Games · Strategy Games

Europa Universalis IV: Rights Of Japan

Guys, look, an original pun title. Time for me to talk about my latest campaign in EU4, and possibly the first where I’m going for a rather challenging Ironman achievement that will require me to fiddle a bit with game mechanics, I started as a Daimyo and am going for two achievements, The Chrysanthenum Throne and Kirishitan Japan. The former will be achieved via the latter, as much as I hate to not stay Shinto until the end of the game with Japan, the achievements direct my play style. I’m living with it by renaming all the provinces I conquer to Japanese names as informed to me via Google Translate. Not fluent enough in Japanese to know if that’s right or not but it’s working for my immersion. And of course this is my first time playing with Rights Of Man enabled and so I’ve been enjoying all the new features that offered.

I started as Shiba, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they were the closest I could get to Oda and for my EU4 Japan playthrough I wanted to go as close as I could to history (I’d have done Oda or Asakura if either were available in the start, the second for Ryoko-related reasons), secondly, doge (sadly I will not be doing trickery to make myself an Italian Merchant Republic, that’s a step too far and I know it’s been done), thirdly, I love their nice teal colour. So much so, that in my first war, I pretty much doubled my size and spread the teal across Japan, taking out daimyos like Hatekeyama and Imayawa, and a year or two later, Takeda for his gold mine, Date, Uesegi, Nanbu, Hosokawa, gone, owned pretty much all of eastern Honshu and all of Shikoku, and yet the emperor didn’t bat an eyelid. I think something needs to be done there about Japan, there’s some good unique events but they come round very often and the shogun wars aren’t as well represented as they could be, the emperor was no threat to my expansion and it felt way too easy. They have a million other things to balance, do Paradox, but it could use some improvement.

Continuing along that path, there was only me, Otomo, Ouchi and Yamana left, and I had been flipping relations with them from friendly to hostile and back again. After one, I believe it was Otomo, declared a war for the emperor and left it with staying part of Japan even after I helped him beat the emperor, I declared my own war as soon as the truce timer allowed and became independent. To the north, Ainu was almost immediately wiped out and defeated with their incredible 9 development coming under my wing. Essentially, I was the dominant power in Japan, the Emperor little more than a puppet. A war or two later and Kyoto was mine, with the emperor reduced to one province in Musashi. He’d annexed Ouchi by this point and the other two were independent so it was a simple matter to get them under my wing.

Tech-wise, I had developed the Renaissance in Owari as quickly as I could so I didn’t fall behind, and took exploration because I felt that looking eastward with Japan and getting a ‘reverse colonialism’ game going would be fun. Even though my main objective was converting to Christianity and I figured that would be difficult if I took too much, hence I have slowed down my expansion outside of Japan. Outside of Japan, I quickly made sure I wasn’t friendly with anyone across the sea tiles from me to keep the Renaissance from spreading (something I managed to do very successfully, it was just Japan that would be a centre of tech for many years), and started to colonise the Philippines.

Taking exploration had impacted on my diplo tech though, and despite having Quest For The New World, to have a chance of spawning colonialism I also needed to be able to see America. So then began a mad rush of diplomatic tech once I got the second colonist from Exploration. I got to level 8 and sent my explorer on an urgent, no brakes on the sails mission, finding the tip of Alaska in a ‘far too close for comfort’ 1498. So I knew I had a chance. And I knew that likely my only competitors would be Castile and Portugal over in the shroud.

It paid off. The first time I’ve ever managed to spawn an institution myself and more importantly, deny Europe an advantage (which perhaps wasn’t so good in the long run for the Christians actually getting to me, but you know, it’s a lot of obnoxious bragging rights to say you’ve done it). Incidentally, Colonialism is far harder to keep from spreading as an island nation than Renaissance is, the current year is 1555 and Renaissance was only just recently sighted in the Middle East while spreading a little bit from my land conquests, but Colonialism has already ran rampant through Ming, which was a bit unfortunate. They’re still two military tech levels behind me, but I’m going to need to keep ahead. Thankfully, I was blessed with rulers far above the average, my favourite, Yoshikane I, a 5-4-6, ruling from 1505 until dying peacefully at an old age in 1541, so I had no shortage of monarch points.

Aside from colonising the Philippines, I wanted to complete my first mission. Unfortunately, Ryukyu, Jeju and The Kurils are considered part of Japan, as well as the province of Musashi. In 1505 my last truce expired with the former emperor, so I took him out, and at about the same time, launched a naval invasion of Ryukyu and put a swift end to their dangerous plans of world conquest. The Kurils were being colonised, but Jeju was owned by Korea, allied to Ming. That would have to wait.

Mostly, I sat on my hands, not expanding too much as the way I needed to convert to Christianity was hope that my first province switch (not knowing much about the way that event chain works) was on mainland Japan, the rebels siege down all of the Japanese archipelago, and I can switch religion by collapsing once they control half my provinces (apparently daimyos get a decision to switch but I wasn’t going to stay a daimyo for 50 years while I waited for the Europeans to discover me). Maybe that won’t be an option any more, it’s hard to tell with these kinds of mechanics but that’s my plan for now. If it doesn’t work I’ll conquer as much as I can and do Kirishitan Japan in another campaign.

Therefore, my provinces in the Philippines and else where would be a problem. I’d colonised Taiwan as it was close, and I had just taken over the Kamchadals in eastern Siberia when I thought that perhaps I could get around the problem with vassals owning non-Japanese terrritories. So I vassalised Khodynt in my war against the Kamchadals, granted them everything I now owned in Kamchatka from taking three of the four East Siberian tribes down, and left them to it. Similarly, I had my eye on Sulu, who had gained some cores through a rebellion in my Filipino provinces, and gave them all of my Filipino land. They’re a little bit disloyal but it’s nothing I can’t handle. There’s a Star Trek joke in there about Japan controlling Sulu but I’m not sure what, maybe I should rename a province to Hikaru.

Meanwhile, Ming broke their alliance with Korea so I launched an invasion to capture Jeju. And their other provinces in the Nippon trade node. Because I couldn’t resist. Then I renamed them to names I guess either remind Koreans of Imperialist Japan (Gyeongju to Keishuu, Jeonju to Zenra) or look hirariousry wrong. Anyway, I now had all of the Japanese region under my control and so officially got The Chrysanthenum Throne. A few years later, I saw Ming invading and splitting Korea up so, sensing weakness, I pounced on the rest of Korea and took a bunch more land. Then the final bits got eaten by the newly formed Manchu and I saw another opportunity for a vassal. Increasing the disloyalty immensely, as I forced religion on them for reasons I think were a little bit premature, but I now have Korea vassalised and under my careful protection. I’m building colonies in Alaska and Australia, hoping to get those as colonial nations and honestly, I’m regretting not taking Influence ideas at this point – it’s always one of my favourites although I suppose this might actually be one of the few places in the game where Espionage might work with that group’s liberty desire idea. However, I’ve taken Quality and Religious, Quality because it makes sense as an island nation to get a bit of naval ability and it’s helped my troops hugely, while Religious will be required to have in place for the mass conversions once Christianity finally arrives. I plan to try and get Humanist as my next idea group, to hopefully take that idea group’s Tolerance of Heathens as soon as I flip to Christianity and not one day before. I started a no CB war with Spain to force the Europeans to discover me a bit earlier than they would have, white peaced after 5 years with no bloodshed and now it’s just a waiting game. I instantly developed Kyoto to get Printing Press with my glut of monarch points so no problem for that institution, helped Kyoto match Owari too, so I’m just building tall until the missionaries come – I’ll be sad to lose Shinto though, unless my entire plan doesn’t work and I can’t switch religion now. I’m eager to conquer Ming but need a stronger navy.

Almost forgot one thing, I had a little disaster with the Clergy (unintentional, sometimes you forget there’s a disaster ticking) which I’m considering keeping, it will be expensive in monarch points but will help the new Christians rebel faster, am not sure yet though.

I’ll return to this with my adventures in converting which I expect will be fun, doing weird things in with this game’s mechanics for Steam Achievements is always very interesting.

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