Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
Unify the German States
After spending a couple years in college studying Germany, it’s no surprise that Brandenburg is my personal favorite. Despite being landlocked, the Margraviate of Brandenburg’s influence lies in its military potential rather than trade power. Considered a historical march to buffer the northeastern corner of the Holy Roman Empire, it comes to no surprise that those on the other side of the imperial veil are wary of you–especially Pomerania to the north and the Teutonic Order to the east. And while Poland might be gnawing at your heels, they might be a worthy ally to have outside the HRE if you want to turn inward on Bohemia to the south.
While powerful in comparison to the neighboring German states (most have only one or two provinces whereas Brandenburg starts with six), you’ll easily be toppled early on if you try to act too aggressively. As a Prince-Elector who wields voting power on imperial succession, the eyes of many other German princes look to you for guidance; they won’t respond too kindly when you start annexing lands, especially of other Prince-Electors, threatening the delicate balance of feudalism and democracy (kinda) so popular in the HRE. Convince other minor electors to vote for you, however, and you might find yourself snagging the Imperial throne from those pesky Habsburgs in Austria.
If you choose not to ally yourself with Poland, however, and would prefer to remain benevolent in the eyes of your German peers, make a mix of friends, ranging from the one-province free cities to whomever is Emperor (after all, if you can’t be the head honcho, being the head honcho’s closest friend is the next best option). That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to claim land when the opportunity presents itself–and Neumark’s not going to fall back into your lap with wishful thinking alone.
Whether you want to expand inward and try to unify Germany (whether as Brandenburg, or by forming a true Holy Roman Empire with direct authority or a ‘modern’ German nation) or outward as Prussia along the Baltic, I’d keep the following tips in your back pocket as general advice since campaigns in the HRE rarely play out the same way twice:
- Establish a trading port. Anywhere will do. Pomerania and the Teutonic Order are both historic enemies to Brandenburg and, provided you can leverage the right moment and support, will fall easily enough… or at least be bruised enough to let up a few coastal provinces. Pomerania might be a better target, however, as they directly border you (the Teutonic Order is buffered and coveted by Poland, making it a little dicier to deal with). You don’t have to actively compete with the Hansa or the Danish, but it’s still nice to have access to the ocean for the sake of logistics, both during war- and peace-time.
- Maintain popularity within the HRE. One of the benefits of belonging to the Empire is the mutual defense of German lands. Like I said before, no one’s going to like a Leeroy Jenkins-esque power coming out of Berlin–WWI and WWII are prime examples of this. Reign with the respect of your neighbors (and be clever… you have spies for a reason).
- Quality over quantity. With a natural bonus to yearly army tradition (which allows you to field better military leaders to command your land forces), Brandenburg is best coupled with other military-focused national policies, especially those that boost individual unit discipline, morale, and defense. Until you either assert your line as the rightful Imperial successors or can conquer enough land to secure your own sovereignty, you’ll need to work with what you have. In comparison to Poland (and Lithuania, which is just a fancy way of saying “more Poland” in this case) right next-door, that’s not much in 1444.
Bow to No One
As Braveheart suggests, your main objective as early-game Scotland is maintaining your independence from those dubious English dogs. While England outclasses you in size, economic development, and military might to start, Scotland enjoys military-focused traditions that increase your land force limit modifier by 33% and +1.00 to Land Leader Shock (which, in layman’s terms, makes your generals perform better). Not to mention a guarantee of independence from France, which can easily be leveraged into a strong mutual alliance, forcing England to think twice before attacking either country.
Indeed, there can only be one, and you’ll come toe to toe with the English sooner or later. Before they invade, it’d be wise to make friends with a few of the Irish countries to the west. Much like the Hansa and their allies, Scotland will benefit in being the leader of a small confederation of independent states. And if you’re clever enough to take advantage of any wars England is pulled into with France, by extending your influence and authority on the main island will provide a more convincing argument when vassalizing your Irish subjects–unless you’d prefer conquest.
Whichever method of expansion you choose, be wary of England’s rivals; “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is a sound concept to rule by, especially when your neighbors are much larger, aggressive countries. Depending on the alliances you forge, your expansion will mostly be pulled south toward mainland Europe, west across Ireland and into the New World, or east onto Scandinavia to invade the Vikings for a change.
Just keep a few things in mind:
- Maintain a strong navy
- Develop your provinces
- Patrol your southern border often (and form claims on English provinces)
- Whenever fighting the English, force them to fight two fronts–preferably with a mainland rival
- Utilize forts to your full advantage (and mothball those you don’t need)
Once the English are dealt with, you can go on to form the basis of the United Kingdom or remain a free and true Scotland, just as God intended.
(Continued on Next Page)