Home > History > Dar al-Islam: A Barbary States Empire Total War AAR – Part 3

Dar al-Islam: A Barbary States Empire Total War AAR – Part 3

April 12, 2009

barbary_states_empire_total_war_logoThe twenty years from 1740 have been a time of prosperity for the Barbary States. The Mediterranean has been conquered and the Islamic empire looks to expand abroad, to capture new holdings and spread the one true faith! Read on for the gory details! …(or go visit Part 1)…

Advance Barbary!

In 1741 a new scholar is recruited and sent to our Sicilian college and a Hashashim that was trying to infiltrate a Savoy town was captured and shot. We don’t have much luck with these guys! In 1741 we also make an effort to subdue Corsica and Sardinia, which with our evolving society, have become a bit more restless than I would like. An Imam is delivered to Sardinia to begin the process of converting the island to Islam, this should drop the religious unrest which threatens our control over the island if it gets much worse. Corsica is next.

Diplomatic negotiations dominate 1742 and trade agreements are re-established with a number of major and minor powers. It seems these agreements had lapsed somewhere, best keep an eye on that. Pleasingly, trade is becoming an increasingly large part of our economy!

Research continues to push our technological edge (or at least, it’s keeping us up with everyone else) and in 1743 we complete more naval-related research. Our goal is to work towards steam power and the advanced naval facilities we would then be able to build. Who knows what fearsome ships the Barbary pirates will then be able to unleash on the world!

Regardless, the current technology allows us to build better naval facilities, which we do on the Moroccan coast. The new docks will allow us to build 3rd Rates and Xebecs. The 3rd rates will significantly enhance our naval power and ensure we can project power to just about anywhere in the world!

The Capture of Savoy

Capturing Savoy is clearly a priority, ensuring no competing, unfriendly power remains in the western Mediterranean, well, baring the damn Knights of Malta. Yes, they’re still there, taunting me just through their existence! What insolence! Maybe we will deal with them in time…

Anyway, Savoy is well armed, with a full stack defending its capital city. I’m reluctant to send in my increasingly-skilled army only to see it get ground down by the enemy troops. I devise a cunning plan instead! A large force of Pirate Buccaneers is recruited, given a general, and landed in Genoa. These troops will be used to soften up the forces in Savoy before the main force goes in. They are cheap to build, cheap to maintain and as a one-shot, probably quite worth it!


Force “Sacrificial Lambs” land at Genoa

But once our forces engage, Buccaneers first, things don’t go quite according to plan…


Our Buccaneers are destroyed by the many units of Savoy cavalry!

The battle, which took place in the summer of 1745, is over alarmingly quickly. Multiple charges by Savoy cavalry inflict many casualties and it’s not long before our boys are routed and destroyed. This doesn’t bode well! The final tally is that about half our force was destroyed. Remaining units are consolidated and deployed as a reserve for the main body, which now must go and do a proper job of taking down these Savoy fools!

In 1746 we start building a college in Tripolitana. It’s time we catch up with the rest of the world and push our technology – which may be the only edge we get with our limited units. What will happen when our people inevitably start clamoring for a change in government is unclear, we’ll have to take that in our stride in time!

The final battle for Savoy sees us deploy 970 men against their 640. We line up, camel gunners backing up our musket men, with large numbers of cavalry and buccaneers on our flanks.


Lined up and ready for battle!

The army of Savoy closes on our force quickly as we approach their main body. Cavalry units are sent to charge our line, but what’s that! Yes! The enemy cavalry is about half-strength, significantly weaker than expected! It seems our buccaneer force did have an effect! They may have lost to Savoy, but they cut down a fair number of enemy in the process. The resulting Savoy cavalry charges are quickly stopped and routed by sustained musket fire by our forces. With the enemy cavalry largely beaten the rest of the battle is easy, with our main line pinning the enemy and our cavalry and buccaneers sent smashing into the enemy’s flanks. Victory is complete with only 80 men lost.


With Savoy captured it’s time to consolidate our gains. Across the empire long-overdue building upgrades were undertaken and the newly captured province of Genoa was subdued. With many madrassa across the empire Imams have been abundant and sent to the northern Italian holdings to speed up the conversion and pacification of the locals. By 1747 Islam is the dominant religion of Naples and Central Italy and Venice and Genoa won’t be too far behind! Superb! As for Savoy, three Imams are sent to help subdue the newly conquered province.


Team Imam convince the people of Savoy that Islam is the one true faith!

By 1749 Savoy is safe after a season of strikes and we receive a new Hashashim who is sent to Venice to dispose of a troubling Prussian scholar who keeps trying to “visit” our schools, probably to try and steal technology! The mission is a success and the scholar falls to our assassin’s blade! No word of repercussions from the Prussians, thankfully, a couple of larger empires separate us.

Pooling the Fleet

Despite appearances we have a fairly substantial fleet. There’s our main force of 5th Rates, captured Galleons and Xebecs as well as numerous “transport” groupings of galleys, captured Indiamen, etc. It’s time we sorted these ships out into some sort of order and looked to increase our trade options. We also need to take advantage of the new 3rd Rates and trade Dhows we’ve had built in Morocco. Massing the fleet in the Atlantic seems like a practical thing to do and the fleet is assembled in 1749.


It’s a pirate party!

Our preeminent admiral, Orphan Ali, is put in charge of a fleet of 3rd Rates, 5th Rates and Galleons and sets sail for the African coast. Trade ships are placed in a separate fleets with Xebecs as cover. These will exploit the gains we capture in coming months.


The best admiral of his age!

By 1750 we’ve explored the coast of Africa and found a trade route being exploited by the Pirate forces. A fierce naval battle ensues and their small fleet is utterly destroyed. Two of their ships explode and the remaining ship just plain-old sinks.


Bang, bang, KABOOM!

The trade route point is ours and some of our spare trade ships are deployed to this location. With other routes under the control of friendly powers our fleet continues east around the Cape of Good Hope to see what treasures we might find!

And what do we find? Swedes pirating the trade routes! Damn them! Their four ships are quickly sunk and I hope the Swedes learn to stay closer to home in future! Despite this good deed there are no trade spots we can capture so the fleets head on to the East Indies. Perhaps some spices can be added to our trade goods!

Surprise in Europe

Our technological development has opened up trade port expansion. It’s expensive, but over a few years we have all the trade ports upgraded to commercial port status. We also begin the conversion of Corsica to Islam. The Sardinians have embraced the new faith, well, not completely, but enough to calm a good chunk of the population down, which is what is important!

We also begin to build walls around our frontier cities, Morocco in particular, I just don’t trust the Spanish! Meanwhile, we send a few spare ships exploring off to the west, to the Americas! Reports indicate that the place has been well settled by the European powers with the exception of two provinces of Pirate islands. This leads us to thinking that really there should only be one pirate nation on the planet, one that follows Islam, (that’s us for the slow of thinking)! I mark the location of these areas down for “future interest”.

It’s at this point we get a surprise. The map below will give you a clue (and no, it’s not the bugged-out text I keep being afflicted with)…


The Barbary Empire in white

What I note is that two provinces on the Greek peninsular really hate me. Why? Surely that area is controlled by the Ottoman Empire? A close look and it turns out this is not the case! These two provinces are owned by the Venetians! I took out their capital but failed to eliminate them completely, damn it! Our next course of action is clear. A new army is built and our general and selected crack troops pulled out of Savoy and sent to clear up this embarrassing oversight.

In 1756 our forces land on the Greek peninsular and prepare to end the Venetian menace once and for all!


“Hi! Remember us?!”

The army is joined by an Imam, might as well get converting the people sooner rather than later. Don’t want them causing trouble after the occupation!

In 1757 the first province is captured after a short, painful fight with the Venetians.


Camels and muskets – the backbone of any modern army!

By 1758 all of Greece is ours as Athens falls easily to our force. It turns out the occupation is easier than expected with most of the population in both provinces already Muslim! I guess the Ottoman Empire did once own this area and it was taken off them by the Venetians. I’m pleased to return the lands to Muslim rule, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be giving them back to the Turks though!


Greece is positively pleased to have a decent, Muslim ruler again!

With Greece finished we confirm our dominance of the Mediterranean. Sure, the Ottomans own the eastern end and the Spanish and French have Med coastlines, but no one else is vying for any control of our seas! It’s interesting to note that I am able to recruit a new kind of musketeer in the Greek states. They are only marginally better than my desert nomads, but they will probably become the main body of any future forces you see me deploy.

With recent military advances I’m also able to recruit new melee-only units, troops with a sword and a shield. I will have to phase out the buccaneers and switch to these slightly better units as well. Something to think about for our future invasion of the Pirate provinces!

From Empire to Imperial Power – the 1750’s

Elsewhere in our Empire our famed Admiral Orphan Ali dies of old age. What a tragedy! Never mind, I am sure he’s enjoying paradise, his service was exceptional. His fleet goes on, however, and takes on a big pirate fleet near Antigua.


Hot Pirate-on-Pirate action!

The fight sees us lose two lighter ships but we capture a Galleon and two Fluyts. Not a bad trade in my books, and it broke a good chunk of the Pirate strength in these waters. I look forward to finishing them off for good in the future!

One of our scout ships also slips past Iceland and notes that it is lightly defended by the Danish enemy. It seems traditional for us Barbary types to attack that God-forsaken rock, so these wannabe Vikings get added to “The List” as well. All in good time, my chilly friends!

Looking at our bank balance we are finishing with 1750’s with encouraging surpluses every year and trade is playing a big part in this


“Got wood for sheep?” The foundation of all trade (a little “Settlers of Catan” humour there)!

We may be due for some trouble in Tripolitana though. The upgrading of the school there has resulted in the populace restless for change. The province is exempted from tax for a year while more troops are built to garrison the province. This may be a concern in future. Engineering a revolution may not be an option either, due to the limits of the “minor powers” mod I’m using.

In good news we managed to capture a trade route in the East Indies. As you can probably tell from the picture above we have spices to trade and they are currently quite valuable! Excellent! By 1759 we are starting to see massive income growth as we finish the port development project and the Indies trade route comes online. Superb! The next twenty years should see the rapid growth of our empire – at least – we’ll expand as fast as we can absorb new territories. Perhaps it’s time to aggressively deploy Imams ahead of our invading forces? Good idea!

See you next time!

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  1. George
    April 13, 2009 at 11:02 am

    These are really good keep it up, anyone know where I can find more? The only other I can find is the rock paper shotgun one here http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/03/02/bangalore-galore-an-empire-total-war-aar/

  2. George
    April 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm


  3. FF
    April 23, 2009 at 4:16 am

    This blog is great, just stumbled across it from Penny Arcade. Keep up the good work!

  4. George
    April 25, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Its been nearly 2 weeks, more please :p

    • April 25, 2009 at 4:16 pm

      Sorry, I’m on holiday and will be so for another week! Back as soon as I can!

    • BrianJ
      April 27, 2009 at 5:16 pm

      What?! The Barbary States are on vacation?! Allah would be pissed.

      Well whenever it does arrive, I can’t wait to see the exciting conclusion!


  5. Can I answer no to this question?
    May 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Come on, it’s been a month without updates now!

  6. please continue
    May 14, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    When is part 4 coming out? Im eager for more. This is the most unique aar iv read🙂

    • May 15, 2009 at 8:18 am

      Eeep! Sometime in the next few days, I promise!

  7. Rick
    June 16, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Hillarious, really enjoyed reading this🙂 It’s almost offensive but then I just couldn’t stop reading and smiling!

  8. February 16, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Good Luck! I’d Like to See the Crescent REALLY fly above Charleston!

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