This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for 1.1.
- +10% Provincial trade power modifier
- -10% Idea cost
- +15% Fort Defense
- +2.5% Discipline
- -10% Stability cost modifier
- +10% Production efficiency
- +10% National trade income modifier
- +10% National tax modifier
- +50% National manpower modifier
- +30% Better relations over time
The Ming Dynasty ruled China for around 300 years, from 1368 until the Manchu conquest in 1644 (founding the Qing Dynasty). The Ming have traditionally been held as one of the high points of China's long history, Chinese art and literature flourished, the government reinvigorated the ancient system of civil service examinations to seek new talent and great trading voyages that drew tribute from as far away as Africa.
By the game's start in 1444, however, these merchant adventures have stopped and China has turned inward. The scientific progress of the Song Dynasty has slowed, and the rise of an anti-trade faction of bureaucrats has weakened the power of the eunuchs that championed this expansion. As will be found, managing these factions will be one of the great tests for players as a Chinese ruler.
Strategically, Ming is in a good position. Holding the entirety of the extremely populous Chinese region, it has more provinces and basetax than any country in the world, with no major rival that poses a immediate threat. However, its provinces are administered with high autonomy by the celestial empire government, severely limiting the manpower and tax income available to the emperor. While the Jurchen and Mongol hordes are fractured for the moment, given enough time, unified horde armies can pose an existential threat to Ming.
In addition to rising threats to the north, Ming's has serious internal issues. The high autonomy limits income and manpower, while the Chinese bureaucracy further hinders everything from heir succession to army discipline to trade efficiency, which can only be partially negated by manipulating court factions. The Ming dynasty's right to rule over China, like all previous dynasties, is dependant on the mandate of heaven, losing it due to weak successions or lack of stability will cause terrifying rebellions to rise up and destroy Ming.
- 1 Ming's unique challenges
- 2 Factions
- 3 Missions
- 4 Events
- 5 Decisions
- 6 Strategy
Ming's unique challenges
Ming has a unique government form called Celestial Empire, reflecting the Chinese belief that a well-governed kingdom was evidence of divine sanction and blessing, whereas a poorly governed or tyrannical one was evidence that the Emperor could be deposed.
The Celestial Empire gives a 10% discount to the cost of increasing stability, and as long as Ming is not in negative stability and the ruler has a decent legitimacy, they gain the Mandate of Heaven, which further gives a 10% discount to stability cost, and a 5 point reduction in unrest.
This system is in delicate balance, however. If stability drops below 0 or legitimacy drops below 60, Ming gets the punishing Mandate of Heaven Lost modifier, which causes +50% stability costs and a +5% unrest. This means a sudden 10% increase in unrest, which can utterly devastate Ming.
The celestial empire also imposes a minimum 50% local autonomy on all its provinces, this means only 50% of tax, manpower and trading power is available to Ming, combined with other maluses from different cultures and the Chinese bureaucracy, often only 10% of a province's tax and manpower is available for Ming.
There is a way for Ming to reform and remove these crushing inefficiencies, that is to seek contact with Europeans, and westernize the country. Upon finishing westernisation, not only does Ming get the western tech group, it also loses the Celestial Empire government and the Chinese bureaucracy modifier.
Three factions compete for power and influence in the Ming Empire, each with a governing focus:
- The Bureaucrats on government administration
- The Eunuchs focus on trade, diplomacy & naval affairs
- The Temple' faction on military affairs
Ming is affected by penalties because of its sprawling Chinese bureaucracy; dependent on the dominant faction is in power, some of these penalties can be reduced or reversed.
The faction and government system ceases when Ming westernizes, and the country transforms into a feudal monarchy.
- Global trade power: +25%
- National trade income modifier: +25%
- Advisor costs: -50%
- Diplomatic relations: +2
If the Temple Faction is dominant, it offsets penalties associated with war and peacemaking such as penalties to troop discipline, army forcelimits, diplomatic cost of unjustified demands in a peace treaty, and manpower recovery. Since the Temple Faction provides no relief from the financial penalties of Chinese bureaucracy, it is a wise to accumulate a large war chest in peacetime to sustain the empire while at war. Military power is needed to strengthen their influence.
Full list of effects:
- Manpower recovery speed: +25%
- Land forcelimits modifier: +25%
- Monthly war exhaustion: -0.05
- Discipline: +10%
- Unjustified demands: -25%
If the Bureaucrat Faction is dominant, it removes the penalties on tax income, the cost of buildings, the cost of increasing stability, and the price of units, in addition to increasing the chance of producing an heir. This makes it advantageous to implement a large building program by saving up funds and Monarch Power and switch to Bureaucrat rule to initiate construction. Administrative power is used to boost their influence.
Full list of effects:
- Build cost: -50%
- National tax modifier: +25%
- Possible advisors: +1
- Increased chance of new heir: +25%
- Religious unity: +25%
Ever since the Han Emperors the people of Dai Vet have recognized the mandate from heaven that the great Emperor has. It is time to remind them once again.
The Japanese have invaded Korea and are threatening to turn the Southern tip of the peninsula into a base for their hated Wokou pirates. We must ensure that they do not gain a foothold.
The island of Taiwan is sparsely populated by uncivilized savages, we should open these lands up for Chinese settlement.
This mission is also available to the Manchu.
The sacred Black River, although we have tales that some uncivilized peoples call it the Amur River, is a fitting frontier for us. We should establish settlements to advance our frontier.
This mission is also available to the Manchu.
Although most people seem content with the explanation that our silks go off to barbarian lands some of our more curious eunuchs wish to know more. They are asking for support to send an expedition to this India place.
Considering that Ming already knows of India in 1444, this mission is mostly unobtainable.
- Main article: Ming events
The events for Ming China are a mixture of religious, reformation, and political events, from "The Arrival of Jesuits" to "The Closure of China" and "Qi Jiguang's Army Reforms". They will affect the country in many diverse ways, bringing factions in and out of favor and adding extra flavor.
Ming shares its decisions with Manchu.
Parts of the Great Wall are in dire need of extensive repair. In its current state it doesn't offer sufficient protection for our northern provinces.
The Forbidden City will be a glorious national monument, increasing our prestige and promoting stability.
Ming is a Celestial Empire, a unique government type that has a severe malus of 50% autonomy on all its provinces, and possesses unique mechanics, like the Factions mechanics and the Mandate of Heaven modifiers.
The Chinese bureaucracy modifier has negative modifers related to army, trade and taxation. Manipulating different factions to power can negate one of those aspects, for example, with the temple faction in power, Ming receives no military maluses, but is punished on trade and taxation. As only one faction can be in power at once, it is important to adjust the factions to suit current needs, eunuchs or bureaucrats for peacetime, Temple for wartime is the general guideline.
The 50% minimum autonomy limits Ming to only receiving half of the tax and manpower its provinces can provide, as the modifiers are additive, combined with the 15% penalty for different culture (but same group) and the 25% penalty from Chinese bureaucracy, Ming would often only receive 10% of the taxes and manpower from its most valuable provinces, like the Yangtze delta region.
It is strongly suggested to westernise as soon as possible, without westernising, Ming is limited to a paltry 50000 manpower due to high local autonomy. While this is sufficient to deter any aggressors in the early game, the unified Manchu and Mongol hordes from the north can field armies just as large but much superior in quality, posing serious threats to Ming.
Understanding when to switch faction control is crucial to avoiding the penalties associated with Chinese bureaucracy. Earlier in the game, should Ming be drawn into a war, it is advised to have the Temples faction in power. Without them, Ming gets penalties to discipline and morale that will render its troops unable to beat enemy armies half their size (especially against dangerous hordes), unless offset by superior Ming leadership or military technology. The Temples faction also reduces the diplomatic power cost for pressing for unjustified demands.
The Bureaucrats faction deal with national maintenance and building construction costs. Should the Ming ruler have no heir, it is crucial to keep the Bureaucrats in power, as they offset the penalty to the chance of getting an heir. This is crucial as the consequences of the ruler dying heirless can be more severe for Ming than other countries, because a low-legitimacy successor taking the throne can cause the Mandate of Heaven to be lost, penalizing Ming with a sudden 10% increase in unrest, often causing irrecoverable devastation.
Besides the aforementioned situations, deciding on factions is a matter of long-term orientation, and should be adjusted according to the difficulties facing the coutnry.
The Mandate of Heaven
The Mandate of Heaven is a triggered modifier, providing a significant reduction to national revolt risk and a minor reduction to stability costs. It is maintained provided the country has stability zero or greater and the ruler has legitimacy 60 or greater. Should these conditions not be met, the 'Mandate of Heaven' modifier is lost and in addition, the 'Mandate of Heaven Lost' modifier is triggered. The 'Mandate of Heaven Lost' modifier ups unrest and stability cost significantly, all the while penalizing national tax income. Hence the player should be wary of an heir lacking a strong claim succeeding the throne and destabilizing events. While a problematic succession can cause problems for any country, the significance of the 'Mandate of Heaven' means the problems for the Celestial Empire are relatively much worse. An effective swing of +10% unrest can result in waves of rebellions across the Empire.
The choice of Ming's first National Idea Group is dependent on the player's game plan.
If Ming is seeking to expand and colonize, then the Exploration group should be first choice. With the Philippines and Oceanic islands to the south and Siberia to the North (assuming horde nations have been dealt with first), Ming has a lot of choice in regions to colonize. Recruiting explorers and exploring Africa, Europe and eventually the Americas will also put Ming in a good position to Westernize. The Expansion group isn't nearly as useful as Exploration, because it does not give Ming the ability to go through Africa or America and meet westerners at an early date.
If the player does not wish to take exploration as his first idea, then an early military idea group is important for Ming in defending or conquering the Oirat Horde or the Manchu tribes. Defensive and Quantity are good choices, as Ming has limited manpower despite its size and income, more troops and enemy attrition provided by the ideas is ideal for a drawn-out war with the hordes. With a military orientation, Ming can take out the fractured northen hordes before they unify and start being a serious threat. Once the hordes are finished, Ming has ample time to prepare for contact with westerners and the inevitable westernisation.
The Religious idea group is also very helpful, providing a free casus belli against Ming's non-Confucian neighbours (of which there are many), and allowing easier conversion of Sunni provinces. The final bonus to improved relations over time is also beneficial if Ming is aggressively attacking its neighbours. The "inquisition" idea (+2% Missionary strength vs heretics), combined with the +3 % from 'divine supremacy', is very helpful in converting Southern China's Buddhist provinces and in extension the provinces in South East Asia.
The Innovative idea group has a number of events that provide monarch power and can be helpful in keeping Ming technologically on track, should Ming choose not to Westernize. However, if Ming does seek to Westernize, then the benefits of an early Innovative idea group are wasted as they do not help in holding Ming at least 8 technologies behind a Western power. However, it may be worth considering in the later game.
While being the largest nation in the world, Ming does not have the luxury of picking wars at will, while southern and Tibetian nations don't pose a threat, their tropical and mountainous terrain can drain Ming's precious manpower. Moreover, Ming's most dangerous enemies are the hordes that lie to the north, the Oirat and the Jurchen (manchu) tribes.
There are 3 Jurchen tribes in the northeast of China, while all formidable enemies on their own, they do not pose a serious threat to Ming. If they manage to unify themselves, however, they become a dangerous enemy ready to strike Ming at moments notice. It is very important to take them out while they are still fractured, but don't be overzealous because other hordes will prey on a Ming with depleted manpower
The Oirat are more difficult to cripple than the Manchu due to the Oirats starting with a very strong general and Mongolia as its vassal, its provinces are numerous but very poor, making attrition severe in their territory. It would be wise to wait out their starting general, and wait for improvements in military technology to alleviate the attrition before making moves. As they are Buddhist and of Altaic culture, with Ming's 50% autonomy their provinces are close to useless, so unless they are expanding at a dangerous rate, it is not profitable to attack them
Tibetian states are fractured, poor, mountainous states, and remain very weak without much potential for expansion, usually fielding no more than 6 units. Their provinces are also worthless to China before westernisation. Tibet usually cannot be peacefully vassalized due to high border friction and neighbouring heretic religion modifiers.
Korea can field a decent sized army and navy (approximately 15 units and 20 ships, more if they have taken territory from Manchu). By themselves, Korea is no threat to Ming, however they tend to ally with Oirat or any of the Manchu tribes. Korea usually cannot be peacefully vassalized due to its high base tax. If Ming does not ally or annex Korea for a long time, Japan may unify and attack Korea.
A fully unified Japan is capable of fielding up to 35 units and 35 ships. They may or may not have allies. Given Japan's high discipline, morale and combat ability, direct land conflict is very dangerous if Ming is not westernised. It is much easier to win wars by sieging western islands of Japan and block the straits with ships to prevent Japanese troops from attacking your sieging units (Ming can field up to 60-70 ships).
It is possible to immediately declare war on Dai Viet by taking the mission, "Restore the old frontier". However, due to the high coring costs of Dai Viet, the player would often lack adm points to core them, diplo-annexing poses a similar problem. As with other different-culture different religion provinces, their provinces are not useful to Ming pre-westernisation.
Southeast Asian Nations
These nations can be peacefully vassalized (except for Champa as it is Hindu and Ayutthaya as it is too large) and present very little threat to Ming. They are easy expansion opportunities.
By taking expansion or exploration ideas, Ming is capable of colonizing eastern Siberia, South Asia and even the west coast of the New World. If Ming decides to take territory from Oirat, it is possible to cut off Muscovy/Russian expansion (see Oirat section above).
If the player wants to prioritise westernising, there are two routes for doing so. 1. Island hop from South East Asia to Ceylon to East Africa to West Africa, establish a few provinces in West Africa, and wait for colonisers to colonise a provinces there. Note that due to map changes, it is no longer possible to meet Iberian nations in western Sahara. If colonisation in western africa doesn't happen quick enough, the player can colonise Brazil from western africa and meet western countries there.
2. Cut a route through Manchuria, and conquer the Siberian tribes in the north, this provides a very short route to Alaska. From then on, hop downwards to the Panama region, and gain access to the Atlantic ocean. From them on, finding a province next to colonisers is very easy.
- Main article: westernization
Due to Ming's large income, westernisation only progresses at 5 power per month, meaning westernising takes several decades. Since Ming suffers from 'mandate of heaven lost' when westernising, this represents an cumulative 15 unrest increase, extremely dangerous for an unprepared player. It is advisable to convert different religion provinces, take the humanism idea, cripple the northern hordes, and do everything possible to lower unrest before trying westernisation.
While westernising is not essential for other Asian nations, it is crucial for Ming due to its unique and extremely severe maluses that could only be lost through westernising, without westernisation, conquest yields little return for Ming, and it can only play defensively for the rest of the game. However, if westernised, Ming will be able to fully utilize its power as the largest nation in the world. It is capable of challenging a full-sized Russia directly, or crushing all opposition in Asia and ensuring colonial dominance in the region. There is little if any challenge for Ming post-westernisation.
It may be better to 'Denounce Neo-Confucianism' over accepting it to gain the extra missionary strength.