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Dangers of the History book.

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J Flower
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Dangers of the History book.

Post by J Flower on Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:23 pm

I take it all or most players have a grounding in the period we play.

I wonder how much the material that has been read influences playing styles.
For example
There seems to be a curse on members of the HRE to want to unite it 170 years before its time.
France must always be seen as the great enemy./ French players seem to see it as ther aim to dominate Europe.
The fear of the Ottomans/Russian hordes.Colours much diplomacy with these nations
England seems to need to get its hands on Scotland & Ireland as soon as possible.

It seems some of our actions are pre-programmed, is the straight -jacket of history to blame, or is the initial set-up & Game play so that this course of action are hard not to follow? Or is there another way.
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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Jason on Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:34 pm

An interesting question.

I think its the curse as you describe it, or hindsight. We know how things panned out in our Time Line and so we try to replicate it, even speed it up. I suspect players choose positions that they have an interest in historically and then replicate what they see as their successes.

I think it is possible to get around this but it does take a player being willing to be perceived as not being 'successful' to do it, to try and find a non-historical path. I did try it as England and was quite successful (friendship with France, being nice to Scotland and not invading).

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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by J Flower on Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:30 pm

It could well be that we take what has been historically successful,And ignore the rest.

I wonder what would happen in a Game where Some one took one of the failures and tweaked it a bit to bring about success, would it send the Game off on a whole new tangent into uncharted waters.
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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Jason on Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:12 pm

It would be interesting to see.

Just out of interest, what would you classify as failures that could be tweaked?


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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by J Flower on Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:47 pm

What if the Turks had pressed the Seige of Vienna to the end.

If France had not burnt the Palantine & outraged the civilized world,

If the Jacobites had succeded in rallying support in Northern England, or had first built up a secure base in Ireland.

If Saxony had held the throne of Poland for longer.

The Tsar of Russia worked with the Old Beleivers, rather than putting them down.

The Jannissary corps actually be turned into a disiplined fighting force, as it was when it was first created.

I'm Sure rthere are more you can think of for ever great inovation there is one that didn't quite make it.

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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Stuart Bailey on Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:25 pm

Jason wrote:It would be interesting to see.

Just out of interest, what would you classify as failures that could be tweaked?


Thinking about the above quote from Jason I think their a three types of "historical failure" positions which players could run to see if they can do better than the historic result:

1) Failed political movements - In this group I would put the - Jacobites, Spanish Hapsburgs, French Protestants, Hungarian Rebels, Ming Loyalists and opponents of the Shoganate in Japan.

2) Nations which suffered a actual or relative decline in the C18 - In this group I would put - Sweden, Poland-Lithuania, The Ottomans, Venice, The Moghul Empire and Spain.

3) Historic Pirate Leaders who came to a nasty end - like Blackbeard

Clearly some of these are easier options than others if you are the only Spanish Player and elect to be a Hapsburg your chances of seeing a Hapsburg King of Spain are clearly better than that of die hard Ming getting rid of the Manchu Emperor or French Protestant Rebels getting the Edict of Nantes restored.

Likewise if Russia is being run by want to be Peter the Great's keeping Sweden supreme in the North/Baltic is clearly going to be a tougher than running Moghul India who's major cause for decline can be stopped by not having civil wars between rival Moghul Princes.

Many of these "failure's" lack the clear cut historic templates of Russia, Prussia etc and the advantages the game gives to England, France, UDP etc but I think they offer a interesting experience and if played well often provide the unique twist in the game for instance:

- Jacobite Kings in several games inc James "The Great" in G1 and a King of Ireland in G2..........will they now be joined by one in G7 ????????

- Where they would join the Spanish Hapsburgs in the league of political failure .......doing better than expected.

- The hoped for liberation of China from Nomad tyrants and the restoration of the glorious Ming Dynasty in G8
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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Deacon on Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:53 pm


Well, I think one of the reasons the games tend to play out the way they do is that a lot of the 'loser' positions never get played.

You only get one position in a game. Most would rather play England than the Jacobites. France over Blackbeard, Austria over Hungarian Nationalists and so on.

Having looked at a number of the smaller positions, you don't really have a lot of resources or options, so it makes for a much more restricted game.

So as a consequence, I think the game self-selects for 'winners' and the historical trends play out.

I can't think of a solution for it unless Richard could come up with some half-position where you paid a normal turn fee a month, but no extra orders, and just set high level direction for the position with going into too much detail. Perhaps that would encourage people to play one of the smaller spoiler positions in a new game.

But even that I think would be hard to do.

I doubt Richard would want to do it, but another idea to encourage more balance in the positions played is to make the base turn fee different, and so make the bigger states subsidize the turn fees of the smaller states in some way, basically putting market demand to work and charging more for the in-demand positions and less for the less desirable positions.

I just don't see any easy answers to this game tendency, and I think most don't really view it as much of a problem, so I suspect it will mostly remain that way except for a few of us Don Quixotes who will tilt at windmills.

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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:14 pm

It is a very interesting question.

I tend to agree with most of the comments already posted, but would add that game mechanics do also make it very difficult for 'loser' positions. I don't class pirates as 'loser' positions as they can hit anyone and never had a crown to seize. However, with the others on the list that Stuart mentioned, to succeed you have to ally yourself with a powerful active nation.

Whoever plays the Spanish Bourbons has to have the support of France. As the player for France in G7, I didn't want to attack Hapsburg Spain given the reasonable attitude of the player, and consequently Bourbon Spain really had no role. It need not have been so if the player for Hapsburg Spain had been anti-French instead of adopting a peaceful stance; if so it would have been a good opportunity to back the Bourbon cause and grab some Hapsburg lands in Italy. Things could have worked out very differently if we had not signed the Treaty of Ghent.

The same applies to the Jacobite position: without the backing of France, the Jacobites have very few resources. Even seizing Ireland isn't enough on its own. It is, by now, well known that I would not have so energetically backed the Jacobite cause if it hadn't been for repeatedly failed negotiations with previous English governments over dredgers. The Jacobites gained their support by acting reasonably where incumbent English players failed. Backing the Jacobites on the merits of their own case alone would have probably been too high a risk strategy for me. I wouldn't have ruled it out completely, but given the cost of men and money, I would have to have been very certain of the quality of the player and placed a great deal of trust in him.

The problems of playing a 'loser' position are similar to playing any kind of subordinate position. When they work it can be great for the game, but more often than not it is simply too difficult and there is disagreement between aims/resources. This is what went wrong with the French Colonies.

I think it needs 4 things:
1. a certain generosity on the part of the more powerful player, to allow the subordinate position a free hand and to keep backing him when things get tough. If you start something, you see it through to the end.
2. clearly defined objectives and an agreement between the players to stick with those objectives. This is very hard when players change mid-conflict, however the subordinate player must realise even a blank cheque has its limits.
3. complete honesty and an ability to be open with each other.
4. diplomatic backing for each other: a subordinate position must recognise the debt he owes to the more powerful position and if in doubt back him up and defend him in words, even if it goes against his own short term interests.

Failure on any one of these points and the relationship will be strained. It may last until the new government is installed, but afterwards it can quickly sour. And if that happens, then from the viewpoint of the more powerful player, what is the point in going to all that trouble?

Although I find Deacon's idea of a reduced turn fee for some positions interesting, it is difficult to introduce a new class of player. I don't know if it still happens or not, but there used to be the option for players to join as characters for the odd turn and just write letters to players. This makes it hard to know whether a position is really active or not. Back in 1701 I had a letter from the then Jacobite player appealing for recognition - it may have been from a player who lasted more than a few turns, or from someone acting as an NPC, I don't know. However, based on that letter I was able to subsequently back the Jacobite cause with the result that we now have a player who has taken it on with a view to making much more of it.

At the moment in G7 it is quite possible (if not probable) that we will see a King James III. As Stuart points out it has happened in other games, though perhaps not in quite the same way Very Happy
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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Deacon on Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:58 pm


I think your comments illustrate the catch-22 nature of some of the smaller positions. They require the patronage/support of the larger positions. But you aren't going to give that to an NPC position. And people are much less likely to want to take the position if they don't have that support.


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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:29 pm

I was thinking more about Jason's original question:


J Flower wrote:It seems some of our actions are pre-programmed, is the straight-jacket of history to blame, or is the initial set-up & Game play so that this course of action are hard not to follow? Or is there another way.

A large nation could use a historical quirk to open up a line of game play. A good example would be Ferenc Rakozki in Hungary. The character would start off as an NPC, but at some point could become active, but all the running would have to be made by the larger player. The risk for the backer is that the position does become active! Until that point everything is under the control of the larger position.

I'm reluctant to push the parallel too far, though, as with the Jacobites in G7 it didn't work like that: the initiative was with the then player for the Jacobites, who subsequently dropped out. However, by then the rationale for France backing the Jacobite cause had become wrapped up with a possible way to end the war with England. My actions in England were always constrained by consideration of the Jacobites: King James had to give his consent to French efforts on his behalf and sign the relevant documents. Sometimes this took months and a great deal of effort by France! What really made the Jacobite position possible was the input of the various Jacobite players. It would perhaps have been easier if France had conquered England completely, installed King James and then someone joined (as England), but then you wouldn't have the fun of winning your throne. After all, if as some players insisted, the Jacobites were merely French puppets, it would have made a great deal of sense for France to accept King James being given the thrones of Ireland and Scotland, and for France ruling those on his behalf thereby keeping the position inactive. But the Jacobites were never continually inactive and France always made it clear that the Jacobites would be played independently.

So overall, I think that if the subordinate position is played actively then there is a kind of straight-jacket of history which must be followed for success. However, the initial set-up and game play does make it very difficult for such things to work when the subordinate position is active.

Deacon - I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume you chose the Jacobites in G7 because you were sure of the backing of France. Of course, you may have chosen it for other reasons, but if you know of a way of playing such a position without the support of France, I'd really like to know how!
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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Deacon on Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:03 pm


The backing of france did make a big difference, though it was also a strong reaction to Churchill's just stabbing the king to death. I thought that was out of bounds enough that somebody ought to have a go at him Twisted Evil

I don't the position can really win unless France or Spain back it. It can play spoiler, maybe even win Ireland, but I don't see a clear path back to the triple crown without strong military backing from one of the other two great naval powers.

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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm

So we have an interesting mutual dependency then between France and the Jacobites! Although I can't defend anyone who joins the game simply to have a go at a current player (even one who commits such dastardly deeds as RJC!), it does look as though that was not the only influence on your decision and that you consider the Jacobites to be a viable winning position. I tend to agree with you about that and see no reason why you cannot take both the Irish and English crowns. Scotland may be more tricky, as my memory is that Scotland is dominated by Presbyterians who have declared for William, but in time it could be possible if your objective is to hold all 3 crowns. As both Spain and France have recognised your right to rule, you seem to be in a very strong position. It would be very odd if France decided not to continue to strongly support you given you control 80% of England, though of course the decision is no longer mine to make.
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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Deacon on Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:37 pm


I don't think I would have taken the position without French backing, though having committed at this point, I'm going to play it out and see where it goes, so even if france chooses to stop supporting me, I'm going to keep trying to make life hell for churchill Very Happy

I do think the position has a real opportunity to win, particularly since the fact remains that Parliament voted to accept James' father as king, and the laws of succession in England are pretty clear. The eldest son of the king becomes king the instant of his father's death. Coronation in England is only a formality.

But it certainly isn't a given. Churchill could pull it out, and at the moment the armed forces in England are obeying him and ignoring parliament's vote.

A lot of how it develops will depend upon what France does. And what France does will likely be affected by what Austria and Spain do.


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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:50 pm

Deacon wrote:
I'm going to play it out and see where it goes, so even if France chooses to stop supporting me.

Glad to hear it!

Deacon wrote:
A lot of how it develops will depend upon what France does. And what France does will likely be affected by what Austria and Spain do.

It never was in the past!

Seriously, though, I wish you both the best of luck Exclamation

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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Deacon on Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:08 pm

>>I don't know if it still happens or not, but there used to be the option for players to join as characters for the odd turn and just write letters to players. <<

Does anybody know if Richard still does this?

It seems to me that in Game 3 there are players that seem to only appear every 3rd turn or so.

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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by J Flower on Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:06 pm

I wonder if you took the word Jacobite, and replaced it with French Protestants, With the roles of England & France reversed, would it give a similar result. As far as I am aware this scenario has never been played out. It would put things into uncharted waters.

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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:56 pm

J Flower wrote:I wonder if you took the word Jacobite, and replaced it with French Protestants, With the roles of England & France reversed, would it give a similar result?

No, for several reasons.

First, the Camisards were not asserting a claim to the French crown, but protesting against their treatment at the hands of French troops billeted on them. Of course if a French player was unwise enough to deliberately order his forces to attack civilians then the rebellion may happen as it did historically, but otherwise there would have to be some cause. The reason why any such rebellion inside France has been short-lived is perhaps because players for France have not been stupid enough to encourage it?

So, perhaps what you are really suggesting is that England ferments a protestant rebellion inside France? This is more likely, but with what objective other than causing short term trouble? If England wants to give French protestants money, then what is to stop them simply leaving and settling in America? Why risk taking on the forces of France when it is far easier to follow your predecessors and set up Huguenot communities abroad?

Remember Louis had established a highly centralised state which he ruled with the kind of absolute power not seen in most European countries. It was far from easy to oppose his will. Historically the Camisards took advantage of the War of the Spanish Succession to fight a gueriila war against a depleted French army which was composed of badly trained and badly supplied troops. It was an unwelcome distraction to the main French campaigns and treated as a sideshow with all the unfortunate consequences. It was a protest, and protests have to have something to protest against. When the reason for the protest disappears, the protestors turn on themselves. With the Camisards this happened almost immediately when following the murder of unpopular Abb of Chaila the protestants split into 2 camps: some backing King Louis and others backing the Camisards. So although the rebellion was associated with religion, clearly it wasnt in the eyes of some protestants.

Would the rebellion have happened at all if so many French troops had not been moved from garrison duties to be sent to the front, and those who remained responded to the wishes of local nobility to become involved in policing duties? I dont know, but I suspect that if more troops were on hand the rebellion would have been very easily crushed irrespective of any encouragement from a foreign power.

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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:58 pm

Foreign Princes at Versailles

As an interesting associated point for those wishing to explore such matters, I did look into the various ranks of Princes at the Court of Versailles. Louis was a stickler for precedence and enjoyed seeing his nobility fighting against each other to maintain their relative position. Rather controversial was the rank of Prince tranger which could be used to open up various game possibilities.

The rank required the acknowledgement of King Louis and was not automatic. Prince Eugene of Savoy claimed the rank but despite growing up among the French court, it was denied him; and this was one reason why he fought against France as Leopolds best general.

King James II of England was granted the rank in the French nobility, though of course he retained his English title of King in his eyes even if not in the eyes of Parliament. So did Queen Christina of Sweden, following her abdication and conversion to Catholicism. Her rank protected her from Louis wrath when she criticised his revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

I wont run through the full list as some of the foreign princes seem to have rather dubious claims to titles and Louis did seem to enjoy having such people live at Versailles to annoy the current rulers rather than because he seriously entertained backing their claim.


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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by J Flower on Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:54 pm

Maybe taking one of the Loser positions mentioed above, should be seen as a challange & a chance to rewrite the history books. Afterall if Austria had retained parts of Bavaria, it would have thrust Austria more into German sphere than was historically the case, maybe then Silesia wouldn't be an option for Prussia.

Such minor changes can make a big difference, it is hte what if's that are the strength of the Game, following a script with what your position did historically is an option ,probably it will bring success. But only so long as the other positions are reading from the same book.

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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Stuart Bailey on Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:52 pm

I would urge more people to take on some of the "Loser" positions since if a game has active parties on both sides of the dispute it makes for a much better game.

Things aref going to change over the years but to bring out the true feel of certain problems in 1700 I think you need the following "losers"

1) The Spanish Sucession Crisis - A Spanish Bourbon & a Spanish Habsburg faction. G7 had this for a while but then we lost the Bourbon and suddenly the game slipped back to the 1680's with Spain just another 2nd rate power trying to keep the French 1st rate in check. Though for players who like to build up a position Habsburg Spain seems to have gone from "loser" to "Good 2nd rate" borderline 1st rate.

2) The Great Northern War & the Rise of Russia. In theory all you need is Sweden but to give the Czar a few worries I think you also need some Poles/Cossacks & Ottomans.

In some games with only the Czar, Austria & perhaps Prussia active it feels less like the anarchy of the early C18 in East Europe and more like 1780's. I do wish people would stop treating the Czar in 1700 as a civilized great power with a perfect right to control the Baltic & the Black Sea. He is a semi civilized Oriental Despot! With a Vodka problem!!

To help make sure G9 gets the true spirit of anarchy/Slave raiding etc I think Agema should allow one player to run a "Ottoman Slavers" position inc both North African Corsairs and Tarters.


3) The English Succession................Jacobites. Interestingly in G7 what active Jacobites have brought about (as well as problems for England.....mostly self inflicted) is a real fear of France which seems very real for the period. As the RKL and Jason will no doubt confirm its a interesting experience to find your every action being watched and generally viewed in the worst possible light.
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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Jason on Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:08 pm

Interesting comments Stuart Smile

Sweden is an interesting one, I always wonder if it would be possible to play it 'reasonably' and not get carried away in its efforts to overrun the whole of Russia. I guess the issue for Sweden is also what will Denmark do? Unless Denmark can be bought off or knocked out first then a rear attack is always a danger.

Denmark is another 'loser' position in some ways, it does struggle to be either a Northern Power, trading power or a colonial power (and seems to want to be all three).

On the Jacobites, they do seem to be quite successful in Glory, we have King James in G3 (and I think someone said in G1?) and there is G7...

...as to my actions being watched and generally viewed in the worst light...I didn't realise my exes were here! Very Happy

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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Guest on Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:54 pm

Anyone know how strong Sweden is in 1700? I imagine the biggest problems of fighting a Great Northern War is distance and formidable weather. Sweden has an awfully long march towards Moscow, and Russia lacks a navy capable of moving its troops across the Baltic.

I agree with Jason that Denmark is very vulnerable.

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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by J Flower on Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:57 pm

Have experienced Sweden getting to grips with Russia early in agame around the 1706 mark I think it was, Russia had a lot of problems with the Old Beleivers at the time as well. Sweden did well initially. The war Dragged on Russia did eventually hold it's own. supose the war was a no score draw in hte end.
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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Ardagor on Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:56 pm

This of course is Sweden`s dilemma, Russia start in a period of change and will (if a decent player is in charge) improve a lot in military and economic power as time go by, but there is a lot of problems to sort through.
Sweden start with an excellent army with no chance of greatly increasing numbers.
So his options is to either get peace treaties with all other neighbours and then attack the fledgling superpower or get a peace treaty with Russia to expand in other directions.
It is a difficult problem, Russia is a huge place and have vast resources in men, money and space, but on the other hand in a few years Russia will probably be very powerful indeed and may try a little expansion on his own and Sweden is the obvious target.
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Re: Dangers of the History book.

Post by Basileus on Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:37 pm

The problem for Charles XII was that he got drawn deeper and deeper in Russia. The battle of Poltava was in the Ukraine. Hnidsight is a marvellous thing, but he would have gained more useful territory back in the Baltic with a better settlement with the Danes or Prussia. From what I have read, Charles really disliked Peter, who he saw as a treaty breaker (big hello to RKLF here) and so really wanted to hurt the Russians, whereas he made peace with the Danes, Prussians and Poles. It was really a war of attrition. Russia lost lots of batttles, Sweden could not afford to lose any battles. After Poltava there was nothing left of Charles' army.

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