When presented with a map of the world from 1444, it is easy to see that things are very different from today. Spain does not exist, the Ottomans are a great world power and Japan is made up of warring states. But there are many things you can do to shape the world towards the one we know in the 21st century.
From a start of 1444 in Paradox Interactive’s magnum opus, you can choose multiple nations that may start small but go on to bigger and better things over the years. Whether through war, diplomacy, or luck, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to climbing the ranks of the world and becoming a great power.
ten Castile to Spain
If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, it’s possible to form Spain with Aragon, but Castile is the easiest way to do it. In fact, Castile is one of the most popular choices for a 1444 start, and it’s also a nation that the game itself recommends for beginners. One of the reasons why this is so is that Castille has few internal issues, has a very clear mission tree, and there are attractive gameplay options from the start.
Since you shouldn’t spend too much time playing mole with the rebels, you can start with The Reconquista almost from the start of the game. Thanks to the Iberian Wedding event, which is quite easy to trigger, Castile can also take control of neighboring Aragon, which means you can avoid taking unnecessary military risks and focus on building your economy to become an imperial power. Colonialism is, after all, where Spain really shines, as you will be one of the first European nations to cross the pond.
9 England to Great Britain
There is a convoluted way to form Britain starting with Scotland, conquering England, reforming England, then forming Britain with Irish ideas, but England is the best choice. more simple. From the start, England is the dominant power in the Channel Trade Node, which is the best trade node in the game. And you will continue to gain more power in this node by vassalizing and conquering Ireland. If you can circumvent France’s guarantee of independence from Scotland (which you should be able to do with your incredible navy), taking Scotland will make you even more powerful.
You also start with provinces in France, so if you want to try to extend the Hundred Years War, you have that option as well. But even if you lose your footing in mainland Europe, the United British Isles alone offer the English player tremendous power in a game of EU4.
8 Holland in the Netherlands
A good Dutch game is best done with Conquest of Paradise DLC, since it’s the extra content you’ll need to rally your independence and free yourself from your personal union with Burgundy. And if you manage to train them, they could be a major force.
The Dutch start with an extra merchant, increased trade range, 15% more trade efficiency, and reduced costs for developing their provinces. Militarily, the Dutch forces have ten percent more fire capability. The unique government of the Dutch Republic of the Netherlands also provides an additional 10% efficiency bonus to trade, and a bonus to the damage heavy ships can deal. If you manage to train the Netherlands and grow your navy to rival Britain, this could be your ticket to becoming a world power.
7 Brandenburg to Prussia
Prussia is arguably the best military nation in the whole game. It’s also a nice reward, because the first decades for the player from Brandenburg can be a bit difficult. The first struggles are worth it though.
In addition to the powerful military ideas of Prussia, the reforms available to Prussia as a monarchy or republic contain militarization (with Human Rights DLC), which gives your army bonuses as you become militarized. 50 military power gives you ten weaponizations, and at 100 you will receive even more benefits for your army. The Teutonic Order, or any nation of Prussian, Saxon, or Pomeranian culture, may also form Prussia.
6 Brandenburg in Germany
Prussia is often Brandenburg’s target, but you can take your game a step further and try to train Germany. Although it may not be as militarily imposing as Prussia, Germany can still be a force to be reckoned with thanks to its national ideas which grant you increased discipline, trade efficiency, less unrest, more goods produced and an additional diplomatic relationship, among other benefits.
You cannot form Germany directly from Brandenburg. A good game with Germany requires training Prussia as quickly as possible. If you want to take a different route, you can start your game as Brunswick.
5 Naples in Italy
The Italian peninsula is one of the most developed land real estate in the game, and the competition is fierce. What is the reward? A stable nation with great economic and diplomatic capabilities and the chance to rule the Mediterranean with a formidable navy.
Napoli start in a personal union with Aragon as a junior partner, but you can gain your independence with the Conquest of Paradise DLC. If you don’t have the DLC, fear not! Italy’s roster can also come from other Italian nations, many of which are quite good. Florence, for example, can form Tuscany and quickly expand to form Italy that way.
The advantage of a Neapolitan start, however, is that you start from the southern half of the boot and have access to the sea on both sides of the peninsula. Fun fact: Italy is the only Catholic nation in the game that can contain Roma and subjugate the Papal States without any penalty.
4 Poland to Commonwealth
You can form the Commonwealth through Lithuania, but Poland starts out in a better economic position and has a superior army, so that’s Poland. Eastern Europe in the 16th century can be a dangerous place in UE4.
The Ottomans snowballed into power since 1444, and Muscovy or Russia grew eastward for a few hundred years, increasing both in size and power. If you’re in the area and aren’t one of these nations, then superior Commonwealth cavalry, army morale, and general stability are your best chance of staying alive.
3 From Muscovy to Russia
Starting in 1444, you’ll likely be engaged in a rivalry against the fearsome Ottomans right away, and it takes a lot of might to survive, let alone thrive as neighbors. But as Muscovy and later Russia, you will be prosper!
Russia can field a huge army, especially if you take quantity ideas and use their lifetime conscription idea, which grants the Russian player an additional 50% to your allowed army size. Russian troops also take less fire damage, artillery is cheaper, penalties for aggressive expansion are reduced, and you pay less for major provinces.
2 Uesugi in Japan
In 1444, the warring states of Japan began as tiny nations with one to a handful of provinces. You don’t make money and war breaks out all around you. It doesn’t matter – Uesugi is the way to unite Japan.
Uesugi holds three provinces in the Hokoriko region, giving them good access to the sea on both sides of the archipelago. This positioning is also helpful in allowing Uesugi to take the northeast with relatively less competition from other daimyos. Sure, you might have to take out a boatload of loans to field a capable army and navy, but it’s worth it… isn’t it?
1 Jianzhou to Qing
You might be surprised to learn that tiny Jianzhou, bordered by the almighty Ming in 1444, is a more than adequate nation to form a future world power. In fact, Jianzhou is the best non-Ming nation to play in the region, thanks to its strong military ideas. Jianzhou enjoys bonus morale and manpower and suffers less attrition on enemy lands while giving enemies extra attrition on Jianzhou’s own lands.
Jianzhou also added bonuses to Annual Legitimacy, Horde Unity, and Stability. Keep in mind that Jianzhou can train Qing after training Manchu through the Nurhachi’s Reforms event, which only triggers once per game.
NEXT: EU4: Best Trainable Former Colonial Nations To Train
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