Hungary is a potential powerhouse in Eastern Europe requiring some luck and skill to develop fully and often misrepresented by the AI.
|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Feudal Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||11|
|Center of Trade||None|
|Other accepted cultures||Croatian|
- Move your slider towards defensive. You will be in need of the added Fort Defence.
- There should be two advisors that are special to your country. One should be a manpower limit raiser and the other will boost fort defense, grab both.
- Ally with your vassal Transylvania
- Get royal marriages with surrounding nations. Most importantly, Austria, Poland, and Bohemia.
- Start building infantry units in most of your provinces.
- Move your infantry to the northern border which is between you and Bohemia.
- Within the first week you should receive some alliance offers, accept them at your will, but having more is better.
- Get military access to either Poland or Austria.
- 9 times out of 10 Bohemia declares war regardless of what you do and oftentimes they DoW in the first week.
- Bohemia is the HRE emperor so you will not be able to drain their manpower.
- With your troops on the border, scorch the land and retreat inland.
- Let the 1 (maybe 2) massive army siege that province and watch the numbers dwindle.
- You should have many small armies by now and send those to siege all of Bohemia's provinces.
- Since you have such a high fort defense it is very likely for you to take all of their provinces before they take one of yours, so you should be able to get 1 or 2 provinces out of the deal and some ducats.
- For your first National Idea, choose whatever you like, for example, National Bank.
- Diplo-annex Transylvania.
- Westernise, when there are no internal problems (rebels)
- Take over the Balkans as your neighbors (Bohemia, Poland, Austria) are all powerful
- And then Hungary can follow whatever path it likes. Slider-wise, national idea-wise, and diplomacy-wise
A potential road to successful colonization strategy with Hungary is the following:
- First, you have to establish vassals around your borders that would prevent any outside power from attacking you. This means that you have to vassalize Serbia, Bosnia, Zeta and Wallachia before the Ottoman Empire vassalizes or annexes them. You can ally with Poland and/or Austria using royal marriages to let you freely operate in the Balkans and repulse the Czech aggression. It is advisable to annex Ragusa to increase the number of coastal provinces and Croatian culture is accepted from the beginning.
- After the Balkans is set, you have to go against Bohemia, Austria and Poland, one-by-one. Against Poland and Bohemia, you can ally with Brandenburg and Lithuania (if the Polish-Lithuania personal union is broken). You should demand the liberation of Krakow (and Moldavia, if they annexed) from Poland, and liberation of Silesia from Bohemia, plus annex other border provinces. Then vassalize Krakow and Silesia with royal marriages and alliances, sell them the annexed provinces along the Hungarian border.
- Against Austria, you can ally with Milan and possibly France. They would be a harder nut to crack, the focus should be not annexation of Austrian territories but liberating Styria and Tyrol, vassalization and then finally vassalizing the remaining Austria proper. You would need at least three wars against them. Finalize order along your border with vassalizing Aquilea or Venice.
- The encirclement of Hungary with vassals would prevent Ottomans, Golden Horde (later Russia) and any Western European power (on the long run, France or Italy/Milan) from attacking you, so you can concentrate on colonization. The vassals also contribute significant tax benefits to the otherwise weak Hungarian budget.
- The colonization phase starts with grabbing territory from a weak country with weak navy (as your navy would consist mostly of transports in reality) as close as America as possible. I suggest one of the Irish minors or taking the two Icelandic provinces (especially if the owner is Norway), as Brittany would be a target for France and Navarra for Spain. England would not be focusing on Ireland and Iceland until they are engaged in the 100-years war in France and Scotland is independent, so there would be enough time to start colonization without British pressure behind. This can be done in an early phase of the game as you need a core to start sending colonists.
- Choose your 3rd National Idea (11 government tech) as Quest for the New World. Before that you would need National Bank and Military Drill to fight your neighbors effectively. Stay Catholic for its colonial benefits regardless of how many Hungarian provinces follow Reformation. You will need a decent army at home to crack down on religious dissent. You have to aim Westernization from the beginning with moving your sliders towards centralization and innovative, but move back towards narrow-minded after that to help your colonization and Counter-Reformation efforts.
- Start colonization in North America (New England) if you are coming from Ireland/Iceland. England is not very quick in colonizing this area while Portugal and Spain are concentrating on the Caribbean and Southern USA. From New England you can quickly reach Huron and Iroquois, annex and convert them to form the basis of your colonial empire. It is imperative that the Great Lakes area is connected by Hungarian land to the Atlantic coast.
- From this point, you are pretty free to choose path for the future development of “New Hungary”. Most likely you would need to fight local wars in North America against England/Great Britain, Castile/Spain and Portugal, so it is advisable to ally with France (or keep it since the destruction of Austria) who will deal with them in Europe so Hungary should only fight overseas.
- As soon as you and other European powers finish colonizing inland North America, you can sell or liberate your Irish/Icelandic province to decrease the geographic potential of attacks against you.
- With the above strategy, I could conquer all North America east of the Rocky Mountains except for the coastal provinces in the Mexican Gulf and Hudson Bay by 1650.
- An alternative colonization strategy could be conquering a province from Morocco instead Ireland or Iceland. This would however favor colonizing South America, and definitely lead to some conflict with Portugal early on.
Let's find out what type of a country Hungary has to become to be the most effective and become something more than an Austrian vassal like it did in the real history.
You start in the Eastern research group. This means you get 0.9 of the normal (Latin) research rate. This may be considered a problem but in fact when you start your game and for your first a hundred or so years is one of your biggest assets. Eastern countries have a wide variety of cavalry. They are getting better and better cavalry types almost with all their Land tech levels. Also, since cavalry is seriously overpowered in the game, you can use it to your advantage while fighting and in fact win many wars easily that you would most certainly lose if you weren't Eastern. So don't cry, be happy you're Eastern.
Also, don't think that getting 0.9 of research means you're going to be very backwards. Just don't waste your money on research you don't need like Naval or Production (after level 1 that's allowing workshops).
There are three types of nations in the game. Those who colonize, those who trade and those who fight. This can be told basing on what is the first National Idea they choose. There's no way you can go colonizing early as you have too many things to sort out in Europe and can't really afford any serious colonial effort. So you have a choice between trading and fighting.
Focusing on trading is difficult with Hungary as they are surrounded by countries that would like this land to become theirs and each time you have to show them forcefully where's their place.
If you are willing to fight, you are pretty much set from the start. Just take Military Drill as your first idea and keep pushing forward to the Balkans, Bohemia, Poland, Austria (and Italy!). Invest in cavalry-only armies, have your king lead your armies and don't even allow your enemies to rest.
Hire an army reformer and a statesman to boost your Government and Land research if they are available. If not, take other guys that boost your research. If you manage to get a good statesman and a good army reformer, you can reduce your research spending in that area and spend your money elsewhere.
Move towards Offensive (if you're not that good in fighting) or towards Free Trade (if you're planning to Trade) with your domestic policies. Also from the beginning invest all your budget to Government tech and build as much of cavalry as you can.
You start at war with the great and mighty Ottoman Empire that has just beaten Byzantium. The Ottomans want to increase their influence in the Balkans and this is not very good for you.
You have two allies in this war, Transylvania that is also your vassal and not that very friendly Serbia. To befriend Serbia and other Balkan countries you have to improve your tolerance towards Orthodox. Do it before you start playing.
Now, you have to know that the Ottomans strike on Serbia very early and annex it very quickly. This is not something you could tolerate. Take your both armies and tell them to march to Serbia. Have the one that is close be led by János Hunyadi, your very skilled general. You want to knock the Ottomans back from Serbia and hold that ground till you have Military Drill or at least reinforce your armies with additional cavalry.
If you see you can push forward, follow their army and beat it again. After that, follow them again. Don't stop building more cavalry until your manpower lowers. You want to group all your infantry in two armies that will siege something if they have an occasion and all your cavalry in the second one, led by your general and pursuing the Ottoman armies.
Your goal in this war is to push the Ottomans back and disallow them from taking any land from Serbia and Transylvania. If you can achieve that and get a ducat, congratulations, you are skilled in fighting in eu3 and can be not afraid of any war. If your allies manage to get a province or two, the situation can't be better.
One way or another, you want this war to end before Austria finishes fighting Venice as you're the next target of Austria just after they win there.
Gaining influence in Balkans
After the war you have to secure your influence in the Balkans. Start with proclaiming a guarantee to every single country there, from Athens up to Transylvania. You want to leave yourself a chance to intervene in any war that is carried around the peninsula. You should especially strive to stop the Ottomans from expanding further here. You won't always succeed in this, but even trying to do that makes their work harder and this way gives you more and more time before they reach your borders. So don't neglect any intervention that could discourage the Ottomans from coming to Europe.
Don't worry about wars that small countries fight against each other. Also, don't oppose Poland and Lithuania from taking Moldavia. You want one of the countries here to consolidate control over the region, most probably it will be Serbia or Bosnia, and to separate you from the green menace. Also, the presence of Poland is quite helpful, as Poland and Lithuania are not something the Ottomans would like to mess with. So befriend the Poles and ally with them to secure the Balkans from Ottomans for good.
This country is going to backstab you sooner or later. Having huge armies can discourage them for some time but sooner or later you will have them on your back. If you have won with the Ottoman Empire, Austria shouldn't pose much challenge. Just make sure you don't fight them two at the same time. Such a war will end up with you losing half of your land and all your armies.
Fighting Austria is a bit easier than fighting Ottomans as you have no little losers to defend, it's only you and them. How does Austria fight? In the most silly way you can imagine. They come in one or two huge stacks led by generals or even by their king. They siege one of your provinces, win the siege, than win another one.
You don't probably want an open battle with them early in the war. Allow them to siege a province or two, let attrition do its job. You're not Norway, ok, but still the attrition will take its toll against their huge stacks. So wait half a year, consolidate your cavalry with a general that does a lot of shock damage (after one or two wars with the Ottomans your Army Tradition is 100% or close to it, Austria won't match your generals, not after a war with weaklings from Venice) and attack their biggest stack with them. He will win, don't worry. After they run, keep following them. If they have more armies, you have to use your best general and a part of your main cavalry force to deal with it too.
Now, when their biggest stacks are running and your cavalry is chasing them, hire some mercenary infantry (you need stacks of 2k per province that you want to siege) and send it to their land. Siege as many provinces at a time as you can afford. Move to the provinces producing gold and to their capital as soon as you get a few from the first sieges.
The most favourable situation would be if you could vassalize Austria. You can do it, provided you can afford enough mercenaries and you don't screw a major battle. However another good, and the most likely, situation would be Austria ceding several nice provinces before you plow into northern Italy. Be warned though that having Austria off your back for good can spoil the game as what's great in playing Hungary is being squeezed between two major powers that want to expand into your territory and can't do it.
Why conquer poor Orthodox provinces in Balkans while you have a great, wealthy and full of universities piece of land just across the sea? I don't know. Still, I see many people that don't see that opportunity.
First task here is to get some sort of a foothold. Some sort of an occasion to intervene and take a province or two. You can do it in two ways. You can ally with one of the countries here, preferably a monarchy and wait for them to drag you into a war. Then take whatever you wish. If you can't get anybody to ally with you, you may proclaim guarantees to as many countries as you can and wait until somebody attacks one of those. Sienna and Urbino are attacked early and are great for that purpose.
Have 5 cogs prepared, declare a war when you have a Casus Belli, send your elite cavalry armies there and force vassalize or annex whatever you're fighting with. Prefer provinces with Universities over anything else in your peace deals. You want to control everything between Sicily and Switzerland eventually and this should be an important short term goal.
If you have many of Austria's provinces and most of northern Italy under your control your economy will be solid, enabling more conquest or even colonization.
Holy Roman Empire
This is something you have to invest a lot of money and a lot of time in. Is it worth it? Yes, it is. Additional manpower and land force limit means that the Ottomans and Austria won't even dare to think about conquering you. Additional stability investment will make it easier to keep your country intact while fighting numerous wars.
To become the emperor you have to make friends with as many electors as possible. If you get a majority, your king will become the emperor just after the old one dies. Bribe them, organize royal marriages with them and do not ally with anybody as you don't want to participate in any of their wars as it could make other electors like you less.
We have a separate article on Westernisation. Keep in mind that you don't want to do that for the first 150 years of your game. At least until you are safe from Ottomans and Austria, allied with Poland and hold a serious piece of land in Italy. Your cavalry is your great asset and this 0.1 penalty to your research is not that evil as you might think.
After having secured your position and wealth you may decide to become a trading nation. Take Shrewd Commerce Practice as your second National Idea, take National Trade Policy as your third idea. Move towards Free Trade with your sliders. If you don't fall much behind in your Trade research and your monarch's Administration skills are at least half decent, you should be able to keep five merchants in each of the five most profitable CoTs you know about. Especially if you have good reputation. This can triple your income and make up for your research penalty. So don't think you can ignore trading.
Initially you have no resources or time for any exploration and you have more important National Ideas to take instead of Quest for the New World. If you have decided to become a trading nation you can have a few colonies, especially if you have moved towards Free Trade, because after fifty years you're shown what others have explored. Try to send your colonists to South or North America, somewhere close to the natives who you can conquer. This way you will get the manpower and gold you need later in your game in huge blob wars in Europe of 17th and 18th century.
If you want to take colonialism more seriously as your preferred style of play and subsequently fore-go trading for a while, colonies on the Central American islands are a good starting point. This is assuming you have Northern Italian provinces and much of Austria under your control to fund your efforts. Your second National Idea would be Quest for the New World, and third would be Viceroys. As mentioned, starting colonies close to the natives in the Americas and then conquering them is another option that can gain you huge tracts of land, be aware of the religious and culture differences reducing the tax income and rising stability costs though. Also keep an eye on who has colonies and where in the event that you are warring them. An alliance with Scotland will give you an excuse to take some colonies from England, for example.