Playing Portugal, advice?

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Acheron

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Originally asked about tabbing out of the EU-3 loading screen here, but it quickly became all about Portugal, which I am trying to play well. Got all the DLCs and trying to build a colonial empire.

My problem is Castille, they keep DOWing me in my playthroughs, usually rather late, though recently, before 1450. They often give no Casus Belli, we have Royal Marriage and I even grant them Military Access, yet once the relationship sours, they DOW me, I saw them drop from +3 to -3 stability. Any idea why? Or any idea how I keep my relationship high with them? Though I am not sure if they didn't DOW me once anyway...

I must confess, I kept my army very small, need all the money I can get for early colonial expansion to get as much as I can before other powers appear on the scene.

Other then that:
- I mint as much as I can without getting inflation, usually getting a Master of the Mint to get more money. As I said, I need all the cash I can to expand my colony. Though I guess I should forsake the Mint-Master until I really need him once colonialism is in full swing and at the start, rely on what centralization allows me to mint?
- Sliders, I open up with centralization, since you start with a decent general, but then I go Free Market, to boost my compete change. I guess I should expand my army at least such that I can handle the revolt from centralization?
- Ideas are National Trade Policy - Quest for the New World - Colonial Ventures - Patron of the Arts. Could I do better?
- Merchants, I do not send any merchants until I got National Trade Policy and at least two moves to Free Market. Otherwise, they just loose to the competition to fast. Once the above criteria are met, I try and if the merchants manage to stick, I quickly get five merchants in all worthwhile markets.
- I use an exploit to keep my Lisbon CoT running until the colonies boost its value enough to be stable.
- Army wise, I use 4 inf, 2 cav, later I would add 2 art. Small enough to be ferried around my colonies if needed, theoretically, for a big war, I would merge several of these into a bigger blob to fight the enemies main army if I can win, though so far, I didn't amass enough troops for that.
- Advisors, as said, I used to go for a Mint-Maser, but wonder if I should skip him until later. Other then that, I use surplus Magistrates to boost Cultural tradition to 100 (using also Tapestry and Heir introduction) to hire advisors for trade and government research early on. Later, I try to get one for extra trade efficiency, though these guys are only level 3 or 4 due to my lacking naval tradition.
- I skip West Africa, doesn't seem worth it. Instead, I take the Atlantic islands and go for the Caribbean and Brazil. The later has more historic flair, but the former seems more profitable. I will probably focus to grab as much as I can of it, though I am considering also going for South Africa - Indian Ocean - South East Asia.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

Kovax

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If your army is tiny, you'll draw DOWs from the bigger countries. I learned that the hard way in a Castille game where I didn't build enough troops. If you can't defend it, someone else will take it and defend it instead of you.

As you discovered, until you get a couple of bonuses to merchant competition, it's difficult to get your merchants to pay off their initial placement cost before they're competed away. Once you get an edge (prestige helps, infamy hurts), you can exploit that. If you have your own CoT (such as Lisbon), it can pay to go the opposite way, rather than Free Market, and then take the CoTs from the native tribes in the New World. That does put a damper on trade outside your own CoTs, however, so it depends on the circumstances in your campaign.

I prefer to use a higher INF to CAV ratio after a couple of military tech upgrades (usually by 1500), because cavalry is more expensive to build and maintain, and gradually loses its dominance as INF get better. Two CAV and 8 INF is plenty to take on most opponents early on, or smaller groups of 1 CAV per 4 INF if you run several groups of them nearby for mutual support. I only put ART in about half of my armies, because it drastically slows them down, and ART isn't all that effective until relatively late in the game. The ART is a waste of money unless you have enough of a numerical superiority to field sufficient troops to cover the front rank and have the ART in the second row, which Portugal will be hard-pressed to do. If you can defeat an army and beat them to the next province before the end of the month (when they recover some ORG), they're destroyed automatically, so skipping ART in a few groups gives you the mobility to do so, especially if you attach a general with Maneuver skills.

Other than that, there are so many different ways to succeed (or fail) that it's hard to give any concrete advice, which will likely be wrong in half of the cases. Then you choose another country, and the roads to success are different.

From the previous thread:
Thanks for the advice. Though I meant refineries, are there any drawbacks of building refineries in colonies instead of the homeland? I only recently learnt that one shouldn't build his military in the colonies, at least not the ships.

I don't think you can build ships in non-core provinces. The upkeep cost of a ship depends on the construction cost, so provinces with revolt risk and non-culture penalties may have higher construction costs. Aside from that, I don't see a reason not to build ships in foreign ports.

Factories (Refineries, Manufactureres, etc.) will provide their research bonus regardless of where you build them. The bonus to tax revenue might be an issue, and I'm not positive if that's reduced by overseas penalties or not. It will increase the population growth rate as well, which might be a good or a bad thing, depending on the province and its resources. as well as your ability to put down potentially larger revolts due to higher population. I've done it, and don't see any major problems with it offhand, but never really dug into the numbers on it.
 
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ktx2skd

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Kovax, it would be great if you could clarify the game version you are referencing, as for (at least) the latest vanilla (5.2) some of this doesn't apply.
[...] I only put ART in about half of my armies, because it drastically slows them down [...]
The speed difference was removed at some point, by 5.2 artillery became as fast as both infantry and cavalry.
[...] The upkeep cost of a ship depends on the construction cost, so provinces with revolt risk and non-culture penalties may have higher construction costs. [...]
Neither revolt risk or culture affect recruitment cost of either land or naval units. I suppose, though, that the OP raised a concern about building units overseas due to the increased build times, which is the only difference in my knowledge.
[...] increase the population growth rate [...] might be a good or a bad thing [...] larger revolts due to higher population. [...]
Of the things population affects, rebel size is not one of them. In fact for overseas provinces specifically I wonder if population size has any effect whether positive or negative.
 
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ktx2skd

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To OP Acheron, hope you bear with me because you fellas discussed quite a lot in both threads...

Politically & militarily:

  • What Kovax said, lack of armies/navies is a big attraction to attacks. Many times I got DOWed just one day after having two-thirds or more of my army killed in one battle, and recently I saw the same happening to my enemy when I sunk their entire fleet. Those who DOWed them didn't even have shared borders or ships of their own...
  • Probably a lot of the time you'll be Castille's rival and/or threat, which probably factors into the AI's brain, making them seek any opportunity they can get on you.
    • If you're marked as their rival, check if they have any cores on you that were created one day after their DOW. If found, it is very likely they DOWed due to either rival missions, both of which don't grant a casus belli and would disappear as completed after the DOW. Consider allying Castille to prevent these missions from coming up.
  • You mentioned "once the relationship sours", but your starting relations is probably at 100-200, so what happened? Any drops in relations should be noticeable from your side, and any that are gradual are hopefully manageable as well. What is your relations value with them before or after the DOW? and what's your "Trust" value with them?
  • Army planning is a whole topic of its own, and the choices continuously change with technology, time, and opposition. Like Kovax said, a general problem can only have a general (& hence lacking) solution, so instead let us narrow this down to a specific situation & start from there. Your opposition is probably Castille, so that leaves the year & land technology level to consider.
Economically & colonially:
  • A lot of the information shown in CoTs and provinces are yearly numbers, one exception being population growth (10 years). For your Constable math earlier, it would be 20 years if everything remains unchanged. Be careful though as some other buildings like Workshops and Marketplaces have trickier math to follow.
  • For ideas, do you really need Patron of the Arts? Don't you eventually run out of any meaningful tasks for your magistrates? Consider going for more money since you need that. For example, if your monthly costs for army or navy are high, you could consider the ideas for morale, forcelimits, or ship cost. Colonial growth idea could fit some colonization approaches. Naval tradition could work for advisors, and there are always the direct choices of merchant cost, compete chance, anti-inflation, plus tax, and plus tariffs.
  • For advisors, consider the prestige guy like Kovax said, as he helps both trade chance and income. If you still have an empty slot, do the math for tax, production, tariff, or colonial growth, and see if they're worth it. You can get any naval tradition necessary by exploring new sea provinces or the national idea. Consider being tolerant of some inflation if there are things worth spending on, especially sometimes you get events for reducing inflation.
  • For sliders, don't you start deep in mercantilism as Portugal? Can't you stay as such and use it when things like monopolies and "East India Trade Route" are unlocked? After all, you're looking for so many slider moves to become a free trader, and if you're only needing a move or two then maybe use the compete chance idea or advisor instead.
    • In trade chance, there's this theory I'm trying to test, if your compete chance is 50% or above consistently in some CoT, then you can enter that CoT and stay, unless there are trade leagues, trade agreements, or someone new & strong starts breaking into the place. See if this could help you plan your trade.
  • Double-check how much oversea provinces cost and how long for them to pay back. It's not all cash, there's for example manpower, but my limited checking makes me think their ability to financially pay back relies heavily on "goods price", and I'm yet to know much about when do certain goods usually change price... Please do note that "goods units" of overseas is capped at 1.0 and "tariffs" have a division by 2 in their formula...
    • Then again, their "trade value" is exempt from the division by 2, and there is also the option of moving your capital to the other continent.
  • The very tip of Africa have some non-tropical areas, and in a variety of places you'll find natives with gold. Going Asia, you should look into the "East India Trade Route" bonus.
  • Something to help you control opposing colonizers, leave for them the areas with high numbers of natives, regardless of hostility or ferocity, and when they take it, send them a spy to "incite natives". The damage caused is proportional to the number of natives, with big enough numbers able to wipe 999 colonies... in that line, you might want to consider the spies national idea.
  • Religious conversion of pagans also applies a culture change to the province, in case you prefer your colonists elsewhere.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaa that's alot of typing... hope this is of benefit to someone.

Food time, bye bye.

- KitCat
 

Acheron

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@ktx2skd thank you very much!

Regarding alliances, I have avoided them all, didn't want to get dragged into useless wars. Though I did ally with France once, kept Castille of my back, but I didn't join a war France started and got nervous about not honoring alliances biting me.

Castille also often send me alliance offers, which I refused, I guess that got our relationship down. I have to check my trust values with them next time.

Any idea how big an army I need in relation to Castille to not immediately become a snack in their eyes? I keep my army to a minimum as I try to maximize the money I can put into colonization.

Patron of the Arts I take to get better advisors, isn't this worth it? At the start, I have magistrates to spare to commission paintings, but later on, I kinda need them for building up my new provinces.

Trade seems to do okay once I get my trade efficiency up, by teching, free market slider and some Portuguese decisions. At least for some time I managed to dominate most European markets. However, at the start I cannot keep merchants in foreign markets and the Lisbon CoT needs to be kept alive, it hardly serves as a great source of revenue.

I take the Atlantis islands and then move from Cap Verde to northeast Brazil and from there to the Caribbean, I mostly get high-value good there, sugar, tobacco, cotton. These ought to be worth it?

So I guess I will have to play the European games of alliance. As said, my biggest worry is being dragged into some foolish war that ends up harming me as well.
 

ktx2skd

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Any idea how big an army I need in relation to Castille to not immediately become a snack in their eyes? I keep my army to a minimum as I try to maximize the money I can put into colonization.

Sadly, I don't know how the AI evaluates "strength", too many unknowns too (do they see Longbows, Chevauchees, and Culverins the same, do technology levels, sliders, advisors, ideas, or modifiers matter, etc.), but probably their own strength is a factor too, not just yours, so it will vary with time & per game. I try to stick to at least 60% of my forcelimits but for a different reason, which is avoiding the annoying 99% missions. As the game progresses anyways, you'll be more able to reduce your military maintenance with minimal negatives, eventually halving your military spending for as long as your military is not in use. Maintenance manipulation is actually why I brought up the morale ideas to begin with.

Alliances involved should matter in "strength" evaluation too. I don't suppose you were allied with France when Castille attacked? You're Portugal in any case, the second strongest starting navy around, and in a very isolated corner. Whatever ally you choose, if they do a war you don't like, you can just accept the call and stay home. Your only worries are if you're at war with your neighbors, or people who can walk through them, or you're against fleets that outnumber yours, all of which are most unlikely if you choose to ally Castille as they're the third strongest starting navy and any opponent that might be equal or stronger than their land army is facing one or more geographical obstacles.

If your magistrates are that busy on something you're sure is worth more than any potential advisors, then sure, go Patron of the Arts if you need it. For sliders, it's just that you're already starting at one extreme, and mercantilism is very valid in some situations, which begs the question if it's possible to change the situation so that it fits the slider, instead of changing the slider so that it fits the situation, after all there's both short-term and long-term to look for. Mercantilism I think is most meaningful when you plan for 20/20 local monopolies, so in your game, when you reach trade tech. 15, how strong are your local CoTs? Would 20/20 on them be better or 5/20 on them and on foreign CoTs? I'm not against getting trade working early game by the way, but I'm wondering if you can get it working and remain mercantile, by buffing your compete chance without slider changes. If you cannot, and since trade success is necessary, and if all the other slider options are less important or this just takes precedence, then stay on what you're doing.

I take the Atlantis islands and then move from Cap Verde to northeast Brazil and from there to the Caribbean, I mostly get high-value good there, sugar, tobacco, cotton. These ought to be worth it?

I usually play with different goals in mind, so I never did the real math yet, but let's try it together. Say a colony grows to full size over six years and gets six colonists sent during that (yearly growth 66.6 makes this happen), that's an approx. cost of 240, so if the province's tariffs is 5.0, that means it pays after 48 years, tariffs of 30 would pay in 8 years. Of course, trading in the province's CoT will make it benefit you more than its tariffs, the province also benefits you more than just money (e.g. manpower), colonists cost differently on colonies more populated, tropical, non-adjacent, etc., and there are hidden costs like armies & navies protecting what you colonize, & whatever other factors you could think of.

If you don't mind me asking, I keep seeing you speaking about keeping Lisboa CoT alive using some trick, may I ask what it is though?

- KitCat.
 
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Acheron

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What would be a good alternative idea for Patron of the Arts?

So colonies take a very long time to pay themselves back? Pity, but I like to take the long view. I remember actually having enough money later in the game, it was a wonderful feeling. I think that was the game were I created the Holy Roman Empire as France.

Regarding the trick to keep a CoT alive: once stagnation gets over 40, I abandon it, that is, I order my merchants away. Usually, the empty slots attracts other merchants. I can then resend my merchants. This counts as activity for the CoT, reducing stagnation.

Regarding trade, moving to Free Trade and other measures, I was able for quite a while (before monopolies) to have 5 merchants in the big European CoTs (Lübeck, Venice, Genoa, Antwerp, Novgorod, Alexandria) almost simultaneously. I am not sure how to do this without going Free trade though. Besides, Free Trade boost Trade Efficiency, right? If I understand the game correctly, this not only makes the traders more competitive, but also more profitable, no?

Besides,w hat other slider movements are so important? Centralization I get (though I forego this for a while until I have any army than can handle a rebellion) but what other slider movements are essential for Portugal? Plutocracy seems to take care of itself by events.

Last question, if I ally with Castile, any suggestions for getting a quick separate White Peace? Or will that make them mad at me?
 

ktx2skd

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[...] if I ally with Castile, any suggestions for getting a quick separate White Peace? Or will that make them mad at me?
While I don't think they'd get mad, honestly I've never kept that close of an eye on this subject, though I'm planning to get more into it soon. For starters I guess keep an eye on things like relations and trust before and after peace? Maybe after the war too?

Seeing you wouldn't be the leader of the war, I think you will be more likely to receive peace offers, and of course the more occupations & blockades you personally hold the easier peace will be. Be careful if you get score on someone other than the war leader though, because if Castille peaces them out then all that score that counted for you will vanish yet the war continues.

So colonies take a very long time to pay themselves back? Pity, but I like to take the long view. I remember actually having enough money later in the game, it was a wonderful feeling. I think that was the game were I created the Holy Roman Empire as France.
To be fair I don't know what's the average tariff value, so maybe my choice of value wasn't representative, and I'm also less knowledgeable as the years become more & more late, during which maybe there are "price" swings that could make or break some goods. I remember once opening one of the late bookmarks, & saw some goods were ten times as others, makes me wonder if this also happens in a normal game.

Trade income shouldn't be ignored as well, especially that it grows stronger & stronger as the game progresses, and is more resistant to the overseas factor, so I urge you to try & calculate it. Capital-jumping to colonies is very worth considering too, economically.

By any chance, are you familiar with how resource goods are designated? (spoiler alert)

Regarding trade, moving to Free Trade and other measures, I was able for quite a while (before monopolies) to have 5 merchants in the big European CoTs (Lübeck, Venice, Genoa, Antwerp, Novgorod, Alexandria) almost simultaneously. I am not sure how to do this without going Free trade though. Besides, Free Trade boost Trade Efficiency, right? If I understand the game correctly, this not only makes the traders more competitive, but also more profitable, no?
It depends on what elements of compete chance did you not get yet, and if they are worth it or not. Trade efficiency does increase income, and gives compete chance but only at half the value, so getting the compete chance idea or advisor is double the power in compete chance, but of course without the income benefit. Most of the chance factors you can see by checking the page above, and country icons in CoTs in-game.

At the times you're getting competed out of CoTs, is it by any chance limited to certain leagues or countries? If so, you might want to evaluate if a trade agreement or league membership is worth its penalty. Also, did you calculate how long you need to stay in a CoT to be compensated? Maybe the merchants aren't getting kicked that fast, economically speaking.

Besides,w hat other slider movements are so important? Centralization I get (though I forego this for a while until I have any army than can handle a rebellion) but what other slider movements are essential for Portugal? Plutocracy seems to take care of itself by events.
Hmmm, Narrowminded's colonial growth benefits depends on how you're colonizing, and it's always nice to be at maximum technology, so Free Subjects is cool. Other than that you might indeed not have much to do with them sliders.

What would be a good alternative idea for Patron of the Arts?
Just the same things said earlier, CTRL+F "idea" to bring them up. I've just remembered too, I recall there are buildings that generate cultural tradition yearly, have a look into those.

Regarding the trick to keep a CoT alive: once stagnation gets over 40, I abandon it, that is, I order my merchants away. Usually, the empty slots attracts other merchants. I can then resend my merchants. This counts as activity for the CoT, reducing stagnation.
O.O
Just as surprising as Kovax's independence warriors...

EDITS: Spoiler alert line, cultural manufacturies.

- KitCat.
 
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Acheron

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While I don't think they'd get mad, honestly I've never kept that close of an eye on this subject, though I'm planning to get more into it soon. For starters I guess keep an eye on things like relations and trust before and after peace? Maybe after the war too?

Seeing you wouldn't be the leader of the war, I think you will be more likely to receive peace offers, and of course the more occupations & blockades you personally hold the easier peace will be. Be careful if you get score on someone other than the war leader though, because if Castille peaces them out then all that score that counted for you will vanish yet the war continues.
Focus on the war leader and try to get war points with him, ignore as far as feasible the lesser enemies, got it.

And blockading does give war points? I did not know that. I will do my best not to be a good ally, I am gonna ally with castille so they do not attack me, not to help them create a powerful Spain that competes (even more) with me in the New World.

Another thing though, doesn't allying with Castile eventually give them my discoveries? By the time I make it to the Caribbean and get the small eastern islands, other powers soon tend to come along and start colonizing as well.
To be fair I don't know what's the average tariff value, so maybe my choice of value wasn't representative, and I'm also less knowledgeable as the years become more & more late, during which maybe there are "price" swings that could make or break some goods. I remember once opening one of the late bookmarks, & saw some goods were ten times as others, makes me wonder if this also happens in a normal game.

Trade income shouldn't be ignored as well, especially that it grows stronger & stronger as the game progresses, and is more resistant to the overseas factor, so I urge you to try & calculate it. Capital-jumping to colonies is very worth considering too, economically.
Later on, most of my income was from trade.
By any chance, are you familiar with how resource goods are designated (spoiler alert).
EDITS: Spoiler alert line, cultural manufacturies.
Sadly no, I do not know how resource goods are "designated" (?) nor what you mean with "cultural" manufactures.
[/QUOTE]It depends on what elements of compete chance did you not get yet, and if they are worth it or not. Trade efficiency does increase income, and gives compete chance but only at half the value, so getting the compete chance idea or advisor is double the power in compete chance, but of course without the income benefit. Most of the chance factors you can see by checking the page and country icons in CoTs.[/QUOTE]
As said, I was able to be successful in most markets after a century or so, without Shrewd Commerce Practices but with National Trade Policy.
At the times you're getting competed out of CoTs, is it by any chance limited to certain leagues or countries? If so, you might want to evaluate if a trade agreement or league membership is worth its penalty. Also, did you calculate how long you need to stay in a CoT to be compensated? Maybe the merchants aren't getting kicked that fast, economically speaking.
My merchants seem to disappear within a handful of months. Plus, doesn't Mercantilism make them more expensive to send? Free Trade ahoy.
Hmmm, Narrowminded's colonial growth benefits depends on how you're colonizing, and it's always nice to be at maximum technology, so Free Subjects is cool. Other than that you might indeed not have much to do with them sliders.
Free Subject seems useful but not excessively so. Feudal Monarchy only allows so much centralization. I guess I will focus on free trade.
 

ktx2skd

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[..] I am gonna ally with castille so they do not attack me, not to help them create a powerful Spain that competes (even more) with me in the New World.

Another thing though, doesn't allying with Castile eventually give them my discoveries? By the time I make it to the Caribbean and get the small eastern islands, other powers soon tend to come along and start colonizing as well.
That's just politics, where everyone have their own interests in mind, not liabilities. You'll hardly find any real-life alliances that happened just because "I love you and I want to make you happy" :)

Without you dragging Castille to your wars against new countries, their vision is just as normal. I think discovery-sharing works off the two "years" values chosen before starting the game, which I think works only with people of your tech. group. I remember in-game the province history thing mentions when did each tech. group discovered the province.

In any case, Castille is rich, close, takes QFTNW, and has national missions for colonization, and the AI is immune to naval attrition... so they'll reliably & continuously try to break into the new world even if they didn't receive your discoveries, which is why I learned & mentioned spies role in anti-colonization.

Sadly no, I do not know how resource goods are "designated" (?) nor what you mean with "cultural" manufactures.
Fine Arts Academy seems to be the manufactory, though at level 21 is more late than I thought.

Trade goods are decided randomly, but each region I believe have its own list to randomize on. This and this page possibly contain the exact details. It would've been interesting if there was an option to randomize the lists themselves, or which region has which list, it would've made for some unique gameplay.

As said, I was able to be successful in most markets after a century or so, without Shrewd Commerce Practices but with National Trade Policy.
A century? Hmmm, so you're moving from slider -4 to +2 during that time I guess? But how much value do the CoTs you own have by that point in time? And how far of a value is that from the ones outside your country that you usually trade in? And, should you really start with National Trade Policy instead of Shrewd Commerce Practice or anything really if your first success in trade comes ~100 years after choosing the idea?
 

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That's just politics, where everyone have their own interests in mind, not liabilities. You'll hardly find any real-life alliances that happened just because "I love you and I want to make you happy" :)
Yeah, usually it was though "We have a common enemy, better not get swallowed up by him." and not "I only ally with you so you won't attack me, but I will take every opportunity to screw you over."
Without you dragging Castille to your wars against new countries, their vision is just as normal. I think discovery-sharing works off the two "years" values chosen before starting the game, which I think works only with people of your tech. group. I remember in-game the province history thing mentions when did each tech. group discovered the province.

In any case, Castille is rich, close, takes QFTNW, and has national missions for colonization, and the AI is immune to naval attrition... so they'll reliably & continuously try to break into the new world even if they didn't receive your discoveries, which is why I learned & mentioned spies role in anti-colonization.
And I guess the AI has no problems discoveriny anything any way?
[/QUOTE]Fine Arts Academy seems to be the manufactory, though at level 21 is more late than I thought.

Trade goods are decided randomly, but each region I believe have its own list to randomize on. This and this page possibly contain the exact details. It would've been interesting if there was an option to randomize the lists themselves, or which region has which list, it would've made for some unique gameplay.[/QUOTE]
Yeah, Madeira an Azores might have Fish (boo) or sugar (yay).
A century? Hmmm, so you're moving from slider -4 to +2 during that time I guess? But how much value do the CoTs you own have by that point in time? And how far of a value is that from the ones outside your country that you usually trade in? And, should you really start with National Trade Policy instead of Shrewd Commerce Practice or anything really if your first success in trade comes ~100 years after choosing the idea?
At the start, I cannot take QFTNW anyway , due to tech reasons. And while I can only hold onto my own CoT at the start, I need National Trade Policy anyway and every ducat helps.
 

ktx2skd

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Yeah, usually it was though "We have a common enemy, better not get swallowed up by him." and not "I only ally with you so you won't attack me, but I will take every opportunity to screw you over."
Vassals and minors? Especially those who are different or originally at odd with their liege?

And I guess the AI has no problems discoveriny anything any way?
If you're asking if they can discover & colonize without you discovering for them: Yes, they can. If you're interested, one way to test this is playing as a French vassal and AFK-ing for maybe 50-150 years, and at some point you'll receive their discoveries & see them to have colonized things. Another way would be playing Castille, using cheats to become tech. level 55 or something, as well as getting loads of cash, then giving Portugal loads of cash both direct and for research. You can subsidize them your entire monthly income anytime they're at war, pushing their research greatly, and if they're your ally, vassal or junior partner then you can keep pulling them to wars to enable subsidizing. Not sure which would be faster, but disabling auto-saving for the duration will save some time.

Just be aware of any Portugese missions that could mislead the observations.

At the start, I cannot take QFTNW anyway , due to tech reasons. And while I can only hold onto my own CoT at the start, I need National Trade Policy anyway and every ducat helps.
QFTNW is unlocked at level 7, while the second idea is on 9. You can change your first slot to QFTNW once you unlock it, or just leave your first slot empty to begin with if the stability hit concerns you that much. It would give you a head start of 20 years on colonization, but it all depends on how useful is that slot for the 30 years before QFTNW...

...which brings me to how good is National Trade Policy is with Lisboa alone. If Lisboa is valued at 160, NTP will be valued at only 4 ducats yearly if I'm doing my math right. With a total army of six (6) infantry regiments and nothing else, the idea for morale would save the same amount of money for some nations, and if all your provinces combined display a tax value of 25, then it would save you the same amount of money yearly if you choose the tax-increasing idea, assuming your default national tax percent is 120%.

You don't have to skip trade on your first idea, but it needs to be worth it at least. Shrewd Commerce Practice for example might allow you to enter CoTs earlier than NTP. Holding Venice with medium TE starting at 1400 might be better than waiting until 1500 to hold it with high TE. I highly advise considering SCP since by 1500 you're already maximum Free Trade, and having NTP, and only then you start succeeding to enter CoTs? If you're that pressured you might wanna also consider reforming your religion to that one that's trade-supporting.

In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, you said you're building buildings, which ones though? Are you sure all of them are worth more than certain advisors? Maybe if you push magistrates for Cultrual Tradition early, at the same time farm Naval Tradition from battles with weaklings, you can get better advisors for TE and compete chance, and combined with either ideas NTP or SCP you can break into markets earlier. Once you get QFTNW at 7 or 9 you can keep farming Naval Tradition from exploring seas and improve & maintain your trade advisors, maybe you can make your first five ideas (in whatever order) QFTNW, NTP, SCP, Colonial Ventures and the one giving Naval Tradition.

EDIT: Note on Portugese missions, and the "I highly advise" section.

- KitCat.
 
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Acheron

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I construct the buildings that give more cash, constables, workshops, trade depots, marketplaces, etc. I have them first in the high value (tax or produced goods) provinces, but I simply do not know how to figure out when the buildings are worth it at all.

Why do you consider it so important for Portugal to get naval tradition?
 

ktx2skd

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Naval Tradition for some advisors, like the trade-related ones. In fact you've said this one yourself before.

People will usually build before you, so you can check them to see how the numbers work. OPMs for example will tech faster and some usually have alot of spare money, e.g. the free-trader Aachen. Muslims also start at tech. 5 so they'll have first-level buildings built all over. You can also test-build on one land of yours, and see the math before & after. Always account for differing factors, a big one being overseas.

The wiki is good on alot of the math, and for anything that doesn't add up you can always post a draft here and someone will hopefully check & correct.
 

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Without naval tradition, I think I can get level 3 traders at least. I do wonder if a level 6 advisor instead would be worth an idea slot.
 

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Going back to an earlier question, it's not so much about how many troops you need to deter aggression as it is the percentage of your force limit that you're actually fielding. The AI seems more willing to attack a large country that's weakened than to attack a small country that never had the ability to fied a lot of troops.

You also asked in the original post why Castille dropped from +3 to -3 Stability when they DOW'ed you. Declaring war on a country where you have transit rights incurs a -5 Stability hit, and a Royal Marriage or good Relations will provide the 6th hit. If they didn't have a valid CB, that's 2 more, but -3 is the lower limit, so anything over 6 hits doesn't matter.

In your situation, allying with Castille ASAP (or with England or France, if you can't) should deter a lot of potential attacks. Unfortunately, if some country (allied or not) gets a mission to attack you, that may not stop them from trying, and the AI is prone to doing some suicidal attacks at times. That's not a good thing when you're allied with that attacker, but it probably beats not having any powerful allies at all. Sometimes, you need to know when to bail on an alliance, before your ally decides to take on half the world at once, and drag you down with them.
 

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Going back to an earlier question, it's not so much about how many troops you need to deter aggression as it is the percentage of your force limit that you're actually fielding. The AI seems more willing to attack a large country that's weakened than to attack a small country that never had the ability to fied a lot of troops.
I had barely expanded my army, as I was loath to increase my maintenance costs. but it seems to be a worthy investment.
You also asked in the original post why Castille dropped from +3 to -3 Stability when they DOW'ed you. Declaring war on a country where you have transit rights incurs a -5 Stability hit, and a Royal Marriage or good Relations will provide the 6th hit. If they didn't have a valid CB, that's 2 more, but -3 is the lower limit, so anything over 6 hits doesn't matter.
Oh I understood why Castile dropped so much in stability, I was just wondering why they would be willing such an insane hit to attack me.

But say, how much does -3 stability hurt AI countries? I mean, if Castile attacks me and drops to -3, might I have a chance to play for time and hope for revolts or such hitting them?
In your situation, allying with Castille ASAP (or with England or France, if you can't) should deter a lot of potential attacks. Unfortunately, if some country (allied or not) gets a mission to attack you, that may not stop them from trying, and the AI is prone to doing some suicidal attacks at times. That's not a good thing when you're allied with that attacker, but it probably beats not having any powerful allies at all. Sometimes, you need to know when to bail on an alliance, before your ally decides to take on half the world at once, and drag you down with them.
So alliances it will, be either with Castile or someone they cannot dare to mess with, like something big and blue to the northeast.

Heck, maybe I can make the best out of this and switch alliances around, using the wars to actually take someones colonies.
 

ktx2skd

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But say, how much does -3 stability hurt AI countries? I mean, if Castile attacks me and drops to -3, might I have a chance to play for time and hope for revolts or such hitting them?
Open any game and get yourself negative stability, then hover above the number to view the penalties. Most prominent in my mind would be +9 revolt risk and -30% tax at such extremes, although if Castille is set as a Lucky country they will have -50% on their stability cost... too much considering I've seen games where Austria/Bohemia had around -80% to -90% total on their stability, and Muscowy regularly -95% to -100%...
 

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I witnessed one situation where Ming (China) lost the Mandate of Heaven (a +5 Revolt Risk condition), had -3 Stability, and suffered a series of usurpers to the throne (low Legitimacy). Their annual tax revenues were reduced to only a smidgeon above 0, to the point where they couldn't afford to field 10 brigades of troops to put down the multiple 12-14 brigade rebel stacks. The rebels repeatedly took over the government, resulting in yet another illegitimate ruler who fails to pay his bills, or another economic collapse, and permanent -3 Stability. Of course, I eventually had to step in and save them by taking it over myself.

I've also seen France wracked by a series of large revolts, with 75% of their provinces occupied by rebels and pretenders to the throne. Once again, it presented a golden opportunity, and a century later, the trivia question of the day was: "Where was France?".

The AI may get a few breaks, but it's still heavily affected by Stability, Revolt Risk, and Legitimacy issues. These can be used to your advantage, if the circumstances turn out right. Throw in a bit of War Exhaustion, and it rapidly turns into a toxic mix that the AI will choke on, although not always when you need them to. I've seen enemy countries all-but collapse a few months AFTER the end of the war against them, and then again, sometimes those revolts will erupt annoyingly all over the country after you've broken their army and are trying to siege, and then you have to fight the rebels to finish the war. I had one game where the powerful Ottoman Empire declared war on me, and abruptly broke into scattered revolts which drew off most of their army, and then I was able to successfully take on their returning forces in bits and pieces, turning almost certain defeat into a relatively easy win.

Incidentally, I ALWAYS turn off "Lucky Nations".
 

ktx2skd

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Incidentally, I ALWAYS turn off "Lucky Nations".
One day... when I finish my first true world-conquest... I shall get to experiment more with the lesser-than-default options XD

TBH my last attempt might've been it, though I've been off it for a while, and resurrecting an old save in any game isn't my thing half the time.