Russia: East to the Sea is a new Let’s Play series (with a new, updated name) 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). So let’s get this party started! (Part 5 available here)
Picking up where we last left off: I declare war on Korea in 1619. They have no allies. Their peninsula is strategic and will increase my trade power in the eastern part of my lands. My 27 regiments will easily handle their 20, so I kind of let the war fight itself. There are only 2 provinces that would let them get off the peninsula and into Russia, and I’m sitting on top of both.
Though, this fight has made me realize (along with one of Arumba’s latest videos) that I need wayyyyy more ships if I want to successfully play the island-hopping game. Butttttt, since I’m ending this playthrough with this part, I’m not going to try and hit my naval force limit.
A fun little pop-up…pops up in 1620: my colony in Oregon is self-sustaining! And a year later my 2nd North American colony is self-sustaining. Plus, I’ve ended my war with Korea and took only 1 province. It had a nice tax level, it’s coastal, and it allows me to fabricate more claims on them. It’ll only take 96 months to core. No big deal, right?
I wait out the next 5 years with not much happening. I mean if you were watching this series (and I wasn’t able to do fun commentary or something) these 5 years would be super boring. All I do is wait for provinces to core, convert those that need converting (and wow my missionaries are powerful a tiny bit more than a year to convert a province), and building more colonies. I expand into the modern-day San Francisco Bay Area and Central California. I take the mission to colonize Washington (I don’t remember the EUIV province name) and complete it quickly.
In 1628 all my cores are done, so you know what that means, right? War again!
Korean War Part Deux
My troops cross the Korean border in 1629 and it’s a repeat of the first war. Plus they’re at war with Japan too, so this is going to go quickly. I don’t think I’ll be able to fully annex them or make them a protectorate (which I still don’t quite understand), so I think I’ll just take a bunch of provinces.
A year passes and everything is much the same: colonies are progressing well. Britain and Castile are busy colonizing the eastern half of North America. It still weirds me out to see English Mexico and English Brazil as colonial nations. Portugal has a lot of South America. France, the Netherlands, and Norway are competing for modern-day New England and Canada. I hope they come to blows with Britain or Castile some time soon.
It’s also weird that it’s 1630, and I’m still typing Castile instead of Spain. Portugal’s annexed Galicia, and Aragón still controls most of the Iberian Peninsula. Algiers (instead of the Mamluks or Ottomans) controls the entire North African coast.
These are things that happened in the game that I thought were fun or noteworthy but don’t really deserve a whole section on their own.
- Castile getting raked over the coals by both Aragón and Portugal is hilarious. Normally Spain eats Aragón quickly–either through force or the Iberian Wedding.
- Great Britain admirably filled the power vacuum left by Spain’s absence.
- Austria grew huge (they were basically encircling Bavaria), but they never regained the Imperial Throne. Bavaria had that honor (along with Sweden under a personal union). Bavaria also grew really big. Those two were going to come to blows at some point.
- Norway lost all their Scandinavian holdings to Sweden but managed to hold onto Iceland and then colonized Northern Canada.
- Island hopping with a tiny navy is incredibly annoying.
- Westernizing isn’t too bad as long as you have a reserve of points built up and a good monarch. Buying back the lost stability really helped keep rebels at bay.
- Diplomatic Ideals is still an incredibly useful Idea Group. Having an extra diplomat right off the bat–especially when you can’t get one from being the Papal Controller and/or Holy Roman Emperor–is invaluable. Plus reduced claim fabrication time, “unjustified demands,” and bonuses to diplomatic reputation? That’s all icing on the cake.
- Colonial nations are interesting, but I don’t like that you lose control of what provincial upgrades they construct.
- Wales stayed independent all the way through 1636 when I ended the series.
I’m calling this one. Time of death: February 1636. It wasn’t the worst playthrough, but my self-imposed rules limited my options. And by the time I contemplated changing them, I was kind of locked into that course. Muscovy is an interesting nation to play: you have tons of land available, and you can expand in almost any direction. They can lead the world in manpower and army size if you play things right. It’s a pain in the ass to core all the provinces you conquer from the various khanates, but because their all in the Muslim religious group, you can’t try to peacefully vassalize any of them because they can’t enter into royal marriages.
Taking Religious Ideas was super useful for giving me the Holy War CB against almost everybody, and it helped me convert conquered provinces. I took Exploration right away because it gave me colonists and conquistadors, though I could’ve been much more effective with them. It didn’t help that I was stuck with a limit of 1 free leader for the entire game. I don’t know if that’s normal or not.
Like my Brandenburg to Germany game, I feel like I learned a lot with this one. I have a better grasp of just how much micromanaging expanding into the South Pacific takes. Having a much, much, much larger navy would’ve helped.
If I was to play Muscovy/Russia again, I’d either focus on conquering Manchu, Korea, etc. and ignoring North America or focusing most of my energies on Western Europe. Trying to destroy the HRE could be fun.
So here’s my final stats (in 1636):
Army size: 3rd
Max manpower: 190K
Navy size: 10th
Most provinces held: 1st (120)
Highest income: 4th
Highest trade income: 4th
Tech levels: 15, 16, 17
Ideas (in order of adoption): Diplomatic (7), Exploration (7), Religious (7), Defensive (4)
Final score: 2204
Better EUIV players than me probably could’ve taken my original stipulations and made ‘em work, but I’m no expert. I’m a bit more experienced, but with some mechanics, I feel like I’m just scratching the surface.
Still, I love this game and I’m going to try another complete campaign: either as Aragón, Austria (and conquer everything eastward), or as an ahistoric England that tries to conquer most of Western Europe. The Ottomans and their achievement to own Rome, Constantinople, and Moscow at the same time could be fun too.