Albania or Iberia
- is Albania.
- All provinces in the Iberia (region) and the Caucasia (region) regions owned by Albania or a subject.
Albania or Iberia is an achievement that requires the player to start as Albania and own or have a subject own both Iberia and Caucasia. This achievement is very difficult due to Albania's weak starting position and very strong neighbors.
Albania starts in a very dangerous position, with the Ottomans and Venice each having a core on Albania's only province which also has low development. The capital is also the only province in the world with Albanian culture (although most of the Balkans are also members of the South Slavic culture group). Being a member of the Eastern Tech group also poses a challenge. On the other hand, Albania starts with Skanderbeg who is a 6/5/6 in court and 5/5/5 on the battlefield, and a number of weak neighbors, which is nice.
Ragusa may look like a good target for a first conquest, but as their independence is guaranteed by the Ottomans this may not be the best move. Securing an alliance with a middle power is the first priority, and with Albania's small army and navy Hungary will have to do at this point, as they will protect from Venice at the least, and maybe even help on the offence. Trade Ideas is a good choice for the first idea group, followed by Economic and then Quantity Ideas.
While improving relations with Hungary, Albania can fabricate claims on the Serbian provinces of Zeta and Kosovo. The use of the merchant fleet to patrol the Ragusa trade node and mothballing all other ships will save precious ducats. When these claims are fabricated, relations with Hungary should also be high enough to secure an alliance (after a royal marriage). With the Hungarian favors starting to pile up, relations with Bosnia can be improved (but not an alliance). Now Albania waits for Serbia to strike.
When Serbia attacks, Albania can recruit to the force limit and station its entire fleet in the Straits of Otranto in order to blockade Zeta - Albania should be able to take on the Serbian ships. Serbia will decline Albania enforcing peace on them, but that will give Albania a free chance to fight Serbia without actually declaring war on them. Albania, with its supreme general, will have no fear of terrain penalties and can safely move in for the attack (Skanderbeg makes any river crossing irrelevant). It is advised to go for the forts, but at the same time to occupy as many other provinces as possible. It is good to slow down time as the siege is about to end - when it does, Albania can peace out, taking Zeta and any other possible province (Kosovo is a good second target as it has a gold mine). If Ragusa attacks Serbia - the player can vassalize the latter to get dragged into a war against Ragusa. It is best to core the province with the lowest development first as that will lead to Serbian becoming an accepted culture, making the other Serbian provinces much cheaper to core.
With claims fabricated on Bosnian provinces the player can move to the next target. The Serbian rebels can be easily dealt with if Skanderbeg is still alive by simply stationing the army in one of the provinces and waiting for them to spawn. If he isn't alive and the player's other generals are weak, harsh treatment can be used to reduce the progress of the rebellion or the force limit can be exceeded to defeat any rebels that have already spawned. Once the claims are ready, the player can attack Bosnia. Calling in Hungary is likely not an option yet (that would require 10-20 years of alliance). If Ragusa didn't attack in the first war, they might do it now. If they do, Albania can vassalize Serbia and kill Ragusa. If Ragusa doesn't strike, it is better to wait for them to ally someone and then conquer them. Taking out the rest of Serbia (if any is left) will be tricky - Albania will have to wait for the Ottoman warning to end and hope they don't renew it within a month.
Now Albania can fabricate claims on Dalmatia and Corfu, and while doing so improve relations with Austria in the hopes of gaining an alliance. If Austria is allied to Venice, Albania can resort to allying Poland instead and either wait for Austria or Venice to be dragged into a bloody war, or attack The Knights without a casus belli. If Albania gets lucky, Venice will be attacked by the Ottomans or the Mamluks, making them much easier to defeat.
Mothballing the whole navy is recommended, as it will be useless against Venice's much larger one (unless it got destroyed by the Muslims). It is best to attack Venice and drag them into the mountains before proceeding to besiege their forts. With their navy around it is impossible to siege Venezia, so getting the war goal quickly is crucial. Waiting for the ticking warscore to climb to 25 and for Venice to get war exhaustion is a good idea in this case. Dalmatia and Istria are members of the South Slavic (Croatian) culture group and so are important to take from Venice in the peace deal as they will be easier to core. These provinces are also adjacent to the Holy Roman Empire, which may allow Albania to join the HRE in the future. Corfu is a good province to go after next, optionally followed by Crete, Negroponte, and Naxos, depending on how much warscore the player has and how much aggressive expansion the player is willing to take on.
What to do next
Having secured a foothold in Yugoslavia, the player is now ready to move on to the more challenging task of the achievement itself. With the Ottomans being one of the strongest countries in the world, the main option is to focus first on the conquest of Iberia, the road to which runs through Naples.
The difficulty of taking Naples can vary greatly; Naples may have been released from their personal union under Aragon and left alone with no allies or they may be in a new union under Castile who has strong allies. Hungary and Austria tend to rival the senior partner of Naples, and Albania's (hopefully already) long-term alliances with them should make it easier to deal with the Italians. France may be another option (if they're not already allied with the Spanish), and with Albania's new size and military power securing an alliance with them should no longer be a problem - sometimes it is even possible to ally Tunis. It is very important to have a strong navy, because Aragon always does. Whoever rules the Mediterranean wins, and it is possible to trap one of Aragon's armies in Sicily with a stronger navy than theirs. If the French are involved in the war let them deal with Aragon, but promising them land is a bad idea when declaring war. The player needs all of Iberia for the achievement, which, in addition to the obvious Spanish and Portuguese provinces, includes Rousillon, The Canarias, Madeira, The Azores, and The Baleares.
Fabricating a claim on Calabria will give Albania access to Sicily, so it's best to do that first and only then claim the rest of the Neapolitan provinces. Calabria is also advised to be the goal in the first war. The player shouldn't take unclaimed Italian provinces - they're rich and will give too much aggressive expansion and will cost too much to core. Albania is better peacing out as soon as possible and beginning preparations for a second run at Naples by claiming the Sicilian provinces. When Albania attacks again Palermo should be considered as the goal, as it has a sea border with Sardinia. It is also a good idea to try taking The Baleares without a claim - the province has only 9 development and a sea border with every single province on the east coast of Spain.
Once Albania has the Baleares, everything is much easier - the whole of Aragon is ripe for the taking. The player still needs to maintain naval supremacy, but that shouldn't be much of a problem after the conquest of several Neapolitan provinces. Claiming all possible provinces is probably the best option; it doesn't really matter which provinces are acquired first since the player needs them all for the achievement. As before, no land should be given to the French if they're called in. The player should consider selecting all of Iberia as provinces of vital interest, and if France has any of these provinces it is best to take them first. Like Naples, the Spanish lands have high development and fast conquest will anger not only Aragon but also Castile, Portugal, and France. It is advised to take diplomatic / influence ideas for reduced aggressive expansion, faster relations improvement, increased diplomatic reputation, and reduced unjustified demands. When Valencia and Tarragona are conquered it is advisable to move the main trading port there and collect from the Genoa end trade node while sending all trade there.
After an initial hold of Spain is achieved, the strong Albanian armies should be able to slice through Castile like butter. France is still a useful ally, especially if Castile is allied to Burgundy (if they're still alive) or to Austria (if they somehow broke their alliance with Albania). The Castilian colonies shouldn't be much of a trouble either, and the Spanish might move their capital out of Europe if it's conquered. That is not Albanian business, as destroying Spain is not the goal - they just need to be driven off the peninsula. As before, wars should be ended as soon as the warscore allows taking all provinces the player has claims on. The islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria are not needed for the achievement, because they are not part of Iberia anymore. It will take about 4-5 wars to finish off Castile, although it is not necessary to do so - when Castile is small enough they can be vassalized and then fed the rest of the Iberian Peninsula to save on administrative points.
Taking on the Portuguese will be a lot easier if they're not allied to England. If they are, Albania will again need French help. If no such help is forthcoming it is best to keep an eye out for English transport navies dropping off armies in Iberia. If this happens, a sufficiently strong army will need to be moved to the province they're landing on. That army will need a commander with good maneuver to prevent any English leader from cancelling out the landing penalty. Albania will need a couple of wars against Portugal to finish them off, but it is not needed to completely eliminate them, because The Azores, Madeira and other Portuguese possessions outside of Iberia are not needed for the achievement. Improving relations with France and anyone else these conquests might have hurt is a matter not to be forgotten. If the rebels cause too much trouble, the player should consider releasing a couple of vassals, for example Galicia, Leon, Granada), and make them marches if their liberty desire is too high.
Choose your Caucasus
With the Italian and Iberian additions to the Albanian realm, it's time to turn to the Caucasus. Albania's position in the east Balkans leaves three main options for Caucasian conquest.
This is the option for players who are keen on destroying the Ottomans. This is the preferred option if the Ottomans still control Bulgaria, Greece, and Anatolia. It's also the way to go if the Ottomans control southern Hungary.
At this point Albania has become a superpower itself and as such is a worthy opponent for the Ottomans (and a valid rival). The usual allies of the Turks are Tunis and Crimea, and their relevance depends on Albania's allies. If the player allied Tunis before, then their alliance with the Ottomans might not hold. If that alliance remains, the player should consider seeking French help. Austria is also a valuable ally in any conflict with the Ottomans. If Albania is still allied to Poland with Lithuania, Crimea will likely rest in peace, but if not, Crimea can become a real pain - especially if they've grown over the years.
The Ottomans generally have a fairly manageable navy, so Albania may safely destroy the Ottoman fleet, block the Bosphorus, and siege all of Greece and Bulgaria. Claiming the Ottoman provinces is still recommended for reduced coring cost and local autonomy after conquest. The Ottoman army on the other hand is powerful and should be taken seriously. The Turks have a lot of manpower (if they haven't fought anyone strong lately) and will not go down easily.
Integrating Bulgaria and Greece should be pretty easy as the Ottomans don't tend to convert these provinces (even less likely if the Dhimmi estate controls the area). Bulgaria will be even easier to integrate as it has the same culture group as Albania. The Greek culture will probably become accepted eventually, but if not then waiting for Administrative technology level 20 is advisable, as Greece will gain cores on the whole region and can be released as a March and fed Greek culture provinces. Destruction of the Ottoman Empire should not be the goal, as the player only needs control of Anatolia to attack the Caucasus.
With Anatolia secured, the conquest of the Caucasus is a piece of cake. There are only two superpowers who might get in the way of this: Persia and Russia. If Persia is in control of some of the provinces, it's usually not a big deal. It might get messy if Persia has some strong allies in the east that are willing to come to their defense, e.g. Ming or Hindustan. If so then help of other superpowers will be advisable (or an attack on a small ally of Persia). If Russia has interests in the Caucasus, the conquest might get into some trouble as the Russians tend to grow to enormous sizes yet still manage to have some allies. The Russians are not to be trifled with, so strong allies are recommended here too - ideally Poland/Lithuania or the Commonwealth if it exists.
The option for those players who aren't afraid of stabbing some old friends in the back on the way to the goal. This is a viable option if the Ottomans do not control any Hungarian, Polish, or Moldovan provinces.
Along the way Albania has made many friends and enemies, and after the conquest of Iberia and southern Italy should have an ally in at least one of Tunis, France, Austria, Hungary, Poland, or Russia. With this many options, it's feasible to stab one of them in the back and take some of their land. If Albania is still allied to Hungary, this alliance will have to be abandoned for a greater cause. This option guides the player to the conquest of the Caucasus through the northern Black Sea. For that, claims will have to be fabricated on a couple of Hungarian provinces. If Hungary is still allied to Austria, Albania will need a strong ally, e.g. France, to take care of them. Not much needs to be taken from the Hungarians, but Austrian participation will make things a bit harder. Albania just needs to get to Moldavia and that means taking all provinces on the way, even if the player has no claims on them. If Wallachia still exists, then taking Temes from Hungary is enough - with this province the player can easily fabricate claims on and conquer Wallachia. If the player wishes to extend the Albanian realm further, taking the Croatian provinces from Hungary is a good option as Croatian is in the same culture group as Albanian and may even already be an accepted culture in Albania at this point in the campaign.
Once Albania has a border with Moldavia, the player can fabricate claims on their provinces. In the event that Poland has maintained their personal union with Lithuania allying Russia or Sweden is recommended, although the French can still help here. The target province is Bessarabia, but if Lithuania is fighting too, then the player should also take Yedisan and Ingil from them. Fighting Lithuania is not easy as they have wide borders and it takes a lot of troops to block them, so having an alliance with Russia and leaving this job to them makes things easier. Poland alone is also much easier to advance through in a wall formation, blocking any enemy stacks in the way. After conquering Bessarabia it is possible to claim Theodoro and Crimea (maybe also Yedishkul). The problem is that Crimea usually allies the Ottomans as they have the historical friend modifier. In the event of a Crimean-Ottoman alliance, the player should follow the strategy outlined in the Turkish feast option. If not then Crimea alone is weak and often has pretender rebels who make them even weaker. Taking Mantrega (or the closest province to it if Crimea doesn't own it) and all provinces on the way is advised. Once Mantrega is in Albanian hands, conquering the Caucasus shouldn't be too hard.
Pain & Gain
The option for those players who seek the fastest way to the achievement. A good option if no superpower controls any of the Caucasian provinces or is allied to/guaranteeing any of the Caucasian minors (Qara Qoyunlu excluded).
If the Caucasian minors hold all of the Caucasian provinces (and are independent) then there's really no need to mess with anybody else. The simple approach of attacking one of them with no casus belli can save unnecessary bloodshed. If Albania reached Diplomatic technology level 23, then this is even easier as it is possible to declare using the Imperialism casus belli. Regardless of the method used, declaring a war and conquering at least one province from a Caucasian minor is very easy. After that, proper claims may be fabricated on neighboring provinces and the whole area can easily be conquered. The player should keep in mind that the Caucasian provinces will be more expensive to core as the Caucasian traditions give +50% core creation cost, so Administrative focus is advised.