|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Feudal Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||2|
|Center of Trade||none|
|Other accepted cultures||None|
Brunswick is a two-province minor in northern Germany. This guide is primarily for tips on how to form the Holy Roman Empire and take to global conquest from there.
While you might want to focus on the Land side of the appropriate slider, since you are small and relatively wealthy (doubly so with vassals pouring in the income), you might want to branch out into colonialism. After you've acquired a few vassals and annexed a province with sea access, you might explore - but you need plenty of Trade technology and a spot for a National Idea. Mind that you'll likely pick up a colony or two in the process of forming the HRE anyway, but much later.
- Empire or Germany?
Both are rather difficult to form, but the Holy Roman Empire grants more provinces. Mind you, you will likely become overextended for about fifty years following the formation of the HRE, due to the amount of noncores you inherit.
Centralize and Free your Subjects as fast as you can. Beyond that, you'll likely want to focus on Land and Quality. Mercantilism will be pretty good once you've captured a trading center. Aristrocracy vs. Plutocracy is more of a personal choice, but as a warmonger, you might want Aristocracy. Innovative vs. Narrowminded is pretty much the same - depends if you want Crusades, Conversion and Colonies or faster techs.
- You can form Germany.
- You're a member of the Holy Roman Empire.
- You're not a one-province minor.
- You're a two-province minor.
- The Emperor will banhammer you for unlawful acquisitions and wars.
- Your starting sliders are pretty terrible.
Early Game Strategy
The first thing you need to do is get some allies. Nations like Thuringia, Anhalt and Saxony - they are generally receptive. The point is to have allies who share borders with you, so you can form a block that can move armies without problems.
After you've acquired allies, produce some regiments. Five or six will do. Then, pick a fight with the Hansa. It won't be easy, but it's perfectly doable, and you'll probably fight Munster first - vassalize them after you've conquered the hell out of them. In fact, keep picking fights with people in your region and vassalizing them, as your infamy permits. Your goal is to have a block of allied vassals in northern Germany, preferably with as many electors as possible. Three electors are typically sufficient to have a good chance at gaining the imperial throne. Remember that even if you go to war with Poland or Austria or Bohemia, they likely won't be able to hurt you unless they directly border you or one of your allied vassals - the AI is pretty poor with military access.
When you've become the Holy Roman Emperor, reform the hell out of it, using all means possible.
Focus on Land and Government. Everything else is secondary. Since Brunswick starts heavily mercantilistic and has no trading centers, trading is going to be a chore, best skip it altogether. No navy also implies that you can skip that research branch. You don't produce anything especially valuable, so yeah - Land and Government.
Holy Roman Empire
You're a member, you can become Emperor. Vassalize the electors, as situation permits. After you've acquired the title, you can easily rack up some authority by reconstituting member states - you even have the CB for this. Just don't make the occupiers release their cores, because that way, they'll be able to reconquer the minors again, for which you'll get authority again when you reliberate them.
When you've passed the later reforms, gaining authority is going to be harder, but you can get a pretty good income from winning wars against foreign states, responding to member calls for aid and forcibly uniting the empire under your chosen religion. Of note is that releasing your own vassals doesn't count for more Imperial Authority, but you might need to do that anyway to forcibly reform their religion if they refuse to come along peacefully.
Note that you might acquire some colonies in the unification of the Empire.
Not very good, in brief. Wait until you've managed to annex a trading centre, otherwise chances are sending merchants is a fool's game. Lubeck seems the most obvious choice for annexation, once you repeatedly beat the Hansa, after which trading can will bring you some actual profits.
Make war on the minors, as circumstances permit. This means always having Casus Belli, to avoid imperial intervention, and carefully checking the loyalty cascade of each to prevent too many allies joining the other side in the war. Also be careful and see which allies will refuse to fight for you in a particular war, this can be crucial to victory. It is prudent to vassalize, rather than annexing, unless you happen to have gained some cores via a random event. Your allies/vassals are your primary source of military and economic strength - use them well.
The Hansa's alliance sphere is particularly ripe for the taking, if you can beat them. They are on the same power level, so expect a good fight.
Avoid war with France as much as possible, until you've got the Empire completely reformed. The other major powers you should watch out for are Bohemia and Poland, since they are close, and you might be bordering them via an ally. If you are, it often pays to manually call your allies to arms - carefully skipping those who would border the troublesome 400 pound gorillas.
One thing to keep in mind is that you'll likely become the Papal Controller after you form the Holy Roman Empire, and that can be very nice for some Crusades and Excommunications.