Note: This strategy assumes a militaristic Scotland out for land playing on normal.
|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Feudal Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||6|
|Center of Trade||None|
|Other accepted cultures||None|
Scotland rarely is successful in a head-to-head war against England, as they simply cannot support an army to match the English. However, if you can't hit them in the front, then stab them in the back.
England will eventually, and inevitably, go to war with France, which you should wait for to happen. You can guarantee France if you want, as it will make it easier if England declares war on France. If this happens, dishonor your alliance with France. This will make England feel that their northern boarder is secure, and they will then start shipping their forces off to France to fight their war. Then, once England is mostly emptied, you can declare war. However it is more likely that your allies the French will be the ones to start the war. If they do, they will ask for your help. Don't respond right away. Wait for a couple months for the English army to ship out to France, then join the war. If the Call to Arms expires before then, just declare war on England anyway, if you don't have a casus belli on them you will lose 3 stability but it won't take too long to get it back.
Now with most of their forces overseas fighting in France, you will basically have free reign over their country. Pray that the war in France goes on for a long time, since the AI has a nasty habit of cutting their wars short when you're trying to back-stab them. Concentrate your forces and take out the small stack or two England left behind to guard their homeland. Then spread the majority of your forces out to lay siege, as you want to take as much land as you can as quickly as possible. Keep one relatively strong army in southern England and try to meet any amphibious assaults the English send back across the Channel. If you want, you can get military access through France and station your little fleet in northern France before the war starts and try to ambush England's transports once your war starts, but they are usually pretty well guarded. It isn't advisable to try to attack England's Irish province(s) or their French lands, as England starts with a large fleet that will make it hard for you to make any amphibious attack; so stick to your island for now. Once you have all of England or England manages to land a force you can't immediately defeat, sue for peace.
If their armies are down quite low you might want to start the war back up again immediately by declaring war on a small nation that England guarantees. If they still have a large army left, not to worry, with those new lands you took from England, your land force limit should now be close to his. You should focus on building up your own army to be able to match England's in the inevitable next war.
Congratulations Braveheart! You've just beaten England! Its all downhill from here.
Early-Game Granada Gambit
If/when Castille declares war on Granada (the country), have a small amphibious force ready to besiege Granada (the province). Usually Castille will be content to demand Almeria and Gibraltar at the end of their first war, but start your siege before then just to make sure Castille doesn't annex Granada outright.
Once you have captured the province, offer to sell it to Castille (if you keep it, Castille will declare war on you next). You should be able to ask for as much as 500-600 ducats, which will net you enough money to set up a Center of Trade in Lothian!
Not a bad start for Scottland just a few years into the game!
This patch has made wars much more difficult, as “free minting” is impossible. So forget a foothold on the continent – Burgundy or France will take Brittany.
Concentrate initially on making four vassals in Ireland. Always ask for 50 ducats also – this will give you a 200 ducat war chest for attacking England.
Research Gov 1 and take National Bank first to work down your inflation from warring, via running about a -2 ducat monthly deficit in peacetime, which is enough to maintain whatever bank balance you have. Take 3 advisors to improve stability, as you’re going to be declaring war often. Get a good shock general either via your ruler or a hireling. Promise yourself you will not take a loan, ever.
Then attack England as quickly as possible with at least 6 cavalry and 6 infantry. Mint if you must, rush-assault the Fort 1 provinces with your stack of 6 infantry if you must, and definitely push your tiny army to the brink, but possess Meath and two other provinces at minimum before suing for peace and ask for all of them. Once you win the first war with England, that’s the easy part.
It only gets harder. England will immediately start building up huge armies on the border – two stacks of more than 10 units, usually, half cavalry and half infantry, with generals – and you’ve probably spent all the 200 from Ireland already. You will have to find some way to pay for the second war – use your alliances with France and Norway to milk some cheap 50 ducat peace deals, wait for cessation of church functions, etc.
Once you have 120 or so, you can risk a second war. You’ll probably be forced to both mint to maintain solvency and use huge stacks of infantry to rush-assault. If you can occupy two provinces in this war before your forces collapse, you’re lucky. England will win any protracted conflict, so you must be extremely aggressive. In each of these wars, France will quickly take Gastogne or Calais, kicking up your war score, but don’t expect them to assault the Isles.
The third war will be even more difficult. You’d think they’d get easier, but it will be probably be nearly 1500, if not later, after half a dozen wars or more, before you subdue England proper. It is much more difficult to convince them to be a vassal than in earlier patches. However, in your favor, England likes to colonize, even in the middle of war, so once you have worked your way to London and don’t have to worry about stacks of 25,000 English stinking pig-dogs any more, you can take any well-developed colonies without having to build them yourself.
The extended amount of time needed to subdue England and build a tax base probably restricts Scotland from ever developing a serious presence on the continent. Conquering Norway and the Swedes is doable, but probably not worth the effort. I suggest taking QFTNW next, concentrating on the Americas, and watching France and Burgundy very closely for weaknesses or aggression.
Update for 1.2.1
The I-B-E strategy is still valid, with a few reservations. Diploannexation is easier, as vassals don't start out at -199 relations.
More importantly, as France now annexes her many vassals quickly and is much more aggressive as a result, messing with France early on is not recommended. Unless, of course, she has unwisely attacked Burgundy while you're wrapping up England - in that case, stab the French in the back and take the Normandy coast as quickly as possible.
If the English are stubborn in peace negotiations, holding London will usually force them to loosen up.
If you do attack Brittany, forceannex everything save the capital for a quick manpower boost going into an invasion of England. If you just vassalize it, the new hyper-France may attack it anyway.
Forming Great Britain is now possible with the Scots - and accomplishing such by the 1490s is quite possible.
The original Ireland-Brittany-England strategy
You have three targets starting out - the Irish provinces, Brittany, and England. Aim to annex them all by 1500. The first two are easy; England is not.
Start with the Irish. Set your research to Government and rely on your end-year take - don't take any loans and don't mint. Build up at least 3 cavalry units, with 3 cogs to put them in. Whenever your Idea becomes available, take Military Drill.
Declare war on the province that has the most alliances. You'll take a -3 stability hit but you'll get it back before you know it. If you're lucky, you'll be in a war with all the Irish minors and Brittany with only one war declaration. If you lose your alliance with France, don't worry. You won't need it. Vassalize each Irish province in turn - they're all pushovers. Make sure Norway or France doesn't grab one while you're not looking (lose your alliance with both at the earliest opportunity).
Then land as big an army in Brittany as you can, with as much cav as possible, with your ruler as a general. Feel free to slowly build up your forces - Brittany is not going anywhere, and their army will probably stack up in Armor, making it easy for you to take the other three provinces and then mass-assault Armor with everything you have. Once you have all four provinces, make them a vassal, too.
Resist taking territory during this phase. If you do, your vassals will not start out with reasonable relations. Instead, just ask for vassaldom in peace negotiations, which will make diploannexing them much easier in 10 years. It will take you a lot longer than 10 years to take out England, anyway.
Once Brittany is pacified, bring your army back home. Get at least 5 cav and 5 infantry units on the border with England, with your ruler as general of the cav stack. If they have at least 2 shock (preferably 3) this will be much faster. Wait a little while and see if England gets in trouble. It's easier to attack them when they're at war with France. Regardless, you need to attack soon, as you're still at 0 land tech, while things are relatively even.
England starts with 4 decent generals. You only have your ruler. Fortunately, England never puts more than 3,000 cav in one stack, and that's rare.
Declare war (-3 stability hit is fine, your income is so bad it won't matter much) and clear them out of the first four provinces. Put 1-2 infantry in each for sieging. Don't wander farther. Make them attack you instead, with your ruler+cav unit as a mobile defense unit. Land 1 infantry in Meath while you're at it.
Your objective is to get 3-4 provinces from England in each war. You can't make a vassal of them yet. It will take at least 3-4 wars to get England to the point where it will agree to be a vassal, when they have 5 or 6 provinces left. Your ruler will probably bite the bullet during one of these wars - replace them immediately with your new boss. Without at least one general, you can't fight the main English stack.
As soon as each truce ends, declare war on England again. Sometimes they'll save you the trouble. During the truces between wars (and after the first war, your manpower should be significantly boosted) sink what little money you have into getting the Irish minors to 190 relations. Remember that you don't have to ally with them to do this. Concentrate on one at a time and you should be able to pick up 1-2 of them between each war with England. After them, diploannex Brittany.
The only problem with this strategy is that you must watch your attrition carefully, as you have very small armies and little manpower, and you must watch France like a hawk, as may take half of England while you are pummeling the English. Dropping a few units behind the English lines to siege the south coast can discourage this. If you must, declare on France (hopefully without Brittany annexed or allied, or you will lose it in 10 seconds) to keep them out.
Once England is a vassal it will be around -199, relations-wise, with about 20 ducats for a relations bribe - but you should have ~20 years to 1500 to get up to 190, with +10 boosts from the two military access options and from an alliance. Soon, the British Isles will be the Scottish Isles! Great Scotland, here we come...
In the meantime, consider snatching a few provinces from France while it is engaged elsewhere. You should have pretty good Military Tradition now, and you can buy another general or two instead of bribing your English vassal once every year.
From this point on you want to get Production 1 and your yearly income to 46, so you can build workshops. After that, you're home free and can do whatever you want with a secure and powerful Scottish nation. Your BB should be low from avoiding force annexes, so you can become a trader if you want. The Isles are invincible to AI invasion, given a decent navy on your part, so you can colonize at will when you get your 2nd idea, which should be Quest for the New World. Also, your considerable foothold in Brittany allows messing with France. You can pick up some allies in the German minors after England is your vassal (your prestige will be nearly 50 or higher from all the fighting) and even become HRE with a little luck.