|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Feudal Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||15|
|Center of Trade||None: Hanseatic League member|
Heir to the Throne
- In 1399 Sweden starts as a junior member of the Kalmar Union, if you want to break free from it, insult Denmark to negative relations, break your alliance with them and wait for their king to die. You can also declare war on them when you think you are ready but it isn't required.
- As far as sliders are concerned, Sweden wants to move towards centralization, innovative, quality and free trade. Moving towards Naval is useful in later stages in the game but will be a serious obstacle early on.
- For national ideas, taking national trade policy, patron of the arts and grand navy as first three isn't a bad idea from economic stand point. One of those can be replaced with ecumenism to ensure swift conversion to Protestant in the early 1500s.
- Research should first be focused at Gov4 to grab a first national idea, then Land5 to upgrade land units, then Prod9 and Gov11 for three National Ideas and ability to construct Workshops. After that Naval9 for blockades, Naval11 for Caravels... and full Trade research afterwards is in order. Ability to build Workshops is crucial for Sweden because it raises Swedish support limit a lot allowing to field a much larger army.
- First years of the game are best spent colonizing Kola and Lappland. To do this fast and without bankrupting yourself (there's already a colony in Osterbotten at the beginning and three colonies at once is quite a strain) Sweden should move National Focus to Osterbotten, hire Masters of Mint and don't invest in an army until all three colonies are cities. A mild level of inflation can be afforded to reach the goal of having all three colonies with Swedish culture. If those aren't colonized by Sweden, Novgorod and Norway will grab them making them of their own culture. Colonization of Kola can be avoided if Sweden doesn't want to hunt pirates up in the north. It also can be colonized as Swedish and then sold to vassal Norway if Sweden chooses to not conquer Norway.
- After colonies are ready, Sweden faces another problem, a big chunk of provinces are without forts and they need to be constructed right away. So all the income should be invested to that purpose until every single Swedish province is fortified.
- In the meantime enacting Land Reforms in all the provinces neighbouring Osterbotten is advised because it's not very likely focus will be put up there again in the whole game. So now or never. :-)
- Third project while in union should be creating a Centre of Trade for Scandinavia in Stockholm, the way it happened historically. To do that Sweden must save all the income until it has 500, move its National Focus back to Stockholm or a neighbouring province, leave Hanseatic Trade league and create the CoT. Returning to Hansa afterwards is easy enough. This will boost Swedish incomes greatly and allow them to train a much bigger army. Centre of Trade can be created before Forts if Sweden chooses to stay in the Kalmar Union longer.
- When National Focus is back in the capital, Sweden should enact Land Reforms in all its main provinces as well as create a grain depot in Ostergotland. Regular enactment of Population Census to increase inherently small population of Sweden is a very good idea as well.
- After colonies, forts and centre of trade are all completed, it's time to build an army which (depending on king's skill) should be around 15 000 men at this point. Staying under Denmark's protection until 1430-1440 and not building an army isn't as bad an idea as it might seem at first.
- With colonies, forts, centre of trade and army, the last thing required to become a world power is a navy. Sweden shouldn't invest into galleys despite being a nation bordering the galley-favouring Baltic Sea. Main rivals of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and England all have capital ships and won't have trouble sinking whole Swedish navy if Sweden goes galleys.
- To beat Denmark and Norway, around 15 Carracks is required so they should be constructed in the following years regardless of support limit for ships.
- Denmark is best attacked when it's already busy with another war and their armies and navy are all scattered. Declaration must happen before 1449 or Sweden will lose cores on its provinces inside Denmark.
- After war breaks, Danish forces should be blockaded on their islands by superior Swedish navy put in Oresund while Swedish army proceeds to besieging whole Norway and beating whatever forces Kalmar Union still has left in the mainland. War shouldn't be very challenging provided Swedish navy can defend Scandinavia proper and after it Sweden can either grab only their cores from Denmark or choose a major land grab from Norway to expand their amount of provinces rapidly.
- Owning Iceland will be a great asset for future colonization of North America. Owning Orkney will cause a lot of wars with England after it becomes Great Britain which Sweden might want to constantly reduce power of its main naval rival or not.
- Norway makes a good vassal after their size is reduced a bit, their navy will be very capable and the provinces they hold are very poor and with wrong culture.
- Denmark annexed will give Sound Toll to Sweden vastly boosting trade income which is very handy throughout the whole game.
- With Denmark and Norway defeated, Sweden should enter a period of peace and prosperity waiting for all the provinces they took to become cores and preparing for the reformation by going more Innovative and Free Subjects as well as insulting the Pope and taking Restraint of the Appeals and Church Taxes decisions if a king capable of handling them appears in Sweden. This is also the period where Trade tech investment and increasing presence in major centres of trade should happen.
- After Reformation in 1500s and getting cores on all conquered provinces it's time for a major colonization effort. Swedish colonies in real history were in North America and in the Gold Coast in Africa. In EU3, as a major naval power with small population and low land force limits Sweden should rather choose to colonize islands which can be protected with navy, for example those rich and with high base tax in the Caribbean. A base of operations in India is very handful to own at this stage for great East India Company decision boosting Swedish trade income even higher.
- Swedish national missions will guide Sweden through historical process of attempting to make Baltic the internal Swedish sea by conquering Estonia, Latvia and Pommerania. Later connecting them with Denmark by grabbing extremely rich cities of Danzig and Lubeck is a great way of finishing the conquest of the Baltics. Pushing Russians out of Finland and eventually taking Novgorod from them as a rich vassal is a great way of protecting the eastern flank when colonization starts and Swedish priorities shift towards Navy.
- Protestant Sweden with conquered or vassalized Novgorod, Denmark and Norway, with conquered and cored Baltic coast from Finland to Pommerania, with good colonial bases in North America and Africa, with its high quality armies and huge navy will become a world power which enemies can't conquer by land and can't beat on sea. At this stage Sweden gets to pick its own goals. Conquest of India and control over Scotland are good ideas for later stages of the game to reduce British power. Swedish presence in Italy and the Netherlands will limit French and German expansion into those rich areas. Control of Novgorod will prevent Russians from becoming too strong.
If you start in 1399, you'll be a lesser partner in the Kalmar Union. Although it may seem better to start off at a later date when you're free, starting off now will allow you to break away from the personal union sooner and will allow you to build up your forces while you're protected by the Danish and the Norwegian armies.
Start off by expanding your trade empire. Sending merchants is a costly matter for Sweden, so make sure you've got some money to spend first. Merchants will come in at a rather slow rate first, especially when Denmark goes to war, so be sure to make a good decision as to where to send them. Lübeck seems to be a good spot for a first try out, or perhaps Novgorod. When you have five merchants at the richest centers of trade, you can start expanding your army and preferably your navy as well.
When you break free, it's important to have everything checked. Your army is rather small and your neighbours want your land, so keep your wars strategic. I would start off by declaring war on Norway, even if they're still allied or under a personal union with Denmark. If you're facing Norway off alone, then you're lucky, but chances are you'll be facing both Norway and Denmark. If so, split your armies in two: one larger army to face off Danish threats from the south and one to first kill the Norwegian army and then siege their provinces. If your navy is big enough, you can block the Öresund strait, but seeing you're facing two enemies at once, that may be hard. Take your time for your first war and play defensively, after a while you'll be able to demand most of the Norwegian territory. It's important to take care of the Norwegian islands as well: Orkney and Iceland will prevent you from annexing the Norwegian capital, so make sure you capture these in a second war or that these are captured by others.
Dealing with Denmark requires a navy or military access through the other Baltic states. Decide for yourself whether you want to form Scandinavia or if you would rather stay as Sweden. Either way, taking out Denmark remains very interesting to do.
Even with the whole of Scandinavia under your control, your army still remains small. Completing the missions of Estland and Pommerania can be tricky, but is advisable. Expanding in Germany may not be your top priority as Sweden, but it's a valid option. Taking out Novgorod is certainly a must and you may want to consider expanding like Russia did. As for other colonial ambitions: take Iceland if North America is what you want or conquer a small African state for other colonization purposes.
At the opening game Sweden's position is strong, it borders Norway, Denmark and Novgorod. By attacking each in turn it is quite possible to become the dominant power in Northern Europe. However annexing Norway requires a navy, as does Denmark. Sweden begins in a state of war with Denmark and Norway. None of you have large armies as of 1453. The traditional strategy is to end the war in a white peace quickly, then consolidate your power and focus on future expansion. However, by taking out some loans and making use of mercenaries, a skilled Sweden player can dominate Norway and Denmark in this original war, giving you control of almost all of Scandinavia in the early steps of the game. You will spend time recovering from the interest and badboy, but once all of your loans are repaid and your reputation is restored (10 years or so), you will basically begin the game with all of Scandinavia as the strongest force in northern Europe. You won't be threatened by anyone for a while, so focus on building forts and workshops in all of your provinces. After conquering or vassalising Scandinavia Sweden is in a good position to expand anywhere, into Germany will give Sweden the benefits of wealth, and perhaps even being Emperor, whereas colonisation will give wealth and power to Sweden. However when playing Sweden it is advisable to prevent the formation of Russia, one idea being to attack Novgorod and seize it's territory. If Russia does form there is a real danger to Sweden, since the Swedish Army could easily be overwhelmed by the immense Russian one.
I've found that the initial war with Denmark and Norway almost always follow the same pattern. Norway has few troops and only cavalry initially. Denmark has a large army, which is hard to beat. They usually take Småland as well as maybe Östergötland and then they stop. This behaviour made me think, one at the time. You start out with an army in Värmland. Split it into one cavalry and one infantry part. Move the cavalry towards the Norwegian incursion from Jämtland and the infantry army towards their army there. If I remember correctly you can build 4-5 infantry and 1 cavalry more from start. Use this to reinforce your cavalry and infantry armies. Don't bother with the Danish for now, let them take some of your provinces in the south. Now, start chasing the small Norwegian armies until they are depleted. When it's done split your infantry army and lay siege to Bohuslän, Akershus, Agder, Bergenshus and Eidsiva. Use your cavalry army to take Jämtland, Trondelag, Hålogaland, which have no forts. Then lay siege to Finnmark. Don't bother with Orkney and Iceland since the Denmark's larger navy will blow you out of the water. Some time later almost all provinces fall at approximately the same time and you can usually force a separate peace deal with Norway.
Meanwhile I only research stability, didn't change any sliders yet, and build additional troops for every ducat I get and I've also hired some stability advisors. When Norway is finished off I move all my troops towards the Danish in the south. If I have the money I bolster my army with as many mercenaries as I can get. The Danish forces are usually split into three parts. Slug you way into the first province with everything you have and when you win split away your cavalry, 3-5 will do. Move the main army to engage the Denmark's defeated army again and again while your cavalry army deplete the smaller forces. When you have gotten them down to one army start, laying siege to your provinces that they have taken. You can split your cavalry army for this purpose while your main army chase the remaining Danish army. Eventually they will withdraw to Sjaelland, then you can lay siege to Skåne with your main army and it can easily counter any sallies from their main force.
By now you should have put some money into a navy to be able to take Gotland before it rebels and forms a new nation. Personally, I always take Jämtland, Bohuslän, Halland, Skåne and Gotland in this initial war. I'm also prone to vassalize rather than conquer as I can always annex them later. But if you want to conquer, take all Norwegian provinces in Norway except Akershus (capital). Same thing with the Danes. So in the next war, usually 5 years later, you only have to take the Danes' remaining capital province. With Norway you'll need a large navy. Take Akershus and sail towards Orkney as well as the two Icelandic provinces. One of them doesn't have a fort, so this operation is over in a jiffy. The only true challenge when it comes to the second war is that Denamrk and Norway usually are allied with Scotland AND France, yikes! At worst France will send a huge navy and drop off 1000-2000 men on yor western coastline. For this reason my main fleet is secured in Östersjön while 6 cogs loaded with 6 cavalry are ready in Finnmark, a sneaky backdoor, going for Norway's island holdings.
Now to your eastern border. Novgorod, usually allied with Tver and Muscowy is a real challenge for you if they declare war on you so I always allied with them from the start. This gives me a reasonable safe buffer against the formidable Lithuanian-Polish alliances. I've always been the leader in this alliance so when I see things going bad for Novgorod/Tver/Muscowy I offer a white peace and the east is quiet for at least 5 more years.
Your main problem with Sweden is manpower. Holding all of real Sweden and Finland only gives you some 15000 in manpower so when you reach +3 stability, change slider for more manpower. With Norway and Denmark as vassals and my eastern border secured I only keep 1 standing army: 10 infantry and 5 cavalry. This is usually enough for a very long time. Conquering the Danish and Norwegians initially will put you in a need for three equivalent armies: one in Denmark, one in Norway and one in Finland. I'd rather put my ducats into research than overextend myself, but that's just me. Enjoy!