PDA

Ver Versão Completa : Vic Nobody expects the Spanish expedition! -- A Spain 1861 HOD Beta AAR



nigo
05/04/2013, 14:09
When I found out that I'd been accepted to be a beta tester for Heart of Darkness, I was obviously ecstatic; I am even more ecstatic that they've allowed me to write a beta AAR for this wonderful expansion!

For those who haven't read my AARs, I'm Avindian. I've written a number of Vicky 2 AARs (both vanilla and AHD), including two tutorials. This AAR will be a little different, in that it will focus mostly on the new mechanics from HOD. I may do a full tutorial AAR some time after the game is released. (To those reading my current AARs, production of those will continue as well!)

Overall, this AAR will be much shorter than ones I've done in the past, and I'll skim over a lot of what happens. I'm going to be focusing oncolonization, the new naval mechanics, and to a lesser extent diplomacy. Another tester is going to be doing an AAR on the ground combat, and of course there is also Svip's superb beta as well. (Three AARs for one beta... I wonder if that's a record?)

Let's get to it!


This is Spain in 1861. Part of the reason I chose the 1861 scenario is so I can finish more quickly, but there's also been a lot of work done behind the scenes on it as well, from rebalancing literacy to moving provinces around. For our purposes, though, we'll focus on two parts of this screen.

http://imageshack.us/a/img541/8452/initialsetup.jpg

The first area -- at the top right, circled in black -- is the new naval supply system. Your total supply is based on the size of your naval bases, the number of naval bases, and your technology. Each ship, depending on type, takes up a certain amount of supply. We'll see a more direct example a bit later on. The second area of interest -- under the total score -- is the colonial point system. Every part of your country which is not a full-fledged state is a colony, just as it was in AHD and vanilla. But now, if you have a colony, you must pay maintenance in the form of colonial points. Colonial points are also how you get new colonies; your total colonial points are based partly on your technology and the size of your fleet. We will see more of this as well.

Here is the first place we can colonize -- it's got Tropical Wood, a fairly rare RGO, so it's worth looking into.

http://imageshack.us/a/img339/1258/colonizingwindow.jpg

The large button with the + sign is what begins colonization. You spend a certain amount of your colonial points (let's call them CPs for short) to start the first stage of the process, which is sending an expedition -- if you do that unopposed, you can create a protectorate, which we'll talk about later. For now, I won't click on the button, so we can look at some other things. An important one is the new naval mapmode.

http://imageshack.us/a/img46/7200/philipinenavalmode.jpg

Naval bases have changed a lot since AHD. First, you only get one per state -- if you look closely, under where my 18,000 troops are, you'll see the dark green slashes that indicate a naval base is there. Farther south, where everything is light green slashes, you can tell I have no bases there. I will correct that as soon as I build up some cash. Why bother? Well, you can only build ships at naval bases now, and you can only build capital ships in regions on your home continent. That means no Filipino dreadnoughts, I'm afraid! You also need to upgrade your bases as you go; not only do you get more naval supply, but you can also build more advanced ships there. We'll get into that more as my technology improves.

Speaking of naval supply:

http://imageshack.us/a/img248/8501/supplytooltip.jpg

Notice how more advanced ships cost more supply. If you go over the naval supply limit, your entire navy suffers, so it is important to avoid going over! Note, I still haven't unpaused yet. One more screenshot and I will!

http://imageshack.us/a/img850/956/techandinvention.jpg

Veteran Victoria II players knew that, to colonize the world, you needed Medicine, Nationalism and Imperialism, and Machine Guns. In HOD, Medicine's Prophylaxis against Malaria is still the first step. However, the next two are quite different from AHD. The second invention is Mission to Civilize, which is attached to State and Government. The third invention is attached to Breech-Loaded Rifles, which you see above. Notice the requirements to get Colonial Negotiations -- any one of three techs will get you a 25% chance to pick up the invention, but if any GP has Colonial Negotiations already, or if a neighboring country has Colonial Negotiations, the invention can fire for you! You do still need the base techs (State & Government or Breech-Loaded Rifles). This makes colonizing less predictable, harder to control even with an early lead, and most of all more fun. The next update will have the Scramble for Africa; you'll be pleasantly surprised how much more competition there is.

On August 13, 1861, I begin colonizing the Sunda Islands (I lost track with a few things), and you'll notice the Dutch have chosen to join me.

This means sending an expedition isn't enough; you'll have to compete with the other guy until you reach stage 3 of the colonial process or until one of you blinks and withdraws. There's a cooldown after each step. For now, we'll note our competition and move on. I start justifying a war against Johore, a fairly standard move. Although that hasn't changed in HOD, remember that you can no longer justify war goals after a war starts -- you pay full infamy or just accept your first goal. In an unrelated matter, here's the factory synergy bonus that you can get if the right RGO or accompanying factories are present:

http://imageshack.us/a/img824/8922/synergybonus.jpg

By December, as my war goal chugs blissfully away (I got hit for 7.9 infamy), I decide to start making some friends. I go to France first, and here's what I see:

http://imageshack.us/a/img199/7383/diplomacytooltip.jpg

France is willing to talk -- which is good -- and if I spend enough time and energy, they'll sign an alliance. Trouble is, if another GP beats me to it, there's a -1000 penalty to likelihood! In other words, prior to Great Wars firing, you can only one have A I don't if I can get relations high enough in time; I'll try, but probably won't succeed.

In January 1862, my CB is complete against Johore, so I declare war. As I'm not focusing on war in this beta AAR, I won't go through land battles in detail. However, as a teaser, the devs have beefed up uncivs a bit, to the point where I actually lose the first battle http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/images/smile/ohmy.gif (Of course, I don't have a leader either, which is problematic). Look at this cool announcement of my war, which came out in February:

http://imageshack.us/a/img547/6207/newspaperh.jpg

Johore will never be the same again! Moving along, our colonial competition enters a new era in June:

http://imageshack.us/a/img832/1397/morecolony.jpg

So, broadly speaking, the first phase in colonization is "Establishing Interest", which lasts until two nations have reached stage 3 of the colonial process. You can have more than two countries compete -- I've personally seen four countries compete over one colony -- but you need at least two to reach level three. Each additional step after this point will increase tension in the state, ultimately leading to a crisis (which we'll see later on this update). So, there are five total stages to colonization, and both the Dutch and I have reached 3. By November, the Dutch and I are at stage 5. The last stage -- establishing a guard post -- has infinite possible steps. This process will continue until the other competitors withdraw or it turns into a crisis. I don't feel like fighting the Dutch over some Tropical Wood, and when they won't back down, I withdraw in August of 1863.

http://imageshack.us/a/img21/4466/colonialbattle.jpg

Since each step costs an increasing amount of colonial points, if I commit too heavily here, not only might I end up with a war here, but I could miss out on Africa, and we don't want that! So, we let the Dutch have their colony. No worries: there will be plenty more later. Technically, you establish a Protectorate first, then a full fledged Colony, but the Dutch did it one step (it's the AI, so you can't physically see them get the Protectorate).

I annex Johore in March 1864. I decide to expand my fleet; notice again how few places I can build Commerce Raiders. You can build Commerce Raiders at any naval base, thankfully, but more advanced ships require more advanced bases. Even better, with an invention later on in the game, they get torpedoes, which make them extremely dangerous to larger ships!

http://imageshack.us/a/img16/2797/expandingthenavy.jpg

I decide to pick on Morocco next -- I'm a borderline GP at this point, and the more access I have in Africa, the better. I start justifying in April to demand a concession. (Yes, in hindsight, I ought to wait until I can establish protectorate, but I'm not a patient guy.) I neglected to mention, for those who are curious, that my first tech was Stock Exchange; that finished a couple of months ago, so I started on Breech-Loaded Rifles. I sign an alliance with the Ottoman Empire in December -- the single GP who wants to be my friend. War with Morocco began in October. I finish Breech Loaded Rifles in May of 1865 and move on to Nationalism and Imperialism. By July, Morocco is defeated and I add two new colonies to my empire: Moroccan al Rif and Morocco (which contains Marrakech and the like). My next target is Atjeh -- gotta keep on conquering! In March of 1866 I declare war and a year later have annexed it. I sign the Geneva Convention in July of 1867, and then for a long time nothing relevant happens. I do get Valley of the Kings in March of 1868. I ally with Austria in June. I pass some reforms, build some factories, nothing terribly exciting (from a beta standpoint) until November of 1871. That is when we see the game's first crisis!

http://imageshack.us/a/img853/9949/internationalcrisis.jpg

This event won't fire every time. If you're at war, the crisis is on another continent, or if you've been cut down to size or disarmed via Great War Capitulation, the event won't show up. If you hit the wrong button on the event, not to worry -- you can still join the crisis later with the "On the Fence Button" (which I'll show you in a later update). In a normal game, I'd probably ignore Poland as Spain. But this is no normal game, so I happily join in the fun! Here's a normal crisis screen.

http://imageshack.us/a/img42/5181/crisistime.jpg

For a crisis to function properly, you need at least one GP backing each side. Here, as you can see, we have the UK backing Poland and Russia defending. Five of the other GPs are interested enough to declare interest, so they appear under "Still on the Fence." (If the event doesn't fire, there's a button on this screen.) If you don't pick a side, you suffer a prestige penalty that decreases the longer the crisis lasts. I'm going to support the British on this one, just because I'd love to see Poland appear on the map. By February of 1872, only Germany remains unaligned, and here you can see their thinking:

http://imageshack.us/a/img339/213/crisisconsiderations.jpg

If push comes to shove, they'd probably back the UK, although only because they are allies -- remember, Germany has Polish cores! In the end, Germany doesn't commit, and rather than risk a war, the UK backs down.

http://imageshack.us/a/img203/2497/crisisover.jpg

Make sure to join me next Wednesday for part 2, in which Africa gets scrambled!

Nom4d3
05/04/2013, 15:24
Parabéns Nigo.

Valeu/SFA
Recebidos: 5.526/1.000

Matanza
05/04/2013, 20:10
aheuaehaehaeuheauh

50% dos SFA vindos de quem?

nigo
11/04/2013, 18:49
It's time for the second update to this AAR! There'll be a little bit of naval stuff in this update, but that'll come more in the next update. We're focusing purely on colonization and the scramble for Africa in this update. Now, as I stated earlier, I restarted the game to take advantage of a new build that fixed some important bugs. Here are the major changes:

-- UK allied with me in 1861
-- Russia enforced a Humiliate War Goal on the UK as part of a crisis (I was not involved; this was during my war with Johore).
-- I took the lead in one of the crises to free Poland; I'll do this again in a later update, so you can see how crises work if you're the man (or woman) in charge.
-- Germany hasn't formed (and neither has NGF) in this timeline, as it did in the previous update.

Now, on to the actual update!

I choose a new tech school in January of 1872; I do this mostly to help my naval techs. Nothing really shocking about it, but it's a major decision I've made, so that's why I'm sharing it.

http://imageshack.us/a/img692/6572/techschool.jpg

I notice the Dutch start to colonize the rest of Brunei in August of 1872 (while I'm busy conquering it); that must mean Colonial Negotiations is about to hit me. I'm almost done with Machine Guns at this point too, so we'll just have to see which happens first. I notice Belgium colonizing Western Morocco, too. Finally, in October, the scramble begins in earnest:

http://imageshack.us/a/img716/2995/scramblebegins.jpg

Where do we begin, now that we can colonize anywhere? Well, I'm mostly going to stay out of the Pacific. This is less a strategic decision as it is a decision to push hard for Africa. If you are the first person to start colonizing a region, it will cost you 100 colonial points. If you have a border with the colony, it's only 80 CPs. I choose to start at the Horn of Africa. When the temperature gauge turns solid orange-red, that means that this area is now a Flashpoint. Flashpoints are what generate crises: any non-GP can use a national focus to turn a flashpoint into actual crisis, and the presence of nationalists will do the same. There's a general cooldown for crises, so you don't get three or four in a row. That's very handy.

http://imageshack.us/a/img580/5956/firstcolonychosen.jpg

Why? First, because I can beat the British there, which is no small feat. Second, I'm interested in the Cotton, as I've developed quite a nice little industry based around Regular Clothes. (I cannot emphasize enough how much more strategic the game is with the synergy bonus, in terms of planning industry chains!) Next, I'll take advantage of Fernando Po to hit up the west coast of Africa, for the Coal, Tropical Wood, and especially Coffee.

http://imageshack.us/a/img89/2999/otherchoices.jpg

Finally, I'll grab some more Cotton and Coffee a little farther north.

http://imageshack.us/a/img703/2815/otherchoices2.jpg

All of this colonizing leaves me with 141 colonial points left, and I'd love to get into West Morocco too, so I do. Here's a really handy tooltip you get, to help judge how wise jumping into a colony is.

http://imageshack.us/a/img22/8977/ausefultooltip.jpg

As you can see, if Belgium decided to stick in this and only this province, I'd get beaten, but I also want to show you a colonial crisis, so I'll ignore that for now. To give myself more colonial points, I crank out 3 more ironclads and 6 more commerce raiders. You only get colonial points for completed ships and no colonial points if you're over the supply limit. Keep that in mind! I finish Machine Guns in October, a little late, but good enough. A lot of the army techs have been rebalanced; I'll leave that for the war AAR to discuss. One thing I can tell you is that the Power series of techs (in Industry) has been greatly rebalanced; it's only a 15% boost to RGO output, not the previous 40%. In November, we get an invitation:

http://imageshack.us/a/img841/1886/wanttobackpoland.jpg

I wish the Poles the best of luck, but I've really no interest in backing them, especially since I know Austria and Prussia will never agree to releasing Poland, and the UK is Russia's ally. Getting involved in this crisis is a mug's game, as Douglas Adams would put it. I do declare interest, but I immediately join the Russian side. I find the Source of the Nile in January, which is fun. As predicted, the crisis ends with Russia winning via white peace. Jump forward for July of 1873, and several of my colonies are finished. Look at the helpful icon in your toolbar.

http://imageshack.us/a/img197/5987/averyusefulicon.jpg

This same icon also tells you when you can upgrade a colony to a state and when you're losing a colonial race. Pretty cool, huh? We'll start in Somaliland.

http://imageshack.us/a/img94/8872/createprotectorate.jpg

The first step is to create a protectorate. Soldier POPs must be larger to get you troops from a protectorate, and there are penalties to RGO efficiency. After you've done that, you can upgrade it to a full fledged colony by paying a small, variable, amount of CPs.

http://imageshack.us/a/img94/8872/createprotectorate.jpg

I'll build off my new colonies and expand further into Africa's interior: I won't bore you with which places I chose and why, but I will show you the results at the end of this update. Here's another important use for colonial points:

http://imageshack.us/a/img94/9353/thecostofastate.jpg

Note how expensive turning Visayas into a state is. That's because it's so far away from Spain (it's part of the Philippines). It is much harder to turn colonies into states if they aren't attached to you or at least on the same continent. As a point of reference, I have 805 total CPs at the moment, of which all but 50 are tied up in colonial maintenance or founding new colonies. 1200 is obviously not going to happen any time soon. That is a one time cost (they don't go away or anything; you just need 1200 free), and it does eliminate the maintenance cost of CPs for the colony, in addition to the other advantages (and disadvantages) of turning colonies into states.

In August of 1875, I start justifying a war to annex all of Morocco; thanks to the UK's decision to give me military access, I can walk to Morocco. Very handy! (I took part of Morocco earlier.) Here's my reward for all of this colonizing: #4 GP!

http://imageshack.us/a/img43/5393/gptime.jpg

In October of 1876, the Dutch finally withdraw from Volta -- this has been a heated colonial battle, but I have triumphed, and to the victor the spoils!

http://imageshack.us/a/img837/2018/thedutchgivein.jpg

By mid 1877, I'm not doing so well with CPs, so I do something fairly drastic:

http://imageshack.us/a/img13/5996/dominionm.jpg

Dominions existed before in Vicky 2, but didn't have a big purpose apart from a quick way to lose infamy. They're much more dynamic in HOD, with dynamic names based on the region. All contiguous land is released as one dominion, so you'd better make sure you want to do it! Now, you've got a couple of reasons to do this. First of all, they stop costing you CPs. I go from 21 to 167; no mean feat, and this means I can continue to compete elsewhere in Africa. Second, for the first time in a very long time for PDS games, you get this ability:

http://imageshack.us/a/img845/2558/puppetandcommand.jpg

That's right -- you can command your puppet's military units during a war! Note also the nice influence bonus you get for a puppet. Puppets are, as you can see, much more worthwhile in HOD. Just a couple more things to show you in this update. First, our first example of a fizzled crisis.

http://imageshack.us/a/img407/3738/crisisfail.jpg

This happens when the "attacker" (i.e. the country on whose behalf the crisis is being undertaken) cannot get a GP backer. That means there are three possible outcomes to a crisis.

1. It fizzles with no GP backer.
2. One or the other side reaches a diplomatic solution, possibly enforcing one or more war goals, and some prestige is altered.
3. It turns into a war.

I'll get my single non-African colony in Fiji in 1879. A colonial battle actually triggers a crisis in 1880 (Western Morocco, which I have long since abandoned). Since I'm at war with Zanzibar at the time, I can't participate: France forces the UK to give in and Belgium acquires the colony. The Dutch and I are locked in a death grip over Kasai, the final remaining colony in Africa. We're both at level 6 guard posts, so it's pretty serious, and it's already a flashpoint. I build 8 more Ironclads to help keep the CPs coming. In 1882, the USA becomes my Ally (I lost the UK at some point, probably over a crisis). The colonial battles continues, up level 14 overall for the Dutch and level 13 for me. A South American crisis fizzles in 1883, but more importantly, the Dutch withdraw in June of 1883, and the scramble for Africa is officially over.

http://imageshack.us/a/img705/3550/africascrambledpt1.jpg

http://imageshack.us/a/img40/694/africascrambledpt2.jpg

You can see my dominion -- the Confederation of Sierra Leone -- there in the light blue. It's a pretty reasonable scramble, with four major colonizers (Spain, Netherlands, France, and the UK), along with Portugal. Even Belgium gets a colony!

In the next update, I will demonstrate how drastically naval combat has changed, as I get involved in a pretty big war. There have been a couple of naval battles in this update, but they were over very quickly. One important difference I can show you is this:

http://imageshack.us/a/img37/7380/navalbattle.jpg

That's right: dynamic war score AND prestige for naval battles! No more sinking half the Royal Navy and only getting +.1 war score. I'll see everybody again on Saturday for the conclusion to this beta AAR!

nigo
13/04/2013, 18:03
This will be the final update for the beta AAR, with the game's release coming on April 16. Don't worry: I'm sure I'll probably write an AAR or three for HOD sometime in the future. http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif

Disclaimer: All the numbers you see in this update are not necessarily the numbers you will see in the final game.

Let's get to it!

The USA calls me into a war against France (over Senegal). I'm thinking at the moment that, hey, this would be a great time to get in some naval combat and show it off! The French disagree and cheat by using their army. I get smacked around pretty hard (it turns out these army things are pretty neat) and the cowardly French navy stays in port. However, while the war is going on, I get an important invention:

http://imageshack.us/a/img585/9606/battleshipv.jpg

As the careful observer already knows, Battleships are brand new to Heart of Darkness. They serve an important role as your mid-game capital ship of choice for the premier naval powers (and for our purposes, Spain is a premier naval power). Let's take a look at the stats.

http://imageshack.us/a/img40/539/theawesomepowerofabattl.jpg

There are three things to focus on. First is firing range, which is also new to HOD. The bigger the number here, the sooner your vessel engages in putting some hurt on the enemy. Battleships outclass anything else available at this point in the game (1883), which means they can shred enemy ships without taking any damage themselves. Second, look at the supply weight. Remember AHD, where you could build 1000 dreadnoughts if you could afford it? Not any more! With a supply weight of 50, the number of battleships you can have is severely limited. (To compare, a Man o' War has a weight of 3.) If I scrapped my entire fleet and built nothing but battleships, guess how big my navy would be? (I'll wait.)

...

6 battleships! I have 324 total weight at this point. While you could build more, you'd suffer pretty severe penalties for doing so. I wouldn't recommend it, to say the least. Are battleships worth it? Oh yes, as you'll see later on.

Now, there's one other cost, which is the third thing we need to talk about it. That "Requires naval port with level 4 or greater." I don't have the tech to build the bases yet, so sadly, I can't build the battleships yet. If you remember from the last update, there's an additional limitation on capital ships like battleships: you can only build them in your home ports. (Those, again, are ports directly connected to your country by land, with some scattered exceptions).

In January of 1884, France adds a war goal: they want New York! Note that the AI is vastly improved: I begged and begged for a white peace but France wouldn't listen. It has to be so infuriating to the USA that I'm getting destroyed in Spain and will probably cost them New York. I unlock Cruisers in July of 1884:

http://imageshack.us/a/img802/5264/cruiser.jpg

But these are not the ordinary cruisers you know and love!

http://imageshack.us/a/img21/7976/thepowerofcruisers.jpg

There are two new stats here as well (note the weight of cruisers: that's pretty formidable!). First, we have Torpedo Attacks. Torpedo Attacks give certain ships (Cruisers and, with an invention, Commerce Raiders) a bonus to hit unscreened big ships. Second, we have Evasion. That means that a cruiser has a 30% chance to avoid being hit by an enemy ship (with other modifiers being included as well). Frigates, Cruisers, and Commerce Raiders are the only vessels with this ability; Frigates and Commerce Raiders have lower evasion values as well. You can get 2.5 Cruisers for the price of a Battleship, in other words. What you choose to spend your money on is entirely up to you!

The USA loses New York in August, which would be a crippling blow in AHD. They'd have to fight France again to get it back. But after a bit of time in HOD...

http://imageshack.us/a/img835/6131/frenchcrisis.jpg

Notice I have already backed the USA. In a few days, every country on the fence backs the USA as well (nobody likes France), and New York is returned to the USA.

http://imageshack.us/a/img195/289/newyorkreturned.jpg

In your face, France! In March of 1886, I get the tech to improve my naval bases. Naval bases in HOD, since they're much more important than in AHD or vanilla, have scaling costs. Upgrading from a level 3 to a level 4 base will cost me over £62,000! Still, I want battleships, so I swallow the cost. I'll end up building three bases. This fires in January of 1890:

http://imageshack.us/a/img809/1231/greatwars.jpg

With my finances settled and my bases complete, I start one battleship and five cruisers. I'll scrap every wooden ship I own to squeeze out one more battleship. While I try my best to get involved a war against a power with a decent navy (which is harder than you might think), I get the opportunity to back a crisis. I decide to do just that!

http://imageshack.us/a/img546/4174/possibleediting.jpg

This is what it looks like when you propose a solution. In this case, it is Spain proposing that... the Soviet Union release Poland?! You heard me right! The devs and beta testers have worked tirelessly to improve rebel AI and mechanics, and every once in a while, things like this happen, even without player intervention. Now, as the guy in charge, I get to negotiate with the other powers, and here's what they think of me.

http://imageshack.us/a/img90/9898/whotoconvince.jpg

This is a good sampling of some of the issues that can affect crisis determinations. Right now, everybody wants to help out the Soviet Union. I need to fix that. Right away, I notice that the British like me most of the eligible Great Powers. (USA and Japan are too far away.) I also remember that, after Great Wars, you can make alliances with more than one GP. I sound out the British, and sure enough, they're interested in an alliance! The British decide to back me a few days later on the strength of our new relationship. France hates me, so I'll never get them to support me. Prussia and Austria don't want an active Poland, who could then stir up crises to get the rest of Poland free. Just for fun, I try to make Prussia an offer.

http://imageshack.us/a/img341/9297/makeanoffer.jpg

Note the bonus that the acquire state CB gives to Prussia's interest? Different GPs feel differently about different war goals. You can experiment with each one. Note that the backer of the crisis pays the infamy cost, so think carefully about what you're offering before you offer it. I can see it won't make a difference (I didn't think it would), so I move on. After a while, Austria, Prussia, and France all back the Soviets, and not wanting the French to beat me up again, I offer a white peace. I'm just glad nobody tried to raise a war goal against me! http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/images/smile/ohmy.gif

Some more time passes, and by 1892, I've come up with the perfect way to get some decent naval action. I justify Adding the Netherlands to my sphere. Sure, Austria and the Ottoman Empire are friends to the Dutch, but I have friends of my own: the UK and USA. On June 6, 1893, it's go time! Sure enough, just outside Italy, I get into a naval battle with my Mediterranean squadron.

http://imageshack.us/a/img268/3753/approachingphase.jpg

Every naval battle is divided into the following phases:

1. Seeking target. Your ship looks for an enemy ship to pick on. It will always choose the weakest untargeted ship or, if every ship is targeted, it'll double up on the weakest available target.
2. Approaching. Your ship has picked a victim, and now needs to close with the enemy before firing. The length of this phase is modified by the firing range and your ship's speed.
3. Damage. Here's where you compare your firepower against the enemy's hull and see how much damage is inflicted. (We'll see a better example of this later).
4. Resolution. Either one ship disengages (taking some amount of damage, naturally) or is sunk. Then, the cycle repeats again.

So, even in one naval battle, you don't have one naval battle: you have as many naval battles as you do ships (sometimes less if one fleet is dramatically larger). When all the ships on one side are either sunk or have retreated, the other side wins the battle.

Here's a little more detail on the approach phase:

http://imageshack.us/a/img545/4442/austrianstats.jpg

You start every approach phase at 100. This particular ship, an Austrian Commerce Raider, gets to fire when the range closes to 60. Note the penalty associated with the considerably larger Austrian fleet at this point. The coordination penalty primarily affects the seeking target phase, however.

Here's some damage being dealt!

http://imageshack.us/a/img24/8004/damageinflicted.jpg

Three of my ships have all chosen one poor Austrian ship to focus on. The green numbers refer to damage dealt, while red is damage taken; it's a purely abstract number, so is only of proper use for determining how well you're doing relatively. This ship, in any case, won't last long. Thanks to some timely reinforcements, this battle as a whole quickly shifts in my favor, with this result:

http://imageshack.us/a/img197/6092/carnage.jpg

Again, note the dynamic battle score! This is a good time to mention that invasion AI has improved a good deal: I actually have the US occupying most of the Netherlands (although I've been blockading the Dutch myself and sinking ships left and right). I get caught in a real fight a few months later. If you click on any ship in the approach phase, you can find who is targeting them:

http://imageshack.us/a/img194/3264/shipstargetingbattleshi.jpg

In this case, two Turkish ships have targeted a cruiser of mine. The Ottomans have Men o' War but I have Battleships. This will not be pretty for them. (Of course, I've been ignoring the ORG techs, so it won't be quite as one sided as it could have been.)

http://imageshack.us/a/img441/8060/alossbutawin.jpg

I lose 17 Commerce Raiders, but look at the damage I've inflicted! Yes, it's a "loss", but a couple more losses like this will wipe out the Ottoman navy. I fight one last time against the French, thanks to getting tricked in a Crisis War, and while I do well at sea:

http://imageshack.us/a/img843/5262/seriouswarscore.jpg

I'll get gutted on land. Maybe I should have read delra's AAR. http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif In terms of conquest, this AAR was pretty challenging, especially for an AHD veteran, but I learned a lot writing it, and I hope you did too! As you can see, HOD has made some very impressive strides for Vicky 2. Thanks for reading, and I'm sure we'll meet again soon in AARland, and elsewhere on the forums!