“Never mess with the Almoravids” is the lesson that I have learned in 1116 when my growing Granada tried to press a weak claim to a province in Northern Africa only to get attacked by more than 8,000 troops from the Islamic rulers.
I could field just under 2,000 men of my own and after calling my one ally, obtained through a cunning marriage, I managed to add another two armies, both of about 1,500 people.
The trouble with allies is that they do what they want during a war and I quickly lost three provinces, including Granada, while my armies lay shattered.
Even a quick influx of mercenaries was unable to stem the tide of Almoravids who were flooding the southern Iberian Peninsula, so I decided to cut my losses and decided to sue for peace under their terms.
It was a bitter strategy pill to swallow but I had no way of defeating my enemies and a prolonged war would have only made me even weaker in the long term.
But now my imagination was captured by the Almoravids and by the source of their military might, which up until to that point they had used sparingly, so I made another mistake in quick succession to seal the fate of Granada.
Allied with another Islamic caliphate centered on the area occupied by Portugal in the real world I launched a war against Castille, which dominates the center of the country.
It was a counter-Reconquista, if you will, but I made a big tactical blunder and two big armies, one close to 4,000 fighters big, were attacked separately by the proto-Spanish forces and defeated.
After a long conflict I was forced to give up and accept the fact that Castille was more powerful than I would ever become.
And then I decided to take a look at the Almoravids.