|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Despotic Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||9|
|Center of Trade||Antwerpen|
Burgundy is a large French duchy situated in eastern France and parts of modern-day Belgium. It was historically an important power, defying France for years before finally becoming a possession of the French crown. A competent ruler may come to lead France to conquer much of the world. She starts wedged between the states of the Holy Roman Empire and the almighty France. Historically, however, Burgundy was ruined not by France, England or the Holy Roman Empire, but in a disastrous war with Switzerland.
Heir to the Throne
- Main article: Burgundian missions
Burgundy has a series of extremely helpful missions that will help Burgundy gain enough power to defy France. Missions include the conquest of Luxembourg, Liege, Bar, Brabant (the province itself),and the conquest of Ile-de-France; these missions will all provide free cores on completion, and a free casus belli; the casus belli, unlike in previous expansions, will allow you to attack states in the HRE without the Emperor coming to their defense.There is also a mission to subjugate Lorraine. These missions will provide an excellent way to connect the two halves of Burgundy. In addition to the free casus belli that can be had from these missions, Burgundy has a permanent core on ghent that will allow a free war with England (or France, if France should take it).
Burgundy controls a sizable portion of the Low Countries and has a center of trade in Antwerpen. It also has, or is in reach of, several manufactories which will provide not only more income, but a bonus tech investment as well. Seizing these will give you leg up over your opponents, especially the University in Brabant; this will help you get national ideas faster than you rivals. Setting the national focus to this region and conducting censuses (available with 1 magistrate) can provide excellent longterm income growth; it is easily possible to get 28% growth in provinces such as Antwerpen. With the more-or-less free market positions at the start, trade can be a great way of financing your empire.
Burgundy should start by trying to connect the two halves of its duchy. The first task should be to conquer Barrois, which you have a core on, which will provide a free and easy way to accomplish this; they are not a vassal of France, and the casus belli will allow you to annex them without the interference of the Emperor. Failing that, getting military access should be a priority; nothing is worse than having one half occupied by an attacker you cannot reach. Concentrating on taking the territories in the early missions will consolidate power and help prepare for facing the most powerful nation on the block: France. France usually attack Provence right away, giving you time to do your missions, but do not let England eat too much of France while she is distracted by the emperor.
There are several ways to defeat the French. Perhaps the easiest is to simply gang up on them with some of their more powerful neighbors, such as England and Aragon. When they go to war, it is the time to strike. Take as much territory as possible, or force them to release nations to set them back a few years. At the very least, they must be forced to give up their claims to your lands. If they are contained, the rest of the game will be easier. If they are not, they may grow too powerful to handle without significant expansion. They begin without cores on some of their territory, which makes them less powerful to start with than in previous versions of the game. Do not, in your rush to defeat France, allow another nation like England to take their place.
- Main article: Form French Nation
If France has been totally annexed, it is possible to reform France as Burgundy to gain cores on parts of France. This will also allow you to enact any French only decisions and get French missions. See French Missions and French Decisions for more information on what missions and decisions France may have. See Forming France for a list of what territories are needed to form France.
Aside from outright conquest, there are several ways to unify the lands of France under the banner of Burgundy. With the new royal marriage system, inheritance is much more predictable than in previous editions of the game. This may make it worthwhile to release the various nations of France and get in royal marriages with them. When they are inherited, they will give free cores. While in a Personal Union, they will act as an ally, and will have to enter into whatever wars you wish. You will have to defend them, however. Better relations and prestige will make it easier to get them into unions or inherit them. Reputation may also effect your chances.
Buy yourself a bottle of Chardonnay (only if you are old enough, if it's still illegal for you to drink alcohol in your country, go for milk instead!). Open up your country's screen. You have three advisors, all giving you a bonus to your stability investment, how nice. Try to change the oldest of them into a person that researches Land or Government tech. Leave the other two, you will need them soon. Your king is a general and thus will die soon. Pray for his son to be as capable as he is. If you want to extend your king's life, do not make him lead an army. He is too much of an asset to die in a pointless war with a German minor. You really want him to stay alive as long as possible - as you may not get such a genius ever again in your game. At least I never was lucky enough for that. There are kings you send to fight Russian 20k big stacks with 500 cavalry and there are kings you would like to live forever. That was the case in history too.
Set your treasury to 1.0 ducat per month and invest all the money into researching Government Tech. Move your slider one step towards Innovative. Burgundy has so much to do in Europe that thinking about colonization is just too much. You can take others' fully developed colonies later in the game anyway.
Now realize one crucial for your future game thing:
Burgundy is a predator. It is made to be a killer. Its future is conquest. Why that? Look at your sliders, offensive (100%!), land oriented, free subjects, quality instead of quantity. It all is set for two things. One: Boost your research. Two: Make your armies deadly. With this set, if you don't break anything, in 50 years you will have very modern and very strong army, probably the strongest in Europe and very strong economy supporting it. With such an army, there aren't many things you could worry about. In fact, there are only two. One of them is blue, another one is red. Yes, France and England. Both will compete with you for European dominance. With both you have disputes. England owns Calais, your core province. A big part of your starting territory is core for France. You will have to fight England and France sooner or later and it won't be an easy war.
Being aware of what is going to happen in future is a big asset. You can prepare.
Connect your lands
Your first goal is to connect two pieces of your land together. You can do it in two ways. One of them is costly, lengthy and more difficult but doesn't destroy your reputation. Second one is quick and easy but you will have to wait many years for your reputation and stability to recover.
If you prefer the first way, you ask Lorraine for all types of alliances, military access, give them money and politely ask them to become your vassal and after ten years to join your mighty empire. You have to do all of that before you start your conquest of German minors, as your infamy hurts your reputation and diplomacy a lot.
If you are more like a killer, you go for a Royal Marriage with Lorraine, then claim their throne and with such Casus Belli, for -2 stability hit strike them, take their two provinces, then wait 5 years and annex them completely in second war.
After doing either, you proceed to thinking which of Dutch minors you want to annex first. Move to the diplomatic view of the map, check which ones are your cores. There are three of them: Liege, Gelre and Friesland. Check their alliances carefully. Take those with weak friends first. If you get lucky they will be allied to each other, making things much easier. Your next goal is to take them all. And also this time you can go two ways. You can either take them diplomatically or forcefully.
This is your call, and your type of strategy.
Conquest German minors
After you take them by force or step on the long and complicated diplomatic way, warn every single Dutch and German minor bordering you. No, I'm not joking, warn all of them. Build up your armies up to the limit, research heavily. And wait for occasions to add new countries to your territory. They will fight each other a lot, you just have to figure out a proper moment to take some land from them. In the early stage of the game don't mess with France nor with England. They may seem exhausted and easy to fight, especially if they are still at war with each other but this is only an illusion. They are so strong that taking even one province from them in a peace deal is impossible. If France takes Calais it will make your things easier, only one enemy to focus on and a nice permanent Casus Belli on France, that's helpful.
There are two choices for conquering German minors. Just as with anybody else. You either annex them after taking their territory, advised for smaller ones like Utrecht, or force vassalize them after the war, then improve your mutual relations for 10 years and ask them to become your vassal and diploannex them when ready. Targeting and creating vassals of Electors is also a quick and easy way to become the Holy Roman Emperor and gain the bonus that come with that title.
There are not many. Both Portugal and Castille are far away and more focused on colonization than on wars in Europe. Don't count on them to help you. Maybe if Castille took Navarra thus having border with French vassals... France will sooner or later backstab you so is not a good ally to rely on. England holds Calais you will want back so no point in making them your friends. Of course if it looses Calais to either Brittany or France, you're lucky and should ally with them as soon as possible. Brittany is weak and France will eat them soon. If Brittany manages to take Calais in its early war with England, take your core from them by force and force vassalize them. Denmark and Sweden don't have enough manpower to help you with France. Italy is not formed, HRE is full of little boys who don't stand a chance in a war with big guys. Austria is far away and busy with Hungary, Ottomans and Venice. You are pretty much alone all the time. If you plan smashing France (you do if you ever want to feel safe) you should choose Aragon as your friend. If you plan going deep inside HRE, make friends with Austria or Poland. If Denmark manages to beat Sweden in their early wars and take a lot of land, you can go for an alliance with them, at least they send some fleet to help you defend your coast should England decide to expand into the continent.
- See also: Fighting France
You have extremely long borders with the mighty France. That's not helping. Many people station their troops on the border, this is wrong. Station them deeper in your country. When France invades, let them siege for half a year or so, allow their morale to fade away, their numbers to reduce. Then outnumber them with your cavalry led by strong generals. And don't stop chasing bastards till Paris!!! After you have all their armies out of your mighty empire move on to their territory. Leave 1000 or 2000 of infantry in each province and don't, DON'T!, stop chasing their armies, don't allow them to regroup. Kill every unit they build. Use mercenary cavalry to help you. Depending on how successful you are, you may get Calais (if they have it) and force them to renounce their claims on your territory. You could even vassalize them, if you are a strategical genius, but it would spoil the rest of your game as no real competition means no real fun.
One more thing to add. If France attacks Lorraine, you have to defend it with all the force you have. Don't allow France to separate two pieces of your territory. If that happens you can as well restart the game.
Second remark. Station your troops near the border with France during peace. It will make France keep a large number of their troops on your border too. This way you weaken them in their wars with countries like Aragon or Castille. I just saw much weaker Aragon conquer all their southern vassals and taking three their southern provinces. France couldn't match Aragon army because they kept 50k troops on our border. Fools. Use that observation to your advantage. Also, when you see somebody capable fighting France (Sweden, Austria, England, Castille, Aragon), keep sending them money. 20-40 ducats is nothing really for you when you sit down and wait for your BB to go down piling up all those yearly incomes...
Burgundy isn't the easiest country to play the colonial game, but can be a major player. Once you have acquired a bit of territory in Europe, and are no longer living in the shadow of France, race for trade technology 7. Switch from your first idea to get Quest for the New World and then get Colonial Ventures as your second idea. You can continue to acquire New World territory continuously while expanding your European homeland.