This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for 1.7.
- +10% Morale of armies
- +30% Better relations over time
- +10% Imperial authority
- +25% Fort defense
- +0.05 Yearly inflation reduction
- -1 Interest per Annum
- +2 Diplomatic reputation
- +2% Missionary strength
- +1 Diplomatic relations
- +30% Reinforce speed
- +3% Discipline
- +50% Increased chance of new heir
Austria starts the game as the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. As Emperor of the traditionally fractious German states, it is up to the player to unify the Empire as the famous Habsburgs and stake their claim on history as a world power.
Austria starts as a country in Central Europe, bordered by Bohemia and minor German states to the north and west, Hungary to the east and Venice to the south. They also start with a large army of 36000 troops, second only to England with 37000.
As Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the player might be called into defensive wars against outside aggression, and are also tasked with maintaining order in the empire and enforcing religious unity.
- 1 Missions
- 2 Events
- 3 Formation
- 4 Strategy
- Main article: Austrian missions
Austrian missions are focused around uniting the Habsburg lands and uniting the Holy Roman Empire.
- Main article: Austrian events
Austria's events deal with Austro-Bohemian relations, instability in Austria's holdings in Hungary, famous people of the time period such as Mozart and Metternich, and the Italian Wars. Austria may also have an event that provides the ability to change to a unique government type, giving Austria a diplomatic advantage over other nations.
Styria can form Austria if Austria no longer exists.
By uniting the Leopoldian and Albertinian lines of the house of Habsburg we will once again assert our influence over European politics and secure our place as the most prestigious member of the Holy Roman Empire.
This section may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. The last version it was verified as up to date for was 1.7.
Rivals and Allies
Depending on the direction of expansion, setting rivals will speed up claim fabrication and boost your power projection when conquering. Venice is an easy target to rival. As for allies, due to Austria's role as Emperor, you have your pick of allies. You can even rotate allies in between wars, so you will have allies always ready to fight for you. Be sure to get rid of allies through a call to arms (preferably by DOW on an enemy yourself rather than through failing to honor a call by an ally, since this will cause a -100 relations penalty) rather than dissolving an alliance, so you can maintain their high opinions of you when you need new allies again.
Expend the minimal effort to influence Electors so that you have enough votes to be re-elected if your Monarch should unluckily die. In most games this means one vote, maybe two if two Electors happen to like the same target or if one Elector backs another causing that Elector to vote for themselves. Then you can repeatedly use the Improve our Relation with the Elector of ... Missions to get +1 Stability and +5 Imperial Authority. This mission can become available if the Elector's relations to you are less than 50 and succeeds if their relations are 100. It is important for you to keep Austria's prestige and legitimacy close to 100.
The Prince-Bishopric of Salzburg can be easily conquered with minimal effort. It used to be much easier because picking Rivals had no restrictions; however, since the 1.6 patch Rivals have to be within a certain range of power relative to the player's country. Nevertheless, claim Salzburg and conquer it at the very beginning.
Venice holds a few of your Imperial territory, but these provinces are expensive to core. It may be best to return cores to Milan and take only the Croatian lands. This will allow you to expand into the Balkans and away from the HRE. Venice usually allies France, which you can use to your advantage if you cannot get a CB on France or if you want to chain consecutive wars with France (using Venice's trucer timer).
Hungary begins as your rival, so previous strategies do not work. Hungary usually allies Teutonic Order, so ends up fighting Poland/Lithuania. Hungary shares the same dynasty as Austria, so wait for the Restoration of Union CB which can happen due to weak Hungarian heirs OR an Austria mission after 1500.
Like Hungary, Bohemia does not start with a ruler. If you immediately enter a Royal Marriage with Bohemia you have a chance to get a Habsburg on the throne, and you can get a very early Personal Union with Bohemia if they do not birth an heir before their interregnum is over. However, unlike Hungary, it is not guaranteed to get a Habsburg on the throne. Later on in the game, Austria can get a mission to force a Personal Union with Bohemia regardless.
Austria can gain non-French lands in Burgundy through the Burgundian Succession Crisis. It can happen either if Burgundy is losing a war OR its heir dies during peace times regency. You should add any non-HRE provinces to the Empire after getting these lands. Now, you can either use that land yourself or create Burgundy so you can return cores from France to avoid AE. Keeping the lands for yourself will lead to an event where HRE princes ask for their cores back. Refusing them will cost prestige and opinion.
Fighting France requires getting good allies and mercenaries. You should go over your relations limit just to get a good force: Aragon, Castile, Poland, Bohemia, Milan, (vassal) Burgundy and anyone else willing. It sorts itself out when you do a call to arms to all your allies. If you can fabricate a claim or have the Imperial Ban CB, then you can declare on France and separate peace Venice for the truce timers. If you cannot get a CB on France, then declare on Venice but white peace Venice once you are finished with France.
Your allies and vassal should be doing most of the work. The immediate goal is to drain France's manpower. If France marches over to the Alps, just bait with mercenaries and then reinforce. Do not worry if you lose a battle or two. Once France has no more manpower, go hire more mercenaries and carpet siege.
The first peace deal should focus on returning cores to (vassal) Burgundy. Then when the Venice truce timer is up, declare war again and use the same strategy. Neutralize Venice, but do not take the wargoal so you can avoid the call for peace. France should still be weakened and easy to crush. The second peace deal should focus on releasing French minors that you can diplovassalize. France should be in shambles now and easy for any of its neighbors to pick on. Eventually, it should be small enough to vassalize, though its negative opinion will take some time to improve.
By early 1500s, your Austria should be among the strongest nations in Europe and ready to crush anyone. For the other superpowers, PUs work best if they take on your Habsburg dynasty, but you might have to sacrifice your dynasty if you really want to force a PU.
Unifying the Holy Roman Empire
Austria, starting out as the Holy Roman Emperor, has the easiest path toward unifying the Holy Roman Empire (abbreviated HRE). This path is largely about diplomacy, and is very different from the normal wars of conquest of a state outside the HRE.
The top priority early on is generally to ensure that the Emperorship stays with Austria. It is usually unnecessary to ally with the electors, although the Palatinate or Brandenburg will usually offer an alliance at the start of the game. However, constantly improving relations with the electors whenever their reasons for voting for you start to drop is a good idea, as if Austria loses the Emperorship, she will be set back by a large amount. 3 votes is usually enough, as Bohemia will vote for themselves.
It is unnecessary to expand very much within the HRE, as the last two Imperial reforms give you control over it. The player may wish to annex Salzburg, a bordering One Province Minor (OPM), though, as they are very wealthy, and the Aggressive Expansion should wear off within a few years.
Part of managing the Holy Roman Empire is to accrue Imperial Authority (IA), which allows imperial reforms to be passed, which eventually allows the Emperor to unify the HRE into one nation-state. Imperial Authority is gained in many ways.
When a foreign power attacks a member of the Holy Roman Empire (this is usually Denmark and co. at the start, as they have a mission to attack The Hansa, one of the members of the HRE), the Emperor will receive a Call to Arms, granting IA and a large relations boost with the entire HRE, and winning the war will grant more, so it is very important to answer these calls. Another, easier method of increasing Imperial Authority is to use the Imperial Liberation casus belli, received when an HRE member is annexed. This allows them to be released, and gain more IA. The country holding the Emperorship also gains 10 IA when a new emperor is elected from the same country, but this is not a very reliable method of accruing IA. Finally, every province owned outside the HRE in Europe can be added to the HRE for 1 IA each, but this is recommended to be only done to pass the last two reforms, when the other methods won't work.
After reaching Administrative Technology 4 and unlocking the first idea group, it may be a good idea to unlock a Diplomatic Idea group, as diplomatic technology is not very important early on. It is probably best to choose the Diplomatic idea group, as it gives many benefits.
Occasionally, when Austria's relations with an Elector are under 100, she will receive a mission to get the relations to 100, giving a free +1 stability and +5 IA. This is typically very easy to do, and thus this mission should usually be picked when available.
After a while, Austria should be able to pass a reform or two. It is usually a good idea to pass these as quickly as possible, except for the second-to-last, "Revoke the Privilegia,". Imperial Authority above 50 increases the chances that countries will agree to passing the reforms, and while only a majority of the HRE is needed to pass the previous reforms, when "Revoke the Privilegia" is passed, countries that vote no on it will leave the HRE, which is not good.
In the 1500s, if all goes according to plan, many of the one-province German and Italian minors will have been annexed by their neighbors and then subsequently released by the player for the IA. The player may find it harder to keep relations up with the electors at this point, as the player may have been expanding (although it is probably wise not to expand within the HRE, as it causes much more Aggressive Expansion). Consequently, it may be a good idea to vassalize, whether by force or by diplomacy, 3 or more of the electors to secure the vote. Note that Austria receives a mission to force a personal union over one of the Electors, Bohemia.
At this point the Reformation will happen. The player is advised to not try to accrue IA immediately before and during the Reformation, as princes will frequently be converting to Protestantism, and later to the Reformed faith, costing the emperor a substantial amount of Imperial Authority with every conversion.
While it is possible to politely prompt the Protestant princes to convert back to Catholicism, this is not recommended, as it hurts relations with the rest of the HRE by -25, which decays quite slowly. Instead, during wars, there is usually an option to Force Religion, which does not hurt relations with anyone, although it doesn't return the lost IA from the conversion to Protestantism.
After 30 years or so, the conversions generally slow down by quite a bit, allowing the player to continue the previous strategy of liberating princes, etc.
Landfriede, Erbkaisertum, Privilegia and Union
This strategy works perfectly well until the proclamation of the Ewiger Landfriede, when all HRE wars are disallowed. This means that the player can no longer declare war on HRE nations to release princes, although HRE members may still be dragged into wars started against their foreign allies.
Next, the Erbkaisertum removes the ability to receive 10 IA after every Imperial election won, as it removes the elective nature of the HRE and keeps the current Emperor in power forever. By this point, the player should have expanded outside the HRE to such an extent that the player has many provinces able to be added to the HRE, which will increase IA by 1.25 each, as the Erbkaisertum increases IA gain by 25 percent.
Before Revoking the Privilegia, it is recommended to improve relations with every prince as much as possible, and to get IA to 100, as both of these actions increase the likelihood that princes will vote yes. Any princes who vote no leave the HRE, which is annoying.
Finally, the Union itself is easy. Because all the princes are the Emperor's vassals, the reform is assured to pass. However, since there is a base force limit (i.e. forcelimit = base + provinces * x), the Imperial army is likely to actually be weaker after the final reform is passed, and the united HRE color is also quite unpleasant. However, if the player feels like he or she would rather sacrifice a larger army for direct control of a smaller one, the Union is always an option.
There! Alles Erdreich ist Österreich untertan!