This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for Vanilla.
- Morale of navies
- Accepted Culture threshold
Heavy ship combat ability
- Yearly navy tradition
- National tax modifier
- Diplomatic relations
Light ship combat ability
- National trade income modifier
- National revolt risk
- Naval attrition
- Embargo efficiency
What truly makes England unique to play is that the country has natural borders protecting it and it is possible to strengthen those borders dramatically with rather cheap investments. England can get involved in the continent, from a safe position, or choose to isolate itself and go overseas. The country also sits on an enviable position to control the trade from the Baltic and from North America.
- 1 Countries within England
- 2 Missions
- 3 Events
- 4 Decisions
- 5 Strategy
- 5.1 Guide to winning the Hundred Years War (as of 1.6)
- 5.2 A Detailed Breakdown of the English situation in 1444 (as of 1.5)
- 5.3 A Beginners' Step-by-Step Strategy - Abandoning France and securing the British Isles
- 5.4 Trade
- 5.5 War and diplomacy
- 5.6 Alternative strategy
- 5.7 Alternative Strategy: Peace & Progress in France (1444)
- 5.8 Multiplayer Considerations
Countries within England
In 1444, these countries are fully integrated into England, but can become independent following rebellions, war or events like the War of the Roses.
All listed countries are in the Western tech group, are Feudal Monarchies, and have the Catholic religion. Bolded cultures indicate they are the primary nation of that culture.
|Welsh (Celtic)||Cornwall (233)|
|English (British)||Lancashire (244)|
|English (British)||Northumberland (246)|
|Welsh (Celtic)||Gwynedd (242)|
|English (British)||Yorkshire (245)|
- Main article: English missions
England's missions center around expanding in the British Isles. The most important ones for England are:
'Vassalize Scotland', which drops the warscore for vassalizing Scotland to the mid-50s,
'Conquer Ireland', which gives you a casus belli against all the Irish minors, and upon completion will give free claims on all Ireland, and
'Conquer Scotland' (after 1603), which gives a free casus belli and free claims on the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands.
- Main article: English events
England has one of the richest and best known histories, making it a treasure trove for Dynamic Historical Events. Some of the more relevant events and event chains are listed below.
End of the Hundred Years War
If England has lost all of its French possessions (excluding Calais) an event will trigger to end the Hundred Years' War. Accepting the loss will have England lose all cores in any province in the French region they do not own, gain 1 stability, and gain a +50 opinion bonus with France. Not giving up will result in a loss of 1 stability and a large opinion malus with France.
The Lollard Heresy
Any time before 1500 England may have to choose whether to tolerate or suppress the Lollards. Choosing suppression will remove 1 stability, deduct a sizeable amount from the treasury, and grant +20 revolt risk in 3 provinces. Choosing tolerance will remove 1 stability point and reduce relations with France, Burgundy, Brittany, and the Papal State by 50.
War of the Roses
If England in the 15th century has a ruler without an heir, the War of the Roses will have a chance of triggering. Whether England is at war or not does not matter. A brief sketch of what happens is as follows:
1. The childless ruler of England will get a severe 50% malus to the chance of a new heir appearing. This does not mean that there is no chance of new heirs - and events that give new heirs, e.g. A Child in the Reeds, can still trigger during the period. If an heir is born the malus will go away, and the threat of the War of the Roses with it, for the rest of the game.
2. The actual War of the Roses will begin. The ruler will die and a choice to back either the Yorkist or the Lancastrian claimant to the throne is given. Choosing York will generate a new Yorkist dynasty, while choosing Lancaster will generate a new (i.e. not related to the previous monarch even if he was Lancastrian) Lancastrian dynasty.
3. In line with house chosen, a new king will ascend to the throne of England, and legitimacy will take a large hit. At the same time, a sizeable stack (a late-1400s War of the Roses will generate a 16-unit stack) of Pretenders from the other house will appear (usually in Yorkshire or Lancashire depending on the house they are from).
4. Owned provinces will then begin declaring for either Lancaster or York. Provinces that support the ruling house will receive -3 revolt risk, while those supporting the rebelling house will get +10 revolt risk.
5. Whole regions will also declare for the rebelling house, giving the option to reduce revolt risk in those provinces by 3 at the cost of high tax and manpower penalties, or increase revolt risk by 10 and spawn more rebels. Nobles in some provinces may support the ruling house, but are growing concerned, giving the option to give them ducats as gift or having reduced manpower and tax income from those provinces. Soldiers may desert, reducing manpower, lowering tax, or increasing revolt risk. Neighboring countries may also become involved in the war by supplying the rebels.
6. When at least a year has passed, all rebels have been put down, stability has been increased to at least 1, and the current monarch has a living heir, the War of the Roses may come to an end. All negative modifiers will be removed, stability will be increased by 1, and England will gain 50 prestige. The war may also end when the rebels break the country and manage to take over the throne, though this will result in a massive drop in prestige.
The English Civil War
From 1600 to 1700 England/Great Britain may have another major event chain: English Civil War. This is more likely to happen if the Court of the Star Chamber event already occurred. A brief sketch is as follows:
1. A choice to support the Royalists or the Parliamentarians will be given. Royalists keep the status quo, while Parliamentarians change the country to a Republican Dictatorship ruled by Oliver Cromwell. Stability will be reduced by -3 and a massive stack of pretender rebels (around 25 units in the mid-1600s) will appear somewhere on the island of Great Britain.
2. Events can occur that may spawn rebels in Ireland and Wales if money concessions are not given. Catholic England/Great Britain can get extra events that may spawn pretender rebels in Scotland. The Pride's Purge event will also spawn more rebels in the British Isles. In addition, events about the creating of the New Model Army can occur, giving the option for temporarily stronger armies and navies at the cost increased revolt risk and reduced manpower, or a small manpower increase.
3. After at least a year of civil war, if stability is at least 1 and all rebels have been defeated, the English Civil War will come to an end. Stability will increase by 2, and the country will gain 50 prestige.
If England reaches Administrative level 10 and owns the Highlands and Lothian in Scotland, England can Form Great Britain. Doing so grants claims on all of the British Isles (including Orkney) and a national tax boost, with a malus of +1 revolt risk.
Besides, this, England also has several unique decisions, most of which are shared with Great Britain:
- Any of the following:
- Country is England
- Country is Great Britain
- Diplomatic technology is at least 15
- Does not have the country modifier "British Merchant Navy"
- Has at least 5 Naval ideas
- Monthly income is at least 60 ducats
- Trade is at least 33% of the country's income
- Has the idea Grand Navy
- Has the idea National Trade Policy
- Adds the modifier "British Merchant Navy" for the rest of the campaign:
- +5% global tariffs
Sing 'Britannia Rules the Waves'
- Any of the following:
- Country is England
- Country is Great Britain
- Does not have the country modifier "Britannia Rules the Waves"
- Has at least 30 ports
- Has at least 50 heavy ships
- Has at least 50 light ships
- Adds the modifier "Britannia Rules the Waves" for the rest of the campaign:
- +100% admiral maneuver skill
Establish the Fleet as our Wooden Wall
- Any of the following:
- Country is England
- Country is Great Britain
- Does not have the country modifier "The Fleet is our Wooden Wall"
- Has the idea Seahawks
- Has the idea Superior Seamanship
- British Isles:
- Is not owned by our country
- Adds the modifier "The Fleet is our Wooden Wall" for the rest of the campaign:
- -10% ship recruitment speed
Designate Calais as The Staple Port
- Country is England
- Owns Calais
- Does not have the province modifier "The Staple Port"
- Is not at war
- Ruler's administrative skill is at least 2
- Has at least 40 administrative power
- Is not owned by our country
- Adds the opinion modifier "Designated Calais as the Staple Port" towards England
- Adds 10% mercantilism
- Changes administrative power stored by -40
- Adds the modifier "The Staple Port" for the rest of the campaign:
- +500% provincial trade power
- +50% provincial tax income
- Adds the modifier "The Staple Port" for the rest of the campaign:
England in 1444 is a powerful country that nevertheless is facing severe pressure on the Continent and a latent threat in the form of Scotland to the north. Expansion opportunities abound in the British Isles and in the windswept islands of the North Atlantic.
Later on, England is well-placed to colonize the lands of North America, while potentially facing vicious competition from Spain and Portugal. The Reformation will affect England greatly and will be the most prolonged and severe rebel event the player will likely face in the entire game.
Going into the 1600s, England/Great Britain will have to leverage its island position to balance against the hegemons of the continent. It may also have to think about expansion into the riches of Asia and perhaps most importantly, what is historically destined to become the 'Jewel in the Crown' - India.
As an English player, you are faced with an immediate choice in 1444 - will you try and win the Hundred Years' War?
Guide to winning the Hundred Years War (as of 1.6)
Credit to /u/Dwighty1.
Link to Reddit thread for reference.
There are 2 ways; the VERY abusive, easy and ridiculously fast way; and the slower, more tedious, more expensive but legit way. I just did this last night.
Common for both strategies:
I restarted until I got the +10% morale adviser. Very likely doable with others to, but you might as well maximize when you're going to spend time doing it anyways. The general idea is to pick up the guys in Normandie, reinforce them from Kent and ship them down to reinforce your guys in Bearn. You will also need to pick up another stack from mainland England to further reinforce Bearn as the French AI doesn't attack into Bearn now unless they vastly outnumber you. Your mercs and the remaining forces in mainland England should be landed in Normandie and sent to I'le de France AFTER the army in Bearn has retreated and with your own army in close pursuit. Also; take loans as needed.
- Equip all your advisers: -3 revolt risk (I cba with rebellions), +5 diplo reputation (or whatever) and 10% morale.
- Alliance with Austria and Castille (they will handle Burgundy if they DoW you during the war like they did with me. They don't get AE from you forcing a PU on France either); military access from Navarra and Aragon (just in case). Royal marriage with Portugal, Austria and Aragon (hopefully you avoid the war of the roses).
- All light ships to protect trade in Bourdaux.
- Send all forces on mainland England down to Kent and merge them there.
- Split of your heavy ships; send them to blockade the French fleet outside Aquitine.
- 15 transports goes to Normandie ASAP to pick up your 9 guys there.
- Attach Planterguet to the army in Labourd and Percy to the army in Normandie (this is important as the extra maneuver helps if you need to land in Navarra to reinforce Bearn. You need your 3/3 guy for the force in I'le de France)
- Send Planterguet to destroy the army in Armanac, and return him to Labourd afterwards (shift-click so you don't have to watch it).
- Recruit 5 cavalry (regular troops) in the areas surrounding Kent; 1 in each.
- Start recruiting whatever merc soldiers you start out with in Labourd. You usually have time for 2 before the French doomstack arrives and you have to evacuate to Bearn. Keep track of when they arrive in Gascogne and make sure you start moving before they get there.
- Spam merc soldiers in Kent and the surrounding areas. Take loans to keep this going. These will land in Il'e de France after you win the fight in Bearn. Don't go over the top but I made 8 x 3 times. You can spam them in Caux and Normandie after you've landed in France, but this isn't safe early on.
- Depending on whether or not the French has engaged your army in Bearn or not, you will either land in Labourd or Navarra. Labourd is obviously preferable, but this isn't safe if they haven't engaged yet. The coast is usually clear if they have, and much faster than landing in Navarra.
- Send your 15 transports directly to Kent to pick up reinforcements and send them down to reinforce in Bearn. If you landed in Labourd the first time you can probably do this again.
- Transports back to Kent and start gathering your cav and mercs there. Be ready to ship off to France once you have a full ship. Put Neville (last commander) in charge of this army.
Step 1: Save the game manually just before the battle ends. After it ends, the game either saves (you notice this by the lag spike) or it doesn't. If it saves, skip to step 3.
Step 2: If it doesn't, you load the same game, exit to menu, and reload the same game (there is a bug atm that doesn't save when you load from in game while in Ironman, this will get fixed so in newer patches you will need to CTRL+ALT+DEL). When you load back in, you should you should be where you saved manually (right before winning the battle). When you unpause and win the battle, it should save automatically. Pause while it saves as passing over to another month might trigger another autosave again. I can't explain the cause of this, but the game doesn't seem to save if there is to few days past since the last autosave. I have no idea what this number is, but it ALWAYS saves when you play from a game you loaded manually. Doing it like this reproduces the bug 100%.
Step 3: Load the same game from in game, exit to menu, and reload the game. When you are back in, you will notice that all the troops are stacked in Bearn, and no one is moving. As soon as you unpause, battle will commence; since you won you will have morale, while the French, won't. You should save manually here as well and when you win one of two things can happen; either the stack is destroyed or it isn't. If it isnt' you can use the same method again until it gets destroyed. I've never had to fight the battle more than 3 times, no matter the size of the army. In some cases you could also be the one getting the penalty, in which case it's best to CTRL+ALT+DEL and load from the same save to go again.
Non-abusive way: Just win the regular way; as they retreat, send your troops from Bearn to I'le de France in pursuit of the French army, while the troops you have trained in England move in to I'le de France. Point is that the retreating army will attack into you, while your guys from Bearn reinforce. It's important that I'le de France isn't occupied when the battle in Bearn ends or else the French troops will retreat to somewhere else.
- Regardless of what route you took, it's mainly a cleanup operation after this. With the Abusive way I fought 1 more decisive battle in I'le de France since I cba to chase all around France. It's way more important to siege Paris so you get the ticking war score. Send your entire merc army there and put your other troops in Caux. Be ready to reinforce when you see the doom stack approach again. Either you abuse like in Bearn so the army gets destroyed, or you just cleanse and repeat until Paris is Sieged.
- My battle for Paris was damn clutch and I only won it due to recruiting reinforcements from Caux and Normandie. The war exhaustion from the destroyed army in Bearn helped ALOT.
- After the siege of Paris I spread out my mercs, 2 in each province (you need 3 in Lorraine) and used my remaining regulars to chase around and destroy smaller French armies. It's better to spread out and wait for them to reinforce so the French can't recruit there. I took the North first since it was most convenient. I can't 100% confirm this but I don't actually think you take attrition as long as you don't siege (i.e. keep them moving). You can also merge these to save manpower.
- Sieging Provance's 2 French cores + Barrois is enough to peace out Provance with the return of the French cores and some gold.
- Peace out, disband your heavy ships and pay back your loans. I think this is the fastest I've ever won the HYW. Still had 2k manpower to spare and only 7-8 loans.
PS: France is way more aggressive now (at least in my experience). You should grab Holland, Zeeland, Picardie and Antwerpen off of Burgundy ASAP after the way (Austria is often willing). Holland gives you +15 or something naval force limit. You can also send your merchant from London to Antwerpen to collect after you've done this since you have the most trade power with some light-ships here (you always collect in your home region, so there is no need to have a merchant there). Keep the alliance with Austria, Castille and Portugal until you are 100% sure you can handle France on your own. Since they can declare a war of independence during YOUR wars now, it's even more important to have allies on the mainland.
A Detailed Breakdown of the English situation in 1444 (as of 1.5)
Armies: 37 units in total - 19 around the London area, 9 in Normandy, 9 in Gascony.
Navies: 45 ships split into 2 fleets in London, of which 14 are transport ships.
Diplomacy: 2 diplomats available. Allied with Portugal. Generally Castile, Burgundy and France will rival England from the start; sometimes Austria. At war with France and its vassals.
Miscellaneous: France has 30 troops next to Normandy and its vassals can muster up another 30 within months next to Gascony. Burgundy will likely declare war for Calais if English power is sapped. Scotland is guaranteed by France until 1464 and will likely ally with a combination of Irish minors (save Ulster), Sweden or Novgorod. Portugal is likely to declare war on Morocco within the decade. Irish minors won't ally with anybody outside of the British Isles and will fabricate claims on each other immediately. Sweden is highly likely to declare war on Denmark within 5 years and will do so periodically after that. Novgorod will be pressured severely by Moscow.
A Beginners' Step-by-Step Strategy - Abandoning France and securing the British Isles
This is a beginner's step-by-step strategy to secure England's position in the British Isles by 1470-1490 and provide it with a good base to compete with the Iberians in both North America and Africa. It will assume that the player does not want to win the Hundred Years' War.
1. Pause game immediately. Choose Scotland as a rival. Do not choose any mission. For advisors, choose level 1 advisors with an emphasis on statesmen or ambassadors (diplomatic). Go to military screen and dismiss all leaders except Henry Percy.
2. Open up peace screen with France. Offer up all provinces in France (Gascogne, Labourd, Normandie, Caux, Calais).
3. Open up diplomacy screen with Scotland. Choose covert action - fabricate claims on Ayrshire.
4. Lower military/naval maintenance to zero. Separate out transport ships from the rest of the navy.
5. Move all forces to the two provinces bordering Scotland (Cumbria/Northumberland). Put your transport ships in the channel, and order your troops to leave France.
6. Unpause game. France will accept offer, giving you the End of the Hundred Years' War event. Abandon claims and get +1 stability. You might also get 'Lollard Heresy' where you choose the one that gives only -1 stability and a hit in relations. Now choose the English mission: 'Claim Ayrshire' (it's always Ayrshire).
7. If you are lucky (if not, it's not too late to restart), you won't get the 'Lack of an Heir' trigger of the War of the Roses until you are in a better position (so like a decade into the game). If you don't like risks, take any heir-giving event the game gives you.
8. Look for one ally on the Continent (Castile will attack you eventually if you don't have strong allies). Good candidates are Austria/Hungary/Aragon/Poland/Bohemia/Venice. Remember to Royal Marriage Portugal and your other ally as well.
9. Check Fabricate claims progress. If it reaches 70%, boost naval and land maintenance to full. Check Scotland's alliances to see what Irish minors it hasn't allied with yet. If they are not allied with Scotland, ally+royal marriage with Ulster and Munster. Use one diplomat to improve relations with your Irish allies at all times, Ulster being the priority over Munster.
10. As soon as the claim on Ayrshire has been fabricated, choose new mission: "Conquer Ayrshire".
11. Declare war on Scotland. Move your naval assets to blockade Scotland & friends' ports. Move your forces into Lothian and destroy the Scottish Army.
12. Once besieging Lothian, pause. Combine your army and press 'split siege' four times. Direct the four new stacks to siege Lothian, Ayrshire, Aberdeen and Fife. Split your main force in two and send one to siege Highlands and another to siege Western Isles. Unpause.
(12a. Occasionally Sweden declares independence early and Scotland, if allied, will be at war with Denmark. Even better for you. Blockade their army that is besieging Orkney and spread out over the country. You will still need major forces in Highlands and Western Isles.)
13. At some point, a stack of around 12 units will pop up in either Highlands or Western Isles. Split siege stack for the army that isn't being attacked at the moment and send your free force to attack and destroy the enemy army.
14. Scotland lies prostrate at your feet. Now send all your free forces (i.e. those not needed for sieging) back to England. Disband your armies back to a 20-unit size.
15. Have your free units board transport boats and attack the Irish armies.
16. Destroy the Irish armies and siege their provinces.
17. Even though Scottish forts might fall sooner than those in Ireland, Do not make peace in Scotland before making peace with Irish minors. Wait until Irish minors fall.
18. At the same time, use your free diplomat to butter up Ulster/Munster (but focus on only one). Sending gifts, guaranteeing independence, and offering military access boost relations. The moment it gets to +190, offer vassalization.
19. Deal with Irish minors as is follows. Leinster/Connacht - annex. Ulster/Munster - vassalize.
20. Now deal with Scotland - take Ayrshire, annul treaties, get money, trade power etc.. 'Conquer Ayrshire' mission is then complete. Choose new mission: "Vassalize Scotland".
21. Get back at peace if you are at war with anybody else (e.g. Morocco). Sell Ayrshire back to Scotland, and your Irish conquests to Ulster/Munster. Lower land/naval maintenance back to 0%. You may want to choose a level 2 admin advisor or a level 2 diplomatic advisor.
22. Vassalize Munster/Ulster. If there are any independent Irish minors left, fabricate claims, declare war, annex, sell the land back to your Irish vassals. Be careful if there are two Irish nations left independent - around five 'hostile actions' (e.g. Fabricate Claim discovered, Annexation and Declaration of War) will have France enter into a coalition against you. You don't want that. Scotland coalitioning you by itself is fine. Wait five years if you think you are approaching the 'hostile actions' limit.
23. War of the Roses might pop now with a 16-stack pretender army somewhere in England. Choose the king with better stats, put land maintenance back to 100%, recruit mercenaries if needed, concentrate on destroying the main pretender army. Destroy other rebel armies if needed. War of the Roses should end soon. If you want to do early colonization, have your first ideas group be the 'exploration' ideas.
24. Sometime around late 1450s-1460s (if you do this right), you will get the option to annex your Irish vassals. Munster should have greater priority than Ulster but if there's a big time gap between the two annex your earlier vassal. Do not annex your other vassal until you've finished your second war with Scotland.
25. Do not attack Scotland until at least 12 November 1464. Any earlier than that and France will honor its guarantee to Scotland - no matter the situation, and it will be a pain to get enough warscore to persuade France to let you vassalize Scotland.
26. On March 1464, raise naval/land maintenance back to 100%. Recruit 8 new units of infantry. Come 12 November 1464, declare war on Scotland using Subjugation casus belli. Again, surge into Lothian, destroy main Scottish army (they might be able to retreat to Aberdeen this time so you have to follow them with one stack), station troops in Highlands/Western Isles and defeat the second Highlander Army.
26a. Sometimes Scotland will ally with Sweden and Novgorod. Novgorod is easy because they never honor Scotland's alliance due to the intense pressure from Muscovy. Sweden is a harder nut to crack - after Scotland falls, get fleet basing rights/military access from Denmark and blockade Sweden. Take Aland islands if practical. Wait 10 years or so. Sweden will eventually give in.
27. Scotland is now vassalized. Remember to cancel military access/fleet basing rights from Denmark if you have them and lower land/naval maintenance back to 0%. Don't mind the 'too many diplomatic relations' penalty for now because one of your Irish vassals is about to be annexed soon. Start annexing the other Irish vassal.
28. Once one of your Irish vassals are annexed, start work on improving relations with Scotland.
(28a. If you want to compete in Africa and Asia, you need to start at around the same time as Castile/Portugal does. The best way for this is to attack Morocco. First, check if you have naval range to core the southern Moroccan provinces (e.g. Safi). Then (preferably after you get military level 6), get military access from Portugal and station your 20 units in Ceuta. Take the -2 stability hit and declare on Morocco with no casus belli. Ask Portugal to join you. Take out the Moroccan armies - try to be on the defensive at all times so you won't suffer horrendous losses. Take Safi. Start exploring south immediately - and if by some divine luck nobody has colonized any one of the three Mauritanian provinces, colonize one as soon as possible (remember to put troops on at least half-maintenance on the colonies!). If not, discover Sierra Leone (below Mali) and beeline for naval level 7. Boost your exploration ideas group to give bonuses in colonization range and settler increase, take expansion ideas group and boost for settler increase bonus. Remember to choose 'Discover North America' and 'Discover Caribbean' missions as well. for +25 settler growth bonus (though note that the effects don't compound if you finish one before the effects from the other are finished) After Sierra Leone or the Mauritanian province/s are cored, hop to St. Helena and Fernando Po, and then on to the Cape provinces, and then Mauritius/Diego Garcia - the gateway to colonial Asia is opened and only you can cross it now (at least, until the 1590s).)
29. Annex Scotland as soon as possible. Congrats, you now have a fully-cored British Isles by about 1490 - and what's more, you didn't have to spend bucket loads of precious monarch power to get there. Remember to use your free diplomatic relations slot to find more continental allies!
There are several Trade Nodes that England (and later Great Britain) has an interest in:
London: England's home trade node, from which England automatically collects money. However, the player should be wary of Continental competition siphoning off London's incomes across the channel to Antwerpen.
Bordeaux: An important trade node which feeds into London. It draws incomes from Spain, the Caribbean and Chesapeake Bay. Using trade fleets to draw income to London is a viable option, as England/Britain often lacks the provinces to build up trade power here otherwise. The main competition will be France.
Chesapeake Bay: This trade node, which feeds directly into London, covers a vast chunk of North American territory. English/British colonial dominance there should provide trade power to feed to London quite easily. Depending on the scenario loaded or game progress, competition can come from a range of European nations.
North Sea: The North Sea trade node feeds into London. Maintaining trade power here can be difficult without provinces, as trade fleets operating here often sail into the North Sea zone and incur attrition. The primary competition here comes from Scandinavians and Scotland.
General tips: Trade buildings will prove vital in areas with provinces, such as London and Chesapeake Bay. In areas where England doesn't have provinces, often in Bordeaux and the North Sea, trade fleets can be used offensively to steer trade to London. Trade fleets can also be used offensively to steer trade away from England's rivals or enemies. Securing bases, either from allies or conquest, around the world can greatly improve England's influence on the game. The ability to operate on any sea in the world from an early stage is very useful, especially in the Mediterranean Sea where the player may threaten the trade of powerful players like Spain, Italy and the Ottoman Empire.
War and diplomacy
Naval: England's navy is her primary sword and shield. Ships allow England to steer trade, transport troops around the globe, and blockade entire countries. A strong navy makes winning Colonial Wars easy, as England is able to occupy the desired enemy provinces and allow warscore to gradually tick up in the player's favor while the enemy's army remains locked in Europe.
Organically, England has a naval forcelimit of 45 in 1444 and with some expansion this goes up to 100-130 in 1570s. Boosts to the Naval Ideas group can increase your forcelimit by 25%. Level 3, 5 and 6 naval buildings can increase the total forcelimit further.
England must always maintain a first rate navy if it is to survive in Europe. In the early game it is possible to skimp on Heavy Ships because they cost so much to maintain and build, but this ceases to be an option by the 1550s as the giants of Spain, Portugal + colonial nations (who are usually allied with each other) begin to field navies of more than 200 ships in total - and don't think they won't send everything they have to destroy you!
However, a balance between Heavy and Light ships is also required because trade ships draw in the money needed for England to fuel its war machine. A decent number of transport ships (20 is a good enough number) must also be accounted for to enable England to deploy forces overseas. If England is expecting to conquer India a fleet of 10 Heavies is recommended to take on the fleet of Vijayanagar.
Given the huge investment required for England to rebuild its navy, the player can ill afford to be cavalier with how he uses his ships. Monitoring naval attrition is a tedious task but it is one that must be done - as a tip, initially England's supply ship range stretch from Skagerrak (above Copenhagen) to the east to the Western Coast of Ireland to the west; from Iceland in the north to the coast of Vizcaya in the south.
If you have to blockade outside of your supply range, consider setting your ships on patrol from a friendly naval base to the blockading zone (for example, if I want to blockade Sjaelland in Denmark I might think of getting fleet basing rights from Sweden, or I might militarily occupy some nearby province first and then set several alternating patrols from said province's port to Oresund for blockade).
Fleet basing rights also extend supply range and it might be worth it to get a diplomatic relations hit for the time being in order to utilize them.
In patch 1.5, naval battles have been made more decisive and generally end with the loser losing his entire fleet to enemy action. Given how critical England's navy is to its security, it is probably the wiser idea to play extremely conservatively in Europe from 1570s onwards, being very cautious about war with naval competitors (Spain + Portugal, even France if you're overstretched), lowering the number of Light Ships in your fleet and stationing the bulk of your force in the British Isles.
Land: The English Army starts with a 37-unit forcelimit in 1444 and it will struggle, even with its myriad conquests in Ireland, Scotland and the far overseas, to raise that - organically, Great Britain in the 1580s will still only receive 45-unit forcelimits - while AI France in the same period is capable of generating 30-unit stacks. English ideas give a +10% to discipline but that will not be enough to overcome this fundamental numerical disparity. Boosts to the Offensive and Quantity idea group will increase this forcelimit.
Acquiring decent manpower in EU4 with England does not seem to be overly difficult and building/funding a decent army is completely feasible for the country. The English player should still rely on quality, not quantity, as its military advantage, fielding a good mix of artillery, infantry and cavalry and supplemented by mercenaries whenever necessary. Generals are a must.
All the same, the best use of England's Army comes from deploying it in strategically useful areas in conjunction with the navy - blocking the bulk of enemy forces with fleets while conducting amphibious descents onto enemy territory and achieving local superiority in numbers.
Against non-Western forces England can perform reasonably well, though without any extra buffs an English army of 10 units will still lose to 40-plus Indian stacks in 1600s, which a large Vijayanagar is fully capable of fielding.
Diplomacy: England by itself is weaker than France or Castile and this disparity will generally grow as you enter the 1500s. As such, they will declare war on you if you are isolated, Castile especially with its 'Colonialism' casus belli. If England goes Protestant, you will also have to contend with a whole host of Catholic nations bent on bringing you back under Rome. While you may be able to fight them by yourself, the better move is to deter hostile countries from attacking you. As such, you need allies.
At the early game England will be allied with Portugal and will have the option of allying with various mid-sized European powers such as Hungary, Austria, Aragon, Venice, etc. Castile, France, Burgundy and sometimes Austria will see fit to rival you. Before the British Isles are unified, England should seek to ally with only one more continental power (bringing the number of its continental allies to two, including Portugal) because this gives you some leeway to vassalize the Irish minors and Scotland.
Central European countries make the best allies because you share few competing interests with them, although you will be dragged into a lot of wars in Germany. Aragon is good as a counterbalance to Castile but you risk losing them once ‘the Iberian wedding’ occurs, which it probably will. Sweden will drag you into numerous battles with Denmark if it is independent in time at all and Venice will be at war with the Ottomans all the time. Obviously just because you're an ally doesn't mean you have to help in any way, however...
Once the British Isles are unified in the early 1500s or thereabout, you get a wider choice of allies although by this time you might also get new rivals, such as Sweden (occasionally), and Austria and Portugal if you are playing a colonial game. Generally, however, don't ally with people you might want to fight later - this applies most clearly to Denmark, which through Norway holds Orkney and the Shetlands. The Reformation will change the face of Europe diplomatically and so it might be worth it to get an ally that is likely going to share your religion (i.e. Northern Europe). Good new allies in this period are Denmark (which is an ideal ally after you take Orkney), Sweden, Poland, or the Hansa.
In the middle-to-late game France might de-list you as a rival, and they might even seek an alliance with you against Spain. It is generally not a good idea to further aggrandize France, however.
Be wary of 'alliance pairs' that have bad blood between each other and will force you to choose when they go to war. Examples include Denmark-Sweden, Denmark-Hansa, France-Portugal, Venice-Austria and Bohemia-Austria-Hungary-Poland, all with each other.
The Hundred Years' War:
England starts the game with a very big opportunity but most people (some might say wisely) avoid it. The Hundred Years' War is an event that historically started in 1337 between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France after King Edward III claimed that he was the rightful King of France (The English flag at the time was a combination of English and French Standards).
To get the required 84% warscore for a union you need to be a little bit lucky (like avoiding things like Burgundy declaring war on you or The War of the Roses Event happening). A general rule in EU4 is to always try to get someone else to do the struggling for you (it is even possible to use vassals given power for the purpose). In this scenario, Burgundy and Castile are good choices, though the former may not be possible.
The 1.4 patch makes the whole thing trickier, but it is still possible to do it; brilliant success is still achievable.
This is a simple step by step guide as to how to win the Hundred Years' War with the required 84% warscore:
Before you unfreeze:
- Ally or Royal Marriage Castille if they're friendly. If you can't do this with Austria instead (it would probably work with others like Aragon because what you're looking for is to open up another battlefield for France.
- Send your traders to protect trade in Bordeaux.
- Send your cogs immediately pick up the Normandy army, drop them off in England and then go to pick up the army in Gascogne. Conversely, you could get military access in Brittany and Navarra and your armies could seek refuge there.
- Disband your heavy ships as the French navy doesn't really pose a giant threat and 12 carracks cost 6g a month in maintenance.
- If available, pick advisors with morale and - revolt risk if lv 1. Don't pick others yet.
- If you feel it is necessary, build a few cogs.
- Sometimes you're the papal controller and sometimes you're not, so depending on how many generals you can keep, disband the others (perhaps, in order of preference, 1st - Plantagenet 2nd - Neville 3rd - other guy; shock generals are useful)
Then, after unpausing:
- If you have 3-4 thousand French troops sieging a province and the French don't have a sizable force nearby then load up you cogs and drop an army on them. Then, if you can, scorch the territory and get back to England as soon as possible.
- Keep doing what you can to Ally or Royal Marriage Aragon/Austria/Castile/Portugal. The more royal marriages you have, the higher the chance of getting an Heir and avoiding the War of the Roses. The more big allies the more you can lower the chance of Burgundy declaring war on you.
- Fabricate a claim on one of the Irish states.
- When the claim is complete, wait until France has occupied your French holdings and declare on them (without calling in your allies because they'll refuse) and besiege them.
- Then, individually call in your allies and they'll accept (By waiting for France to finish capturing your provinces they'll be more likely to attack your allies on their turf and a battle on the Iberian peninsula is less favorable to big French armies than on French territory due to attrition and the territory bonus).
- When France and its allies are at full strength these hit and run attacks and using your allies should be the main strategy (plus, your allies are fairly weak after this war ends therefore juicy targets or just smaller potential threats).
- When they're around half their former strength, set up an army in Bearn, an army in Labourd and have an army in cogs off the coast of Labourd. Do this so France attacks you in the mountains. They would usually like to attack the army in Labourd but when they go to attack that army, dock your cogs there and they'll attack the mountains instead. Wait until after they hit the mountain army before you move your other 2 armies in. Do this until their army is at a low strength.
- At low strength you can start moving your armies around the French plains and start mopping up the remaining French forces.
- Next, carpet siege ALL FRENCH/ALLIED OCCUPIED PROVINCES (this is because they can recruit troops from French occupied English territory). It doesn't matter if the force is too small to win the siege because even if you have a near destroyed unit of 50 infantry in a province, they can't recruit troops there.
- Force union on France when you have necessary war score.
- If you ever occupy Provence, force them to return Maine and Anjou to France. This makes the France you PU larger, and decrease the time needed to bring France relationship to positive (and therefore reduces the likelihood of the PU breaking because your king dies).
- Let a few years go by so England and France can recover a bit (both militarily and diplomatically as England must have good relations and prestige to maintain the union with France).
- Invading Burgundy next to take the provinces that form Flanders or the Netherlands, as they are quite rich, is a good next step. This is a fairly straightforward war with combined French/English military might and when it's done, you have reduced your closest rival and constant annoyance Burgundy from a potential superpower to a potential target for nearby nations looking to expand. After the war release Netherlands (or, more likely, Flanders as the cost of the provinces that constitute the Netherlands is far too much to ask for in one war) as a vassal to get even stronger.
- Annex or vassalise some of your close neighbours and remember to keep relations as high as possible with France.
Diplomacy and France
- It's important to remember that France might keep her hostile attitude towards you for decades after you enforced the union. This will change with time but you cannot count on it to keep France from declaring war on you for independence.
- You will, most likely, have to keep a diplomat at Paris to keep relations as high as possible.
- Another important factor is, while growing stronger together, nonetheless, you must grow stronger than France to avoid the relations' penalty of relative power to liege (which also increases the probability of France breaking the union by herself).
- France can take the aggressive expansion penalty for many of your conquered provinces if you give them to the French, try to aim for French cores due to you being able to ask for them in a peace deal. After France changes her attitude from Hostile to Vassal she will rarely create claims anymore. With the vassal attitude France occupies provinces in the name of England and not herself (requires verification), be wary of this (for obvious reasons) and keeping a base tax larger than France at all possible times. You can sell (or give away) provinces to the French, however they won't accept more than two at the time with 0% overextension and won't care for provinces inside the empire if the nation occupying the Imperial Crown is anywhere near strong.
- Whether the player decides to delve into the depths of the HRE, trade or the new world, it´s extremely important to keep in mind that France will require around 250 dpl points and eleven to fifteen years (depending on how many provinces the country has) to complete the integration process.
- After you annex France you can break the rule of avoiding coalitions (only in the worst case scenario you should try this), but you can break it.
Holy Roman Empire
- In order to become the Emperor, the player would need to have the majority of electors on their side, whilst at the same time having a male ruler.
- The player could find the closest electors and vassalize them. The player could then max out their relations with the elector if taking this route.
- It is probable that the player has already control of most if not all of the Netherlands by this point in time, you can aim for the vassalization of the four electors in the Rhineland giving you an absolute majority. These are The Palatinate, Mainz, Cologne and Trier, it is rare that all of them survive by the time you can directly reach them but it's even rarer that thee of them had been annexed. Keep also in mind that not all electors are secular so it's impossible to diplo-vasslize more than half of them.
- The next step is to wait until the current emperor dies, whereupon you will be Holy Roman Emperor.
- From the first point in this guide until now it is possible to be an ally of Austria, it is possible to expand into the Empire without antagonizing it.
- The Rhineland is richer than Swabia and Lombardy, add the fact that is probable that the player controls the low countries in this phase of the game and you have a clear goal in mind.
- To advance into the Italian Peninsula Savoy must be destroyed, there isn't a way around this most of the time, so don't worry, it'll have to come sooner or later.
- Try to ally with Poland, Lithuania or both (bonus if they are the same country).
- One way is to wait until the Ottomans take Corfu and Naxos from Venice then move the navy into the Mediterranean and destroy their navy. After that, occupied Corfu and Naxos will hopefully cause the Ottomans to want to send big armies to retake both islands at which point you lock both armies on the islands. Even with a fairly small navy, you can take aside large numbers of troops; the investment is worth it. Another similar way is to block the crossing between the two halves of the country, in Asia and Europe, and take half at a time forcing any reinforcements to travel all the way around the Black Sea and encounter the Poles or Lithuanians if they have a land route there at all.
- When you've occupied most/all of their land, then take the Byzantium provinces and release it as a vassal.
Most of your dpl points will be spent on France, peace deals in the continent and trade buildings. You might ask, how can I expand with this hindrances against the Iberians?
- Make Portugal do the job, ask for fleet basing rights and explore through their islands. Research only the first two ideas of the exploration group and creep slowly along the progress bar. Most of the time they center in the Caribbean and forget about North America completely or enough for you to gain the upper hand in Chesapeake Bay for the rest of the game. You can then decide the next course of action, some players like to use fleets to redirect the income flux towards them whereas some like a good ol' fashioned war. Either way, once you have consolidated your position in the continent they already lost the European theatre should a war start (but never grow confident).
- Crush them in the continent, it is possible for England with France already integrated to grind through all of the three Iberian nations at the same time but be careful with the war going out of your hands. Protect your trade fleet with your life, considerable damage can be an economic catastrophe faster than you can start considering reloading your game. After the war demand the provinces that give your the greatest possible range into the Atlantic, such as Algarve, Andalucía, Cádiz, Alentejo or maybe even some African provinces previously owned by Portugal, Castille, Aragon or Spain.
- After Administrative Tech 10 is reached it is possible to form Great Britain. It is easy to forget that this comes with the added benefit of gaining a claim in Orkney. As most of the wars now and onwards in Europe, it in winnable in the offensive; you can destroy the nation that currently owns this province. Occupy Iceland and ask for it in the peace deal. Congratulations, you can hop now to Greenland and then to Canada.
- America isn't satisfying (or satisfying enough) for you? Go for the historical jewel of the Empire! If you don't have a colonial empire nor the colonial range to back you up you can still try it. How? bisecting the Ottomans at the Suez isthmus. Ask for military access through an Italian nation, move most of your army there and organize an hybrid assault to the Ottoman Balkans, when their troops start crossing you start retreating your own and putting them back into either Italy or directly into Dumyat or Gaza. Block the sea of Marmara at the time when most of their army is in the European half of the empire and then just siege at leisurely pace (don't forget to chase and destroy the 1k regiments before they can consolidate into something worthy of your attention!).
Alternative Strategy: Peace & Progress in France (1444)
Enhancing your position in France
It may appeal to you to in fact strengthen England's position in France without running the risk and turmoil of war with France, which often leaves England in a sorry state. This is quite costly and may result in some instability across England.
If you do wish to do retain England's French possessions by this method, it is advised that you:
- Immediately end war with France by taking out a rather large number of loans to pay France with, ending the war with no land loss.
- Form an alliance with Austria if possible, as Austria may give England a favorable peace deal with Burgundy, should it end up at war with them (sometimes this is the case - if so, Austria will often return Picardie to England).
It is important to act fast in securing England's territories in France. Its southern possessions are very lucrative and a key geographical region, which may be safely secured and enriched by extending England's influence over Navarra. This may be done by:
- Quickly forming an alliance with Navarra
- Forming a royal marriage with them
- Improving relations with them
- Vassalising them as soon as possible
Castile are also quick in enhancing relations with Navarra, which is why an alliance with Aragon and a pledge to protect Navarra may be advised. Retaining an alliance here with Portugal is also helpful. This can and may drag England into war with Castile however, so if you do not wish to do so, then the best method of taking Navarra is through speedy diplomacy or war. Should the Navarran throne come to be empty with no heir, claiming the throne will be vital to secure it from a PU or inheritance with another country. This can later lead to an expansion into Aragon, should you wish to do so; it useful to note that Castile will want Navarra, though, sooner or later.
The north of England's French territories are full of possibilities if acted upon relatively quickly. War between France and Provence is inevitable, and ultimately enables France to extend its position in Brittany. The provinces in this region (Maine and Anjou) are more valuable than the English possessions in Normandy or Gascony, which can, again, be beneficial. They also hold a key geographic position which effectively blocks Brittany from France and, in effect, secures it for England. War with Provence can be very costly and dangerous, and following the Hundred Years' War, England will have a treaty with Provence which can postpone or even prevent conquest all together. Where possible:
- Fabricate a claim on the province of Maine
- Transport 8 troops from mainland England (Essex, most likely) to Normandy to join with the 8 thousand sized Norman army already present. Ensure that this army is larger than the Provencal troops located in its French possessions (it may also be advised to check the number of troops which Provence has elsewhere, and how many of her allies and subjects (e.g. Lorraine) can reach English land by an overland route)
- Declare war on Provence
- Move the English navy to the Cote D'Argent (it may be helpful to patrol the Bay of Biscay, too)
- Gain enough warscore to take the provinces of Anjou and Maine (you may need to occupy the province of Provence in southern France to end the war)
It is suggested that you rest England after doing this, as it may suffer instability. Also, England's technology position will slip in the process, so gaining more points might be wise. When England has recovered from the war, Brittany is an easy target to expand into. It's likely that France will avoid war with England as long as you do not provoke them too much.
Frontiers & France
Aragon, as an ally, is effective in opening up a new front in any French wars and helping secure Navarra. However, they are extremely weak and susceptible to being invaded by Castile. Eventually, Aragon will end up isolated - perhaps forming an alliance with Portugal (who are a relatively unimportant ally of England for the most part). In claiming Pirino and Aragón, it is possible to open up a whole new frontier between Castile and France. Aragon can provide England with a vast amount of manpower which can help in struggles in France and Iberia. Also, it is possible to block Castile's efforts in forming Spain by invading Aragon, and, it can also provide some useful port provinces in the Mediterranean, which can allow colonization of Africa and the Americas to flourish, and which can also help sustain war in northern Italy and all of France.
Another easy target is Burgundy. Austria and Burgundy will, sooner or later, end up in a state of war (unless Austria inherits Burgundy). This can not only allow England to recover Picardie, but it may also allow England to build up its northern French coastline, and, in doing so, open up new economic opportunities. It is possible to fabricate a claim on literally ALL of coastal Burgundy (Dutch Burgundy). This coast includes Antwerpen, a trade center.
It is very easy, then, to claim Vlaanderen, Ghent and Antwerpen and then the Anglo-Norman coast furthermore. To do this, it is crucial that as England you send troops into Burgundy at the right time. Alone, Burgundy can easily defeat England and quickly take Calais and Normandy, however, Austria is stronger than Burgundy. In this war, France may also intervene which can allow English troops to quickly occupy much of western Burgundy. This war DOES NOT always occur, but it can (again) strength England's economy and manpower - while at the same time, it can also drain England's stability and technological progress.
When you DO wish to invade France and feel confidant in your power as opposed to France and her allies, it is very easy to take a whole chunk of France without having any problems in England. When you start fighting with the French, it is very wise if you release Guyenne as a vassal. Then, recover her cores and annex her diplomatically. This will compliment your territories in Aragon (if you do invade), which results in a secure English bloc spanning from Aquitaine into Iberia and which may ease war with Castile or France.
This section imparts some hints for Multiplayer gaming that may not apply to Singleplayer experiences.
Trade: A player in Scandinavia will soon unite the peninsula and compete in the North Sea trade node, and a player in France may be more likely to abandon the prospect of a competitive battle fleet altogether and spam trade ships, making Bordeaux difficult to steer trade from. In addition, be wary of economic warfare in London, with enemies officially at peace with England making use of their fleets to pull London's trade onto the Continent. Dutch and German players are likely perpetrators of this type of warfare. Similarly, England may use its own navy to wage economic warfare on enemy trade nodes by drawing trade into England's own nodes.
Naval wars: Be wary of leaving England undefended, as players will seize on this opportunity with more dangerous results than the AI can cause. A united Scandinavia or Dutch Republic can field a worthy number of ships if the player is not careful. Keep on top of naval building production and navy sizes. The player can freely view enemy navy sizes by the ledger in-game. Make use of this to track the people snapping at England's heels and balance England's fleet accordingly; more big ships means more naval supremacy at war, but too few trade ships means economic ruin at the hands of Dutch and Scandinavian trade fleets.
England's value in European wars cannot be understated; it is poised as the knife at the back of Spain and France, the one player who can (or should) be the difference between having naval mobility and having the player's fleets watch the war from behind a Royal Navy blockade. The player, by mid-game, should have the ability to strike anywhere in the world, or at least anywhere coastal. Where France, Spain or Italy all have land borders that necessitate keeping imposing armies at home, England has only the sea, and maybe some irrelevant minors. If England's home fleet can blockade or sink the player's enemy's transports and big ships, it is then free to use its entire land army to wage war overseas but for rebels.
Land Wars: Whether the player adopts England's historical approach of counter-hegemonic coalition creation or picking a horse to back from the start, remember the continental heavyweights are even less touchable than their AI versions, as they handle their armies far more competently. The British Army is a glorified marine corps, and unless England is tacked onto someone else, it shouldn't be waging grand land wars in Europe. However, using England's army in unison with England's navy to appear in unexpected places will make the player an unpredictable and dangerous foe, preventing the player's enemy from deploying their entire might to whatever land front they're engaged in. Nations like the Ottoman Empire, whose territory can be cut in two by blockading the Sea of Marmara, have good reason to be fearful of English involvement against them.
Diplomacy: As the nation with the premiere navy in Europe, England's friendship will be an asset to almost everyone. While nations like Austria, France, the Teutonic Order, etc. end up natural enemies of each other over control of the Holy Roman Empire and central Europe, England can remain relatively rival-free by expanding colonially. England's most likely sources of friction will be in trade (often with the Dutch or Scandinavians) or colonially (with anyone from Portugal and Spain to the French depending on where the players go), both of which leave England with the upper hand if the player keeps its navy modern, large and active.
Non-European players (usually found in India or China) will tend to attempt to find a European friend early on and offer them incentives to take a province nearby, enabling their Westernization. Unless the player's game rules ban this or the player is sure no other players will take them up on the offer, jumping into this early will set England up nicely in Asia, netting it a province for the East India Trade Company decision.