Last time, we set up colony in Cape Verde as penal colony. After firing up the game again, the first few years are uneventful. Austria calls me into a war against Hungary, and I accept so they won’t be annoyed at me, but I then just ignore it. The battles are at the other end of Europe, and setting up colonies costs money during the settlement phase; I can’t afford losing armies at the moment, and Austria is well capable of fighting this war on its own.
In the meantime, I set sail from Cape Verde and go south-westwards. Just a few weeks later, my explorer and his fleet set sight on the first land (I first mistyped and wrote “lad”, which is actually just as true and somewhat funnier. “Hey lad, is this the New World?”) in the New World, at the westernmost tip of South America. Being the first nation to find the new continent comes with a large prestige bonus.
We’re 30 years faster than in reality, even! Shortly after, my old king dies and makes way for awesome Replacement Enrique:
And again just a few months later, Cape Verde becomes a full-fledged colony.
At this point, it seems like I’m doing pretty well. However, problems have started to appear. Investing all my monarch point into those specialized colonization ideas instead of general progress has made me a backwards nation, which reduces my ability to efficiently trade and levy taxes. Setting up colonies costs money. I have to struggle to reach a balanced budget. And on one of the festivities celebrating the discovery of the new world, and the establishment of a new colony, and whatnot, my King ends up producing… well, a “malheur”:
Grrrreat. What’s up with those incapable Trastamara heirs? I really had hoped I was done with that. Guess there’s a another general in the making. Oh well. For now, I send my colonist to South America. Can’t ever stop colonizing if I want to win the land rush. I figure it’s worth a loan or two to keep doing that, and to reach my next goal old world: a foothold in North Africa. This is the situation at the start of my planning:
Morocco fractured into several states after succumbing to the rebel problem I talked about last time. That means it is small enough now to be a target for vassalization. (Nations that are too large cannot be vassalized). In addition, because Sus and Fez were carved out of Moroccan provinces, Morocco has a core on all of them (meaning it considers them to be parts of its realm). The plan is thus to vassalize Morocco, then wage war against its successor states and reincorporate them into Morocco, a strategy called “vassal feeding”. Afterwards, I can either keep Morocco as my lapdog and a considerable power in the Maghreb, or eventually diplomatically annex them and this integrate into Castile. I need a casus belli though. I manage to fabricate a claim on of Morocco’s provinces, and am good to go.
Sadly, this fabrication takes some time (a year, to be precise), during which Tlemcen has declared war on Fez and is already sieging down its provinces. I manage to defeat Morocco fast:
I decide to go for Sus first and hope Tlemcen will settle for only one province in Fez, so that I can then grab its remaining provinces and integrate them into Morocco. Then, tragedy strikes:
Oh crap. Well, this really sucks, for several reasons. First, I can’t declare wars during a regency, so a war against Fez is out of the question for the next few years until my king comes of age. Second, he’s another idiot on the throne, with his low monarch points, and since he’s so young, chances are he’ll be ion the throne for a long time, during which I have to struggle to keep up in progress in all three categories (military, diplomatic, and especially administrative: remember, he has a whooping 0 administrative points, so all I’ll get is from the country baseline and my hired advisor.) Third, he only has a weak claim, which immediately reduces my dynasty’s legitimacy by a lot: from the maximum of 100 down to 30. On top of that, every year of regency leads to another loss of 2 legitimacy points. And a low legitimacy reduces my government’s effectiveness at steering production and trade, and levying taxes. My tiny money problem becomes a not-so-tiny money problem. I manage to end the war with Sus fast (they’re utterly beaten, I annex them completely and hand the provinces to Morocco), then reduce my army maintenance. It’s the largest cost factor, and while a low-maintenance army fights a lot worse, I can’t declare wars during the regency anyway. It’s time to focus on exploration and colonization. I establish a foothold in Brazil, colonizing one province and conquering another from a small native nation:
and, now that I have my first colony there, hop over to the Caribbean:
Oh, look who’s there… Portugal made the jump to the New World by now. Oh well, I see a land-grab race in our future. Maybe, if I get very lucky, I might eventually get a personal union over Portugal. I definitely will try to always intermarry with their rulers. Go all Philip II and become the undisputed colonial dominator. But, alas, diplomacy by marriage is fickle and subject to chance.
A few years later, the regency ends.
Good leadership skills my ass. He seems to be the devout type, though:
On the other hand… maybe not.
What is it with those Trastamaras and their dubious heirs? I can tell you from previous games that generally, this doesn’t happen nearly as often. But, oh well, better an heir with a weak claim than no heir at all (which puts me at risk of ending up as a junior partner in a personal union, which would be almost a game over). And at least, his stats aren’t that horribly bad.
In the meantime, Austria loses the Emperorship, and the continent is fighting among themselves:
Goodbye Scotland, we hardly knew ye. I mostly sit out on those wars (I honor the call to arms to not lose prestige and standing with my allies, but let them do the fighting). The only war I meddle in is the Portuguese against Tlemcen. Sadly, all I get out of it is one province (Melilla). I’m pretty sure we could’ve achieved more if Portugal hadn’t been so timid at the peace talks… Other than that, I try to speed up my colonization.
As a side effect, all those ideas unlock something unexpected:
In total, that’s 3 colonists for now. I’ll get a fourth one from a Spanish National Idea soon, but 4 is the maximum I’ll reach for very long time. I increase the game speed and let the years pass by. Some random events help me colonize even faster:
And after 25 years of pushing strongly into the Caribbean, my first colonial nation is formed:
America and Oceania are split into a bunch of “colonial regions”. If you have 5 provinces next to each other in such a region, a colonial nation forms out of them which is similar to a vassal. They create their own armies to keep the peace, they are better at exploiting the new world as the mother country is, and they funnel lots of the money they make that way into your coffers via tariffs. The downside is that they have a mechanic called “liberty desire” that you need to have an eye on. Events and your behavior towards them can modify it, and if it gets too high, they’ll declare their independence. Eventually, I hope to have powerful colonial nations in every colonizable area of the world.
The year is now 1500, and this is the current political situation:
I really want to dig into Tlemcen and get some provinces for both me and Morocco. They managed to annex all those juicy provinces I wanted for myself, while I was stuck in a regency. Sadly, Tlemcen is allied with both Tunis and the Ottomans, so I have to be careful. There’s a good chance the Ottomans won’t be much of a help to Tlemcen, if they join the war in the first place, that is. But even Tlemcen and Tunis together are not to be underestimated, especially since I cannot concentrate all my armies into North Africa, since I need some of them in America. Speaking of which, this is the colonial status:
Portugal is really focusing on the northern coast of South America. They already have a powerful colonial nation (Portuguese Columbia) there, and are continuing to expand. On the other hand, I have split my efforts. The area in the center of the map is really close to forming another colonial nation. I also grabbed Panama, and just started to expand into North America via Florida. In the extreme west, you can see a glimpse of Mesoamerican nations. Those, I will deal with later. I even established a foothold in Africa (at the coast, below the L in Mali). The plan is to eventually go coast hopping down to South Africa, and from there to Asia and Oceania. However, the African natives are much stronger and tend to attack the colonists more often. I had some trouble establishing that colony, and decided to postpone further colonization for the time being. I think the different amounts of resistance by native tribes are designed to funnel you into North America first, and postpone the scramble for Africa until your armies are more powerful, and native resistance becomes a non-issue.
Plans for next round: more colonial expansion, hopefully ending up with three colonial nations, and some warring in North Africa!