Historically, Portugal’s fate was intimately connected with that of its larger neighbor to the west, Castile/Spain. Though for a time the two nations were united under a single crown, Portugal was able to maintain its independence through strong diplomacy, a powerful merchant fleet and a global empire that could serve as the treasury for a sometimes put upon country.
So, Portugal starts in a rather weak position. They are at the far edge of Europe with no obvious weaker Christian neighbor to conquer, and her own territory is rather small and poor at the start. You need to get a good friend in either Castile or Aragon, and then focus on exploring and expanding a colonial empire to bring you the riches.
Portugal does open the game in a relatively strong diplomatic position. First, it is allied with England, an alliance that would survive for centuries in one for or another. And second, it doesn’t take a lot of poking for Spain to agree to be friends – Castile has more fertile ground for expansion to the north east.
Portugal’s Moroccan outpost in Ceuta is a good holding if you want to go for land expansion in North Africa, but Portugal’s biggest early game assets are her colonies in the Azores in the mid-Atlantic and Madeira on the West African coast. These serve as early landing pads for Portuguese explorers to take refuge in, giving her a head start in the claim for new lands in new worlds and for opening up new trade opportunities as new nodes are uncovered.
And, fortunately, Portugal starts in 1444 with a bunch of explorers. Each one deducts a point from the Military Power pool, but they also give this small country a huge advantage in mapping the sea lanes, finding the route to India and maybe starting an empire before it is forced to rely on the Quest for the New World idea like everyone else.
Portuguese Dynamic Historical Events
Portugal was kind of given short shrift with historical events in Europa Universalis II, the last game in this series to rely heavily on them. We’ve redressed the balance by giving the Portuguese some very interesting dynamic historical events.
Before traveling to Castile, Christopher Columbus originally sought financing for his expedition from the Portuguese King. He was turned down twice. Once explorer Bartholomeu Dias had successfully rounded the Cape of Good Hope, an eastern sea route to Asia now seemed more likely than Columbus’s Western idea. Columbus may make an offer to Portugal between 1485 and 1492.
King Sebastião's Expedition to North Africa and his crusade against Morocco can happen in the second half on the 16th century if Portugal is independent. Historically, Portugal was defeated at the battle of Al-Khazar Kebir, where the King was killed along with most of the Portuguese nobility fighting with him. This disaster led the way to Spanish control of Portugal and was the starting point of Portugal's decline. In the game, this event puts Portugal at the front of a Crusade with some small bonuses.
The Capture of the Santa Catarina was an incident exacerbated the tensions in the Far East between the Portuguese and her Duthc rivals Though they had no official authorization to do so, a vessel under the direction of the Dutch East India Company seized a Portuguese carrack and its cargo worth 2.2 million guilders - effectively doubling the capital of the entire Dutch East India Company. Even though the Netherlands and Portugal were at war, the Companies weren’t, so the legality of the capture was questioned, leading to another war between the two countries and, more importantly, to the efforts of Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius to work out the laws of sea in his “Mare Liberum”. In the game, this incident may happen at any point between 1550 and 1650 if both nations trade are engaged in any Far East trade node.
Portuguese Missions & Decisions
There were no specific Portuguese decisions in Europa Universalis III, and none had been added yet so far in the development. Time will tell if we add some now. The missions are focused on driving their expansion into Brazil, Africa and India.
Portuguese National Ideas
Portugal’s traditional power gives it 30% extra trade range and a 5% boost to trade efficiency.
- Afonsine Ordinances: +10% production efficiency
- Legacy of the Navigator: +25% colonial range
- Case de India: +10% Trade Power
- The Bandeirantes: +1 Merchant
- Royal Absolutism: 25% cheaper buildings.
- Land before Faith: +15% colonial growth.
- Open up the Guilds: +10% trade Income
When Portugal unlocked all of its National Idea, it gets a +20% bonus to overseas income. Portugal is clearly designed to be a colonial power, geared towards creating a global empire and then benefit from its trade. The colonial range bonus will let it exploit the furthest reaches of the Indies and the boost to trade power will be very helpful in letting it compete in these farflung markets where it can’t count on dominating every port. Throw in the extra merchant, and by mid-game, Portugal will be a trade empire even if she never expands out of her cozy home on the continent.
Bonus Detail: Colonization
The colonization system in Europa Universalis IIII worked well, but had one small annoyance; you had to continually send out your colonists. We looked to see what we can do with the sending colonist mechanic to make it less of a chore while at the same time keep the feel of the old system.
Now, when you send out a colonist, you automatically succeed, but only 10 people arrive in this new land. And they take a while to grow; if you leave your colonist envoy there then it will help the colony grow faster – but he can’t be everywhere at once. Every month, the colonist envoy will have a chance to add to the population of the colony, based on the old success formula you are familiar with.
So instead of spamming out colonists as soon as you got a new one, you now place your limited colonial envoys in building up colonies, in a more strategic way. Where do you want to emphasize your growth? When do you relocate your envoy?