|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Feudal Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||3|
|Center of Trade||None|
|Other accepted cultures||Maltese|
Sicily starts out in a somewhat disadvantageous position. It is the junior partner in a personal union with Aragon, which owns the southernmost two of Sicily's cores. It cannot trigger the Italian unification event, because its primary culture is Sicilian and not Lombard, and it is friends with all of its neighbors so it has a difficult time expanding.
Heir to the Throne
In Heir to the Throne Sicily's position is probably better than in the other games. It is allied with Aragon and has a royal marriage with them but is not in a personal union under them. Also, Sicily has +1 Prestige, while Aragon has +2 so it is not so likely that a Personal Union will be formed between this two nations.
Also, Sicily can form Italy in theory as it is allowed to all countries in Italy except The Papal State. If you want a good fight in the beginning, you can fight Venice as you have a Casus Belli on them (Reconquest - you have core in Athens). Although this option is not recommended as you have a low army tradition and you are ruled by a queen that can't be converted to a general. You have under your command the island of Sicily (Palermo & Messina) & the island of Malta. That gives you a nice tax and a Manpower (3138 total base value), and you have a high Naval support limit, so you have an army of 2000 infantry (support limit: 6), and a Navy of 4 galleys and 3 cogs-transport (support limit: 9). You are a member of the Genoese trade league so you can't build a CoT, your queen has: 5 Administration, 6 Diplomacy & 7 Military that is very nice.
You have Western technology (not Latin as in previous games), so it will be easy to get to +3 stability fast (you are at +1). Your culture is pretty small (the culture in Malta is Maltese - in Iberian group), so you are lucky to accept other cultures in your group. You have: 2 merchants, 1 colonist & 5 diplomats. Send the merchants to Genoa, but you have nothing to do with the colonist right now.
Organize the biggest army you can, you'll have to start one of this wars:
- Reconquest of Athens - you got Casus Belli.
- Conquering Sardinia, No Casus Belli.
- Fighting Naples - wait until they attack you or attack first without a Casus Belli.
- Attacking Venice in Athens will be easy because they are busy with something else, and this is not their homeland.
- Attacking Sardinia will be easy but you will have to take the whole reputation price - 8 Infamy (BadBoy).
- Attacking Naples won't be easy because they are big and leading a Personal Union with Provence, but don't forget that you are allied (& Royal Married) with Aragon so they will help you against Naples.
Theoretically you have two primary goals:
- Establish Italy and conquer the whole of it.
- Become a “Isle Empire” (conquer all of the islands in the area) and become a local Naval Superpower.
Do not form alliances, as they will inhibit your conquest of your neighbours more than they will aid you. Declare war on Naples after building an army, and keep attacking them until you finally annex them. Move up the Italian peninsula, doing this to every other nation, but maintain good relations with France, lest they annihilate your smaller country.
Sicily has a few advantages as well. It is the second-largest country in Italy (Venice is the largest, and only because of holdings outside of Italy proper) and the very high-population province of Napoli provides good manpower. It is not exposed to aggressive larger neighbors, like Venice and Milan are. And excellent relations with Aragon can be useful, if the player gives up on the Messina and Palermo island cores for a while. Sicily is in a good position to take over all of Italy with time; even if it cannot fire the Italian unification event and "become" Italy, a Sicily that has expanded to cover all of Italy can become a European superpower.
Sicily's northern neighbor Urbino is of critical importance; it is the gateway to the rest of Italy. However, Urbino is a prime target for annexation by another country, particularly the Papal State; furthermore, because of its personal union with Aragon, Sicily cannot move against Urbino unilaterally until it gains independence (which will happen automatically once the current monarch dies).
Early War with the Papal State
If Urbino is quickly annexed by the Papal State, as often happens, it is not all bad news. Sicily will have to deal with the Papal State sooner or later, so the fewer countries to declare war on, the fewer large stability hits it will face. After aggressively building up the military and constructing at least one transport (neither of which should require loans, thanks to a good tax base), launch a surprise attack on the Papal State immediately. The Papal State may form an alliance with a stronger state if too much time passes, so don't wait around.
The element of surprise is crucial. Gain military access on the surrounding countries before you attack the Papal State, so you can chase the enemy army once it is routed. The Papal State will not support a very large regular army, but to defend itself it will hire a large mercenary army; attacking with a well-funded, high-morale army right from the first day of the war will route the newly hired mercenaries and keep them on the run.
Sicily's goal here is not only to take Urbino's former province Ancona, but to strip the Papal State of every last province but Roma. Overrun Ancona, Romagna, and Roma, and then gain military access to Provence or France and land troops there to move on Avignion (don't forget Avignion!). Avignon has an incredible Level 3 fortress, so you will have to simply siege the city and wait it out.
Ancona and Romagna are lucrative enough, but if you completely overrun the Papal State to the point where you can demand all three non-capital provinces, you get a prize. Avignon starts the game with a Tax Assessor, which cannot be built elsewhere until mid to late game. This building reduces inflation, and the fewer provinces the owner has, the more effective one individual building will be. The Tax Assessor combined with a National Bank National Idea will allow Sicily to mint perhaps 20% of its income without inflation; it may not make money from month to month with that amount, but at least it will be able to save up your census taxes without losing too much during the year. Normally an Italian minor should not seek to own many provinces outside of Italy until the stage is set for unification, but Avignon is valuable enough to be a good exception.
Dealing with Aragon
If Aragon has not allied itself with Castille, then after defeating the Papal State, Sicily may be strong enough to win back its southernmost cores, Messina and Palermo. On the other hand, if Aragon has allied itself with Castille, or another very powerful country, then a decision has to be made. Getting the cores early will make further campaigns on the peninsula much easier, because they are high-manpower and provide a much-needed boost to census taxes. However, the cores are not essential for unification, and a continued alliance with Aragon may be useful in fighting for the rest of Italy.
If Sicily does want to take Messina and Palermo, and Castille and Aragon are indeed allied, it has quite a fight ahead of it. The best strategy is to wait until the two allies are involved in a war with another major power (Granada or Navarra won't even slow them down). Sicily allying with another strong power itself would be useful, but because it is so small and so aggressive most major powers won't give it the time of day. Either way, only a unified or nearly-unified Italy can hope to stand against the unified might of Spain without assistance.