This article is considered accurate for the current version of the game.
- +10% National manpower modifier
- +10% Infantry combat ability
- -10% Stability cost modifier
- -20% Mercenary cost
- +25% Fort defense
- -10% Cost of reducing war exhaustion
- +20% Religious unity
- +1 Yearly prestige
- +10% Production efficiency
- +5% Discipline
Switzerland is a medium-sized country in the Holy Roman Empire, beginning with 5 provinces. This makes it the fourth largest independent nation in the HRE. Austria, Bohemia, and Savoy are the largest respectively. In 1444, Switzerland has cores on Savoy's provinces Vaud and Wallis. It is one of the few administrative republics in the 1444 start date.
Switzerland is faced with one major enemy in the beginning: Savoy. It is recommended for the player to ally with Milan, Burgundy, France, or Austria in an attempt to destroy the Savoyard menace. It is in the best interest of the player to 'retake' the western part of modern day Switzerland, followed by the vassalization of Savoy. From there, there are three main options that a Swiss player will encounter.
Invading Burgundy or France
French and Burgundian land are perhaps the best provinces in the game. However, it is necessary to first defeat the French inhabitants. This is only possible for a Swiss player to achieve if Burgundy or France are at war with each other or with the English. This is the riskiest strategy, but it has the highest payoff.
After securing Savoy, the next logical step may be to push into the boot of Italy. This decision is probably the best of the three choices, as it allows for a Swiss naval force as well as expanding out of the HRE in due time. However, the Italians are not initially a culture that Switzerland accepts. Over time, the high naval forcelimit and base tax of Italy will allow for the Swiss to catapult into Germany.
Invading Germany after the vassalization of Savoy could eventually lead into the formation of Germany. However, the player will be left with little to no ports and he/she may incur the wrath of the Holy Roman Emperor or of any border nation like Burgundy or France. The best part of this plan is that Switzerland is already German, so expanding into fellow German provinces is fairly logical.
Ally up with France immediately - this is the most important alliance that Switzerland will need to maintain until probably at least the 1700's. From the start, you'll want to take back the two provenances from Savoy immediately. After that you have two options, getting rich or avoiding coalitions.
Getting Rich: Either make claims in Northern Italy (Be careful not to accidentally claim a port)or in Southern Germany. Your going to need France's help to handle Milan and Bavaria, and likely Austria. As you expand, between wars keep your Army slider to nil and develop every province you have. That is every improvement as fast as possible - war reparations and taking money from side countries involved in your wars is far more important the prestige from getting concedes defeat. France will do most of your heavy lifting for you. When Coalitions form, try and pop their bubble quickly (before they get to big) by waring them. Again, France is your muscle. Always always keep your Improved Relations with them, and be mindful of where they are. There is little to no point in vassals early on - they will actually choke your ability to expand. If Milan or Austria manages to kick you in the teeth (France being unable to get involved in your war) and your forced to give up some territory - IT IS OK. Mostly it will be released nations that will not ally up, and you will have reconquest on them not conquest. Take a few years to get back on your feet and watch the aggressive expansion penalties dry up. As you expand north into Germany you will reach a tipping point - when I hit 50K gold the first time it was wasn't because I was saving up, but I was out of things to build. Towards my end game (you will have to expand to the east into southern Poland, almost into the Balkans, possibly into Russia as well to hit the 99) I was running about 200-300k troops over my force limit and still had a positive income. The ideas that subtract from cost (quantity removes some of the Monarch Points cost for buildings, the one which takes 20% off the money cost, etc) are necessary early. After that it's a matter of taste.
Avoiding Coalitions: Secure some territory on the eastern edge of the Holy Roman Empire, or even just past it. Poland, Hungary, whatever. Court Austria - the big diplomatic win is having Austria and France as allies. Expand into Poland, Hungary, Lithuania are all good. If Muscowy is struggling pre-Russia, and your getting close? Drive RIGHT IN. The provinces you take will be worth a lot less money, even after you improve them (your still going to be obsessively improving provinces) but the penalties will be far less and the coalitions are not really much of a thing, especially if Austria AND France are your muscle. What expansion you do make in the Holy Roman Empire will be wars to create vassals then sitting and waiting to annex them, or maybe expand them just a lil before annexing them. Much slower growth in the good provinces but a much easier time in Germany. The same key ideas as above, plus diplomacy boosters.