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Rule The Waves playthrough: Byzantium 1

Posted by picard578 on September 7, 2019

So I decided to play Byzantine Empire – the original mod this time, after playing around with my own up until now.

And I am almost immediately at war with Italy. I have no clue what happened – maybe just the God of War hit the God of Diplomacy over the head again. Anyway, there is a war, and the first battle. Overall the forces seem to be similar, maybe Italians have slight advantage, but that may or may not matter. The most influential commander on the field this early in the game is the dreaded Admiral Orders Misunderstood – ships of both sides run across the battlefield like headless chicken, and merely a minute into the combat all semblance of order is lost. Battleship Bosphorus decides it has had enough of a madness and prompty sinks, how and why I do not know.

Some semblance of order is recovered soon after in both fleets, only for Admiral Misunderstood to act again and send my destroyer division running full sprint towards Italian battle line. They soon recover, and in the meantime battleship Strategos at the head of my battle line is in close contact with an Italia-class battleship. Which somehow ends up south of my battle line, while rest of the Italian navy is to the north of it. My Battle Division 4 takes a brief trip south on the command of Admiral Misunderstood, and soon does Destroyer Division 5, while DD7 is busy getting itself smashed against Italian battle line.

Night falls, and that is it for the battle, except for Italia-class battleship which is still being chased by Strategos. Italia catches fire but it is soon extinguished, while rest of my battleships go off chasing after Misunderstood-knows-what. Soon the entire Italian fleet appears from the North from dark, while my battleships decide to head South. Strategos slugs it off against two Italian battleships before I call it back eastwards – better not to tango with destroyers in the night. And that is that for the battle, though Strategos has problems with flooding so I reduce its speed to 4 knots.

Second battle is cruiser action with two cruisers, and task to sink two ships. And AI being a cheating bastard it is, my two armoured cruisers run across two Italian counterparts which significantly outrange them. I decide to bravely run away, but my luck holds – soon I come across the second TR, which, having sunk one already, fulfills my battle requirement. Overall battle is my victory, though minor.

Third battle puts two of my light cruisers against two Italian armoured cruisers. In a convoy defense scenario. So I opt to run away North, and luckily cruisers chase. Until one of my destroyers decides to act stupid and runs South, past Italian armoured cruisers and straight back towards the convoy I am supposed to protect. Luckily Italian cruisers apparently have a dose of stupid as well, and cannot decide which part of fleet to chase – so they chase neither. Time runs out, and it is my (marginal) victory.

Army takes my resources to go on the offensive, and Italian Navy refuses three battles in a row, giving me 185 or so VP’s for free. In third battle, it is two of my armoured cruisers against two Italian ones. Two Italian cruisers run away – straight to Italian battle fleet of two armoured cruisers, two light cruisers, and a battleship. Time for me to bravely run away, but with cruisers only able to haul at 20 knots, that is a tall order. At any rate, Italian fleet can also sail at 20 knots tops, but soon my ships have to clean grates while Italian ships start getting engine breakdowns. I go for Corinth, allowing Italian fleet to catch up a bit as my ships change course from S to ENE, but not enough to get into firing range. Good decision too as stokers are getting exhausted, but soon night falls and I get away by fortune of Italian ships losing sight. Apparently I caused 199 damage to enemy ships, yet Italy gets marginal victory because I didn’t sink merchants.

Next battle is at night, and cheating AI places my entire battleline at night, smack against enemy fleet of destroyers. I somehow survive that, and at morning my CA locates enemy fleet. Which it is smack in the middle of. I turn battlefleet south, and B Constans rams Italian destroyer. Destroyer sinks, and Constans is down to 4 knots. Apparently ramming attacks are order of the day, and my DD rams enemy CL. Which sinks. Constans locates enemy fleet again – it got speed back up – and possibly the world’s slowest chase commences as two geriatric battlefleets pound each other into retirement home. Italian fleet slips away again, but I nab a couple of destroyers which apparently are damaged enough to not be able to get away from an antique battleship. And since it is night, I sink them by placing said battleship literally prow-to-stern to each of destroyers and then waiting half an hour for gunners of small-calibre guns to nail them. I think the battle is over, when two Italia-class battleship stumble across the rear of my fleet. These two get away, when a repeat performance is done by a group of three. Of those, I manage to herd one away. Constans gets hit into engine room, but manages to keep up with the battleship. Italia-class nearly runs away a few times, and eventually manages to do so – probably thanks to that engine room hit, which makes Constans wobble every now and then. On the way back north, I stumble across a few groups of Italian ships, and sink a destroyer. Overall, I lost a CL and a DD in exchange for a B, a CL and 9 DD. 51505 VP versus 13103 for Italy. Despite Italy having a battleship more. With 3 000 VP gained, now I am in lead against Italy.

Next battle consists entirely of my CA’s failling to catch and sink Italian CL before latter gets rescued by Italian CA’s. Then Italy gains 1000 Vps due to Army failure, and now I lead by only 800 VP.

Next battle, I have 5 battleships. Task: sink 2 TR’s. Nice to know we are being ambitious here. Of course, it is night again, and I stumble across half of the Italian battle fleet. Strategos gets hit by a torpedo almost immediately, of course. Battle degenerates into melee, Italia-class catches fire almost immediately, Admiral Orders Misunderstood intervenes on Italian behalf – again – although Constantinople manages to keep up with Italia-class battleship – which intermittently catches and puts out a fire – until dawn. Second Italia-class intervenes, and this time Constantinople catches fire. Italians retreat while Constantinople sinks. Italians come back as soon as they realize they are not being chased, but by that time Augustus, which had also gotten crippled, is repaired and limping away. And then sinks.

Italy is now in lead, and France is also pissed at me, I don’t know why. In the end, I capitulate to avoid going to war against Italy and France both. This calms things down a bit, but I do take a risk of occupying Albania. Naturally, France is again pissed, but luckily no war. Then I reject occupying Angola, to avoid pissing off France further, but also because I am genuinely not interested in anything outside Mediterranean basin at this point. I also help Russia root out some rebels. France takes over Sumatra, but I don’t care about that.

Italy sells me Main Battery Wing Turrets tech, and I can suddenly build dreadnoughts. France, bloody hypocrites, also take over Panama. I suck up to Strategos – who doesn’t like me because I do not follow his insane foreign policy recommendations (blowing up a French battleship? Really?) – by offering to man a yacht. I do develop a BB, finally, and immediately build two.

And I’m sacked. Apparently, not insane enough. Time for round two.

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