This weekend, most of my game time was spent playing the new expansion pack for Victoria 2, A House Divided. The title mainly refers to a new scenario which centers on the US Civil War. This is actually only a small part of what was included, and I found the other features much more compelling.
To start the game, I chose the Ottoman Empire in 1836. They start out as one of the Great powers, and are in a prime location for conflict. Austria and Russia on one side, and a lot of smaller unaffiliated nations on the other.
Sphere's of Influence play a major role in the game, and its expansion. By adding countries to your SoI, you improve your economy, your possible alliances and your Prestige. You also are the protector of anyone in your sphere, so if they are attacked you can go to war.
In my game, I aggressively wen after North African nations like Tunis, Tripoli and Algeria, using my military to add them to my SoI. In the case of Tunis, I installed a puppet government as well. The expansion provides a nice way of declaring war called: War Justification. Basically, I can manufacture a reason to fight over time. If discovered, I'll get Infamy. If not, I'll just get a casus belli allowing me to declare war with no penalty.
On the western side of the empire, I am taking a more peaceful approach. Through Diplomacy, I've added Persia and Abu Dhabi to my sphere. My goal is to be the protector of the entire Middle East, while keeping the traditional colonial powers out. You can see my SoI in green.
Egypt will be a bit more challenging to bring under control. I plan on retaking much of what was lost to Egypt soon, now that I can call my entire Sphere to help. Luckily, Egypt has no allies. While I may control a lot of land, my military is pretty weak compared to the European powers.
Enjoying the game quite a bit, nice change from MMO's. I'm still playing them of course, but you know what they say about variety.