I finally finished my England->Great Britain game! It's my favorite country (in part because Red is my favorite color). I won the HYW(and integrated France, getting the "One Night in Paris" achievement), and started colonizing. I wanted to stop the Iberians, so I took their 3 island provinces, but even then they continued colonizing, so I decided at that point to conquer Portugal and Spain so that I could monopolize colonization. To that end, I also had to conquer the Dutch coast and Norway. (This part of the game was in Patch 1.4, so I got no coalitions.) Fortunately, it was Novgorod that formed Russia, and they were never able to colonize Siberia since they were blocked by Kazan. That is how I ended up owning all of Western Europe.
In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have wasted so much time and colonists colonizing West Africa, because then I may have been able to finish my colonies in the Pacific and also colonize more of South Africa. I originally planned to conquer Oman and Yemen to control the Aden node, but the Ottomans had lots of TP there due to transfer from downstream, and I was too lazy to spam it with light ships, so I just diverted Malacca's trade to Zanzibar and collected in Ceylon and South Africa.
I made some protectorates. Kilwa was the most useful in getting me the trade value from Asia into South Africa.
I was able to colonize every single province in the Americas, and my colonial nations did a LOT of colonizing on their own, which was really helpful! This was more than enough to get the "The Five Colonies" achievement. The names of my colonial nations are:
South America: British Brazil, British Guiana, British Colombia, British Titicaca, and British Falklands.
North America: British West Indies, British New Spain, Twenty One Colonies, British New France, British Canada, British Stanford (I go to Berkeley, and Stanford is our rival school, and their color is red), and British Columbia.
Unfortunately, New Spain colonized a lot of the California region, so Stanford has horrible borders, including an Arizonan province completely surrounded by New Spanish provinces.
Fortunately, I had already gotten the "Master of India" achievement in my Ottomans game, since I would not have had enough ADM to conquer all of India, especially if I also wanted to still conquer all of Indonesia and Japan (the latter for the "The Rising Sun" achievement). In 1804, I got a regency a year before I was going to DOW Vijayanagar to annex them...in the 10 year interim, Vijayanagar had somehow picked up that province that I have that's not connected to the rest of my Indian holdings...this put them at 104% warscore to annex, and it was 1816, so I took the stab hit to DOW and annex them again. Fortunately, coring time had dropped to just over 2 years, but I was still unable to sell that province away, because of the bug which prevents you from selling provinces you can't core.
I also briefly took Hormuz from Persia to get the "Trade Hegemon" achievement, but I sold it back because it was 9 BT itself, and I would have had to conquer many more provinces to connect it with my Indian holdings.
I managed to (barely) plop down colonies in every single Pacific island, though it did require running huge deficits for a few years and even taking one loan. Unfortunately, 11 of them remained unfinished at the end of the game, but I'm still pretty proud that I was able to colonize everything that I did.
Bohemia became Emperor and passed only 3 reforms. Meanwhile, Austria was my ally for the latter part of the game, and they were really helpful in the war against Bohemia and Burgundy to take Luxemburg.
I had been monopolizing the Curia since the 1600s...1.5 came out at around this time, which stopped my colonial nations from competing with me in the Curia.
At the end of the game, I was able to support 12 colonies while not running a (large) deficit.
My ability to support all these colonies was due in part to my very nice trade income. My tariff income from my colonies was also very substantial. It turns out that colonial nations do in fact give you lots of money, which is why I'm confused when people just colonize 4 provinces in every region because they think that will make them more money...
This was the first game ever in which I was not able to get into space or finish all my ideas. My lack of ADM was obviously due to coring Western Europe/India/Indonesia/Japan. I took all 5 DIP ideas because the 1st 4 seemed necessary, and I took Naval so I could pass the 2 British decisions...I wanted to finish it to pass 2 more decisions, but I was 2 ideas short...
I had cored everything besides that one province I was forced to take and couldn't core. I only had one missionary, so I wasn't able to convert all my provinces...it was really nice that Japan was mostly Catholic by the time I got there though...
Catholicism is clearly the dominant world religion!
Here's the endscreen. Ottomans had 150k more troops and 7 more ships than me, and I didn't feel like spammming more light ships since I had no more trade nodes I wanted to dominate (I didn't have a spare merchant for Aden).
The final world map, and my new desktop picture! Look at all that beautiful red!
Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with my Empire! I would have liked to conquer more of India, finish my Pacific colonies, and maybe colonize/conquer more of Africa and some of China, but I'm actually very impressed that I managed to colonize the entirety of the Americas and conquer all of Japan, Indonesia, Western Europe, and half of India! But now I think I'm going to take a break from colonizing games...