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Middle-aged mayhem and youthful tomfoolery. It's the return of the Total Comedy liveblogger!
Introduction and Information post.
Awesome to see a Total War liveblog going!

It sounds like we want the Moors or Germans. The Moors sound like your favourite faction, with the Germans (ok, Holy Roman Empire) coming in second. On the other hand, the Moors sound like a bit of a stomp, while the Germans might offer a bit more of a fight. It depends on how you want to do your liveblog.

Also, and take this from a fellow blogger; an empire the size and position of the HRE is going to require a lot of effort to keep track of and write up. Multiple fronts mean you're going to be keeping track on what multiple other nations are doing on top of what all your major cities are up to, while you may have multiple fronts... which means you may find yourself writing up more than one battle report at a time, and I struggled with just dealing with one! Be aware that your time commitment with the Germans initially may be larger than the Moors by a considerable amount, though eventually your empire will probably grow large enough to take a considerable amount of time to cover.

(Which is why, incidentally, I'd suggest doing a short campaign rather than a long one.)

As for a firm choice... I vote Moors, if only to give you an easier time of it and because I have a few entertaining strategies in mind to suggest. (Which involve taking Wales and Crete, amongst other things...)
GameChainsaw (edited by: GameChainsaw)
(replying)

Well, just one enemy wouldn't be cricket now, would it? And the more I fail, the funnier it gets...

Well then, because I have none of the clout of other livebloggers, yours is likely to be the only comment I get. ^^; Moors it is!

(waits until Friday)
IniquitusTheThird
I do like the idea of the Moorish invasion of Wales :-)
Tadeous
(replying)

...Another...commenter...

I AM RELEVANT!

Moors: 2
IniquitusTheThird
Good to see there's one of these things are around.

And I love the Moors.
Nightmare24
(replying)

YES! Spread the Moor-love! Who cares about the Reconquista? It's Jihad time!

More seriously, I have in fact gotten the opening data down and a save game at the very start of the game all set up. Soon...
IniquitusTheThird
The featured bunch of crazies.
Yay! We're off!

Well here are a few of my saner strategies for this campaign:

1: Jihad on Spain for lightning strike; Your most obvious opportunity and always valid. Spain hates you. You, presumably, don't like Spain very much either. So take out Castille and you're left with the weaker Portugal and a rump state to deal with.

2: An attack on Portugal instead. I'm not as enthusiastic about this one, I have to admit. Portugal seems like a bit of a sideshow compared to Castille. The strategy involves sending your first army off to take the Portuguese capital, before then hitting the now vulnerable Leon, all while building up your second army to go after Castille. Having taken both cities, you then take out the Portuguese castle with your 1st army and Castille with your second army. The advantages of going after Portugal are that you can grab two cities quick time, Portugals capital and then Leon shortly afterwards, and cripple Portugal and Spains finances simultaneously. The problem with this strategy is that your first army has to first smash its way through two cities and then overcome a Portuguese last stand conducted behind the walls of a stone castle! While your rookie 2nd army faces the full might of Castille as it also fights for its life. Disabling your enemies economy is super, but again, it doesn't mean a thing if at the end of the day Spain and Portugals armies are strong enough to beat you over the head and knock you back into recovery. If you do triumph however, you can send your 1st army (up in northern Spain) by boat to take Caen and northern France, while 2nd army drives up to take Bordeaux by land... a familiar strategy by now?

My suggestion is to ignore any nearby rebel settlements. They aren't producing soldiers to fight you and there are bigger sharks to fry. Once Spain, Portugal, France, England and ultimately Scotland are gone, and Charles Martels efforts undone forever more, then you can consider consolidation... but personally, I'd be eying up the remaining factions... Denmark and the still establishing Holy Roman Empire will be easy prey, and with so much land taken, you will probably be able to establish a third army to threaten Milan with to forestall any Italian attempts to halt your relentless march over Europe. This is a blitzkrieg strategy; you want to destroy the factions surrounding you and their ability to fight as quickly as possible.

Looking in other directions;

3: Should wrapping up Spain and Portugal not prove enough for your armies to do, or if you decide you don't want to challenge for dominion of Iberia just yet, you may want to forestall the Sicilians movements into North Africa. Now the first thing you'll think of is "Tunis is their first target, make it my first target." However, consider; the Sicilians will still want to take Tunis, and they'll be expecting to fight you once you take it. If you really want to forestall any Sicilian aggression, take Sicily instead. You'll want two armies and their respective fleets to do this; one to take Sicily and Naples themselves, and the other to secure bases on Corsica and Sardinia to forestall Milanese aggression. and give you a base from which to launch the inevitable second step of your campaign; an attack on Italy proper.

This is a balancing act; if you don't forestall the Sicilians, they'll creep up North Africa and eventually be in a position to threaten you. If you do go after them and crush them utterly, then you will have two physical borders with Catholic Europe and a Papacy with a very good reason to go knocking at your door... and you may still have the Spanish and Portuguese to deal with if this was your first choice! You may want to launch this strategy after you have pulled off 1.3's first phase of smashing Iberia into the ground as a third approach to stop Sicily with a third army, and then a fourth force to forestall Milanese aggression while you grind up Northern Italy. This, however, assumes you will have sufficient finances to do all of this!

Less aggressive maneuvers.

4: Securing Rebel Provinces in Spain and outside it.

Ok, so maybe blitzkrieging your way over half the map sounds a bit ambitious. That said, you still want to expand, and the only way to do that is through rebel provinces. Thing to bear in mind with rebel provinces is that the AI will want them too, and they aren't smart enough to go after provinces that aren't nearby them. So, contrary to what the enemy of any good scientist, common sense, will tell you, you want to go after the rebel provinces closest to the AI first. A list of rebel provinces, by urgency.

1: Zaragoza, Tunis, Corsica and Aquitane; these are literally the first provinces the Portuguese, Sicilians, Milanese and French go after, and thus are a limited time offer, but if you go by ship and hurry, you might just manage to snatch one or even two of them. The Milanese tend to be a bit slower, but if you don't hurry they will overcome their conquest shyness and go after Corsica. You may also want to consider Florence as well, but it is right on the edge of what is possible, as the Papacy will prioritize this.

2: Sardinia, Rennes, Caernarvon and Dublin: Sardinia is what the Sicilians will go after right after they've snatched Tunis; get there first! With luck, you will have foiled the Sicilians initial goals of expansion, either forcing them eastwards or making them commit to fighting your by now far more formidable empire. Rennes, Caernarvon and Dublin are lesser priorities only because they are further away. If you take Aquitane you actually have a decent shot at Caernarvon; England tends to dither about taking Wales for some reason. Dublin is a 50/50 split, it depends on whether or not the Scots got their boots on. The English will probably seize Rennes before you can get to it.

3: Valencia, Bruges, Antwerp. Tertiary in priority. You can go after these if you've been diplomatic enough to win a few allies and are convinced your colonies are robust enough to survive without your interference for a few years. Valencia is fairly safe from Spain mainly because of its huge garrison, so if you've already tried to take Zaragoza, Corsica, Sardinia and Tunis, you may as well, regardless of success, regroup and try to snatch it. Bruges is an excellent choice for someone who has attempted to take Rennes and either succeeded or been beaten to the punch, being very well developed for a city at this point in the game, and Antwerp is just beside it. Only catch is it is also very well defended with feudal knights, crossbows and pikemen, so its only for those with sufficient power. If you take Belgium though, be prepared to defend it, though it is also a superb location from which to launch an invasion into France, the HRE and the British Isles. The AI tends to go for these cities last.

4: Your sphere of influence. There are two Saharan cities far to your south, through a single path of passable land through the impassable wilderness of the Sahara. They're not worth much and can be taken later, but hey, free stuff is free.

Of course, the AI could attack you at any time while you do this, so be prepared to defend whatever you take!

Finally, the crazy idea.

???: Jihad to Rome. They'd never expect it. Despite the craziness of the idea, it does have the potential to be devastating; carve through Castille and Bordeaux with your Jihad mercenary army while a second army made up of your regulars goes and takes out the rest of Spain. You get to take southern France, Milan and Genoa, Florence and, of course, Rome itself. Just be ready for the hordes of angry catholics coming to take it back afterwards...

EDIT: Oooh, forgot to mention, the armies I'm talking about don't have to be fully stacked; sending enough to achieve your goals may be best if you can't afford it. Send full armies when possible, but I wouldn't shy away from sending smaller armies as long as they are sufficient for your goals.
GameChainsaw (edited by: GameChainsaw)
(replying)

Wow, I missed having such awesome strategies to choose from. Most likely, out of sheer preference, I'd have to say I was planning something very much like a cross between 1.3 and 2. First build up my economy (Money Dear Boy) and armies big enough to join the jihad, and then declare a jihad on Lisbon-hear me out here- then both of my armies to join it, but only one of them actually goes for it. The 2nd army joins it one turn after the first, and then makes a beeline for Castille, while I take down Lisbonn with the actual jihadists pronto so no mass desertions occur.

Also, something I find is that a jihadist army built with archers, a smattering of cavalry, and a buttload of mercenaries is mor than capable of rampaging up to Lisbon, engaging the field army, and then drawing out the garrison of Lisbon (and crushing them) into the bargain. Result? Faction Heir dead/captured, faction Leader dead/captured, and there is no way in hell the AI can cough up 15000+ florins for the ransom. And they have no other family members left. Bye-bye, Portugal, and no worrying about whether they take Zaragoza. Then, I only have Leon to worry about, and then it's off to club down the rebels...

I don't tend to worry about Sicily or Milan much - they all focus on beating the crap out of each other and Venice quite nicely. I've never actually had the Sicilians attack Algiers, so that'll likely be reduced to a skeleton garrison.

And once I've crushed the penisula, I'm going to build up and go for Italy...
IniquitusTheThird (edited by: IniquitusTheThird)
That all sounds excellent, and sound technical strategy, but I think you may be losing sight of the prime objective, which is as we are all aware, the building of a gigantic mosque in Pontypridd!

I'm happy to go with consolidating our empire if it works as a step to the conquest of the welsh valleys. :-)
Tadeous
(replying)

Oh yeah, I'm sure that by the time I've sorted out to basics of the empire, I'll get at least one irredeemable character ('Sadly ignorant' or something like that). Give him command of a few rookie units, plonk him on a boat, and send him up to Wales. Oh no, woe is me, we lost our retarded cousin to Welsh Rebels. :)
IniquitusTheThird
What happened to this Liveblog? Was it put on Hiatus?
ReDead
(replying)

Nope, just lost my notes for the first few turns. Sigh. Ah well, nothing really important happened in the meantime.

I'll see if I can get something up fairly soon - bear with me, please.
IniquitusTheThird
Turn One - 1080 AD - Let's Start Off Nice And Slow.
More proof drugs are bad for you.

Keep an eye on your growth rates. Very High taxes are all very well, but your cities won't grow very fast for it.

On the other hand, at the rate you're training soldiers you're probably going to need those florins.

Now I'd better get started on my blog, lest I be left in the North African dust!
GameChainsaw
(replying)

Spot the ironic instalment name yet?

Bah, growth rates. We can start worrying about them after the Frenchies are converted.

I was planning to gather my initial forces into two armies while training replacements for the garrisons, then getting both of those armies onto the jihad.

Yessss... Join me in liveblogging, and together, we could RULE THE TROPE!
IniquitusTheThird
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