At the start of this week’s update, we enter the 17th century as a superpower. In terms of development, only Ming and the Ottomans compare. When it comes to the size and strength of our military the Ottomans alone rival us. The only area we are not a major player in is what falls under the diplomatic section of determining our score position. Our navies are weak, our alliances are non-existent (although our many vassals help to counterbalance this,) and we haven’t the means to even see the new world let alone colonize it at this time.

So with that in mind, I’m not going to show as many updates about defeating the regional powers because we’ve outclassed them (with the exception of the Ottomans and Ming.) The focus will be more on what the themes are that direct the Golden Horde and the wars with the other great powers.

With that in mind, let’s get on with the update! The first conflict involves taking land from Najd. The reason is twofold, Hormuz is required for the achievement and this will provide a third front in the next war with the Ottomans. This front I will specifically assign to my vassals. Having them besiege while I defeat the armies that are more often assigned in the two other areas. Truce timers aren’t up yet and the Golden Horde has many areas to expand in. So immediately following that war we take significant land from Ming. This conflict proves to be even easier than those in the past, and it seems Ming is truly eclipsed.

The beginning of the following decade the truce with the Ottomans expires. Focusing again on taking fights on flat terrain we inflict massive casualties against them even when caught off-guard.

Significant numerical disadvantage be damned, this army takes it all and wins, inflicting massive casualties.

As the warscore in the 2nd war against the Ottomans is decidedly in our favor we are given several tempting choices. We could grow Syria significantly like the choice with many previous conquests for growing our vassals. We could take Constantinople then even move our trade center to it reaping in far greater trade income. The choice I go with however is to let our foreign policy reflect what has been the domestic policy since taking the religious idea group. We take the Holy lands.

The 2nd war with the Ottomans provides the Middle Eastern holy lands.

By becoming the custodian of Mecca and Medina we gain yearly prestige and one additional missionary. The same is true of owning Jerusalem. Now we have the ability to rapidly convert the religiously divided lands of the Golden Horde.

For some time now corruption had been an issue due to several factors, but one we had little control over was the lack of religious unity. So with this change in available missionaries and hiring an inquisitor we set about changing that. The newly converted land is far more productive as well given our bonus to tolerance of the true faith, especially when compared to the malus that had existed for these heretics and heathens. The next idea group, the overdue humanist helps the cause, increasing our religious unity and almost entirely dealing with the problem of rebellions. While it would have been wise to pick it up earlier, it’s better late than never.

Considering this additional focus and the position it puts us in I plan to add uniting the Muslim world to our to-do list. We will follow the traditions of Burke Khan of the Golden Horde, grandson of Genghis Khan and first of the Khans to convert to Islam. We will set about defending the faith and bringing our brothers into the fold.

For some time I had been fearful of becoming a defender of the faith, mostly due to Portugal and Spain taking Muslim Africa. At this point though I feel the Horde is strong enough to put them in their place. Little did I know that in patch 1.8 it was changed so that the defender of the faith would only be called into wars with neighbors or on the same continent. If I had known this earlier I would have taken it far sooner. The bonuses, particularly the loss of war exhaustion, would have been most valuable. I learned something new this day.

Speaking of the European powers, something is afoot. France is at war with almost all of its neighbors and some nations even further away. This will have long-lasting ramifications, which I hope to turn to our advantage.

This is who they are at war with in Europe.

Back in our neck of the woods though I use this distraction to take some land from Hungary and reduce Poland to a shadow of its former glory. My how the tables have completely turned.

Not to be content on just the western front I take more land from Juanpur releasing Delhi as a vassal with all of its many cores and I annex Chagatai taking one more of the weaker hordes out of the picture. Another war with Ming and I earn the “Pyramid of skulls” achievement for razing Nanjing.

Pyramid of skulls achievement.

Wu becomes my new local vassal to absorb the administrative costs of coring China as Shun is annexed.

I had been holding off on taking small countries made up of 3 development provinces because I would not be able to raze them and the gain in possible rebels didn’t seem worth it for such weak provinces. However, now that I’ve completed the humanist idea group separatism is reduced by 10 years which goes great with the 5-year reduction of from horde ideas. The -2 unrest helps as well as does the tolerance of heretics and heathens. With all of this put together, I start taking lands I had passed up on previously. Finally finishing off Kazakh and Khiva for example.

In the following decade I go to war again with our one-time ally, now rival the Ottomans. They are still able to field the largest armies in the world in spite of losing two wars to us decisively. While being mostly boxed in by us they have still managed to expand against Hungary. Unfortunately, during this war, some of my vassals disregard my orders and “help” me in battles against the Ottomans causing me to suffer the insufficient support penalty, although it’s not enough to change the tide of battle.

This is the largest battle yet. Rigan support led to a loss in tactics, but even against that and superior numbers it was a decisive win.
I use the gains in this war to take their defensive terrain in what is modern-day eastern Turkey, giving it to my vassal Syria.

The rest of the world wasn’t asleep while this was taking place. The results of the wars in France are decided and deeply troubling for the future of France. Looking at the Holy Roman Empire the religious league wars never fired. Having abstained from casting my lot I’m not too concerned, although the results are a deeply divided Europe, which we will profit from at some point.

Here are the final results of what the Western powers did to France, yes that is Portugal owning much of France.

As that takes place in Europe even more glorious news arrives from China. The Mingsplosion has finally happened!

The Mingsposion finally happened, and to great effect, time to pick up the pieces.

This is an important moment because these new 7 nations do not have a truce with us or allies to back them up. We can conquer this land far more quickly now.

Going to war with them Wu and myself are at the over-extension cap and can take no more at this time without facing some significant negative events. I do the same in India with Delhi and station an army focused on automated rebel suppression for each of them to help them get through this growth period.

With all these recent conquests were gaining so many monarch points from razing that staying ahead of time on admin and military is no problem. Diplomatic points are still the least plentiful because of the diplomatic annexations, but we are not lacking them in a way that is hurting too much. Being ahead of time on admin also carries with it the effect of reducing corruption. Things are going very well indeed.

Remember when I was saying the religiously divided Europe would be to our gain? An opportunity presents itself in the form of a one province minor Brandenburg with cores on much of north-central Europe. I force vassalize them after declaring war on an ally of theirs.

Picking up Brandenburg as a vassal is always good. Getting them with all these cores is even better.

Going to war with the largest AI Netherlands I’ve ever seen and their ally Pomerania we gain significant lands for Norway and Brandenburg. Shortly after we expand even further in China and India.

We are getting much closer to completing “the Great Khan” achievement. Our empire stretches from Iceland to the coast of China encompassing many areas in between and this century has not yet finished.

Greater expansion in China and India.
Diplo map mode view of the previous ss.

While things are going well, some unsettling news reaches us about the middle of the 17th century. As maps reveal the new world we learn that instead of vying for power the colonizing nations seem to have one supreme leader, Great Britain. Portugal while doing well in Brazil seems to have kept its focus on seizing French lands. Spain has a weak Canadian colonial nation and in spite of inheriting Aragon and Naples in the Iberian wedding, they seem to be keeping their focus on the coast of west Africa. The Netherlands has yet to even get started and France has given up almost all of their few possessions in their recently lost wars.

This has had the effect in just a few decades of seeing GB go from a being a moderate power to being able to field the largest army and navy around. When combined with their colonies they surpass any other power by significant margins. It looks like waiting to take a colonizing idea might be coming back around to bite me.

A way around this presents itself, but it going to be close.

Sweden has colonized some of what is modern day Columbia and Venezuela and if I conquer them I will inherit their colonial nation. The problem is that they also have a single colony in the Caribbean which still belongs to them. Since they don’t have at least 5 colonies there it hasn’t become a colonial nation, so any conquest of their other territory will leave them shifting their capital to this small colony, also their colonial nation will likely split off due to the power difference. This is all too far away for me to demand in peace at the moment as my colonial range is just a tad too short. So the option of annexing them seems to be out of the picture.

We’ve declared war though and this might be the only shot at this before someone else, likely GB steps in.

It’s just barely out of range!

I look desperately for other options. Can I tech up in diplo and gain the range? No, it won’t be enough. What about a colonial range adviser? Not available, and still not enough. What about getting a core closer? Then I see it! If I conquer and core some land in North Africa I just might make it. The local traditions increase the coring cost, but I take the gamble. I declare war on Tunis, taking a swath of land straight to their former capital. Leaving the rest of the land uncored I start on the coring process of the province of Tunis after razing everything I could.

At last, an opportunity presents itself. We’ll conquer our way across north Africa and gain the colonial range.

For 18 months the question of will this work hangs in the balance. I try to find ways to keep the fighting going against Sweden so that a white peace doesn’t ruin everything. All the while hoping that call to peace doesn’t fire. Eventually, I finally hear the notification sound I’ve been waiting for and lo and behold I’m now within coring range! Sweden is gone and in the place of their colonial nation is a newly razed and raised Golden Horde Columbia. I now have my own first colonial nation and can begin to challenge the dominance of GB in this new theater.

It seems I can’t be met with only good news, though. My vassal Brandenburg is almost overrun by Pomeranian separatists. In spite of setting Brandenburg as a county of interest and them being a vassal of mine, I received no notifications of this rebellion. It’s like they have some sort of stealth ability to blend in.


Actual photo of their stealthy leader practicing infiltration tactics.

On a serious note, in a recent developer diary, it was described that in the next expansion we’ll get greater ability to be aware of what’s taking place and to influence our subject nations. I might have been more aware of their inability to deal with rebellion if I had access to this information so I’m looking forward to it.

The other bit of bad news is that I get word that the Ottomans are no longer a viable rival, while on the positive end I gain some power projection from eclipsing them, I have no other available rivals. This will eventually hurt power projection after current levels tick down. As with the previous issue, this too will be dealt with in some way with the next expansion as the greatest of the great powers will have 25 power projection as a given.

Looking back on the domestic front Diplomatic is selected as the 6th idea group. This was done to greatly help in our ability to annex vassals, for the additional relationship slot, to be able to take more land during peace negotiations, and in the future to be able to break peace treaties with less of a penalty if it comes to that. Even the other aspects are quite desirable.

The vassal Norway has been a bit of a headache as they have required constant babysitting. Unable to deal with their own rebel issues it feels like were always having to check in on them and often put down rebellions. This time, however, I’m quite surprised with something they’ve done. They are colonizing Panama, right on the border of the colonial nation of British Columbia. I suddenly have a cassus belli that allows me to take a very large colonial nation and it would directly start shifting the balance of power away from GB in the new world. We are pleased Norway, we are very pleased.

I have had scutage enabled for Norway, but in this war, it works out perfectly. Rather than having to watch the province being colonized for fear of a British stack coming in and seizing it or burning it to the ground they don’t even venture near the isthmus due to Norway not being involved in the war.

Speaking of the war most of the fighting takes place in Bohemia who GB has in a personal union. The fighting there is against great numbers and includes some fairly sizable allies of GB as well. All told we’re outnumbered at least 2 to 1 closer to 3 to 1, but able to make the most of it. Stacks of 25,000 troops each handle matters, 3 of them in South America with the other 5 involved with the European theater. Several times I link them up into larger contingents to deal with enemy doomstacks. While the losses inflicted particularly by our 6 fire 6 shock general is immense this is the first war in centuries where our losses aren’t replenished fast enough between battles.

We’ve had some good generals, but sometimes you get a god of a general.

It’s decided to start producing more cavalry to switch in for those weakened in battle and to rotate depleted units out so they can recover on home turf. Shift-clicking to consolidate units up to full strength and taking units out of harms’ way that has 0 strength. This change up allows us to always keep strong front lines of cavalry inflicting the most shock damage and protecting the vulnerable artillery in the back line while they make their value clear in the fire phase.

This screenshot of our 110,000 vs 130,000 GB with allies tells the tale. While we suffered 35,000 casualties they suffered 75,000.


Due to the nature of the CB, building up warscore is far more time consuming than with the tribal conquest CB we use most of the time. This war takes its sweet time, but at the end, we have a giant Golden Horde Columbia to show for it and a weakened GB. Unfortunately, though they are removed from being a viable rival after this war, leaving me back with zero rivals again.

As one of the bonuses of having a strong colonial nation we now have an additional merchant, bringing trade income up further and controlling its flow. Most importantly though we’ve gone from nonexistent to a major power on the colonization portion of the world stage in only so many years.

Earlier I’d mentioned how at some point I’d really like to take advantage of what the other western powers had done to France, here comes the chance to get started on that. While at war with the OPM Emporer Aquileia I take one province from their ally France. This puts me on a border with Spain and France which will be huge in the future. I’ll have the incredible horde CB to use against them.

I don’t sit on my hands though waiting for the next opportunity to fight one of these great powers. I take even more land in China, India, the Ottoman empire, and the Arabian peninsula. Over-extension is the main mechanism slowing conquest at this point. Nor do the great powers sit on their hands either. Portugal seizes on the opportunity I made by weakening GB and declares war on them bringing in Spain and a very large Savoy among others.

In the meantime we’ve made our navy quite respectable, using a stack of 25 heavies to decimate anything they come across without even the slightest loss.

As the 17th century comes close to an end the Golden Horde strikes once again at GB while it’s distracted. Declaring against Bohemia in order to gain warscore far faster has the drawback of bringing in the emperor and allies, but we’ve already removed most of the threatening allies from the picture. This conflict rages from colonial Peru and Argentina to Bohemia to Ireland. It is on Ireland itself that we make landfall first. After taking the 2 level 6 forts the way to Scotland is secured. After taking the additional 2 level 2 forts there in very short order we go about dispatching the British navy and army. The results are devastating, with us stack-wiping even full armies of 50,000 plus men.

GB still has some significant numbers out there somewhere larger than anything I fought on their home islands, but they stay out of sight, possibly fighting Spain and it’s colonies in North America. GB peaces out Portugal and its allies giving up all continental possessions other than Calais, but having only one war to focus on is not enough to save them, we have the run of the Islands and forts fall on the march towards London. We achieve the desired victory conditions before taking it, though. Brandenburg is given back everything that Bohemia had owned, we also take Peru to add a second strong colonial nation to our list of conquests and one territory of GB itself so as to have a safe landing zone for future conquests.

I took a number of provinces from Bohemia for Brandenberg, the whole of the colonial nation Peru, and one territory in the UK for the future

This campaign which started with the initial goal of “the Great Khan” achievement and has since grown to include uniting Islam may eventually turn into one of world conquest should this keep up. Portugal and Spain still have yet to be knocked down a peg and together as allies along with their colonial nations they now have numbers greater than what GB had just a short time ago. There is still work to be done and for the 7th or 8th (I’m very heavily leaning towards 7th ) idea group I must take exploration or expansion if I’m to colonize Taiwan and the Ural region for the achievement. Join us again next week as we finish this series and become the Great Khan!

Progress on “the Great Khan.”