Friday, July 19, 2024

Socotra: Part 02: 1455-1466: Socotran Profits

I had some trouble with rebels, and the math really didn't work out. My ideas include +1 Infantry Fire, so my infantry should be stupid good early game, but it wasn't really that good against rebels.

I did some testing, and I discovered that the game works in really dumb way now:

  • rebels have my bonus!
  • every mercenary group has province of origin, and if that province is outside my territory, they do not get my bonus (free company and a few others are "local" and always use your tech)

But none of my mercenaries have provinces of origin in my territory, so I'm getting total crap. This bonus spectacularly backfires, and instead of me having supersoldiers, my rebels have supersoldiers. This is really really dumb, and I'm just learning this. And it especially doesn't work that great with being Ibadi at no religious unity, and going ham on rebels. Oh well.

So I guess I need to either slow down my expansion until I recover some manpower, or alternatively conquer some mercenary provinces of origin. Fortunately at least one of them was in Madagascar, so when I finished conquering it, that's one mercenary group that will have the right bonus.

Ethiopia, who is definitely one of my top targets, volunteered to be my ally, so I promised them some land, and started a big war to really dominate the Gulf of Aden, and destroy any of Kilwa's allies, so I can fight Kilwa in peace. I didn't even have to break my promise, as Ethiopia chickened out halfway through the way, and gave my enemies some of their provinces.

As a result I mostly cleaned up East Africa, and took some of Arabian coast, but Mamluks got most of Arabia by now. Oh well.

I'm still at least 100dev away from being a great power, but I'm already second richest behind Ming. Before even one gold mine, gold mines are stupid good with this bonus. Of custom nation bonuses so far, flat goods produced is insanely good as expected, even if flat infantry fire was a bit underwhelming due to rebel and merc issue. The rest will wait for me to get some idea group, right now I'm spending so many points coring I can't even get tech 5.

I also have enough dev to become a kingdom, but I don't have enough prestige, as I keep giving my heirs swimming lessons. Hopefully I'll roll a better one next time.

Also fun fact, it looks like I completely disabled deving for institutions. So that's going to be a big problem. Cyprus is a decade away from getting Renaissance, and it will only very slowly spread further.

It's a very nice color, we should spread it further. Once I get Kilwan trade centers and gold mines, I might be richer than Ming. At some point I'll look East, but for now there's a lot of quality 1/1/1 clay in East Africa to grab.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Socotra: Part 01: 1444-1455: East African Power

It's been very long time since I played any map games.

So here's a fun mod pack:

  • all the usual Fun and Balance, updated to EU4 1.37.2
  • subjects use overlord colors (there are some minor coloring glitches with 3-level relationships)
  • institution spread nerfs from before
  • subjects no longer cost any diplo slots - there are 4 diplo slots for external relations. Paradox keeps adding no-diplo-slots subjects in basically every DLC nowadays, which just shows how diplo slots for subjects were a mistake in the first place, so let's just go for it. You'll no longer get any bonus diplo slots for Strong Duchies.
  • as I'm tired of Ottomans blobbing every single game (and of the no-CB Byz opening), I reversed results of battle of Varna one day before game start, and released all Ottoman Balkans to East Rome, Bulgaria, and Albania. Ottomans keep their cores, and they have all the stupid bonuses Paradox gave them, so they might still dominate. I'm not going to interact much with that part of the map early game, so this change is just for fun.

I don't really know if current Fun and Balance really balances anything anyore, as Paradox ran wild with power creep recently, and I'm not playing often enough to keep up with that.

So anyway, recently I've been thinking about how OP custom nations became lately, so I'm playing a custom nation this time, Ibadi Mahri Socotra (Socotra is actually Coptic in vanilla, but that doesn't work for the build I want). But the only way to get mission trees is to form one of the nations. In this part of the world, I think my options with good OP mission trees are Mamluks, Persia, Mughals, or maybe Byzantium or Italy.

I took 400 points to pack my nation full of overpowered ideas. It's totally possible to do extremely overpowered for just 200 points, but I sort of want to try multiple different overpowered things.

The set is:

  • Tradition: +1 Infantry Fire
  • Tradition: +2 Goods Produced
  • 1st: +30% Reform Progress Growth
  • 2nd: +1 Colonist
  • 3rd: +1% Yearly Army Professionalism
  • 4th: +30 Vassalization Acceptance
  • 5th: -25% Warscore Cost vs Other Religions
  • 6th: +10% Administrative Efficiency
  • 7th: -20% Minimum Autonomy in Territories
  • Ambition: -25% Province Warscore Cost

So by the time I finish my third idea group I'll have:

  • overpowered economy (full cheese, Ibadi throws +10% goods produced on top)
  • overpowered early game army (just one of two possible Infantry bonuses)
  • basically free exploration ideas with +1 colonist (estates now give)
  • -50% warscore cost (which I'll stack even higher)
  • free 100% professionalism
  • everybody lining up to be my vassal
  • overpowered trade companies
  • and +10% admin efficiency on top of that
  • +30% Reform Progress Growth is nothing special, I just rarely get to these late reforms, so I wanted to give it a try

To do proper modifier stacking, I'll need Diplomatic (for warscore cost), Espionage (for vassalization acceptance), and Expansion (for minimum autonomy in territories). Administrative is always a good ideas, as I got no coring cost or gov cap bonuses. Religious would be great as I'm playing Ibadi, and free CB sounds great, but I might get away without Religious thanks to monuments, we'll see.

For my starting provinces, I took 6 small islands for total of 25dev:

  • Socotra
  • Qamari next to Madagascar
  • Maldives
  • Nias, Belitung, and Christmas Island in Indonesia

Mainly to have CBs everywhere from Madagascar to Java, not really for sake of land as such. The only thing that's Fun and Balance specific here is provinces scattered so much, in vanilla max distance is a lot lower, so I'd probably need to put my capital in Maldives for this kind of build.

With 2/2/2 ruler, 0/0/0 heir, Iqta government, and 0/0/0 spouse. Iqta government disallows spouses, but custom nations are a bit broken, so if you use load ideas function, you can get 4 more points with 0/0/0 spouse who's going to disappear right away, first giving you 4 more points to spend. This fits exactly in 400 point limit.

I get to choose my Islamic school, so I took one for -10% aggressive expansion.

Campaign goal is some kind of Indian Ocean Mare Nostrum, probably with Suez Canal and grabbing Italy for convenient trade end node.

Anyway, time to get started. And the first goal is to get as much clay as I can. 1/1/1 provinces are just amazing, as I'm getting basically 10 free dev per province from my ideas. 30dev of such crappy lands is like 130dev to me, and Arabian peninsula is full of it.

Standard opening, seize land, gran mana privileges, hire all advisors, disinherit 0/0/0 heir, the usual stuff.

Then I went on conquering Madagascar and East African coast. A lot of top tier 1/1/1 land at low coring cost and low AE. Even with extra strong infantry, I ran out of manpower real fast, but I have plenty of money for mercs, even going over force limit on mercs is no big deal. I need to be careful with my ships, as I don't have any naval bonuses, and my navy is mostly transports, fortunately AI is too dumb to do anything about it.

I increased Socotra's size from 25dev (plus virtual 60dev) to 141dev, plus equivalent of virtual 300dev from my ideas. I have a lot of rebellions, and coring to do, and other issues to deal with right now, but once I'm done, I'll likely have great power level income. Before even reaching any of the 6 nearby gold mines, which would also gain free 10dev equivalent each. If I get gold mines of Kilwa, Ethiopia, and Indonesia, I'll probably have world's second highest income after Ming.

I have no good way to get Renaissance, as all my land is terribly for deving, but we can wait a bit with this.

A handful of 6 tiny islands. Nice thing about custom start is that I can choose my color.

Just some very aggressive opportunistic expansion into crappy land. Arabia is even crappier (which is great ROI), but there were a few too many alliances, and Mamluks now took a good chunk, so maybe later.

So I made Ottomans lose all their Balkan lands to see what would happen. The game barely started, and they completely reverted my Varna change. Poland even rejected Lithuania PU, so their main opponent is not there.
Well, it's potentially convenient for me, as Mamluks have been aggressively expanding into Arabia, and I wouldn't mind someone cutting them down to size.
And the map looks so much better when subjects (of France, Hungary, Poland, Mamluks, Timurids etc.) are colored with overlord's colors. That's the main reason I came back to EU4.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Oda: Part 07: 1551-1569: Unification of China

Unify China CB gives free cores, so it's pretty obvious what I was going to do. It's still limited by truce timers, and my allies Dai Viet and Korea were both doing their best to be a nuissance. I tend to be too sentimental about AI allies and almost never backstab them, even when they really deserve it. At least in old patches it made sense, nowadays AI actively tries to undermine you by guaranteeing your targets and such.

Eventually I got tired of Dai Viet, as they not only grabbed some Chinese provinces themselves, they also made 3 Chinese minors their tributaries, and that was definitely too much.

I passed the first reform just one year in, as I had mission for +25 mandate, so I didn't spend even one day at negative mandate, but before I could even think of passing second I got two flood events for -10 mandate in a row. I only passed the second reform in 1567.

Ming was doing its best strat of losing so many wars simultaneously that none of them could get decent warscore, so it would survive longer.

And finally in 1569 I pretty much united China. There's still 8 provinces protected by truce timers, but it hardly matters.

Turning China into a bunch of trade companies not only saved gov cap, it also got me to over 400/gold income, 40% into setting up Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. If I continued, I'd probably get economic hegemony by 1600 or so. I'd probably need to conquer Korea and Brunei for it, as they are major leaks in my trade networks. And Ayutthaya and Pegu for their monuments. Other than that there's no particular direction I need to go.

East Asian trade network is just terrible for everyone. Japan can't go to Malaya without basically conquering China. Chinese trade splits in two and both directions leak. Malaya used to be easy to plug into Zanzibar, but they changed it too, as it goes into Cape, so you might want to conquer India or African coast for what used to be easier.

There's still a small complication that Portugal and Spain both showed up in Malaya and Australia, and I still don't have the Printing Press, but I have 4x the income Spain does, so I'd be able to crush them if I wanted to.

Anyway, I think this is a good conclusion of the campaign.

For some tips:

  • as Japanese minor there are early two limitations - mana for coring and AE. Doing some show strength for mana and better AE management could have helped
  • if you want to unify it's much better to break alliances and get rid of all other daimyo in the last war rather than be a shogun and wait 10 years before you can start integrating them
  • if you play without dev pushing (I don't plan to release that), just no-CB someone in Middle East and vassalize them. If you play with dev pushing, obviously dev push early.
  • if you're strong enough for it, it's better to take the mandate early rather than wait for Mingsplosion
  • once you have the mandate cleaning up China costs almost no mana and they are all easy wars, so it might be a good time to open second front elsewhere. Ayutthaya for monuments is the most obvious direction

Time for some after thoughts about Asia in 1.35 and the mod setup.

Institution setup I was testing (very slow spread, no dev pushing) really takes over the focus of the game when playing outside Europe. I tried to deal with it in the least cheesy way - try to meet Europeans early, and use knowledge sharing. This suffers from lack of player agency - AI can offer knowledge sharing, but there's no way to request knowledge sharing, so it's basically AI decision RNG, even though for the AI it's pure upside so it should always take it. In vanilla it doesn't matter, as you're far more likely to just dev push anyway, but without dev pushing, poor design of knowledge sharing system is a real problem.

I wanted to give this no-cheese method a try, and it's sort of viable, but realistically early no-CB on some Arabian minor, then either taking over Egypt when Mamluks are busy with the Ottomans, or allying Mamluks or Ottomans, is likely a far better way, and doesn't require any colonists.

And unfortunately all this institution lag didn't quick achieve quite what I hoped. In EU4 there's no way to change tech speed, it all goes through the mana system. Making tech more expensive is the same as applying mana penalty. So nobody in East Asia was even meaningfully behind Europe on mil tech. And since Ming wasn't expanding, it wasn't behind Europe on any tech, even paying 100% penalty for missing two institutions.

I think it's still possible to force slow tech spread with mods with a lot more complex scripting. Some sort of calculate target tech level based on year, tech group, and institution, and just ban going over it by a trigged modifier with +1000% tech cost.

Japan plays pretty much like it did before. There's some new missions, which use the new very complicated mission system, where you need to alt tab to wiki to read mission requirements and rewards. Many missions are: do A, B, or C. But reward varies based on which of these paths you choose, and some of this information is buried in tooltips, some isn't anywhere, and overall it's an overcomplicated mess. I was quite annoyed when I misread the mission which was supposed to give me Echigo gold mine, but the gold mine didn't appear. It was a quick reload, press some buttons in different order, and the gold mine appeared.

I guess if you play the same country over and over you get more choices, but did I ever play any country more than once or twice, other than 1066 Matilda of Tuscany?

Confucian got buffed significantly. It started by being the worst Old World religion in the game, now it's like C tier with the Buddhists.

There are some complicated monument religion rules. Originally religion-locked monuments required specific religion. Now some require specific religion, but some also allow some combination of Tengri-syncretized, Confucian-harmonized, or Buddha-personal-deity, or Fetishist-with-cult etc. Different monuments support different combinations of these extra religions.

For examples none of the monuments in Malaya support Confucian-harmonized, but they support Tengri-syncretized, and I was confused by the tooltips and went out of my way to get these monuments in unbroken state. But the ones in South-East Asia and India mostly support Confucian-harmonized. Why? Probably a different person was responsible for each region.

Arguably if Confucian could get monuments from every religion that would make it quite good, but it's definitely not there.

New China mechanics are pretty decent. There's still the problem that by the time Ming explodes and you conquer China and pass a few reforms it's like 1600 and you're economic hegemon, and what are you even trying to do at this point? If you don't want to wait for Mingsplosion, as Oirats, Korea, Dai Viet, Ayutthaya, or such, then it could be really rewarding to take over China early, but I spent early game unifying Japan, and had to chase institutions.

China more or less unified, just tiny bit of clean-up left to do as Wu was over 100% warscore, parts of Dali were occupied in a different war, and Kara Del and Kham hold some fairly worthless land that's technically China.

Dai-Viet fell into two by event. I don't remember seeing it before. Other than that it's pretty standard map - Korea never moved one province, India turned into a few big blobs, big Transoxiana, South-East Asia fairly close to how it started.

Nothing interesting in religion/culture maps, as I didn't really convert. I harmonized Shinto for free, then Hindu, and I'm almost done harmonizing Pagan. Thanks to monument spam and other bonuses it's actually a lot more viable than old Confucian used to be.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Oda: Part 06: 1534-1551: New Empire of China

My tech was us 8/9/11 to Ming's 11/12/11. Especially the naval gap is awkward, as I need free seas to haul my armies around.

I went with really weird idea group setup, Expansion, Humanist, Plutocratic. Fun thing is that Confucian countries get basically a Holy War CB for finishing either Humanist or Religious. Confucian used to be awful, but I guess they wated to buff i up a bit.

Ming finally pressed the reform buton in 1538, and their disaster started to slowly tick up, but I had no patience for that. 21 mandate Ming already fighting some minor war against Oirats and Orochoni was good enough for me.

In the first war Ming was still very much able to defend itself, so I beat them up just a bit, took Beijing, Canton, and two other forts.

In 1544 Yue and Wu separated from Ming, and this time not even as marches like before, but already independent. Is this a new thing in this patch? Then Shen became independent, and it almost screw up my plans, as I lost any border with Ming inside China. I still had a small Ming border is Manchuria - Orochoni rebels almost seceded messing up the campaign, but Ming cleaned them up with its last surviving troops.

I had some truce with Ming so I used the time to clean up Malaya. Dai Viet dragged me into a war against Yue and Wu.

And finally truce timer expired and I was able to take the mandate and all provinces with monuments.

Now I'm the new China, and I haven't really checked what the patch did to China mechanics, so who knows what's going to happen.

End of the first Ming war. I took 2/3 Chinese capitals and gave them some time to fall apart. Ming was still quite strong and 100%ing them would have been a lot of effort.

Two big wars, one with Ming, and one with Yue/Wu Dai Viet dragged me into

China after Ming gave up the mandate. Now I just need to take over China, and also Ayutthaya for their gov cap monument.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Oda: Part 05: 1512-1534: Westernization

I got into my first war against Ming, the plan was to attack Jianzhou, bring Ming in, and Korea on my side, then assault their capital and white peace them as soon as possible.

This went wrong right away. Ming managed to reach Jianzhou's capital before I finish the siege. On the other hand somehow Dai Viet decided that it's willing to join the war.

80k dead Chinese, 11k dead Jianzhou, 34k dead Japanese, 28k dead Koreans, 8k dead Vietnamese later, as well as 37 sunk ships on my ally's side, and 10 sunk ships on Ming's, I got the white peace, and broke Ming's two most important tributary relations.

And then Korea accepted becoming Ming's tributary again just after the war. WTF AI. At least Dai Viet didn't, so it wasn't a total failure. And Korea-Ming trust dropped from 100 to 60, so maybe next time it will work?

Age of Reformation started, and Ming triggered their Golden Age. Well let's see how golden it really is.

Portugal reached the Cape before me. Maybe I could ally them and get Renaissance this way? Mamluks got Renaissance as well, so that's another country I could ally. I gave Portugal far too much money to secure the alliance, but it's unfortunately up to AI if they offer knowledge sharing or not.

Once I allied Portugal I gave up on further expansion into Africa.

It finally paid off in 1524 when Portugal decided to knowledge share, for a small cost of 13 gold/month, which was a nice increase of their 33 gold/month income. But then I had 4 gold mines to pay for it - two in the Malaya, and two spawned in Japan.

Knowledge sharing only spreads to capital state, and that was less than 10% of my total autonomy-adjusted dev, so I basically had to dev push my capital state. Or I'd need to wait another decade for it to spread to next few states.

Finally in 1529 I embraced Renaissance, and Portuguese Colonialism started to spread in my capital as well. Now that plan Africa is dead, I'm setting up a colonial nation is East Australia, while my tribal trade league is in North Australia, so they shouldn't fight each other.

With that problem solved, I thought I'd fight Ming, but I wanted their crisis to trigger first. The way it works is that they need 80+ mandate, then they press reform button, lose 70 mandate, and the disaster starts ticking. Unfortunately Ming had really poorly timed earthquake event costing them 20 mandate from 70 to 50 or so, delaying the whole disaster for quite a while. Then Ming went just over 80, but got some -5 event. Come on Ming, I know you want to trigger the crisis.

So I went back to Malaya to clean up most of the remaining Sunnis.

I embraced Colonialism in 1534, also from Portugal. I'll probably need to do the same with the Printing Press. And yet I'm 6 techs behind Ming who has zero institutions somehow.

Right now I'm mostly waiting for Ming to trigger the crisis. If they keep delaying I'll setup some Colonial Nation in Canada, or maybe revisit that idea of conquering Madagascar and Egypt.

Aceh and Majapahit are my vassals officially. Brunei and Sulu as well, they just don't know it
The rest of the countries will get cleaned up once truce timers finish.

Spread of Renaissance is even slower than in my AI only test games, mostly due to Cyprus-Mamluk disagreements slowing spread into Egypt by decades.
In retrospect I think no-CBing some Arabs as soon as I had Japan unified, then rushing Egypt would have been far faster than what I did.

Colonialism is very slowly following Renaissance. I paid Portugal some ridiculous pile of gold to get both ahead of the queue. I hope Portugal gets the Printing Press quickly too.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Oda: Part 04: 1498-1512: Confucian Japan

Paradox keeps nerfing Exploration ideas and buffing Expansion. Exploration used to have 2 colonists and the only way to explore the map. Expansion was just 1 colonist and some trade stuff instead. Then they moved the 2nd colonist from Exploration to Expansion, added buying maps, stealing maps, and now as long as you have any colonists you can buy explorer from your merchant estate. That interaction has a bunch of restrictions, and 3rd colonist is nice, but unless you go full colonial rush like Portugal, I think the meta is to take Expansion only and just not bother with Exploration at all.

This is a bit of a problem as now I want two paper idea groups in a row - Expansion to get to Europe, and Admin for more gov cap. Meanwhile I'm quite good with bird mana, and literally overflowing with sword mana even after paying 50% extra for each tech due to not having Renaissance.

Well, it got even worse. I accepted event chain to flip me Confucian. It's not a good religion (used to be literally the worst in game), but it has some new mechanics, so why not. And Confucian apparently really wants Humanist for extra harmony and harmonization speed, so I took that second instead of admin. Expansion into Humanism, what a weird combo.

And even worse, now I want Expansion, Humanist, Admin as my first three idea groups. This is going to hurt.

I got Shinto harmonized for free from event (otherwise switching would be ridiculously painful), and the first one I picked for harmonization was Hindu. There's some bonuses to harmonization speed, so it will take about 25 years per religion.

Somehow, and it really doesn't make much sense, I was able to setup a trade league with Australian OPM tribes. The whole Australian trade was wort like 1 gold, but at least I'm doing something new here.

I kept expanding in Hindu parts of Malaya, so Sunnis (and one Theravada country) won't care. It's going really slowly as I'm trying to minimize both mana and AE cost, and it's not really a priority. There's a lot of money there, but I'm already nearly as rich as Ming at 98 income, with two gold mines about to get captured as soon as truce timers expire, and Farm Estate manufactory spam will soon start paying off.

My route towards institution reached the Maldives. But now there's a problem. There's no uncolonized islands near Arabia, so I can either get legit CBs on Kilwa (or even worse Madagascar or India) and very slowly get from there to Egypt. Or just no-CB someone. But if I wanted to no-CB, I could have done this 50 years ago and saved so much mana. I don't even need any coring range, there's exception for vassals on same continent, so an Arabian vassal in Asia would let me core there (no-CB wouldn't quite work in Africa).

I might go the Kilwa / Madagascar route. There could still be some opportunity to reach Arabia from there with enemy alliance networks, and there's a few gold mines there.

I finally managed to convince Korea to join my wars, so I took some land from Orochoni, while Koreans ate the attrition to fight Orochoni ally Oirats. It's not about the land at all - it's about border with Ming I'll need to challenge them soon. I think I'd have decent chances against just Ming, unfortunately my armies and fleets are split between Manchuria, Malaya, and soon maybe Africa.

I can't call Korea or Dai-Viet into a war against Ming, as they're Ming tributaries. However I can call them into a war against another Ming tributary, to break that relation. At least for Korea there are some good options, less so for Dai Viet, but I'll try to figure one out.

Ottomans got Renaissance. The Mamluks are almost ready to get some loans and press embrace button, except AI doesn't actually try to speed embrace institutions like a human would. Somehow the Golden Horde got it before the Mamluks, so it's now very slowly spreading into Persia.

Majapahit, Bali, and Deli are my vassals, and Brunei technically isn't, but I use them as one

It took me a while to get border with Ming, but I plan to only challenge them once they start falling apart, so there's no rush. Manchu lands are annoying as I can't make a trade company there as it's same "subcontinent", and I can't convert them as Confucian penalties for conversion are huge, so I'll be tanking -7% religious unity from just that small area.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Oda: Part 03: 1477-1498: Island Hopping

I went Eastern Plutocracy, as Elective Monarchy is only worth it for countries that can have PUs, and the other two choices are boring. We'll get some new alternatives later thanks to our mission tree, and even more if we conquer China.

In a normal Japan game, at this point your goals are dev pushing for institution, maybe preparing to spawn Colonialism, and destroying Ming for fun But there's no dev pushing here, no spawning institutions outside Europe, and waiting for them would take forever. I need to reach Europe somehow.

There are quite a few possible ways:

  • meet Europeans in the New World
  • conquer my way through steppes to Eastern Europe
  • conquer my way through Malaya to the Middle East
  • conquer my way through Malaya and Africa to Western Europe

OK, maybe that last one is a stretch. But going for Malaya makes perfect sense, and eventually it will be great for trade.

I allied Korea, and I thought I'd use them for some casual Manchuria conquest, but it turns out they took inward perfection, and it would cost them 1 stab to accept call to arms, so they have -50 reasons to accept. At least I found the world's worst ally, even worse than England. And in any case, I can't make trade companies there, so it would cost far too much gov cap right now, and I'm really low on mana.

I wanted to do colonization towards Malaya, but natural colonization with being friendly to the natives is unbelievably slow, so I started politely asking the natives to relocate somewhere else, and taking some land for extended coring range.

As most of my conquests are Animist and Hindu, nobody really cares - Sunnis in West Malaya hate them anyway, and Hindus in India are too far to be bothered.

Renaissance reached Cyprus, and that's where it stopped. Normally Cyprus-Mamluks relations are friendly, so it should quickly spread from Cyprus to Egypt, but Mamluks allied Cypriote rival Karaman, so Cyprus doesn't like them, and that completely stopped spread of institutions over sea tiles. At least until Ottomans beat Karaman so hard they stopped being a valid rival for Cyprus. Current projection is that it will reach first Mamluks' province in 1506, decades later than it should.

I hoped it start spreading to East Africa by now, and also that colonization would get me to at least the Maldives by now. Oh well, I'm not that far behind yet.

Ottomans have enough Renaissance present that they could just press the button, but they won't take the loans for it. Poland and Denmark both with Renaissance and beating up Muscovy, so there's a small chance it might spread this way as well.

Right now my plan is to keep island hopping to East Africa, setup a CN in Australia (for free Colonialism, but only after I get Renaissance), and keep pushing in the Malaya. There's definitely a major conflict between reaching Europe for institutions, and getting border with Ming before it collapses.

Japan has 4 monuments, but they're all very weak. I started upgrading one of them to level 1, it just gives +0.5 prestige, another gives +0.3 legitimacy, another +50% prestige from battles, and the last basically nothing until tier 3. These are very weak bonuses, but the point is collecting all monuments, and it will add up.

South part, I got Brunei and Dai Viet as allies, Ayutthaya and Ming as rivals, Sulu into tiny my trade league, and Bali as vassal (so I don't destroy their monument by conquest). I'll want Majapahit as vassal for monument as well.
Short term I just need colonial range to reach Egypt. Long term I want 2 gold mines, all South-East Asian monuments, Malacca node's great trade, and land route to China.

North part, I got Kamchatka for extended range, but Manchuria plan got cancelled as Korea wouldn't help me, and I discovered it's part of the same subcontinent as Japan, so no trade companies allowed