A Let's Play of Paradox's grand strategy games...like, ALL of them, from Imperator to Hearts of Iron 4

So close to unpausing! But first, I decided to look into our budget deficit.

First of all, consumption taxes that target some particular vices. Liquor, opium, and luxury furniture.
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After that, I went through and demolished a bunch of our government administration buildings which were way overbuilt. With that, our deficit is down from 67K to an acceptable 6.18K


And we still have a Bureaucracy buffer to work with
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As for diplomacy, I work to improve relations with our historic allies: Sao, Trigata, and Dai Nam. A couple of Carthago Nova’s puppets seem to like us too, so maybe we can stir that pot a little. As a result, we use some more diplomatic capacity to begin improving relations with Rio De La Plata and Carthago Novan Australia.

With that, we begin.
And very quickly unpausing is friendly to us
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One thing that’s quickly apparent is that our isolationist trade policy is a real problem. Because of it we’re unable to create trade routes to deal with our shortages. And we’ve got some real shortages.
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With such a pressing issue I think we actually want to bolster the Rural Folk, who are already pretty influential, so that we can pull them into the government and use their desire for Protectionism.


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And now we’ve truly arrived in the industrial revolution!
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Thankfully, Charity Hospitals cruises through the process and becomes law so we can move on to trying to fix our trade policy.


Good news, adding the Rural Folk to the government will actually increase our legitimacy. Step 1 down.

Well shoot, I didn’t realize the Rural Folk also support the current law so they aren’t actually in any hurry to change it.
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So screw those guys, they are out. Armed Forces are in. Our current Frontier Colonization policy isn’t letting us establish any colonies. I’m not sure why as we have colonizable land on the borders of decentralized lands. Regardless, Colonial Exploitation should fix it.

In the mean time, we’ll keep trying to build up our agriculture base since we can trade for it.
Look at these assholes! That’s what I get for letting the peasant rabble anywhere near our government.

We also unlock our first company slot and swiftly move to found Pegu Agriculture and boost our rice farms. Sad it doesn’t boost wheat farms, but our rice provinces are better than any of our wheat provinces so we’re focusing grain production there anyway.

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And while I was distracted with all of that our economy crashed.
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At this point it’s a race to pass our new law before civil war breaks out. Thankfully we’ve slowed that revolution progress significantly.
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But, uh, a full quarter of our population are now radicals. Might have something to do with that whole starvation thing.
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A bit of good news!

With no path to trade law reform in sight, lets target our tax laws instead. Per-Capita Taxation has pretty broad support. Hopefully that means a smoother road than our last one.

With our economy in shambles and no path out we have no choice but to hit the big scary Declare Bankruptcy button. Almost as easy as just yelling it. It comes with all kinds of negative effects to our diplomatic standing and military ability, but it gets us back into positive territory.
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Disaster!
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Although maybe this won’t be so bad. They forgot to make sure they had anyone to actually fight their uprising before they started it.

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We had significantly downsized our military during the economic disaster, but we still have two capable armies left. We mobilize the smaller of the two for this conflict as we can’t really afford to use the bigger one.

And as a result we can reoccupy the whole desert without issue
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Due to all of our troubles our prestige has tanked and so has our standing in the world.

#2 to #15 is quite the precipitous drop. Dark times for Soqotra.
And our tax reform gets to the final phase and stalls out entirely.

I think it’s time to admit that the ancient Timolid dynasty simply is not up to the task of navigating the industrial world. It’s time for change.

While King Salah sleeps, we patriots invite an agitator for democracy.

It’s not popular, but the people must accept change.

But these are difficult times and the least integrated portion of Borneo thinks it belongs on its own.
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And Carthago Nova agrees. Our situation is much too fragile to fight a real war right now, so we have no choice but to back down and recognize their independence.
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Holy shit, did our King bumble his way into progress? As soon as we backed down we got this pop-up. It must have been an additional demand for that independence play? Wow! Thank you Borneo! Enjoy your independence for a few years!

We immediately go to work opening trade routes with the world. Let the resources flow into Soqotra!

Because of that we maybe can keep our Monarchy for awhile longer. Definitely not because of this. Definitely the other thing. We’re not terrified of this. Nope.

But hey, they’ll at least get onboard with the wealthy having a say. We’ll gladly take that step.

That allows political parties to form. Which allows us to expand the government to include the whole wannabe Conservative Party.

Not entirely a positive development, but gets us some opportunities for law changes. Including taking another stab at Land-Based Taxation. And otherwise things seem to be stabilizing, but we’ve got a long road to prosperity. The high radicalism has our states in turmoil which has killed our construction efficiency and slowed building to a crawl. We’ve had to scale back construction capacity considerably anyway. Thankfully, the turmoil and the radicalism are dropping, and this is the biggest budget surplus we’ve had. Standard of Living is slowly improving too.

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I need your brainpower so bad LOL. It’s so impressive you remember even 1/10 of all this stuff to do it in a huge sequence like this.

Nerve-wracking! Soqotra was on the precipice of chaos!

Back when I played Vic3 I remember Indonesia being extremely poor so I’m not surprised Borneo is dragging you down. In vanilla Vic3, the Dutch East Indies are a separate entity so the Dutch have the privilege of ignoring their poverty when calculating standard of living.

Can you share the cultural breakdown of your empire? If that’s not easy then never mind; I don’t remember if there are pie-charts or other visualizations.

I sure can. The last big update added the census view that gives pie charts and lets you slice and dice data in a bunch of different ways.

I cranked up all the converter settings to prefer dev values in EU4 to the vanilla Vicky 3 setup. I suspect some of that is the real reason so many people started so poor and unemployed, especially because the converter warns of starvation risks in big letters for doing it that way!

But I appreciate that our fundamentals were hosed so we ended up in an economic spiral. That’s stuff that has really happened to countries but doesn’t exist in Paradox games outside of Victoria. I suspect we’d have lost significant parts of the empire had I not been culture converting SE Asia so much in EU4.

If you mean going from game to game like this it’s not so bad. I’ve put 100+ hours into each of the games so picking them back to is pretty straightforward. I’ve hardly played HOI4, though, and not since it came out, so that one I’m going to have to learn from scratch, essentially. As far as doing the mega campaign, I’ve spent so much time living this alternate history world now that it all feels pretty real to me. I have a connection to how things evolved this way and am pretty invested in seeing how it all turns out.

I think we owe a little revenge to Carthago Nova for supporting the independence of Bulungan in Borneo. So we’ll back this revolt in Australia.

Which does go to war. Too bad as we’ll have to throw the whole military into this one.

And while that war rages down under, we notice that something big has happened in Europe. That’s an interesting take on Italy.


Apparently Beja got independence from Carthago Nova at some point too

And after a long grinding war the rebels we backed capitulated. But that seemed to be damaging enough for Carthago Nova to peacefully allow the independence of the Maori people and the part of Australia that didn’t rebel. Good job Aotearoa!


We’ve clearly developed a reputation for helping the little guys at least. We certainly aren’t just interested in blocking others from growing larger while we resolve our internal strife.
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Meanwhile, Per-Capita Taxation is stalling out again in the final phase. We just got our first setback. Hopefully it’ll just need more time to pass.
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While that grinds on, another secession movement kicks off
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And is quickly put down
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Huzzah!

We’ve also moved back up the nation rankings. We’ve got awhile to go to get back to Great Power status, though.

Now that taxation is passed, we’ll need to follow through on a promise we made to keep the Devout IG happy and work on passing Censorship.

A brewing revolution to expand voting rights. We are definitely sympathetic, but we’re working on passing another law. Hopefully we can hold them off until we get censorship passed.

Carthago Nova is in some trouble at home. Too bad we have a truce with them for another 2 years or this would be a perfect opportunity to attempt to liberate some of their New World colonies.

Petition for Censorship complete so we can move on to voting rights

Little Tabiene is sitting to our north in Persia, a shell of its former self and a tempting target for any wouldbe imperialists. In order to prevent that, we extend them our hand of protection.

Well, those weaklings clearly don’t know what’s good for them!
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Things in Tabiene escalate to war, but as expected, nobody joins to help them. This should be over quickly.
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My goodness, now everyone thinks they should be able to vote!

Intriguing idea, let’s see where it goes!
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Well, the Industrialists aren’t happy about the dirty people of the lower classes having a vote. Give that to them and next thing you know they’ll be demanding time off on election day!

It passes anyway

And we see an immediate drop in radicalism with a large boost to loyalists as well. See, Industrialists, this isn’t so bad!
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Alright, now the reforms are getting downright outlandish. If the children aren’t in the factories, where will they be? What kind of trouble will they be getting themselves into?

Give labor an inch and they’ll take a mile. Doesn’t seem like we have much choice but to agree to this.

Rapidly liberalizing! Exciting times for Soqotra!

I also appreciate the economic challenges; makes the game more interesting. :)

Let’s take a look at some population statistics.
First, religion in our empire. Thousands of years of strong Waaqi leaders means we’re pretty religiously homogenous for the most part.
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Culture is heavily Soqotran but with tons of other cultures scattered about.
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and on and on for awhile longer.

I’ve been hesitant to point out little Wales here, because every time I share these fun developments they are inevitably destroyed within a couple of years. But here is Wales. You might think they got a little lost, but they are most definitely all Welsh.


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Yet another civil war in Carthago Nova means

Let’s cause some trouble!

And lest you think we’re the baddies here. They want to conquer, we just want to liberate!
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What’s W03, you ask? Well, it’s what I assume is a super racist name for Carthago Nova’s colony on Sulawesi. Now, you may recall that we own the rest of Sulawesi, but I don’t really see how that’s relevant here.

As Carthago Nova’s armies are mostly tied up at home, the main theatre of our war in South America is going well.


Also the Sulawesi front
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The civil war suddenly resolves, but Carthago Nova hasn’t been able to shift enough troops to gain the advantage in South America. Add to that the revolt in South Peru and a native uprising in Australia that will keep them somewhat distracted too.

Unfortunately, now we also have a distraction. Borneo is in revolt
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While we weren’t able to free Brazil before things went poorly, we did manage to release the other nations


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And while none of our armies could manage a naval invasion of Borneo on their own, two coordinated naval invasions was able to succeed as the rebels only have one army.
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We are whole again
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Solid cultural and religious majorities! Also appreciate the Wars of Liberation in the Americas and Oceania. Keep it up! :slight_smile:

It’s been a few weeks, but we’re back to the 19th century.

We start with another race against the clock to enact Universal Suffrage before the Industrialists and Landowners start a revolt.

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And also a bit of a debt problem to deal with
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As always in Victoria 3, the bulk of the debt comes from construction. Not sure we have enough time to boost the industries that have the most expensive goods there(glass and steel), but we’re trying! Worst comes to worst we’ll drop our construction methods back down to a more primitive version.
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The revolution stalled out, so it was only a matter of time until:

Which really emboldens some people. We now have a brewing revolution demanding that the King step down.

To which we say, down with our shitty monarch! Death to the Timolid dynasty!
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Of course the reaction to that is swift and extreme
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In the end the conservatives win out and the house of Timolid stands strong against the democratic waves.

It appears civil war is all but inevitable
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And we are greatly advantaged by our strong network of vassals. Maybe empire is good?
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Then, we manage to push through an improvement of our Citizenship laws from National Supremacy(discriminated against unless exactly sharing our culture traits) to Cultural Exclusion(only discriminate against pops that share non our of culture traits).

Which apparently embolded nearly the entirety of our SE Asian holdings? Talk about making me regret improving their rights!

Thankfully, they were no match for us, despite needing naval invasions to retake the islands
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We suspect(or at least loudly publicly proclaim that we do) W03 is behind this agitation, so we demand that they become our protectorate


Which they foolishly refuse.
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War it is, and not one they have any hope of winning.


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With all of these revolts on the mind, we look to what we can do internally to improve the situation. Maybe bribing the people with goods will help? We encourage the formation of a couple of companies that will help with that.

Hey hey, we’re back! This is a turbulent time in Soqotra’s history. Exciting for some (me) though!

With things stabilized for now, we return to meddling in our neighborhood. Bahrain remains unstable and we offer to support the Nejdi uprising in return for demanding the rest of Bahrain become our protectorate once we crush them. Bahrain counters by offering their little chunk of Transjordan. We politely decline their laughable offer.

We won easily, but probably should have paid closer attention to the terms of the deal we agreed to with Nejd.
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Thankfully, the good people of Arabia clearly felt cheated by those terms as well. A Soqotran uprising against Nejd succeeds and hopes we will welcome them into our glorious nation with open arms.


Of course we will!

At the urging of our military we’ve also developed a new, erm, tool for dealing with some of our internal problems.

Another great success for the military, one of our admirals has led a successful expedition inland to find the source of the Nile!

I’m always happy when I happen to take around the globe and find something fun. The fractured situation in the new world seems to have allowed a successful native uprising in Wisconsin.

Close to home, the standard of living among our lower classes remains a concern. Hopefully listening to some of the more progressive voices in our nation and passing Wage Subsidies will help. It certainly hasn’t helped our budget deficit.
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We’ve also proceeded to tighten our grip on W03 by forcing them to adopt our color.
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And it’s time to assert our dominance of the Arabian peninsula. We’re kind, though, and offer to let Nejd become our protectorate. They foolishly refuse.


And of course we have great success.
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Woah, we have so many subject nations that I completely forgot that little old Tabiene up there was a Protectorate.
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Clearly it’s time to bring them closer to us so that we don’t forget them again!
They accept without a fuss and don our colors.
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And further considering our excessive number of vassals makes me think it’s time to simplify that situation a bit. Starting with Tierra Del Soqotra, we’re going to start annexing some of the smaller subjects. Sadly, what we thought was our loyal subject is going to attempt to resist with their single division.


And of course that was over quickly.
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Closing in 1900 here in the year 1896, some dangerous new movements have started to spread across the world. Seemingly not a month goes by when a new revolution like this begins somewhere.

But things finally seem a bit more settled in Socotra! We’ve been able to expand our economy massively and as a result have seen standard of living grow, which has enabled us to fund additional government expenditures. Our military is a bit more formidable and our government institutions larger. We’ve risen back to the #5 power in the world, although those Gaelic Great Britainers have turned into a real monster up there. Funny that even with a lot of factors against Europe in our world, they have still risen to the top. Although, you’ll notice that outside of Great Britain(and somewhat Carthago Nova) their Standard of Living of kind of sucks. Africa, India, and the new world all have significantly higher living standards than Europe.

I was about to ask where Soqotra was on the countries list. Good to see your standard of living is solid. Are there any seeds of future conflict you can perceive?

Unrelated to that: do you have a preference about your form of government, i.e. did you care if the monarchy survived or not?

That’s a pretty new development. We were struggling to get above 9.1 until a few years ago. Welfare reforms and an all around stronger economy seem to have done the trick.

Even with Victoria Tweaks the AI seems way too pacifist. It may finally be time to go after Ajuraan to secure our place on the Horn of Africa. Eventually I’d love to get revenge on Marathas as well, but we’re just not strong enough yet.

I figured liberalization and a move to a Presidential Democracy was the way. But after seeing how stubbornly people are sticking to the monarch I’m kind of realizing the throughline in this whole epic is the Timolid dynasty.

Yeah, that was a problem in Victoria 2 as well; I wonder what’s happening behind the scenes to make the AI unwarlike. My pet theory is that they can’t play the game well enough to be aggressive but that’s just my lazy assumption.

Carthago Nova is suffering from revolution #454, and we’re in a position to try to benefit from it once more.


They refuse our demands, as was likely. As a result we throw in war goals for the rest of their south African holdings.

Well, Italy throws quite the wrench in the works by backing Carthago Nova. But we have the biggest fish willing to throw in with us, and all we had to do was agree to let them demand Italy open their market.
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It’s a real mess down here, especially with the Brits nowhere in sight.

They seem to be up here doing a doomed naval invasion of Greece. Winston, is that you?

Thankfully the British fleet is out in full force
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And actually it looks like they’ve sent an expeditionary force too
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Then they arrive in force. Don’t think it matters that Carthago Nova has resolved things at home, the Brits are simply too overwhelming.

And very quickly the enemies’ front starts to collapse.

I’m regretting that we didn’t add that slice of Italian colony to our war goals. Oops! On the bright side, not only have the Brits helped us secure our objectives, but they’ve managed to strike at the heart of Carthago Nova itself. This will hopefully bring the war to a swift end.
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And indeed it did.

Check out the beauty of Soqotran South Africa! And oh hey, we did get part of the Italian colonies as part of it! Must have been because it was a shared state with one of the war goals we had against Carthago Nova

Excellent landgrab! Well done using the British cudgel against the enemy.

It’s kind of remarkable that the Wacky people have had an unbroken line of history from ancient times to the 20th century. If you have to throw over the monarchy for the sake of the nation-state, I hope the royal family can somehow live on as a tourist attraction.

It’s 1902 now and the conservative IGs are still firmly entrenched. I suspect the monarchy isn’t going anywhere.

I am loving this :)

So just to show how not progressive the politics of Soqotra are, here is the latest polling data for the upcoming election:

And it looks like Carthago Nova continues its decline, this time without our help(although that war a year back might have helped). Looks like the Carthago Novan Indonesia Company has gone independent.

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And this is fun. Our Eastern European HRE continued to fall apart with Kuyavia, the strongest of that bunch, beginning to splinter. Scandinavia is still a mess, with a Bjarmia and Julich alliance pushing to grab more. But what’s this!? Julich(plus Bjarmia) and Great Britain are at war! These are some actual fireworks for once.


Meanwhile, we’re frantically going to war to annex the Soqotran South Africa Company in a bid to save our save game. Wait, what? Well, I’m wrestling with a bugged decision they have to coalesce into a single South African entity that’s our puppet. The problem is, it takes all of our core territory in the process, leaving Soqotra a small state in SE Asia.

Meanwhile, extremist movements are coming to Soqotra. Of course, I’m not sure what that boost to a very weak Trade Union IG will actually do, not too worried.

Back up north, it looks like things are going well for Great Britain.

And down south we’ve cleaned this up a bit.

We’ve also got canal fever! Helps that it’s our puppet we’re building this thing in.

We’re so fancy, we’re building the Suez Canal and a skyscraper at the same time! Soqotra is so modern!
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Nejd was so impressed that they accepted annexation without putting up a fight!
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Tiny little rump Bahrain too. Bringing our puppet situation back to something sane.
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We’ll show the world our super modern progressive bona fides not just via our glorious construction projects, but by toying with the idea of letting women vote too. It’s a shockingly popular idea in our conservative political landscape.

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And with our standard of living increasing dramatically over the last decade or so, we’ve increasingly been seeing large migrations of people to Soqotra. Everyone wants to live here! Our population has recovered and then some from the dark days of the early 19th century.
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With that, we’ve risen to the #3 power. Julich fell pretty far after that crushing defeat to Great Britain despite seemingly not giving up any territory in the process.

The Standard of Living map gives a good feel for how people are doing in the world in the year 1910.