I still play some video games from time to time to relax, and I’ve been playing Europa Universalis 4 recently. EU4 is a grand strategy game set on a world stage during the Renaissance and Enlightenment (1444-1821). I picked it up recently decided to go for an achievement, Ideas Guy, where you create a custom nation and create a nation with outrageously good bonuses for your country, but only start with one of the worst provinces in the game. My goal is to create a trading empire which would fufill a requirement for overall income. In the end, my income was 80% from tariffs on trade.
I also decided if I was going to be playing games, I might as well turn them into something to write about, hence this after action report. Knowing my audience, I decided to accomplish this achievement while playing the game as politically incorrectly as possible.
I started as: a Western nation; made up of Americans; worshiping Catholicism, ruled by a theocracy, who were avid colonizers and traders, in South Africa. I called my country the “Heavenly Kingdom”.
I started in the northwestern province, and immediately colonized the Cape of Good Hope to start the game. Trade from China, India and Indonesia to Europe has to go through either myself, through Sinai, or across the Silk Road. Ensuring Asian trade flows through my capital will put me at the head of a trading empire.
Expansion is slow at first. But soon I’ve got some provinces which produce gold, so I’ve got money to start expanding quickly. I’ve got the Cape of Good Hope nearly 100% for me already. Madagascar and the surrounding islands are the first step to making sure Indian Ocean trade goes through me and not through Arabia. Kilwa will have to be dealt with.
I’ve now seized the largest gold mines in Africa. At this point, they are about half of my income, by the time I finish, they will be about 5%. I’ve managed to expand eastware to Diego Garcia at this point, half way across the Indian Ocean.
After some more colonization and conquests, I am the undisputed ruler of southern Africa and am dominating Indian ocean trade, outside of India and Arabia. This cannot stand for long. I need to control the Horn of Africa in order to ensure all Indian Ocean trade goes through me. Then I need to dominate Indian trade to ensure all Asian trade belongs to me.
My expansion continues from Sumatra into Borneo and the Moluccas as I snake up the east coast of Africa. Spreading American Culture and Catholic religion as I go.
The Yellow areas are ones which have been converted (or colonized) as Catholic Regions. I’ve begun colonizing the Philippines and Australia. Trade is really picking up for me now, and I’m starting to have more money that I know what to do with.
A few tribes in Indonesia were happy to be my subjects, and Australia became big enough to split off on it’s own. Conquests have given my control of the Horn of Africa and Sri Lanka, with a little bit of land on mainland India. I now dominate Indian Ocean trade routes. I need to continue ramping up production in Indonesia, and I need to take more control of the Arabian Sea, Bengal Sea and South China Sea.
Things start clicking faster as my advantage of Western technology over other nations makes me virtually invincible in battle. I’ve started conquering Indochina via Malaysia, and I’ve taken vital coastal provinces on the Arabian peninsula. I am at this point the second most powerful country in the world, behind France and nearly tied with the Ottoman Empire, though my far flung nature prevents me from doing much force projection.
It is hard to see in the last screenshot, but I took Mecca, which, being off of the Indian Ocean is worthless to me. However, there are some good bonuses for conquering it as a Catholic state.
Now I’ve converted the inhabitants of Mecca to Catholicism. I’m now “Emperor”, because as I grew into a larger and more advanced nation, an hereditary Empire was better than a theocracy.
I now really control Indian Ocean trade, and as I move into powerful positions in China, I’m able to control 75% of trade going from Asia to Europe. I’m nearing my income goals for the achievement.
At this point, I’m by far the most powerful and prestigious nation in the world. And I’m quickly closing in on my goals. More expansion is always needed.
At this point, I just expanded as fast as I could to increase my trade power in India so that I could get the achievement. After taking more of the Bengal region, I reached my objective. I decided to spend a little bit of time expanding before ending the play through.
I decided to take more control over India and Arabia. At this stage in the game, I can conquer land and give the provinces to a relative to rule until they’ve stabalized. Hence the Kingdom of Kebab which will be ruling over parts of the Arabian peninsula until I reassert control.
After come more conquests, I decided to call the game off. I am Master of East Africa, Arabia, India, Indo-China, Southern China, and the whole of Oceania. Opportunities for growth in the 50 years remaining would be few and far between. Most land has been grabbed my major powers, and any significant additions to my empire would require a long drawn out war against multiple major European powers. While my navies are second to none, the far flung nature of my empire means that it would be difficult to fight a concentrated force from a European power that managed to land a large army somewhere in my empire.
My lands have all been converted to Catholicism, and almost all are dominated by American culture. Money pours into state coffers faster than it can be spent. All in all a very successful campaign.