|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Feudal Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||19|
|Center of Trade||None|
|Other accepted cultures||None|
England is a nation that can easily dominate the game in a variety of ways. The two country guides offered below explore two scenarios where the Player forsakes their lands on the European mainland or tries to defend and expand them respectively.
England is a nation that can easily dominate the map in a variety of ways. The (adapted) guide below will focus upon a particular combination of both a trading England and a colonizing England that emphasizes early-game security to build up for a powerful mid and late-game dominance.
England must be played carefully during the early part of the game, because only here is England truly vulnerable.
You commence a Grand Campaign at peace, with a 7k army in England and a half decent general. On the Continent you possess Calais and Gascogne, two provinces that the French both have cores on and dearly desire, and Labourd. If you do nothing, France will wage war on you, sooner rather than later, and its superior manpower will generally wear you down. France's extreme advantage in both manpower and army size (you can't send nearly as many units to battle on the Continent as they can) means that, sooner or later, the French will be able to defeat you if they are truly interested in fighting. On a slightly smaller scale, the same can be said for Burgundy.
Having stated the military situation England finds herself in, there are five very relevant things that bear mentioning from the diplomatic viewpoint
- Your alliance with Portugal is useless relative to the wars with France and Burgundy, as Portugal is probably not going to fight on the continent. At most it will send ships (that you already have in exuberance for the scope of this war). They have no army nor manpower at the start of the game.
- France is allied with Scotland. Burgundy is allied with Brittany.
- France has cores on Gascogne and Calais.
- Burgundy, the only nation on the Continent that can both get to France early on and stand a chance of winning, also has a core on Calais.
- Your high province count, your policy sliders and your low badboy requirements make you a likely candidate for papal controller.
Grab a merchant compete chance bonus if you can, or a naval/trade technology advisor if not. You start with a level 4 artist that increase stability investment. Stability and trade income will matter a lot as time passes.
Send all your starting merchants at Lubeck (you are part of the Hanseatic trade league). Both Antwerpen and Ile-de-France may be unavailable soon enough. Sending all your merchants at Lübeck will net you a sizeable trading income boost, allowing you to get rolling quickly. Send an insult to Scotland. Do it again when you can until your relation drops below 50.
Move your slider. Good options are Free Trade (additional merchants, chance and efficiency), Narrowminded (+ colonial growth), Free Subjects (to counter the technology malus from narrowminded). Centralization is never wasted but you will get a good kick start in it soon enough.
Building additional land regiments is optional. You usually have enough or close to enough to beat the only rivals you will initially meet on the field Scotland and the occasional rebel. Any other threat should be dealt with by sinking their invasion armies. You won't need more men until you start colonizing, but feel free to up your army to what you feel comfortable with. A smaller army is less expensive to maintain, and in the early game money equals speed equals power. Having a Military Access is no longer a top priority. You can get one from Portugal if you intend to go anywhere but the east coast of North America. If that's the case, you can ask Norway for a military access at a later date.
You can then decide if you want to get rid of your continental domains. If so, sell them to France, Brittany, Burgundy or someone else (Aragon?). Try to differentiate your clients to maximize both profit and future conflicts in the continent. Giving Brittany Gascogne will provide another excuse for France to go to war with them, as well as deny France a small amount of revenue and manpower. It will also force Brittany to attempt to get military access through France, which usually turns out badly for Brittany, meaning that they'll be too occupied to bother you. Giving France Calais will give Burgundy a Casus Belli on them, which will tie up the two closest Continental superpowers to you with their own affairs - meaning that now neither one of them will want to bother you. It may be useful to hold on to Labourd for a little longer, as it is not a French core (yet) and is closer to the Western African coast for colonization purposes.
It must be noted though that no matter what having those few provinces occupied will not prevent you from getting a white peace with both Burgundy and France if you wait long enough. Therefore, the choice of getting rid of them can be postponed as long as you don't mind the war exhaustion building up and the other unpleasant side effects of a long war.
Set your Treasury slider to give you 0 ducats per month, your coffers start full and your end-of-the-year tax income is so high that you can safely live off of it for a few years. In the meantime, you should pursue two objectives get ready to colonize and form British Nation.
Prepare for Colonization
For the first objective you need to get the Quest for the New World (QFTNW) Idea. That means you need both an idea slot (Government technology level 4 for the first one, circa 1410, or 9 for the second, circa 1455) and the technology requirement (trade technology level 7, circa 1440). I do not suggest holding off for QFTNW as a first idea, but doing so would let you start colonizing 15 years earlier. Good options for a first idea are National Trade Policy, that increase your trade revenue and compete chance, or Press Gangs, that cut ship costs by half. You should not need a National Bank at this point. In addition you need to keep up your naval technology, as it determines how far you can colonize.
Start thinking about building scouting mini-fleets, I personally enjoy using them in blocks of three. When headed by an Explorer, these will scout new seas and lands to colonize. The others will be put to anti-piracy duty. Having more than one ship in a fleet helps the fleet at large survive better against pirate fleets while maximizing the amount of land you can protect. Once you have the required technology (Naval level 9), exploration should be done by small light ship squadrons as they are much faster and can thus reach farther without making port. Once you are all set and have an objective, get a Conquistador and launch for your destination (more on that later).
Forming Great Britain
The quickest way to do this is through a mission Conquer Scotland. It requires relations worse than 50 and no vassalization to appear, so keep that in mind. I tend to seek this mission early on, fulfilling or cancelling all other missions until I get this. If you do get it, take one province each of bth regions (The Highlands and Ayrshire, for example) to get cores on the rest and a no-infamy CB on Scotland. If you still have domains on the continent (you probably shouldn't, except maybe Labourd), let France wash over them until you get a white peace. After a couple more wars you should be able to annex Scotland and form Great Britain, and shortly thereafter get all Irish minors. All in all you will have gained hardly any BadBoy, especially if you resisted the temptation to get Ireland before the cores.
One thing I strongly advise against doing is going to war with Scotland to take the provinces needed to form Great Britain without the mission. Doing this will drive up your badboy (death to your trade), and will actually slow you down. It might become necessary to refrain to get any occupied provinces in an early war until you get this uber-important mission. Note that in Divine Wind this mission won't be available until 1603, so the least painful way to form Great Britain early is to vassalize Scotland, then diplo-annex them ten years later and finally unite Britain fifty years after that.
As you get pairs of merchants, have them sent at Lubeck and some other CoT. If you got rid of Calais early on, Antwerpen should be available. France will probably embargo you anyway because of their alliance with Scotland. Due to your low badboy you stand an excellent chance at acquiring a strong trading foothold.
The first step is discovering your destination. Since the colonization system overhaul, you are limited in your colonization efforts by your naval technology. That leaves only two options west and south. Actually, since you will most certainly be limited in your early colonization choices, you can do both.
Once you've hired an Explorer and a Conquistador, build/detach a fleet of three Cogs and begin recruiting three Latin Knights units (these will eventually be led by your Conquistador to discover land provinces). Once this transport fleet is built, move the Latin Knights into it and prepare to move it.
If you want to go west, send your scouting fleet to port in Iceland (the closest place to the North American north coast at this point). From there, you can discover several key sea zones from which you can begin colonizing Greenland. Note Norway has a province you get a core on after forming GB. If you already waged war on them, they might not be willing to let you in their provinces. This is not a problem leave the horses at home until you discover the coast of Greenland, then go back and pick up the army.
If you go south, you may choose from several provinces. Islands are easier to grab (less populated) and defend, but tend to have cheaper goods (Fish, usually). Portugal starts with Madeira and has missions for the Azores and the Canaries, but if you can beat them to it, go on and do it. Green Cape Island is also at the limit of your colonial range and should be developed first in order to get a core and "hop" to more profitable lands.
Please note that your colonial range determine the provinces you can reach and colonize starting from the closest core province. Therefore, it's probably advisable to start from Greenland and North America and work your way down. Anyway, an advisor that boosts colonial range can be very helpful at this stage to get that last mile.
North American Colonizing
If you elect to go for North America, starting from Greenland, gradually work your way down the coast, colonizing as you go. Your may compete with Portugal after a while, but you should have a relatively clear dominance by the time you encounter someone else. The natives here are not numerous nor particularly aggressive, so killing them off is comparatively simple.
You don't get to colonize South America and the Caribbean until later in naval technology, and Castille and Portugal will most likely be there already. If you really want to speed up you efforts on the region, you may want to grab a colony in a war. Remember to go for the Assimilate Colony provincial decision if you intend to keep it in the long run.
If you elect to go towards the East (India and China), you will need to establish several cores, for colonist hopping, and naval bases, so your fleet can recover along the way. My recommendations for these are St. Helena, the Cape, and Diego Garcia. Taking and colonizing these three provinces (even if only just enough to get a positive growth within said provinces) will give you control of the primary route between Europe and Asia in this time period. You probably won't get to Diego Garcia before midgame starts, but don't worry - once you seize control of the Cape, you have established control of the fastest route to Asia. This will ensure your dominance of the trade lane. Be sure to kill the natives to increase the colonists' success chance.
New World and African tribal nations can be annexed immediately for 1.6 Infamy (less than straight vassalization). I personally do that and then release them as vassals so that they do not drag down my research or vex me with riots. Watch out for disloyal vassals though.
Midgame for England is the time when you are sufficiently set up to begin colonizing in earnest (usually around 1485 or so). It is strongly advisable to accept all alliance offers made from minor countries at this point, as France, Castille and Portugal will all have colonies by now that you can seize.
North American Colonizing
If you elected to colonize the northeastern coast of North America, there is no reason to stop doing this. The comparatively short time required for a colonist to arrive, coupled with the high population growth, means that getting one colony to city status won't take nearly as long as it would elsewhere. The manpower boost from these colonies is good as well, and once the cores start showing up, the port facilities there will allow for entirely colonial-produced discovery missions to other future colonies.
If you elected to colonize the Caribbean, by now the area has begun to get crowded as other countries stake their claims to various parts of the territory. Strive for dominance over one complete island (Cuba for example), by sending one colonist to all three parts and then upgrading one to city level. Doing this will prevent another nation from obtaining a colony bordering yours, which causes more trouble than it's worth from Boundary Dispute events. Assuming you have accepted various alliance offers from minor nations, you should be able to carefully pick your wars to seize nearly-developed colonies from other European nations.
If you elected to go East, right about now is when you'll be reaching Diego Garcia and just hitting the southern tip of India. I recommend starting a quick war with Ceylon and force-vassalizing them for an income boost and safe harbor close by (note that having set your tolerance for Eastern religions beforehand will dramatically improve your chances of getting a fast Military Access from a nation should your ships be about to die). Once you have vassalized Ceylon, you now have the option of going for either India's riches or China's. India is closer and incredibly lucrative, China is further away and even more lucrative. Either of the two will benefit you immensely.
As your income from colonies and overseas possessions increases, trade becomes less important for England as the nations that earlier vexed you with Shrewd Commerce Practices will now do the same with National Trade Policy. At this point in the game, I recommend you pick one trading center (usually Vlaanderen) and send all your merchants there.
Colonial wars are, as the name suggestions, primarily fought over colonies. Assuming that you have maintained a decent military presence in your area of colonization (you are free from Continental concerns and so can keep almost no land forces there), you should have no trouble taking your enemy's colonies from him, whether it be via seizing or peace deal. Be very careful, however, to keep an eye on the Channel to make sure that nobody is attempting to slip an army onto the British Isles - if they manage to do this, immediately devote all your resources into chasing them off again. Under no circumstances can you let someone other than yourself get a foothold on the Isles.
Continental wars are those fought against nations without any colonies in your area, such as German or Italian minors. Should you find yourself stuck in a war with one or more of these, you can generally get a white peace very quickly. If you find the war dragging on, use a small portion of your military might to force a white peace upon your opponents - taking anything on the Continent or even force-vassalizing someone is nearly always more trouble than it's worth, and, more importantly, usually less lucrative than spending the same amount of money on founding a new colony.
A strong navy will ensure your dominance throughout the game. You almost always want to be producing at least one ship somewhere, just to be on the safe side. An England with a fleet of more than 250 ships at the end of the game is not uncommon. Having this many ensures that, no matter where England's interests are endangered, a significant part of the Royal Navy is there to ensure that those interests are secure.
I define late game for Great Britain as being the time in which you have established a colonial empire of sufficient size and strength to begin actively warring for additional space with significant nations native to the region in which you have colonized. It is a good idea to have Great Britain formed before moving onto this step so that your enemies cannot use Scotland as a base of operations in the event of you acquiring too much badboy from colonial pursuits.
North American Colonizing
If you elected to colonize the North American continent, you should be beginning to think more along the lines of "take the province from the Native Americans" rather than "colonize another province". As you should ideally have everything within a few screens of the coast explored by now, it will be very difficult for the Indians to run wildly about your territory, especially as you have forts and they do not have infantry capable of matching any of your units. Beware the high cost of missionaries, however. While you should still colonize nearby provinces, by no means should you lose sight of the fact that the Indians control quite a bit of land that would be better off in your hands than theirs.
If you elected to go for the Caribbean, you should have been able to seize/colonize enough to have a sufficient base of operations to begin an assault on either Central or South America. Of the two options, Central America is likely the easiest, and is only slightly less lucrative than South America proper. It is also possible to attack both by coming down from a newly annexed Central America to crush the Inca Empire and so secure a vast quantity of riches.
If you elected to go for the East, now is when you can begin actively expanding your empire and forcibly taking over lesser nations. Force-vassalizing here is probably better than going for annexations unless in the case of an incredibly lucrative province (like Taiwan or Ryukyu). Beware, however, that what the Eastern nations lack in technology is more than made up for by their incredibly high manpower. A major secret to dramatically weakening their ability to damage your forces is to wait until you have something that can attack in the Fire phase (Land technology 4 for cannons and 9-10 for Maurician Infantry) before starting a major war with, say, Ming.
At this point in the game, trading for all but a few nations has become entirely focused on obtaining and holding monopolies - something that you probably don't want to worry about. While incredibly lucrative if done correctly, your lack of both Trade technology (relative to other nations) and trading-oriented National Ideas (again, relative to other nations) mean that your merchants will quickly be competed out. Having no merchants anywhere at this point, while certainly not a good idea, is entirely survivable.
Colonial wars with other European nations will very rarely happen in this phase, assuming you scouted well and acquired most of them mid-game. As colonial provinces can be (at this point in the game) quickly brought up to the fort level of a comparable European province, any province you run into should be treated as a Continental province for the sake of simplicity.
Continental wars are far more likely to occur, as nations such as Germany, Russia and Italy form or come very close to forming. This will provide enemies on new fronts for your old friends France, Burgundy and Spain. It is not altogether unusual to get an alliance request from one of these three to fight the rapidly-developing Saxony, Austria or Ottoman Empire. In the event that this happens and they drag you into a war on the Continent, it is now of the most vital importance to keep the Continental powers roughly equal. Nobody having a clear dominion over the continent means that your efforts in other parts of the world will go unmolested. Beat your opposing alliances' armies and then try to get out of the war with less than a province going to your allies if at all possible. Should you not be the leader in the war, be very careful in your actions so as not to upset the rough equilibrium as Germany, Italy and Russia develop.
- In continental wars, never take a province on the Continent. It will gain you an immense amount of unwanted badboy as well as giving your much more land-oriented opponents a target that is unprotected by your superior navy.
- Attrition in newly discovered provinces is extreme, do not wander too far before obtaining a base to resupply and reinforce at.
- When colonizing Asia, an excellent place to make a base is the Spice Islands - they usually go untouched by their neighboring nations for a very long time, and there are enough of them to make quickly recruiting armies practical.
- Asian nations are very good at assaulting forts due to their massive amounts of infantry. This means that forts are still necessary, but that they also do not stall these Asian nations for nearly as long as nations in other parts of the world.
- Natives in the Americas tend to form one big alliance with all the nearby tribes - this can be devastating if you don't bring enough forces to the table from the start.
- Inflation is best managed by being exceptionally careful with spending early on and by a quick National Bank. Using Merchants as a primary income booster early on also helps to mitigate this. With HttT, you can also hire an advisor to the same effect.
England for War Mongers a 1420 start
You are in a really good position. You control 6 French provinces and France is at war with you and the Burgundians. You have a nice sized Army in Normandy. Play into this. Make peace with Brittany. Add 6k troops and bring up your army in Gascony. Let the French take you southern provinces temporarily. Used your unified army to crush the French. Move from North to South and siege all of the French cities. Once you win the War take 3 provinces and make France release a Vassal. Repair BB and ally with Burgundy or Spain. In 5 years repeat the process above but this time declare war on a vassal. Rinse and Repeat above strategy. Suck up to Spain so they don't BS you. Isolate France diplomatically and take 4 more provinces. Your BB will be bad so take another 5 years to repair it. Fight a 3rd and 4th War with France and take the remaining provinces. You will usually have to fight little French allies like Lorraine but just vassalize them. Build a COT in England and another in France before you take the capital.