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- +33% Embargo efficiency
- +20% Morale of navies
- +10% Heavy ship combat ability
- +0.25 Yearly navy tradition
- +15% National tax modifier
- +1 Diplomatic relations
- +10% Trade efficiency
- -1 National unrest
- +10% Global tariffs
- +5% Discipline
- +5% Ship durability
- +1 Free leader(s) without upkeep
England is one of the strongest countries at EU4's start point of (1444) and can potentially form Great Britain. If England does not exist at any point it can be formed by any nation with English culture. The first English king in the game is Henry VI Lancaster (0/0/0).
One of England's main strategic advantages is its strong natural borders providing a good barrier to invasion. It is possible to then strengthen these borders dramatically in a number of relatively cheap ways, meaning England can still involve itself in the continent from a position of safety or choose to isolate itself and spread its influence overseas. The country is also in a strong economic position able to control and eventually dominate trade from the Baltic, Africa and North America.
- 1 Missions
- 2 Events
- 3 Decisions
- 4 Reformation
- 5 Strategy
- 5.1 Removal of the Hundred Years War
- 5.2 Strategy for games after patch 1.12
- 5.3 A Detailed Breakdown of the English situation in 1444
- 5.4 A Beginners' Step-by-Step Strategy - Abandoning France and securing the British Isles
- 5.5 Fast colonization early strategy
- 5.6 Trade
- 5.7 War and diplomacy
- 5.8 Alternative strategy
- 5.9 Alternative Strategy: Peace & Progress in France (1444)
- 5.10 Multiplayer considerations
- Main article: English missions
England's missions are mainly focused around conquering the British Isles, colonizing the Americas and Australia, conquering India and dominating overseas trade.
- 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. After this point, Lollard heretic rebels may appear, increasing local autonomy in provinces they occupy and causing massively reduced papal influence if they win.
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:
- 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 both the malus and the threat of the War of the Roses will disappear for the rest of the game.
- The 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.
- In line with house chosen, a new king will ascend to the throne of England. 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 of 50 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
By uniting our political development domestically and extending our influence beyond our borders we will be able to reinforce our position in world affairs and transform into one of the foremost European powers, the British Empire.
Alternatively, if England has Scotland as a vassal or junior union partner, they can form Great Britain diplomatically. This is how it happened historically (with a PU).
By uniting our political development domestically and extending our influence beyond our borders we will be able to reinforce our position in world affairs and transform into one of the foremost European powers, the British Empire.
Besides, this, England also has several unique decisions, most of which are shared with Great Britain:
Being an island nation we are always going to be dependent on the sea for trade. So we must promote the merchant marine to ensure our trade prospers.
Britannia rule the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
In order to effectively tax things we need to regulate them. If we were to designate Calais as the sole point of import for the wool staple we would improve our tax revenues dramatically.
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 of patch 1.12, England no longer starts at war with France allowing other opportunities before trying to take down France such as invading Burgundy, Brittany, Scotland, or Ireland.
Removal of the Hundred Years War
From patch 1.12, England no longer starts at war with France, making the "Hundred Years War" non-existent in EU IV, this allows England to expand elsewhere before taking on France. Also, all French vassals have been removed, making France weaker, however, this frees up diplomatic relation slots for potential French allies, including Aragon.
Patch 1.12 is also the easiest patch to try and achieve "One night in Paris" as England can fabricate a claim directly on the French capital.
Strategy for games after patch 1.12
Starting situation and first steps
England starts with an extremely large amount of troops, the only larger army in Europe being Austria. France might seem a large threat, and they will be, but in terms of navy they have few ports and are almost landlocked thanks to the English provinces in Normandy and Gascogne, Brittany, and Provence. So they won't threaten you on the waves for a while, yet they have a strong army and almost endless reserves of manpower. To the north, on the British Isles, lies Scotland, and to the west across rhe Irish Sea are the ever-fighting Irish OPMs Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Tyrone. Bordering England in Europe are Provence and Brittany in the west, Navarra in the south by Gascogne, Burgundy and its vassals by Calais and the Low Countries, and France.
Rival Scotland, France and Burgundy. Don't accept any alliance offers from Irish minors (usually Leinster), you will invade them later anyways. Ally Austria, they will help you defeating France later on. As you start without an heir, the almost inevitable War of the Roses will be on you soon. This can be quite easily managed though. When you have crushed the rebel forces, you could fabricate a claim on Brittany (Armor and Finistere) and invade. This will increase your presence in Europe while also preventing easy French expansion. Do the same for Provence and Navarra (if Navarra hasn't got any powerful allies such as Aragon or France, Provence will often go on their own). If you do this right, you can become a significant power on the European coast. Now you have two options: continuing into Europe or staying on the islands to build up strength for colonizing. Definitely try to take down Scotland when the French guarantee is over. Also try to landlock France if possible, to make them less of a threat when colonizing. If winning decisively against France, also retake Armagnac, an English core inland from Gascogne. Things might change rapidly in the early game, Austria might lose the Imperial Throne, France might blob early, Castile might fail in gaining the PU over Aragon, anything can happen. But if you have followed the steps above, you shouldn't be defeated in the first place.
Winning the Hundred Years War - prior to patch 1.12 (patch 1.11 and before)
Credit to /u/Dwighty1.
Link to Reddit thread for reference.
It's actually a lot easier than last patch and more "newb" friendly than ever; you just need to know what to look for.
I've been thinking of making a wiki-guide, but I might as well write this here first. Also, practice makes perfect :) I'd suggest doing it without Ironman first and saving at key points just so you know how to do it. After that you won't fail it again.
There are a lot of variations to this since it drags on a few years longer than usual. I have won it while they called in Castile, Hungary, Tuscany and Savoy. Once I they called i Aragon, in which case I restarted since that means attrition for your people in Prineo and no fleet basing rights from them.
Early game preparations; before you unpause
- Advisors; either disc or morale as military. +2 is perfect, +3 and +1 is fine, but not optimal. I'd restart if I didn't get either. Get the +2 diplo rep and -3 unrest ones (I think those are hard-coded; I always start with them).
- Plantagenet in charge of the army in Gascogne. Use shift and send him to Bearn **via** Armagnac. Sometimes you lose this battle; just restart.
- Delete Henry Percy. You won't need him (hopefully). Anyways you need that +1 mil point more.
- Set National Focus to Military.
- Send lightships to protect trade in English channel, separate your heavy ships from your transports; heavy ships to the zone outside Gascogne and your transports to Normandy. Take those 2 guys in London with you to Normandy.
- Send the 17 guys from Essex down to Wessex for easy pickup.
- Military access from Navarra and Aragon.
- Build as many light ships as you can afford. This will me grouping up with your heavy ships outside Gascogne.
Early maneuvers and first encounter
- Let the game tick until November 23 that's when your transports arrive in Normandy. Take all 10 and send the transports to the zone outside Gascogne. Land those 10 in Navarra. I personally send 2 horses from these guys to Bearn and the rest to Prineo.
- Transports back to Wessex to pick up 14 new guys and land them in Navarra. Split them up accordingly between Prineo and Navarra so that you don't take attrition. Make sure Richard Neville is in charge of the army in Navarra since France might attack you there.
- Transports back to pick up the last 3 guys on the English mainland.
- Highly optimal, but I'd suggest using control keys to your armies. Makes it easier to divide them again later on. CTRL+1,23, etc. 1= Richard Plantagenet in Bearn, 2=Richard Neville in Navarra, 3=Army in Prineo.
- Then you wait until France engages either in Bearn or Navarra. Both are hills now so you should be fine. If you lose this battle, just restart. This doesn't happen often, but if they call in allies early you might face close to 100 enemy dudes.
- After the initial skirmish, you divide up your troops again. I suggest separating your infantry from cavalry and merging **only infantry**. Recruit what you lack in mercenaries, either from mainland or from Labourd/Bearn.
Long term goals and overall strategy
Too many variations to be really specific, and the steps might change depending on your game. I'll try to give you a few pointers. Your goal here is to white-peace or concede defeat if necessary with Frances allies so it's just France + vassals left.
- Get fleet basing rights from Aragon and send your heavy ships + newly created light ships + transports to blockade Provence, Languedoc and whoever else minor states that France has allies (usually Tuscany). Use detach blockade. If you can 100% block the Languedoc-zone, that's a bonus. Focus on its allies first. Blockading ports increases war exhaustion.
- Get your 3 stacks safely to Dauphine, Cuneo and Provence. Plantagenet in Provence, Richard Neville in Dauphine and the leaderless stack in Cuneo. This involves either getting access from Savoy or if they are at war with you (which might happen) you siege 1 province and get them out of the war. Remember to get forced military access if you end up in a war with them. Once Provence is sieged you peace them out.
- The goal of the above point is twofold: you siege one of Frances provinces which helps with war exhaustion AND you open up the way for them to walk their massive stack over to Portugal and start sieging them. France should have been at zero manpower for a while now and this really is the nail in the coffin.
- Once you remove Frances allies they should have about 20-25 dudes left and unable to reinforce them, while you should sit comfortably at 15-20k. This means that if you don't win the first battle, you will win the second. This is also where you start recruiting mercenaries. Divide your siege-army manually (2 infantry pr. province except Normandy, Paris and Toulouse which needs 3). Have a stack of 10-15 running around and destroying French stacks.
Congrats you have now won the war. If you were smart you would have increased relations with Castile or Aragon (choose 1) and Austria so that you don't go into the negatives with them once you get the PU over France. They are important allies and makes keeping the PU over France so much easier. Important that they don't join a coalition against you.
Personally I'd focus expansion on getting provinces from Burgundy and making Provence return cores to France.
Becoming more powerful within a few years is pretty easy. Start by allying Austria and Castile right away and then fabricate claims on Brittany and Provence, then ally Scotland. Dow Brittany and Provence right away together with Austria and Castile and vassalize both, hiring a diplomatic advisor is recommended as you need the points in order to vassalize both. Then with your new vassals annex Ireland, or vassalize Connacht and feed it the rest of the island. With this strategy you also have diplomatic leverage against France and two powerful allies in Austria and Castile. If Austria gets the Burgundian inheritance then France pretty much ceases to be a threat and you can start dismantling it.
A Detailed Breakdown of the English situation in 1444
Armies: 35 units in total - 19 around the London area, 9 in Normandy, 9 in Gascony.
Navies: 47 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.
Miscellaneous: France has 28 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 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 1.11.
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!
Fast colonization early strategy
You can choose strategy of abandoning your French possessions and start early colonization. In that case, immediately evacuate your forces from Normandy to home, move your Labourd forces to Navarra/Castile/Aragon to save them from destroying before you are able to evacuate them as well and start to fabricate claim on Scotland (best on some province from which you can later claim Norwegian Orkneys). Do not end the War with France before you start a war with Scotland. Otherwise France will be dragged into the war with you again due to independence guarantee, and then it will become much more complicated to earn enough war score. You can start fabricate claim also on Scotland's Irish ally. Once in war with Scotland, peace France with giving up as few provinces as possible (you can sell out the rest later, e.g. Labourd to Navarra or to some of French vassals and Calais to Burgundy - this will strengthen a bit France's enemies or France will have to spend more diplo power to annex its vassal. Scotland often support Sweden's independence and thus goes into war with Denmark/Norway very early starting with siege of Orkney. In this case you can easily block this army by your fleet and destroy the rest of land forces which popup somewhere in Scotland. Defeating Irish minor is easy. Once you siege almost whole Scotland+Irish minor (usually not required the whole Scotland), you should have enough war score to take the Irish minor, one Scottish province and vassalize the rest of Scotland. This will probably result in a coalition against you (some Irish minor, Denmark and some smaller German coastal states) but you can concern it unimportant as your homeland is secured by your strong navy and no country will be able to compete you at sea for many years. If Burgundy declared a war on you already, let them siege Calais and give it up. If not, just sell it to them if possible. Claim Orkney (and possibly Irish minor which is in coalition against you together with Denmark) and start war. Siege all Norwegian Isles and destroy Danish and Norwegian fleets. If you don't have enough war score, just siege Gotland, Bornholm and another Danish isles while blocking its land forces to enter it. Better to avoid of land battles unless you can highly outnumber the enemy. Get some isles from Norway in the peace treaty (Iceland, Faroe, Shetlands) but not Orkney as you will need its claim for starting another war. If you have enough war score and want to spend some diplo power, you can also force Denmark to return some provinces to Sweden (5 possible provinces with Swedish cores already). In next similar war/wars you can take rest of Norwegian isles plus Bergenshus (the only trade-important province in North Sea trade node). You can ally Sweden (probably already independent) and use it in next wars with Denmark - unless Denmark has strong land allies (Poland, Muscovy, etc.). You can try to help to recover Sweden's former fame and make them a stronger mainland ally but sooner or later Sweden will have to deal with stronger enemies Muscovy/Russia or Poland/Commonwealth dragging you into their land wars. Since now you can concentrate on colonization of Greenland or Bermuda or also claim and take some other Norwegian mainland North Sea provinces to strengthen your trade position here even more. If you choose Exploration and Expansion, try to save also as much money as possible because the oncoming spread of Protestantism will be probably expensive for you. Other good idea groups are Religious (always helpful also for country conquering overseas nations), Quality/Offensive/Defensive to improve your land forces and Trade to increase your income. You should be able to dominate the seas also without Naval or Maritime idea groups if you have enough income to maintain large heavy fleet.
There are several Trade Nodes that England (and later Great Britain) has an interest in:
English Channel: England's home trade node, from which England automatically collects money. It draws trade from Champagne, Lübeck, North Sea, Chesapeake Bay, and Ivory Coast. It has no outgoing connections. Continental competitors include Burgundy, France, and Utrecht, which will generate competing trade power from continental centers of trade and light ships. Hansa and Netherlands may also compete for trade in the node after 1500.
Bordeaux: France's default trade node although not its home trade node. From patch 1.12, it is no longer an end trade node.
Chesapeake Bay: This trade node, which feeds directly into English Channel, 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.
Ivory Coast: This node spans all of the coat (not the interior) of western sub-Saharan Africa, and is the collection point for trade from South America, coastal Africa, and Asia. It feeds into English Channel, and various other Western European nodes. Ivory Coast becomes increasingly lucrative as European trade presence expands around Africa and into India and Asia, and merchants steer trade along the coast and away from the old Silk Road. Control of this node can be established easily early on by colonizing the node's sole center of trade: Ivory Coast. With Wealth of Nations, this should also give the player the 51% of provincial trade power necessary to obtain a free trade company merchant. Principal mid-game competitors may include Portugal, France, Spain, Mali, and Kongo. Challenging them may require light ships, especially if the player does not control the West African coastal provinces.
North Sea: The North Sea trade node feeds into English Channel and Lübeck. It draws trade from Canada and White Sea. Maintaining trade power here can be difficult without provinces, as trade fleets operating here often sail into the North Sea zone and incur attrition. Before 1500, the primary competition comes from Norway and Scotland. Once the player annexes Scotland and its center of trade at Lothian, light ships will be required to prevent continental trade powers such as Hansa and the Scandinavians from diverting trade out of North Sea to their home node in Lübeck. An ambitious player may attempt to dominate the node using provinces by annexing Bergenshus, North Sea's second center of trade, from Norway.
General tips: Trade buildings should be prioritized in provinces with innate trade power bonuses, especially outside Europe where the player can form trade companies to further boost provincial trade power. While trade buildings are less efficient than light ships, they are also not subject to force limits and so should be used where necessary to supplement light ships. Light ships should be used to dominate the English Channel node early on, with a smaller trade fleet in North Sea. Privateer missions in the Sevilla and Bordeaux nodes can both generate income, diminish opponent income, and generate power projection.
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 51 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.
In patch 1.5, naval battles has 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 35-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 +5% 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 is quite likely. 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.
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.
Note: This Strategy is for 1.7 only
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 unpause:
- Reload until castile + Austria both rival France (and not you!)
- Royal Marry Castile/Austria
- 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.
- Disband your heavy ships as the French navy don't really pose a giant threat and 12 carracks cost 6g a month in maintenance.
- If available, pick advisers with morale and - revolt risk of 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 Scotland
- 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 (in 1.7 Austria + Castile will join vs Scotland, but not vs anyone else) (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).
- Win the war vs Scotland while your allies waste French manpower
- 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 neighbors 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 Poland has a personal union over Lithuania).
- 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, Castile, 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 onward 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)
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 1.11.
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. Note: This is not possible in later versions of the game. If the player can figure out how to get around this, such as fighting France to a standstill, this strategy is still valid. However, one can also offer to transfer trade power from another nation, but either way, England will no longer be able to form a personal union over France; and as such, if England seeks to control France, winning the Hundred Years' War is the optimal strategy.
- 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 Provençal 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 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 1.10.
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.