Playthrough - Manchukuo

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    • DAY NINE
      Part One

      Diplomats from Mongolia arrive. Their leader actually wants to join a coalition with us:

      Fig. 21 Now this is a turnup for the books.

      By 'happy to join in a few days' I mean 'you're not worth joining a coalition with until you've invaded someone else, like AI Xinjiang, but it would be undiplomatic of me to say so'. One might question the wisdom of telling a prospective ally that I'm a backstabber, but a) he saw my troop movements through Japanese and Russian territories, he can connect the dots and b) given that I had to initiate the Manchu-Mongolian War, I don't think I'm dealing with a particularly bright player.

      More importantly: China's rapid advances into Japan's remaining territory, which involved the loss of a city we were hoping to capture, led to declaring war almost immediately. This decision was paused only for long enough to gather information on exactly what they had where while we still had access to their maps.

      [I couldn't fit all eight screenshots into this post, so refer to Part Two if you're curious about the intel I picked up.]

      After doing this, the emperor declared war.

      Fig. 22 Precious last moments of peace.

      Fig. 23 Compare and contrast.

      Various armies in four undefended Japanese cities took them immediately, with the fifth delayed slightly thanks to having a grounded fighter squadron to dispose of.

      The emperor did considerately do Japan the courtesy of letting them know she was going to backstab them, albeit seconds before doing it (which I might add is exactly what Hitler did to Stalin at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, although with a larger time gap thanks to the absence of instant communication, so this particular diplomatic behaviour has historical basis).

      Fig. 24 I like Russian reversals.
      No, seriously; this is an awesome inversion of the actual historical events, and I couldn't resist pointing that out.
      Also, I genuinely was intending to pay him back, although what for I can't remember without rechecking my correspondence. Well no more.

      Now, how to best deal with these four shiny new cities we have? Industry or military production?

      Quite a few of them are sufficiently far away from Japan's armies that we can safely focus on industry instead, which the emperor's financial advisers observe we're going to desperately need now we're in a position to ramp up my army size. Unfortunately a lot of them are very badly developed - the Korean cities mostly contain infrastructure - so there's no existing buildings to make the decision-making processes easier.

      Sharamuren is in a parcel of provinces entirely devoid of enemy units (apart from a grounded bomber in Beijing, which barely counts) and cut off from the rest of Japan. More to the point it's an oil-bearing city, and we happen to be experiencing an oil shortage, so industry it is.

      Tsingtao is completely cut off from any of either our provinces or Japan's (the latter at least allows us to retreat through expansion without annoying another overpowered country) and is within bombardment range of a cruiser, so if we have any hope of holding it we can forget both industry and units, and ought to be building bunkers instead.

      Heijo is in a sufficiently busy location that unit production trumps industry. With that decision out of the way, the (in theory more challenging) question of which unit production facility to build is obvious:

      Fig. 25 Of course it's an ordnance foundry. What else did you expect me to build?

      Keijo somehow still has an intact ordnance foundry, so workers have already started work on a new artillery unit. Our soldiers also stole a (now damaged) airfield, reducing Japan's already-grounded fighter squadron to a convoy that we can easily bombard to death.

      Yingkow, which remains Manchukuo's only port city (although not for long), is vulnerable to a naval attack - which, really, is the only real damage Japan is likely to do us while all his good forces are on the main islands. Therefore it is on submarine-producing duty until further notice.

      Everything else is on Business As Usual, the exception being that we have two naval bombers brewing: one in Kiamusze and one in Hulunbuir. And, because of how last night's research shuffle turned out, I've gone straight on to level 2's and skipped the cruddy lowest level entirely.

      We send militia into Seishin and hope Japan doesn't think to bombard it.

      Research is begun for Level 2 cruisers and submarines; if we're going to go to war with a naval power, we're going to want a lot of both. Especially how the vast majority of their troops are in their core provinces, so they'll have to either send in reinforcement by sea or build paratroopers (and hell, if they try the latter, that's what interceptors are for).

      ...and NOW we're getting somewhere! After a week of scrapping over the same three provinces and dealing with interminable stacks, it's nice to have a whole series of 'Province Captured' front reports in my inbox. I'd be display-of-force morale-bombing Tokyo right now, except my level 2 rocket battery is still just out of range therefrom and I'll have to wait to research level 3 and either build some or promote existing units. (The latter may be more sensible, because a) those rockets aren't going anywhere anytime soon and b) it frees up a city.)

      Quoth the newspaper: "Casualties since the beginning of this war: JAPAN - 4,240 MANCHUKUO - 559". After the last war in which I sustained over 51,000 casualties (and inflicted almost as good as I got, I might add), it makes a nice change.

      Fig. 26 I should really be operating out of Yanbian, which has my rural airstrip right up against the border, and not Kiamusze. I got impatient though, and at least this cuts down on refuelling times.

      LATER: Well, sending a plane against a cruiser of the same level was a stupid idea. The last time I played I was landlocked, and the time before that I spent too much time running away from New South Wales and Papua New Guinea to actually build anything, so I forget which ships have which capabilities.

      Actually, look at that! Tokyo is just within range after all.

      Fig. 27 I really like those parabolas. They're somehow oddly satisfying.

      And this time it's a level 2, which is significantly better than a level 1, so it might actually do some damage.

      Woooo! 100% to 84% morale! The other one just finished upgrading, so Tokyo's just within range of it now. Let's fire that one off too.

      Fig. 28 The newspaper did a special report on it anyway, so I didn't even have to tell everyone I was morale bombing.
      That list of captured provinces is inordinately long.

      And the one being built in Hsinking is done, so we're sending that one over as well. Japan is not having a good day. (Since the last bombing they seem to have moved their grounded interceptor stack from Takasaki to Tokyo, which was a singularly stupid idea.)

      Germany's going to be very angry when they find out what I'm doing to their ally. If pointing out Japan's incompetence doesn't help, I'll offer to do a Xinjiang Audit* of Russia. (And that's going to be a time-consuming job, indeed, so it had better work.)

      Finally some excitement! Let's just see how badly all this comes back to bite me tomorrow, when Japan's player has time to react.

      *So named after an incident in which I, as Nationalist China, was allied and shared map with both the United Kingdom and Xinjiang, who were at war with each other at one point. The former was aware of this arrangement and asked me if I could provide information on the latter, so I obliged by giving a full audit of every unit (including under construction) and building in every part of Xinjiang. To this day this remains my favourite double-crossing tactic.
      Better yet is the Indochina Audit variation, so named after an incident where in a game as Mongolia I did the same to French Indochina and fed the information to Nationalist China, except I creatively lied about it by strategically moving and downgrading certain units to goad them into a war**. Except a) both were lazy players and b) I lied about it in the wrong way***, so it didn't work.
      **To get China's forces off his northern border so I could invade with impunity, but anyone following this thread could probably work that bit out.
      ***In hindsight, telling him that level two units were level ones and that they were a few provinces further south than they really were was a stupid idea and I don't know why I thought that would work. If I'd said they were level fours and practically on his border I might have gotten somewhere.
      Her Ladyship Aragosta
      A.K.A. "The Backstab Person"

      Pan-Asian is a better doctrine than Axis when played correctly and you cannot change my mind.

      You just lost The Game.

      Join the Madness here:
      CoW Forum Players! Unite!
    • DAY NINE
      Part Two

      I couldn't fit the screenshots I took of Japanese army locations into my first post, what with the ten-upload limit, so here they are for anyone who's curious.

      Some of these maps are truly beautiful.
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      Her Ladyship Aragosta
      A.K.A. "The Backstab Person"

      Pan-Asian is a better doctrine than Axis when played correctly and you cannot change my mind.

      You just lost The Game.

      Join the Madness here:
      CoW Forum Players! Unite!
    • They haven't so far, it's always just 'X of Manchukuo'. I use 'Manchukuan' because it makes more sense to me, but when I have an appreciable fraction of Japan under my control I'll be changing the name back to Manchuria (or 'Qing Empire' if I'm feeling pretentious). (In the forum and any custom newspaper articles, of course; while I understand why changing country names isn't possible, it's at times like this that I wish it was.)
      Her Ladyship Aragosta
      A.K.A. "The Backstab Person"

      Pan-Asian is a better doctrine than Axis when played correctly and you cannot change my mind.

      You just lost The Game.

      Join the Madness here:
      CoW Forum Players! Unite!
    • DAY TEN

      I don't regret a thing, except not doing this a lot sooner. We've actually run out of provinces we can overrun that we can access without going overseas, so it's a good thing we already have militia on its way to hide on Honshu.

      Fig. 29 It's for maps like this that I play. Although it's more satisfying when achieving said maps isn't a complete walkover. And yes, the thing you immediately noticed about this particular one will be explained soon.

      Better yet, worrying about Germany was a waste of time. Turns out he's nothing if not a pragmatist.

      Fig. 30 This chap knows which side his bread is buttered on.

      This does have the minor side effect, that showed up in the map, of Japan no longer being at war with me, as I got accepted before he got kicked. But that's easily fixed.

      Fig. 31 The newspaper made no mention of the unplanned declaration of peace. Those who actually read articles unrelated to their own countries are probably rather puzzled.

      Better yet, we have applications from both Mongolia and Canada. The latter has gone inactive, so Mongolia gets his wish, I suppose. This locks me into a 'plot against my own coalition' situation, but let's be honest: I was going to do that anyway.

      My main problem is that I'm going to have a fair few revolts on my hands come daychange, because I can't afford to build that many propaganda offices on top of my latest run of units and building upgrades. (Maybe I should have paused my rocket research for a few days and focused on industry instead.)

      Fig. 32 Shortly before the second declaration of war.

      Having run out of easy targets I can reach without bothering with convoys, we fixed our eyes on the glorious island of Honshu with its many cities, some of which our spies government know to be better developed than the Korean ones.
      We planted an intelligence spy in Tokyo. I wonder, what happens to them when their employers bomb the city they're meant to be spying on?

      Fig. 33 And there we go...

      Fortunately all rebellions were rural this time around; the only real consequence is that one of my tanks is now stranded in Chinese territory and can't get out without risking a second war I'm not equipped to deal with. (I've given China right of way, but they have not reciprocated.)
      On the bright side, I just jumped up from 50 victory points to 130, which combined with Germany's 290 puts us in second place.

      Also, guess who's gone inactive? This explains a lot.

      Fig. 34 Also, UK is was the only active player left in the BRICCS coalition. Curses. This is going to be too easy now.

      I love it when people are silly enough to leave their aircraft on the ground while being invaded:

      Fig. 35 This almost feels unsporting.

      All in all, the invasion of Japan's core provinces has been a sweeping success so far, and the emperor is kicking herself for not doing this straight away. The only difficulty is in avoiding the myriad ships lying around in Japan's ocean territories, for which preservation of our relations with the Soviets turned out to be a smart idea. There's only one ship up north as of yesterday, and a naval bomber operating from a Soviet airstrip is working towards rectifying that situation. Once level four submarines have been researched (not until Day Twelve, but it doesn't hurt to plan ahead) the naval counterattack will begin. And it's going to have to be level four, with every Japanese ship apparently being level three.

      Will we be able to hold our territories in Honshu? Will all our convoys make it across without being destroyed by battleships? You'll have to wait for Book XI...
      Her Ladyship Aragosta
      A.K.A. "The Backstab Person"

      Pan-Asian is a better doctrine than Axis when played correctly and you cannot change my mind.

      You just lost The Game.

      Join the Madness here:
      CoW Forum Players! Unite!

      Soviet Russia's player is back. They still seem to trust me, and long may that last, because having right of way through their territory and permission to land on their airstrips is very useful.

      Thanks to storming Tokyo (with a militia unit no less!) morale across the country was high enough that we experienced not a single revolt.

      And here we have it: the day I officially decide I'm capable of taking on two enemies at once, and declared war on China as well. This was foreshadowed in the forum a couple of times (although all of said foreshadowings were given after I initially wrote this post in real time), but only today did I decide to take the plunge and do it now. Japan is not in a position to interfere in our mainland possessions, my conquest of the islands will remain self-sufficient for as long as we hold cities out there (and there's no indication that we'll be losing them anytime soon, although they'll need bunkers thanks to the possibility of offshore bombardment), and the navy is doing its own thing. We're not going to get a better chance.

      Fig. 36 Take back what is rightfully ours! Long live the new Qing!

      Which now puts east Asian politics in a situation where all three major powers are fighting both of the others, although China appears not to have had much choice in the matter. (I'm proud to call myself a major power, what with being on the Dreaded list and having tripled my city count over two days. If you take out all the inactive players I'm in fourth place overall.)

      Once we have a decent buffer of captured rural provinces around it, and a bit more cash than we presently have, the emperor wishes to move the capital to Beijing. I would have preferred to move it to Mukden, as a nod to China's less recent history, but unfortunately the latter is a rural province. (Aforementioned nod to less modern history has nothing to do with the fact that China was an absolute monarchy during the entirety of that era rather than the constitutional one of 1911-12 and the warlord era between then and the rise of the Guomindang. I assure you.)

      In international news, Russia's finally getting their act together (somewhat) and has obtained right of way through Tannu Tuva, if not an outright shared map.

      Fig. 37 Three guesses what's going to have become of Tannu Tuva by tomorrow.

      I'd feel a lot more worried about my own backstabbing plans if they'd chosen to do this to just about anyone else in their sphere of influence, but the mere existence of scrappy AI nations this far into the game is a sign that everyone has been doing things terribly, terribly wrong. And when one of the top five most powerful on the whole map feels the need to focus their attention on one... hang on...
      They are also at war with Japan. So far this hasn't manifested in any captured provinces, which is all to the good. If they swipe any cities before I get to them I will be very put out. Mostly they seems to be purging the area of ships, saving me much time and effort without achieving any personal gain.
      They're also doing it on a few other fronts, namely Afghanistan, Germany, and Turkey, with hints of activity in Romania planned... alright, I take back my slanderous comments. All the same, by their own admission they're having resource supply problems, as does their only active ally. They're not going to win this.

      My level three subs came through, and have embarked to fight that stack off our north coast, but any other ships they can knock off on the way there are fine by me, too.

      I'm setting aside my love for artillery and mass-producing militia. 1) it's cheap, 2) it's quick and 3) the stealth properties are actually pretty darn useful. I've adopted a technique where a militia unit, after ploughing through and capturing as many cities as is reasonably possible given its hitpoints and the placement of Japanese units, hides up in a forested rural province. Just off the central node. If it's not fighting anyone it's invisible, and if it's not on the node it's all but impossible for ships to bombard them with the battleships that seem to be parked outside every other city. (Or artillery, in the case of my inland battles with China.)

      Let's just hope they can deal with the huge number of units China has in their territory.
      Her Ladyship Aragosta
      A.K.A. "The Backstab Person"

      Pan-Asian is a better doctrine than Axis when played correctly and you cannot change my mind.

      You just lost The Game.

      Join the Madness here:
      CoW Forum Players! Unite!

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Lady Aragosta: I realised it was unclear which capital I was talking about; anyone reading this thread in order could probably work out that it was Tokyo, but given the context of the post itself it could equally have been Moscow. ().