For players who would like to try their hand at playing a One-province Minor (OPM), this article contains some suggestions that might help to identify their top priorities.
General OPM strategy
- In In Nomine and later (Heir to the Throne and Divine Wind), it is not possible to ally with a nation much more powerful than you. You can ally with slightly larger nations, though, which provides some protection.
- HRE nations are fairly safe (unless a much bigger country has a core on you) but expansion is difficult. Non-HRE OPMs are extremely vulnerable and should expand immediately or face annexation.
- It can actually be advantageous to become a vassal of a larger nation. This gives you total safety so long as your overlord survives, during which time you can build up your economy and army. If you're attacked by a strong neighbor with the "Subjugation" casus belli, don't quit! In Divine Wind 5.0, make sure you keep your relations with your overlord below 190 in order to avoid forced annexation.
- Become a trading power. Move sliders toward Free Trade and Plutocratic, take National Trade Policy and Shrewd Commerce Practice, recruit trade efficiency and compete chance advisors, and send out your merchants. At higher tech levels, switch to Administrative Republic and consider converting to Reformed. Nations that start with several points in Free Trade (Mecklenburg, Navarra, Aachen, etc.) can immediately dominate European markets. Nations that don't will need a few decades to get their sliders in position.
- Don't be afraid to mint. Even sending merchants will be a strain on your budget, but it will earn the money spent several times over. A war that will double or triple the size of your nation may require several years of 100% minting!
- You will probably have a surplus of magistrates. Commission paintings to get cultural tradition. As a last resort to make money, recruit advisors that you don't need and wait a year. Another nation will hire them and pay you for the privilege. Going from 100 to 0 cultural tradition nets around 80 ducats, enough to train a few regiments and pay for a quick war.
- Take advantage of the fact that you regain stability very quickly to switch around National Ideas whenever needed. You might switch from Shrewd Commerce Practice to help your trading to Military Drill to fight a war and then back again.
- Monitor your neighbors - and your non-neighbors - closely to look for openings. Most potential candidates tend to draw guarantees from stronger nations, but there are always exceptions.
- Change your message settings to give a notice whenever a nation goes bankrupt or is excommunicated. These are the weakest nations and the best candidates for early expansion.
- Attacking a HRE nation without a casus belli will draw the Emperor against you, unless he's completely overwhelmed with other wars. Fighting the emperor as a OPM is suicide.
- If you are in the HRE and you go to war, always vassalise. The infamy penalties from unlawfully held imperial territory are ruinous, to say nothing of the risk of the Emperor attacking you; but your vassals give you taxes and are your allies in every subsequent war. You only have to vassalise a few electors to become the Emperor, with a huge manpower reserve.
- Nations that have just revolted from another country won't have any allies or guarantees, so they can often be attacked with impunity.
- If you're coastal, get Trade 7 as quickly as possible and take Quest for the New World. Beat up the Aztecs or Mayans for provinces and gold.
- Using trading income to build a colonial empire.
- It is often better to vassalize another OPM rather than annexing it immediately. You get less infamy, and can get a mission that gives you a free core when you do annex.
- Maintaining an army well above your forcelimit is hugely expensive, since cost increases with the square of your margin over your limit. It's still worth doing if you're about to go to war, but disband unneeded troops when you're at peace.
- Your manpower will probably be extremely limited. This means you will need to employ mercenaries to field a large army.
- At higher tech levels, be sure to build the army province improvements. They will massively increase your manpower and (at level 6) forcelimits.
Guides for specific OPMs
- Berry - trade and be defiant against overbearing France.
- Hamburg - trade and conquer to unite Germany
- Irish minors strategy: Connaught, Leinster, Tyrone, or Munster - unite Ireland and create a colonial empire in North America
- The Knights - Conquer and convert the Muslim states of the Mediterranean and take control of Mecca and Judaea.
- Mazovia - squeezed between Poland, Lithuania and Teutonic Order, it is a success to survive until the end of the 15th century
- Navarra - form Spain after starting with just one province and with Aragon and Castille on your back right from the beginning!
- Yaroslavl - Do you dare to think you can unite Russia starting with a just one province?