This article is considered accurate for the current version of the game.
- +10% Infantry combat ability
- -10% Idea cost
- -10% Reduce war exhaustion cost
- +1 Yearly legitimacy
- +10% Manpower recovery speed
- +10% Morale of armies
- +10% National tax modifier
- +10% Production efficiency
- +20% Spy offense
- +25% National manpower modifier
Aztec is a country located in the Central America. It is also the primary nation of the Aztec culture.
- Main article: Aztec events
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The 1.8 update drastically changed the Meso-American region. There are now many warring nations in the region, and the Aztecs have a lot less power than they used to. Starting out, the strategy is the same standard one; form alliances and use conquest to create an American powerhouse. Generally you should try to keep your tech low and conserve monarch points for westernization, but there are a few key technologies that are highly advisable to have. First and foremost, you NEED diplomatic tech 3. With it, you can create heavy ships, which are your best chance against the conquistadors. By the time that Europe arrives, their armies will be leagues ahead of yours, and any land battle that you fight will be almost a guaranteed loss. Your ships however will be more evenly matched, and thanks to having two coastlines, valuable trade goods and high basetax, you can field a very large number of heavy ships. With these, you should be able to prevent the Europeans from making landfall. Slightly less important is administrative tech 4, and the idea that it provides. While it's tempting to go straight for a colonist to expand your realm right away, this also expands your coastline, making it harder to defend with your fleet. Instead, you should go for either humanist ideas to help with westernization and the eventual conquest of European lands, or naval ideas to give your obsidian navy a bit of extra oomph for that first frantic defense. As for military tech, just keep it at or above whoever you're trying to conquer and you should be fine. I also recommend using culture conversion, both to keep your diplomatic power around the 2,000 mark and to keep the unrest low when you westernize. Now, all that you have to do is unify Mesoamerica and wait for a European colony to pop up near you so that you can westernize off of it. If you're given the option to convert to some form of Christianity while westernizing, it's really up to you. On one hand, conversion will make it easier for you to make powerful western allies and get rid of that pesky anti-pagan CB, but on the other hand, it will drive your unrest up to dangerous levels, practically ensuring at least one rebellion while you're westernizing. Anyways, once you're western, you can do whatever you want. Colonize Australia, kick the Europeans out of America, or even take the fight to them and shoot for the Sunset Invasion achievement; the possibilities are just about endless.
The release of the 1.10 update and the El Dorado DLC has dramatically altered the gameplay of the Aztecs. Previously, the optimal strategy would have been to conquer all neighboring nations and tech up to build a fleet that can hold off the Europeans. This is no longer possible, for two reasons. One, the doom mechanic that applies to the Nahuatl (Aztec) religion will increase more rapidly based on the number of provinces you hold. The more land, the more doom. Two, the five religious reforms that can be passed to slow the accumulation of doom and prepare for westernization require you to have five vassals. As a result, the Aztec game becomes one of a decentralized empire, rapidly expanding, contracting, and repeating the cycle.
Doom increases based on the number of provinces directly owned, and decreases due to battles, sieges won and vassalizations. If desperate, the leaders of subject nations can be sacrificed on the subject tab to provide a quick doom reduction at the expense of vassal loyalty.
At the start, the Aztecs border seven nations, with several Mayan ones out of reach. Ally first with Zapotec, which should be friendly, then use the flower wars CB to vassalize them all, as quickly as possible. The exception is the small, two province minor Tlaxcala. Feel free to annex them right before passing the reforms. Doom increases by province count, not base tax, and the two provinces are relatively rich for the region. Additionally, each reform will slow the accumulation of doom by a small amount, so a small conquest early on will not do much harm. Once Tlaxcala has been annexed and you have vassalized all neighbors but Zapotec, take the -20% stability cost reform. This will lose a stability point, all vassals will be released and doom will increase by 25. Most importantly, you will gain a lengthy truce timer with all of your vassals. You could wait 15 years for the timer to expire, but what is the point? Your tech rate is abysmal and you won't be coring, integrating or filling in idea groups till all religious reforms are complete, so you should have a huge stockpile of admin and diplo points. Look around at your recently released vassals, put your stack next to one of theirs and declare war on a nation that is allied to several. Eat the truce breaking penalty, because now you can quickly revassalize several of your former minions without a problem. Once that is done and stab and war exhaustion are at acceptable levels, break your alliance with Zapotec and conquer them, but make sure to annex a path of provinces to the Mayan states. You don't have truce timers with them...yet.
The rest of the reform process is fairly straightforward. Break and cycle truces as necessary in order to win back vassals. Each reform you pass will allow you to hold more land without it increasing your doom. Once you have passed all reforms, you will no longer gain doom from owning provinces and can expand as much as you'd like to prepare for the Europeans. After you've passed all reforms you need to border a Western nation. The quickest way to do this is to colonize along the coast either down into South America, or up into North America around the Gulf of Mexico. The Europeans will start to colonize the New World around 1550 usually, but this can vary. They usually start with the westernmost coast of North and South America, so it can take them some time to get close enough for you to reform. It is also recommended you westernize as quickly as possible.
Whatever happens, do not let the counter fill. At maximum doom, your entire ruling family will be sacrificed and replaced with a young 0/0/0 ruler with 20 legitimacy. All stored monarch points will evaporate, all vassals will break free, and stability will be reduced to -3. Avoid at all costs, unless you are absoluty sure you can sustain and you wanna go for the "Die Please Die" Achievment without waiting for fitting ruler.