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- -20% Light ship cost
- +20% Light ship combat ability
- +20% Morale of navies
- Can recruit Explorers and Conquistadors
- +33% Colonial range
- +1 Colonists
- -10% Ship costs
- +10% Global trade power
- +10% Production efficiency
- +1 Yearly prestige
- +2.5% Discipline
- +20% Trade steering
Norway is a country that nearly touches the top of the Earth. Although Norway starts as a lesser partner in the Kalmar Union under Denmark, they control Iceland, a perfect stepping stone for colonizing Greenland and thus the New World. Although it will likely never manage to compete with its eastern neighbour Sweden, Norway can become an economic and trading power in its own right.
||Mean time to happen
Fortify the fortress further
Increase defenses in the whole of Norway
Norway has several disadvantages at game start. Like Sweden, Norway starts as a lesser partner in a personal union under Denmark. Unlike Sweden, Norway does not have the upfront military power nor economy to easily break free alone. In addition, Norway's lands are fairly poor, with 3 base tax being its highest valued province, and it doesn't have good fur production like Sweden has. Norway cannot expect to afford any advisors in a long while, and unless Norway is at war or expect a war shortly the funding for the army should be at minimum (just to avoid deficit). Early "random" events seem to pile up bad luck too so having some spare cash is not a bad idea.
Adding to the challenge, Norway's trade situation is less than ideal. The vast majority of its provinces are within the North Sea trade node, whilst its capital is in Lübeck, where it only has two provinces and around 5 trade power. One possibility is to initially move the capital to the North Sea, which will substantially increase early game trade income. However, this also has disadvantages: since Lübeck and the Baltic Sea do not feed into the North Sea, expanding towards Denmark and Sweden is inefficient, trade-wise, unless further administrative power is spent relocating the capital back to Lübeck once enough of the trade node is controlled. Without moving the capital back to Lübeck, the only real options are to colonize in the New World, or expand into Novgorod, around the Swedish borders. Alternatively, Norway can leave its capital in Lübeck from 1444, and focus on constructing a large trade fleet there.
Fighting Denmark for independence all by yourself will mean that you also need to fight Sweden (if it is still in the Kalmar Union), Denmark's vassal Holstein and any allies Denmark bring to the table. This can still be done early, but it takes a massive investment in mercenaries and going well over your force limit, and will likely cost a lot of loans. Norway is already very poor and starting the game almost bankrupt makes things much too hard. Luckily gaining independence becomes easy if you ask your next-door neighbour for a bit of help.
Using Sweden to break free of the Kalmar Union
With patch 1.6.1 (and possibly earlier) Norway can ally with Sweden, as both countries have a common goal - breaking free from the Kalmar Union. Either Norway can wait till Sweden declares a war of independence, or Norway can take charge and declare the independence. If Norway declares independence the player controls the peace treaty afterwards, so the player can adapt it to Norway's particular medium and long-term strategy. Denmark will have backup from Holstein and any allies, and seems to get strong allies like Lithuania and Poland within a month or two of the game start. It is recommended to ally Sweden on the first day of the game, and then declare independence instantly when Sweden accepts the alliance (12 November 1444). This way the number of Danish allies will be greatly reduced, probably no one coming to Denmark's aid.
With 1.7 it seems that Denmark is sometimes able to ally and call allies into the war. The mechanics aren't certain why or with who this happens. If you have CoP/Support for Independence option and the Diplomatic Reputation advisor, you should be able to get the Hansa to support independence on 11 November 1444. If you're luckier than you deserve and started as Curia Controller you should be able to set everything in motion (Sweden + Hansa) and declare war on 12 November 1444.
Norway is poor, has few land forces and cannot really afford any serious fighting - but Norway's naval strength is key to winning the war for both Sweden and Norway. The Norwegian land forces should be used for sieges in combination with naval blockades, not actual fighting. Sweden should do all the serious land fighting in this war. After declaring war on Denmark, use Norway's new king as general (and pray for siege dots). Let Norway's navy work together with Sweden's galleys to crush the Danish navy right away, and ensure that Norway's navy mops up any other enemy navy so Norway has full control from Skagerrak to the South Baltic Sea. If you have Hansa support you will crush the Holstein and Danish navies within a few days without waiting for the Swedish navy to help out. This approach also saves 50 diplomatic points since you can rely on the Hansa having an admiral so you don't need one.
Typically Denmark will move her forces from Sjælland to Skåne to fight Sweden. When that happens, move a single ship to block Öresund so the Danes can't get back. Then use the Norwegian cogs to ferry over the land forces to Nordjylland and lay siege to Denmark. Use naval blockade and sieges gradually and safely to eventually take Sjælland. You might need to kill the Holstein army (size 2 or 3) so you can spread out your army for maximum siege afterwards. If you have Hansa support you can rely on the Tha Hansa to crush the Holstein army and siege their provinces (and they will not ask for the provinces in a peace treaty). Norway should be able to avoid losses and loans during the campaign if played right. Investing in a few light ships to reach the naval force limit is probably where you want to spend money early on as they are excellent for blockades (speed 10), they get the Norwegian combat bonus and they will make money for you after the war.
After a few Danish provinces fall both Norway and Sweden should be free of the PU (~22% with normal difficulty when starting war in 1444). With sufficient warscore there should be some bonus provinces for Norway, or even release of Holstein (~19%) or Gotland (~17%) to cripple Denmark. If the player has additional warscore, occupying and taking Nordjylland will give Norway a province neighboring both its capital and HRE, so Norway can join HRE for extra protection. Note that, taking more than Nordjylland will make it impossible to join HRE because of too large basetax. If Norway negotiates the peace treaty with Denmark, the results should coincide with your strategy ahead (see next section).
After breaking free from Denmark (war)
After breaking free from Denmark and the Kalmar Union Norway needs to decide what to do next. If Norway fought a war for independence Denmark should be weaker and Denmark's navy should be non-existent at the very least. If Norway allied with Sweden during the war, both countries should be free now, making the situation in Northern Europe more volatile. After the war Sweden and Scotland may either be friends or enemies/rivals which also needs to be factored in.
With a shattered Danish navy and England busy with the Hundred Years' War and War of the Roses, Norway can dominate the sea in Northern Europe. This will allow Norway to strike anywhere and be a very useful ally for others. During other wars there should be chances to occupy provinces but also let others to the bulk of the army warfare,
Basically a free Norway early has tons of opportunities but needs to decide where to go and several options exist:
- Dominating Scandinavia
- If the War of Independence managed to split Scandinavia into Norway, Sweden, Denmark and possibly Holstein and Gotland, it opens up a game where Norway might get some provinces gradually in the next decades and possibly be strong enough to take on Sweden later. The Danish provinces are valuable both in resources and tax, but also as a stepping stone southwards, dominating the Lübeck trade node and opening up the Baltic Sea. With Denmark not too weakened, allying with England and/or Denmark, Norway may be able to expand in to Sweden despite its size and superior armies. Norway is easily overextended so ensure that you core new provinces quickly. Strategically, getting Fyn will cripple Denmark, but rebel stacks will typically outnumber your army/cogs, and attacking them is always at -1 modifier. You will need 3 Danish provinces to make Danish an accepted culture.
- Dominating Lübeck Trade
- If Norway gets a foothold either in Denmark or Holstein after the War of Independence, the Hansa aren't far away with their super trade nodes. Denmark would be a fantastic ally for this (but they will probably still be upset), Sweden is a decent ally, possibly other Hansa enemies. If Norway gets the Hansa nodes and Denmark, combined with Norway's (hopefully) large merchant navy Norway should be able to fund colonization and maybe an advisor. The HRE and Austria might be a problem when dealing with German and low country provinces, and Norway has no chance to deal with Austria's stacks of doom.
- Going South
- By dominating Northern Europe with a strong navy, grabbing the coast nodes in the low country towards Antwerpen and south of Denmark one can get a very strong trade empire in the north. To do this Norway probably needs to be funded by "owning" the Lübeck trade node or a sizable chunk of Swedish provinces. Allying with France, Burgundy or England might help.
- Going East
- Novgorod will be attacked by Muscovy (again and again), weakening it considerably. In an alliance with Sweden there might be provinces to grab here. Unfortunately these provinces will not fit into trade nodes where Norway is strong already.
- Going West
- Scotland is a volatile country which can either be a useful ally when dividing Ireland, or an enemy where Norway wants Scotland or Scotland wants Norwegian islands. Historically Norway have taken Scotland and Ireland before, and taking Scotland will strengthen the dominance on the North Sea trade node. If the Norwegian capital is moved to Bergen/Bergenhus there just might be money in it.
- Mass colonisation
- Using three colonists, it is possible for Norway to quickly grab the eastern seaboard of North America and the Caribbean, keeping out other European powers. After, it is simple for even a few Norwegian soldiers to conquer the Native American nations.
Once free from the Kalmar Union, England makes a useful choice for an ally, since Norway will likely come into conflict with Scotland, and England will usually help against the other Scandinavians with its powerful navy. If Norway and England are allies no one can stand against their combined naval forces. A long-term alliance will allow Norway to focus on a money-making merchant navy (light ships) and let England spend money on the expensive warships.
If the capital is moved to the North Sea, Scotland becomes the most obvious rival; however, if Scotland is conquered, England will likely attempt to take the lands to form Great Britain. With a North Sea capital, Denmark makes a nice choice for an ally, so long as it has forgiven breaking the Kalmar Union. Denmark will help against England, which will allow Norway to keep Scotland's lands and monopolize the North Sea. From there, colonization of the New World is possible and lucrative.
If Sweden is hostile, or you expect Sweden to be hostile the missions and events for forts along the border and in Finnmark might be useful, but ideally you should either keep Sweden friendly or expand instead of paying for forts on the Swedish border. The game also seems to provide missions to make Scotland a friend, but in some games Scotland is hellbent on hating you so check relations before accepting Scottish missions. The Papal State is also far away so missions for improving relations for a few extra papal votes does not make sense early on. Norway does not have population to compete vote-wise with bigger countries further south.
Remaining in the Kalmar Union
Instead of breaking away early from the Kalmar Union, Norway can instead maintain the union with Denmark for as long as possible. This generally leads to a number of wars (as Denmark will factor in Norway's military power when considering its offensive options) which keeps Denmark's prestige high, maintaining the personal union across successive monarchs. Unfortunately this will also mean that Denmark might get involved in fruitless and dangerous wars, where Norway's merchant navy cannot move freely and make money.
However, a benefit to this approach is that as long as the Union persists, Norway gets its legitimacy from Denmark, freeing Norway's hand in making decisions that would otherwise negatively affect her legitimacy. Usually Norway doesn't need to actually contribute all that much in the wars on the continent, except maybe to cherry pick battles for army tradition and especially naval tradition.
The union with Denmark will allow Norway to work without worrying about Sweden and start colonizing the new world. With Iceland and the exploration idea, Norway can colonize Greenland and modern-day Canada very quickly. This colonization of North America will stop Denmark being able to diplomatically annex Norway, because when a subject of a personal union has more provinces than the overlord, the overlord can't annex the subject. It will also result in a higher income, though the player may find that relocating the capital to the Faroe Islands may be necessary.
The negative part of remaining in the Kalmar Union is that most of the expansive and ambitious openings described earlier (Scandinavia, Low Countries, Ireland, Scotland) aren't possible. Denmark is unlikely to give Norway extra provinces despite sieges and war effort. Norway cannot declare war when this is necessary, and when colonizing you probably want a few native provinces. Expect the Norwegian economy to be poor for a long time.
Alternative strategy: Norwegian exodus
Norway has an incredible potential to become the primary controller of the Americas, and by extension, the most powerful nation in the world. This however requires a very unorthodox playstyle by purposefully losing its European territories.
Step 1 : Immediately ask for independence support from the Hansa and ally Sweden. Get advisers level 1 in ADM and DIP. Declare war for independence on Denmark as soon as possible before it could attain any significant alliances, and hope the new Norwegian King has decent ADM and good DIP (consider restarting if not; high DIP for the first ruler is very important for this strategy's colonial rush). Dismiss the expensive starting heavy ships and cavalry regiments. Between Sweden and the Hansa, Norway can easily achieve independence. Secure war reparations and/or transfer trade power agreement as part of the peace deal—it is important to save money for when Norway starts to colonize as the initial colonial maintenance will put monthly income into the negatives. Don't bother giving Sweden any cores back as they always betray Norway after the war.
Step 2 : Acquire Exploration as the first idea group. If a Navigator advisor (+20% Colonial Range) shows up, then aim to grab all the Exploration ideas. If not, then get the first three ideas and then work towards DIP tech 7. The reason for this is because Navigator advisor (+20%) + Overseas Exploration idea (+50%) + Call of Our Forefathers (+33%) grants just enough colonial range (324) to reach Vestbygden (Greenland) from Reykjavik (Iceland), allowing Norway to colonize North America after their 6th Exploration idea opens the 2nd national idea. But without a Navigator advisor, Norway would have to wait until DIP tech 7's increased colonial range, which delays it significantly.
Step 3 : While gearing up for enough colonial range, send an Explorer out to unveil the North American coast and Caribbean islands. Meanwhile, stockpile money using Denmark's trade power. Norway could try to deter Swedish aggression by allying England, Bohemia/Pomerania, and maintaining allies with the Hansa, but none of them will actually be able to protect Norway when Sweden comes biting. Preserve Norway's transports/infantry by moving them to the safety of Iceland, and simply give the provinces Sweden wants to settle the wars. In the long run, Norway needs to hand off these territories anyway.
Step 4 : Once enough colonial range to reach North America is achieved (either through DIP tech 7 or Navigator + 2nd national idea), grab the 'Colonize' mission and send forth Norway's colonist to begin their work. The goal is to reach Panama with as few hops as possible. While this is going on, begin selling Norway's island provinces to Denmark—this takes some time as they must core each one before coming in range of the next, and selling provinces cannot be done if either nation is caught in a war.
Step 5 : By the time Panama is turned into a city and Norway's colonists are working on the Caribbean islands, Norway's ancestral homelands should mostly be in the hands of Denmark and/or Sweden. Sell any remaining European provinces except for the Capital, then relocate the Capital to Panama. Panama is an ideal location because it is part of the North America continent (so North America colonies do not count as 'overseas') but borders South America, allowing southern colonies to be connected by land. This way all of Norway's colonies in the Americas can be considered home territory instead of forming colonial nations.
Step 6 : Focus on settling the Caribbean first, as these rich provinces will give Norway the tax and income basis for mass colonization/expansion in the Americas; the Caribbean trade node is also the most important node for controlling trade from the new world. These should be followed by Florida and then the Thirteen States' coastal provinces. The aim here is to lock down the North American heartlands by settling the coast as fast as possible. Don't bother with the Canadian coastline given its sheer length. If England starts settling Canada, simply cut them off with a cordon of colonies through the Great Lakes' eastern shores to reach Hudson Bay. During this time, Norway should expand against the Mexican natives as aggressively as possible; long peace treaties may be passed by also expanding into the Andes in South America in order to seize the many gold mines there.
Step 7 : Portugal and Spain typically focus their colonization on Brazil, Argentina, and the West African coast. This leaves England as Norway's only major competitor in the north. It's okay to give them Canada, but if England (or any other power other than the Spanish/Portuguese alliance) tries to force a foothold in Mexico or Louisiana, then build up a fleet of heavy ships and declare war. Seize the wargoal (to build warscore points), take any other colonies of theirs, and intercept any transport fleet with Norway's heavy ships—such a war will not only stop England's expansion for years, but also offer Norway a few near-developed colonies (whose religion and culture can easily be converted by dispatching a colonist there).
Step 9 : Convert to either Protestant or Reformed to avoid any settler growth penalty from the Treaty of Tordesillas. Protestant gives more immediate benefits (available earlier and makes idea costs cheaper), but Reformed's fervor mechanic is far more powerful in dominating the New World trade as well as waging land/naval wars.
Overall : Between optimized colonists/settler growth combined and aggressive expansion against the natives, Norway could 'fence off' most of North America and even a chunk of western South America with a 'cordon' of colonies that prevent other European powers from reaching in. Up to five colonists and much faster settler growth than any other power can be achieved through the following:
- Exploration ideas (1st idea group)
- Expansion ideas (2nd idea group)
- Colonial Expansion policy (Exploration-Expansion, DIP): +20 Global Settler Growth
- Quantity ideas (3rd idea group)
- Colonial Settlement Act (Expansion-Quantity, MIL): +1 Colonist, +10 Global Settler Growth
- Colonial Enthusiasm modifier (+5% Colonist Chance, +25 Global Settler Growth): easily acquired through missions. This is best done by leaving Canada alone for as long as possible, selecting the mission to establish a colony in Canada whenever it becomes available, and then abandoning the colony once the mission succeeds. This trades 100~ days of time from 1 colonist for 5 years of the awesome modifier for all of Norway's colonists.
- Trading in Cotton (+5% Colonist Chance): both the Caribbean and the Thirteen Colonies' provinces have a good chance of producing cotton.
The interior lands can be settled after the initial land-grab race is over. By the mid-1600s, Norway can manage a huge American empire with far more than 200 provinces (Aggressive Expander achievement) and far more land/naval forcelimits than any European power. Does the player want to kick the other Europeans powers off America? To return to Scandinavia and reclaim the Nordic lands? To conquer the world outright? The possibilities are endless.