Opening Moves Tutorial AAR (Prussia-1805) (Full Version)

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Gil R. -> Opening Moves Tutorial AAR (Prussia-1805) (5/24/2009 8:04:46 AM)

Several players have requested a tutorial AAR that can help new players get some ideas of what they should be doing, especially at the beginning of the game. I have therefore decided to write up a short AAR for the opening turns as Prussia in the 1805 scenario. Since each country is played somewhat differently, it would be great if others would contribute brief AAR's to show how they approach another nation and/or scenario at the start of the game.

For starters, here's the screen showing the settings. Pretty standard. Though I'm playing with the Advanced Economy option, since there'd be far less to show otherwise. (Regarding the Advanced Economy, the guide written by bjmorgan that is now in the Members Club and will soon be released via patch does an outstanding job explaining much of what the player must do, so I'm not going to cover much of the ground that he does.) Also, I am not having any of the "advisors" handling part of the game for me, so I'm essentially driving manual rather than automatic.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:08:20 AM)

Next a screenshot showing how Prussia looks. I have a single army with some extra generals standing around in the Berlin area, the usual two diplomats, no navy, a merchant fleet, and some divisions scattered around.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:09:29 AM)

And the rest of Prussia. Those Russian forces don't bother me, since we're on good terms.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:11:29 AM)

So that I don't risk forgetting to do so, I'm in the habit of always moving my merchant(s) first, before I do anything. Here I figure that I'm less likely to have to compete for commerce off Sweden's eastern coast then heading towards Denmark.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:13:16 AM)

Here you can see my current money/resources stockpiles at the very bottom of the screen.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:15:13 AM)

And after clicking on that row, here's how much I can expect to receive. Prussia tends to have more than enough food and decent amount of horses, iron and wood, but is always low on textiles, luxuries, and stuff like that. Playing Prussia I try to focus on these weaknesses, both through trade and economic development.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:17:03 AM)

Here's the diplomacy screen. As you can see, Prussia is in the odd position of having no friends or enemies. (In truth, France hates us, but is not at war with us, while the British like us but are not allied with us. Other nations seem like they could go either way.)


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:18:00 AM)

Here's what I mean. I guess I could have just posted this screen, but I like the look of the other more.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:22:54 AM)

This scenario stars off with France fighting other powers, but not Prussia. Therefore, the biggest choice the Prussian player faces at the outset is whether to ally immediately with, say, Austria (which France always attacks), or perhaps one of the other countries, and start fighting France right away. Since France is hard to beat, and one doesn't win COG:EE in the first few moves, my preference is to stay out of it and work at strengthening myself. After all, there will be plenty of opportunities to fight, so I'd rather do it after I'm wealthier and stronger.

One crucial step towards gaining strength is to create another army for all those divisions and generals who are just standing around. So, even though there are several good options for spending my money and resources, I believe this to be the most important. After all, I might have no intention of attacking, but someone might attack me -- and I'll need a second army in case that happens.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:24:34 AM)

My existing army still has some room, and it could use some cavalry, so I send this unit there.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:27:19 AM)

It's important to remember that units garrisoned in cities don't cost as much, so when one is not at war it makes sense to spread one's units around and stick them into cities. Here the down-arrow shows me doing just that with the 9th Infantry. Note that I'm not choosing some random city, but rather one at a vital point for a would-be invader. When those key garrisons are filled I put the remaining units in the interior cities.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:28:32 AM)

Here I'm sending a division out west to Magdeburg, in case the French try something funny. (Insert obvious joke about the French thinking Jerry Lewis funny here.)


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:29:45 AM)

And here I'm sending a unit to the province where the army container will be appearing in two turns, so that it will have some divisions present and ready for duty.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:30:56 AM)

Same goes for those three generals standing around. I don't yet have a second 4-star general to command the army, but at least I have some generals available.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:38:31 AM)

That's all I do with my military forces, so now I focus on my economy. Prussia is by no means poor, but it's not exactly in a great position, either. My goal is to use the winter and this period of peace to invest in my economy. I could, of course, be raising more forces, but every new division is a drain on my resources, and since I'm not at war I don't need them yet -- far better to spend on building up the economy so that when the time for war comes I'll be able to afford it.

Here's the economy screen. Note the high feudalism level that Prussia has. As I've learned from experience (back in beta-testing days), if you try to make a sudden change to Prussia's economy and society by lowering or eliminating feudalism there is a chance of severe repercussions (in the form of plummeting morale), so be warned before you do that. (Effects of feudalism are in the tool-tips, so I won't go into this.)

My tax rate is high, but it's my hope that by building up my banking system and thus getting more money from that source I'll be able to lower taxes and make people happy. Perhaps even boost welfare, if I'm not off fighting the French...


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:40:16 AM)

One change I do make now is to lower the maximum draft age, which increases the quality of my troops. Since it's a time of peace I could lower it further (and maybe raise the draft minimum age as well), but I do want my (relatively) few divisions to be strong.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:46:53 AM)

I mentioned building up the banking system. That does require a bit of thought, since different provinces start off at different levels. I first try to add banks where there already are banks, since that will lead to more money sooner, assuming that the provinces have comparable base production of money. Since Berlin already provides a nice amount of money, it makes sense to take it to Bank Level 3.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:49:18 AM)

It is important to build up all areas of one's economy, so I don't add only banks. So on the coast I add some docks, so that I'll soon gain more naval experience and also be that much closer to bringing in additional merchant income (though not for a few years). Plus, once I can afford to build ships they'll be that much better if I give the coveted contracts to the Konigsberg dockyards.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:49:56 AM)

But I do need more banks...


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:54:52 AM)

Since bjmorgan's guide to the Advanced Economy explains the Development Screen very well, no need for me to do so here. So, one thing I do is go through all of my city development screens and reset them so that they're producing what I need. (I should note that even though a province might be optimized to give you one or two resources, if it can give you something else you need more then by all means, be economically inefficient. For example, as Prussia I produce very little wine, so if a province can give me some then I go for it, even if I could be getting iron more efficiently.)

Since I just built a bank in Posen I want it to be ready quickly. Here is what the screen looks like at the start of the game.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 8:59:10 AM)

And here it is after I've made some changes. Note that since I wasn't producing any wood,iron or luxuries I lowered those bars to zero, while boosting textiles production. And I kept agriculture just high enough to be getting that wine, sacrificing some horses and food. The rest of my labor went into Development, and just look at the results: instead of my bank taking nine turns, it will now take three. Since I want to build up my economy quickly, I am giving up some production now in order to make the overall economy larger eventually.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 9:01:31 AM)

Here's another screenshot, after I've made a few changes in different city development screens. Look at the bottom row and compare it with the one up above -- note that I'm now expecting slightly different levels of resources, based on those changes to the slider bars.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 9:04:31 AM)

Time to supplement my production through trade. Since the British like me, I have the best chance of my trade being accepted by them, so I make an offer. I'm always eager for textiles, since without them I can't put to sea with anything other than a canoe in this Age of Sails, so I decide to send some of my rather abundant food and timber to them for textiles. It's a small trade, but these can add up.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 9:07:20 AM)

The last thing I do -- though usually this is the second thing I do, right after moving my merchant(s) -- is to deal with diplomats. Here there is no right or wrong approach, but I generally try to use the one who's better at "Espionage" to do someone some harm, and the one who's got higher "Influence" to be sunny and positive.

So, first I send Hardenberg into France to spread propaganda and lower their morale. After all, I might soon be fighting them, so why not try to weaken them a little?


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 9:07:59 AM)

And now von Humbolt's off on a mission to charm my neighbors.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 9:10:13 AM)

Having finished my turn, here's the Event Report. Looks like my trade offer was accepted.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 9:12:32 AM)

Also, both the French and Spanish want crossing treaties with me, which I'll rejected. After all, I know the map of Europe well enough to know that crossing France or Spain (should I even reach there) gets me nowhere other than the Atlantic Ocean, so they can benefit from this treaty much more than I would. Plus it would be hard to go to war with France if their armies are already in Prussia or in Russia.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/24/2009 9:14:31 AM)

Here's the Supply report, showing that all of my units successfully foraged, while the ones in garrisons received their three hots and a cot.


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/25/2009 8:49:45 AM)

Now on to Turn 2. Again, Iím not at war or about to be at war, so I spend time building up the economy. I decide to build Farms in Warsaw, where Iím already producing good amounts of agricultural goods (which are hidden by the tooltip, but which I know to be food and spice).


Gil R. -> RE: Openings Moves Tutorial AAR (5/25/2009 8:50:25 AM)

And in Neumark I decide to build Roads rather than a development that actually produces money or resources, since the higher the level of roads the easier it will be to develop the province. Also, of course, Roads help with troop movements, and thereís a major crossroads there. What better way to help both my troop mobility and my future prosperity?


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