What the hell is Victoria II anyway?
Good Question, Me!
Victoria II numbers among one of my favourite games – I have certainly sunk in excess of two-hundred hours into it. This may be because of its dizzying complexity and the sense of world-spanning scale (this may be caused by Vicky II being a game of world-spanning empires, fyi).
I have always had a soft spot for Germany throughout history – from the Germainic tribes arrayed against the Roman Empire, through the Holy Roman Empire (funny how that one worked out), the dissolution of said Empire (the state of affairs as of the beginning of the game) and the unification of all German speaking peoples under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, all the way up to the modern day.
I just like Germany, okay? Even when playing Hearts of Iron III, I tend to play Germany – or Canada, because there is nothing cooler than kicking Nazi butt as a tiny country of badass Canucks. The Nazi’s make easy enemies to hate.
But Nazi Germany is not this Germany. This Germany is Prussia, the northern of the two German Great Powers – the southern being Austria.
But What’s the Plan?
Another excellent question, me! The plan is simple; unite Germany under one banner, remove all non-German states from the Empire, and secure my unified Germany against our enemies – Russia in the east, France in the west, Italy (should it ever unify) in the south, and the United Kingdom – the British Empire itself – around the world. Perhaps even supplant the Brits as the #1 Great Power on Earth.
Incidentally, I’m playing with the expansion pack A House Divided (because no media including the American Civil War can avoid the phrase). In addition, I’m playing the incredibly excellent POP Demands Mod, which I heartily recommend to all.
Just Get On With It Already!
Know what? I don’t like this government. Immediately, I force a change of governing bodies (it’s good to be the king!). The Nationale Partei (Reactionaries) are now in charge, giving me access to State Capitalism. I can mandate the construction of factories and goods myself, without waiting on the whims of whiny Capitalists.
Prussia’s next priorities are balancing the economy and production, then working on building up our great military – we will need to war against both Austria and France in the coming decades in order to unify Germany – Austria for the obvious reasons, and France in order to seize the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine. With that in mind, I use my points of National Focus in my most populous regions, encouraging the population to soldiery. This won’t last long – National Foci are excellent tools, wasted on military matters – but I must be ready for anything. Russia denied my diplomatic overtures, and no alliance has been forged with the Bear in the East – this means they could turn on us any time, and may even ally with my soon-to-be enemies.
Enemies like Denmark, who holds German regions as its puppet – namely, Schleswig-Holstein. To form the North German Federation, I will need to wrest this region from Danish hands. Unlike most other German states, this Schleswig-Holstein will not be won through diplomacy, but through force of arms.
Seriously, what is Denmark going to do? Scowl at me?
Luckily, military action to force the release of a puppet incurs a minuscule infamy penalty. I go about spreading propaganda and slinging international mud on the Danes, justifying my war against them. In a few months time, my people will be ready – eager – to fight for the release of their cousins.
And so it is. I even call in my allies to help me fight this war – what better way to cement a military partnership than war?
While my two main armies fight in Schleswig-Holstein, my cavalry made a lightening raid on Copenhagen – capitals are worth the most Warscore, which is how the game determines the winning side and the likelihood of this-or-that Wargoal being accepted or dismissed. In this case, the Wargoal is the release of Schleswig-Holstein, though now that I am at war, I can add new Wargoals without justification. I decide to forcefully add Denmark to my Sphere of Influence (fun fact; I’m not sure if sphering a country also sphere’s its puppets. If so, releasing Schleswig-Holstein would in fact be detrimental). I don’t really want Denmark in my Sphere, but the prestige bonus for successfully adding a country to your Sphere is nice, and I’m going to need all the prestige I can get if I want to overcome the British Empire as the greatest of the Great Powers.
It seems the French have added the same Wargoal, but since I started this war, I get to choose the terms of peace – and French empowerment is not among them. I easily force the release of my German cousins and add Denmark to the Prussian Sphere of Influence (SoI). Unfortunately, this puts me in a truce with the newly-free Schleswig-Holstein, meaning I cannot influence them for five years. This leaves the gates wide open for Austria to Sphere them. It also means I cannot move my troops out of Denmark, as S-H sits between Denmark and Prussia.
To offset Austria’s influence head-start, I invest in some S-H industry. Building factories in foreign land will provide influence bonuses to me, and penalties to other countries.
And so the war of words begins. Prussia vs. Austria for control of Germany. Prussia begins the game with an inordinate number of sphered countries – most of northern Germany, in fact – while Austria only has a handful to hold on to. I have to spread out my influence to keep my many minor spherelings. Prussia will not be gaining overseas allies for a long time.
Unfortunately, the bulk of my army is still trapped in Denmark, losing men to supply issues – the Danes certainly aren’t going to supply them! I’m working on getting military access through S-H, but it’s been slow going. They don’t seem to trust me after I wrecked their armies and occupied their capital a year ago. Thin-skinned pansies!
But then Austria goes bankrupt too. Nevermind Russia, I need to split Austria into tiny little pieces! In order to create the Greater German Empire, Austria must be under my control – either Sphered or Puppetted. Either way, Austria must no longer be a Great Power, which means reducing its military might, industrial capacity and international prestige. The Repay Debts Cassus Belli gives me the perfect oportunity to start a war without incurring infamy. If it goes well, I’ll simply add more Wargoals as I go along. With S-H finally granting military access, I can move my experienced armies south to meet my new men along the Austrian border. A quick push to Vienna should give me the Warscore needed to split off some non-German pieces of Austria – pieces I don’t want included in my Greater German Empire anyway!
While I’ve been busily adjusting my war-plans, it seems the United Kingdom has invaded Qing China, seeking to wrest the city of Hong Kong as a distant Asian colony. Seeing an opportunity, France declares against the United Kingdom, taking Belgium from the Empire’s SoI. While I support any war between other Great Powers, I was hoping for French support against Austria in the coming war; they are erstwhile allies. No matter. I shall demand they join me in defeating Austria in any case; should they decline, it will be no skin off my teeth.
Luckily, they join, though their armies are out of position and will be of no aid for the crucial early months. Another hazard; Austria has long maintained a policy of interventionism in Italy, and the Italian states have joined the war in favour of their Austrian masters.
The first year of the war is tight, but as Prussia’s military might squashes Austria’s Spherelings, they drop out of the war. France is victorious in Belgium, and moves its own vast armies into Italy, removing them from the war as well. Austria stands alone. It is time to force Prussian hegemony over Austria – this will force their German SoI into Prussia’s.
It seems Austria has more to worry about; Sardinia-Piedmont has declared war to liberate Lombardia from Austrian control.
I think Sardinia-Piedmont can be safely ignored. Still, if they force the release of Lombardia before I do, I will destroy them.
Check out Austria’s score:
If I can add Austria and S-H to my sphere, there’ll be no need to form the NGF, though it is an excellent first step for Prussia, as it removes the need to defend your SoI from outside influence.
Austria is beaten! Baden, Wurttemburg, Saxony and Bavaria have all been taken into my Sphere and Lombardia has been liberated! France wanted to acquire the state of Trieste from Austria, but again I ignored French demands.
And news has reached me that the state of Hanover has had a falling-out with the United Kingdom; they are no longer within the British SoI, making the German state ripe for the picking. With Hanover, Schleswig-Holstein and Luxembourg nearly in my Sphere, Austria a broken and bloody corpse, and Russia still suffering from a disastrous economy, Prussia has found itself in a position of eminence in Europe.
And it’s only 1841! Five years of gameplay finds Prussia launched into third place among the Great Powers of the world, just behind France.
And far behind the Brits.