Europa Universalis IV: Developer diary 26 - A smoke and a pancake?

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Welcome to the 26th development diary for Europa Universalis IV, and this time we turn our attention to the Low Countries, specifically the medieval great power of Burgundy and the Renaissance mercantile giant the Netherlands. Two very different histories, dominating some very flat and wet territory.

Possibilities

Though its historic power base is in eastern France, by the early 15th century the Valois family and Duchy of Burgundy had purchased or inherited vast stretches of Flemish, Belgian and Dutch lands – what we now call Belgium and the Netherlands. Under a series of outstanding rulers with great sobriquets like “the Bold”, “the Fearless” and “the Good”, Burgundy used its great wealth and strategic position between a weak Holy Roman Empire and a crumbling France to become a major player for a few generations.

For you, the player, Burgundy starts with a ton of options. Do you intervene in the Hundred Year’s War to keep France down, at the risk of England and other powers claiming lands for themselves? Do you expand into the tiny German bishoprics and principalities that dot your northeastern border?

How much do you dare poking the Austrian eagle?
Burgundy also controls Antwerp, a major trading node that draws from London, Bordeaux and Mecklenburg, giving its merchants rich neighboring nodes to steer trade from.

If you start from a later date, or somehow in the course of a campaign manage to form the Dutch nation, you will find yourself in possession of flat territory, rich with mercantile possibilities and, again, Antwerp. Netherlands without the power of Burgundy behind it is still formidable, but an eliminated Burgundy usually means a very strong France. The Dutch will have to pacify this larger neighbor somehow and also keep an eye on any rising rivals to its east.

The Events and Decisions.
Both Burgundy and the Netherlands have a rich selection of dynamic historical events, including a couple of very interesting event chains that capture the essence of major historical occurrences. These ones will happen if you are not playing the Low Countries yourself.

For all of Burgundy’s power, the ducal house had trouble producing legitimate heirs in the direct line. John the Fearless had a single son among his five children; Philip the Good had one legitimate son and two bastard; and then Charles the Bold died in battle with a sole daughter to his name. The mess of inheritance laws and dynastic politics ended with France seizing the true Duchy lands in France and the Low Countries passing to the Habsburg line as Charles’ daughter Mary took an Austrian groom.

In Europa Universalis IV, an AI controlled Burgundy may find itself with no legitimate heir. If this happens because of a regency or battle death before 1500, then Burgundy will be divided between France and the Holy Roman Emperor. (If the Emperor is weak, then those lands will go to a neighboring country that had a royal marriage with Burgundy.)

For 80 years, the Dutch Revolts rocked Habsburg Netherlands, sparked by nationalism and religious fervor. In the game, the Revolts can happen between 1550 and 1650 if the nation you are playing holds Dutch or Flemish provinces in the Low Countries, while your country has another primary culture and a capital outside the region. Once a province rebels, others might not-so-quietly join in and bring a new nation into being.

Missions
As always, the missions are being used to guide both countries along historical paths. Burgundy will be pushed to consolidate its holdings in the low countries and the Netherlands will be encouraged to build a colonial empire.

Burgundian National Ideas
Burgundy starts with a 25% reduction on maintenance of mercenaries and a 33% penalty on the chance of getting an heir. This is a negative national idea, but it helps to trigger the AI event chain that gets Habsburgs into Holland.

  1. Golden Fleece: +1 yearly prestige
    The Order of the Golden Fleece was an order of knighthood established by the first great Dukes of Burgundy. It brought great honor to the founding house and to any that were initiated into the Order.
  2. Compagnies D’Ordonnance: -25% mercenary cost
    Burgundy’s military power, like many in the 15th century, was based on a willingness to hire mercenaries from around the region.
  3. Burgundian Estates General: +100% Mercenary Pool
    The Estates General of Burgundy was one step in Burgundy’s efforts to paint itself as not simply a French province, but an independent realm with a parliament of its own.
  4. Reformed Feudal Army: +10% Discipline
    Ruled by military men for four generations, Burgundy continually experimented with army composition and achieved a high level of professionalism for an essentially feudal force.
  5. Integrated Towns: +10% Trade Income
    Historically centers of trade for all of western Europe, the towns of the Low Countries rose to even greater prominence under the protection of Burgundy.
  6. Freedom of Worship: +2 Tolerance of Heretics
  7. Regimental System: +25% Manpower
    Another power tied to Burgundy’s military legacy.

When Burgundy has acquired all of its national powers, they also get a +10% bonus to steering trade.

With cheap and ready access to mercenaries and eventually manpower, Burgundy is a nation that can focus on using what manpower it has to reinforce one or two decent sized home armies while relying on hired soldiers to buttress this force. The trade bonuses will make Burgundy whatever cash it needs to keep the army strong.

Dutch National Ideas
The Dutch start with 10% quicker shipbuilding and a +50% bonus to naval forcelimits.

  1. Amsterdam Wisselbank: -0.1 Inflation Reduction
    Founded in the early 1600s, the Bank of Amsterdam revolutionized banking through how it managed credit and transfers of foreign currency.
  2. Dutch Trading Spirit: +1 Merchants
    The Netherlands was one of the great trading empires of the early modern era, trading throughout the Americas and East Indies.
  3. Polders: +10% Production Efficiency
    The Dutch are famous for their masterful work on reclaiming productive land from the sea and marshland through a centralized dike management system, leading to polders.
  4. Revenue Stamps: +10% Tax Income
    The first Stamp Tax was introduced in The Netherlands in 1624. This stamp proved that the bearer had paid the proper fee for a legal document.
  5. Embrace Humanism: +3 Tolerance of Heretics
    Starting with Erasmus, Dutch Humanism (and trade!) had a great influence on the relative social peace of the Netherlands once the religious wars had ended.
  6. Army Sappers: +1 Leader Siege
    In the 80 Years War for freedom, the Dutch people became experts at siegecraft as they targeted one Imperial fortress after another.
  7. Platoon Fire: +10% Infantry Power
    Platoon fire organizes the files of a regiment so that a rolling barrage of bullets cascades on an enemy position, instead of the pause and reload of traditional rank fire.


When the Netherlands reach their full capabilities, they get a +15% bonus to their trade income.

The native bonus to their naval force modifiers added to an extra merchant and faster shipbuilding means that the Dutch should have a strong trade foundation by the time they get to their 15% bonus. In general, the Netherlands is a money machine with just enough land power to hold their own – since they can certainly pay for it.


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Spricar

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This looks better and better

the only thing that bugs me are, again, deterministic NI

I mean, why do Dutch get +1 leader siege NI? They are not genetically better at sieging towns, do they throw rotten cheese at defenders or what? And although in 80 years war they maybe really did
"became experts at siegecraft as they targeted one Imperial fortress after another", that happened AFTER the game start and in "OUR", actual version of history. What if 80 years war never happens in my playthrough of EU IV and they gain their independece from Spanish in some other way? Why do they get +1 leader siege bonus? Its the same as the rusian faster tech. progress NI, as Russians were by default some uber mensch who were smarter than others...
 
Last edited:

Yeekim

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Very nice!

One tangentially related comment: lightbulb on the country screen, even if its meaning is easily recognizable (that is the "ideas" tab, right?) feels... terribly out of place and anachronistic.
Would you guys contemplate replacing it with something a bit more era-appropriate? A candle?
 

Baldwin XI

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Those are some pretty sick NI's for the Dutch- probably among the best so far. I think I might play a Flanders-release game and form them that way.
 

Johan

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Avernite

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Looks good. The Netherlands not having trade steering is only dubious IMO (the whole free-trade schtick was only used on other people's monopolies, when it was possible to form a Dutch monopoly that was all fine too), but the things they do get make sense enough.

As to the siege bonus: the Netherlands are always going to be an ideal area to densely fortify (lots of rich cities in ideal terrain for building nice big forts, if not quite the type that is nearly impossible to siege like those mountaintop castles), so it makes some sense. Sort of surprised there's nothing in the DD about the Dutch republicanism, but maybe that's all in the DHE's.
 

Fawr

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I like the return of the EU1 style Dutch revolt events. Not sure if thats a considered decisions or just nostalgia though...

Those Dutch modifiers look to make them an economic powerhouse.
 

Filip de Norre

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Advisors look quite expensive, but also increased in worth. Do their upkeep rely on your income?
 

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I see that you have a base of 3 in each monarch power, meaning even with the worst ruler you earn something. That's good.

So the most a nation can get is 12 at once normally - 3 base + 6 for monarch + 3 for advisor.
 

Johan

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Prince Imrahil

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This looks better and better

the only thing that bugs me are, again, deterministic NI

I mean, why do Dutch get +1 leader siege NI? They are not genetically better at sieging towns, do they throw rotten cheese at defenders or what? And although in 80 years war they maybe really did
"became experts at siegecraft as they targeted one Imperial fortress after another", that happened AFTER the game start and in "OUR", actual version of history. What if 80 years war never happens in my playthrough of EU IV and they gain their independece from Spanish in some other way? Why do they get +1 leader siege bonus? Its the same as the rusian faster tech. progress NI, as Russians were by default some uber mensch who were smarter than others...

+1
 

Ruwaard

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Finally the DD I was waiting for! :)

I can up with some remarks though, not all Burgundian dukes were just military men, Philip the Good unlike his son Charles the Bold also was a good politician and diplomat, whereas Charles was less talented in that regard. Another point is humanism, even Habsburgs like Philip the Handsome and Charles V were influenced by these thoughts, however at best they had ideas about reforming the Catholic Church, they didn't want to leave it (actually Erasmus himself had similar ideas). Connecting the Estates General with mercenaries is another thing, if anything it helped to centralize the region and an easier way to raise taxes; from a Low Countries perspective this is much more about the unification of the region and 'nation building'.

Another thing is the rather anachronistic split of Flemish and Dutch, if you do so, then instead of Dutch, IMHO there should be Brabantian, Hollandic, Limburgish, Guelderish etc. too.

Finally (I'm sorry) the location of Antwerpen, it should be at the location, where (on this map) the river Scheldt (Schelde) flows into the Zeeland delta; and it has to be on the right bank (East) of the Scheldt.
 
Last edited:

Grubnessul

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Nikolai

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Sounds to me like a Burgundian player would want to go for a republic to avoid the heir penalty?