Top 5 Tips to getting started in Europa Universalis IV
As detailed in our review, Europa Universalis IV is a game with A LOT of options and a lot of different play styles. Choosing the Nation to play as is just the first of many decisions you will make in the game. Here are my top five tips on getting started in Europa Universalis IV. Each of these assumes you are playing from the games earliest start point, 1444.
Unless you want a lot of long, pointless wars that gain you very little, then it can be a little fruitless playing as France. It can be fun to sort France’s shit out, but it’s perhaps not going to give you the same satisfaction as say conquering new lands to the west with the likes of Castile. The start of the game is during the 100 years war, and while it can be settled early on, it will only be for little gain. The first tempting mission you will be presented with is to chase England back out of France, but to do so you are going to need a pretty high war score. You will either need to siege the provinces England holds in France and wait it out while the ticker goes up, or risk trying to cross the channel. The French tech level is also really low to begin with, meaning you won’t be leaving Europe in a rush.
In fact, don’t even be friends with Scotland. At least not until you are familiar with the game and want a challenge. Nobody likes Scotland at this stage of history, and you are only a couple hundred years from the Glorious Revolution. So unless you think you can do better than the Jacobites, best to avoid Scotland for now. Every start I have made so far has seen Scotland either nearly or completely wiped off the map at an early stage by England. A very low income, a slow technology advancement rate and negative monthly prestige make it very hard to find your feet in the game as Scotland.
Overextension kills your nation, or at least your ability to control your nation. If you set off to destroy your neighbours, make sure that you both have a justified claim, and that when you sue for peace you are not raising your overextension by a significant amount. If you do take control a province that isn’t core to your nation, making it a core should be your top priority. Depending on the province, you will also need to convert their religion. If you follow the pattern of Conquer, Convert, make Core, then you will be able to maintain stability and keep rebellions to a minimum. If you don’t, you’re entire nation could end up in ruin because you decided to sack Rome…
My recommendation for beginners is that they start as Castile. They are one of the most advanced technology wise, and have decent expansion rights around them. These last two tips really help you to get going as Castile.
It can be painstaking, but try to save your diplomatic points to unlock a new tech tree. Which one you go for depends on the nation you play, but the Exploration one should be given a high priority, especially playing as Castile or even England, as you will want to find out what lies behind that Terra Incognita ahead of the other nations. There are a huge range of technology options available to your nation, and your choices will not only affect the nation, but shape your game also. Each group has seven technologies for you to unlock, which will cost you either Administrative, Diplomatic or Military points, so not only do you go for the technologies what you want, but should also want to spread your areas of focus across all three for maximum growth rate.
If you have followed the above point, you will be exploring the west in no time. Making sure you have hired an Explorer for your fleets, and a Conquistador for any land troops you want to bring over (these will help protect your settlers against any aggressive natives) you will be able to venture off into open water and unknown lands. As I said above, conquering your neighbours is going to affect your overextension score, but settling new lands doesn’t. This makes it the best way to expand your empire and still manage it easily. If you are fortunate enough, you will also discover new resources for the trade market, allowing you full control over them.
Those are my top tips for getting started in Europa Universalis IV. Once you get the hang of the ropes though, go out and explore the different nations. Take on the challenge of France or Scotland, or even head East and decide who will rule Asia, the Mongols or the Ming? Attempt to unify Japan, or even see if you can make a stand as one of the Indian (or Native Americans as we now call them) tribes in America before it is colonised. The choices really are endless.