Games · Strategy Games

Europa Universalis IV: My British Empire

My last Europa Universalis IV post was a fair while ago, because I’ve spent what will be my last campaign in 1.19 playing as my home country, creating as big an empire as I find myself able to. I’m still quite a bit away in skill from doing a world conquest, I still made some mistakes in this campaign, mostly in the tactical side of the game, my army composition is never quite the best, I find it easy to forget to keep up in tech and manoeuvring armies on two (or more) sides of the world is incredibly difficult and multiple times in this campaign I ended up losing armies to paying attention to my wars against the Ottomans or Spain in Europe while some Bengalese took a liking to my sieging stacks in their land. Also I took basically no military ideas this campaign until the end so my troops were fairly bad at fighting, particularly as pretty much EVERY SINGLE AI NATION in this game took Defensive ideas which meant that low morale for my troops and long siege ticks (due to poor management of policies, I didn’t have an idea set which paired well, this was fine, this wasn’t meant to be a world conquest) meant I gave up doing as much world conquest as I could have done because it was so painful. But I did manage to get quite a lot of the map and I ticked off several country-generic achievements that means my list of potential achievements in the game will always be shorter now.

My original goal was to get all the British achievements and as many others as I could get from playing a fairly strong nation with the power to move a big navy around the place. In fact, the main achievement I’m sad I didn’t get was The Grand Armada, but I didn’t have as much of a stranglehold on trade as I liked to support that many heavy ships and towards the end of the game I fell behind in keeping my navy up to its force limit, I only had 500 ships total at any one time when my force limit managed to reach over 1000. And some of it would get destroyed and it just all gets rather hard to manage. I may just have to take a break before moving on to 1.20, or what will probably be 1.21 before I start a proper new campaign.

I started this campaign by dealing with what is, for a large country in EU4, a rather difficult start for England, largely because it’s not very peaceful or friendly due to a lot of country-specific events that put you on the back foot. It’s partly why I put off playing my home country for as long as I did, while I dealt with nations that have a slightly easier early game. One event in particular, The Surrender of Maine, is very hard to deal with. Now of course, England has to end up at war with France, but this particular event means you either lose a valuable starting province, which is of course unacceptable, or you go into an offensive war against France with no chance to call any allies in. I tried it a couple of times and wasn’t happy with my ability to win the war, so I restarted to try and get a more favourable first war outcome, as that would set the tone for the whole campaign. Only, on my third try, I waited and waited for the event to fire, but it didn’t. See, it can only fire before 1450, and that means there is a small chance of the French never asking for Maine back in any given campaign. This meant I could focus on eating up the Irish minors (with Leinster as a vassal to help me eat them) – Ireland was mine by 1460, and building up favours with Castile and Portugal to use in a war against France I was ready for. I also won my first war against Scotland, taking Lothian from them, and made inroads into Provence, who had been beating up on Brittany. And then I beat up on Brittany some more for good measure. So by the time I took on France I was equal or better in size to them. But first I had to deal with the Wars Of The Roses and the more interesting things in this campaign in the 15th century happened inside my empire, which I let fire in 1455 because I wanted to first get rid of Henry VI as quickly as possible before he could spawn an heir, and I was playing England, might as well experience their unique disasters. I chose Henry VII Lancaster over Edward IV York because he was slightly better, he had a good Henry VIII as an heir but after crushing the Yorks it turned out my destiny was to never get a Henry VIII, I had more Henrys throughout the campaign as heirs but none of them ever took the throne. I lost control of the rebel situation and a family known as the Wolfes spawned pretender rebels and beat my loyalist armies thoroughly. As Richard III Wolfe was a 5-6-1, I really wasn’t that bothered.

Back on the continent, Burgundy was weak and I took the chance to take Picardy from them, while someone gave me Armagnac back in a war against France I believe. Eventually, I was ready to take on France, crushing them with Castile, Portugal, and surprisingly, my new personal union partner Austria and I immediately took on the true prize, Paris, gaining myself One Night In Paris. I completely lucked out on getting Austria in a personal union, once I got that I knew this was going to be a good campaign. It’s the first time I can recall getting a really significant personal union, I haven’t played around with those mechanics all that much, especially not with larger European nations so I’m not so experienced with the mechanic, but my Austrian troops were always useful although they and my Hungarian allies (with a PU over Muscovy at the time) would often pull me into a war against the Ottomans which wasn’t so good. But eventually that wouldn’t be a problem. I got the Wolfes on the Castilian throne soon enough, where they would remain for the whole game, and once I integrated Austria about 1550, I picked up a new alliance with Poland, which would also remain for the whole game. I don’t like relying on AI allies but getting a power bloc of the Iberians, England and Poland-Hungary is too tempting. It meant every war we could crush France a bit more, the Ottomans would slowly get pushed back as they had to fight tons more troops every time. Denmark and the HRE could never really do that much, our bloc was superior.

I chose Exploration as my first idea group as my intention was to play a colonial game and try to recreate the British Empire as much as possible. I started by colonising some of the Lesser Antilles and setting up a colonial nation, which I decided to theme name after BJSC nations (and I managed to get them in every colonial region except Peru by the end which is an achievement for me), if you know what that is, you should not be surprised that I started with my own country, Séyetana, which is a name you should expect to see if I ever do a custom nation run at some point in the future and they had the Caribbean, based around Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. The Portuguese beat me to Cuba and Barbados but Barbados is a small island (sorry Rihanna) and Cuba was never a British thing. Neither was HISPANIOLA but hey, alt history. It’s now Britaniola. Or Séyetiola. I never decided.

I was starting to run into issues with aggressive expansion and admin coring on the continent so I decided to slow down (taking a few provinces like Orleans and Flanders here and there but no big wars, and forming Great Britain but that was a given) and play the relaxed colonial game. Richard III died and left Mary I (3-4-1) in charge, who was alright, but her heir Elizabeth was better (2-4-6). Now’s a good time to say I stayed Catholic for a time even though I wanted to go Protestant because I like it better. This was because I wanted to try for the historical event that gives you the historic Elizabeth I, even though it apparently requires a male king with no heir and she came to power after her sister but that’s by the by (it never fired but I did switch to Protestant at about the historical time once I figured it wasn’t firing). Mary ruled for almost 40 years before she let Elizabeth have a go, and then I started ruling on military tech. For about the only time in this campaign. Elizabeth’s heir was not much younger than her and also called Elizabeth, meaning I had Her Majesty herself on the throne in 1551 for six years. By this time I had landed at Roanoke around 1515 (where else?) which is absurdly fast colonisation for the British who didn’t in history really get started until the late 1500s and was fast colonising the east coast of America, as well as Quebec and the Gold Coast in Africa. In 1528 I reached the Cape in Africa, always a good province to rush to, and started looking into the Indian Ocean. As the jewel in the crown of the empire, one of my major goals here was to get India and get the achievement for that. Around this time, I successfully passed 11 issues with my English Monarchy and got Voting Streakan achievement I imagine is far easier to pick up as England than anyone else given their early access to Parliament. Back over in the new world, Hendinia (Canada) and Persephonia (East America) had formed and I was well on my way to getting Aelandor (La Plata) up. Portugal was focusing on Mexico, what remained of France was trying in Colombia and the Spanish already had a massive foothold in Brazil. In Africa, I conquered Ashanti and Dagbon to give myself British Niger, approximately modern-day Ghana and Ivory Coast. I’d expand in there further but adding the inland provinces for states (I was never short on states so I welcome the reduced 1.20 number of states) and leaving the trade company regions for trade companies. This might have been why I was so overflowing with states, I wouldn’t add anything in a trade company region to a state, or at least limit it, so later, my Indian conquests would almost all be territories. We’ll get to that.

George I William Wolfe (6-4-0) came to the throne and had his colonists found a colony on a dodo island in the Indian Ocean. Over in the Indian subcontinent, the dominant power in the south was Bahmanis, with Vijayanagar reduced to almost only Sri Lanka. I swooped in, full annexed them and released Madurai in its place, I’d have had more cores as Vijayanagar but I preferred the colour of Madurai and I can rarely resist diverse tags, plus, I wasn’t going to keep it for very long. By this time I had expansion so my colonies were growing fast, and Quality because I thought the ship thing would actually pair quite well in this campaign for once. Then Adminstrative because obviously, the core costs were getting too much. I took a small bit of land off Bahmanis in the first war and returned Madurai’s cores, not that much, but enough. Over in Europe, France were getting beat up on enough that I took their colonies in Colombia and a new state, Aeroche was born. And I grabbed Holland from the Dutch. My main concern in Europe was that my Austrian now integrated lands were inaccessible to me except in war. I connected them up by the end but that was like 1780 when it didn’t matter anymore. Wien would always get sieged and when Poland and Hungary kept pulling me into the wars against the Ottomans I would barely participate (except sometimes sending my huge navy into the fray because that was fun). I also circumnavigated the world first around 1600 with said huge navy, gaining myself Magellan’s Voyage and because I didn’t have Colonial Management yet, pressed that button on three of my colonies. I had been working on development and got all the provinces in England to 25 development each for An Industrial Evolution at around 1630 too. That was also a major goal, get all of the British specific achievements so I won’t have to come back to it unless Paradox adds another one like they did with Portugal. But then Portugal’s probably my favourite nation in EU4 so I don’t mind going back to them at some point in the future.

Over in Asia, I had warred on Pegu so had a province there, I had given most of my Indian provinces to Madurai but took one for myself, and began annexing them. I declared war on Ayutthaya, took their capital, split their country in half, and then left them alone, cruelly, in three pieces, for the rest of the game. I had other stuff on my mind, okay! Makassar also fell but I had competition in Indonesia for colonisation with the Mamluks, who were exodusing themselves from Egypt with both Exploration AND Expansion as the Ottomans swept into their lands. I believe the Mamluk capital finished at Hawaii and I only didn’t wipe them out and clean them up because towards the end they were guaranteed by another nation (Warsangali, who were unsung stars of this campaign compared to how they normally do, they actually ended the game as a Great Power) and they were annoying to attack. But we’ll get to that. I began colonising Australia, I often get it because the AI doesn’t priorities it highly (as it should historically to be fair) and I’m very drawn to that big landmass. Jadakissnia was formed pretty soon after.

Hungary lost the PU over (now) Russia and immediately almost died, I broke the alliance before they did that though, staying with Poland, who took advantage and formed the Commonwealth. I continued to beat up on Bahmanis, took more of West Africa, took the western half of Madagascar from Antemoro, the Malagasy victor of this campaign. William IV (why do two name monarchs count their regnal numbers twice, this may be how it works in Sweden but it doesn’t work this way here Paradox!!) took the throne from George I William, though I suppose this means I technically did have a Henry VIII even though I didn’t because William IV’s second name was Henry. France was dead as even though I hadn’t conquered SE France yet, a Provence reappeared somehow and swept aside the French, I sadly didn’t even get to strike the killing blow. Then, because I am sensible, I took Maritime Ideas. I wanted to try them and while they didn’t do much for me, they were… okay. At least I didn’t double down and do Naval, I had more pressing concerns when I was trying to conquer as much as possible later on, although when I started to lose naval battles due to laziness of building ships I almost wished… nah. Can’t go that far.

Like with the Wars Of The Roses, I intentionally let the English Civil War fire, because there wouldn’t be another campaign where I’d get to see how it played out, and I let it be pretty historical. I sided with the Parliamentarians even though I am a dirty monarchist (kind of, I don’t care that much in a modern context but I like regnal numbers and history so yay divine right) because I planned to put the monarchy back in power. Oliver Cromwell won of course and I let him be a Lord Protector for the remainder of his natural lifespan while I continued to eat Bahmanis. Then when the time was up, I wish I knew that the ‘Richard Cromwell’ person you chose to replace him was going to become the king instead of what seems to me the more natural choice of inviting someone from the old dynasty back, as, you know, what happened in history. Because that doesn’t seem very ‘let’s have the king back’, it seems to me more like the dictatorship that Cromwell was doing. There’s a subtle difference. And more importantly it meant that I ended up with a guy named… Guy as king. Guy Hyde… from the fireworks. However it wasn’t all bad as Guy’s son was called Alfred, which meant I got to check whether Paradox had been clever with their regnal numbers, and they had! This Alfred was Alfred II. Now, if a real-life English king called Alfred ever came to the throne, I don’t think it’d ever happen because of this question, but the current English/British monarchy’s regnal numbers only start from William I, we know this because while there were three reigning kings called Edward who ruled England, the Edward I was the Longshanks of Braveheart in the late 1200s, when if they were following the true numbers, he would be Edward IV and we’d currently be on Edward XI for the guy who abdicated in 1936. Which I think seems more logical but it’d be too confusing to change it now. Anyway, that means that if any future king of England were to be Alfred, I doubt he would be Alfred II, even though Alfred The Great was an awesome leader and definitely a true British hero (as far as we know). But still, it’s nice to see that Paradox has done their research. I may have to playtest England and check Ethelred, Athelstan or Edmund. Or even Canute. Or I could just look in the files.

I went on a tangent (and I should also mention an awesome 4/3/4/3 female general I got by event, lived for at least 40 years, a very long time, and helped me loads with many wars around this point). Alfred II definitely lived up to his namesake for he, a 5-1-3, oversaw a huge burgeoning of British power, so huge that a coalition of Indian nations like Gujarat, Delhi and Bengal, and HRE states and Venice (who was the only Italian city worth anything left at this point). I thought I was safe with my allies, I had ditched Spain because they were getting rival-worthy, and they still had the Wolfes, I had tried to claim the throne back in the day but it never worked out in my favour sadly. Even so I’d still fight on Spain’s side as they were still allied to the Commonwealth and the Portuguese against the Ottomans. But Venice declared a coalition war. And because my troops were spread out all over the world, AI allies are useless compared to coalition death stacks that gang up on you and have no end, I actually lost this in the end, after a huge period of fighting to try and desperately grab Venice. I did and managed to reduce my loss to ‘only’ releasing Flanders and Ceylon. Which I got right back after I started threatening war on Brabant (the emperor) who got to Flanders first.

Alfred died and it was time for Octavius (apparently my naming system got messed up or maybe once you become an empire names like Augustus and Octavius find their way into your ruler names for some reason, I see this quite a lot with AI nations) and Octy would rule for 60 years. Imperialism was here, so it was time for me to grab as much as I could and as many achievements as I could. I got Four For Trade without even trying for it by assigning everything in India to trade companies while I could do that without repercussions, thanks 1.20, I got AAA Credit by seeing my finances and looking around for a nation with that much debt, thanks Saxony. I got Just Resting In My Account as I’d never corrupted officials before. The late game can get a little messy so I’ll tour the world after I’ve finished up my ruler spiel, after Octavius died I had a bunch of old heirs, Ernest Augustus and Frederick Augustus who didn’t last long, and then I finished the game with a little shit (a 3-3-4 shit) called Maximilian. I feel like I didn’t quite end the game with English monarch names.

Over in the New World it was just a quiet passive-aggressive colonial race with myself and Portugal for North America, who had broken our alliance of 100 trust for a negative modifier for my opinion of them, some event they had. Hendinia and Persephonia ended the game off huge after I vassalised and annexed Iroquois in the midgame and kept filling in the gaps for them, I had my settler buffs so high I was always falling behind removing colonists from nearly completed colonies and sending them off to new ones, sometimes the original trip took about 50% of the time it took to get the colony completed. In an early war against Spain I took their stuff in Alaska and north California and created Trifoski and Terra Avium, then moved into Louisiana and created Harmonica. In the final war which we’ll come to, I took a bunch of Louisiana solely for the purpose of making Harmonica’s name look nice. I spent so long frantically colonising to connect two halves of Harmonica up, from west to east to connect at Minnesota, only to conquer all the way out to Dakota and Upper Missouri. I didn’t even really want Dakota.
Down in Mexico I picked on Xiu, who Portugal hadn’t crushed and created New Lexico. I wanted a part of Mexico for that BJSC nation alone. Sadly Séyetana mostly remained static, I already had the ‘all of the Caribbean’ achievement so didn’t bother there. In South America, I released Ramrynia from provinces I took from Spanish Brazil, made their adjective Cheap, which is amusing if you know the in-jokes but even without it the Cheap Treasure Fleet and the Cheap War Of Conquest is quite amusing. Aelandor and Aeroche were dominant and I declared war on lots of natives (which was always fun as my slaves vassals just cleaned up without me having to do anything) but the centre of the continent ended up belonging to the Iberians.

Over in Africa, I took a bit more to the east of Niger, into Yao and Oyo, and colonised all of South Africa, and most of Madagascar. I made a bit of an inroad into the Horn Of Africa, getting Aden, which after threatening Hormuz from Persia and picking up Malacca, netted me Trade Hegemon. Warsangali, having taken the place of Ethiopia, were really quite strong though and forced me to white peace in the second war after I overestimated them. My last few ideas, Humanist, Influence and then finally Offensive left me a bit on the back foot when it came to vital military tech in the late game. So I had some of the Horn of Africa but not all of it. I never tried attacking Kilwa for some reason, I feel I should have done that to get my trade up, I bet most of it was being lost in Zanzibar.

In India I pushed hard against Bengal, taking all their level 8 forts as soon as possible, Delhi and Khandesh, reducing them to nothing. I had Marathas as a vassal but soon integrated him as the achievement doesn’t allow for vassals. A war with Persia and Mong Yang and I had the borders I needed for Master Of India by 1790.

Over in the East I took all of Brunei, Ternate, Tidore (who were big colonial powers and had beaten me to parts of Australia), warred against Siak and Malacca to build a subject up, and then for kicks I decided to get one final achievement and go for Japan, which was really undefended. I took half of it in one war and half in another, getting The Rising Sun once all was cored. Something tells me with more Asian provinces that this won’t be so easy in newer patches but I did almost lose it to rebels when I shipped my troops home for the big European war. And I did lose lots of Brunei to rebels but I managed to clean most of it up. Forts getting deleted cost me. I’m not the best EU4 player. And by the end some of Tidore declared independence too. It is so hard holding a massive empire even with Humanist ideas, I am going to dread WC. I do want to do it but, maybe I just need to pick a better nation that isn’t so reliant on sea stuff for its ideas. Even with that I fell behind in navy as I prioritised money on the army and actually began losing naval battles. But I did build enough light ships to go aggressively protect in Genoa and Venice and get All Your Trade Is Belong To Us, albeit not quite in the controlling manner that that achievement indicates.

Back in Europe I took some of Switzerland, ended the game with all of France and a client state in Provence named Bellamia, one last BJSC nation (and the first client state I can remember creating).

Then it was time for the big war against Spain. Last time I’d isolated them from Portugal but this time I wanted to take them both on. Commonwealth would join me and they were really making huge advances against the Ottomans, having taken Constantinople so I thought this would be fine. Only… while I’d been fighting on the other side of the world I’d ran into constantly getting the military point cap so I’d turned 4 policies on and forgot about them. So I was two techs behind. 29 to 31. That’s very significant. I bet they were ahead of time on 31 but still, I was not expecting that and for a few years I was behind. I was so behind that I even tested moving away from a Constituitional Monarchy to an Absolute one to get the Nobility estate, something I’d been missing for some military points. This did give me an event that bounced me back but did something weird with my parliament seats. I wasn’t paying attention to parliament at this point anyway, who needs to do that?
Anyway, after much hardship, I took provinces from Spain in the New World as detailed before, and called a finish on this campaign. My second campaign I’ve played to 1821 and I think I recreated a good looking British Empire here, with a large portion of the territories (and a bit more) that the real-life empire conquered by that time.

Now onto 1.20, next EUIV post probably due in May or beyond.

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