The Europa Universalis IV team announced the new expansion Rights of Man at Gamescom. How is it that a three-year-old title continues to hold such fan loyalty and keep people adding hundreds even thousands of hours to their time played on Steam? One of the ways is through the achievement system. The achievement system offers historical and “what-if” scenarios galore for you to attempt in your path towards world domination. So with that in mind, I bring you my work in progress towards “The Great Khan.”
This achievement is available for both the Golden Horde and Mongolia, with the latter being far more difficult. It is categorized on the wiki as a very hard achievement, though with changes to the hordes and playing as GH, this evaluation might not be too accurate. The player must own or control the Russian, Persian, and Chinese regions.
This play through is my first experience with the addition of corruption, estates, and the significant horde mechanical changes. So with that in mind, I make it a bit easier on myself and play as the Golden Horde which you will see referred to as GH. I am by no means a top caliber player and you will see foolish mistakes, several of which I wish I could reload and take back if it were not for the Ironman save game mechanic.
The year is 1444 and GH is but a shadow of its former glory, beset by hostile forces and former vassals now disloyal at every turn, this offers great expansion opportunities. So let’s size up the locals. Muscovy feels significantly stronger this patch than in the past. It dispatches its targets quickly with some god-like generals and deep manpower pools. As usual, it’s best to hurt them as early as possible. The Ottomans, as always, are a major regional power and it’s best to keep them on your good side even as an ally, at least until becoming a greater power yourself. The Polish-Lithuanian Alliance isn’t quite so strong with a recent development nerf to Lithuania. Everyone else in the vicinity will soon find themselves as prey.
At the start, I select the Raise Host estate option as part of my plan to run a cavalry heavy army. The idea is to primarily use mercenary infantry for sieges but leave the fighting to the cav on steppes for the 25% shock bonus. This is also for the increased looting that cav are capable of. The economy is not one of the strengths of hordes, but so long as we’re aggressive enough we can have a sizable monthly debt while still staying in the positive via looting, pillaging, and peace deals.
I attack Kazan quickly to beat Muscovy to the task. Crimea in previous patches would often broker an alliance with the Ottomans, so I take everything I can from them before that possibility. Ryazan after annexation becomes my first vassal. I plan to feed them much of my Russian conquests. The best opportunity to do so shows up suddenly as Muscovy declares war on Novgorod. While they are deep in the Russian forests I hit their exposed flanks, wiping out the forces besieging Odoyev and picking apart the main force whenever the chance of a fight on flat terrain presents itself. The province Muscovy itself is a great target for this, the AI will often try to break a siege on its capital and will place very high priority on taking it back once it’s lost. Most of Muscovy’s manpower is lost in favorable engagements for me while they try to retake their capital. Eventually, the tide of battle changes enough that even Novgorod is making gains. I peace out, taking war reps and some prime Orthodox land for Ryazan to pay the costs of coring, taking their capital and other high development provinces. Later while Novgorod is in a war with Denmark I seize on the chance to remove Odoyev from the map. After the first ten years, my position is much more secure.
My manpower is hurting after all this conflict and I take the chance to recover a little before going back fully on the offensive. My next plan is to take a big chunk out of the now overgrown Nogai, but the Timurids will support them. So instead I take some easy wars, vassalizing Gazikumukh and feeding them the high core cost Caucasus region. The Timurids are willing to ally me in part due to our mutual rivalry with Qara Qoyunlu. I pick up the alliance and call them in against QQ with the promise of territory. This way they can’t honor the call when I declare against Nogai. I mostly use the war to hurt QQ and don’t ask for much apart from cash, humiliation, and a province with high revolt risk to give the Timurids even more problems to deal with. While I’m almost done with Nogai, Muscovy views this as a chance to get back at me. I peace out Nogai for what I can and proceed to get on the defense. If I’d managed to get an alliance with the Ottomans by now this likely wouldn’t have happened, hindsight, oh well. The defense goes well, my vassals have scutage enabled so they don’t hand over free warscore and so my 100% cav stacks don’t find an insufficient support malus by teaming up with them. After all is said and done Muscovy finds itself a broken shell, losing more land and finding Pskov and Perm abandoning it as vassals.
Learning something of a lesson, I pick up the Ottomans, Novgorod, and Uzbek as allies after this event.
I shift a bit of my focus on to my vassals now, growing Gaz further and breaking Persia out of the Timurids while finishing off its allies Kazan and Nogai. Persian rebels running wild in Timurid territory help to grow this new vassal substantially, but at the price of high Liberty Desire (LD). Staying on top of truce timers in order to keep some control over the growing possibility of a coalition, I declare war on QQ as soon as possible. Their concessions become Persian and help to buy down the LD.
Uzbek, in their need for a rival, turns against me which is a blessing.
Another brilliant opportunity presents itself though in the West. Austria is at war with Venice as per usual, but Genoa is an ally to Venice. So I hop on this and take the Genoan territory in Crimea without having to fight Austria and all its allies.
Tver without any strong allies finds itself falling as well. In this case to help grow Ryazan. All of this becomes a bit much for Novgorod and they break the alliance, but at this point, they represent more of a target than a potential ally.
I’m really starting to run into something of an economic issue as I’m outgrowing my ability to form new states significantly. Picking up administrative ideas will help. This idea group is amazing! Coring Cost Reduction I’m looking at you.
As the year 1500 rolls around, I take stock of the situation. Gaz has been annexed, I’ve taken a bite out of Uzbek, Ryazan and Persia are both substantial vassals, Perm is now part of my territory too (blocking off Eastern expansion for the now second rate power, Muscovy), and other than the economy all numbers are looking good.
Follow next week as we venture into the 16th century!