The Let's Play Archive

Victoria II

by Kersch

Part 5: Update 5 (Jan 1850 - Mar 1860): Defeat & Prosperity

Our standing army is still the most formidable one on our continent, and Colombia is still in possession of our final disputed core province. Maybe now would be a good time to attempt to claim it?

Colombia is involved in a war against the USA. It looks like that as an ally of Mexico, they joined into a war against the USA claiming the Nevada-Utah region from Mexico. This extra distraction should make pressing our claim even easier.

War is declared on Colombia with the stated goal of reclaiming our border province in the Amazon. Colombia's allies of Ecuador and Mexico pledge their support to Colombia in this conflict.

As our war begins, news reaches us that our southern neighbor of Uruguay collapses to an armed uprising. Uruguay was previously a democracy and actually attracted a slice of the early immigration to the Americas. But now, with a repressive dictatorship in power, they are unlikely to see anyone fleeing to their shores.

Colombia and Ecuador send a decent sized force into our territory immediately, occupying our own border provinces in the Amazon. I don't think that they have the manpower to keep this up though, because their army is withering in size while trying to move around our thick jungles.

Our mobilized forces attempt to quickly defeat the entire incursion, but they suffer a humiliating defeat.

A smaller detachment of the Colombian army tries to chase down our fleeing mobilized force, but upon catching up for another engagement they are turned back.

Meanwhile, our main army collapses the larger combined force of Colombia & Ecuador before retaking our border territories.

All seems to be going well. The combined forces of Ecuador and Colombia have been scattered, and our recovered mobilized forces have rejoined our main army in punching through the Colombian border provinces.

Things take a turn for the worse when, in a bizarre turn, the USA enters the war on Colombia's behalf to fight alongside the powers it had just been at war with.

It turns out that despite the USA's involvement in a war against Colombia, it has actually raised them to 'Friendly' opinion status. When a great power has friendly opinion with another nation, it can choose to intervene in wars that country is involved in. As soon as the USA-Mexico war had ended, the USA jumped to Colombia's aid against us.

Our mobilized forces are left behind to occupy Bogotá while our more battle-ready standing army moves to intercept hostile forces.

Mexico transports an army by sea, landing it on our northern shores.

Our main army wins a series of victories against the Mexican army, scattering them completely.

Our military technology has fallen to the wayside as we've increased our educational, research, and economy related techs. Since it's relatively quick for us to catch up on very old techs now, I decide that it's a good time to at least take Military Staff System. It adds organization, allowing our armies to fight for longer before routing, but the main draw of this tech is in its inventions. This tech allows us to discover the more advanced forms of cavalry. The generic cavalry that we're using right now is deficient in every category compared to these 3 possible replacements. Dragoons and Hussars are specifically the two worth worrying about. Dragoons are slightly stronger, while Hussars have higher recon values, allowing for faster province occupation and more quickly breaking through a dug-in enemy army's dig-in value. I prefer hussars, myself.

A more worrying sight appears in Colombia as US Armies arrive, marching all the way through Central America to get here. This isn't a mobilized force, but rather a standing army with artillery and cavalry.

The US Army dwindles down in size marching through hostile jungles far from home, but when our main army meets them we suffer a tremendous defeat. The US forces actually chase down our main army and completely wipe it out after this initial battle. The US general leading this army actually had +4 to attack and defense, far outclassing our own leadership.

After crushing our forces, the USA offers us peace in the form of status quo. By accepting this, end the war and suffer no further losses other than a reduction in prestige for failing to achieve our stated war goal. With no standing army and possibly more hostile forces on the way, we don't really have a hope of winning this war that I can see, so I accept this offer. With no standing army and a large hit to our prestige from this loss, we plummet in overall rating from around the bottom of the secondary power list to around 40th place in ranking.

One thing that we do have going in our favor is a large treasury that we've built up over the course of a few years thanks to our technology boosts to farming and mining efficiency. With those funds on hand, we can actually start building up our infrastructure and industry. I didn't want to begin any major projects like this during the war because province occupation will cancel in-progress constructions. Constructing railroads is really simple by using the infrastructure map mode. The red areas are where we can't build railroads yet, the blue is where we can build, and the yellow in the province of Rio indicates that the province has infrastructure built up to the maximum level allowed by our current level of researched railroad technology.

You can click on a province from this map mode and then ctrl-click the 'Expand' button for railroads in order to queue up building railroads in every province of that state. In this case I clicked on the province of Campos and ctrl-clicked Expand to queue railroad construction in the remaining 2 provinces of the state of Rio.

It just takes clicking around to a few provinces and ctrl-clicking Expand to get railroads queued up everywhere. The diagonal yellow lines through all our blue provinces are letting us know that we have railroads queued up everywhere that we can possibly build.

I decide to go in another direction with my next few research projects. Now that we have enough industry and commerce techs to build up our treasury, we have the freedom to look at some other areas. I could focus on Army and Navy techs to try and become more competitive in war, but I think I may have more luck competing by boosting my prestige at this point in the game. If I can grab Romanticism, Realism, and Impressionism and luck out with their prestige-boosting inventions, I may be able to reclaim secondary power status and even approach great power status on the basis of my prestige and industry scores alone.

We finally discover the invention allowing for luxury furniture factories. Now seems like it may be a good time to begin building our first few factories.

Our railroad construction is well underway now. When my outlier starts looking like this, I tend to disable the spammy category by clicking on the related icon above. In this case, I think it was the 'Constructions' icon in the bottom left.

We discover the invention allowing for hussars, as well. As we rebuild our standing armies, we'll incorporate these new cavalry into them.

Our first batch of railroads complete construction, increasing our RGO output and speeding troop movement all along our high population coastal states.

In order to get our industry off the ground, I'm going to need to put an upper house in charge which allows the state to build factories. The only economic policies which allow the state to build factories are state capitalism and planned economy. Our reactionary party has state capitalism for an economic policy, so I switch us to the Partido Caramuru temporarily so I can handle factory construction. I don't really want to keep a reactionary party in power for long since I actually do want to pass political and social reforms, so we'll only use this administration long enough to get our first factory constructions underway.

Another thing that I do is to switch all my NFs to promote soldiers in my highest population states. I plan to get our largest states all to around 4.5% soldier pops. This should give us a good pool of healthy sized soldier pops to recruit a new standing army or two from.

When your current ruling party allows state-built factories, there are a couple of places you can build them from. On the production window, pictured above, you can just click the circled button under the header where you wish to construct the factory, or you can click on any province on the map and click the build factory button in the province window. Factories exist on a state level, so it doesn't matter which province you click on the map as long as that province is in the state where you wish to build it.

Our biggest state is Rio, where our capital is located. So what would be a good factory to build here? It takes a while to get acclimated to which finished goods take which inputs, but you'll pretty quickly get to a point where you'll feel comfortable knowing what inputs go into a good. Rio has 3 provinces, 2 with coffee and 1 with fruit. The coffee provinces do us no good, because coffee isn't an input for any other finished good. It's simply farmed and then sold. Fruit is used in wineries, so a winery would be a good factory for our capital state.

Clicking on the build factory button on a province in Rio will bring up this menu. When we select the winery from this screen, we can see exactly what required daily inputs it requires as well as what materials it takes to construct the factory. The winery requires glassware and fruit as inputs, and it requires iron, cement, and machine parts to construct. Notice that the cement is already on hand since I had a cement stockpile set from earlier, while the iron and machine parts will have to be purchased from the world market.

We don't have the input goods for glassware in Rio, but we don't have them anywhere else in our country either. Since this state is going to produce a good that has glassware as an input, it will be as good a place as any to have a glassware factory running on imported coal. This will end up providing the winery in Rio with 2 separate input bonuses since both wine and glassware will be coming from the same state.

I don't have a limitless amount of cash in our treasury, but I do have enough for one or two factories in our biggest states. Let's just continue down the list by population.

Bahia has 2 coffee, 2 tobacco, cattle. Tobacco is like coffee in that it doesn't get used as an input for anything else, but cattle is used in canned food. Canned food is a basic upkeep good used by every type of land unit in the game, so there is always a need for it. I also build a cement factory here, because cement is used in the construction and upkeep of nearly everything. It's a basic component of any industrialized nation, and since we don't have another state that contains it's input, there's no better place to put it than a populated place with many potential future workers.

I set up a canned food factory to build here. Note that it also takes fish, grain, and iron as inputs. Ideally we'd want to put it in a state that has multiples of those, but since Bahia is our second largest state I wanted to give it at least one factory before looking at what else we have available.

Minas Gerais has the best prospects yet. It's our third largest state and it has a local supply of tropical wood. This means that our first luxury furniture factory will go here, and later on this would be a good province to have a lumber mill and furniture factory as well, just to have a little chain of related factories giving each other bonuses.

Since luxury furniture takes regular furniture as an input as well as tropical wood, it would get an additional bonus by having a factory for them here alongside it.

Pernambuco has cotton, which is one of the inputs for fabric. The downside of a fabric factory is that it takes dye as well, and the initial supply of dye in the world isn't very big. You can eventually create synthetic dye factories with later inventions though. Having a fabric factory in this state will make it a fine place to build a regular clothing factory in the future, which takes fabric as its only input.

Our factories are all queued up for construction, but it takes a while for us to get all the necessary machine parts to begin building them.

When states have unemployed craftsmen and no empty or upcoming factory capacity to employ them, it will tend to generate a project for that state on the Production window. Projects are how factories get built without state capitalism or planned economy. Under interventionist and lassiez faire economic policies, your capitalist pops will invest money into projects on this page. Once enough has been invested to purchase all of the needed components and begin construction, it will begin to build just like the ones we've queued up ourselves. Any economic policy other than lassiez faire allows us to invest money into projects from the state treasury, as well. One common thing you may do when running a government with interventionism as an economic policy is to visit this screen occasionally and Shift-Click one of the invest buttons (the pile of coins). Shift clicking the invest button on any project will invest the maximum amount in every project on the Projects tab page.

We can see all of our factories under construction on the Production panel as well. The [X] to the right of the construction progress bar for each factory will cancel construction of that factory in that state, if our economic policy allows it. I've also clicked 'Hide Empty States' in the upper right so that this list isn't cluttered by our tiny states with no industry in the middle of the jungle.

Once our first batch of factories are under construction, I switch us back out of our reactionary government. I don't want to really keep switching parties unilaterally like this and making my population angry, but since I'm doing it anyway I'll just pick the liberal party for the opportunity to run at higher tariffs again for a while.

Doing so actually ends up causing just the right amount of liberals in the upper house mixed with enough militancy in our population to push through a political reform!

There are a few good things that we could pick here. Changing our vote franchise to weighted universal or universal would make us an even more attractive target for immigration and enfranchise more of our existing population. Public meetings is a good political reform for causing a snowball effect towards more reform, but we already have it. Press Rights is similar, and would be a good thing to get. Trade Unions help to start building support in our population for social reforms. I choose to outlaw slavery, though. This will immediately turn a large portion of our population from slaves into farmers or laborers, opening up the possibility for them to promote into craftsmen and soldiers and other pops, as well as increasing our tax base.

Our first political reform is passed in 1858, ushering in the end to slavery.

Another thing happens, and I recognize what it is by the sudden change in our economy. The daily change to our state treasury has changed from a gigantic positive to a small negative. This is because we've been sphered. Checking the Sphere of Influence map mode (hotkey F) shows us who it is by coloring us in the same shade as their country. It was the UK. We can see that new relationship on our diplomacy screen too, when we have ourselves selected. Being in the sphere of influence of the UK means that if our pops are in a situation where they need to buy something from the world market, they have to see if they can buy it from the UK first. If they can, then they purchase it tariff free. That's why our revenue has dried up: because we aren't really collecting much in tariffs anymore.

I go ahead and set our tariffs to 0 since they aren't providing us with much of a benefit anyway. While our treasury isn't taking this situation well, look at the needs of our pops. A large amount of them have easy access to luxury goods now, and they're gobbling them up.

Our factories complete construction, but sit mostly idle for now. The occasional small group of immigrants show up to help man them, but we won't see a major shift into an industrial economy until our literacy gets a little higher.

In order to expedite this, I start moving back down the social thought column once going as far as I can in Aesthetics.

Our research into Aesthetics has actually paid off quite well. We were the first nation to invent both impressionist literature as well as impressionist art. Successive nations which invent either of those things will get less and less prestige. This healthy boost in prestige along with our tiny beginning of an industrial score has rocketed us back up from around rank 40 to rank 14 overall rating. This is good! I think that I'll be trying to maintain our position in the prestige techs by grabbing the new ones as soon as they become available. If we can't compete in a stand up fight, we can still be a player on the world stage by being an innovator in art and technology.