Aachen is a Free Imperial City in the west of the Holy Roman Empire. As a landlocked minor nation close to Burgundy, they might not have one of the best chances at success, but an advanced form of government and their maxed Plutocracy and Free Subjects policies do give them an edge in technology and trade.
|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Administrative Republic|
|Number of provinces||1|
|Center of Trade||None|
Aachen's first priorities should be to promote Free Trade and then Centralization. Both will increase revenue. Innovative/narrowminded starts neutral, which is fairly good compared to most nations. While it might seem attractive for a small landlocked nation to go innovative early, do not forget that there are some nice religious decisions for Christian nations (Pass Conventicle Act, Pass De Heretico Comburendo Act) that require you to be slightly narrowminded.
If your first slider move is towards Free Trade, remember to send your merchants to COTs before you do the slider move, since one of the possible effects of that move is losing 3 (unsent) merchants.
Early on, any tech-boosting advisor is a very good investment. Consider hiring a Treasurer, Statesman or Natural Scientist. A Master of Mint will help you to invest in trade without causing too much inflation.
Your first research goals are to get a National idea and to boost your trade. So research Government and Trade, and ignore the other branches for the time being: You don't have a navy, production income is massively overshadowed by trade, and your army will be negligible for some time to come. As a One Province Minor, you acquire technology faster then larger nations. Your trade income can allow you to race ahead of your neighbours. If your land is 5+ levels ahead of the Holy Roman Emperor, you may be able to win a war and acquire HRE territory.
As a republic, Aachen can not get involed in royal marriages and personal unions. You might however consider joining one of the Trade Leagues. The Hansa are relatively nearby, so it would make sense to pick them.
Concerning allies, avoid Liege, Luxembourg and Brabant. Burgundy has missions to conquer them, and you wouldn't stand a chance. It would be safer if you can get a friendship with a more distant two- or three-province imperial state, like Hesse, Brunswick or Thuringia. But even without allies, you will still enjoy the protection of the Holy Roman Emperor and of nations that will guarantee you. Nonetheless, Burgundy and France can be mortal threats to a tiny nation like Aachen. Watch the way the winds are blowing,
If you are lucky, Claims on Our Rivals! could give you some cores on neighboring provinces. This basically gives you free territory, with cores and no penalties. If you don't get cores, it's best not to expand aggressively. Should you get involved in a war, vassalize and take the ducats of your enemies instead of annexing them, since there are severe penalties for owning uncored land in the Holy Roman Empire.
Consider taking the Expand The Bureaucracy decision. The additional magistrates can be used to train high-level advisors, which other nations will be eager to hire. A 5 or 6 star advisor will net you around 15 ducats, a nice boon for a small nation like Aachen.
As an Administrative Republic, you will be able to select a new ruler every 4 years. Early on, you will want a 'Bureaucrat' candidate most of the time. These have increased Administrative skill, which will help your trade. If you expect to fight a war soon, you might want to select a 'Military' candidate. These tend to have higher General stats, making it easier to win against equally sized enemies. Alternatively, you might want to select a ruler with high Diplomacy skill because they increase the likelihood of Claims on Our Rivals! and Boundary Disputes.
Depending on how your game goes, you could take paths toward several goals:
- Expand toward the sea and become a colonizer
- Vassalize 3 or 4 electors, switch to become a Monarchy and become Holy Roman Emperor
- Save money for a Center of Trade and perhaps become a Trade League of your own
- Forming Germany would also be a plausible long-term goal, although most of the required cores are on the far side of Germany.