- +20% Religious unity
- +1 Max promoted cultures
- +10% National tax modifier
- +10% National manpower modifier
- −25% Mercenary maintenance
- +1 Diplomat
- +20% Trade range
- −10% Stability cost modifier
- −1 National unrest
- +25% Income from vassals
The Kingdom of Ayutthaya was the major power in Southeast Asia in the 14th and 15th centuries. Based in the capital of Ayutthaya on the Chao Phraya River, this decentralized Thai kingdom managed to exercise hegemony over the area for many years. Trade rivalry with Malacca and constant wars with neighboring Burmese kingdoms and the declining Khmer Empire typified the history.
Ayutthaya is an excellent option to play as a semi-beginner, as the country is not in Europe and is not a major, but can expand without many difficulties as it is stronger than all of its neighbours.
- Main article: Ayutthayan events
Ayutthayan events are mainly focused on reforms. Reforms can give monarch points, base tax in provinces, etc.
Ayutthaya starts off in a very good situation. The country is a tributary nation of Ming, which means you lose some monarch points yearly but you have free expansion possibilities towards other tributaries, and you are guaranteed not to be attacked by any non-tributary nation. Of all the countries nearby, Ayutthaya would already be the strongest without taking their subjects into account. This makes them the prime contender for uniting the Indochinese area. Another extremely strong point is the fact that Ayutthaya has cores on their subjetcs. You can seize territory from day 1, and annex them for no cost at all after 10 years. On the downside, Ayutthaya has a weak starting ruler, and even if their main trade node, Siam, is easy to control, it is a relatively bad one and setting up a good trade network requires a lot of conquest.
Your natural ennemy is Khmer. Historically, Khmer was the major power of the region before Ayutthaya took their place a few years before the start of the EUIV era. You have a core of Khmer, which means they will almost always rival you, but you are stronger than them and they should not prove a big problem. They hold the other trade power province of the Siam node, so conquering them in two swift early wars will significantly boost your income. Other strong powers are Lan Xang to the North-East and Dai Viet even further to the North-East. Your other neighbours are smaller states, Pegu to the West and Lan Na to the North. Else you are surrounded by your vassals Sukhothai and Ligor. The only states having a relatively even strength are Malacca and Bengal but Ayutthaya has time to expand and the state should become stronger than them before meeting these foes.
Ayutthaya can defeat all of its neighbours alone, but if several of them ally, it is probably safer to ally some other states nearby. Dai Viet or Lan Xang will provide the most help, especially to crush the other, but having one or two of any of the states in Indochina on your side will almost guarantee you have easy victories against any neighbour, no matter how many allies they have.
After proving yourself as the main power by defeating Khmer and other nearby powers, the player is probably near from getting the achievement The White Elephant. Whether you want to chase it or not, this is the end of the early game.
Potential other goals
A natural expansion path for Ayutthaya that almost or totally united Indochina and Burma would be to try to set up a trade network more efficient than what you have. An extremely good node to control is thus Malacca, far superior to Siam and also the only node towards which Siam flows, so you don't waste your early game money. That requires you to conquer many nations, many of them stronger than what you were used to, like Malacca or Brunei. You should be in a position where you are still stronger than them, but getting a good navy will be needed to control the area, full of islands. Allying a state like Pasai or Majapahit can also help getting an early edge if the player choses to expand in that direction. From there, you can decide to smooth up your borders and play a colonial/trade oriented game around the Spice Islands with idea groups like Exploration, Expansion and Trade. Either Religious or Humanist is probably needed to deal with the numerous Sunni land you will conquer.
Another road is to go towards India. There are many strong nations there but also a lot of riches. A more agressive player could decide to conquer all of India or the eastern part of it, which proves to be more of a challenge but is still relatively easy, considering Ayutthaya has easier expansion paths than the other strong Indian powers. The player should still be careful if he is blocked by an alliance of two or three strong Indian powers and get alliances of his own or wait for good opportunities. Good idea groups are everything useful for conquest, like Administrative and Influence, and several military groups, especially Offensive.
The last objective and the hardest one can be pursued immediately or after the others, depending on the challenge you want to face. Ayutthaya follows an eastern religion, which means they can claim the Mandate of Heaven from Ming with the proper DLC. Even without it, Ming is the obvious power of the area, and defeating them can be a nice endgoal for a campaign. This requires either massive expansion towards Indonesia or India to get a strong powerbase, or a careful plan and many allies, as Ming is extremely strong. Ayutthaya is still one of the non-horde countries with the most potential to overthrow Ming and create an alternate history in which the Imperial power shifted to the South. For this, stacking military ideas and strong policies is needed. Defensive is an obvious choice to win battles thanks to the morale boost, as is Quantity to overcome their massive numbers.