Sunday, September 26, 2004

1323 - My Move

The two broad considerations governing my move this season are 1) the threat posed by Byzantium, and 2) my need for new provinces and increased cash.

I am invading Trebizond with a small force, and leaving Angora for the Byzantine if he chooses to take it (being unable to muster sufficient force in time to take it myself should he choose to conquor it - he can't stop me taking Trebizond). I am retreating my army out of Tarsus, with the seige engine and some cavalry staying in Armenia to either be a amphibious force against Jerusalem next year or a part of the force which will retake Tarsus if the Byzantine takes it while it is unoccupied. I am also moving three of my four infantry units into Armenia for the possible reconquest of Tarsus or amphibious operations as the situation dictates. I am marching a cavalry force into Antioch to conquor it, this will be able to either attack Jerusalem or Tarsus next year also. My fleet is sailing out of the port in Tarsus, so it doesn't get captured if Tarsus is invaded, and into the Eastern Mediteranean where it provides some cover against amphibious invasion as well as provide us this alternative next year.

I am recruiting a large cavalry force in Edessa, for use to either liberate and protect my own territory or to invade Jerusalem. In Tarsus, I have ordered for a ship building program and the recruitment of skirmishers and some heavy Saracen troops. If Tarsus is not taken, this will provide me with increased capacity for the protection of my own lands and the conquest of either Asia Minor or Mamluke territories in following years.

Ideally, 1324 will see me with an expanded provincial income, with a two pronged assault on Jerusalem iminent. At worst, I will have lost Tarsus and another home territory, and will have to decide about priorities between regaining lost territories and expanding South.

1323 - International Situation

There are only limited conclusions I can deduce from viewing the map. It will take a while to develop human intelligence to give substance to my observations.

For what it's worth, Byzantine apppears the largest nation in my region. To its North, Hungary appears about to conflict with Bavaria although, with an army composed mainly of Light Cavalry, I don't give much for his chances. The Teutonic Order has spread right along the Baltic Coast to Novgorod, who appears about to exit the game as he is also under attack by the Horde (who have taken Muscovy). Lithuania appears small, but has good internal lines of communication.

Saxony suffers an invasion by Bavaria to the South, and Bremen is occupied by the English. I haven't really looked at Scandinavia, although Denmark is spreading North. England, besides Bremen, has landed also at Brittany. France has conquored most of her nearby neighboring provinces, from Alsace to be threatening Gascony. Arles is quiet, Lombardy unoccupied, and Venice has taken provinces from Rome to the Ragussa. The Sicilian seems to be madly building castles.

To the West, Aragon presses Aquitane from the South, Castile has yet to reach Lagos, Morocco slowly spreads West across North Africa, the Hafsids are inactive around Tunis and the Mamlukes haven't launched out of Egypt yet.

That about sums up the world I am in, with France, Byzantium and the Teutonic Order appearing to be the big powers at present.

Situation 1323

In 1323 the Caliphate of Edessa (as Roum is known) is in a perilous state. Allthough it has not lost any of its original provinces of Edessa, Ankara, Iconium, Tarsus or Armenia, neither has it gained any of the vital neighboring independent provinces of Angora, Nicea or Antioch. Although a large treasury of 127 gold exists to spend, the relatively small standing army is composed mainly of horsed archers. What infantry units there are are scattered, and the Saracen Guard are away from the main front. There are only two major population centres available for recruitment (Edessa and Tarsus) and of these, Tarsus is under immediate threat. There is a small fleet at port at Tarsus, our only harbour.

Jurusalem and Antioch remain independent, with a large Mamluke army building in Egypt. The black sea remains empty of all but a small fleet of the Golden Horde, with whom our only alliance exists at present (a relic which we maintain from the previous ruler).

The main threat lies to the West, Byzantium. Although the emporer has expanded in the West, and appears to be in low level conflict with Hungarian forces in the Northern Balkans, his strongest army remains in the citadel at his capital, along with a fleet larger than the Caliphate's. The strongest field army of the Emporer is in Asia minor, where there is a strong siege army in Miletus (bordering Tarsus) and significant cavalry forces in Smyrna and Nicea which threaten our central provinces and Angora. There has been no response from the emporer to our missives.

Thus, we have one ally nearby, a couple of independents within reach, one of which is a population centre (Jerusalem). We face strong Byzantine armies threatening our homelands, and a Mamluke who might might still turn upon our Southern Flank. We have a scattered army ill equiped for defenesive warfare, and population resources (Edessa) insufficient to build a significant army if we are attacked by Byzantium (and Tarsus falls).

An interesting situation to take over!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The game commences

This blog is to track the history of the nation of Roum in a game of Medieval Diplomacy, or Medieval Warlords as it is sometimes known. I will put up the link to the site where one can join the game when I get around to it. Briefly, one downloads a program called the "Diploware", and uses this each weekly turn to process the results of a turn update which one downloads from the web, and to post back your updated turn for the following period. Turns are weekly, and represent a year in game time. Players are free to wheel and deal by email, and use their judgement of the character of others upon which to base their turns which they then enter in the diploware. Each game starts with 23 players, each controlling a realm in medieval europe/middle east/north africa. It is great fun, ruthless, and very interesting.

In the game to which this blog will be dedicated, I entered as the nation of Roum, which is roughly where modern Turkey is. I have taken over the realm on the fourth turn, presumably because my predecessor bowed out of the game. Thus, I am starting a bit behind the starting blocks.

The purpose of this blog is to record some of the highs and lows of a medieval ruler as he battles to achieve glory. Win or lose, I hope it is interesting. I expect the blog will be updated weekly as each turn is processed. I would love comments to indicate someone has read the blog. Cheers.