Paradox Grand Strategies Thread

A place to discuss Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy games. This includes of course major titles/series such as Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron, Crusader Kings, Victoria, Stellaris and Imperator: Rome, but also various minor titles (Sengoku, March of the Eagles) and “spin-offs” (e.g. For the Glory, Darkest Hour), whether it be vanilla versions or with mods.

Share thy glorious border gore!!


Ah Crusader Kings 2, the only game that I invested over 20 hours yet I still don’t know what I’m doing and the only achievement I unlocked was the one for getting married.

Wanted to like so much but the menu’s are a mess and overcomplicates everything.

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Just looking at those achievements (and their numbers) in all their games from the past decade made me go “Nah, screw this, there’s only so much a man can do in one lifetime” :joy:

Have you considered trying CK3 instead? Might be more approachable. I think I’ll finally give it a go in the next few days, been kinda in the mood for it. Will share my impressions here if I do.


Maybe one day but for now it’s nowhere on my “to play” list :slightly_smiling_face:

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Vicky 3 finally got a release date this week!

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i’ve only played stellaris, but i’ve played stellaris. running through my first devouring swarm playthrough at the moment and just murdered 3 empires in the first 50 years; it’s insanely powerful.

my favourite stellaris playthrough is this one:

i created the holy alarian union; an empire of democratic, xenophile, pacifist space elves. beautiful space people to bring together a beautiful galaxy.

early on, there was this chokepoint at one end of my empire that would neatly close off and make my territory more defendable. it had some ancient mining drones in it, which i couldn’t deal with, so i left it till i could, assuming no one would take it.

in the meantime, another empire - the catharian coalition - came in and cleared the drones with a 2k fleet. more sneakily than my role play intended, i immediately surveyed and claimed the system. the catharian’s did not like that. they - somewhat justifiably - declared war and laid claims on a large part of my empire in retaliation.

i instantly acquiesced to minimise losses.

ten years later - the enforced period of peace from a surrender - i smashed that empire in half with several 5-10k and technologically advanced fleets i’d rapidly built in the meantime. i handed the territory over to the enemy empire’s slaves (they were slavers) as a border between us.

it didn’t stop there.

by the end game, some 200-300 years later, my beautiful hippy space elves had formed a brutal galactic empire, headed by an immortal psychic god-empress.

we had smashed the endgame crisis singlehandedly as soon as it had appeared, wiped out the fallen empires and the great khan without breaking a sweat, destroyed or enslaved all opposing empires (and turned the majority of their populations into food), and made a deal with an eldritch entity that turned our sun into a black hole and my beautiful space elves into ugly, purple abominations.

we did, however, have galactic-wide social welfare, so swings and roundabouts, eh?

anyway, love the look of victoria 3 and ck3. just wish i had a system to play them on! :smile:

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Sounds exhilirating! If it´s possible for you to post some screens (or rather pics in your case) here, feel free to do so :slight_smile:

I do have the base Stellaris, but it will likely take me a looong time before I even consider trying it. I´m just not really one for sci-fi settings. Prefer to do my empire building on good ol´ familiar Earth, even if the geography and actors don´t change :grin:


You´re on PS4 right now? CK3 has a PS5 version and I´m sure Vicky 3 will eventually get one as well, so as long as you can upgrade in the future, you´re golden :smiley:

I think I´ll probably nab V3 right upon release. The HW requirements are pretty high for a PDX game, but it looks gorgeous. Hopefully it won´t have too steep of a learning curve. I´m curious (and worried at the same time) about the strategic warfare management. Feels weird not being able to move my forces around manually :thinking:

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yeah, it was pretty funny. i like the way stellaris can generate these kinds of stories. it’s got a lot in common with rpgs, in a way.

i can probably scrounge up the the final layout of the map and a before and after of the race, at some point. :+1:t4:

yeah, i dig that.

that’s right. i’ll definitely be all over ck3 if i’m ever fortunate enough to get a ps5. i watched a run through that was total cloak and dagger; just marrying and whacking the right people. super cool. there was another that was all about getting key royalty into a cult. very much my bag. :smile:

you know, after watching gameplay, i’m not sure how the ui would work for vicky. i’m impressed they even managed to get stellaris’ working so well on a controller! that’s a complicated game but vicky looks on another level entirely.

I share this man’s pain… (And also finally have a reason to bump this thread, yay!!)

Surprised that he doesn’t mention the (apparently very good) Cold War mod for Vicky 2 or the promising-looking in-development (albeit not Paradox) Espiocracy.

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man, i feel the same.

also, there are a couple of reasons to bump the thread.

out today (i think) for console:

out next week for pc:

this one has cloaking mechanics!


By sheer coincidence thanks to a comment on an old YT video, I´ve just discovered that some absolute gigachad of a modder has been working on a total conversion Cold War mod for March of the Eagles - of all games (though for very good reasons as he explains) - to finally bring us the East vs West experience we never got. Even in pre-alpha, it looks absolutely fantastic already, and I just hope he has the strength and will to finish it (seeing how CW games seem to be jinxed).

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So, got over my “fear” the other day and decided to learn to play Victoria 2, mainly because I wanted to find out what its popularity is all about, but also because I would like to give its Cold War mod(s) a go at some point. I watched a tutorial series on YT which was really good at giving me an idea on how the game and its systems work and how to play, so I gave it a go. The game really isn´t as complicated as it seems, and unless one wants to dabble in some of the systems in too much detail, a lot of it actually plays itself to a large extent.

I was thinking of trying my first campaign as the USA (strong, but isolated from the European big boys), or Sweden (not so strong, but in good shape to do its own thing and prosper). In the end, I couldn´t resist and decided to play as Japan, just so I could see how to handle Westernisation and then sort of mess around in Asia. I´m savescumming a lot on this one, learning how things work, what to expect from the game and what I can(not) do.

I still haven´t grasped all of it (namely everything regarding the pops, reforms, or the economy - especially if and how I can use the world market to my advantage), but it doesn´t prevent me from achieving my goals and, more importantly, having fun. As a matter of fact, I´ve pumped nearly 50 hours into this campaign already, so I´m glad to know I can still enjoy a Paradox GSS to its fullest (not sure how long it will last, lol).

Anyways, to give a bit of an idea: I looked at some tips on an early strategy for Japan, took the Early Meiji Restoration decision, and after I finally found out how to prevent a reactionary uprising, I went for an early annexation of Korea. The associated war with China ended with me getting not just Korea, but also Taiwan. Did some early warmongering in Brunei and Malaya later, and managed to Westernise in 1848. Since I had a fairly large army, it catapulted me into the no. 7 position among Great Powers soon afterwards.

Then I started acquiring some ground in Africa for the Scramble. First some Omani concessions in Somalia/Kenya, and then I got a free CB against Denmark, which I used to go for their colony in Ghana. They were allied with the North German Federation, so that resulted in some Prussians invading Kyushu, but despite their military superiority, I managed to wipe them out (attrition is a bitch). The resulting war score from battles won added to my successful Ghana occupation, and eventually the Germans accepted my peace proposal to get the colony (didn´t fight a single Danish soldier, lol). A glorious day in 1858.

Things went mostly peaceful for the next 10-12 years, which I used for sphering countries (had to declare war on Colombia over Panama to be able to build the Canal later, since the British and French started to aggressively push me out), catching up on technology, snatching Hawaii from under America´s hands, and prepping for the Scramble for Africa in the 1870s. This was my Japan in 1871 when it started:

And this was Africa at that point (my bits are the pink ones):

I did a few test runs of the colonization mechanic to see how it works, where do other countries focus, etc. I didn´t expect to get much, so I just wanted to focus on the Niger Delta and Somalia/Kenya/Tanzania (plus Borneo in Asia), but the UK and France turned out to be rather passive and mostly duked it out in West Africa. The Spanish were actually the most assertive, especially in the Sahara (only on the first try, later attempts saw it go to the Italians every time) and the Congo, as well as the western Pacific (competing with me and the Dutch). Guess I prepared well by saving up my research points, so I was able to get a bit of a head start (and built enough ships and naval bases for colonial points). Portugal didn´t do anything surprisingly (probably because they were below Secondary Power ranking, but I didn´t bother to check).

Eventually I figured out a pretty optimal strategy to cut off all the other GPs and managed to grab pretty much all of sub-Saharan Africa for myself, and even all the Pacific islands (with the exception of Northern New Guinea which I left to the Spanish and Dutch to fend for). There were two stand-offs, one with Spain over Micronesia (which caused a crisis where they got supported by the French, whereas the Brits supported me, and eventually they caved in), and with the French over northern Ghana or something (I didn´t really care for that one, was only stalling them there from expanding eastward to the areas I wanted to have, but got it in the end as well).

Here is Africa after the Scramble ended (and I colonized all I could) and later (1884). You can see that at that point, the Yanks invaded Morocco for some reason (The Lion and the Wind, anyone?), and the Dutch attacked Algeria for a concession, probably to make up for their failures in the Pacific (courtesy of little old Nippon). They got it thanks to my help, since they are my spherelings and we are allied. Also, since the UK released its dominions early, I am now the only GP bordering Transvaal, so from what I understand, I should be the only one to get a free annexation CB when the Witwatersrand gold rush starts, and I can grab all that gold, muhaha. Oh, and I attacked Egypt for Sinai and built the Suez Canal as well, just because no one else (the French) were doing it atm.

The Scramble allowed for my fairly high infamy to finally drop and me to focus on research and army build-up, and in 1884 I finally fulfilled my desire to declare a war on China in a first step to cut down their massive armies and start getting hands on their resources before they get even bigger and/or manage to Westernise/unite all of the Chinese lands. It was nailbiting, as I was heavily outnumbered but technologically superior, and I lost a bunch of soldiers, but the war ended successfully with me getting my initial objective of Southern Zhili (lots of pops, gold, and coal) as well as an added one in one of Guangxi´s resource-rich states (I think Shandong?). I now have a stepping stone for further wars/conquest against China once my infamy drops and I raise an even bigger army.

So yeah, that´s where I´m at now, as the no. 3 Great Power. Next on the menu are further China conquests to erase them off the map, and prepare a base for a war with Russia over Sakhalin. Abu Dhabi is on the menu as well, since I want that oil when it appears. I might also feel like going after the Dutch East Indies if the Brits or anyone else push them out of my sphere (which they seem to be trying to right now). Europe is constantly fighting and Germany still hasn´t formed, so it´ll be interesting to watch. I´m allied with the USA, hoping to maintain that alliance, so there might be some interesting wars in the future. Unless I succumb to some massive rebellion or the global economy goes to shit, I dunno what this game has in store in its final stages.

Also, aside from having a future tourist destination in Morocco, the Yanks also decided that Alaska needs to be reachable from San Diego by train…


Well, HoIIV is (finally) getting a South America DLC. A first for the series, and a rather welcomed addition, since it’s otherwise an ignorable part of the world.


you don’t happen to have a link per chance?

I do. It was this guide by FlyingDutchy. Not short of course, but not über long either, and he shows the stuff by playing the game, so you get a good idea on what a typical playthrough looks like.

Additionally/alternatively, I found these four videos by CallMeEzekiel to also be very useful. They´re short and highlight/explain the important stuff.

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thanks! i got a laptop for work that can actually run it so i’m very tempted to give it a shot.

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Nice! Glad to hear you´ve gained the opportunity to dive into some PC exclusives :+1: Hope it runs ok and you enjoy it (post some screenshots if you do). I gotta get back to that Japan playthrough of mine soon and try some other countries as well…

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Of course the little convo above made me jump back into my Japan campaign, and boy, has it been a ride. First off, I realised I could finally cut my POPs some slack by lowering taxes and cancelling tariffs, so that they could enjoy a more comfortable life and also maybe stop organising a massive Reactionary rebellion (they did the former but not the latter). I´ve passed no reforms whatsoever, and apparently the reason for the rebellion (if I was reading the data correctly) was the inability of some of my pops (artisans and farmers mostly) to buy basic goods, so I have to figure out how to do that. For now, the rebellion was taken care off the old-fashioned way :no_mouth:

Honestly, the fact that I haven´t been able to pass a single reform since westernising has me worried. My POPs seem generally satisfied and it´s not like I´m aiming for political reforms, but it would be nice if I could afford them some of the social ones like healthcare, education, and better wages. I might have to try changing to a more liberal party in the future (I think my current Conservative one doesn´t allow reforms), but I´m still not keen on relieving control over what factories are built and where.

Anyways, the bulk of the fun was on the international stage. As I still had a truce with China in the late 1880s, I decided to focus on taking Sakhalin from the Russians. They had no navy and were only allied with Italy, Bavaria, and Krakow, with Italy currently recovering from a (lost) war with the US over concessions in Morocco (which I didn´t help my US allies with, cause I didn´t want to bother) and dealing with Communist rebels at home (Russia was also having some). So I decided it was an ideal time to strike. I had enough troops in my African colonies to deal with any Italian incursions and sent a sizeable fleet to the Meditteranean to do a naval blockade of the Italian fleet, and a smaller one for support. I prepped an invasion force to take Sakhalin (no Russian troops there) and blockade the Russian ports by the Sea of Okhotsk, and essentially planned on taking the island and waiting it out. By the time I started the war in 1890, Italy succumbed to the rebellion and became the first commie regime.

Earlier that year, Great Wars were “discovered”, meaning I could make more alliances with other Great Powers and that wars with 2+ GPs on each side would be considered Great Wars. I immediately managed to get an alliance with the NGF, Austria, and France, so I thought: Hell, why not? The Austrians and French had their own truce with the Russians from some Krakow-related war, but the Germans were free to be called in, so I did so. Thus, the Japanese liberation of Sakhalin became the first Great War.

The Germans - even if still not fully unified - did their real-life counterparts justice. They immediately annexed Krakow, were able to beat Bavaria (getting a territorial concession out of it), and hold off invading Italian troops in the Rhineland, while at the same time attacking with a much larger force against Russia and gaining ground. Meanwhile, my truce with China expired so I started justifying another concession wargoal and moving my troops into position to start the 3rd Sino-Japanese War. Thus in October 1890, I was involved in two major wars, fighting a major land war against China and its substates, and duking it out with Italy in Africa (occupying Mauritania and repelling their minor incursions in the Lake Chad region).

Eventually, I expanded upon both wars. In Europe, I decided to add insult to injury and decided to “liberate” the Kingdom of Two Sicilies from Italy, seeing if I could undo the unification of Italy (the game actually allows for a casus belli to remove a communist regime from power, which would have been cool, but I have yet to research the necessary tech for that). Since the Italians were preoccupied with fighting Germans in the north, I sent one of my African armies to wreak havoc in their south and occupy the necessary provinces. This is the situation in February 1891, with Bavaria already knocked out of the war, the Italian army in shambles, and Reactionary rebels popping up in the country´s north.

In China, I expanded my war by calling in Burma and Siam to divert some Chinese substate armies down south (they have been reliable punching bags - got steamrolled, but served their purpose), and started occupying Canton with the goal of adding it as another concession.

Eventually, the goals were fulfilled in September 1891 with a glorious victory. My hope for China now is that they will get the Boxer (or some other) rebellion in the next few years, which would eventually lead to them losing control over their substates, so I can start picking them off one by one without having to worry about the whole damn continent. If that doesn´t happen, I´ll have to bully them a bit more.

The Great War took a bit longer (it has stricter requirements for victory). I was able to call in the Austrians and French in early 1892, so the Austrians invaded Italy with hopes of getting a concession (they didn´t), but eventually the Russians sued for peace in February 1892. As you can see, at the time of the peace proposal, Italy´s north was occupied by some German/Austrian troops, with the whole south and Rome under my control (my African army was taking ground virtually unopposed). On the eastern front, the Germans made massive gains not unlike WW1.

After my acceptance, Two Sicilies became independent again and in my sphere (interestingly, Italy lost its cores there), the NGF became a bit bigger, and I gained control over Sakhalin. Rather minor gains compared to the fact that Italy is in shambles, half its original size, with no army, and suffering a massive Reactionary rebellion, and Russia is also without an army and suffering Communist, Reactionary, and Anarcho-Liberal rebellions in the western and other parts of the country. Plus both have to pay reparations to me. All of this is already having some interesting results, which I will leave for the next update.


Welp, finally got back to my Japan playthrough again last week. So, my little war with Russia basically threw that country into long-term chaos (thanks again for doing the heavy lifting, NGF), with communist and other rebels spawning all over the place. Now, when I first let the game run, the commies actually took over and Russia morphed into the USSR, but sadly(?), on my canon run the nationalists took over and the commies were eventually quelled. Regardless, Russia lost its GP status and in the subsequent years, Sweden took advantage of that to take back Finland in two wars. And while Russia didn´t succumb to communism (yet), other countries have (notably New Zealand, Canada, and later also France).

Meanwhile, communist Italy, having just lost half its territory to the newly once-again independent Kingdom of Two Sicilies, also lost GP status and plunged into chaos with all sorts of rebels here, eventually also experiencing a nationalist takeover. At the same time, the vultures started circling around and picking pieces of its colonies in Africa (notably Spain in Algeria/Western Sahara and Britain in Mauritania). Italy also lost more clay to the re-emergent Parma (or Lucca? don´t remember), but despite all these losses, managed to climb back up to GP status again, exchanging places with the Dutch and Belgians here and there.

The most eventful part though came when Austria declared war on the NGF for hegemony over the German lands. Since I had an alliance with both of them, they both asked me for help, and while I wasn´t interested in trying to engage in a war in Europe, I also had an alliance with France (and Spain, Netherlands, and Belgium), meaning my assistance would basically be throwing the military weight of France behind one of them. I did a test run with backing the NGF and naturally that ended with the formation of Germany and Austria changing to Austria-Hungary, but since a united Germany would basically mean an extra (very) powerful rival on my quest to become the no. 1 GP, I decided to go canonically with Austria. Unsurprisingly, the NGF lost that war despite putting up a hell of a fight, and Austria ended up getting some land around Bavaria, while France got back Alsace-Lorraine.

In the meantime, I was getting ready to go back to my China-carving policy after 5 years of truce, but just as I was to justifying a war goal, China westernised and broke up (specifically the warlords stopped being puppets), so the Qing declared war on Guangxi in a first step towards Chinese unification. I made use of this by waiting for the Chinese armies to move south, then declared war, snatched Beijing and the northern bits unopposed, then turned south to engage them and also declared on Guangxi. Ended up snatching yet another state from both the Qing and Guangxi, gaining more pops and resources. I also managed a quick war with Gran Colombia for the (eventually) oil-rich Maracaibo. Also, Britain declared war on Oman in an effort to annex them, but never even bothered to land any troops there, so that ended in a British blunder and white peace. Didn´t take any screenshots during this period sadly.

Then 1905 came along… Oh boy, what a year…

Austria decided to go round 2 with the NGF, this time with an allied (communist) France. Russia, feeling it might be finally time for a comeback, also declared on the Germans in an effort to liberate Wielkopolskie, supported by the British and the Dutch. The Germans only had Sweden and Holstein on their side. Meanwhile, the Qing threw a wrench in my conquest plans by starting their own round 2 for “restoring order” to Guangxi, with the help of Tibet.

Behold the wars of 1905 (minus the one I was about to start) - also notice the French war goal of installing communism to Holstein, lol.

The situation in Europe:

And Africa (no fighting there at the time, but I wanted to show the changes to Italy´s colonies):

I decided to leave Europe be and focused on Asia, where I needed to stop the Chinese from getting the upper hand. They were steamrolling Guangxi, and I needed to intervene. Sadly, my infamy was too high, so I couldn´t go for the planned land-grab at the time, so I just declared on them with a humiliation CB. Their armies were much more numerous and in much better shape then previous wars (though still technologically inferior to mine), but luckily I had spent the past five years since the last war sphering and allying all the other Chinese warlords, so I was able to call upon their aid in this one.

Not a confusing war situation at all…

Naturally, once they started losing ground in the north, the Chinese realised they can´t quite continue their Guangxi conquest, so they started asking for peace. Unfortunately for them, this fell on deaf ears, as I was determined to wipe out every last one of their divisions to make sure the Guangxi troops (aided by Burma) can retake back all their land while the Chinese army would be crippled, which they eventually did, even though the war formally lasted for a few more years. I didn´t get any territorial gains from this one, which sucked, but at least I got the prestige and points to jump up in the GP ranking.



Not long after the China war, I got a free CB to grab colonial land from the Ottomans, and decided to use it, since among the potential targets was former Persian Khuzestan, yet another province to be blessed/cursed with oil in the future. The Ottomans were allied with two of my former allies, the Dutch (whose colonies in SE Asia I´ve longed for for a long time) and the French, who were just undergoing a Jacobin revolution after their victory over the Germans :man_shrugging: Said revolution succeeded, which meant that France rid itself of the Red Plague and also its allies and spherelings. Good for me. However, while I was putting troops into place for the invasion of Java, the Ottomans allied with the Brits. Oh well, nevermind, let´s give it a go anyway…

1908: Great War no. 4, featuring Japan, Austria, USA, Spain, and the Two Sicilies versus the Netherlands, UK, and Ottoman Empire (notice that the China-Guangxi war and Russo-German war were still ongoing at the time).

What a fight that was.

  • In Europe: Austria advances into Ottoman territories in the Balkans. Fights numerous battles on the outskirts of Istanbul. Finally, thanks to the Imperial Japanese Navy securing the Bosphorus, the Austrian army crosses into Anatolia and occupies all of western Turkey (including the new capital Ankara). Meanwhile, the Two Sicilies occupy Cyprus and Spanish-American forces take Gibraltar. Numerous naval battles took places between British/Dutch and American/Spanish/Japanese fleets in European and African waters. Here the naval battles off the coasts of Dover and Holland, the former featuring British admiral Winston “I´m totally not Douglas MacArthur” Battenberg (also notice the Austrian troops occupying the Netherlands in the second picture).

  • In the Middle East: Several Ottoman divisions crushed by Japanese defenders at the Suez Canal, later followed by the Japanese occupation of Gaza and Jerusalem. Also, late in the war, a Japanese invasion of Kuwait and Khuzestan (finally), numerous victories against the Ottomans with a push to (and occupation of) Baghdad.
  • In Africa: Large battles between Spanish/American and British troops across the Western Sahara and Morocco. Spanish troops invade and occupy British colonies in west Africa.
  • In Asia: Japanese invasions of British Malaya, Dutch Borneo, western Kalimantan, and Java (with the destruction of the local Dutch garrison). After loosening the blockade, the mighty Dutch garrison (cca 100 brigades) is lured into crossing into Java, cut off, and annihilated in a massive battle with Japanese forces in Batavia (the Dutch gave me easily the hardest fight at this stage of the game - large numbers, almost equal tech level, probably better commander). The subsequent occupation of Sumatra is a formality. Meanwhile, the British slipped through my blockade a few times and landed smaller invasion forces in Korea and Kyushu. Easily repelled, but rather annoying.

Final score: Resolute victory for the Japanese alliance. Japan gets Khuzestan from the Ottomans and Java and Sumatra (well, most of it) from the Dutch (I risked with adding the latter to my war goals, since it made my infamy cross the allowed threshold, but luckily, nobody dared to attack me afterwards - guess my military size is a good enough deterrent). Austria gets Bosnia and Montenegro from the Ottomands. Spain gets Gibraltar from the British and also makes them destroy their fortifications in the Carribean.

Post-war situation in Europe/Middle East (also visible are French and Austrian gains from the previous war with the NGF):

And in the Asia-Pacific (notice also Tibet under Burmese control, result of the China-Guangxi war; Guangxi is also having a reactionary uprising):

Of note is that during the war, the Brits also got into a war with Panjab but failed to achieve a victory, so as of 1910, they still haven´t managed to consolidate power over India (they are rather terrible in this playthrough). Their engagement in a war against me and my allies also likely caused them to call quits on the whole Welkopolskie war against the NGF, settling for a white peace (I´d like to think that my war subsidies to the Germans also helped - hats off to the Germans though, they lost a bunch of clay in the last two wars, but it cost their enemies dearly; I´m sort of curious how the situation in Europe will pan out at the end of the game).

Anyways, this war, while not planned, solidified my position as the no. 1 Great Power, with a decent lead. Unless I succumb to some massive revolution, I might be even able to maintain it till the end of the campaign.

Also, research finally paid off!


Though I was hoping to get that breakthrough during the war so I could get an edge over those 100+ Dutch divisions in Java… Sadly not. At least the immediate post-war rebellion gave me a chance to test it :grimacing:

And ending on a different progressive note, October 1911 marks a milestone in this playthrough, as I finally have a chance to pass a reform (sadly only a political one, but still).

We shall see whether this solidifies the Japanese Empire´s position as the greates nation on Earth, or lead to its crumble under the boots of revolting leftist peasants!

PS: Over the past 15 or so in-game years, I also had a lot of colonial provinces gain Japanese cores or straight out become states due to Japanese immigration, so that was really cool to see.
PPS: Italy turned communist again.