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- Don't go over the infamy limit. Ever. You should really only do this if you're planning a world conquest.
- Infamy adds quite a few negative modifiers to your relations with other nations. The most obvious is a monthly relations decrease with -every- nation that you've discovered, depending upon your current infamy. Other negative modifiers include:
- Decreasing the chance to become Holy Roman Emperor (by decreasing the electors' opinion).
- Making it more difficult to pass Imperial Reforms as the Holy Roman Emperor.
- Decreasing the likelihood of another nation allying with you.
- Decreasing the likelihood of a vassal accepting annexation.
- Decreasing your influence with the pope (only applicable if you're Catholic, of course).
- Increases stability costs.
- Diplomats (the advisor type) are a -must have- if you plan on swallowing large quantities of infamy, as you'll want to lose it as soon as possible. Embassies are also good for burning infamy once you've researched the necessary Government tech for them.
- You can park your galleys in ports to prevent piracy since the waters will always be patrolled, even while ships are in port.
- Inflation is very, very, bad in large quantities.
- Try to avoid loans if you can. They may seem beneficial, but in the end they make things worse as they decrease your income.
- Mint and swallow inflation if you -must.- Inflation is preferable to bankruptcy.
- Masters of Mints are considered by many to be one of the best advisers in the game, as they reduce inflation.
- Prestige can be used to spread your sphere of influence. Each country that gets added to your sphere increases your Magistrate rate by .05 per year. The best time to spend prestige in this way is right before signing a peace treaty after a winning a war.
- You can change an already chosen National Idea. Note, this causes a -3 stability hit.
- Centralization is infinitely better in comparison to decentralization. The only time you want to take decentralization is if you're running the risk of overextending, which increases revolt risk (and a bunch of other bad things.)
- Mercantilism is good for big nations that own centers of trade themselves, Free Trade is good for small nations that need to trade as much as they can to stay afloat.
- Quality is almost always better than quantity. It's typically advised you lean one or two slider movements towards Quality.
- Narrowminded is good for swift colonial expansion, but you don't want to take too much of it. It will, eventually, make you a technologically backwards mess.
- To add to the slider tips, a lot of people don't realize that Merchant Republics gain the Mercantilism compete chance bonus from provinces they don't own if those provinces are granting them Trade Rights or are a member of their Trade League. Many people people go free trade as a Merchant Republic (since they're small), and wonder why they have trouble holding their own center of trade.
- Royal marriages are absolutely vital to peaceful expansion, and expansion in general if you're a member of the Holy Roman Empire.
- If you're a member of the Holy Roman Empire, don't take provinces that you don't have a core on. It will give you a yearly .25 infamy increase for every non-cored province that you do not own.
- Personal unions are amazing for expansion in the Holy Roman Empire, as they eventually lead to inheritance, which gives you cores on all of their provinces that are also within the Holy Roman Empire.
- Don't be surprised if an ally doesn't answer your Call to Arms - Your ally could be tied up in something else.
- Regarding diplomacy & AI call to arms: Try to fight together in defensive wars a few times to strengthen the alliance first. THEN you can (fairly) reliably call in your ally for an offensive war.
- After winning a battle, hover over the province to find out where the enemy troops will retreat to. If you have a general with good maneuver skill, you can set you troops to get to the target province faster and get the defensive bonus. Setting up a message to pause the game after a battle is over helps with this a lot.
- Create a naval early warning system using cheap galleys by placing them in the seas by the provinces you want to protect. When a large naval force comes, they have to attack it. The benefit is that you get warned right away and can send your big ship fleet to attack. Key thing for this is setting up a message that pauses the game to notify you of naval battles.
- Beware, because enemy troops can land on your shores even if their transport ships are engaged in battle.
- Regiments of 1000 fight better than ones with fewer soldiers. With a bit more micro, you can manually combine regiments to create full sized ones and continue the fight. You should avoid using the automatic consolidate within a large stack since it will reduce the total number of regiments. Manually break out two regiments at a time where the total unit count is over 1000 and consolidate them. After doing this for all your regiments, you should have one army that's fully fit to fight, and another that can go back to a safe province and reinforce.
- Here's a good write up by naggy that includes pictures on what to do.
- Before going into a province where the enemy has stationed a smaller stack than your army remove your general from the army, as soon as the enemy begins to move, pause the game and switch the general back in, now your army will most likely arrive before the enemy can flee.
- When storming the fort (without a breech in the wall), best time to do it is near the end of the month. On last day of month cancel storming by sending your army to some other province and immediately stop it. The army recovers some spent morale so you can continue charging. To put it simpler - don't let your charging the fort last form the end of the month to start of another. Pause to regain morale.
- There are cases to do the opposite, however. The units that are fighting don't take attrition when the battle rolls over the month, so if the attacking army is high on morale and in a province that was scorched by the owner, or fighting in the north during the winter months, it might actually be better to keep the battle going than to break off the fight.
- Early in the game you should try to get a few provinces in the Arabic/Berber realms if you are a Western European realm. They have far superior cavalry units (Charge Cavalry and Muslim Cavalry Archers) that will remain superior until you gain the Latin Caracole Cavalry, which will not be for many years.
- If you have the possibility, hold back cavalry units separately when defending and then charge in, either when the morale gets low or you simply cannot wait anymore. Also during a siege, you can pull out the cavalry and wait - preferably on the opposite side of where you can expect an attack on your siege army. They can also be used to bolster the morale of your army during an assault. Cavalry has no part in the assault, but their morale will help.