in another thread i offered to take some screenshots of a medieval II campaign for faxon and offer some explanations, kind of a tutorial i guess. but im sitting here bored with no work today, so i figured i might as well go all the way and do a campaign write up. that way faxon and anyone else that wants to can see how different parts of the game work and some of the different things you can do.
im playing on hard/very hard difficulty settings. to go any easier makes the game too simple, but i dont like to play on the very hard campaign setting because it seems like the entire world is hard coded to attack you whenever possible. this creates a situation where you can secure a superior position and let the enemy factions waste all their resources on futile attack after futile attack, which actually makes the game much easier. so i set the campaign difficulty to hard, where imo the AI plays much more intelligently and it is much easier to maintain some semblance of realistic diplomatic relations with the rest of the world.
for my faction im choosing venice, since faxon put the idea in my head with his original thread. besides, i happen to like venice; they have relatively good looking heraldry, they have good late period technology with access to musketeers and strong siege weaponry, and they have faction unique armored archers and a faction unique type of heavy infantry with a shield and the 'effective against armor' trait. the faction selection screen says that the only thing they really lack is a good cavalry unit, but since i inevitably get offered a templar or hospitaller chapter house, thats not a real concern.
so, in the screenshot (you'll probably want to hit the resize button if you want to see anything) you can see the that i need to conquer 45 regions and constantinople in order to win. you can also see that i have 3 regions with 4 generals; unfortunately i dont like any of my regions very much, so my goal for the first ten turns of play is to call a crusade and set sail to the holy lands, where i will set up a new capital and gift all of my initial holdings to the pope.
now this is NOT something that i would advise a beginning player to do; im going to be giving up three provinces and voluntarily reducing my kingdome to one city, in which i will likely face relentless attack from the muslim factions. but ive been playing the game a looong time now, and this is something i sometimes due to increase the challenge of the game.
in order to finance this plan im going to gather support from the rest of christendom.
as you can see, ive sent my diplomat to the bologna and offered the holy roman empire trade rights, map information and an alliance. in return im demanding their map information and 2k in florin. this type of diplomacy in the early game is something a lot of people either ignore or are unaware of, but in the early game you can gain a significant amount of revenue selling alliances and map information to other catholic factions. here you can see me asking for 2k florin, and while the cocksuckers refused initially, we haggled for awhile and they ended up giving me 1400 Florin along with everything else i asked for.
and heres the reason why im able to get such a sweetheart deal from the bastards - venice starts with the #1 military ranking, which gives them a bit of clout. but to be honest it doesnt really matter who you start with, i've made quite a bit of money selling alliances with Denmark before, so just recruit diplomats and go nuts. getting trade rights with all the other factions is a priority anyway, might as well kill two birds with one stone.