It wasn't always the case, but Ryukyu is one of the easier OPM starts. They can expand under the protection of Ming, there are no immediate threats, and Okinawa starts next to the richest corner of the world. Still, an OPM WC presents many challenges, especially on Very Hard.
A typical WC during the first two hundred years should focus on building a strong economy and filling key idea groups. Conquest is costly without administrative efficiency. Early game expansion should be limited to securing valuable land. The most valuable land and the most vulnerable targets near Ryukyu lie in Southeast Asia. The region will serve as our foundation for the first half of the run.
Ryukyu starts with five development, a terrible ruler, and no economy to speak of. Every country in the Philippines has a higher force limit. There are two choices at the start: no-CB or wait. Given Ryukyu's disadvantaged position, I believe monarch points are better spent on developing for Renaissance than on coring land. The benefits of getting an early foothold in SEA and possibly India is not worth the cost of a no-CB war. There will always be opportunities later.
First things first. I mothball all trade ships for sailor refund before selling them off to Ming. Two regiments are recruited to fill force limit. If there is ever a time to drill for professionalism this is it. Merchants are sent to collect in Hangzhou and Beijing. The two galleys are sent to privateer Beijing.
Royal Marriage with Ming produces a consort
A 3/5/5 daughter, who is destined to become a 5/5/5.
Drilling pays off. I begin developing Okinawa. Monarch points are crucial at this stage. The later Renaissance is developed the less Ming will pay me for it.
A short term return. I don't think this saved any development cost for Renaissance.
Another pip. The only cost of drilling at this stage is the maintenance for a 6 regiment army. I do not plan on going to war for another twenty years. Two loans have been taken out already, but developing Okinawa will increase loan size, as well as income, manpower, and force limit.
Bankruptcy, a feature of 1.25. AI cannot handle the maintenance and war rep changes.
Okinawa's development has boosted my force limit to a formidable 9k. I can no-CB Pangasinan right now or wait a little longer for a colonist and a claim. I choose to wait. Two stab hits and some AE are not worth a six development OPM. The optimal pace for early game requires balancing tech with expansion. Land that does not provide immediate benefits is not worth falling behind for.
Paradox tells me my decision is correct. If I had no-CB'd my stab would be even lower.
Sadly, my King lives on. He will need to abdicate when the heir turns 15. Not much to do until then but watch for potential targets and drill. I recommend setting every nation to "interesting" and turning on all relevant popups.
Ming's generosity has provided me enough income for three advisors.
Professionalism increases slowly but surely. It won't last, but the manpower will be useful later.
Ming still has not embraced Renaissance after the first round of Knowledge Sharing. I offer again but they are in debt. The income boost offsets the money demanded/warscore change. Ryukyu can no longer make a fortune from fighting Southeast Asian minors. The extra money also allows me to go over force limit without too many loans, as well as unlock Exploration sooner via advisors.
A new consort. Keeping Ming happy is important for later. Don't refuse tributary demands and don't pirate too much.
Exploration is unlocked. I can now use the colonist to fabricate claims.
Ming accepts Knowledge Sharing again after paying off their loans. The interaction will end as soon as Ming embraces Renaissance. With a colonist and several claims in hand, I look toward the Philippines for my first conquest.
Pangasinan has been annexed by Tondo. The rest of the Philippines all have allies.
Madyas is surrounded by plotters, who are kept at bay by Kutai. Since my coring range only extends to Tondo I decide to wait some more. The region will eventually destabilize as most of the world often does early game.
The trait will be helpful for trade companies. My military tech still lags behind. A tech 4v5 war is acceptable, 4v6 or 5v6 becomes troublesome due to the tactics difference.
Another good event that should help unlock the second idea group faster.
Kutai has only a capital fort or else the war would take much longer to end. I leave them with two provinces and demand money instead. The dip cost from unjustified demands is expensive without Influence. Less provinces also mean less rebels, though the stack that rises will be bigger than my force limit regardless.
Not many casualties on either side. At this stage battles should only be fought to gain access to sieges. Warscore from battles isn't worth the reinforcement and manpower costs.
Feudal de Jure is taken first because rebels drain more manpower and resources than enemy armies. I can take full warscore from Kutai without a stackwipe, but the rebels that pop up afterward are unavoidable without unrest reduction. The Feudal de Jure edict can be enacted in half states until rebel progress dies down. Without Humanist, unrest would still be positive after raising autonomy, which would only delay separatists instead of killing their progress completely. Delaying is often worse than fighting rebels right away.
My loans have been paid off. The inflation will die down soon enough. One war has given me almost as much development as the entire Philippines has.
One province is left uncored to instigate Hindu zealot progress. The majority of my development is Hindu so the zealots don't have to rise for me to convert.
Madyas dies to Cebu, who are allied to Tondo, who are now my ally.
I recruit a conquistador to explore Kamchatka.
Ming embraces Renaissance and ends our knowledge sharing agreement. My economy takes a turn for the worse.
With Southeast Asia in stalemate, I turn toward Chukchi for my next conquest. The plan is to vassalize and integrate before 1500 for colonial range to North America. Discovering the New World is required to spawn Colonialism.
My heir dies and I can no longer afford advisors. The current one is for stabbing up after the no-CB war.
Chuckhi is vassalized. The situation would be more ideal if Chukchi was next to Kamchadals. I could then annex Kamchadals to get the necessary colonial range.
I culture shift to Bornean for less unrest and shorter coring time. The capital was moved to Brunei for Colonialism eligibility. Converting to Hindu and shifting to Malay culture gets rid of about 5 provincial unrest, which, combined with the Feudal edict will be enough to kill off most separatist progress in the region.
Java is engulfed in war. I declare on Sunda to take advantage. Weak starts have to be opportunistic. When nothing is happening, keep the ledger open and check on every neighbor.
Sunda's army gets wiped. I don't have enough points to peace out just yet.
Admin is the second idea group. No other viable choices here.
Securing a large part of Borneo and moving the capital to Brunei have boosted my trade income by quite a bit.
My army has been consistently drilling since the beginning. Unfortunately this is as high as my professionalism will go. There is simply no way to keep up expansion without mercs, especially if I most of my land becomes TCs which provide very little manpower.
Naval battles are won through smart engagements and snowballing morale loss
I now have near full control of the Philippines
Used Show Strength on Tondo to speed up Diplo gain for tech. I realized around this time that Chukchi wasn't in range to annex, thus I needed dip tech 7 to see Alaska from Ryukyu.
The timing is pushing it
Unfortunately I will have to eat the rebellion from these provinces
This is the modifier for a Hindu event chain that boosts ruler stats. Along with 10 CCR, the ruler stat increase is the best feature of Hindu. Each event chain has different requirements and boosts a different category.
Thanks to you, I thought he continued this
I think he used his colonist to go to Taytay (the province in the north of Brunei beneath Palawan) for at least one day and fabricated his claim, then recalled the colonist and canceled the colony. (If you have a sufficient spy network in target country one day of connection is all you need)