Europa Universalis 4

I picked up the $1 tier because I’ve been meaning to try out EU for a while now, so there’s no excuse. What should I do first? (Disclaimer: I’ll probably finish up with Total Warhammer first.)

When you start a new game in EU4 they give you some suggestions at the bottom of the screen. They are rated easier to more difficult left to right. The game can seem intimidating so there’s nothing wrong with jumping right in and playing and doing what you want… as you play more, you’ll become aware of more and more of the game’s mechanics.

Also, set the difficulty to Easy while you get used to the multiple systems in the game.

I’ve always found Portugal a good start: immediately break alliance with England, go for royal marriage and alliance with Spain which thus will safeguard your home country for the rest of the game.

Get involved in Spain’s wars to get used to land and sea combat against mostly inferior forces.

For yourself, focus on exploration and founding of colonies. First in Western Africa, then South America and the great price of the Caribbean.

Don’t worry too much about understanding every detail, most ingame systems can be ignored or discovered bit by bit in your first game.

And please do feel free to ask questions here!

Pro-tip: reduce army upkeep during peace time. Only few countries can do otherwise at start of the game.

  • Von Schmidt

I find Portugal to be a good starting country. It is mostly a quiet colonization game, but good to get your feet wet. You can buddy up with Spain and just get used to some mechanics, then if you get bored you can restart as someone like France… which is also a fairly easy game with lots of war. After that it opens up and you can do something like England, Sweden, or Russia.

edit: what Von Schmidt said

Sweet, thanks! Sounds like that’s the way to go. Iberia, here I come.

Some other tips

  • Spend a few minutes looking at the trade map and understanding the flow of trade. As portugal you will have quite a bit of trade from your colonies. Place merchants so that trade value is being transferred to your home node (Sevilla). Don’t place a merchant in Sevilla, but rather in trade nodes where the arrows point towards Sevilla and that you have power. For example, if you colonize the Ivory Coast, then placing a merchant in the Ivory Coast trade node and steering the trade to Sevilla is the way to go

  • Trade buildings should really only be built in provinces that give a trade modifier. You can see them when you familiarize yourself with your province screen. They say something like Trade Hub, Estuary, etc. and the tooltip will tell you a bonus. You don’t need to waste money building trade buildings in other provinces

  • Keep the maintenance of your army very low when you are not at war

  • You don’t need to know the ins and outs of diplomacy right now - but just be sure that your diplomats are always working. That could be fabricating a claim or improving relations, but keep them busy.


I’ll be a dissenting voice.

Pock whatever country/ region personally interests you.

My favorite (and broadly considered one of the most fun by many deeper players)? Brandenburg. Muscovy is another very interesting take. Sweeden gives you a very clear opening option, break free of Denmark. The Timurids or Golden Horde give you one of the strongest martial starts, allowing you to play aggressive and conquer a bunch of land at the beginning. Good for a 50-100 year initial play, but not one I would play to completion as a beginner, their late game is something you need to plan for as they get drastically weaker as time goes by.

Picking any of the hi lighted ‘interesting start’ nations is valid. If you love Japanese history? Play Japan. They are very unique! They have the only nation with the shogunate mechanics, so have a very distinct play flavor.

Ah, it seems the bundle does not include Conquest of Paradise. Which is so important that barely anyone noticed.

My sincere thanks to the person who notified us of the humble bundle, I wanted to get into EU4 for ages but the absurd cost of dlcs stood in the way of that and I didn’t want to play a game with critical mechanics missing.

How is Golden Century? Since if I ever play, I will play as Portugal, this DLC would apply to me. It seems the major real complaint on Steam is that the minority expulsion is a bad feature that is ahistorical and leads to weird population distribution. People seem to like the mission tree.

Golden Century is decent. Not my favorite DLC and I feel like for an Immersion Pack focused on Iberia, it didn’t do enough in that region. The minority expulsion mechanic that you mention is a good example, it’s more applicable to other countries than Spain or Portugal. I like the mechanic itself, it’s just off theme. They probably put it in because it fit the colonization motif or something.

Other than that, I think it added flagships? Those are pretty cool. Mission trees are always good. All in all it was okay, about on par with the British immersion pack, both of which I rate below Third Rome which really made Russia feel unique. Not a bad addition just not something I would describe as a must-have. Worth a grab at sale price, I’d say.

Wow, that’s a major omission. It’s so major it make me wonder if even Paradox can’t keep track of all the EU4 DLC at this point.

Poor Conquest of Paradise. I think the majority of its features were subsumed into El Dorado and Golden Century. Maybe some Native American mechanics are still locked behind it or something?

Thanks Kevin

And pirate nations, maybe shore bombardment?

Yep, but American natives advance too slowly for it to matter much. Also, the Random New World, which can be interesting enough, but breaks mission trees that rely on American regions existing.
CoP doesn’t add much anymore.

The “expulsion of the Moriscos” is one of those landmark events that gets covered in any history of early modern Spain. So if you come to the game with that history in mind, it’s very thematic; even if not that practically useful in game terms.

It feels weird to me because with the Golden Century implementation, it the Spanish player were to utilize the feature it would mean having a colonial empire of Muslims and the like.

I was so excited for the random new world… and then so disappointed.

First, it doesn’t look remotely natural. So you have this beautiful map of Asia, Europe, Africa… and then the new world looks like a kindergartners drawing project.

Then beyond that, the AI seems to really, really struggle to manage the new world. Any game I’ve played with it on has seen me basically colonizing the entire thing with zero competition.

It was a good idea to try and spice up the exploration and colonization game, which can get so dry… but failed so badly.

So, for various reasons (partly due to the eternal DLC model which makes it easier to just wait until the game is “finished”, partyl due to never having enough time to play the game for long), I’ve actually never managed to pick up EUIV.

Getting the base game for $1 is too good a deal to pass up on, though. Q: Are there any DLCs in the more expensive tiers that make going for them worth it (for someone who’ll probably only play a few Euro nations - lack of time, and all that)?

Art of War and Rights of Man. Common Sense used to be a must-have for Development but I believe that is in the base game now. I like the subject interactions that is has, though. Wealth of Nations is trade focused so if you want to do a lot with that you may want to grab it.

Honestly, though, 90% of what they’ve done over the past 7 years is available in the base game. If you just want to play a game or two you’ll be fine with just that.