Conquering the Incas
Some think that conquering the Latin American Pagans is challenging; however, if you are prepared, it is a piece of cake. Here is how you can conquer the Incas quite easily and avoid the challenges.
Most of the advice in this strategy article was written in 2007 for EU3 vanilla, i.e., with no expansions. For example, in the In Nomine expansion pack it is no longer possible to simply start colonising the coast of Chili in the 1400s, because of colonization range.
The rough path of this guide should still apply regardless.
First of all, it is more than a challenge to conquer the Incas without having a land foothold in South America. It is possible, but you would need a huge fleet and some base for it nearby (Caribbean) unless you want your ships loaded with expensive troops to sink into a watery sleep forever.
You definitely need to have the Quest for the New World National Idea. Until rather late in the game (when others have explored all of South America and their knowledge is shared with you), South America is Terra Incognita for you; and if you wait until the other nations have discovered everything AND share this knowledge with you, it might be too late for the Incas. You need a Conquistador and the National Idea to discover everything.
Move an army of maybe 3000-5000 cavalry troops with your Conquistador around South America and discover everything you can, clearly checking out the borders of the Inca Empire.
Then colonize at least one or two wealthy provinces of South America that are not too far away from the Inca territory. If you want to move fast, colonize a line of territories from the Eastern coast through South America until you reach the West. For newer versions approach from the North via modern day Columbia.
It is not wise to colonize provinces directly neighboring the Inca territory unless you are prepared for an attack by them. I colonized from West to East and came out at the Pacific just one province south of the Inca territory.
Another good thing is to grab well established European colonies (maybe already at city level) from a European country when you are at war with them. This would allow you to build European troops directly in South America, which is a huge advantage.
Now that you have a foothold on the continent, knowledge of your enemy must be your next goal. Try to get military access from the Incas by all means. If they decline, bribe them, do anything you can. You need to discover all of their territory BEFORE you start the war with them.
So, as soon as you have military access to their territory, move around your Conquistador-lead army until you have discovered everything. Then move your army out of their territory and cancel the military access immediately afterwards. BE SURE to cancel it before you want to start the war as it will give you a bad stability hit if you declare war and still have military access.
You can also send your fleet with an explorer along their coast to speed things up. Good explorers can reveal all the coast just by sailing along it.
The Preparation for War
The basic question is how many armies you need, the second question is how many units should be in each army, and the third question is what type of military you need.
- Question 3: You only need cavalry. The Incas never seem to fortify any province, so you can simply run them over with your cavalry. Also your cavalry should have a huge tech advantage over their troops. If you are in the Eastern tech group and have Spahi cavalry, the war is really a piece of cake. Latin Knights might be much tougher. Leave infantry and artillery at home.
- Question 2: How many units you need in each army depends on your land tech level. If it's below 10 I would move in with stacks of at least 8000 men each, just to be sure; 10000 would be better. If you (as a European power) have already Caracolle Cavalry or are an Eastern European power and have Spahi, 6000 men each stack might be enough.
- Question 1:That's the crucial question. Attacking the Incas is worse than handling a sack of fleas. The fact that their provinces do not have a fort and can be annexed right away is your advantage as well as your disadvantage. The Inca armies tend to split up and quickly conquer back any province you already annexed during the fights. In a worst case you are chasing them up and down the country, winning and loosing provinces, prolonging the war to an endless chase. That's what you want to avoid.
Therefore you need to be prepared. Ideally, you move in with a total of six stacks: three from the north, three from the south. This allows you to "roll up" their front and never let them slip between your armies to conquer a territory back.
Be well prepared for revolts breaking out in the back of your armies. If you REALLY want to make it a piece of cake, move in a small fourth stack of troops (2000 men should be enough) to quickly throw riots down and keep your main armies at the front.
Once you have declared war, move in your troops from the north and south simultaneously, moving them forward province by province. Look out for the Inca armies swarming around and trying to get behind you to conquer territory back. If the Incas show up with a bigger army (more than 6000 men), maybe move in two of your stack for the one battle.
Chase them, and squeeze them from the north and the south until it's a situation like in Chess and they can't move anywhere without having to fight your armies.
Annexation of provinces
The game mechanics see the Incas as a Pagan nation. That means you can annex any territory with your army (click on the annex colony button in the army window) just like it was a colony. Pause your game often and don't move out an army without having annexed the province it has just conquered before. Remember, provinces must have the full colour of your country and must not be "striped" anymore.
Do this until you reach and conquer their core (Cuzco). This is the only province which you can't annex right away.
The Incas have an ally called Chimu which had (in my game)one province just north of Lima. Take them out quickly, annex them or vassalize them BEFORE you make peace with the Incas. Remember that if you make peace with the Incas before, also your war with Chimu will be ended immediately and you gain nothing from them!
The crucial thing about the immediate annexation of each Inca province is that at the end of the war you only need to hold Cuzco to have a 100% war score and you CAN annex also Cuzco right away without having to wait for another war.
Alternative strategy is to conquer all of their provinces (so they are marked in stripes). After you do it, you can annex all their country for just 4 BB points. Much cheaper than 1 BB per seized province in the first strategy but also a bit more challenging.
Although at the end of the war you could annex the Incas right away and erase them, I wouldn't ever do so. Leave them their core province Cuzco and get tribute from them instead. As you have already annexed all their provinces, you don't need the warscore on annexing anything, you just use it for ducats or vassalization. But I also wouldn't vassalize the Incas for now; I would press as many Ducats out of them as possible. Remember that they are sitting in multiple gold mines and are incredibly rich.
That gives you an incredibly handy amount of money, cripples the Incas down to a one province nation which is your easy prey in your next war against them. Maybe they are even stupid enough to declare war on you in 5 years, and hopefully they then have already collected more than the 50 ducats you can press out of a one province minor usually.
Start building forts with the money you got from them in every province. If you took many provinces at once, don't build forts everywhere simultaneously. Unfortified provinces are lost to rebels immediately, and any building in progress is lost without refund. You definitely want to avoid that! So instead, build one or two forts at a time, always keeping a small cavalry detachment in each of these provinces. Make sure you keep another group of cavalry (2000-3000 is enough) for chasing rebels around. Don't chase with the groups that are guarding the forts being built, because with some bad luck you might lose it to another group of rebels.