Europa Universalis 3
EUROPA UNIVERSALIS III
by Sephiroth Katana (http://www.rpgclassics.com)
Each nation in EU3 offers a unique gameplay experience, due to their huge
differences in starting potential. If you want a relatively easy time, play as
Castille or France; if you want a near-impossible challenge, try The Knights or
Ryukyu. If you want a reasonably challenging, yet rewarding experience, you
could try starting as Muscowy in 1399. The early game is problematic and offers
quite a few obstacles, and even the mid- to late-game still requires you to
stay on your toes, but if you succeed, you can forge a mighty empire to rival
any other nation. Interestingly, playing as Muscowy can show you the logic of
real-world history -- you will experience first-hand exactly why the Russian
princes fought each other rather than their common enemy, and you'll be forced
to amass huge armies and conquer land just to stave off your hungry neighbours.
It is a fascinating experience that often requires serious thinking, but is
still quite doable even for relatively new players.
As of this writing, not many EU3 resources are available on GameFAQs. If you
have other questions, the Paradox forums and wiki boast a vibrant community.
They have a special style of FAQ-writing, which is meant to be more open-ended
than the typical walkthrough. I do not promise to follow this style; this FAQ
describes what worked for me in several Muscowy playthroughs and gives some
specific advice. It is meant to be a walkthrough of a particular campaign, not
a tutorial on game mechanics. I will point out mechanics that are particularly
important, but you should probably already be familiar with such concepts as
"sliders," "infamy," and "inflation," which are common to all nations. If you
are just starting the game, try to play through as Castille to get used to all
2. National Ideas
4. Province Improvements
The Grand Campaign, 1399-1821
1. Surviving the early game (1399-1450)
2. The early mid-game: Muscowy vs. the Horde (1450-1525)
3. The late mid-game: colonization, expansion, and warfare (1525-1600)
4. The late game: basking in glory (1600-1821)
5. Other Russian states
(Note: The date ranges are rough guidelines only.)
As Muscowy, you start out in a pretty bad position. You have a small handful
of land-locked provinces, wedged in between several hostile nations. Your
three small neighbours, the fellow Russian principalities of Tver, Ryazan, and
Yaroslavl, are inoffensive and can even be friendly, but unfortunately, you
are going to have to conquer them to get much-needed resources to deal with
your other neighbours. To your north is Novgorod, which starts out with more
land and money, and wants to conquer you as much as you want to conquer it.
To your west is Poland/Lithuania, which can put up a nasty fight even in the
late game. To your south and east is the immense Golden Horde, which controls
half of the Eurasian continent in 1399, and is incapable of any diplomatic
relations (seriously, this is part of the game mechanics) other than conquest
and extorting tribute.
To make things worse, you have a number of additional weaknesses:
1. You start out with the Oriental technology tree. Your military units will
quickly be outmatched by Western European countries, and you are forced to wait
15% longer than those countries to research the same upgrades. Your provinces
start with no improvements other than basic forts, and you are initially unable
to build such improvements (you need to first research some upgrades). Just to
compare, Castille starts out with a free University, an advanced building that
gives you free technology investments. As Muscowy, you will probably need to
wait at least 150 years before you can build one.
2. You start out so far away from the ocean that you will most likely never
have the chance to explore the New World. If you conquer Novgorod quickly, you
might get a shot at playing Peter the Great, but chances are that Britain,
Portugal, Spain, or Sweden will beat you to the colonies.
3. Did I mention the Golden Horde? Because it is absolutely terrifying. It will
take almost a hundred in-game years before you can put up a fight, and you will
have no choice but to pay them tribute during this entire time. This will slow
down your development considerably, as it is quite difficult to build up your
economy when you have to pay this extra liability every month.
There are, however, some pros to balance the cons:
1. You start out with a reasonably large military and a modest cash reserve.
Hey, you have to be thankful for what you can get. This allows you to at least
stand up to your immediate neighbours and pay off the Horde for a little while.
2. You may never reach the New World, but you might not need to. If you survive
the early game, you can actually dismantle the Horde piece by piece and expand
onto their land. The northeast of Asia is no man's land, and if you manage to
get that far, you can quickly colonize it. Many of these areas are rich in fur
and iron, which are quite valuable. In addition, staying on land just means
that you don't need to worry about spending money on a navy. Let all those
fools putter about in their little ships -- the more money they waste on them,
the easier it will be to smash their armies!
3. The penalty for being in the Oriental tech group actually doesn't kick in
immediately. You start with Druzhina Cavalry, which will stay competitive
against European cavalry for a good century. You can also switch to the Western
tech group using the game's Westernization mechanics. This is difficult, but
4. Although the Horde is terrifying, they use the Tribal Despotism form of
government, which is just about the worst government in the entire game. In
particular, every time their ruler dies, they go into a succession crisis in
which most of their lands can be overrun by rebels. While this is going on,
they can actually fracture into multiple smaller hordes, each of which will
be much easier for Muscowy to handle.
Thus, if you can survive long enough to Westernize and expand into the Horde's
lands, you can then quickly build an enormous empire. It is quite gratifying
to be able to mobilize 40,000 troops in the span of a month late in the game.
Hopefully, this FAQ can help you get there.
One final note: I developed these strategies while playing the full version of
the game with all four expansions (through Divine Wind). In my opinion, this is
the way the game should be played; it took them a long time to really iron out
the mechanics. And, it should go without saying, but this FAQ would be most
useful to readers who are not EU3 masters. I'm sure someone somewhere was able
to Westernize within the first 20 years and conquer the world in the first 100,
but this FAQ is for normal players and their typical EU3 experience.
This section describes long-term strategic choices that you can make throughout
the game, such as your slider moves and national ideas. I describe the choices
that will specifically benefit Muscowy in my opinion.
Don't neglect your sliders; they exert a subtle yet deep influence on how your
game plays out. You'll need to adjust them every chance you get in order to
Westernize quickly. Below, I describe the relative importance of each slider
and give advice on how to set it.
a. Centralization vs. Decentralization
Most of the sliders offer you a choice, with both sides having advantages and
disadvantages. Not this one: there is absolutely no benefit to Decentralization.
It may go against your political beliefs, but unfortunately this is how the
medieval world works according to EU3. Maximum Centralization is always
preferable. Unfortunately, Muscowy starts out with high Decentralization. Moving
to Centralization should be your first priority, especially since you'll need it
b. Aristocracy vs. Plutocracy
This one depends on your play style. Full Aristocracy gives you a better land
army and more diplomats; full Plutocracy gives you more merchants, spies, and
trade efficiency. If you are planning to do a lot of trading, Plutocracy may
be helpful. But, since Muscowy is a land-based power, my personal suggestion
would be to favour Aristocracy. It is not hugely important, though, and I
usually just follow whichever direction the random events suggest. Your regular
slider moves would probably be better used for the other sliders.
c. Serfdom vs. Free Subjects
You start out with full Serfdom, which is actually not too bad. It makes it more
difficult to research technology, something that Muscowy already has a problem
with, but it also gives you cheaper military units and makes it easier to
increase your Stability. Free Subjects basically does the opposite of all these
things: it makes technology cheaper, but increases the cost of your military.
I prefer to have this somewhere in the middle, but I don't make it a priority.
If you have full Serfdom, you will experience fairly frequent random events
allowing you to move toward Free Subjects without sacrificing a slider move.
d. Innovative vs. Narrowminded
This is an interesting one. You start out Narrowminded, and you must move toward
Innovation in order to Westernize. Having successfully done that, however, you
will actually benefit more from moving back to Narrowminded, as this will reduce
the cost of Stability and give you more missionaries, which can be difficult to
get otherwise. As Muscowy, you might have to do a lot of converting on Horde
lands, so missionaries can be extremely useful. This slider also affects the
Papal Influence of Catholic countries, but Muscowy is Orthodox, so this won't
make any difference.
e. Mercantilism vs. Free Trade
Another interesting one. As you may expect, Free Trade favours your merchants
and your ability to compete in foreign centers of trade. Mercantilism improves
your performance in centers of trade that you control, but Muscowy starts out
with zero. Mercantilism also gives you extra spies, which is reasonably useful.
I suggest just making a one-time decision whether or not you are going to
incorporate trade into your play style. I usually decide not to do this, since
it is not that helpful in the crucial early game. This allows me to just focus
on Mercantilism and have one less slider to worry about. You will occasionally
get random events allowing you to move toward Free Trade.
f. Offensive vs. Defensive
Pretty self-explanatory. Offensive gives a bonus to your attacking units and
their morale, whereas Defensive improves the quality of your forts. I personally
prefer to have this exactly in the middle, but either extreme has its pluses.
g. Land vs. Naval
Again, self-explanatory: Land benefits your armies, and Naval benefits your
navies. In my opinion, Muscowy benefits the most from an all-Land play style,
so you can go all Land and have one less thing to think about. Perhaps the one
drawback is that Land penalizes the cost of colonists, which can be important
(though not hugely so) when you are conquering Horde lands.
h. Quality vs. Quantity
Both have benefits. Quality improves your battle performance, but increases the
cost of your army and reduces your manpower, which means that you will have to
wait longer to replenish your armies. Quantity does the opposite of that, giving
you more and cheaper units that don't perform as well. You start out with high
Quantity, which is actually OK for the early game. As you improve your economy,
you might consider moving toward Quality.
To summarize, your priorities in the early game are to move toward Innovative
and Centralization, with Land being a useful third option. After Westernizing,
you can actually move back toward Narrowminded.
2. National Ideas
These are various bonuses that you can adopt as your Government Technology
improves. You can switch between them (i.e. abandon one idea and replace it by
another one), but this penalizes you, so it is better to choose things that can
benefit you throughout the entire game. Below, I list a few of the most useful
ideas for Muscowy, in the order in which I recommend getting them. Since I
think that Muscowy is most successful as a land power, I do not recommend any
of the naval ideas (many of the land ideas, on the other hand, are essential).
a. National Conscripts
Absolutely fantastic. This idea increases your manpower reserves by 50%, which
is particularly useful in the early game when you may have to fight multiple
wars in a row with no time to recuperate from your losses. Until you can get a
fairly large number of new provinces, manpower will be a crucial factor in all
of your military engagements. Should probably be your first choice for an idea.
b. National Bank
Automatically gives you a permanent yearly inflation reduction of 0.1%. This
could even be your first idea, since inflation can be absolutely deadly in the
early- or even mid-game, and it will be quite difficult to make money while you
are paying tribute to the Horde. This is really the only way to reduce your
inflation in the early game. You can also hire Masters of the Mint, but they
need to be at least level 4 in order to be useful; a level 1 advisor will only
give a 0.02% inflation reduction, which is worthless. This idea is like having
a permanent level 5 Master without using up an advisor slot.
c. Military Drill
A great idea giving a permanent bonus to your armies' morale. Muscowy tends to
spend most of her time on land anyway, so you'll need this idea eventually,
although there are a few other contenders for your third.
A very nice permanent 10% boost to all of your tax income. You can never have
too much money as Muscowy, though you get more out of this if you already have
some tax income to boost (e.g. you've built some Constables and Workshops).
e. Grand Army
Another great idea that permanently increases your land supply limit by 33%,
meaning that you can make substantially more military units. The benefits really
start to kick in during the mid-game, when your country becomes large enough
that you need multiple armies to protect all of your borders. In the early game,
you might not have enough money to use up the available supply, although it
can be quite useful if you do.
f. Engineer Corps
Fairly useful, in that it makes your defenses last longer, and also helps you
to overcome enemy defenses faster. You need to put a leader in charge of your
army to get that benefit, though, and you may not be able to afford one in the
early game. Still, the defense bonus can make enemy armies get bogged down
until your armies can come to the rescue.
g. Colonial Ventures
Not essential, but can be quite helpful in the mid- to late-game when you are
trying to expand to the Pacific Ocean. Unlike many other countries, you can get
by without ever adopting Quest for the New World, but Colonial Ventures will
help out by giving you extra colonists.
h. Divine Supremacy
This will give you extra missionaries, which can be quite helpful in bringing
former Horde lands under your control. It is a bit less useful than Colonial
Ventures, since you can get enough missionaries by moving toward Narrowminded
in your sliders. However, in the mid-game, you have to be more Innovative in
order to Westernize, so this idea can help fill the gap.
i. Church Attendance Duty
Reduces the cost of Stability by 33%. This is not that useful late in the game,
when you can restore Stability in a single month, but it can be situationally
useful when you are trying to recover your Stability while Westernizing.
j. Bill of Rights
Not essential, but can give you an easier time by reducing the frequency with
which those stupid rebels appear. Once you have created your vast empire, this
can really cut down on the aggravation factor.
k. Smithian Economics
Oh yeah, baby. This will boost your production efficiency by 20%, which will
send your economy into overdrive once you have conquered those iron-producing
provinces. In the late game, this is a great idea, and you can only get it in
the late game, since you need Production Technology 30 before you can adopt it.
That's basically the only reason why it's not higher on this list.
l. Napoleonic Warfare
Increases your armies' damage potential by 25%, which is great. The only problem
is that you need Land Technology 53 to adopt it, and by then the game will be
nearly over anyhow.
Advisors can be very helpful for achieving your goals. The best advisors to
choose vary depending on which stage your game is in.
In the early game, you get the most value out of advisors who give bonuses to
your technology investments. This is particularly important since Muscowy's
research is penalized until you Westernize. Also, at this early stage, your
economy is so poor that even a level 1-2 advisor can significantly improve your
research speed, at a fairly low cost. Thus, you will be looking for the
- Artist (Stability investment bonus; you start with a decent one)
- Army Reformer (Land investment bonus)
- Natural Scientist (Production investment bonus)
- Statesman (Government investment bonus)
Since I recommend staying away from trade and naval combat as Muscowy, I suggest
focusing on the above and ignoring Treasurers and Naval Reformers. Keeping an
Artist on hand will be useful for a very long time, since you can expect
frequent stability drops from random events. Westernizing also carries a huge
Aside from these guys, a Master of the Mint (inflation reduction) can be a life-
saver in the early game. If you ever let your inflation go above zero, this and
the National Bank idea will be your only means of reducing it. However, the
advisor really needs to be level 4 or higher to be useful, since any inflation
reduction below 0.08% per year is far too slow to help you. Make sure to keep
up your Cultural Tradition.
In the mid-game, these advisors will still be useful, but you can also get more
value out of specialists like the following:
- Banker (reduces interest on loans; try not to borrow money though)
- Fortification Expert (improved fort defense)
- Grand Captain (improved morale for land armies)
- Theologian (improved conversion chance for missionaries)
- Spymaster (improved chances of spy success; situationally useful)
In the late game, you can rely on more subtle economic and diplomatic advisors:
- Alderman (improved production efficiency; hire once you have iron production)
- Diplomat (yearly Infamy reduction; quite helpful in between wars)
- Grand Marshal (yearly Legitimacy bonus; situationally helpful)
- Philosopher (yearly Prestige bonus; quite helpful in between wars)
I rarely use the other advisors, as I feel that the bonuses they offer are
either too small or not very relevant to Muscowy's situation.
4. Province Improvements
Early on, you have to think hard about which improvements to build, since your
money will be very limited. In my opinion, the most useful improvements for
Muscowy are the economic ones (Constable, Workshop, etc.), which increase your
tax base and production efficiency. The bonuses stack: a Constable gives you
a 25% tax bonus, and a Workshop gives +1 to tax, so with the Constable it will
actually be +1.25.
The second most useful improvements are related to manpower (Armory and so on).
These are particularly great early on, but decrease in importance later as you
gain more lands. You might want to have a few provinces specializing in these
buildings. The Conscription Center, if you get that far, gives a huge bonus to
manpower and even increases your supply limit (which will stack with the Grand
The government buildings (Church and so on) are a bit less important in my view.
Churches are helpful early on, and Courthouses can be useful in those high-risk
provinces with a different culture and religion from the state-adopted ones.
The Town Hall, if you get that far, gives a tax bonus, and the Cathedral, if
you get even farther, gives nice bonuses to all your missionaries. I generally
do not prioritize these buildings as highly, though.
I never build any of the trade or naval buildings, since I feel that Muscowy
gets less value out of them for most of the game. If you have extra money, a
Dock will give you a production bonus, which is handy even if you don't plan to
make a navy.
Among the unique buildings, pretty much all are useful except for the Admiralty.
Among the manufactories, the Weapons Manufactory is fantastic, since it gives a
special bonus to provinces that produce copper or iron (both of which are
plentiful in Russia). The Textile Manufactory is another good choice, since
many provinces make wool. The University and Fine Arts Academy are reasonable
options for places that don't make these products, but really the Weapons
Manufactory should be the top priority (I typically end up with 10-20 of these).
One of the hints on the game's loading screen says, "Did you know inflation is
bad?" This is the best advice a new player can possibly receive. Do not drive
your inflation up. It can take 30-50 years to bring it back down, which is
devastating in the early game. Any inflation is too much.
To avoid inflation, never use your monthly income on anything other than tech
research. This means that you will lose money during the year; hopefully your
annual income on January 1st will give you enough to last until December 31st.
Don't spend all of your starting money, as you might need it to last through
the first few years.
Likewise, do not borrow money. Not only will you have to pay monthly interest,
thus slashing your income even more, but you will have to repay the principal
after five years.
Of course, occasionally you will face desperate times. The only occasion when
you should ever consider borrowing money is right before starting a war with
the Golden Horde. This will let you hire a general (they don't come cheap in
the early game), train some extra troops, and maintain those troops during
the war if they go over your supply limit. Once you finally commit to a war
with the Horde, the idea is that you will save money from not paying tribute,
and that you will seize new land that will generate new income. Within five
years, you should have enough money to pay back the loan. If not, you'll likely
just lose the game anyway. There is no other time during the game when you
should ever consider borrowing money.
Similarly, you may occasionally mint money, thus driving up inflation. You
should never do this before you have the National Bank idea. Once you adopt that
idea, you will have a permanent 0.1% annual inflation reduction. If you then
hire a decent Master of the Mint and improve your Centralization, you can get
this up to about 0.2%. Even with this, it will take five years to reduce one
single percentage point of inflation, so be very careful. Really the only time
you should ever consider minting money is if it is close to the end of the year
and you are about to receive your annual income. Minting for 1-2 months will not
hurt you too badly, and you can reduce the inflation over the next 10-12 months
while surviving on your annual income.
THE GRAND CAMPAIGN, 1399-1821
1. Surviving the early game (1399-1450)
All right, then! You've started the Grand Campaign, and you're looking at your
six starting provinces on the map. Before you even unpause, there are already
quite a few things for you to do.
First, the Horde starts out at war with you. You have no hope of defeating them
with your starting army. My best advice is to immediately offer them tribute
(click on any Horde province, choose "Sue for Peace" and go from there). The
exact amount of tribute they demand depends on your economy, so it's better to
pay it now rather than later. If you offer tribute on day one, they will
typically ask for 0.9 ducats per month. This is actually horrible, but you
have no choice. At least you start with 77 ducats in your treasury!
Second, you get a slider move. Although your first priority should be to move
toward Centralization as quickly as possible, this is a bit dangerous in 1399.
This move will either spark a revolt on your territory or decrease your
Stability, both of which are perilous in the early game. A relatively harmless
option will be to move toward Land -- you will benefit from this in the short
term, and the immediate effects are more likely to be mild. Then, you can
move toward Centralization starting with your next move.
Third, you need to set your research priorities. Initially, put all of your
monthly income into Stability, as you need to get it to +3 in order to really
do anything in this game. After that, it's a bit more open. You start at level 3
for all your research areas, and you usually need level 4 before you can start
building improvements. After Stability reaches +3, put all of your money into
one area of your choice.
The best area to choose may depend on the available advisors. Take a look to see
which advisors are available (this is all before you unpause). If there's a good
advisor in, say, Land Technology, it may make more sense to prioritize that if
no other advisor is available. In my opinion, it is best to focus on Government
Technology if you can, since you get a chance to adopt your first national idea
at level 4 (and also build Churches, which are somewhat useful). Some of the
national ideas will be absolutely essential to your success; see the previous
section for a discussion.
In the beginning, you do not own any trade centers, and the only one you can
access is Novgorod. Needless to say, they are not too keen on helping you make
money. If the starting advisor pool has a reasonably high-level Trader, you can
hire him and give it a shot; otherwise, your merchants will probably fail to
place, wasting your money. My preference is to just give up on trading as
Muscowy, which allows me to focus on Mercantilism and ignore Trade Technology
in favour of other, more useful areas.
Finally, you will be assigned a mission before unpausing. Nine times out of
ten, you'll be asked to conquer one of your small neighbours. If you complete
the mission, you will get a bonus in the form of "cores" on the conquered lands.
A core on a province means that it is considered part of your heartland, and you
always have an excuse to go to war with any country that holds one of your
cores. Core provinces also produce more income. It is quite good to follow these
missions, since otherwise you'll need to hold on to a province for 50 years
in a row before it becomes a core.
Unfortunately, you may not always be able to do what the missions tell you. Your
starting army could probably defeat either Tver, Ryazan, or Yaroslavl in a one-
on-one battle, but unfortunately Novgorod is not going to let you expand so
easily. If your starting mission is to annex Ryazan, Novgorod will probably
jump into the war even though they do not have an alliance with Ryazan at first.
The best situation is when your first mission is to annex Yaroslavl. You can
declare war before you even unpause (the mission provides the excuse for war),
then start the game, move your starting army into their single province, crush
their weak 4000-man army, and score a quick victory. In fact, I recommend doing
that regardless of whether you get the mission or not. If you declare war
before unpausing, chances are that Novgorod will not bother to defend Yaroslavl.
The Golden Horde will immediately accept your tribute offer, and you can annex
a new territory in your first year.
After this, you'll still be in a tough spot. Tver or Ryazan will not be quite so
easy to conquer, and Novgorod will quickly ally with them (or guarantee their
independence), making it impossible for you to attack them for quite some time.
Paying tribute to the Horde will give you at least 10 years of breathing room,
but don't get lulled into a false sense of security -- they can break the truce
if they sense that they can get even more money out of you.
Fortunately, Poland/Lithuania will stay out of your way for a while. They start
as a single entity, but their union is doomed to dissolve sooner or later, and
they start with a big rebellion close to your border. In fact, the rebels are
guaranteed to spill onto your territory, and you are not guaranteed to be able
to defeat them with your starting army. It may actually be better to let them
seize Vyazma and move on, whereupon you can retake the province. Your starting
king is pretty mediocre, but has decent military skill, so you can just make
him a general -- if he dies, it's not a huge loss, as long as he leaves an heir.
In fact, Lithuania might actually be an easier target than the Russians in the
early game. You have to be a bit careful about it, though. Don't declare war,
but rather wait for the rebels to overrun the provinces at your border. Quite
often, they will declare independence and form new principalities such as
Polotsk or Smolensk. At that point, you can attack them (hopefully you get a
random excuse like Border Friction) before they have a chance to build up an
army. You can get quite a few important provinces in this way, like Bryansk
In terms of potential allies, I find that the best choices are countries that
are nearby, but do not share a border with you. The other Russians will be glad
to ally with you, but since you want to conquer them, there isn't much of a
point. The Horde (and all nomad tribes in EU3) is unable to form alliances with
anyone -- they recognize "only gold or steel" as the game puts it. Poland and
Lithuania are way too close for comfort. However, the Teutonic Order is a decent
choice (contrary to historical fact), since they regularly fight Novgorod and
may help you in a war against your neighbours. Hungary is also a reasonable
pick; they might not come to your aid, but at least they will act as a deterrent
against potential attackers. You can form Royal Marriages with other Orthodox
countries like Serbia or Georgia. I also like to develop good relations with
really distant countries, like Portugal -- again, they won't help you fight,
but people will think twice about picking on you with them on your side.
So, in the first decade or so, the safest policy is to conquer Yaroslavl, and
then wait, either until rebels break away from Lithuania, or until Novgorod is
busy fighting the Teutonic Order. If you see that Tver is not allied with
Novgorod, you can attack. There is no mission to conquer them, only to vassalize
them, but once you do that you can often get a second mission to annex them
diplomatically. Having them as a vassal is still quite nice, since you get
half their income and they are always guaranteed to follow you into battle.
If you do decide to fight Ryazan/Novgorod, make sure to have at least two
reasonably strong armies. You won't be able to afford this with your starting
territory, but if you conquered Yaroslavl and stole a couple of border provinces
from Lithuania, you will be in a better position. Novgorod is actually kind of
a paper tiger: their standing army greatly outclasses what you start with, but
they don't have much more than that. If you can thrash their main army, you
might not get much more resistance, and your second army can run around hunting
down their reinforcements before they group together. Having the Teutonic Order
on your side helps with this (if you're lucky, they'll engage Novgorod's main
army, leaving you to run around grabbing land), although they'll exact their
price by carving off lands on Novgorod's western border.
When fighting Novgorod, I often find that they ignore my main army and go for
my land. Having Tver as a vassal here can be quite helpful, as they'll be tied
up with Tver's land and army, allowing you to run around them and grab their
provinces. Their eastern lands are poorly defended, and if you can seize a
couple of provinces like Beloozero, Vetluga or Ustyug, you can sue for peace
and annex them. Novgorod becomes much weaker once they start losing land. You
probably won't be able to overrun them entirely, but if you can take 2-3
provinces from them, you'll be in a much better position.
Hopefully you can accomplish some of this within 20-30 years. The quicker you
get this done now, the greater your chances of reaching the Pacific! Once you
reach level 4 in at least one area, it will become a bit easier. Any one of
your three main focus areas will provide a major benefit:
- Government: get a national idea and build Churches (reduce Stability cost)
- Production: build Constables (boost tax income)
- Land: build Armories (boost manpower)
Armories will help you replenish your armies, which is actually a big deal
in the early game. A war with Novgorod can leave you under-manned, which means
no way to defend if the Horde suddenly decides to show up. The national idea
can do this even better if you choose National Conscripts, although Churches
are not quite as useful. Constables are vital for improving your economy.
Really you can't go wrong with any of these.
You can consider yourself to be out of the early game once you've conquered
Yaroslavl, vassalized Tver, grabbed at least some land from Novgorod or
Lithuania, and started to build some infrastructure. If you got the Constables,
start by building one in Moskva -- the 25% bonus will be larger in provinces
that already have higher tax incomes.
2. The early mid-game: Muscowy vs. the Horde (1450-1525)
By now, you've got to be chafing at having to pay that tribute every month.
You need that money to build province improvements! You can't build them if
your annual income is eaten up by your monthly expenses, but you can't increase
your income until you build more Constables!
Unfortunately, the Horde is an enemy unlike any you've faced up to now. You
could take on Novgorod with two big armies, but the Horde will just keep coming
forever. You will face multiple armies with 12-14K troops, and their Steppe
Cavalry is actually pretty good in the early game, certainly a match for your
forces. And you cannot even call your allies into battle against nomadic tribes,
so your buddies in the Teutonic Order are not going to help you. You can't raise
war taxes either (as the game says, "to the Horde, all taxes are war taxes").
Sometimes the Horde will break their truce with you even if you haven't done
anything. All you can do in this situation is die (or reset the game). However,
if they are OK with your tribute, you can be smart about when to attack. There
are two factors to consider:
a. The Horde is ruled by a Tribal Despotism, the single worst form of government
in the game. Every time their ruler dies, they enter a succession crisis in
which gigantic stretches of land are seized by rebels. If you're lucky, the
rebels can actually splinter off into other, smaller hordes, like Crimea and
Nogai. This is not always good, since the new hordes will come after you for
tribute just as much as the old horde did, but at least you might be able to
fight them one at a time. They might even fight each other even while they're
b. The Horde also attacks other countries, not just you. They like to harass
Poland/Lithuania, which is another reason why this country won't cause you a
lot of grief in the early game. Their success at this can be quite random. I
have seen them conquer their way into Poland and even parts of Austria, but
this usually doesn't last, and the other Europeans retake the land as soon as
the next succession crisis starts. Other times, Poland will push back pretty
hard, and can actually conquer large pieces of the Horde if you're not careful
(you want that land for yourself). The best time to attack the Horde is when
they're fighting both Poland/Lithuania and each other. You can't formally ally
yourself with Poland for this war, but it doesn't matter.
When you attack, you need to bring your A-game. Get at least two of the most
powerful armies you can, headed by generals (your king can be a general, as long
as he's not too skillful -- if you've still got your starting king, he's a
good choice). Also make sure to have a cash reserve of 50-100 ducats, as you
will need this in order to seize Horde lands. If you don't have the income,
bite the bullet and take out a loan. If you succeed, you can use the spoils of
war to repay the debt, and if you fail, you'll be dead. Sounds like a clear
choice to me.
Now, hopefully you can see their armies fighting around the Polish border. You
want to hit far away from this place, so that they have to spend some time to
reach you. The best target is Kazan, directly east of your starting province of
Nizhny Novgorod. This is a very strong province which will greatly improve your
tax income once you seize it. If, however, the enemy armies are centered around
Kazan, then try to hit their southern regions, like Saratow or Tambow.
If you're starting the war, you have no choice but to take a stability hit. It's
so unfair, since they're extorting you, but you have no choice. Sometimes you
can get a mission to conquer one of their provinces, which gives you an excuse.
Either way, once you've made the decision to attack, send your armies to two
different provinces (hopefully adjacent ones, so they can reinforce each other)
and hope that you can take control of them before the really huge Horde armies
show up. You can use your spies to Bribe Defenders and speed the process along;
usually Horde provinces can be bribed fairly cheaply (like 10-20 ducats) and
bribery has a high success rate (75-90%).
Once you've taken control of some territory, pick the province that looks like
the most valuable and send colonists to it. The complete version of EU3 has a
unique mechanic for fighting nomads: instead of annexing their territory through
diplomacy, you can only do this by sending colonists to individual provinces.
Colonists are not cheap -- each one costs about 20-30 ducats at this stage of
the game. Usually a successful colonist will create a settlement of 100 people,
but if you're colonizing a Horde territory, this amount is doubled, the success
rate is increased, and the time needed for the colonist to arrive is reduced.
All told, you will need to wait about 30 in-game days to add 200 people to your
Once the settlement is created, it will grow automatically every month by a
small amount, even if you don't send new colonists. Usually you add about five
people per month, but with Horde lands, it's more like 15-20. And the punchline
is that, once your settlement grows to 1000 people, the province defects to your
complete control without any need for negotiation. So you can permanently
remove territory from their grasp without even ending the war.
Of course, five colonists are very costly, so I usually send about 3-4 to a
province and let the natural growth fill in the rest. You just need to survive
the war long enough for the colonists to do their work. Hopefully you can get
more than one province in this way, but one is a good start. Do not end the
war until the province has defected -- if you do, the Horde will just kill all
of your colonists, wiping out your work.
Now, once you've gotten at least one province, you need to take over a couple
more and then sue for peace. You will probably not be able to force the Horde
to pay tribute, as much as you might like, but you may be able to get them to
accept defeat. You may even offer to admit your own defeat, and they might
accept without forcing you to pay tribute. Either way, they'll be back in ten
years, but you will have some time to recover without having to pay tribute.
You will stop paying tribute as soon as the war starts, which is one plus at
In the worst case, they won't take no for an answer, and they'll force you to
pay tribute again. Only this time, it won't be one ducat per month, it'll be
more like 3-4, which will really wreck your economy. If you conquer Kazan, they
will usually be more agreeable, but if you seize less important provinces, they
might not see it as a big enough deal. Try to conquer Kazan and don't let the
war last too long -- otherwise they'll make peace with their other enemies
and bear down on you with everything they have.
This is basically the blueprint for dismantling the Horde piece by piece, and it
is probably the single most satisfying thing you can do in EU3. Go to war,
colonize 1-2 provinces, make them admit defeat, wait 10 years, repeat the
process. The more times you do this, the easier it will get. Their most valuable
provinces are Kazan, Perm (which has iron), Samara (which has gold), Sarai,
and Astrakhan (which has a trade center). Once you've grabbed at least 2-3 of
these, you will quickly find that their war machine isn't quite what it used to
be. Then they're doomed, and will probably splinter into Crimea, Nogai, Kazan,
Sibir, Oirat, Qasim, Qara Koyunlu, and other mini-hordes, each of which can be
dealt with in the exact same way.
In fact, you can exploit the Horde mechanics to steal provinces from Poland and
Lithuania without ever having to fight them. Just wait until the Horde grabs
Polish lands, then step in and colonize them. Poland will still have an excuse
to go to war with you, but they won't do it right after fighting the Horde. You
can abuse this mechanic even more to divide and conquer your other rivals. For
example, if you take Vetluga and Ustyug from Novgorod, you can cut off their
capital from their eastern provinces like Solikamsk. With no way to move their
armies there, they will inevitably lose these eastern lands to the Horde, at
which point you can move in.
In between wars with the Horde, you might as well finish off Novgorod. You'll
probably have plenty of excuses -- I tend to get the Border Friction event with
them fairly often. If you managed to take Kazan, Novgorod will suddenly seem
much less tough. Two big armies will be enough to overrun them. The end goal is
to annex them completely, but you might want to do it in stages to avoid
building up your Infamy. Fortunately, you start with the Despotic Monarchy
government, which increases your allowable Infamy limit, and you don't get any
Infamy from colonizing Horde lands. By the time you're done, the Golden Horde
will be just a memory.
Also, during this time, the Poland/Lithuania union often goes sour. Sometimes,
they'll even start fighting. Of the two, Poland tends to be more dangerous at
this stage of the game, so try to stay at a respectful distance from them. But
Lithuania is often a weak opponent. I have seen Polotsk break away with a large
number of provinces, for example. Other times, Lithuania gets bogged down in a
fight with Poland, allowing you to attack their eastern border. You can easily
get your hands on Minsk and Polotsk in this way.
Something to watch out for is that the conquered Horde lands are going to have
a different culture (Tartar) and religion (Sunni) from your own. This generally
increases the risk of revolt in these provinces, and you really don't want to
have to hunt down large rebel forces in between major wars. There are a couple
of ways to deal with this. If you have made progress toward Innovative, you
generally become more tolerant (there are some national ideas that help with
this as well) and the risk of rebellion is reduced somewhat. Your other option
is to pursue a policy of total assimilation. You can't do much to change the
culture in a province; that happens by itself given enough time. However, you
can convert them to Orthodoxy by sending missionaries. Each missionary requires
a one-time investment of about 30 ducats, and then has a small chance every
year of converting the province. Don't let the province fall back into enemy
hands, or the missionary will be killed and you will have to invest in another
one. In the long term, using missionaries will make your lands much more stable,
but in the short term, the missionary will actually slightly increase the revolt
risk. The best way is to proceed cautiously and only have a couple missionaries
working at a time (probably this will be all you can afford anyway) in the most
high-value provinces (like Kazan or Perm). Hiring a Theologian can be quite
helpful for increasing your conversion chances.
Overall, the only real threat in this stage comes from the Golden Horde. Europe
is still comfortably far away, and their wars don't really affect you yet. Just
make the Horde your main priority, and look for other opportunities as they
3. The late mid-game: colonization, expansion, and warfare (1525-1600)
The final stage in this mid-game is to transition from Muscowy to Russia and
Westernize. You can fulfill the requirements for this event pretty easily, once
you conquer Tver, Yaroslavl, Smolensk and Novgorod. If you get missions for
these, you will automatically get cores on their territory, allowing you to
form the Russian nation sooner. However, don't be in a rush. Once you form
Russia, you will automatically get cores on a huge number of provinces, many
of which may still be under Polish or Horde control. Having cores under foreign
control penalizes your Prestige, so there's no sense proclaiming your challenge
until you're big enough to walk the walk. Just continue breaking up the Horde
and Novgorod until you've gotten most of the provinces that will be cored by
When you do form Russia, you automatically move two steps toward Centralization,
which is also very helpful for Westernizing. You can consider the mid-game
finished once Westernization is complete. Hopefully you have diligently used
every slider move up to this point to improve your Centralization, as well as
move toward Innovative. I find that random events boosting your Innovative
score happen more frequently, so I suggest prioritizing Centralization in your
moves. To Westernize, you also need a king with an Administrative score of 6
or higher, so keep an eye on your king and heir to make sure you don't miss
the time. Fight the nomads while you wait for a better king!
Once you click the button for the Westernize event, you will need to go easy on
the wars for a while. First, you will take a huge Stability penalty of -5, which
is horrible. Fortunately, if you own the Neva province, you can immediately move
your capital there to create St. Petersburg, which gives you +3 back. This is
important, since Westernizing will increase your Stability cost significantly.
Now, you will enter a period of transition that will end once you complete the
Military Modernization event. To do this, you need a ruler with at least 7
Administrative, so if you Westernized with a 6 score, you need to wait, possibly
a long time. Hopefully your heir has a 7. You need even more Centralization,
and you can make the necessary slider moves while you're waiting. You actually
do not need Innovative any more, so feel free to move back toward Narrowminded
after your Centralization is good.
The last requirement for Military Modernization is that you are not under the
effects of the modifier called "Resisting Western Influences." This is harder to
do than it sounds. After you Westernize, but before you modernize the military,
you will regularly get very bad random events, in which your peasants revolt,
your aristocrats assassinate your advisors, or other awful things happen. You
have the option to avoid these negative events by Resisting Western Influences
for ten consecutive years. You can't complete Military Modernization until this
ten-year period expires.
Actually, this isn't too bad, since you will probably have to wait a while
anyway, either to get a new ruler, or to make the needed slider moves. Just
accept the modifier in the meantime, and complete the final event as soon as
the modifier expires. Once you finish Military Modernization, you will move
to the Western European tech group, remove the Oriental research penalty, and
never have to deal with Resisting Western Influences again.
Now, the world is yours! At this point, your former enemies will be gone (like
the Russian rivals) or incapacitated (like the Horde). Start pushing east of
Perm toward Siberia. Eventually the Golden Horde will disappear and you'll be
fighting Kazakh, Sibir, and Oirat hordes. The strategy is exactly the same,
except these guys are going to be much weaker. Push far enough and eventually
you'll see your first uninhabited provinces, usually Berezow and Obdorsk in
the far north. For once, you don't need to fight -- just send a colonist to
these lands. This time, you'll only get 100 settlers per colonist and a growth
of about 5 new settlers per month, but if you keep an army in the area to
protect against the hordes, you can take your time. These remote colonies have
few natives, and those few are not very hostile, so defending the colonies is
not as difficult as it could be. Many of these provinces are rich in fur and
iron. You might actually find yourself making money every year! Make sure to
keep increasing the size of your military, as this actually deters Europeans
from attacking you. If you focus your tech research on Land, you can build
your first Weapons Manufactory in an iron- or copper-producing province once
you get about 1000 ducats.
Remember to keep spending your money -- there is no benefit to stockpiling it.
You should keep enough on hand to cover your expenses until the end of the
current year, and spend as much of the rest as you can. Keep building those
Constables, Workshops, and Armories. If you don't have enough magistrates to
keep up with your income, you can switch from a Despotic Monarchy to an Empire
as soon as you control 30 provinces or more. Definitely make this switch. An
Administrative Monarchy will give you even more magistrates, but an Empire
gives a bonus to your armies' morale.
But now, although the East is no longer a major threat, you are suddenly going
to have to deal with the West. Lithuania is usually in a shambles around now,
and you can keep up your friendship with the Teutons, who usually form Prussia.
The most dangerous opponents are Poland and Sweden, particularly Sweden. These
guys often conquer much of Scandinavia, and then decide to attack your north-
western border, where Novgorod was.
If you haven't finished Westernizing yet, or if you've just done so, this is
going to be a major problem. Your armies are just not going to be up to par yet,
so your only hope is to overwhelm them with numbers. When the war starts, raise
your war taxes and build a unit in literally every heartland province you have,
then gather them together around Moskva or Novgorod. It is OK to go over your
supply limit, since you can just disband extra units after the war. It's more
important to have enough to beat Sweden. Typically Sweden puts up about two
seriously large armies (20+ thousand troops per army), so you need about two
or three with about 25K and enough generals to go around. I usually put about
60% infantry and 40% cavalry in each army, which gives you a bonus for mixed
composition. Artillery is not that useful in my opinion, as it is more important
to defeat the Swedish military than to win sieges quickly. After a rather bloody
fight in the beginning, you can set up a few sieges on their border provinces
and use your armies to hunt down reinforcements before they are able to gather
Usually Prussia will be glad to join you, and if you were able to ally with
Portugal, they might even show up to help out. Sweden will probably have other
European allies, but they'll be far away, and they tend to not bother traveling
across all that land. It only becomes dangerous if another major power has
managed to establish a presence in Scandinavia (England or France often do
this). Better hope that they don't ally with Sweden, or that you can make a
separate peace with them.
You don't need to conquer all of Sweden, but it is nice to grab a couple of
provinces along the border. Another good option is to force them to release
Finland as a free country, if they are in control of Finnish land. They will
lose a substantial number of provinces, and you can easily establish a good
relationship with Finland. And, if Finland ever does decide to turn against you,
you can vassalize them and have a friendly kingdom defending your border for
the rest of the game.
Other Europeans are usually not that dangerous. Often, Prussia will call you
into battle against random German duchies. You can just accept the call to arms
to preserve your alliance, and then do nothing. The enemy will offer ridiculous
peace terms for a while, but just keep ignoring them until they suggest a White
Peace. You should avoid wars with Austria and France if you can, but otherwise
you are unlikely to be in any real danger.
Sometimes, Europeans will establish isolated holdings in places that you might
want to control. For instance, the Crimean peninsula often ends up being taken
by an Italian state like Venice or Genoa. If you don't want to start a war with
them, one option is to fund patriots in these remote places, which have a chance
of taking them over and forming a new horde or minor principality, both of which
are far easier to deal with.
Overall, your main task in this part is to successfully Westernize and handle
Sweden. The hordes now go from a curse to a blessing, since they are so easy to
defeat and colonize with your new Western units.
4. The late game: basking in glory (1600-1821)
You could probably just safely do nothing for the remaining 200 years, but where
is the fun in that when you can keep expanding? Your first priority should be to
keep expanding eastward. Once you defeat Kazakh and Sibir, you will start to
encounter large quantities of uninhabited provinces. You can send a couple of
colonists there to start new settlements, and then send new colonists even
further east as soon as new uninhabited territories become visible. At this
point, you should be able to afford the maintenance costs for 3-4 colonies at
a time. Just let their natural growth take its course. You should also keep some
colonists on hand for any remaining horde lands. Eventually, you will be able
to absorb every single horde government in northern Eurasia. When your southern
borders meet up with more organized Muslim states like Persia, that is probably
as far as you can go. These countries are able to form alliances, and although
their tech is probably behind yours, the Ottomans and Persians can field some
gigantic armies. It's probably better to leave them alone and just wait for them
to collapse under internal rebellion. The Ottomans can cut a swath through
Europe in some games, but they inevitably overextend and buckle. You can also
play some cloak-and-dagger games with them, like funding Georgian patriots in
provinces that usually end up being conquered by the Ottomans.
You can actually peacefully expand all the way to the Pacific coast. The entire
northeastern shore of Asia starts out uninhabited, although if you are too slow,
the Western Europeans will have made it across the entire American continent and
shown up at your back door. Don't let them do this -- sweep all the way to
Sakhalin and the Kuril islands. You can even settle Hokkaido if you are quick
enough. Your southern borders will probably bump against East Asian powers like
Ming China, Korea, Qin and Manchu. They tend to ally with each other as well, so
you may want to avoid fighting them, but their tech is even farther behind than
It is more important to maintain your military production. If you don't have
enough large armies on your borders, both the Western Europeans and the Asians
will see this as a sign of weakness and attack, often at the same time. It is
especially important to have 4-5 very large (at least 30K) armies on your
western borders, just so Sweden, France, Castille, and Austria don't get any
ideas. In the very late game, the single most dangerous enemy is actually
Austria. It is actually a good idea to leave Poland as a buffer, as usually
countries are less likely to attack you if they don't share a border with you.
You can continue to ally with Prussia and anyone else who will listen. Trying
to take over the Baltic is usually quite difficult, since some micro-nations
like Riga can actually be part of the Holy Roman Empire, and you'll generally
have a lot of powerful countries snooping around the area. Scandinavia is
more favourable to you, since you usually avoid the HRE and Austria, and
Sweden tends to decline once you've thrashed them once. If England or France
establishes a forward base in Scandinavia, you may be in for another long war.
You can take control of their land there fairly easily, but since these
provinces are fairly remote, usually they will not accept a peace offer
easily, even a White Peace.
During the 18th century, you can actually take the fight to France or Spain
and win -- just ask Austria, Bohemia and some other guys for military access,
and send out your 4-5 very large armies. By this time, your economy will be
booming due to all those iron-producing provinces in your far east (I hope
you've been keeping up with your Weapons Manufactories), and your armies will
actually be on par with the strongest nations in Europe, except that you will
have twice their manpower. England is a bit safer since they're on an island
and you probably didn't bother to invest in a navy at all, but I've noticed
that, in quite a few games, England can become weakened from endless wars
with Western Europeans, even leading to some separatist counties like Cornwall
Around 1750, there probably won't be much left to do. You probably won't be
able to take on Austria, so just hold on to your borders and let Poland serve
as a buffer. You can attack Ming or the other East Asian countries if you want,
or you can just enjoy some peacetime and keep building those improvements. By
the end, you will receive thousands of ducats every year, and you will barely
have enough magistrates to build manufactories everywhere. You can also create
new centers of trade in your far east to make even more money -- I usually build
one in Tomsk and/or Udskoye.
If you moved back to Narrowminded and kept up on your missionaries, you won't
even have a lot of trouble maintaining order, as your lands will become more
culturally and religiously homogeneous. If you can get to the far east fast
enough, the late game becomes extremely easy, and it's really up to you what
you want to try to accomplish. Quite a far cry from the difficult position you
started out in, back in 1399.
5. Other Russian states
Of course, you can play as any of the other Russian states as well. Just choose
Tver, Ryazan, Yaroslavl, or Novgorod at the starting screen. All of them face
the same issues that Muscowy does in the early game, except things are more
difficult, since they have less land and fewer troops, and they also have to
deal with Muscowy. Novgorod has the easiest time, and probably can be a bit
easier than Muscowy, since they start with a trade center and are farther away
from the Golden Horde.
Tver and Ryazan are in a difficult position. Your best bet is to ally with
Novgorod to avoid Muscowy. You'll survive, but it won't be clear what to do
next. Try to follow the same basic strategy, using Muscowy as a distraction
against the Horde, or grabbing splinter lands from Lithuania if there are any.
Yaroslavl is in a nearly unwinnable situation, since their only starting
province just does not give them enough to muster up an army. Try to ally with
anyone who will listen, to give Muscowy a deterrent. I don't have much advice
beyond that -- there's a reason why Muscowy formed Russia in real life, and
not the other guys.
Once you survive the early game, the rest plays out much like Muscowy's game.
Any of the Russian principalities can form the Russian nation, and you can
then Westernize and continue on as normal, except that it will probably happen
much later than for Muscowy.
Europa Universalis III is a copyright of Paradox Interactive, 2007-2011.
This FAQ is a copyright of Sephiroth Katana, 2013.