This page is intended to illustrate several possible strategies regarding the use, prioritization, or conquest of manufactories.
A particular area of interest for a European power would be North Italy. Many of the provinces in this region have universities at the game start date. By focusing on the conquest of this area, the player can acquire multiple universities without having to pay the expensive and increasing cost for building them.
Each owned university yields a monthly government investment of 5 ducats, starting as soon as you conquer one. This makes capturing universities extra profitable compared to taking ordinary provinces, considering how you would normally have to wait 50 years before a province starts to really contribute when it becomes a core.
A medium-sized nation with 5-10 universities will not need to invest any additional money in Government Tech at all to keep up. This can create a serious snowball effect because you get earlier access to ideas, government types and buildings like courthouses and constables. Also, because you don't need to divert funds to Government research, it is much easier to keep up in other areas and less painful to get a few stability hits.
Because of the central location and small size of the countries in Northern Italy, they are an attractive target during the early game for a considerable number of nations, including:
- The North Italian minors themselves: Milan, Venice, Ferrara, Tuscany, Savoy, etc.
- Nearby medium and large powers like Austria, France and Hungary can create a land connection with relative ease
- Other larger Mediterranean nations like Castille, Aragon and the Ottomans
- Anyone who is Holy Roman Emperor
Let them pay for it
It may be worth postponing the conquest of large, advanced nations that are yet without manufactories until later in the game. If you keep an eye on what they are doing, you can even try to capture their manufactories as soon as they are finished. This way you get all the benefits of manufactories without the usual costs.
This strategy may be especially useful at higher difficulties. The AI receives a significant bonus to tax on hard (+25%) and very hard (+50%), so it will have lots of money to spend on manufactories while you don't.
Good targets for this are France, GB/England and Castille/Spain. Don't spare a nation like Ming hoping they will start building manufactories for you, as they'll lack the technology to do so for a long time. This tactic can be employed by any sufficiently powerful nation, and the more manufactories you have for yourself, the more cost-effective it gets compared to building your own .