7 / 14       
I certainly wouldnít say that youíre slow, Grognir. If itís your first time playing Spain, and you typically play Russia, the Ottomans, or a central European power, youíre in unfamiliar territory playing Spain. Iíve played Western powers a bunch of timesójust not Spain. I have a pattern to draw on for my growth. For instance, at this point I have shed or lost every starting region except Spain, Gibraltar, and Hispaniola. I put everything on acquiring Morocco and Portugal. The gamble paid off. Now I control three quite prosperous contiguous regions that are hard for anyone else to attack.

Spain, being a power of Europeís Far West, has ready access to the trade theaters and the Americas. I may not have played Spain before, but I have a tried-and-true method for dominating the trade theaters. As of S1714, my tax income is $6800, while my trade income is $15117. Perhaps 25% of the trade income is from ďother goodsĒ and long-term bonus. The rest is from sales of commodities. I sell tobacco and sugar from Hispaniola, sugar from Curacao, sugar from Trinidad & Tobago, and spices from Dutch Guyana. I sell 100 units of sugar from the Coast of Brazil, which is more than from my Caribbean possessions combined. I sell 93 units of ivory from the Ivory Coast and 100 units of ivory from the Straits of Madagascar. I also sell 54 units of spices from the East Indiesóa number I intend to boost significantly as soon as my main battle group arrives to take possession of the trade zones owned by the United Provinces and Austria, with whom I am currently at war. In other words, my revenues from commodities dwarf my tax revenues. My commodities revenues are only going to grow as I conquer more of the Caribbean and add New Spain to the fold. (My army in the Caribbean just left Leeward Islands and is en route to Texas, right on schedule for a change.)

So really, Iím playing a game that I am making very much like games I have played as England or France.

Iím having a similar challenge with schools. I relocated the Portuguese school to Ovilha. The next Portuguese town, Leiria, is still 23 turns off. I intend to construct entertainment buildings there. In order to reduce the waiting time, I have replaced the merchant port at Porto with a fishing port that I will build into a major fishery at the best possible rate. Iím also working on advanced irrigation at one of my schools in Spain.

First Spanish Army just landed on Sicily and is marching on Naples. After I capture Naples, Iíll move straight on to the Italian States. Iím thinking that I will build my fourth school in the Italian States. Iíll replace the redundant merchant port at Ravenna with a fishing port to grow new towns at the best rate. Iíll replace the religious school in the region with a research school, then put entertainment at the next town to emerge.

Beyond that, Iím not quite sure where I will build another school. New Andalusia isnít the best prospect, because thereís only one town. I like to balance each school with entertainment. New Granada is a possibility. New Spain probably is the best prospect for a fifth research school. Once I have control of New Spain, Iíll develop a mix of fishing and merchant ports (all my commodities will have to go out somewhere) so that I can develop all of Mexicoís towns as quickly as possible.

After that, Iím hoping that I will be able to capture one or more meeting houses in North America. The Cherokee are pretty reliable in this regard, as are the Iroquois. Itís not impossible that I could discover a meeting house in the Plains States, either. Iíve seen it before, though Iíve also seen shamanic gateways.

I don't know anything about constructing galleys at shipyards, I'm afraid. I'll be curious to find out, though.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
posted 06-19-13 06:45 PM EDT (US)     8 / 14       
In my Spain campaign, I traded Flanders to France for 10K and Physiocracy. I see that you guys keep trading Flanders to the UP. I suppose I may have hampered France by taking so much of their money, and Curacao provides more long-term income; so it is probably the better move. Regardless, I am curious what you think of trading the territory to your ally rather than your enemy.

"It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do.
Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." -- Jerome K. Jerome

"Some people become so expert at reading between the lines they don't read the lines." -- Margaret Millar

ERADICATE CONDESCENSION! (That means don't talk down to people.)
posted 06-19-13 11:50 PM EDT (US)     9 / 14       
Just finished my first Spain Campaign, world domination on H/H. Ended up with 54 regions including the entire american theatre except 4 regions: Trinidad & Tobago (early game trade to Maratha for peace/trade), Bahamas (late game trade to Poland for peace/trade), and 2 native american regions in the far west. My intention was to concentrate on america and just hold the line in Europe, though in late game I took Flanders, Amsterdam and the British Isles.

As noted earlier, I sold Florida to the UK for $7K, Lombardy to Italian States for $7K and alliance, & traded Flanders for Curacao. Trading Flanders to France though sounds interesting. France remained a loyal ally but before mid-game were conquered by the UP. $10k for Flanders sounds good though, I've never sold a single province for more than $8k in any game.The appeal of a trade for Curacao was to start fulfilling the mission to get New Spain to join w/o war with UP.

Once France fell to the UP I flooded it with Priests to slow conversion to Protestantism. I had numerous, mostly short wars with the UP, and took France during one, keeping it for rest of game. The star fortress northeast of Paris was instrumental in hampering UP moves, especially as Paris is close enough to provide reinforcements.

I was worried about the Italian States, Venice, etc, so kept a large garrison in Naples throughout the game, though they never fought anybody. Basically the Flanders & Lombardy garrisons.

Wars were nearly constant with the UK, Poland & Austria though no land battles at all with the latter two.

Numerous short wars with the UP, many ending after a single year. They would either waste their armies attacking the northeast star fort, or I would declare war whenever UP sent a fleet full of troops into the american theatre.

The war in america was basically the spanish slowly moving north using colonial line infantry trained at military barracks in the caribbean. The UK kept huge forces in theatre, so much so that I landed in Ireland, taking that province and Scotland while UK was occupied w/america. London itself was a touch nut and I could not attack it in strength till late game. Late game in america was helped by sailing some ships down the St Lawrence and blocking the access points to Canada.

One fun event was attacking Quebec (which arose after France fell). It allied with the UK. Quebec built about a corps of Currassiers and kept attacking me in Montreal. At one point the entire Quebec garrison moved out to attack some of my raiders, typical AI overkill, so I put the Montreal garrison on a ship and sailed it to Quebec's port, basically attacking it from the rear. Though the Quebec armies wree in reinforcement range, I planned to storm the walls as fast as possible and occupy the fort center before the reinforcements could make an impact. As I do typically, I quick-save and attempt an auto-resolve, the odds display suggested my attack was at about 1-4 odds (as in, terrible) but the attack succeeded! I dimly recall an earlier game where the Quebec battle map has a section where reinforcements can appear, but without a path into the fort (there's a river in the way and a bridge is visible but outside the red battle area border). Not sure if an anomaly or what, perhaps that's why I won the autoresolve. (Reminded me of a similar anomaly on the Rome map around Thessalonika, where, if you attack a force directly south (but not besieging) the city, you start the battle inside the city (as in a breakout) instead of on a field like you'd expect.)

btw, I've played both as the UK and UP, and while I had great success, I didn't finish the game. Trying (as the British) to take any parts of India in late game is extremely tedious. Having multiple stacks on each side, after making a breach on the eastern square-fort walls, my computer would lag so much it was ridiculous. I'm talking down to one frame every few seconds, while normally nearly all my battles are smooth w/o any slowdowns.

That said, I'm finding playing as the maritime powers to be tedious. By not conquering any regions in Europe till late game, I had a somewhat tedious maritime game plus a challenging land game in america. I had a good sized army and a huge fleet, dominating most of the trade zones, but very vulnerable to blockades near my trade port in northern Portugal and in Cadiz on the southern spanish coast, on the Med. I went bankrupt some 3-4 times, as typically any trade disruption was disastrous. Fortunately I always recovered on my next turn and so never had more than 1 turn of bankruptcy in a row.

All in all, enjoyed playing Spain more than UK or UP. I'm on a Mac and Feral is releasing their mac port of NTW on July 3, so probably won't play ETW again for some time.
posted 06-23-13 02:25 AM EDT (US)     10 / 14       

Bast, I donít see anything wrong with swapping regions to your allies. I think the decision rests on the comparison between benefits. In the case of Flanders, I really wanted to have Curacao. I suppose Iíd be willing to consider French Guyana as a decent swap, but I doubt the French would. Still, one doesnít know until one tries, right?

If ever I play Spain again, Iíll give serious thought to selling Florida to the Brits, knowing I should be able to get $7k for it. I may stick with selling Florida to Portugal, though, while upping the price a bit. One advantage of selling to Portugal for a lower price is that I got a trade agreement out of the sale. The trade agreement yielded more than $5k in profits over the course of the arrangement. As a bonus, the trade agreement made it less likely that Portugal would invade Spain while my main army was conquering Morocco. And, too, the demise of Portugal means that Florida becomes a rebel state. If I had sold Florida to Great Britain, right now (W1716 in my game) the commodities of Florida would be going out through the ports of the former Thirteen Colonies, now joined with Great Britain.

I definitely will look at selling Lombardy and Naples right off the bat. If I can afford to levy a big army right away, I might be able to overrun Morocco within the first four game years. That would be a real bonus.

Itís W1716, and the game has continued to throw me some curve balls. I landed in southern Italy with a full stack army expecting to have to fight my way into Naples. Venice, to whom I had sold Naples before 1710 and with whom I am now at war, had no troops in Naples. On the other hand, the Italian States have plenty of troopsómore than I had expected. Upon realizing how significant the IS Army is, I decided I was going to have to step up my reinforcement program and keep a constant flow of troops sailing from Spain.

The real curve ball, though, was an invasion of Spain by Genoa. The Genoese, whose fleet I had thrashed a few turns earlier, landed a force of 12 units near Barcelona. I have sloops covering my ports, but not the entire length of the coast. How embarrassing! When Iím at war I usually forestall this type of development by preventing the enemy from putting a fleet to sea. I bring in a battle group to destroy his navy-in-being, then keep a sloop on station to raid his ports every turn until the end of the war. I havenít been doing that in my war against the various Italian nations. Oops.

Great Britain also has declared war, rather out of the blue. This actually has been rather convenient. Iíve reaped a fortune from selling captured Italian State, Venetian, and British ships over the past two turns. Iíll miss the sale of ďother goodsĒ and the long term bonus from trade with Great Britain, though.

The real bright note is that I just fought the major battle with the Pueblos outside their capitol. I was unable to prevent some of the enemyís troops from escaping, so Iíll be obliged to finish the job on my turn in S1717. Once that happens, though, Iíll double my tax base by adding New Spain. Iíll be able to levy troops at either end of the Caribbean/Gulf. I can turn the army Iíve been building in Spain to destroy the Genoese incursion into a permanent independent establishment instead of using the survivors of the coming Battle of Spain as reinforcements for my forces in Italy. I can turn back to the Caribbean to recapture Cuba and pick up British Jamaica and Bahamas, unless the Brits come to their senses first.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
posted 06-24-13 09:34 AM EDT (US)     11 / 14       
I found a little time this weekend to start a Spanish campaign, and here's what I found (noting that this is not empirical in any way, I only went through things once):
Selling Flanders to France seems to have benefitted us both. France was able to keep the UP occupied and force the UP to spend its revenue on defenses of their capital. Meanwhile, Curacao, being only one turn movement from Cuba, fell easily to a small clutch of Spanish troops, having essentially no defenses, at all. A turn or two later, the UP was wiped out by France. I, then, captured Trinidad & Tobago with very little resistance on the following turn.

I sold Lombardy to the Italian States and Florida to GB for $7K apiece, as noted by Grognir. With a little coaxing and sweetening of the deal with early tech, I was able to secure trade agreements with Venice and the Italian States. I also established trade with the Mughal in exchange for a little cash and canister shot. They need all the help they can get holding the line against the Maratha, after all.

I'm not sure if it was dumb luck or scripted, but the General I have in Gibraltar (whose name I forget) has a two- or three-point bonus to command when defending the city. Between that and generally controlling the Straits with my navy, I've managed to fend off the Moroccans with very little investment, in addition to capturing Portugal.

I'm about 10 turns in, and GB just launched a surprise assault on Gibraltar. The defenses held, but I still have to take care of the survivors. This is a bit of a concern for my holdings in the West Indies, as well, though. I may have stretched myself a little thin going for Curacao and Trinidad & Tobago. I'm certainly not prepared to withstand an assault in Cuba or Hispaniola. I may be dependent on the pirates to help me defend the seas. That, in fact, is my biggest weakness, right now: my Navy. It seems that I am going to need to invest in some warships to keep GB off my back in New World and the Old.

"It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do.
Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." -- Jerome K. Jerome

"Some people become so expert at reading between the lines they don't read the lines." -- Margaret Millar

ERADICATE CONDESCENSION! (That means don't talk down to people.)
posted 07-02-13 07:05 PM EDT (US)     12 / 14       
Just in regards to selling provinces, see my draft article in the guides forum, where I lay out how to sell all Russian provinces except Moscow and start with 74k gold. (The titles a bit out of date - don't know how to change that).
posted 07-09-13 01:22 PM EDT (US)     13 / 14       

A number of factors have combined to present me with real challenges.

Great Britain declared war. I was not ready for this. (When am I ever ready for a major power to declare war?) Somehow, a large British fleet that ended the last turn before the declaration of war in the interception zone of a two-ship squadron off Porto, Portugal managed to get out of the interception zone without having to fight me. Very, very annoying. The same fleet landed an 18-unit army on the south coast of Portugal.

The Italian States have a large army loose on Sicily. They have damaged every building on the island, and they are occupying Siracusaís port. This is also very inconvenient because ships damaged during fighting around Italy have to return to Spain for repairs instead of putting in locally. I have put a sloop in the Straits of Messina to keep this army bottled up, but that doesnít solve my bigger problem.

I have a full stack army in Naples, but I am outnumbered by Italian States forces that have wrecked every building in the region. I donít have the combat power to go after Rome and put an end to this business. I donít want to sally from Naples and go after the smaller (but still considerable) Italian raiding parties loose on the mainland in Naples because I donít fancy fighting a war of attrition that wonít end until I have enough fresh forces to tackle Rome.

I have a nearly full army in Spain that just destroyed the Genoese invaders. I was going to move that army to Italy to break the stalemate. Now, though, Great Britain has occupied Gibraltar after moving there from southern Portugal. It will be several turns before Third Spanish Army can march to Gibraltar and put an end to the British invasion of Iberia. Losses will be high. Only after this action is complete can I start shipping troops to Italy. What a bother.

The United Provinces dealt me a blow, too. A small fleet with a modest army slipped into the Caribbena unobserved and dropped an invasion force at Curacao. Now Iíve lost Curacao. Iíll recapture it, of course; but the loss of sugar income and tax revenues is being felt.

To further complicate things, I just spied a Maratha Confederacy fleet with a large army near the southernmost transit box of the Americas. They donít look to be positioned for invasion of my territory. However, no good can come of a Confederacy stronghold in North America.

The volatility of trade is starting to be a real problem. The price of almost everything I export is off $1 since the last biennial review. Since S1716, Great Britain has declared war. I have lost real money as a result of losing trade with Great Britain. The commodities have been redistributed to other trade partners, but I have lost $600 in ďother goodsĒ trade revenue and $225 in long-term bonus revenue. Genoa sued for peace last turn, and I got a trade agreement out of the deal. I gained $795 in ďother goodsĒ revenue, so thatís something positive. Overall, though, I have lost $150 in total trade revenue compared to S1716.

Things should pick up by S1720, though. I have started construction of commercial ports in New Spain and New Granada. These new ports will allow me to export all of the sugar, cotton, tobacco, and coffee being produced in my mainland possessions in the Americas. There will be no room for expanding production until another port becomes available or I can construct commercial basins.

I expect to recapture Cuba before the next biennial review. Given the state of affairs in Italy, Iím not as convinced that I can take all of Italy in the near future. Iím thinking instead that I will take Cuba, then offer peace and trade to Venice. This will free me to capture and consolidate Central Italy.

Iím thinking that I am going to have to capture Malta soon. Also, Iím going to have to force the Barbary States to accept peace at point of bayonet. I donít want to occupy them; just get peace and trade.

I hear you about the tedium of sea battles, Grognir. I've been doing little else for a couple of years. Unfortunately, there's no way around it. I refuse to put my ships in a line and have them duke it out with the enemy like flatfooted amateur boxers.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
posted 07-18-13 02:53 PM EDT (US)     14 / 14       
I took a few minutes to try selling Rupert's Land for profit at the very start of a Great Britain game on VH/VH. The results were disappointing. Almost no one wants to buy Rupert's Land. An added complication is that I can't give it to the Thirteen Colonies because I need the troops to be moved to the Bahamas for an early assault on the Pirate territories of the Caribbean. The best deal I could manage was to sell Rupert's Land to the Cherokee for $1000. I'm consoling myself with the idea that more prosperous Cherokee can buy more stuff from the Thirteen Colonies, which will put a little extra cash in my pocket.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
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