What do you think is Paradox's best grand strategy game?


That’s why Ottomans and England are good choices, they interact with the HRE entirely at their own discretion.


All this talk is inclining me to buy it, but I have a backlog to get through…


You definitely should, it’s the best game ever. Regarding the backlog, just do what I did. Forget about it, play EU4 for 500-1000 hours, and then go back to the backlog a year later. It’s really simple.


Sorry bro, am all in pharaoh right now !


I would not recommend Brandenburg to learn the game. Expanding in the HRE can be difficult, coupled with the numerous diplomatic interactions amongst all of the varying states. Couple that with a power hungry Bohemia/Silesia and it can be a bit much for a new player.

Sweden on the other hand I think is a great choice. There are events that fire to ease Sweden out of the Kalmar Union. In fact, there are a lot of events for Sweden that highlight key moments with its history.

I’d suggest Castille over Portugal thanks to the Iberian wedding event that allows that nation to automatically acquire Aragon (and potentially Naples) in personal union. Castille also gets to experience some early warfare with the Reconquista against Granada, will most likely be the second European nation to colonise the New World plus establish trade companies along the African coast and overall grow and expand. Portugal is the weaker version of that, and I found I had too many scattered colonies across the world. Not much fun. As Castille, the main danger is France, so keeping them happy, or alternately having a strong European power who hates them as much as you do is important (eg: Austria).


After bouncing off Castille a few times, I found learning a blast with Muscovy. Probably similar reasons to Ottomans.


Want to know something funny? In my 1200+ hours of EU4, that event has only fired for me once. Granted, those hours all weren’t playing Castile, but I bet I’ve played almost a dozen games as them.

It’s a very likely event to fire, so it infuriates me. :)


EU 4, at release, was the best game by Paradox ever. With the latest expansions I feel it has grown a bit too fiddly, but I haven’t really had the time to play it much lately.

2nd comes Victoria 2, 3rd Victoria I.

I don’t think Stellaris is grand strategy, but a great hybrid with 4X games. A bit like what Civ VI seems to be trying to achieve too, but coming from the other side.


Purchased and downloaded EU4. Started a game up as Portugal.

Holy crap. A 1080p screen filled with stuff. 8 million menus and options. I have NO idea what I’m doing. I arranged a royal marriage with England because I saw a button that let me do that. It tells me I need to declare a couple of rivals. Um, OK, pick one that looks weaker to me. Pick some advisors to fill the three empty spots.

Then I just kinda stared at the screens.


The start of the game is going to be quiet as Portugal. I mentioned it in an earlier post, but don’t be thrown off by the “Then I just stared at my screen”. After an initial couple of actions as Portugal (like you described), staring at your screen is the expected state. Think of it as the “Press End Turn” stage at the start of Civ, where you’ve finished moving your warrior and you’re waiting for a Scout to build. I’d recommend sending a royal marriage and alliance over to Castile, but then prepare to settle in for a bit.

The thing you want to target is getting to Admin tech 5, which will unlock an Idea Group. The Idea you’ll likely want to start with is Exploration, that way you can start exploring the Atlantic and get ready for some colonization!

Click on your shield in the top left of the screen, this is your main menu. You’ll want to be on the first tab (looks like a crown). Here you can see your Court (king, heir, advisors, etc).

You’ll want to pick up an advisor. They’re all important for you right now for a few reasons:

  1. You want an Admin advisor so you can get to Admin tech 5 and unlock that Exploration idea group!
  2. You want a Diplo advisor because diplomatic tech improves navy and colonization ability, and you’ll need this resource to unlock each of the Exploration ideas. These ideas are what will allow you to hire explorers for your navy and conquistadors for your armies, as well as colonize empty provinces.
  3. You want a military advisor because your starting king is weak in this area, only having a military stat of 1. Your nation’s focus is also on Diplomatic right now (note the green checkmark), which gives a +2 to that stat but -1 to the others. That leaves you generating only 3 MIL points a month.


Morocco is going to be eyeballing you, especially if you fall behind on military techs, the first couple of which are extremely important. That’s another reason why the alliance with Castile will be useful, they can help you hold Cueta and keep others off your back.

The problem is, Portugal starts out poor as dirt, so affording all 3 advisors and maintaining your armies, fleets, and forts might not all be possible. You can mothball individual fleets, reduce the maintenance for your land army, or mothball individual forts. All of these can save you money. Your income and expenses can be reviewed on the Economy tab:

In all honesty, though, the starting situation for Portugal will likely be pretty quiet. It’s why it’s a good starter country, because Castile will have your back and you can take some time to familiarize yourself with the interface. Turn up the game speed to 3 or 4, the game will auto-pause whenever an event pops up that needs your attention. You are really in a holding pattern until you unlock Exploration and get the ability to recruit Explorers, at which point you can start surveying the ocean and finding colonies to settle!


Also: Tooltips! There are tooltips on everything! If you don’t understand how a number is derived, look at the tooltip. If you don’t know what an icon means, look at the tooltip. If you’re not sure what a button will do when you press it, look at the tooltip! Like that Rival thing? What on earth is that, right? Well, lets look at the tooltip:


Tooltips are our friends!


Thanks for that Kevin. I might retry the game using your posts. :)


Thanks for the starting tips. It’s really overwhelming for a newbie.


Thank you for for the EU4 tips, Kevin.


No problem, guys! It is overwhelming, you just gotta embrace it. It’s the kind of game where you learn something new every time you play it. It’s also not a game where you have to grok every detail before you can start playing.

I feel like it helps to set small bite-sized goals and just focus on learning how to do just that. For instance, a goal could be “I want to figure out how to found a colony in the new world”. Then you can use a combo of this forum, Google/wiki, and DIY tooltip perusing to do that. You don’t need to understand anything about aggressive expansion, personal unions, institutions, the trade system, the papacy, or anything else in order to get a colony down and start advancing through the game.


Kevin is right, just grab a major and dive in. You can and will always restart in the beginning.

My first game was as Austria (not a good choice). Things seemed to be going smoothly, took some land, then everyone hated me. Lesson learned; make aggressive expansion high on the list of mechanics to understand.


One of us!

Ok, Rivals. This is a thing that gives you some long term buffs. If you look up top you should see a little sword icon on the top, labeled Projection Power. So I’m going to give you a brief rundown on what you want to do with Rivals, what it does for you, and when to interact.

Rivals, how do they work? Basically you need to set two (though can set a third) or suffer penalties to Power Projection. At its core Rivals exist to feed PP. So why do you care? Basically they give a series of bonuses for positive PP. On a sliding scale you get bonus defense for forts, bonus trade power, bonus morale, bonus prestige, bonus legitimacy. At 25 PP you also get bonus leaders without upkeep*. At 50 you get +1 of all three monarch points per month. Which is freaking huge. Being 25+ is nice, being 50+ is game changing.

Having rivals gives you a small boost, but the big things are declaring war on Rivals, taking provinces, blockading, privateering, and otherwise disrupting Rivals. So as you may see it is important to choose ones you don’t want to be friends with. Not only does the bonus only come in with wars and aggression, but also the Rival has a hefty penalty to relations! -75 basically precludes being friends.

One solid choice is Rival anyone who Rivals you. They’re safe, since trying to ally them is pointless. For Portugal I’d look at Morocco as a Rival, since they would be a choice target for expansion. Plus several missions for the Portugese will funnel you towards Ceuta and Fez as conquests.

You may note that Rivals are something you set and really only change a handful of times a game. Maybe once every 25 years you might want to change them. Just think, who am I likely to declare war on, and set them as Rivals.

But you can also ignore it. It’s not super critical. There is no penalty for low PP, just bonuses for high. Portugal can be quiet, if you didn’t rival Spain. Sometimes you just need to remember: you don’t always need to do something. Sometimes doing nothing is the best play. If you have a nation you want to attack, wait. See if they get into war with someone else then attack.

Also go to the military screen and mothball your forts, bottom left corner. They cost money to maintain, and when you are not at war nor anticipating war, mothballing can help build your treasury.

*Each nation has a set of two leaders without upkeep. Ideas, certain decisions, tech, can all add additional. If you exceed the allotment you have to pay 1 Military Monarch point per leader you are over. Sometimes this is fine short term, especially in a tough war, but long term you really don’t want to be over.


Then embargo your rivals! You can embargo rivals for no cost to your own trade, and you get a lot of power projection points for it.


Im actually doing decently with a re-start as England. I had read that the War of the Roses was not as terrible a catastrophe as I expected so I just went ahead playing to diplomatically align myself with the Irish counties, establish Alliances with Portugal and Spain and try to diplomatically isolate Scotland and France. I ceded Maine to France and avoided doing anything to get into a war on the mainland. I was making some headway (alliances with Spain, Portugal, and 2 Irish Counties) when the War of the Roses hit. I had my armies sited in mutually supporting central zones so I was able to bring a strong stack against the main Lancaster rebel army of 26K and defeat it with my 27K stack of well-lead, high morale troops. Then I split my stack into and positioned them to stomp down the multiple 3-6K aftershock-rebellions and within a few years: Victory in the War of Roses and a stability bump. Then I accepted the event to have Henry Tudor become my heir and now I feel like I’m in good position. Scotland has no mainland allies, just 1 wimpy Irish County and soon, soon, they shall be mine. I just need the right kind of casus belli. France is entangled in a war with Provence, Anjou and Burgunday so I’m not so worried about them. Castile dragged me in a war against Aragon, but I basically hung back and projected naval power and didn’t suffer any losses. Castile grabbed a couple provinces from Aragon; I gained nothing and lost nothing. So this early game is mostly diplomatic positioning with little “real action” and yet I feel I am doing well. It helped me to stop thinking of this game like a conquest based wargame and more of an alliance based social game. It’s Diplomacy not Risk.


I’ve been playing EU4 base game thus far but I’m struggling somewhat in the wars b/c my Allies always want to go off on a frolic of their while the AI Allies tend to mass up and crush me. I notice that the Art of War expansion says it has some tools to help coordinate Allies during wars. Is the Art of War a good upgrade? Does it help make wars with allies more effective in a significant way?