The Let's Play Archive

Victoria II

by Kersch

Part 17: Ulmont Explains Westernization

My goal was actually to push Kersch from China (which I've done before) to play Persia (which I've failed at doing before), but the EU4 point is also pretty big. With that, here goes:

Hi guys, welcome to a walkthrough of how to Westernize as China in Victoria II, Hearts of Darkness.

Some notes:
1) I'm going to do this about as fast as is possible;
2) I will never hit the infamy limit (or, with one exception, even risk hitting the infamy limit); and
3) I will skip over items Kersch thoroughly covered in his Brazil playthrough, which was most of them.

Here's the Chinese Empire in 1836:

Note the different colors under the CHINESE EMPIRE display. Those are our various substates, which are essentially satellites plus. They will always fight in your wars, for better or for worse, and never have to be called in. I've labeled them all here, Xinjiang (far west), Mongolia (north), Manchuria (northeast), Qinghai (center), Yunnan (southwest), and Guangxi (southeast).

As a consequence, China starts off with troops stationed throughout its substates.

This is a bad idea, as the substates are good (extremely good) at building their own armies and don't need our help. I'll be pulling these back into the main Chinese state as soon as possible.

China is also rather good at building its own armies. Note that we start with 52 brigades built and can built to 209. Also note that our military rank is #1 in the world, surpassing even the UK.

So we'll be building a fair amount of irregulars; unfortunately, as an uncivilized nation, we're locked into only irregulars and cavalry until we get some reforms (which will unlock infantry but not hussars are dragoons). We'll want to transition into regular infantry ASAP.

Accordingly, we're going to need lots of wool. By the time we're done, we will have turned literally every single good from AI automated into "Buy 2000." While a bit annoying, and not strictly speaking required, it does mean that you can queue up an army build and not spend 10 days starting each unit as the AI slowly buys required goods.

Another note, based on the existence of Taiwan, is that I suggest always recruiting all the brigades out of Taibei and Tainan before trying to actually assemble your units, to both better defend Taiwan and to keep your main armies regular. Otherwise, you end up with just one stray brigade on Taiwan and an army on the mainland mising a unit.

There's not a lot we can play with here on the budget screen as China. We're going to do our best to keep education at max, military spending at at least 50%, and administration as high as we can afford, with all taxes maxed out through our westernizing years.

As noted, China is an uncivilized nation. This means, inter alia, that China cannot research traditional technologies now.

What China can do is bank research points and use them for extremely expensive "reforms."
Items of note:
1) We start with 3.3 research points.
2) This reform costs almost 7000 research points.
3) We make just over 1.5 research points per day.

So just researching your way to Westernization is not a viable strategy. And I don't think it was intended to be. If we took longer to Westernize, we'd see Great Powers setting up missions in our country that would aid in Westernization.

But, in Heart of Darkness, uncivilized countries also get research points for conquering other countries.

This is going to be our roadmap to Westernization. The higher their population the more research points we get. Looking at the list, you can see that (around our neck of the woods), and ignoring our substates, Japan, Panjab, and Korea are the top targets. Japan requires boats, though, which makes targeting them less fun, and they will have a large uncivilized army, so I'd recommend against it your first time through as China. Most other states around here China doesn't have to spend any effort to conquer. Targets locked.

As you can see, for the time being we can annex any sufficiently small uncivilized country (n.b.: Japan and Siam are not sufficiently small. More on that later) in one war, risking acquiring 22 infamy in the war justification process.

However, we can't do it yet. There are 4 army reforms (the first four) that boost the "Research points bonus when conquering" by 25% each. If we don't have one of them, we get 0 research points for conquest.

And we don't. So, as China, you get to spend a number of years waiting to get that all important first reform. As Japan, btw, you can just pop early Meiji restoration and get enough free research points to almost pick up the first reform immediately. So time passes. At the end of 1840, we still have several thousand RP to go.

Same for the end of 1841.

Same for the end of 1842. So far, we've played 7 years and haven't done anything other than reorganize our troops.

But now we're close enough, since we'll have to justify a war and then win it before we need the reform. With around 2.7 RP per day, and about 700 days to go, this will do.

Panjab would be the best target from a numbers perspective, but that would require access through Afghanistan. I know it looks like China borders Panjab, but the map lies to you here. I've annotated it slightly.

And Afghanistan isn't in a friendly mood. In retrospect, I probably could have gotten Afghanistan to give military access after declaring war (attacking enemies bonus), but c'est la vie. Also foreshadowing.

So we'll pass on Panjab for this round. Onward to Korea.

Predictably our war plans are discovered to the tune of 13 infamy.

We eventually are able to pull the trigger on our war.

Chinese substate dogpile.

The battles are rather boring as China-and-friends well outnumber Korean troops. Generally these wars won't be exciting enough to warrant any description other than "a few months later, we have taken the country."

On April 3, 1844, we can finally pick up our first reform, improving organization, research points from conquest, and civilization progress. This is indicated with the usual reform hammer.

Note that we're back down to 3.9 banked research points and have made some progress on the Westernization counter.

After that, we annex Korea.

And for annexing Korea, we get 11000 research points. This is enough to pay for our next reform even without the research points we normally get per day. Unfortunately, there is a reform cooldown, which is why we can't immediately click the button again.

Next up: Panjab.

But before signing on for another potential 22 infamy, we should get down to around 5-ish. We can release Korea for -5, and can also release the Shanxi Clique for another -5.

Our war justification against Panjab is discovered and then fires.

And when Afghanistan discovers that we are at war with Panjab and its friend Persia, both of whom hate Afghanistan, it graciously lets us through.

Worth noting - getting techs through the special Westernization reform process still allows inventions to trigger, as here. Some inventions require you to be civilized before firing, though.

Unfortunately, the military access from Afghanistan is personal to China, so we'll have to fight this war without our substates. We'll make up for it on the next war.

Instead of holing up in the mountains where I would have hellish attack modifiers, Panjab has helpfully put all its troops in the plains.

We still lose, but we can swamp them with troops.

It's the Chinese way.

We could annex Panjab as of January 1, 1847, but we're better off waiting until we can pick up the next booster reform (we picked up the second based on the Korean research points earlier. We're pretty close.

Further proof that reform techs count as normal techs.

We reform more on February 20, 1848...

...and then annex Punjab.

Back into 5-digit research points as a result.

Looking at the map, Dai Nam is next up.

And our troops are moving back that way, although they are completely unnecessary for war with Dai Nam.

Panjab is a really nice pickup because you can release up to three nations out of it, for -15 infamy, making the research points we got from conquest free.

Proof we'll never see anything better than cavalry until full Westernization.

I had forgotten that and put off building troops because I wanted to build Infantry+Hussar combinations now that we have the appropriate techs.

In the meantime, we give Dai Nam a hint as to what's up.

As usual, we are discovered, but it was cheap.

Six months after our last reform, on August 23, 1848, we pick up the last +25% research point booster.

Two things to notice here, now that we just picked up our CB against Dai Nam.
1) Clergy are now appropriately maxed out from our single national focus, so I'll move to bureaucrats.
2) Do you see how many troops the Guangxi substate has?

I let Guangxi and Yunnan fight Dai Nam and Burma without my involvement.

Guangxi and Yunnan didn't need our help, and Dai Nam donates another 12000 research points.

Now that we've gotten all the improvements to conquering our way to Westernization, it's worth noting that we have a penalty to economic reforms and a bonus to military ones. It's going to be cheaper for us, generally speaking, to get from 45% Westernized (+10% for three of those first four reforms and +15% for the last) to 100% through military rather than economic ones.

That having been said, the most expensive economic reform gives a whopping 30% civilization progress, so we'll be getting that next.

Picking our next target, and a digression. Hyderabad looks good, right? Lots of people?

British satellite, like most of the rest of India.

So it's Siam's turn. Siam, unfortunately, has 5 states, meaning it cannot be annexed in one shot. What we'll end up having to do is add war goals on at full infamy later.

We always get caught.

At about this point I had to figure out which are the largest states of Siam. It's Chiang Mai and Nakkon Ratchmina, as well as the capital-holding Bangkok.

With this +30% bonus, we're just 25% away from Westernization, and we have 1 cement factory building in the capital.

The Siamese war is a replay of Dai Nam, except that I send two units in just for fun.

The UK ponders starting a crisis over Dai Nam, but since we were going to release it for infamy reduction I just do that now and the crisis fizzles.

With our poor literacy, our lone factory may not fill up quickly, but I'll keep expanding it anyway. Note that we can't build any more factories, but we can still expand this one.

Land reform, the cheapest economic reform, gives a boost to our income.

It also leaves us with only 15% to go, which we can do with any one of the remaining army reforms (so whichever is cheapest, which would be army schools).

In between wars, we've been getting the usual Chinese events, such as "Anti-Manchu feeling":

Afghanistan is pretty far down the list, but all the others are our satellites, British satellites, have truces with us, or are across oceans.

This war justification actually is a gamble. If discovered, it needs to be less than 18 infamy or we'll be in trouble. We probably should have waited a couple of years instead.

But it worked out alright.

Our satellite Panjab comes in against Afghanistan, with 20 brigades right on the border and completely covered up by the log.

Meanwhile, the Russians keep telling me to come back and try again when I'm civilized.

Afghanistan folds in a few months.

...but it's still going to be a few years to get that last reform, even at our now blazing rate of 3 RP per day.

...still waiting.

February 1858, we can still not quite push the button. We could pick up the administrative reform, but that would leave us 5% short of Westernization.

On the bright side, we have dying bugs to distract us.

And missing tea.

Finally, in August 1858, we can push the button.

...well, the first button. Take a look at our last budget before I push the "China wins" button.

...and now pushing the button...

For China, Westernization absorbs the substates.

Resulting in this monster. Note that we have 3 national foci now.

We can research normally now. Also note that we have been immediately catapulted to rank 3.

...and we can support 781 brigades.

...other nations treat us normally. The USA is usually a good anti-UK ally.

And because we've been ranked around 3-4 the whole time since Westernization, as soon as we've spent a year civilized we're a Great Power.

...and we reclaim the Mandate of Heaven as a result.

And so we can do the usual Great Power things, like sphere our satellites...

...and the usual secondary power things as well, like invest in factories.

Final look at the budget, with everything except military budget maxed and still making almost 10K daily.

Could we have Westernized faster? Yes, by:
1) Taking Panjab fast, since its infamy is basically net 0 with the 3 satellites that can be released; and
2) Hammering Japan, with the biggest states out there, immediately after Panjab.

Of course, that way the USA might also have intervened, so you never know.