|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Feudal Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||8|
|Center of Trade||None|
|Other accepted cultures||None|
Austria is the largest of the German duchies during the setting of the game. There is nothing like inheriting countries with Austria. Can you beat back the Ottomans and contain France? Austria can become a great power by marriage and timely wars. There is nothing like inheriting. The key to success with Austria is to play the Emperor and the Papal Controller cards simultaneously. Controlling Pope helps to burn off Bad Boy quicker.
Holy Roman Empire
The new HRE mechanics in HTTT allows the Habsburgs to enter royal marriages and claim thrones. While Hungary and Bohemia are formidable rivals early on, a well planned personal union with one (or both!) can result in a much earlier replication of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It would be unwise to have more than one royal marriage if one wishes to use this tactic.
This will give you the strength to defeat most nations trying to annex small HRE border states (although it's likely some will be lost to France and Burgundy). If you can keep your Imperial Authority high enough, you can eventually unite most of the HRE without war, but with the decision that makes all HRE members vassals, some will oppose this and declare war, so be prepared. Burgundy especially is reluctant to give up its independence. Once the HRE is a hereditary title and you don't have to worry about winning votes, this is much easier.
Don't neglect asking countries around you whether they want to become your vassals, many of your neighbours just dream about such an opportunity like joining your glorious and powerful nation. Or you could just wait for the Imperial decision to become available.
After the Empire
After a while, Europe will start to get crowded as you start to bump up against the other big boys(Ottomans, Poland, France) When this happens you can take one of two options. The first option is to strike out on your own into the new world, colonizing in order to expand your empire. The other option is to roll over these other powers. If you have forming the Holy Roman Empire, even France is easy to defeat. Many of the strategies in the Germany strategy are applicable to the Holy Roman Empire.
Path of Colonization
Colonization with Austria is not possible early on. Your landlocked position in Central Europe makes colonization impossible without an Atlantic coast. Colonization is not a high priority as Austria, but if you don't get any colonies, you may get the 'Decline of Empire' event very often. The best targets for colonization are the Caribbean, Brazil, South Africa and the East Indies. The Caribbean and Brazil are rich in coffee, sugar and tobacco; South Africa has gold, ivory and slaves; the East Indies have spices. These areas are very rich, but become crowded later in the game. There are many "native" empires that can also be taken for easy riches. The Aztecs and Incans have vast amounts of gold, whilst India has rich, populous provinces.
Path of Conquest
If you want to go on the path of conquest you can go to the East or to the West. If you want to have an eternal war, go East, you will eventually come out in China if you keep digging through the Muslims and other north Eurasians. As you expand in this direction, it would be best to have Deus Vult and be Papal Controller. This will allow you to convert Orthodox and Muslim areas easily. An issue with the conquest path is that you will have Infamy like you would not believe. It is possible to have BB into the 80s if you are not careful about how fast you conquer. If you have strong alliances when this happens and a large enough military, it can be a godsend as you will get a free DoW on nearly every country that borders you, but since you have those alliances and that giant army, there is no reason why you cant vassalize your remaining neighbors after they get tired of the war, leaving the world open for the Lebensraum your Austrian heart has yearned for all along. If you successfully vassalize Europe, make sure that you spam gifts to them until you can get an alliance, then they will not revolt and even help you put down other revolts in your empire, not a bad thing when you are this big. If you get to this point, it becomes a moot point what you do from then on as you could not possibly lose a war unless the Ming controlled India, Japan, Korea, Manchuria, and the Timurids and even then it not not be so bad. Another option is to go West first, cutting down large powers before they get too hard to handle. France, England and Spain are the main candidates for this, although they would likely have started colonising by the time of the HRE's unification. By controlling Germany and France, the revived Empire of Charlemagne will be the most powerful nation in Europe.