|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Merchant Republic|
|Number of provinces||4|
|Center of Trade||Liguria|
The statistics of Genoa remain the same as they are in the IN guide. The strategy can also be the same, but DW requires more care for war and other various choices. First are the two provinces in modern Russia/Ukraine; Azow and Kaffa. Make sure you know these exist, the Golden Horde will always declare war to take them and you WILL lose. If you want to keep these provinces, you will have to come back later.
Starting The Game
While France poses a significant threat, they will not declare war very early unless you fall into an alliance that will doom you. France will be busy warring with England, Burgundy, Aragon, and people all over Europe, but you can avoid it. When France does declare war, you WILL be ready. Normally as Genoa you might want to grab territory, the missions with Genoa are basically peaceful, they focus on alliances. You also start in control of Corsica, which may try to break off. Station 3-5 regiments there and the situation should be fine.
Genoa starts with plenty of advantages in 1399, but ultimately as a minor directly on France's route to Italy and Austria it has a limited life expectancy. Luckily, with a bit of skill, Genoa can quite quickly become a major power. This strategy will make you a major power in a century and set you up for many happy years of colonial expansion.
The first years
The biggest advantage you have is your Centre of Trade. By posting lots of merchants you can end up with a rapidly growing trade income which forms the basis of everything else you do. You have loads of merchants, gradually get into the most important COTs. To trade effectively keep your stability high (easy!), your prestige respectable, and your badboy low. You should push research towards your first National Idea, for which National Trade Policy is an ideal candidate, raising your trade efficiency from about 30% to about 40%.
You also need to make sure you don't look like small fry which your neighbours can easily gobble up - so make sure your army and navy are at or near the force limits. These force limits aren't high and much of your strategy in the medium term is about acquiring more manpower.
Your strategy is to make the most out of that big trade income. Of course, trade doesn't give you any annual income - so you will need to end up minting a bit. Even more importantly you will need big chunks of money to hire mercenaries to fight wars. The best way to do this is with loans. This dictates your Advisors - get Bankers if you possibly can, Masters of the Mint second choice, and third choice anyone increasing land, naval, government or trade tech.
The Italian job
At the start of the game there are a lot of squabbling minors in Italy. Rest assured that if you do nothing, then people like Milan and Naples will gobble up the minors and you will end up looking very weak by comparison. So you need to make sure that you end up with plenty of one-province states. This requires a fair bit of diplomatic cunning. Hand out guarantees, make tactical alliances, and make sure that you are the person conducting the sieges which will let you annex a one-province minor. And make sure the Holy Roman Emperor is weak before you attack, or the Imperial army will stomp you.
You should move gradually but within the century a fair part of the Italian peninsula should be yours.
To win wars, don't be afraid to take a loan and spend the money on mercs and army maintenance. If you have Bankers then the money will be cheap. 250 ducats at 2% is a great thing to have in the early 1400s and it will be much more later. Obviously take the loans when you have Stability 3, before you declare war, or interest shoots up. Also, be prepared to spend some really shocking sums on maintenance - your Support Limit is very low and with the mercenaries you will be significantly over it. A few successful wars which give you some key provinces is vital to your survival so don't worry about spending lots of money on them. Yes, it will cost some inflation - but in the long run your choice is between having a bit of inflation or being a province of France.
Your neighbour Savoy is usually an early casualty. So make sure you get your hands on Nice and Piedmont at least - fighting a war and then diplo-annexing often works. Those two provinces will add to your manpower and will compensate for the inevitable loss of your Black Sea colonies. Don't try to protect the Black Sea, don't convert your provinces there to Catholicism, don't build anything, don't set up the March - just wait for the Golden Horde to attack and hand over Kaffa and Azow. Once they're gone you can focus your attention where it should be.
As you acquire bits of Italy, try to get central and northern territory rather than Southern Italy. The provinces you want are the rich, populous ones. Pay particular attention to the four provinces you need for forming the Italian nation. But forming Italy isn't the real point, what you really need is just to be the biggest, richest power on the Italian peninsula. Then you're secure. Don't get greedy and try to eliminate Milan or Naples altogether, too much warring can be very bad for your trade.
The French Connection
The main power that can stop you is France. If you're Warned by France it's a problem. If you're invaded by them it's probably Game Over. So you have to make sure the French like you. Luckily they don't have much of a tendency to ally with Italian minors and they won't be Holy Roman Emperor so you can go to war in Italy without necessarily upsetting the French. You can't afford to accept tempting-looking alliances with people like England and Burgundy, though - that will get the French very angry very quickly.
The French will like you if you're powerful and if you bribe them. So keep your army large and your relations strong. It can be a good idea to get the French into an alliance (if your income is high enough they might well offer!) - there's nothing like watching the Imperial army march into Italy from the East and the French army marching in from the West, fighting it out in the valley of the Po while your army is busy sieging the provinces you want to take. (Indeed, when Italy was eventually formed historically in the 1860s, that's exactly what happened!) However, doing this is likely to result in quite a few wars with England, who will turn up with huge fleets and land armies in your back - and if France is fighting a losing war with a continental opponent you might just be a crunchy morsel for them.
The World is your Shellfish
Once it's the late 1400s you should have the highest monthly income in the world thanks to your trade, you should have a high annual income as you begin to get cores in the wealthy central or northern Italian provinces you took. So you are no longer reliant on minting and bank loans for your income, and you should have a decent land support limit.
You should also be on your second National Idea. If you're a colonising type then you could go for Quest for the New World second. You might well get to the eastern Atlantic islands like Cape Verde or the Azores before Spain or Portugal do. If you can they're a great basis for future colonial expansion. Don't forget that because you're quite far East for a colonial power you are very limited by colonial range.
You could alternatively become Holy Roman Emperor or do all sorts of fascinating things. The unification of Italy can't be too far away.
What is great in Genoa is how easy it can become a colonial superpower. It is set up for that purpose right from the beginning as it is very naval oriented and set towards plutocracy and decentralisation. This makes her a country that is earning a lot from its overseas possessions, a sort of Italian Portugal.
Your biggest problem throughout the game will be your high Mercantilism. You need to move your slider towards Free Trade whenever you are allowed to do so.
You may seem wealthy at first glance but you could use additional cash before you venture away from Europe and start building colonies. Don't be fooled by your five stars in your economical rating. Three of them you got only because you own Liguria. Remove those and you're somewhere at the European average.
To strengthen your budget and boost your research you have to focus on becoming a trading nation right from the beginning. Get your first National Idea as quickly as possible and choose Shrewd Commerce Practice. Also do your best to get advisors that add to the number of merchants you are allowed to send per year and to your Trade tech research. If there are none, take a statesman or an artist for Government research or stability investment, both are same good.
Having an edge in Trade tech and Shrewd Practices allows you to try to have 5 merchants in each known center of trade. Go to the 17th page of the ledger, choose the one that's wealthiest, get to 5 merchants there and move to the next one until you have them all.
Read trading strategies for more info on how to build up and keep your dominance in the trade.
As a trading nation you can't really afford any bigger bloodshed. Your reputation going too low (10 BB and more) can seriously hurt your trade. So try not to do anything evil and every time you wage and win a war, don't take any land but vassalize your enemy instead. Then improve your relations for 10 years and take the guy diplomatically.
Focus your land acquisitions on provinces with the Lombard culture. This is your state culture too so you get full taxes and a lot of other bonuses.
Also, check where there are built universities in Italy (it's full of them, there's a little building shown on the map, closest one is in Parma) and try to get as many of those as quickly as you can. Having them all makes you the most advanced country in the matter of Government research.
You have to know that countries in Italy fight each other a lot. That makes it easy to unite them under one rule as their conflicts are a great source of casus belli. Proclaim a guarantee to each of the countries in Italy or warn them all. Doesn't matter. Every time somebody starts a war you are allowed to attack him for just -1 Stability.
Countries that are attacked early are Urbino (attacked by pretty much everybody during the first year, especially Tuscany and the Pope) and Siena which often gets into a war for Urbino or is a target of those who were beaten to Urbino. If you proclaim guarantees to those two, you will get your first casus belli during first few months of the game.
Remember, don't get greedy, don't take any land in the peace deal. Take money (50 ducats = 3 units of cavalry) and vassalize your opponents.
You will get half of their income. Use that income and 50 ducats you got from them in the peace deal to improve your mutual relations through gifts. After 10 years, provided your relations with them are over 190, you will be able to propose a diplomatic annexation to them, which will make them an integral part of your country and also will cost you only 1 badboy point per province instead of two. Quite a lot if you remember that going above 10 means bye bye to your trade incomes for 10 or so years.
Also, base your armies only on cavalry, you don't have that much of manpower to spend it foolishly on weak infantry. If your king doesn't have 6 or more administration skill, use him as your general even if he's not that skilled in military.
This is your wooden wall. Half of your core land is an island. You have two colonies you need to protect against greedy Crimea. You also need to be able to drop your cavalry wherever they are needed to secure your business.
You have quite huge navy at the beginning and a decent admiral to lead them, this is the good news. There is also bad news. They are all galleys which means they are not even half as powerful as they might seem at first glance. Second bad news is that you don't have a single transport and you will need those soon if you want to intervene in Urbino or Siena. So start building at least one very early and try to have around 4 - to be able to move your stack of 4000 of cavalry where it's needed.
Your high Plutocracy allows you to build your ships cheaply so don't neglect building up in this area regularly.
There are three countries that might be interested to expand into Italy. The most dangerous of them is Austria that has short march to your land and wages an early war against Venice. You should avoid fighting Austria at least until you unite Savoy, Milan, Modena, Tuscany, Siena, Urbino and Romanga under your rule. If you're lucky you will manage to do that in your first 50 years of playing. Then you will have enough manpower and money to afford a war against Austria, choose the moment you attack well though. When they are busy with a major war against Poland, Ottomans, Hungary this is your occasion to take any Lombard land they might have from Venice and Mantua and also snap a gold producing province or two, if you are really a good commander.
Second country that might come in force, although doesn't do that very early, is France. They have a core province in Lombard (Milan capital) and are known for their Italian ambitions. What I can advice here is that whatever you have lost to France is lost forever. You are not able to match their manpower, their generals are unbeatable and their armies very experienced and improved with Military Drill National Idea. So just wait, maybe the province will rebel from them one day and join you..
Third country that would like to join the game in your playground is Aragon. They are allied with Sicily right from the beginning and are the main reason why you shouldn't match with Sicily.
What you have to know about Aragon, especially if you haven't played them, is that they have the strongest navy in the Mediterranean and a very good starting admiral. So if you cross them your ships will be sunk and your provinces taken one by one. Avoid any wars with them and pray they didn't inherit Sicily. As far as Sicily is concerned, you don't have to worry much, it is not the land you need to unite Italy, it is also not that wealthy. There are no universities down there until they build themselves a few also. Their manpower would make you a serious opponent to Austria, but you can't get them until they are protected by Aragon.
Like it was written at the beginning, Genoa is a naval nation and such nations can earn a lot through colonization.
The only thing that holds them back in Europe is their low value of Free Trade, but you were working on that right from the beginning to improve your trade efficiency so it should be not that much of a problem when you get your an opportunity to choose your second national idea. This one should be Quest for the New World.
Where to go you will ask. The world is so vast and you can in fact go anywhere you want. Just remember that you have weak land forces and strong navy. So the best place you could go to is an archipelago that is very easy to defend with your navy as enemy troops can't operate around the place when their fleet was sunk in the ocean.
So the advice here is to colonize the Caribbean archipelago, especially those little islands called Antilles. Of course you can go anywhere you wish, South America has a lot of gold for you, North America has great base tax and population growth rates. The easiest choice though is Caribbean, it is worth doing just to see enemy armies stuck on your little islands with no place to retreat, surrounded by your navy and waiting for your overwhelming cavalry transport to kill them instantly.
Unification of Italy
- See also: Italy unification
This chapter was copied from Tuscany strategy guide and it applies to any country which has Lombard as its main culture.
To achieve that you need provinces:
- Firenze - capital of Tuscany
- Siena - you secured it early, hopefully
- Ancona - another early gain (often called Urbino)
- Roma - the Pope has this one and won't give it away easily
In 1.1 there is a bug making it impossible to hold Rome for long as the Pope keeps spamming you with messages to give him his city back which lowers your prestige. Unite Italy and give Rome back to the old guy or delete the event file from your events/ folder and restart your game.
Also, you can't be at war (as it's hard to unite a country while it is occupied by enemies...) and your primary culture has to be Lombard (make sure you play Genoa, not Sicily).
The event will fire more quickly if you control each of:
And if you have a Bureaucracy National Idea. High Decentralization can help here too and you have it from the beginning so make sure you don't change that till you are Italy.
The event itself will (obviously) change you into Italy, give you some prestige, a missionary and will raise base tax in one of your provinces by 1 ducat. If you decline the event, you will get the opposite.
You start as a republic and this is a sort of a disadvantage. You can't form Royal Marriages and you can't vassalize countries diplomatically. You also can't become the Holy Roman Emperor that would make your wars MUCH easier. Anyway, being a republic has some advantage. Of course Merchant Republic with its 50% cheaper merchants is nothing worth dying for. But from a Merchant Republic, at level 11 of Government tech, you can switch straight to Administrative Republic that improves your Trade Efficiency by 5% and thus gives you a lot of additional cash because trading is your main source of incomes for most of the game.
You have two Sunni provinces in the Crimea that you want to become Christian as soon as possible to get rid of a nasty penalty they have for not being of your religion.
Also, you want to stay very tolerant towards Muslim and towards Orthodox if you happen to border any such countries. Before you start colonizing, you have to improve your tolerance towards Pagan - it improves your colonists chance in the Pagan land.