|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Despotic Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||7|
Mutapa is arguably the best Sub-Saharan African nation starting in 1399. It makes the most money early game because it has the most gold provinces. You don't have to worry about European or Middle Eastern nations much (early to mid game) because you are the furthest from each. Here is a standard strategy when playing as Mutapa:
Two out of three of your advisors should be Land and Government tech advisors. This will get you fortresses at Land 3, which you don't start with, and eventually Government 10, so you can escape Tribal Despotism. Good 3rd advisor choices include inflation reduction or revolt risk reduction.
War with Swahili
Swahili will attack you first most likely. If they don't, you should attack them. Set your income to 100% to pay for mercenaries as you only have 2000 troops to start and 2000 reserves, while reinforcement only come in the low hundreds. You will lower tax income after the war, so forget inflation for now.
Defeat Swahili and take control over all of their provinces. Take Sofala for the gold and the coast, and take Mogadishu for Adal access (you cannot see Adal for 25+ years otherwise). Now your total province number will be 9, the max for tribal government without incurring extreme penalties. Zanzibar looks appealing, but it will lose its CoT in a short time due to COT attrition. If the war with Swahili is going bad for you, making your king a general will help, but is not recommended because he will probably die and give you regency council.
- Be wary of the 2 religious decisions, as they both hurt stability. Stability recovery is key during Westernisation.
- Choose Innovative as first slider move (required for westernization).
- Move your National Focus to include more provinces within its 1 province range; make sure you include your capital still.
Now you should have taken Sofala and Mogadishu and gained 5 gold/month income. Make sure Mogadishu has at least 5 regiments there, and your core country has at least 9-11 regiments. Replace mercenaries with regular regiments. Set your tax slider so you incur 0.0 income/month. First concentrate on stability, then on Land Tech. Wait until you have 4 magistrates and choose Expand The Bureaucracy. Become Master of the Paintings (not a real decision) and spam that painting button until you get near 100% culture. By this time you can attack Swahili again. Do it and vassalize them, as they don't have enough provinces to resist full vassalization. Then, with the increased army tradition, get a land tech advisor, who should be level 4 or so. Then replace the other advisors with level 5 or 6 ones.
The goal is to conquer and vassalize Swahili, Adal, and Ethiopia as fast as possible. This gives you gold without inuring Tribal expansion penalty. When you conquer Ethiopia, take the province that they own that is next to the Mamluks. Now you can 'Westernize' to at least Muslim technology. Having only one province next to Mamluks means they will likely only take that province during a war. Also, don't call Ethiopia if you go to war with the Mamluks because they will get owned, hard. It is advised to spam Mamluks with gifts until you get to 200 relationship with them or any Muslim nation you border. Forget inflation, 200 relations is most important.
Pro Tip: If you rush Government 4 after getting Land 3 (which you should do regardless), you can get Patron of the Arts early. With this National Idea you enable the Architectural Development event which will happen an average 30 years after you get the NI (less with ADM over 6 or Artist advisor). This will allow you to move your Innovative slider -2!. If you plan to do this, only lower Innovative to -1 (that means towards innovative), pursue Centralization, and let this event trigger. This saves 22.6 years of time (2 slider changes). If you think you're lucky, only bring Innovative to +1. This will make it take a few years longer to achieve Government 4 however.
Since you now neighbour Mamluks and you two are the best friends anyone could have, eventually you can Westernize one notch to Muslim tech. Now you can make ships and tech up much faster. If you can, and it hasn't randomly been created, make a COT in Sofala (you should have trade tech 2 by now). Your first priority though is Quest for the New World national idea if you can't see western Africa yet.
If you can't see western Africa, Get Quest for the New World national idea, make 5-6 cogs, and head straight for western Africa with your dudes. By now, some European country has taken some property there. Conquer a neighboring province from nations like Oyo or Hausa. Sometimes Spain will be attacking Mali right when you get there; join in on the fun and make sure you tag a province. You need to get a province next to a European power no matter what! Otherwise you will have to wait until your colonial range is great enough to colonize next to their provinces.
Once next to a European conquest in western Africa, spam them with gifts and then Westernize! They will definitely be more than 25 combined techs (average 5 techs above you) by now. If you can do this, continue to pump government tech until you get Government 10 so you can get out of Tribalism.
You'll also need to Modernise your military, and is separate from your general Westernization. More stability hits (you'll want to probably switch to Church Attendance Duty for 33% less stability cost). This is the last priority, but you want to get it done or you will be hit with anti-Westernization events until it is done. When you get the event, do not choose decentralization +1, because you need centralization. Just accept -2 revolt risk and live with the fact you'll have to wait 10 years to Modernise your military again if you're not ready. You need a minimum King ADM of 7 Modernise your military.
Once out of tribalism, get the Colonial Ventures National Idea because there is a lot of great colonies around you to grab (South Africa, Reunion island, etc.).
Now that you have westernized your country, military, and government, now time to expand and conquer! Don't engage the Europeans until you match their Land Tech, which should be one of your main priorities. Remember not to necessary conquer sub-par non-coastal provinces, because you will increase your tech costs. Coast provinces are essential for naval force limit increase, however.
You will eventually own southern Africa however, and there are some great provinces down there. Will the Zulus conquer England instead of the other way around this time?