Muscovy: East to the Sea (Part 1)

EUIV: Muscovy in 1444

EUIV: Muscovy in 1444

Muscovy: East to the Sea is a new Let’s Play series that will follow my progress as I play a Europa Universalis IV campaign as Muscovy, starting in the year 1444. Goals for this series include: forming Russia as soon as possible, securing my western borders, and then ignoring Europe and expanding east into Southeast Asia (and possibly western North America). I just finished a complete campaign as Brandenburg (more on that here), so I’m ready to try a new country and play it a little unconventionally. So let’s get this party started!

Party like it’s 1444

Muscovy has an interesting start in 1444. They have a fair amount of territory and 3 vassals. It’d be easy to expand southward, but I know that trying to core and convert provinces taken from the Golden Horde, Kazan, etc. would be difficult. So my first priority is getting my tech levels up to the point when I can start on ideas. My other goal is to build up alliances and land forces so I can take on Novgorod. They’re my biggest obstacle toward forming a united Russia.

War with Kazan & Ryazan

I’ve just barely gotten into the game (1445 to be precise) when Kazan declares war on me. Mistaaaaake! I’m stronger than they are and that’s not even counting my vassals’ armies. I crush them, siege some provinces, and then take one of them in a peace deal by the beginning of 1447.

Muscovy at war with Kazan

At war with Kazan

Now that it’s the start of the 1450s, I have some choices to make. I can start annexing my vassals in 1454, but which one? And I also need to get to Admin Tech level 4 ASAP so I can unlock my first Idea group. Again, this presents a choice: which one? Diplomatic? Offensive? Get a jump on the colonization early and choose Expansion or Exploration?

I’ll worry about that when I come to it. So I decide I’m going to start annexing Yaroslavl first because owning it with a core is one of the requirements for forming Russia. Perm, though it’s larger, can wait.

Muscovy after war with Kazan

Spoils of war

But that’s still 4 years away, so I decide to go to war. Tver would be a choice target, but they’re allied with Lithuania. Lithuania is allied with Poland and Denmark. Because Lithuania is so much bigger than Tver, they could become the war leader and then call on their alliance chain. I’m not strong enough for that, so I set my sights on Ryazan–a two-province country along my southwestern border.

I declare war in August, 1452 and by June, 1453 I’ve fully annexed their country. With the coring process underway and my Monarch Point stores replenishing, it’s time to get ready for the diplo-annexation party!

The Best Laid Plans…

But before I can get Yaroslavl’s opinion of me up to 190, my ally Denmark calls me to war against The Hansa.

Not wanting to lose my ally, I accept. Austria joins the war as the Holy Roman Emperor defending the Empire’s integrity. I basically sit out the conflict, making my neighbors like me, storing up manpower and Monarch Points.

The war drags on and on with the score swinging into The Hansa’s favor. I want Denmark to end the war, to give in, but they won’t. They’re ruining my plans to annex my vassals! And even worse, Austria sends an army up through the Livonian Order and invades my western provinces. They catch me with my army at half maintenance (a stupid thing to do during war, I know).

Muscovy fighting Austria 1457

Austria’s invasion 1457

Luckily, I retreat and let the winter do some work for me. They start besieging my territory. Sensing defeat, I peace out of the war separately. All I have to is concede defeat–a 10 prestige hit? That’s nothing!

Denmark isn’t too happy with me for getting out of their war, especially because they somehow manage to win? Weird and unexpected. They annex Mecklenburg, and I have a feeling they’re setting their sights on Holstein, Pomerania, and the Hansa. I’m not looking forward to getting drawn into more wars against the HRE, especially while I’m just starting out and have Eastern Tech.

The year is now 1460 as I wrap up Part 1 of “East to the Sea.” I took Diplomatic Ideas as I know the extra diplomat the first idea gives me will be invaluable for maintaining relations and annexing vassals at the same time. In fact, I’ve just begun the double annexation of both Yaroslavl and Perm at the time time. Yaro’ll be done in 1473 and Perm three years later.

Also during this time, I’ve added Tver as a vassal too. Rather than have to fight Lithuania for them, I sent Tver a gift, allied them, married them, guaranteed them, offered them military access (every trick in the book to get them up to +190 opinion). I’m willing to take the hit to my Diplomatic Points by being over my relations limit than fight a war.

Preparing to attack Novgorod 1460

Preparing to attack Novgorod 1460

Next up on my docket: preparing for the first big invasion of Novgorod. They have 17,000 troops against my 35,000 (including my vassals’ armies). Will I be able to form Russia before the new century rolls around? Find out in Part 2!