Games · Strategy Games

Europa Universalis IV: Straits Of Cibola

What I’ve been doing in my favourite game, Europa Universalis IV, I’ve had less time to play it lately, is playing as Hormuz and Pueblo. One Arabian, one New World nation for when I just want to chill.

My goal on it is to one day get all of the Ironman achievements that come with it, one of the most interesting sets of achievements ever in a game. So far I have everything down to Total Control in the Steam stats, meaning the highest one I don’t have is ‘Double The Love’ and from there Down UnderIsn’t This The Way To India, Aggressive ExpanderThis Navy Can Take It All, The Five Colonies, Just A Little Patience, This Is My Faith, Market Control, At Every Continent, Vasa Or Wettin?, The Continuation Of Diplomacy, Italian Ambiton, Not So Sad A State, Queen Of Conquest, Time Bandit, No Pirates In My Caribbean, All That’ Thine Shall Be Mine, A Pile Of Gold, Combined Arms, The Chrysanthemum Throne, Factionalism, Nobody Wants To Die and ones I’m proud of, Georgia On My Mind and Kirishitan Japan, which I detailed my runs for in previous posts. In this post I’ll detail my runs for Strait Talk, the Hormuz achievement (with bonus attempt for Arabian Coffee) and Cities Of Cibola, the Pueblo achievement. During this run I also added Gentle Persuasion, one of the new easy Rights Of Man achievements that I just hadn’t gotten around to yet.

I picked Hormuz as some of the most fun achievements look to be when it requires you to play a very different game, particularly in terms of idea groups, as to what you would normally play. Strait Talk requires you to have 10 diplomatic reputation, so maxing out one stat almost as far as you are allowed to within the confines of the game. And so I’d had my eye on it for a while as it meant I’d have to pick a very rigid set of ideas and I could direct my gameplay towards this one goal. I realised about halfway through, that I could also go for Arabian Coffee but that hasn’t come to pass yet, I’ll expand on why once I set the situation.

The guide on the EU4 wiki suggested playing a timid game, sitting and waiting, while using the strait that you had to stop all enemies from landing on your capital island. This seemed far too risky and unexciting for me, what happens when Persia builds up enough navy to sweep aside your leaky underfunded rowboats? So I decided against this strategy. Instead I decided to go for a fairly bold opening move of grabbing what allies I could from Baluchistan, Najd and Yemen, isolating Oman and enabling me to take half of his territory in a single war. I followed this up by returning the cores of Bahrain and Qatar to me from Haasa, meaning that I could feel like I was playing one of those modern day countries, even though Hormuz itself is in Iran now.

I then broke up with Najd, took all of their worldly goods and made preparations to attack them, beating them fairly handily and making me the dominant power in the Arabian peninsula. Incidentally, throughout this campaign I found out that having your capital province on an island accessible by a strait is really handy for trapping enemy armies and keeping your capital from getting sieged, I don’t think it fell into enemy hands once. After the first couple of wars there was no one who could challenge my naval dominance in the Gulf and it was fairly smooth sailing from then on. Literally. The waters in the Gulf are very smooth and completely pirate-free. But no non-Hormuzian goods get through untaxed, we keep a strict hold over the nodes of Hormuz and Basra.

I conquered Hejaz and, during a war with Ethiopia against Yemen where I was fighting alongside Shammar, ensured Shammar got wrecked by the Ethiopians, then immediately declared war on my former partner in the war and knocked them out. By this time, Yemen was down to a single province so I was easily able to diplo-vassalise them and the power structure looked to be me in Arabia between Ethiopia in Africa and Persia over in Iran, both rivals. Up north, the Ottomans had been doing very well against the Mamluks so I, with my increasing diplomatic reputation, allied them. The first wars with Ethiopia and Persia were hard, but taking all their coastline early on meant each progressive war got easier and easier, and with no real other directions to look in, it was smooth sailing.

On ideas, I chose to go Innovative then Quality, because they would have policies I would need, followed by the two key idea groups of Diplomatic and Influence. This formed the core of my set, and I added Humanist afterwards to help with my religious unity, which was going down and down as I expanded into hard to convert Shia lands. And it also gave me another policy. Once I got Diplomatic and Influence however, I found the full benefit of playing with a diplomatic focused nation. I was able to change my alliance preferences at the drop of a hat, found vassals in Aussa, Khorasan and Baluchistan to help me eat away at Ethiopia, Persia and Yarkand respectively through reconquest and claims and with my huge diplomatic reputation, was able to get rid of any difficult vassals in no time at all. It’s almost enough for me to make those two an essential for any campaign, I really enjoy playing with a lot of vassals. I do value different playstyles so I won’t do it all the time but it was fun. I did the same with India, releasing Gujarat and Sind to tear into Malwa, and down in Africa, Kilwa to tear into Mutapa.

I had gone down into Africa for a specific reason, the east coast of Africa is filled with ivory and getting the trading bonus on that good allows you to get +2 diplomatic reputation (why that is when in the modern world trading in it would probably be a malus on your diplomatic reputation is beyond me), and after integrating Kilwa, I got that bonus. With my policies on, and a couple of random events, I was able to get Strait Talk by going up from 9 diplomatic reputation to a total of 11. One better than the achievement required.

Now as you can see on that map I am short of the provinces needed to form Arabia and if I do, I would get the achievement Arabian Coffee as I am already, with my Ethiopian and Yemeni provinces, the largest producer of that in the world. But unfortunately to form Arabia you need provinces like Alexandria and Damascus, which are deep within Ottoman land. I have broken my alliance and rivalled them but the only ally from their other rivals I was able to pick up was Russia, Spain and the Commonwealth, the other rivals, are both rivalled to Russia, Commonwealth has rivalled me and Spain was too distant to me to consider anyway. So I can’t get a good anti-Ottoman bloc going, to make matters worse, Nogai and Yarkand are Ottoman allies, may they rot in hell.

Any war with the Ottomans, based off a war where Russia attacked Yarkand and got creamed, is going to result in Ottoman armies rampaging across my lands while my much smaller armies do the Yakkety Sax and run away from them, picking off weak ones. And that’s so costly. I can never make a move into their lands, Russia is too far away to make a difference, the Ottoman AI seems to be able to handle fighting on two fronts very efficiently and our scattered troops which as a total only just about come close to the Ottoman total can’t come together enough to effectively beat them. They might be beatable if I fought a really good war but I don’t think it can happen. So I’ll probably save Arabian Coffee for another playthrough with the Mamluks, who’ll find forming Arabia far easier and won’t need to contend with Ottomans as powerful as that. Had I had that achievement in mind from the beginning I would have rushed to stop the Ottomans from claiming those provinces, if I was even able.

I also started a Native American game as the tribe of Pueblo in modern New Mexico, an unusually large Native American tribe with 3 provinces. I love the image of the empty New World in the Age of Discovery. Or nearly empty, at a much lower population density than Europe, no cities, just the open plains. It’s very romantic and idyllic to picture this sort of thing. So even though not much happens, I quite like loading up a chill game as a Native American tribe in EU4 from time to time. However this was slightly different. Firstly, once I got the colonist from the native ideas, I found I had enough money to actually support colonies, so I could start filling in the empty spots on the map which is one of my favourite things to do in EU4, growing my nation by taking the empty bits. I spent so much of this run on 5 speed, it’s lovely watching the other, smaller tribes migrate about but there’s not a whole lot to take care of.

It was a bit of a waiting game for the Europeans to show up and they took a bit longer than normal, I only started sighting Castile in Florida at 1530. Or maybe that’s about normal, but soon, as I calculated, and I’d built colonies down to the borders in preparation for this, France landed a colony on the Rio Grande estuary and once that was finished, I was able to reform my government. I’d never done it before and by this time I had over 2000 monarch points saved up. I was surprised how instant it was, I instantly lost all of my native buildings (plunging my economy into ruin), all my native advancements and had to pick new ideas while all around me the other nations also instantly turned into duchies. I also, in my hubris, declared war on France and got my ass handed to me.

But essentially my goal was not to be the best but to simply have 7 cities with over 10 development, a rather quick achievement run. Now I had reformed the government, and although I had done a lot of development in my capital (now 35) to try and spawn Feudalism before finding out that Native Americans are inherently inferior at figuring out basic rules of a structured society, I hadn’t gotten what I needed for the achievement.

However, quickly taking over all the tribes that touched my borders, taking Expansion (for continued colonisation), Defensive (to help against Europeans) and Espionage (for kicks because I never normally take Espionage), I then got enough monarch points to develop enough provinces to the required amount and got myself the Cities Of Cibola achievement. And fine cities they are too, digging into Texas even though we don’t really want to be there and would rather chill in our meth-making paradise.

(I did have Lipan but lost it to the French in that war)

Cities Of Cibola

Anyway, that’s my updates on gaming lately, I feel like I might finally play my home country properly next time, which means England. Even though I’m unsure at what it’s become I’m gonna recreate it at its best, the British Empire. Life was better in those days*.

(*exclusively for rich white men with mustaches and a red coat)

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