Castille is the largest nation in the Iberian Peninsular and the easiest to form Spain with.
|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Feudal Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||17|
|Center of Trade||Andalucía|
Heir to the Throne
The biggest difference in Castillian early strategy from IN to HttT is due to the introduction of specific Casus Belli. It is no longer enough to have one, it also needs to be a good one. Conquest, Reconquest and Subjugation are some of the best CBs, as they help you keep your Infamy low. Holy war and Excommunication are great too: Granada/Morocco are often the objective of a Crusade and Aragon often gets herself on the wrong side of the papacy by waging war in Italy. Warnings and guarantees let you join the war as a defender, but you get full infamy at the peace table. As you need multiple wars to conquer Granada, try to "save" the annexation for when you have a low BB score.
Another strategy to deal with Aragon from the start is to form a Personal Union with them. They start with no heir so ask them for a Royal Marriage before you unpause (it is very likely they will accept; don't ask for royal marriages with other countries until you finish with Aragon because claiming the throne will hurt your relations with countries with whom you have a royal marriage). Claim their throne and then declare war using the Claim Throne casus belli. While you wait to declare war raise an army of 20.000 troops so you can crush them easily (with any luck, they are already at war with Navarra so they will be busy with them). Claiming their throne costs you prestige but forming a personal union and asking additional terms at the peace treaty (renouncing their claims, for example) will skyrocket your prestige. After that, it is important that you manage the PU to the point where you inherit Aragon.
1399 - 1420: Reconquista
In the first years you should unite the Iberian peninsula under your rule. The -20 reputation bonus from the Reconquista mission is very useful. In order to gain free casus belli against Portugal (allied with England) you should ally with France and against Aragon you should guarantee Navarra. I'd hold off initially on your first war against Granada (tempting as it is to hit them right away) because Aragon often (usually) attacks Navarra within the first couple of years - make that your first war. You should be able to get 4 provinces from them (maybe 5) and trash their army. Also consider fabricate claims spy missions to generate CB. Of course you should warn Portugal and Aragon. I allied with Portugal early on; it kept me from fighting a two front war for my first war with Aragon (later on you will want to fight both at once, but mostly likely not the first time). As a bonus, when they (inevitably) fail to honour the alliance, you get a CB against them. You'll need three wars each against Portugal and Aragon (hopefully doubling up on them after the first war), two on Granada, and one on Navarra (they may ally with Portugal at some point giving you another two for one). You'll still end up with a moderately high BB score after the Reconquista (I was around 12), but it's worth it. Aside from uniting your cultural provinces, gaining a lot income (in the long run) and a ton of manpower (immediately), you knock out one of your biggest colonial rivals. Finally, you'll gain enough provinces to get the option to form an Empire, very worthwhile. And 50 years down the road, you'll be able to form Spain (the benefits aren't huge but still kind of cool).
Extra tips for Whole World Mod
Here are some easy ways to unite the whole of the Iberian peninsula in Whole World Mod. This does require some luck, but most of the patterns here seem to happen more than once. Start the game off by declaring war on Granada and guaranteeing Navarra. Spend your money on extra soldiers and on good advisors, if you find some. If you're lucky, Aragon will get the mission to vassalize (rather than annex) Navarra. I don't know if your being at war with Granada helps this, but seeing that the AI is rather opportunistic, I think Aragon will be more likely to declare war on Navarra if you're already busy. Quietly finish your war with Granada while Aragon wins theirs, make sure they make peace with Navarra by vassilizing them. After that, deal with them and make a peace deal in which you seize as many provinces as possible, don't mind the aesthetic view of it. Then, send a spy to Navarra to fabricate claims, declare war and annex them, while you reduce Aragon to an OPM. If you're lucky, Aragon will ally with Portugal, so fabricate claims, declare war on Portugal and if Aragon follows, you'll have the beautiful city of Barcelona under your control in less than ten years after the game's start. I conquered Portugal by simply declaring war each five years, hopefully they won't form any dangerous alliances.
Completing the reconquista gives you 50 army tradition in WWM, you can use this to deal with France (they start with a core on one of the Aragonese provinces), since during these first years, your army will have been the main focus of your interests and yours will be able to match even the BBB's forces. Continue the reconquista by taking some land from Morocco, I personally took all of their western coast line and I colonized the adjunct province of Rio d'Oro, for culture spreading. Whatever you wish to do, thanks to the effects of the reconquista mission, you'll be able to become a land and naval power right at the beginning of the game.
You're Castille, it's not like any of this is going to be a huge challenge, but sometimes it's fun to play the steamroller. For National Ideas see the National Idea review for the usefulness and interconnections that can prove useful.
- Italy - the usual strategy - use guarantees, warnings, a strategic alliance or two to go to war without big stability hits. There's no one right way to do it, it will depend on how things evolve in Italy. You want the northern and central provinces more than the south, unless you want the south for historical reasons.
- Flanders - Historically close to the Spanish Netherlands and eliminates colonial threats
- Africa - Easy expansion into Heathen provinces using Holy War
- Aztec empire - A very useful money source, to boost a flagging economy
This will be especially easy without Portugal. Nothing special here in terms of strategy. You want Azores, of course, and with Portugal out of the way they can't steal it from you with that cheap little mission. You can also colonize Bermuda pretty early with a little naval technology and a couple of the advisors that extend your colonization range. You don't absolutely need it, but it will give you a lot more options for the second stage of colonization. The sooner the better, not so much to beat everyone else to the new world (you will anyway), but the sooner you get cores on your first wave of colonization, the sooner you can start the second wave.
Castille is, generally speaking, an easy country to play as. They have a good position, a strong economy, and a number of places to expand. It is extremely easy for them to become a colonial power, and they can become dominant in Europe as well. Basic goals for Castille are:
- Expulsion of the Moors (Granada) and consolidation of its territory.
- Dominance over Aragon, either by personal union or by annexation.
- Formation of Spain by fulfilment of above goal.
Good national ideas for Castille are Quest for the New World (to build a colonial empire), followed by Deus Vult (so that you don't lose stability when attacking Indians in America and Moors in your neighbourhood). Set maximum tolerance for Muslims, and when you've conquered Granada (and maybe some of the North African countries) and converted the mainly Muslim regions to Catholicism, set maximum tolerance for pagans since you'll probably want to conquer Mayas, Incas, Zapotecs and Aztecs once you start colonising.
Opening Strategy: 1453-1500
The first few years as Castille are generally quite simple. The first thing to do is change your domestic policies: I would either recommend that you shift the slider towards plutocracy by one move or to move towards narrowminded. The first option is better in the long run, as for Castille to flourish it needs a healthy balance between land and sea, production and trade. The second option, however, can be good in the early game, as it allows you to develop the Canary Islands more quickly, convert your gains in the south to Catholicism sooner, and also, once the Quest for the New World begins, you'll be in a better position to colonize all those new territories. This decision is up to the player: if you're not interested in colonization, then don't go for the second one, but, otherwise, it's a tricky decision that can have an effect on your performance in the early game. When you receive slider choices in the future, my recommendations are centralization, narrowminded and free trade.
Now, once this is done, I suggest an immediate attack on Granada. They will be unprepared, and will have no alliances to protect them, and your armies are already larger than theirs. This will obviously have negative effects, but shouldn't take too long to remedy, so it is my opinion that you attack Granada immediately. War strategy should be quite simple: move both your armies to Toledo, merge them and appoint a general. Then, face the Moors head on (their army should be much weaker than yours) and slowly take their provinces by sieges. You should move your navy, with an admiral appointed, to box in Granada by occupying the Gulf of Almeria. Once you control all their provinces, take Gibraltar, Almeria and as many ducats as possible in the peace settlement.
Now, you should basically build up for a while, colonize the Canaries, form royal marriages and alliances (Aragon is a good option), build more troops, etc. until the truce with Granada expires. Now, crush Granada for good in another war. It's quite likely that Granada will now be in an alliance with Morocco. This shouldn't cause too much difficulty: prevent them from even getting to Iberia by blocking off the Straights of Gibraltar with your navy. Annex Granada, and then, if you are at war with Morocco, march your troops over the straights, into Tangiers. From here on, its should be quite straightforward: just attack their armies and siege their cities. Once you feel you've done enough, take some provinces in a peace settlement: any deal is a good deal, and you shouldn't have too much difficulty with revolts if you have your tolerance to Muslims set on full, as recommended. A very useful province to take is Tangiers, as, with both it and Gibraltar in hand, you have complete dominance over who can enter and exit the Mediterranean. One final thing to watch out for here: despite being on high relations with them, I have had Portugal declare war on me during the Moroccan invasion, as they wanted their hands on the Canaries. Either have an alliance with them to try and avoid the issue, or keep troop stationed on their border, as a contingency in case they do decide to attack.
What you need:
- Quest for the New World idea - to hire explorers and conquistadors
- 2 Carracks - as you don't probably want to have your fleet sunk by pirates
- 3 Cogs - To carry your soldiers across the ocean
- 3 units of Latin Knights - their shock attack is what you need to get rid of natives
- a conquistador - to lead your cavalry to the unknown
- an explorer - to lead your fleet
- at least 120 gold pieces - to pay for the colonization
- 5 colonists - to have somebody colonize the new land
Join up your cavalry, set your conquistador to lead them and put them all on your ships. Join your ships into one fleet, set your explorer as the admiral (you have to do this in port, can't do when your fleet is on sea). Sail to the Canaries, and from there straight to the Caribbean. Use your minimap to find its location in Terra Incognita, then just right click. You should see an arrow showing the direction the ship will sail.
When you're there, find Cuba or Hispaniola, unload your army there and tell your ships to sail back to Canaries. Use your army to attack natives, kill them all (you need to attack them a few times), it will rise your chance to colonize the land. When the spot is empty, you are ready to send your colonists in. Sometimes they succeed quickly, sometimes they can't colonize an island for years. A good monarch and good sliders set can rise your chances here. High stability is helpful too. When you have a colony established (I chose Guantanamo on Cuba, you should go for the one with highest chances for success), send your ships that were repairing on Canaries back to the new world. Use your new colonies as the base of operations, place where you can repair your fleet and rest your troops if natives wound them too much.
Now discover all the islands in the Caribbean but don't kill the natives before you're ready to send a colonist in, you don't want to ease things to your opponents. How to colonize the islands quickly? Always kill the natives, employ advisors that give you a bonus to the number of colonists per year, go for narrowmindness and free trade with your sliders, be lucky to get a monarch with high administration skill. Be careful to keep your stability at very high level. Develop 3 or max 4 colonies at a time until they are cities, 10 level one colonies give less cash than one city. More important, a city after a few years can become your core province meaning that it will be able to produce ships and troops to reinforce your operations in the area. You can use your new colonies as a base of operations to colonize further into new world. I usually go for as much of the Caribbean as possible. I also like to control all the islands around the continent. It's very handy later in the game to have a base on Bahamas or Falklands, so don't hesitate to sacrifice a colonist or two for those places. In early colonization you shouldn't colonize anything that is not producing valuable resources, it's a waste of time to colonize grain and fish provinces (except those strategically placed islands which I mentioned above). You want to have as many provinces producing coffee, sugar, cotton and tobacco. When they become cities, they produce more than most of your cores back in Spain.
If you get bored with Americas, you may go for bits of Africa too. I like to get control of everything uncolonised around the Ivory Coast, there's a number of very good provinces placed close together. In Africa natives are real pain, it is easiest kill them before you can even dream of sending anybody in. Don't forget the islands around Africa, Cape Verde, St. Helena, all will come useful in the time you least expect that. It's also very good to have South Africa on your side, I took all the provinces of RPA (especially the one producing gold!), to have a good base of operations when I decide to get India. There are also two very good islands next to Madagascar, one of them is Mauritius. They both produce sugar, they both have very high growth rates, they both are well strategically placed. The only problem with them is that it takes a year until your colonist gets there. But it's worth waiting, especially if you plan having India.
Conquest of the Aztec Empire
What you need:
- Have their land discovered - your conquistador can travel through their territory unharassed, use that to uncover all the land you're about to own.
- Have honorable reputation and be safe from Aragon and Portugal - when you take over the Aztecs, countries around you will jump at you provided you don't have good relations with them. Go for a few royal marriages, send gifts, buy yourself some time.
- Have Deus Vult national idea - it allows you to attack the Aztecs without a stability hit, very handy, especially when you are colonizing heavily. So you should stop all your other research and invest all the money you can afford into getting level five government tech. Believe me, it pays off.
- 12 to 16 units of cavalry in armies of 4k - you can do that with 8k if you're lucky and have good generals, don't hesitate to invest in at least one. If you happen to have a conquistador or two, you should use them here too. Makes things MUCH easier.
- Tolerance to Pagan set to max. You don't want them to revolt just after you annex them, do you?
- It helps to have at least one core province somewhere in the New World as you can train your troops there, without having to ship them from Europe. It is not required but makes things much easier.
Land your armies to the south of their empire (Honduras) and have the third (and fourth if you're such a coward) army ready on ships next to the Yucatán peninsula to backstab them where they least expect. There are 3 Central-American Indian factions allied to each other. Declare war on the Aztecs, they are usually allied with both other factions and also, if you proceed the way I propose, will be the last you annex. It's important to declare war on those that you're going to annex as the last, your war ends with a truce when you annex those you've declared it on and you don't want to wait all those years before you can proceed with your conquest.
Now you can attack. Ever heard of blitzkrieg? Do it. You don't need to siege as they don't have any forts built. Your cavalry beats their primitive infantry without a problem, so the battles aren't very challenging, especially with good commanders. If there's too many natives in one stack and your one of your armies fights with them for too long, drop everything you do with your other armies and send them to help the losing one. You can lose a province or two, but routing their biggest army is far more important than a province you can control again in a matter of seconds. So you go and mark their land in yellow stripes as quickly as possible. When first faction is all occupied, you annex them the same moment their last province falls and proceed to the second one. It's important not to hesitate here, their armies disappear immediately after annexation, so you have 10k of problems less.
When you annex the first faction and the second faction, go for the Aztecs, those who are the strongest and who have all the gold you came here for. You don't have to get rid of their armies, simply rout them (I needed 12k here and a very good general, be careful!) and chase them with one of your units, then just occupy the land with the rest and when it's all yours, annex immediately.
Back to Europe
Now go back to Europe, raise huge armies, you WILL BE attacked by somebody sooner or later as your reputation is seriously damaged. Set your research to land technology, you will need it. Build level two forts if you can.
I was lucky, both Portugal and Aragon were busy in huge wars involving many countries, had no power to spare on my miserable person. Doesn't mean they will spare you. Be prepared! And there are still Morocco and Algiers,I wanted to vassalise them when I was fighting the second war with Granada, but decided to go for white peace to end the war quickly and focus on colonisation, stupid me. I had to spend a lot of the Aztec gold to vassalise them now as they did nothing but built troops and ships while all I was doing was sending colonists.
One rule while fighting a war here, DON'T TAKE ANY LAND, your reputation is so low that every hit it receives can be deadly for you. Occupy all the land of whoever attacks you and make them your vassals, you won't have to worry about them anymore and they will even pay you some cash. Nothing to compare with gold you get from your new shining Aztec empire, but still better than nothing.
Many people suggest annexing both Morocco and Algiers, I see no point, they have many poor provinces that are not worth the waiting time for the reputation to recover. It's much better to take the North American Indians instead... If you really want to have something, take 1. Tangiers 2. Sufi and the gold producing province next to it. Why? Tangiers if well placed strategically, makes it easy to stop Italians from colonizing and reinforcing their colonies if they are stupid enough to declare war on you (Or if you get involved in a war with them because of your allies like i was). Why you may want a gold producing province is obvious, to produce gold.
You can try to mint some gold (stop research) and bribe cardinals to get control of the Curia to have your reputation recover faster, especially if your inflation is still at 0%. A good monarch can help you too, rising the limit of your reputation and also recovering reputation faster, but it's nothing you have any influence on. Just pray he had administration of 8 like mine.