Games · Strategy Games

Europa Universalis IV: Italian Ambition

At the end of my last post on Europa Universalis I told of my Florence game and how coalitions had been plaguing it as I had to get to grips with this very challenging and totally not warmongering fun destroying mechanic. I have been continuing playing on this game and I’ve been having loads of fun as I learn to check the coalition screen every single time. And indeed, I only covered my game then to 1461. It’s now 1603. How time flies.

Following where we left off with owning central Italy with Ferrara, Lucca and Urbino just being released from my lands due to the last coalition war I mistakenly let go, I looked around for easy targets and only found one in Urbino, which was easily taken back under Florentine control as soon as that truce expired. What are truce timers for if not for knowing when the nearby expansionist state will annex you? Poor show, Urbino. Next up, time for Ferrara to die. Unfortunately, I couldn’t annex him completely without risking another coalition certainly firing, even though he only had two provinces, so I took Ferrara while releasing Modena, killing off Ferrara. As long as I didn’t take it all for myself, they all should be good. Strange people.

You’ll notice I said should. There was still a small chance of a coalition firing, which I risked as I wanted to take SOMETHING for myself in this war and otherwise I would not get a thing. This was not a good idea. The third and final coalition (second of this particular run) of this Italian run rose up led by Siena and while I put up much better of a fight than I had in the past, eventually they, helped by the likes of Switzerland, reduced me down to three provinces. Pisa was released. The Papal States got their stuff back. All I had was Firenze, Arezzo and Romagna. I nearly quit. But I often don’t in true cases of adversity. I like to believe I can survive and prosper no matter the circumstances, however dire they may seem and however bad I may be at Europa Universalis.

A lot of rebuilding later and now we’re in 1500. My first target I thought I could attack was pleasingly, that little bastard Siena. Allied to only Provence, I took Siena and a province from them over in France. While that would be separated from my country for a long time to come, and would get occupied in nearly every subsequent war that I got myself into, I thought it would be useful for having at least some stuff. The jumped up-snot Pisa was then taken back into the fold, along with those Papal States provinces that rightfully belong to Florence and their merchant bankers rather than some suspicious priests. Next, Ferrara was retaken and I changed my tag to Tuscany. Sadly, the best, crimson colour of this campaign was gone, to be replaced with grey, but it’s a more powerful tag, I wanted to form it. I really like forming nations. It’s why I’m doing this run after all.

At this time I’d recently become a pleasant, cuddly Republican Dictatorship and now translated that into a kingdom, with King Luigi I Zaccaria becoming the first monarch of Tuscany. He would have a long and fruitful reign, living to see Tuscany become the dominant power in Italy. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Next, Lucca was taken. The pesky little Italian one province minors were on their way out. I’d eat them first chance I got. Urbino, which had come under the rule of the Pope again was next up. At the same time, Savoy took Milan, bringing pretty much an end to that particular state. Now I was surrounded by four Italian states who pretty much hated me, the Pope, Naples, Venice and Savoy. This is not an unusual situation in EU4, but it meant I had no friends next to me, except for Genoa. Which just means nicer expansion.

In 1534, I decided I had had quite enough of not getting any Papal Power due to the Pope rivalling me all game and decided that if that was the way he wanted to play it (and the way I wanted to play it, eventually I would need Rome), I would try this new Reformation business. First time I’d tried playing Protestant actually, I wondered if it’d be dangerous doing it so close to Rome but well, most of my neighbours already hated me, being a heretic would hardly do much more harm. France was a bit miffed but got over it for now. Shortly after I got 300 Church Power and the achievement This Is My Faith (I mark Steam Achievements by bold, I’m going for them all, if this is the first of my EU4 posts you’ve come across) Modena and Mantua fell to me.Then, after a successful war against Naples, the tip of the boot and Naples itself fell to me. And that nice mountain province of Abruzzi. One rival nearly neutered. Then Parma as the Modenan remnants fell, bringing an end to the one province cities of Italy. Germany could learn something.

After a war with Savoy (and a break to recover my manpower which had been sitting at 0 for too many years), I decided that my rivals all had far too many allies. As did I. It’s only natural, only it meant that none of us were going to war with each other. Or at least not taking anything of value. So I cut ties with Genoa, the only one of us to have only one ally, me. It’s a bitch playing against a player sometimes. Well, after the alliance truce was up I was kind to them, I only took two of their four provinces, including Genoa, as I needed that for Italy, and vassalised the rest of them. I thought I’d use their trade power for a bit. Before annexing them later. Cosimo I took over from Luigi. It would be his destiny to become the first King of Italy.

In the meantime, a truly huge Catholic vs Protestant league was building up – this was my first time playing in Europe with Art Of War turned on and I was really quite hyped for the League War. So much so that I joined the Protestant League. With England, France, Sweden, Castile, Portugal, Poland and Spain in the Catholic League (facing off Russia, Ottomans, me, Brandenburg, Bohemia, Austria, Denmark), I think it must have been that the League was so big that Brandenburg didn’t want to declare war on the Palatinate because it would have literally been a European World War. It never happened, sadly. Which is a huge shame, as I was really hyped. Current religious situation is that the HRE is Catholic, however only tiny number of HRE nations are actually Catholic, so I think it’s looking a little ridiculous, and something I may intervene in to ensure what I think will be the Empire disbanding, I wonder if I’d get Ruina Imperii for that. Probably would, actually. Maybe that’s a reason to keep playing.

Anyway, one more war against each of my rivals and I was done. First, Venice. I only needed Verona. They had plenty of allies, so after a testy war where I was siege speeding Venice down against some enemy armies nearby on Mantua, I took Verona from them in the peace deal, splitting them up and getting what I needed.

Next was my favourite war, a glorious war against Savoy. I meticulously planned this one out. Savoy had the weakest alliance network, but even that included the Pope, Naples, The Palatinate (aka the Emperor) and Livonian Order because they couldn’t find literally anyone closer. By this point I was allied to the Ottomans and had England and Russia lining up for alliances, although in this one I only called in Bosnia, Bohemia and Brandenburg. It was really fun, me and Savoy were peacing out allies one by one. And doing that fun annulling treaties thing whereby you mess up everyone else’s alliance networks. First Livonian Order, then Naples for me, the former just giving me money and making me swear not to tell Russia a thing, while the latter gave me Salerno to connect up southern Italy. But Bohemia fell out, quickly followed by Brandenburg. I wanted and still needed to take Rome from the Pope but I didn’t have enough warscore nor the coalition avoidance to do so, so I told him to annul nearly all of his allies and I’d come back to him in 10 years. Me and Bosnia worked hard on sieging down Savoy’s mountain forts. It was really quite smooth sailing actually, in the end, as Switzerland declared war on Savoy too. Savoy had already lost their home province to France, they were quite fucked this time. I gave Switzerland two of their cores back as a thank you in the peace deal and took what I needed & wanted, i.e. Milan and Nice, the former for Italy, the latter for connecting up Draguignan, which is not a catchy province name.

Now it was just a waiting game. In 1595, I declared upon the Pope (and Poland now) for the last province I needed for Italy. Rome itself. I called in the Ottomans on my favours and it was fortuitous that I did, for a few months into the war I received a not very nice letter from France, demanding that I stop fighting the Pope and to kiss his élan and beg for forgiveness. I might have done that if I had been chicken, I know all too well to be wary of France. But with a fort in Genoa and the Ottomans, I figured I could do it. After the Ottomans got rid of Poland, it was plain sailing really, even though I got into a couple of engagements with ridiculously moraled up French soldiers that I lost. So far in this campaign I’d been so used to having so much morale myself fighting an enemy with more was unsettling. But I managed to chokepoint them at Genoa, vindicating my decision not to take more of Savoy (it was really a fear of coalitions), and get enough to take my claim of Roma.

With that, as the 17th century dawned, it was time for a new era. The nation of Italy was born and I gained Italian Ambition. Goal that I set out on for this campaign achieved. I also picked up, a couple months before, my estates aligning perfectly enough at 70% influence + to get Factionalism, and to celebrate becoming Italy, I demanded a province from Naples, netting me The Continuation Of Diplomacy. I then tried the same trick on Aragon and despite the tooltip saying they’d accept we went to war instead. Which I won. Easily. Annexing all of Aragon except Syracuse. This game is letting me blob pleasingly. I’m also annexing in Genoa right now. Next I will take out Venice and Naples then see where that takes me.

Honestly, that’s a successful game for me. I may continue, the achievement I might be eying up, as there are sadly no ones that specifically require you to do something as Italy, is All Our Trade Are Belong To Us. That might be better done as France or some pan-European power though, while I am the dominant power in Genoa and Venice, English Channel will be a challenge, owning nothing there or anywhere near there right now, and I still only have about 60% of an idea of how trade really works. Ruina Imperii might be good. I don’t know what else I could aim for. I couldn’t stand only having two diplomats as I’ve already upgraded otherwise I might have gone for Grand Duchy. I think either way though, this has been a very successful campaign and it’s great to have that after the Great Horde failure. 36 achievements now, I’m still very much in love with this great game.

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