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Thread: Value of excommunication and alliances?

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    Member Member DensterNY's Avatar
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    Default Value of excommunication and alliances?

    I'm playing out my first full campaign (on HARD) so its mostly inexperience that leads me to this but something happened that makes me question the value of excommunication and alliances.

    As the English I eliminated the French faction with help from my German allies who got excommunicated because they attacked the French first. Everybody ended their alliances with the Germans except for me and I expected a long friendship between our peoples and I even married two daughters off to them.

    Only the Hungarians attacked the Germans so my allies moved their offensive forces to the East and I moved my forces to the South to conquer the Aragonese. I kept decent though modest defensive armies bordering the Germans... after a few turns I ended the Aragonese and then suddendly **WHAM** The Germans attack me... even though they were fighting for several provinces with the Hungarians.

    So it leaves me wondering... What threat is there of excommunication if other Catholics will only attack if it suits their interest? Also, outside of trade and an implied agreement that you're not likely to attack what value is there in alliances?

    - This whole thing got me thinking screw the pope and screw allies, as long as I have my nation well tuned to my warmongering and my vast armies keep me as the proverbial 800 pound gorilla then I ANSWER TO NO ONE... War will be my religion and my sword will be my friend.
    Last edited by DensterNY; 07-20-2005 at 16:00.
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    Flavius Claudius Julianus Member NodachiSam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    I find the only real disadvantage to being excommunicated is crusades, which can be annoying especially if you are not a central catholic power. If you are big enough then excommunication won't hurt you too much. I think alliances ~seem~ to be somewhat effective at preventing factions from attacking you.
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Alliances only matter if you want an awesome trade income, which only really matters if you got pretty poor lands that dont have a large farm income. If your doing total dom then just rush everyone its the quickest and easiest way to win the game. The AI are bastards i find it next to impossible to make alliances myself i have to wait for them to intiate the alliances otherwise they just say, go away we dont want a ceasefire even though youve taken all my provences except one besieged me in my last one, only have 100 men surronded by 5000+ enemy. Nah im good ill take my chances.

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    The Sword of Rome Member Marcellus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    You only really have to worry about excommunication and crusades if you are fairly small and have powerful catholic enemies.
    "Look Ive got my old pledge card a bit battered and crumpled we said wed provide more turches churches teachers and we have I can remember when people used to say the Japanese are better than us the Germans are better than us the French are better than us well its great to be able to say were better than them I think Mr Kennedy well we all congratulate on his baby and the Tories are you remembering what Im remembering boom and bust negative equity remember Mr Howard I mean are you thinking what Im thinking Im remembering its all a bit wonky isnt it?"

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    Minion of Zoltan Member Roark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    I really dig alliances. My Viking allies just sent 48 berserkers to aid my weakened Saxon army in their fight against the invading Mercians. Total butchery.

    I find that the HRE consistently stabs me in the back in Medieval campaigns. I don't trust them as far as I could throw them. Maybe it's their geographic position, and (therefore) their need to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, I guess...

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    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roark
    I find that the HRE consistently stabs me in the back in Medieval campaigns. I don't trust them as far as I could throw them. Maybe it's their geographic position, and (therefore) their need to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, I guess...

    I've noticed this as well. The Germans are probably the biggest backstabbers in the game--aside from the Sicilians, of course, who aren't to be trusted in any case. I also share your assessment that the Germans are faithless to their allies simply because they have to be opportunistic (at least more so than everone else) in order to expand. I've rarely seen them hesitate to take advantage of an underdefended province, be it my own or someone else's. Playing as the Germans is tough, if only because it's virtually impossible to *not* get excommunicated......
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    Master of useless knowledge Senior Member Kitten Shooting Champion, Eskiv Champion Ironside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Martok
    I've noticed this as well. The Germans are probably the biggest backstabbers in the game--aside from the Sicilians, of course, who aren't to be trusted in any case.
    Hmf, the Sicilians are my most loyal allies... After they been trapped on Malta without a large navy that is

    Declaring war on an ally gives 1 loss in influence. A failed invasion, causing a civil war is the best revenge on that treacherous ally.
    We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

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    Member Member Babij's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Ah, I get it now. The higher influence your king has, the greater chance of forming alliances you have. But if you break an alliance, your king loses influence, which means less factions will ally with you in the future. Is that right?
    Hmm.. I wish I had known this before I wiped out my allies, the Egyptians.
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    Master of useless knowledge Senior Member Kitten Shooting Champion, Eskiv Champion Ironside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Babij
    Ah, I get it now. The higher influence your king has, the greater chance of forming alliances you have. But if you break an alliance, your king loses influence, which means less factions will ally with you in the future. Is that right?
    Hmm.. I wish I had known this before I wiped out my allies, the Egyptians.
    Possibly. It's get complicated by the "everyone hate the big guy" phenomena and that they won't ally you if you're at war with one of thier allies.
    Last edited by Ironside; 07-22-2005 at 09:13.
    We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

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    Hobbilars' whisperer... Member Advo-san's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Quote Originally Posted by DensterNY
    - This whole thing got me thinking screw the pope and screw allies, as long as I have my nation well tuned to my warmongering and my vast armies keep me as the proverbial 800 pound gorilla then I ANSWER TO NO ONE... War will be my religion and my sword will be my friend.
    Hold your horses lad... IMHO this is how alliances work in MTW:

    If you r small and unable to threat anyone (less than 6 provinces), they all love you and u won't ever have any trouble. Even if you r attacked, it is possible that an allied army will rush in to your help!!!

    If you take over a homeland from someone, he will NEVER stop fighting you. He may ceasefire for a while, but he will backstab you in notime..

    If you become a fairly strong nation (7-13 provinces) don't trust your neighbours, even if they offer you their daughters; they r only dusting your eyes... Para bello with them.

    If you r the greatest nation of them all, don't expect people to ally with you, especially if you share a common borderline. Even if they ally, they will probably break the alliance. They fear you and want you dead. Para bello with them all.

    Don't accept undisputedly all the offers of alliances; u 'll be unable to ally with your ally's enemy, even if it is really usefull for both of you. Learn to "read" the alliances-at war panel, and make sure if you r a cathy to keep on the Pope's good side..
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Yep i would agree the staying alligned with the pope if your catholic is the best bet in the game, this means having common enemies and friends that way the pope is less likely to threaten you with excommunication.

    Having said that most of my games normally en up with roughly 2 sides of factions and the popes side is not always the strongest especially in early when the byzantines tend to rule and nearly alwasys overun italy.

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    The hair proves it... Senior Member EatYerGreens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Quote Originally Posted by manboobs
    The AI are bastards i find it next to impossible to make alliances myself i have to wait for them to intiate the alliances otherwise they just say, go away we dont want a ceasefire even though youve taken all my provences except one besieged me in my last one, only have 100 men surronded by 5000+ enemy. Nah im good ill take my chances.
    Err, I don't think it's possible to negotiate a ceasefire whilst besieging the other faction in its last province...

    Now, if you were to pull your beseigers completely out of the province, let them retake it for themselves and drop emissary on their leader on the following turn, you just might get it to work. Technically, any provinces in dispute (ongoing sieges) means hostilities are still in progress and you can't request a ceasefire under those conditions.

    As per Papal warnings you have to conclude sieges by winning an assault or by totally withdrawing from the province, within the stipulated time limit.

    Then again, the comment, in one of the posts above, about 'if you've taken one of their homelands' inclines me to believe that they still won't play ball.

    As I see it, the reasons you want the ceasefire at all are:-
    a) you've eliminated them as a threat but do not want to completely finish them off since subsequent under-garrisoning will virtually assure a re-emergence - one which is likely to succeed if troop moves back to there will take you more than a few turns;
    b) you want your beseiging army to go elsewhere and clobber someone else round about now, and cannot also afford to leave money-eating garrisons behind to quell border troubles with your new 'protectorate'.

    They know all that. Now do you see why they won't take it lying down?

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    The hair proves it... Senior Member EatYerGreens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Quote Originally Posted by DensterNY
    So it leaves me wondering... What threat is there of excommunication if other Catholics will only attack if it suits their interest? Also, outside of trade and an implied agreement that you're not likely to attack what value is there in alliances?

    If you are excommunicated, it means you are considered as 'fair game' to the other Catholic factions. They stand to make exploitative gains from taking valuable provinces off you and won't incur the penalty of the Pope's wrath as a consequence, hence you become as bad, in their eyes, as the Muslim factions. In the meantime, they can make additional gains from Crusading, whilst you cannot.

    Just consider yourself lucky that they don't launch crusades at you, too. Atually, does anyone know if this can smetimes happen, while you're excommed?


    What value is there in alliances? I wrote a post in the STW forum, a long while ago, about the various motivations for alliances. If I can find it again, I'll try and stick a link to it in this thread.

    In brief, it ranged from: big guy wants no trouble from little guy whilst he's busy someplace else clobbering his biggest threat, to little guy not wanting any trouble from the big guy to play for time while he beavers away on teching up to the uber-weapons that he plans to use to clobber ALL the big guys with...


    Lastly, I can't help thinking how many of the game features people comment upon as being almost unnecessary to win the domination game but, as far as I can gather, become near-essential in the GA campaigns (eg fancy buildings which add prestige, maybe give bonuses but don't actually produce troops). I'm wondering if the alliance concept is just another one of those?

    By implication, if you're ultimately planning to dominate the entire map, the last thing you need is alliances which you will have to break, treacherously, in the long run. You said as much in your closing para.

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    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens
    Just consider yourself lucky that they don't launch crusades at you, too. Atually, does anyone know if this can smetimes happen, while you're excommed?

    Oh yeah, you'd better believe they do! While it's happened to me numerous times, one of the best examples that sticks out in my mind is a French campaign I was playing just a few weeks ago. After several years of bloody fighting (for which I was ex-commed before 1100), I'd finally finished taking England's three Continental provinces (Normandy, Anjou, and Aquitaine), and was working on consolidating my gains.

    I'd barely begun my rebuilding efforts, however, when suddenly I received a message saying the Germans had launched a Crusade against Flanders! As it was far and away my richest province at the time, I had made sure to station a halfway decent-sized garrison there (around 500 men), so I wasn't too worried at the time. Imagine then, the unpleasant shock I received a few turns later when the Germans showed up with an army of nearly 2000 troops.

    So yes, Crusades can (and are) launched against you if you're excomunnicated......
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    Master of useless knowledge Senior Member Kitten Shooting Champion, Eskiv Champion Ironside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Just consider yourself lucky that they don't launch crusades at you, too. Atually, does anyone know if this can smetimes happen, while you're excommed?
    It happens. Weirdest relocation was when the HRE took the British isles with a crusade (and lost thier homelands), but the British still thrived in Russia.

    Don't remember if I've gotten a crusade against myself as a catholic, but I often "cheat" with the warnings and rarely get excommunicated.
    We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

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    The hair proves it... Senior Member EatYerGreens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    @ Martok & Ironside,

    thanks for the warning, chaps.

    Just wish I'd spotted those typos and edited them before you both quoted them...

    As much as I blather on about this game, much of what I say is based on the experience with Shogun which is still applicable. I think I campaigned each and every faction in that to total victory but obsession-switching meant that took a few years to achieve, not to mention 'give-up and restart' syndrome.

    For various reasons, not least hard drive failures, I've started MTW campaigns several times but I think only one of those got as far as transitioning from Early to High (English) before it got stuck in a repeating crash (Spanish went weird and grabbed Friesland from rebels, by sea, then go mad trying to match my Flanders garrison, which I increase to keep it safe, until they've shipped a big chunk of their homeland army, 5 or 6 stacks plus their king into before attacking a ship to cripple my very healthy trade income, then invading Flanders. I re-fight and win the battle - over an hour each time - then before the save-point, there are about 8 Spanish ships I sink in revenge attacks before the CTD recurs) so my MTW first-hand experience is somewhat limited and I'm happy to learn whatever I can glean from here.

    Speaking of restarting.... My Byz-Expert campaign has just had all its gamesaves bundled into a zip folder for a future time when I think I'm good enough to handle the situation it got into. The HRE broke with its tradition of crusading to Khazar (this time the Khazars have taken several territories and are the most developed I've ever seen a rebel group get to, even building ports and improving land, so are not as soft a target as usual) and decided to crusade me in Constantinople, instead. Cheers, fellas. The Catholic/Orthodox schizm makes me more of an anathema than the Muslims I was half expecting you to help me out with? Okayyyy, I geddit. That or the 'we are the true heirs to the Roman Empire' thing is the HRE's main beef with the Byz, I reckon.

    Anyway, 2000 of them have just creamed me in Bulgaria, thanks to a mysterious cheat, whereby the Hungarians they were supposed to be at war with let their crusade pass through Hungary, without the Hungarians losing possession of the land, picking up several units of Szekelys and jobaggys on the way and then attack via the only border crossing which doesn't generate a river battle, which my garrison was specifically tailored to cope with... I don't think they even needed to roll on their reinforcements. My Kat prince was evidently not up to jedi standards and got killed thanks to me thinking they're uber units and can look after themselves, so I was attending to action elsewhere. Possibly one of the Szeleky's he was sent to attack shot him - so much for the armour plating then.

    Meanwhile, the Eggies take the opportunity to seize Edessa that year and I was stupid and frustrated enough to autocalc it. I killed a few hundred more than they did but they used maybe 3 stacks so won it. Even after the reduction in troop numbers from two big lots of casualties, the lost income means I'm left scraping a living (two-digit profits), a 40% farms development attempt would take a full half of the puny treasury pot (I think six factions were at war with me by 1138) and the HRE has 1000+ crusaders ready to march on the capital. A further 1000-odd florins per turn of negative cashflow, when that falls, gives me maybe two turns before I have to disband almost all my remaining army, or fling them into last-ditch combat to wontonly slaughter them off. I think loyalty of my ex-royal generals was down to two shields or less before this particular year, so CW is also on the cards.

    Outside of this crusade, the HRE have umpteen stacks in their numerous territories, yet the game still has the temerity to lie to me about having the largest military force, even after these battles were over. All in the wrong place (eastern front), if true. Reports of highest annual income when I was near-broke were galling enough but this took the biscuit.

    So I think I over-reached myself on Expert and have restarted back on Normal again, making this my third go at the Byz but first as Byz in the VI style. I think I prefer building stuff and money-making to all that battling... so my prospects of winning aren't great but I don't care, I'll enjoy just seeing how well I can do, through the ages.

    I do tend towards under-confidence and thus over-garrisoning, leaving my treasury permanently the wrong side of 5000 florins, so I rarely got to crusade as the English. I've read dire warnings here about not letting these fail though this has happened to me at least once, without any obvious ill effects, maybe since the king had high influence rating anyway.

    Other than Byz and English, the only other faction I've attempted was Almos. That was doing rather well until it too developed a recurrent fault on the campaign map and I wiped all the saves, partly out of frustration but mostly so I could get VI installed at long last and start all over again...

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    Member Member DensterNY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Actually reading another ongoing thread indirectly answered my question and that is... Civil War.

    Getting excommunicated not only puts a neat bullseye sign on your chest but it also reduces your influence substantially as most Catholic nations cancel their alliances with you. Your reduced influence and prestige may lead some generals or upstart Princes to have thoughts of ruling themselves. Suddenly my thousand men stacks of armies that have been expanding and defending the empire don't seem so assuring.

    Damn, I love this game so many different dynamics involved... It not only requires you to understand the Art of War but also Machiavellan principles of political intrigue. Since I cannot just attack my neighbors with impunity I am going to have to resort to encouraging revolts, bribery and tempting them to attack my rich, underdefended provinces so that they'll get ex-commed and I can attack or launch a crusade against them...
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    Sports Freak Member dgfred's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Nice post Denster , the prestige and influence part is a big problem.
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    Minion of Zoltan Member Roark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    @ Advosan: That's a pretty sound summary, but I've seen some phenomenal examples of exceptions to the rule.

    As the English, for example, I had an early stoush with the French (basically just taking Flanders). Afterwards, we had a brief ceasfire period before becoming allies. They were almost sycophantic to me throughout the whole Early period, and remained my staunchest allies, even after we both became powerful forces in the world at large. Even the pop-up messages became more "friendly"... It was weird.

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    Member Member Babij's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roark
    Even the pop-up messages became more "friendly"... It was weird.
    Yep, that happens depending on various conditions. You can check the text in the game folder.
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    Minion of Zoltan Member Roark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Yeah...

    "We remain your staunchest allies, even though you've been undergarrisoning your provinces on our common borders, egging us into conflicts, and killing our agents and princesses at the dinner table. Can we have a kiss and a cuddle now?"

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    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roark
    Yeah...

    "We remain your staunchest allies, even though you've been undergarrisoning your provinces on our common borders, egging us into conflicts, and killing our agents and princesses at the dinner table. Can we have a kiss and a cuddle now?"

    Gee Roark, *that* didn't sound bitter at all.....
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    Experimental Archaeologist Member Russ Mitchell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Excommunication is great if used correctly, because it tends to commite the AI of the Cath factions to serious border fights. Which means that if you play a "calculated attrition" game, and are sensitive to which provinces have real strategic value *cough*Silesia*cough*, you can often tempt the opponent to invade, only to have to monkeystomp them with six stacks they didn't think would be available. If you've read your map correctly, you should be able to consolidate and completely pillage some other territory in order to deny reserves to his invasion force (on normal, this is a very reliable way of snapping up his heirs) -- thus setting up the next domino in the chain.
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    Sports Freak Member dgfred's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Mitchell
    Excommunication is great if used correctly, because it tends to commite the AI of the Cath factions to serious border fights. Which means that if you play a "calculated attrition" game, and are sensitive to which provinces have real strategic value *cough*Silesia*cough*, you can often tempt the opponent to invade, only to have to monkeystomp them with six stacks they didn't think would be available. If you've read your map correctly, you should be able to consolidate and completely pillage some other territory in order to deny reserves to his invasion force (on normal, this is a very reliable way of snapping up his heirs) -- thus setting up the next domino in the chain.
    Very nice strategy here
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    Member Member DensterNY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Damn, I love this game so many little gems to offer... Well, I discovered another reason aside from influence and loyalty to avoid excommunication and to keep alliances... and that is Crusades.

    I'm mid to late into my English campaign and all of the remaining empires are pretty well developed... and everyone has stacks of defensive armies on their borders so no one wants to start a new war so everyone is stalemated and developing their land and I guess growing armies. The Byzantine Empire dominates the entire eastern side of the map and though I have other nations acting as buffer zones between us I realize I will have to deal with them sooner or later.

    So I send forth Bishops and Inquisitors to the Polish and Hungarian lands to jack up zeal for some years... then call forth a Crusade and send it through their lands picking up nearly 2000 of their best troops and march it to the closest Egyptian land which requires my Crusade to go through some Byzantine provinces. They refuse passage and I smash them with my Crusader army which then wins my target Province.

    So I accomplished the following things... 1) I got to engage my largest potential enemy without having any border lands to them. 2) I got to strip my neighbors of many valuable troops. 3) I now have a 1500+ army on my enemies front step.... and that's just the first Crusade
    Last edited by DensterNY; 07-28-2005 at 15:43.
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  26. #26

    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Can it be the AI gets re-communicated automatically, without their king or the pope dying? So far the pope is one long-lived bastard (Ive never had news saying he died, after about a hundred years ingame) and the French were excommunicated. So, merrily, I went for their land, but all of a sudden the pope, the old spoilsport, told me to withdraw or else...
    A nice thing I found out, however, was if I capture a province within these two years, it counts as mine and Im not asked to give it back or something. So, you can wage short wars, but you better makesure youre finished after the two years warning.

  27. #27
    Sports Freak Member dgfred's Avatar
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    Default Re: Value of excommunication and alliances?

    Quote Originally Posted by DensterNY
    Damn, I love this game so many little gems to offer... Well, I discovered another reason aside from influence and loyalty to avoid excommunication and to keep alliances... and that is Crusades.

    I'm mid to late into my English campaign and all of the remaining empires are pretty well developed... and everyone has stacks of defensive armies on their borders so no one wants to start a new war so everyone is stalemated and developing their land and I guess growing armies. The Byzantine Empire dominates the entire eastern side of the map and though I have other nations acting as buffer zones between us I realize I will have to deal with them sooner or later.

    So I send forth Bishops and Inquisitors to the Polish and Hungarian lands to jack up zeal for some years... then call forth a Crusade and send it through their lands picking up nearly 2000 of their best troops and march it to the closest Egyptian land which requires my Crusade to go through some Byzantine provinces. They refuse passage and I smash them with my Crusader army which then wins my target Province.

    So I accomplished the following things... 1) I got to engage my largest potential enemy without having any border lands to them. 2) I got to strip my neighbors of many valuable troops. 3) I now have a 1500+ army on my enemies front step.... and that's just the first Crusade
    Nice playing Denster . The only problem I can see would have been
    if your Crusade army had been weakened vs the Byzantines, then you may not have been able to conquer the target Province. This has happened to me
    before when the Egyptians kept pulling troops out of their tail and I didn't have total control of the seas... I wasn't able to transport troops to the
    danger area --- but then again you were probably prepared for
    that already .
    PB-PL Commander/CC2 Commander/MTW Commander

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