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Old Oct 31st 2014, 05:29 PM
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Default Alfred of Wessex Walk Through

Alfred of Wessex Walk Through


Alfred the Great, King of Wessex

∆thelwulf, Petty King of Wessex (The Old Gods, 867 start, version 2.16 vanilla)

The only thing notable about ∆thelwulf and maybe the only reason to play him is that his heir is Alfred, the Earl of Dorset (known to history as Alfred the Great). Other than that notable fact, ∆thelwulf's stats are crap, he has some ugly traits and Wessex is in a very precarious position!

Problem #1 - ∆thelwulf starts off way over his demesne limit (8/2).

A) Getting married is the easiest way to raise his demesne limit - I recommend going for a wife with a high stewardship stat because we want to keep as many counties in demesne as possible. Also, a chaste wife would be ideal because we really don't want this guy to breed and interfere with the succession of Alfred who has some really good stats and traits. Since we don't expect or want this guy to live very long, marrying for an alliance isn't very important or worth it. Besides, the Karlings are all too busy with their own wars so if you do marry a Karling, they are far more likely to demand you join their wars than help yours.

B) Create a second duchy. The duchies of Kent and Hwicce can both be created because ∆thelwulf starts off owning almost all of southern England (no landed vassals). This will upgrade ∆thelwulf to a 'great duke' which will raise his demesne limit (+1). Keep in mind that it costs 198 gold to create a duchy, so it will take at least a year or so to raise the gold cost - put your Steward into Wessex to collect taxes which raises your income and hopefully produces a bonus tithe.

C) Give out the leftover counties to bring yourself down to your limit. You should have plenty of landless Anglo-Saxon courtiers hanging around in your court itching for the gift of a county. I give out enough counties to bring ∆thelwulf down to 4 or 5 counties (with a probable limit of 3 or 4). I ride out the time it takes to raise the money for the 2nd duchy to raise the demesne limit up to 4 or 5. The variation here depends upon ∆thelwulf's stewardship stat that seems random to each game start. One game I started his stewardship stat was pretty good, next game start it was zero!

Problem #2 - the Sons of Lodbrok are invading Northumberland and East Anglia.

The game starts with Wessex allied with Mercia and Northumberland (Cornwall usually joins in) fighting in defense against the Sons of Lodbrok invasions. The armies of Jorvik (Halfdan Whiteshirt) and Soreyar (Ivar the Boneless) plus their ally the king of Jylland (Denmark) are all roaming around northern England with big viking armies that are much larger than all the Anglo Saxon armies put together, so it is goodbye Northumberland and East Anglia (and it doesn't take very long). I don't think there is anyway to avoid this result.

Since Northumberland and East Anglia are doomed anyway, I don't see any reason to waste a few thousand good Wessex soldiers to die for a doomed cause, so I didn't actually send any troops to help either war. However, I did raise a very small army (260 troops) with King ∆thelwulf in command and sent that to fight alone - hoping that it would get crushed by one of the viking armies and ∆thelwulf might get wounded, maimed or best of all killed! Alas, the army got crushed but ∆thelwulf survived. I actually tried this a second time and did manage to get him maimed.

Anyway, Northumberland usually falls first, then they swarm over East Anglia. Once these two wars are over, Jorvik (Halfdan Whiteshirt) will usually declare a 'holy war' attack on Chester (part of Mercia). Again, it is a very one-sided war and doesn't take very long. After that, peasant rebellions start popping up for the viking conquerors to deal with. The key point here is that Wessex is never really in direct danger. The strategy I am recommending here is to lay low and preserve your strength and your gold until the viking onslaught runs out of steam. The 'event troops' don't replace so when those armies are all gone they can only be replaced with normal levy troops, and so the viking/Norse will be much easier to deal with then.

Problem #3 - the succession.

Since we let King ∆thelwulf get married in order to raise the demesne limit, we have to be careful that he doesn't breed so don't give him the ambition for a son or daughter. If you are lucky (and I was) I got the opportunity to give him the chaste trait and then accepted the 'celibacy' option that followed after that. If that's not available, I might try to plot to kill or divorce your wife the instant she gets pregnant. I played this opening scenario out a few times before writing this up and the chaste/celibacy options came up each time for ∆thelwulf and no pregnancies for his wife.

Hopefully ∆thelwulf dies sooner rather than later and has no children - because Alfred is awesome!

The Interlude - recovery and building.

Historically, Alfred the Great followed a strategy of building fortified/walled towns. This was integral to the success of Alfred the Great and so I recommend following this same strategy here. Once the viking/Norse invasions (and event troops) burn out, it seems that lots of rebellions pop up all over England - especially in the newly conquered viking kingdoms. This gives a bit of breathing space for peaceful Wessex in the south. Demesne holdings often have zero buildings in them and so you are starting from scratch building Castle Walls I and Castle Fortifications I and Castle Town I in several counties so there is lots of work required here. The focus should be on upgrading Castle Towns for revenue and after that, upgrading to increase your levies. At the beginning, I only upgrade the defenses as necessary to unlock other buildings for levy-boosting. Later on when things are not so precarious, I can upgrade the defenses.

The strategy here is to focus on building up your demesne in all respects. Buildings are good, but don't forget to use your Chaplin to keep your Bishop vassals as happy as possible. Use your Chancellor to keep your vassals happy. Use your Marshal to train troops and increase the levy. Use the Steward to increase tax revenues. Send the spy to Constantinople to study technology. Since you start off at zero, the stolen technology can really give you an early boost (beeline for legalism because a bigger demesne is always better, though this will change in version 2.2). I like to build up to 1000 gold and then spend a few hundred on buildings, always keeping minimum of 600 gold in reserve. When I get back up to 1000 gold, I start construction on another building or two.

The Goal - to create the Kingdom of England.

In the meanwhile, keep a careful watch on what is going on in Mercia and East Anglia. In my experience, Mercia tends to really suffer from rebellious factions and heretics, while Ivar the Boneless (who holds East Anglia) definitely gets himself involved in lots of wars up in Scotland and Ireland to keep him busy. In this way, small opportunities may present themselves to grab a county or two. I got the two counties of East Anglia in a Holy War against Ivar while he was involved in three other wars and both his allies (Jorvik and Jylland) were also involved in their own wars and rebellions.

England has 29 counties and so you need 15 of them to form the Kingdom. Game starts with eight held by ∆thelwulf plus the two counties belonging to Alfred of Dorset. Add two more from East Anglia and that makes 12. The next three can be pretty much any counties in England - whatever is available.

In one play-through of this scenario, I got three counties from Mercia that had gone Cathar heretic and rebelled so long that they became independent of Mercia. I immediate declared Holy War against the heretics and easily took all three counties. In a second play-through of this scenario, I got a couple of counties of Mercia that successfully rebelled and went independent (one at a time). One agreed to vassalage with a fat bribe, the other I got with a forged claim and a quick war. The third came from a lone county orphan that popped up in Northumbria.

In two separate play-throughs, I created the Kingdom of England in 889 and 892 respectively, following the same strategy as above. In both cases, I let the counter run until St George's Day (April 23) and then paused it to create the Kingdom on that date.

In the first play-through, I did it with an aged Alfred and subsequently earned 'the Great' nickname. In a second playthrough, Alfred got 'the Wise' nickname but died in battle so I created the kingdom with his son whom I had named Arthur.

The Rest of England


Creating the Kingdom of England is half the battle. Next you have to get control of the rest of England. The Duke of Mercia hated me because of my war against him, so he won't vassalize, but the newly independent Duke of Lancaster (break-away rebellion from Jorvik) did accept vassalization. Mercia should accept vassalization as soon as the angry present holder dies off. I find that a small cash gift often helps to get acceptance - relatively easy when you are the 'de jure' King of England.

Jorvik is another matter. You can do it with a holy war against the pagan-Norse, or you can do it with 'de jure' claims because you are the king of England. Either way, wait for a good opportunity when Jorvik's allies are busy with other wars and rebellions. It isn't too difficult to mop up the whole of England within 10 or 20 years after you create the kingdom.

I'm curious to see if/when English culture will pop up so I can build longbows!
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Old Oct 31st 2014, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Alfred of Wessex Walk Through

Btw, does anyone know how to pronounce that ∆ character?

Is it A-thelwulf or is it E-thelwulf or something else?
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Old Oct 31st 2014, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: Alfred of Wessex Walk Through

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Btw, does anyone know how to pronounce that ∆ character?

Is it A-thelwulf or is it E-thelwulf or something else?
This isn't an answer to your question, but it's some relevant information which might provide a clue - I hope it does. In Norwegian and Danish the letter 'ś/∆' is still in use, and it is the same as the German and Swedish 'š/ń' - something half-way between the vowel sounds in are and let.

That may or may not be of help to you - I hope it is.
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Old Oct 31st 2014, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: Alfred of Wessex Walk Through

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Originally Posted by NickKIELCEPoland View Post
This isn't an answer to your question, but it's some relevant information which might provide a clue - I hope it does. In Norwegian and Danish the letter 'ś/∆' is still in use, and it is the same as the German and Swedish 'š/ń' - something half-way between the vowel sounds in are and let.

That may or may not be of help to you - I hope it is.
Somewhat helpful. But I'm not sure what sound falls between 'are' and 'let'.

I suspect that they are highly related given the usage in old Anglo-Saxon (with cultural links to Denmark and Norway). Btw, I believe they are called 'dipthongs' (a two letter combo).

Personally, I pronounce ∆ with the Canadian "eh?" sound since that seems to fit and sound reasonable.
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Old Oct 31st 2014, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: Alfred of Wessex Walk Through

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Somewhat helpful. But I'm not sure what sound falls between 'are' and 'let'.

I suspect that they are highly related given the usage in old Anglo-Saxon (with cultural links to Denmark and Norway). Btw, I believe they are called 'dipthongs' (a two letter combo).

Personally, I pronounce ∆ with the Canadian "eh?" sound since that seems to fit and sound reasonable.
The British English vowel sound of 'cat' is between 'are' and 'let'.

No, a diphthong is about sounds, not printed letters. There must be two vowel sounds for it to be a diphthong. For example the word 'may' has a diphthong. We have the vowel sounds from 'let' and 'keep' in that word.

The Great Vowel Shift of English was a period when certain monophthongs became diphthongs.

Last edited by NickKIELCEPoland; Oct 31st 2014 at 06:30 PM.
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Old Oct 31st 2014, 06:47 PM
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Default Re: Alfred of Wessex Walk Through

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Originally Posted by NickKIELCEPoland View Post
The British English vowel sound of 'cat' is between 'are' and 'let'.
This makes no sense to me.
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Old Oct 31st 2014, 07:01 PM
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NickKIELCEPoland NickKIELCEPoland is offline
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Default Re: Alfred of Wessex Walk Through

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This makes no sense to me.
Okay, never mind that. The 'ś/∆' in Norwegian and Danish is like (not exactly the same, but like) the British English 'cat' vowel sound.
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Old Oct 31st 2014, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Alfred of Wessex Walk Through

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Originally Posted by NickKIELCEPoland View Post
Okay, never mind that. The 'ś/∆' in Norwegian and Danish is like (not exactly the same, but like) the British English 'cat' vowel sound.
The "a" vowel sound in cat is what I know as a 'soft' a (as opposed to a hard 'a' as in acorn).

Anyway, if that's the correct sound of the name, I don't like it - but then, I never like the way many names from other languages are supposed to be pronounced.

Socrates is the definitive example. Commonly pronounced "sock-rah-tees' in English, the name is more correctly pronounced 'so-krat-tays' from the Greek. I hate the proper way.

Anyway, how about Alfred? Wasn't he a great guy?
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Old Nov 1st 2014, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: Alfred of Wessex Walk Through

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Btw, does anyone know how to pronounce that ∆ character?

Is it A-thelwulf or is it E-thelwulf or something else?
It's probably the same as the ś in Icelandic. And that is like the i in English hide.
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Old Nov 1st 2014, 04:25 AM
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Default Re: Alfred of Wessex Walk Through

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It's probably the same as the ś in Icelandic. And that is like the i in English hide.
Yes, that could be - and that is a diphthong. Icelandic is the Germanic language which most resembles Old Norse. Danish and Norwegian went through monophthongisation, which will be why the letter 'ś/∆' has the monophthong sound (as in 'cat') while Icelandic has the diphthong sound (as in 'eye').

However, pre-Great Vowel Shift English is characterised by monophthongs, so your suggestion, Dominick, would buck that trend.
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