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In Divine wind, strategy for Poland changes, as it brings many new feature like for example, the new horde system, which makes hordes very strong and hard to beat. Combined with their strong starting units, it does make playing Poland a challenge. However, Poland is strong country with powerful military, and many possibilities of dealing with problems.
|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Government type||Feudal Monarchy|
|Number of provinces||8|
|Center of Trade||None|
|Other accepted cultures||None|
- Main article: Polish missions
Starting Conditions (1399)
In DW Poland has very similar situation as in HTTT. Here are few differences:
- Poland has 9 provinces instead of 8 in HTTT
- Poland starts with Moldavia as vassal
- Poland is in war with Golden Horde, but due to new Horde System it is different type of war than before
Poland is surrounded by few strong countries, and few lesser ones. At North there are Pommerania, Teutonic Order, and Mazovia. East - Poland's best friends Lithuania (in Personal Union with Poland). At South there is Golden Horde (which has border with Lithuania and Moldavia), Ottomans (border with Moldavia)and Hungary. At West Poland has border with Brandenburg and Bohemia. Farther on the southwest is Austria. Poland's Army is quite average - 15k soldiers, but Lithuania has a bit more (20-30k), and is very likely to help. Bohemia has very big army (40k), and Hungary and Teutonic Order which start with small army (5-6k), will soon have bigger forces about 15-20k.
First few steps
Poland has 20 Force Limit, so its army won't be impressive at the beginning. Also Eastern Tech Group makes, that Western Infantry will be better in the first phase of game than Polish. To survive, Poland have to expand and forge a strong economy, to make powerful country with strong army. Allies are of course useful, but as we all know, AI is not a good candidate for any other ally, than vassal ally. As we talk about vassals, there are two most important ones : Mazovia and Teutonic order. Mazovia should become your vassal right after the start, probably with you, using your mission to vassalize them(if you get mission to annex them, it is not bad either). After that you should consider which country around you is best target. If you have casus belli against Teutonic Order, you could attack them, and cancel current mission during war with them, to get mission : conquer Danzig/Warmia and take the province which the mission give you core on. Remember to guarantee Teutons after you end war with them, so no one else take your prize. BUT, if you don't have such CB, or after you deal with them, the question is : who you should attack. Best target are Hungary and Bohemia - you can claim their thrones, or use spy on them, and force PU. But even if it is impossible, you can always get a lucky core on one of their provinces, OR a mission to attack them/get one of their provinces. There are other possibilities, like vassalizing countries in HRE, or expanding in Russia, but those expansion routes are not so easy. Anyway, when your land technology will reach level 5, and you got strong enough army, plus your cores on Teutonic Order provides you with their infantry (never demand them to renounce their cores - you want to have cores of TO on your provinces - it gives you better infantry, before you Westernize)
Golden Horde has big armies, which just knocking at Lithuania's door. They attack southern provinces of Lithuania, and your vassal - Moldavia. You can fight defensive war with them, mostly on Lithuania's territory. You can also fight more aggressively but ... they are so many :) GH has army in few big stacks. It is advantage but also disadvantage, as less stacks = less provinces, they attack. Few tips:
- wait till one of big stacks assault garrison, its morale will be very low - it is your chance, just hammer it with as many troops you have
- watch little stacks of 1-2k which reinforce main stacks; you can make few medium stacks and just hunt them, to prevent them from reaching main army
- send many 1-2k units on GH territory, and siege its provinces; GH Army mostly move in few big stacks, so you will capture more provinces than they; also GH manpower will drop quicker
Goals for first 20-30 years
- As mentioned at the beginning, Poland have to expand. Mazovia - first natural target (diploannex or conquest - depends on situation in game). If you get some events with cores in neighbouring countries (sometimes Danzing, Ersekujvar, Moravia) - you can focus on them. If not - good option (and historical) will be fight with Teutonic Order for Danzing and Warmia. Danzing is important as it offers access to sea, and also is a good province for your own Centre of Trade. It is similar as in HTTT.
- Advisors: In DW, you can have ONLY ONE OF EACH TYPE, which means, that it is not possible to spam Master of Mints to acumulate gold. Good advisors will be Master of Mint, Government and Land or Production Tech. If you want to gain +3 Stability quicker, you can also choose good lvl 4 or 5 artist if possible, and then dismiss it when you get +3.
- Research goals should be similar as in HTTT - Government lvl 4 (National Idea), then Production lvl 4 and then lvl 8 (at 4 you get Constable, and at lvl 8, sooner than before - Workshop); Trade will hit lvl 4 soon without additional investment (Marketplace); After that you can research Land Tech or Government (lvl 9 and 11 - National ideas).
- Moving 1st slider to Centralisation is a good option at the beginning. It also activates possibility to take Liberum Veto decision, which is very important and strong at the beginning of the game
- Build constables, marketplaces and workshops when possible - they will boost your income, and also make your Force Limit becomes higher and reach 27-30 which let you build bigger army. It is also possible to wait with building new units till your country gains Force Limit about 30, and then, during war wait for War Exhaustion of 8, and use decision Liberum Veto which gives you 15k fresh troops for free.
After this period Poland's income will be something about 80, Force Limit 27-32, army 30k, and about 12-15 provinces.
2nd part of 15th Century
In 1436 it will be possible to Integrate Lithuania (if you kept it in PU till this date). It is new option added in DW (if you are in Personal Union during 50 years - it become possible to use this option after this time; interesting thing is that starting time for calculation this option in case of Lithuania is not the date of game start, but date of Union of Krewo from 1385). Integration works exactly like Diplo-Annex, you get infamy (so be careful, and count how many provinces Lithuania has). Integration doesn't give cooldown on normal Diplo-Annexations. Of course player can wait for inheritance of Lithuania, which can happen during this period, but need a bit of luck. Also remember, that Lithuania has significant land forces (30-40k), and after integration Poland have to build additional soldiers to cover larger borders and rebalance lack of this forces. Force Limit should be high enough at this moment to build large army. In 2nd part of 15th Century many Poland's neighbours will grow and strengthen - mostly Austria and Muscovy (which bordering with Lithuania, but later also Poland), Ottomans, Bohemia (but sometimes it can be annihilated by Austria). If Poland won war with Teutonic Order and grabbed some land from them, they drop in power. There are also missions which allow vassalisation of Teutons - TO as Poland's vassal and ally are close to historical line and can become valuable help in wars.
At the beginning of 16th Century Poland should become a local superpower with good perspectives for world domination in the future. Next part of game is only limited by player's vision - go East, go West and unite whole Europe, trying of colonisation in New World, Westernisation.
Heir to the Throne
Poland is one of many countries which disappeared from the map during or shortly after the period that is presented in the game. Poland was attacked by Austria, Russia and Prussia at the same time in late 18th centuries in what is known as 'Partitions of Poland'. Those powers divided Polish territory between themselves and in three short wars put an end to the long and glorious history of Poland for the next 123 years. But in 1399 she still is an emerging power in the region - Poland's Golden Age in real history took place in 16th and early 17th centuries. There aren't many countries that would like to be in conflict with her at that time. The player has all the tools necessary to change history.
1399 - starting in a war with Golden Horde
Compared to previous versions, in HttT Poland and Lithuania start at war with a much more powerful enemy - Golden Horde itself. GH has a much bigger army than Poland's and Lithuania's armies combined and this army is en route into Lithuania since day one. All the first steps taken in the game must be directed at preventing Golden Horde from breaking up Lithuania. To make matters worse, Russian states are very likely to attempt to steal a slice of Lithuania for themselves while Poland is busy with the Horde.
- Moving towards Centralization in the first slider move might seem a bit a stretch since it will most likely spawn a very strong rebellion. On the other hand, one move towards Centralization will allow to take Liberum Veto decision later on when War Exhaustion is high. Liberum Veto gives 15 000 free troops including many cavalry which may be difference between life and death in a year or two into the war. No advisors except for Masters of the Mint should be hired to preserve money. Short-term hiring of Artists to build up stability may come useful but should be 2nd-ary to training new troops.
- Immediate start of training of new troops is required to strengthen the starting army. All the existing troops as well as recruits should be sent into Lithuania, preferably towards Russian border. Muscowy is very likely to declare war on Lithuania very quickly and striking them back right away and eliminating them from the war earlier rather than later will give a lot of breathing space to the Lithuanians. If the Poles are very quick at training new troops, Muscowy might give up on attacking Lithuania so early (one out of five games or so).
- Direct confrontation with the main army of the Golden Horde will result in a loss of the whole Polish army and should be avoided at all cost. Polish army should manoeuvre behind Mongol stacks to siege provinces they took so far from Lithuania, hunt opportunistically their reinforcements that come across the border to merge with the main stack as well as destroy any rebels that might appear in the area.
- Golden Horde will begin by running rampant through Lithuania but big stack strategy will take its toll on them eventually draining their manpower and the rate at which their replenish their ranks. War exhaustion will go up and Golden Horde will slow down its advance. Eventually after a long while of partisan-like warfare against them they should agree to peace.
- This is when an important decision must be made. Shrinking Lithuania a bit will make it far easier to manage in the next few decades making their army smaller and the cost associated with fielding an army stronger than theirs much lower. On the other hand giving up a few provinces to the Horde will make it even stronger at the expense of the Commonwealth. Both strategies are equally viable but too much concessions will result in a huge loss of prestige which is crucial to maintaining the union so should be avoided.
- Removing three-four provinces from Lithuania at this stage of early wars will allow Poland to maintain the union easily after annexation of Danzig and Mazovia and creation of a Centre of Trade in either of them.
- It isn't a bad idea to give up Lithuanian provinces to smaller Russian states if a war with them happens and then vassalizing them. For example Pskov can take Polotsk and maybe some other province in the area. This way Poland retains control over the province and later when Poland is ready to reclaim it, it's as easy as annexing diplomatically or forcefully their vassal.
- It's also an option to let Lithuania fall apart into smaller pieces and then vassalize all the chunks that break off. It leads to creation of many interesting states, for example Smolensk.
- Decision if Lithuania will stay as one piece or if it will be let to break apart must be made at this stage of early warfare against Mongols and Russians.
- Poland and Lithuania start in a Personal Union. Exerting control over rich and populous Russian states is the best way for Poland to protect her interest against Germans, Russians and Scandinavians. United Poland and Lithuania will be one of the strongest countries in the world military and income wise. Maintaining the union and inheriting Lithuania is a challenging but doable way of getting a huge chunk of eastern territory at once.
- There's a small random chance of inheriting Lithuania upon Polish monarch's death. Making monarchs military leaders and using them in combat is a way of going through enough of them so there's more chances to inherit. Another way is going historically towards Noble Republic and using election as death of monarch event to maximize amount of chances to inherit. Either way, by 1600 Lithuania will be inherited even if the least lucky playthroughs so patience is advised.
- At first after the war with Golden Horde Lithuania will be at verge of a collapse and assistance at hunting rebels is required or the country will break up into a thousand small principalities.
- Lithuania will begin to rebel if Polish army is smaller than Lithuania's so higher numbers must be maintained at all time at all cost. Poland should disband cavalry and train around 40 000 infantry trying to upkeep it at minimum maintenance with Masters of the Mint during first few years of the game.
- The union will break upon death of Polish monarch if mutual relations are negative or if Poland has negative prestige so both those conditions must be taken care of at all time. If mutual relations are low enough, Lithuania will first cancel alliance with Poland, then may even declare war on their masters! To maintain high prestige Poles should either declare war where they have a good Casus Belli to not grab any land but demand concessions like releasing countries or during peace time arrange Festivals which give a 45% chance to gain +5 prestige.
- Lithuania won't insult Poland if both are at war with someone so declaring a war upon a Lithuania's neighbour like Muscowy, Novgorod or Teutonic Order and not fighting him but letting Lithuania do it is a way to deplete their forces while Polish army and gold is intact.
- Alliances with other nations when balance of power between Poland and Lithuania is shaky early on aren't advised. Poland will be dragged into a war without Lithuania, most likely lose troops and get insulted by Lithuanians who will see this as a chance to gain their independence back.
- Mutual relations regenerate very fast so bribing Lithuania isn't required if they briefly fell only a tiny bit under 0.
As an alternative, Poland may give up on Lithuania, first concede land to Golden Horde and then let Lithuania fall apart into small Russian principalities that will be later conquered by bigger powers in the region. Poland being strong and wealthy will be able to cut itself a big slice of this cake.
After inheriting Lithuania, Poland will realize their army isn't even nearly enough to cover the area they just got hold of. To make matters worse, due to lack of cores on Lithuanian lands for next 50 years Polish income isn't much higher and nationalist rebellions spawn immediately all over former Lithuania lands. First 20 or so years after inheriting will be spent hunting rebels at low income and manpower while research starts lagging behind. Then rebellions will slowly calm down to disappear close to the end of getting cores period. After 50 years from inheriting Poland and Lithuania will be one powerful country, certainly worth all the hard work in the past decades.
- Historically a very rich duchy of Mazovia didn't join Poland until mid 15th century. Here in the game subjugating Mazovia will be among first tasks Poland is given by the game.
- Taking Mazovia shouldn't be hard provided a right moment is picked when everyone who guarantees their independence (Bohemia, Hungary, Teutonic Order) is busy elsewhere. As an alternative, letting Teutonic Order conquer Mazovia and then taking it from them is a viable strategy.
- Eventually the main city of Mazovia, Warsaw, should become the capital of Poland. Much safer than Kraków in the midst of the country, much closer to the affairs in the north, in the Baltic. Decision to do that becomes available when Mazovia belongs to Poland and is a core province. Since it gives a huge stability boost, it's best delayed until Poland finds itself in a dire situation of negative or at least low stability. This is when this decision is best spent.
- One of the first missions of Poland will require Polish troops to secure access to the sea by taking Danzig or Warmia or both of them. It may also happen mission will require taking Pommerania instead. Most favourable mission setup will give Poland core on Danzig. Advised route here is to carefully watch prestige to remain positive while turning down "Gain access to sea!" missions focused on other provinces until one giving core on Danzig appears. It will pay for itself tenfold in the next 50 years of owning Danzig.
- It's a good opportunity to use Lithuanian army for conquest while Polish troops will operate only on limited scale to preserve manpower and money. Lithuania is perfectly capable of conquering Teutonic Order on their own and Lithuanian Nobles will cherish the opportunity to take at their arch-enemy of past century. Poles in case of such a war should restrain themselves to occupying the target province and protecting home territory from enemies and rebels to preserve their resources. They can also set off to eliminate the main Teutonic army while leaving sieges and assaults to Lithuanian troops.
- Gaining access to sea should immediately followed by moving National Focus to Danzig (or Plock which gives National Focus to Danzig and many other provinces in neighbours at once) which will speed up cultural conversion of the city from Prussian to Polish. Since Danzig will be the richest province of Poland throughout the whole game, Settlement Policy to switch its culture to Polish isn't a bad idea.
- Later when Poland has accumulated more money (500), Danzig as in real history will make a strong candidate for the main Centre of Trade of Poland being the richest province in the kingdom and a source of its power and wealth. To do that smoothly, Poland should leave Hanseatic or other Trade League they are a member of, create a Centre of Trade in Danzig, then re-apply to the League which will be overjoyed to have them back. Provincial decision to create a grain depot in Danzig will appear after 1500 allowing Poland to seriously boost its manpower and land force limits for a huge expense in trade income from the city itself. Player should weight costs and gains from that decision on his own, but getting more force limit is advised.
- Rest of Teutonic Order lands should be assimilated as well. Missions will guide Poland through this process, starting with subjugation Casus Belli and ending with integration of the crusader state into Poland. Teutons make a very strong ally against Russians and Scandinavians. They are skilled sailors and their navy will be a strong asset in wars against other Baltic countries. Keeping them as vassals for a longer while to use their troops and navy isn't a bad idea. This will negate effect of Russian and Scandinavian missions to get lands in the area often preventing them from declaring war on Poland.
- Later after Protestant Reformation happens, Teutonic vassals and allies will create Prussia and reform into having extremely powerful national decisions making their small army an elite and powerful supplement to Polish offensives.
- Taking Gotland should be avoided. A poor and hard to police island is an interest of multiple nations causing many wars over a piece of land that's not worth dying for. Gotland should be set free and then cut loose from alliances if it's annexed with Teutonic Order lands.
- Teutons are best vassalized for good after they annex Riga, Pskov and give up Gotland. this will give them solid incomes and manpower base allowing them to create an elite 15k vassal army that will follow Poles into wars often defeating more numerous enemies.
- Having inherited Lithuania, Poland will be unarguably the strongest nation in the area.
- Preserving what was conquered so far, trading to boost technology and keeping other regional powers in check will take a good part of the game for Poland. Not allowing Russians, Germans, Hungarians or Ottomans unite too much land under one crown is the best way of preserving Poland's position.
- Due to unreliable nature of normal alliances, Poland should rather think about surrounding itself with a number of smaller vassal states that will serve both as buffer for enemy incursions and as a way of increasing amount of troops under Polish command. Money paid by wealthy vassals can boost Polish income by 10-15% without hassle of having to maintain those lands.
- Good candidates for vassals and allies are Teutons/Prussia for their elite army. Novgorod still as a merchant state but with reduced territory will be giving lost of hard cash as well as boosting research of the whole tech group, best done with them holding only 4-5 provinces around their capital. Crimea can either be annexed or given up to a strong Catholic vassal who will convert the territory and take care of the rebels. Annexing it and selling to vassalized Moldavia isn't a bad idea. Same can happen with remainder of Balkan/Hungarian territory, Wallachia or Transilvania can create a strong vassal buffer state against the Turks. Vassalizing Hansa isn't a bad idea either to prevent others from annexing it and killing the league, they can later be given more Pommeranian and Danish territory to prevent ambitions of other nations in the area. Finland freed and given other Finnish territories will prevent Sweden from growing too much. Vassalizing Bohemia or Brandenburg if they fall apart will allow Poland to protect its western flank much easier.
- Gathering all the vassals instead of annexing their territory will surround united lands of Poland and Lithuania with a wall of slave states providing their armies to Polish wars, giving their income to Poland and most importantly protecting Polish heartland from invasions.
Research, Sliders and National Ideas
- Researching Government Tech 4 will be seriously delayed compared to the rest of Europe and first National Idea will come late, around 1420-1425 depending on how exhausting starting war with Golden Horde was.
- First NI should be Grand Army to boost Polish land force limit higher allowing to field an army to match Lithuanian and discourage them from breaking away from the union. As an alternative National Bank can be used to mint more income into hard cash to pay for the troops. This is required to maintain union with Lithuania even if Lithuania lost a few provinces.
- Immediately after Government 4, research work should start on Production to boost income and to reach level 9 which allows Poland to build Workshops which boost taxes and land force limit. Once those are done, Poland will be able to upkeep an army bigger than Lithuania without much trouble.
- Then work must start on Land tech which by then will seriously lag behind neighbours. Level 9 grants better cavalry, level 11 grants better Infantry.
- In general Poland should specialize in Land and Government tech. Navy and trade can safely be ignored, Production should be a secondary project.
- Centralizing country in the 15th century isn't a bad idea, even past the Feudal Monarchy limit. It gives a lot of positive outcome at cost of a few negative events.
- Going Innovative before Reformation to Westernise sooner is a bad idea and will throw Poland into a hell of religious warfare. Going Innovative should be delayed until after Reformation and after all the religious decisions requiring high Narrowminded score are introduced. Westernizing too early will take away Poland's main strength which is eastern cavalry as well as enforce lower cavalry/infantry ratio in Polish armies. Thus moving towards Narrowminded until late 16th century is a good alternative to standard "full Innovative + westernisation" strategy.
- Free Trade is a good investment for later years of the game allowing to eventually catch up in Trade technology, acquire trading National Ideas and vastly boost Polish income in foreign Centers of Trade. This will be possible as soon as French, German and Italian duchies and city states are absorbed into bigger entities and won't pose so much competition on trading arena.
- Staying close to Aristocracy and Serfdom will make Polish army cheaper and as much as it may seem inconvenient, it's a practical necessity for the first half of the game.
- Poland won't be a naval superpower any soon in the game so Plutocracy and Naval focus are counter-productive.
- Good order of National Ideas will first strengthen Polish army (Grand Army, National Conscripts, Military Drill, Battlefield Commissions), then after inheriting Lithuania and (optionally) westernising, Poland should pursue trade opportunities as a country with National Trade Policy and Shrewd Commerce Practice. This will ensure Polish army to be big and well-founded for future conquest or just defence of what was conquered so far. National Bank is also a tempting choice for Poland allowing to reduce inflation gained during first years of the game as well as mint a large chunk of trade income into hard cash without getting any new inflation, it's a good separator between military and trading NIs.
Westernisation is a process that allows you to leave the eastern research group and to join the better, Latin group.
As of Heir to the Throne, Westernisation takes away two important things from Poland. First of all, it removes the Eastern infantry/cavalry ratio bonus from Poland, meaning the Poles won't be able to rely 60% on their cavalry. Thus westernisation is best delayed until "Rely on Polish Hussars" decision can be taken and in general, the Hussar era is over around the end of the 16th century.