|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Despotic Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||7|
|Center of Trade||None|
|Other accepted cultures||None|
As Vijayanagar, you have the potential to grow huge. You have the option to Form Hindustan, which is one of the best unifications in the game. This will give you cores on over 80 provinces in the Indian subcontinent, which will allow for very easy expansion in the early game.
Starting position (1399)
- You have 7 provinces and 2 vassals.
- You have a Despotic Monarchy which provides extra magistrates and helps with infamy.
- You can expect to be rich and build very fast.
- You can form Hindustan to have cores in your entire country as well as all of India.
- The religion in India is very consolidated and you have the Religious Liberation CB against any non-Hindu nation you border that holds a Hindu province.
- Your research efficiency is 50% and Westernization is harder in Divine Wind, thanks to the necessary technology gap.
- Monarchs die fast in India.
- You will not have CBs on every nation that has the provinces needed to form Hindustan.
You have two diplomats. One of them should be used to declare war on Ceylon or Deccan. You may want to secure an alliance with Mysore to help against Deccan. If you DoW Ceylon without a CB, diplomacy will be slightly harder to conduct. You should change the research sliders to put all your monthly investments into improving stability. Move your policy sliders towards Innovative to enable Westernisation.
Your short-term aim should be to conquer all the provinces you need to form Hindustan. To start off, you should annex Ceylon. Declare war on them before unpausing the game, and sail three of your regiments over to Jaffna using your fleet. Jaffna has no fort, so it should fall instantly. Ceylon starts off with a single regiment, and your fleet is larger than theirs, so you do not have to worry about their military strength. After you control both provinces, annex them.
Deccan should be the next target. You might get a mission to take Raichur Doab from them. This should give you a core there after you conquer it. You will have the Religious Liberation casus belli on them, anyway. Unless Deccan have managed to convert Raichur Doab to Islam quickly, you should use the Religious Liberation casus belli against them, rather than the Conquest casus belli, because you get more prestige with the former and you can take more provinces. You will also need to take Golconda. Maharashtra is another good province you could take from them. You only need to take Raichur Doab and Golconda from them to form Hindustan, though.
If you are having trouble dealing with Deccan, you might seek to ally with Orissa, Gondwana, or your vassals. However, any alliance would likely be temporary, as you would need to own and have cores on Bastar from Gondwana, and Parlakimidi & Telingana from Orissa in order to form Hindustan.
After dealing with Deccan, you might want to attack Orissa or Gondwana. Another option would be to try and diplo-vassalise Gondwana, and then attack Orissa. Make sure your 'trust' rating with Gondwana is high, though. Otherwise, it will be a pain to annex them.
As for Travancore and Mysore, the easiest strategy would be to cancel their vassalisation and simply invade them. You have cores on all of their provinces, so you should be able to annex them without accruing any infamy.
After you have annexed Ceylon, Travancore and Mysore, and conquered Raichur Doab, Golconda, Bastar, Telingana and Parlakimidi, all you need to do is wait for those provinces to become core provinces. After forming Hindustan, you will be able to conquer the rest of the Indian subcontinent with no infamy. While waiting, you may want to concentrate on improving infrastructure and trade.
You should aim to form Hindustan by mid- or late-fifteenth century (1450-1499). Aside from the provinces you start with, you need to own and have cores on Raichur Doab & Golconda (Deccan), Jaffna & Korales (Ceylon), Malabar & Calicut (Travancore), Mysore (Mysore), Bastar (Golconda) and Parlakimidi & Telingana (Orissa). Once you form this everything gets much easier. You now have every culture you could need accepted and you have cores everywhere on the subcontinent. You should now conquer these provinces as quickly as you can, as the cores can expire in 50 years, and will incur a penalty to your prestige.
Bordering horde nations such as the Timurids and Chagatai will give you some colonists, as will your coastal centre of trade. If you want to keep getting colonists because of neighbouring a horde, then leave five horde provinces neighbouring you uncolonised, and make sure that other nations cannot colonise them, either. If you research trade technology to level 7 and take the Quest for the New World NI, you can recruit explorers and start colonising the East Indies, which produce valuable goods like tea and coffee. You can also seek out Europeans via north Africa and Westernise if you do not want to wait for them to come to you.
Attacking Swahili can net you a ton of cash. Africa has a lot of gold mines with no technology or forts. Invading them for monetary remissions using Colonial Conquest can be profitable. You may also annex them but they have very poor provinces with wrong culture and religion. The gold mines should offset that. The provinces there can also be used as naval bases.
You may eventually get to do a little colonizing in the south. Coastal centers of trade will get you many riches and a small amount of colonists too. The Europeans would probably love to trade with you. Getting the Unam Sanctum national idea can help you expand East into the Indies. There is a lot of wealth there too and is a good choice of expansion once you have consolidated your cores.
Vijayanagar is one of the most powerful Hindu nations in the 1453 set-up. If you want to create a pan-Hindu colossus, or just want a relatively easy introduction to playing a non-European nation, it's a good one to pick. It can be a little one-dimensional, as Vijayanager is not well-adapted for either colonisation or trade, but it's ideally suited to a straightforward conquest game.
Starting Position (1453)
Vijayanagar starts the 1453 scenario with six provinces, two vassals, a number of advantages and a few drawbacks it's as well to be aware of.
- Six good provinces. Five out of six have base tax 5 or higher, and five out of six produce spices, one of the most valuable commodities in the game.
- Two vassals, both prosperous enough to give you a useful income boost, which provide ready-made allies and are even positioned where they won't be run over in the first war.
- Religious uniformity. Not only are all your provinces Hindu, but so are all the provinces near you. You can become a superpower without having to worry about a single non-state-religion province. Even better, many of these provinces are controlled by Muslim states, which lets you reconquer them without having to worry about fighting co-religionists.
- A wonderful strategic position. The sea is at your back, your vassals cover your flank, you can concentrate your strength in the north and tackle your enemies one at a time without worrying about an attack on an unguarded border. Even better, you have no powerful enemies nearby, and with all India before you you can grow and grow without ever needing to go overseas.
- You start with all your provinces fortified. Not all your neighbours are so lucky.
- You are in the Indian techgroup. This means that research will be slow, at least compared to those snotty Latins. Worse, your available units are downright embarrassing compared to their European equivalents. You get longbowmen at Land Tech 10. 'Nuff said.
- Your primary culture is Kannada; there are a whole three Kannada-cultured provinces on the map and you own none of them. The whole South Indian culture group covers only 14 provinces - 5 you start with, 4 in your vassals, 2 in Deccan, 2 in Orissa and one in Gondwana. You should be able to get Marathi as an accepted culture fairly easily, beyond that everything else in India - especially those CoTs in Bihar and Kutch - will be foreign-culture.
- While Hinduism isn't the worst religion in the game (it gives an income bonus, which is always nice, and good missionaries), it's hardly the best.
- Having only one frontier also means you have only one avenue for expansion. Life can get frustrating if it gets sealed off by a superpower. Early on, that could be Delhi. Late-game, it could be Ming.
- Your starting monarch is distinctly mediocre.
- All your neighbours are in the same boat as you, tech-wise, and most of them have less money to work with. You're unlikely even to see a Latin in the first hundred years. Keeping in front of the local tech race is more than possible.
- Wrong province cultures are a fact of life in India. Next door, Deccan has one Telegu province out of six. Further away, Delhi has one Pushtun province out of eleven - and all their provinces are wrong-religion as well.
- All your neighbours are either Hindu too, or Muslim.
- Monarchs tend not to live long in this game.
Basic Domestic Policy
It's All About Production
Take a look at the production values for your spice provinces. Note how even in a high-tax-base province like Madras, production dwarfs tax. Vijayanagar gets about 50% of its income from production off the bat - and early on production income can be raised by simply researching production tech, whereas tax needs costly province improvements and waiting for events.
So boost your production income! Get a Natural Scientist as one of your advisors (assuming there's a 3-star or higher in the pool), get Smithian Economics as your first NI (it pays better than either Bureaucracy or Scientific Revolution), research production tech every chance you get (particularly up to level 10, when you gain +2%PE per level). In general, you should be researching production tech all-out unless (a) another tech is significantly cheaper or (b) there's a specific advance available in the next tech level or two (e.g. you should research Government 1 first up to get that National Idea).
Your Domestic policy sliders start off two steps towards Serfdom, Narrowminded and Aristocracy, three towards Decentralisation and Quantity and four towards Merchantilism. (Land/Naval and Offensive/Defensive are neutral). Early on, your best slider moves are towards Aristocracy (better diplomacy, cheaper cavalry, more production), Free Subjects (higher morale, more production), Innovative (cheaper research, plus you have no immediate need of either colonists or missionaries) and (ironically because you're an exclusively land-based power) Naval (you guessed it, more production, plus as an Indian major you should never have to worry about manpower).
Handling religion is a cakewalk. If you ever get near a Christian or Shinto province you have already won, so set those to zero, and there are no Pagan states for half a continent, so set that to zero as well. This gives you full tolerance for Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Confucianism, who are the only people you're likely to meet. If you end up controlling those Pagan provinces in Assam, you might drop Confucianism or Islam back until you've converted them, but otherwise set the sliders on Day 1 and forget them.
As said above, Production is your priority. Research Production until it gets expensive, then research something else until the cost comes down (or everything else gets expensive too), then research Production again. Higher Production tech feeds straight back into your PE, which feeds straight into your cash-flow. On top of that, once you get to 50% PE, you will start getting the "New Land Cleared" event, which gives tax/manpower boosts in your core provinces. Government and Land tech are secondary. It's worth getting Government 1 (1st NI) and Land 1 (Forts) early on; thereafter keep an eye on your rivals and try and stay within a tech or two of them, but don't force things. Trade is tertiary. If things are going well it's worth putting money into Trade tech (more income), though you won't be able to compete with the Trade specialists. If you're getting squeezed, let the Trade go. Naval and Treasury should be set to zero and left there. You will never need a navy, and with 30 ducats of annual income from the start (going up to 50+ once you get workshops), you should never need to mint. If you need to buy things (troops, workshops, forts), buy them early in the year; maintenance income will then be diverted from the research budget without causing inflation.
As stated above, Trade is not really your thing. Concentrating on Production means a low TE, and high Merchantilism means few merchants. Besides, for the first hundred years, you will only be able to see five CoTs - Bihar, Kutch, Malacca, Hormuz & Samarkand - and three of those tend to be small. But don't let that stop you trying to get some trade income. Watch the Bihar CoT closely, and try and slip a merchant in when you see a slot open up. When you get to 5 merchants there, move on to Kutch, then Malacca. Merchantilism gives you poor compete chances but makes your merchants stick once placed; if your BB is low and you have a decent monarch it's quite possible to build up to 5 merchants in each CoT.
Overseas, who needs it?
With your high starting Merchantilism, you will need to move sliders to see a single colonist. And there's nowhere in sight to colonise except the Andaman Islands. Likewise, the only places in sight you can't walk to are the Maldives and Ceylon (wrong culture, wrong religion, no land connection). Conquest is cheaper than colonialism anyway, and pays off much faster. Don't disband the transports you start with (you may need to slap down an obnoxious island), but don't build any more and don't worry about Naval research.
You start with two diplomats. While your vassals (+200 relations) are guaranteed allies, it's worth trying to get Orissa and/or Gondwana as an ally at the start. If you wait, they tend to get tied up with Bihar, pluse it's much easier to gain an alliance if you have none than if you have two. Getting Orissa as an ally secures your northeastern border. Gondwana is more chancy, but they can be useful if you want to get involved in central India early on.
While waiting for more diplomats, you should be building cavalry for the first war.
The First War
Your first war should be against Deccan, and you should start it as soon as possible. Build 4-5,000 cavalry in the first year, make your alliances, then (assuming Deccan hasn't allied with Delhi or something) stick land maintenance to max and go in. Don't wait for a CB, you recover stability quickly at this point. Smash his armies with your cavalry stack, and run over his unfortified provinces while your infantry follow up and start sieging. Golconda (the capital) can be left to allies, but make sure you get to Raichur Doab first. Get 100% victory, and take Raichur Doab (a primary-culture province, plus a land-link to Goa), Ahmadnagar and (hopefully) Konkan.
You now have 8-9 provinces, and your neighbours are two vassals, one friend (Orissa) and a ruined enemy that is in no position to threaten you and will probably be dismembered by his neighbours to the North. While waiting for your BB to go down (takes 10–12 years), research Government 1, Land 1 and as much Production as possible. As soon as you can, fortify Ahmadnagar and build Workshops in all your provinces.
Where to go next depends on what's been happening in the rest of India, which is hard to predict. Bihar usually beats Delhi and is strong in the northeast; the Rajputs are often strong in the west, unless the Timurids go for them. Leave the blobs alone for the moment and concentrate on picking off the small fry.
- The obvious first targets are the remnants of Deccan and the small Muslim states to the north.
- Try to get the remaining Marathi provinces early, that way you will get Marathi as an accepted culture.
- If the local Hindu minors (Orissa and Gondwana) haven't been growing, you should be able to ally/diplovassalise them with patience and a good monarch.
- To get CBs, guarantee friendly nations and warn everyone you might want to attack.
- Standard strategy is to ally/vassalise the Hindus and fight the Muslims, but in EU3 there isn't much BB gain for diploannexation over conquest, so if you get a CB and can handle the stability loss, you can always take provinces directly rather than wait 30 years.
- To keep BB down, try not to force-annex. Strip victims to their capitals, and wait for someone else to kill them off. Then you can liberate the province for 1BB rather than 3 or 6.
- After 30 years, annex your vassals whenever is convenient. If you're playing a diplomatic game, you should do it sooner rather than later, since it's easier to make new alliances when you don't have existing ones.
- Delhi is usually a paper tiger, but watch out for the Timurids. They have lots of troops, an aggressive nature and usually decent generals. Try and avoid fighting them while you consolidate in the east and south. Once you own half India, you should be able to handle them fairly easily .