Empire: Total War Diary – Part 2, Rise of the Pirates

By: Tom Senior

Published: January 7, 2010 Posted in: Toms Total War

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Welcome to the second installment of the Empire: Total War campaign diary. If you need to get up to speed then the first part can be found right here. If I had to sum up briefly I’d say that things weren’t going entirely to plan. If I’m going to take back the initiative I’ll need more money and a bit of luck, but luck, it seems, is not on my side.

Daniel Defoe, gentleman scholar of Cambridge University, is a Capering Loon. If eccentrism is a line carefully trodden between sanity and madness then Daniel Defoe has just gone and backflipped, naked and giggling, off that line, straight into the murky waters of insanity. He is a few loaves and a bottle of expensive bordeaux short of a picnic. The man has completely lost his marbles. Fantastic. Y’know I’d be cool with it, if only I wasn’t relying on him to research ALL OF MY MILITARY TECHNOLOGY. It looks like Isaac Newton is going to have to do everything by himself.g

As if to prove that he’s the man for the job, Newton finishes up his latest bit of research. That’s Empiricism done and dusted, then. This means I can upgrade my Schools to Colleges giving me faster research and, hopefully, more Gentlemen to replace Daniel ‘Conifers are my Favourite Food’ Defoe, who I can only imagine is spending his days roaming around Cambridge university throwing muffins at people.

Never mind, there’s a bit of good news from my coastal towns. My Indiamen are built just in time to link up with the small fleet of warships I’ve had gathering in the English Channel. I fire them off to the trade theatres. In about five or six turns they’ll hopefully be able to set up a few trade stations on the coast of Africa, giving me some ivory trade to help support the cost of keeping my global fleets afloat. Meanwhile, in International News France and Spain have declared war on Portugal. There is absolutely no way I can handle a war on my doorstep in Europe, especially not for the sake of poor lonely Portugal, whose one slice territory was always going to be gobbled up by someone eventually.

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Setting up shop in Trade Theatres is an essential part of keeping your Empire rich and happy.


Poland-Lithuania get in touch. If you remember from part one of the diary, I’m technically at war with them, but it’s the kind of war where our units never ever meet so nobody gets killed. It’s less of a war, more of an International hissy fit. Take this offer they’ve just brought to me as an example: They’d like to end this senseless war -ok I’m on board with that- but they’d also like all of Ireland, if you please. No. I don’t think I’m going to give you Ireland. Actually, scratch that. Here’s a counter offer: You can have Ireland if I can have all of your other territory. They refuse and slink away, insulted.

I turn my gaze to America. Rupert’s Land hasn’t magically unoccupied itself, it just sits there with it’s massive resources, tempting me with it’s furry riches (fired – Innuendo Ed). I scroll over the region, looking for alternate angles of attack. My only choice is still to come in by sea and go straight for Moose Factory. But – hang on a second – my Missionary! He hasn’t been killed and eaten at all, he’s still there in the Huron-Wyandot capital, presumably preaching for his life. I order him to Moose Factory. There he can act as a spy. Priests aren’t great secret agents, but they can give you some basic information on the size and make up of an occupying force. That information will be invaluable when the time comes to take Moose Factory back.

I receive some news. Portugal has wiped off the map. It took one turn. Jesus.

To prove that Portugal is just the beginning, the Franco-Spanish Alliance invades the Thirteen Colonies in America. If I leap in to defend them here they’ll happily crush my forces Jamaica and take their sugar resources, and then I’d expect an armada to come sailing down the English Channel a few turns later. I still can’t have that. To make matters worse Pirates suddenly begin to appear, swarming across my trade routes near Spain and blockading my Port in Jamaica. I dispatch a large group of my high tech Fourth of the Line ships to the Mediterranean to police the waters there. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, I’m backing off all over the globe, trying to preserve my territory and work up the resources to be ready for a proper war in Europe. The time for that will come, but not yet. I satisfy myself with the knowledge that one day I’ll have the opportunity to avenge my lost allies.

There’s more bad news. People are starving in the Bahamas. I can’t build more farms, there just isn’t enough room on that tiny sliver of territory. There’s a town, a sugar plantation and a port. That’s all. I lower taxes for the lower classes to basically nothing. That should stave off outright rebellion for a while at least.

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This is how you deal with Pirates. The green arrow means death.

Then, disaster. Remember John Churchill’s army? The one destined to reclaim Moose Factory and bring Rupert’s Land back into the fold? The army stationed in a single tiny, rickety Sloop because at the time there was nothing else for them to sail in? Well, that sloop just got rocked by a fleet of Pirates. It’s a small fleet of three ships but there’s no way I’ll be able to fend them off in combat. If the Sloop sinks John Churchill’s army dies. I do the only thing I can, I press flee and hope for the best. The Sloop takes off in a random direction across the ocean, sailing for it’s very life. They are just close enough to the Bahamas and they manage to slip into port and throw down anchor. I breathe a huge sigh of relief and leave the room. I tell myself it’s to put the kettle on for another brew, but quite frankly it’s because my nerves are shot. Everything is still okay. John Churchill lives and the largest and most expensive army in the whole British Empire has avoided a horrible death by drowning. When I get back I take my superfleet in the Mediterranean and order them to set sail for the US to help with the Pirate infestation. With no fleet policing the Mediterranean Pirates immediately step in to interrupt all trade routes south of Spain. With all my fleets occupied I’m just going to have to accept that I’ll lose some money in Europe while I’m trying to reassert myself in America.

Meanwhile, there’s some housekeeping to be done. I’m still building my economy, investing in more Indiamen to secure more trade routes on the Ivory coast. I research Physiocracy to allow me to upgrade my farms again. Then I research a few levels of bayonet technology, letting me build Drill schools, bringing me one step closer to the devastating Rank Fire tactic that’ll give me a real advantage on the battlefield. Finally, I dismantle the religious institution in Oxford and build a School there instead. Religion is something of an insidious force inme Total War, converting the populace of an enemy nation encourages unrest in their cities, but it’s a process that can take decades. Knowledge is my game. Extra technology is useful in of itself, but can also make good bargaining chips in trade negotiations, so I raze Oxford and restore it as the centre of learning we’d be more familiar with today.

I clear the blockade in Jamaica and have John Churchill’s forces rendezvous with the additional units of Colonial Linemen I’ve had training for the last ten turns. The massive fleet I reassigned from the Mediterrean sails majestically into American waters, casually sinks two small Pirate fleets and finally reaches Jamaica. John Churchill’s escort has arrived. It’s finally time for Churchill and his good men to make set sail one last time. It occurs to me all of a sudden that, win or lose, these men will never see Britain again. They’ll give the rest of their lives to defending the cold climes of Rupert’s Land or they’ll die trying to take it. It’s a poignant moment. I give them the order to set sail. In seven turns time there will be a quite a battle.

Oh, and Poland-Lithuania get back in touch. They still want Ireland, the basts.

Tom Senior