The power of bankruptcy

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Dominion

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Let's talk about how strong bankruptcies in SP really are.

Introduction

When I first started out, I was sweating like a Swede in a sauna whenever I saw the "you have a loan" flag.
With time and experience players start to get a grasp on opportunity costs and options presenting themselves.
A popular example would be taking 1000 ducats in loans and a quick DoW on any member of the Lübeck node no matter your location.
Open the ledger with "L", 2nd page, 6th column from the left. Sort it. Lübeck alone usually has around 1500 ducats around that time. In the end you invest a few years of gametime, gain no AE (except for the no-cb, if it was necessary) and get ~2500 ducats + war reps.

So far, so good, but what about bankruptcies.


Effects

The negative modifiers look scary at first.
http://www.eu4wiki.com/National_unrest
+3 National unrest
+10% Interest per annum
−100% Morale of armies
−100% Morale of navies
−25% Reinforcement speed
+0.25 Bureaucrats faction influence
+0.25 The guilds influence
−100% Manpower recovery speed
−100% Sailor recovery speed
+100% Advisor cost
−2 Monthly fervor
−200 Global settler increase
+0.20 Monthly autonomy change
−20% Institution spread
−0.25 Militarization of state
Quick notes about what's standing out the most

- You should never go bankrupt as a colonial nation. The opportunity costs do not justify it.
- Negative 100% morale (0.51 flat morale for armies) looks scary
- Advisors can be lvl1 max due to the +100% increase of costs
- Autonomy in all provinces seems like a horrible idea.
- Institution spread doesn't affect you if you aren't behind in institutions anyways
- Interest per annum will not matter, you will be swimming in cash, more on that later

Also noteworthy:
- All advisors will be fired
- All mercs will be disbanded
- All monarch points will be set to 0 (!)
- Stab and prestige hit
- Buildings and units in progress are cancelled


Reasons for bankruptcy and how to survive it

There are always good alternatives to it, but not only do they require a certain aggressiveness and game knowledge, they also have their own drawbacks. Bankruptcies have _none_ except for a 10 year pause after a war, which is something most people have to do anyways.

Since the AI counts all standing forces of the target+allies as one single entity you need to prepare well.

First you grab the strongest and most stable allies available.
This includes, but isn't limited to: France, Castille, Portugal, England, Muscovy, Russia, Ottomans, Persia (if allied to Ottos)
Stay away from Poland, Austria, Hungary, Mamluks, Tunis, Sweden, and Bohemia at all costs.
Avoid Denmark after Sweden broke off or if their subjects are receiving support.
Not only do they get attacked regularly, but since you're taking up a diplo slot with 0 morale units it means their normal standing forces are reduced by 1 potential ally, making them easier targets for other nations.
Unless your alliance net is already strong enough, in which case you ally them on purpose so they are more likely to get destroyed.

If in doubt about various allies, check if any of them are diplomats or have the "Silver Tongue", "Careful" or "Calm" trait.
Stay away from militarists or the "Malevolent".
Most of the time it won't matter, sometimes it will and if it does it can screw you over bigtime.

Sidenote: If traits and personalities clash it is difficult to predict how the AI reacts. This has been confirmed by a dev.

The reason to do it is if you want to make a massive push, if you absolutely need to break out of somewhere or break an enemy and do not want to wait for a random DoW to weaken them.

You can not plan for a bankruptcy if the general disaster "peasants war" has started to tick as loans will increase the progress and you can't handle its effects.
It can not start ticking if you are already at war.

Warfare

Disclaimer: Ideally you have the first 3 ideas of administrative unlocked for this. Unlocking only the first one is enough to break most enemies though.
Save your monarch points during war, especially admin. Do not tech up. We'll get to that in a second.
If you have a disaster ticking, get rid of it. You can not survive any kind of disaster while in a bankruptcy.

As you can see in the following examples you only want to go bankrupt against clearly superior forces. If they only have 5-10 troops more than you you can easily do it with normal loaning.

What you want to do is is to invest heavily in merc infantry. Your regular troops are cavalry and artillery and whatever infantry you have at the start of your war

After every battle you detach all infantry (mercs+regular), consolidate and fill your ranks with mercs again.

Make sure you always either have at least one stack sieging or a big enough stack left on a fort so you won't lose siege progress.
Big enough meaning enemy armies divided by 10 so you won't get stackwiped instantly and can send in your main army.
The more often you successfully engage, the better. They need to flee, rebuild armies, get their morale back, all of that gives you time to siege in peace.

Remember: You are using at least twice your Force Limit. Barely any nation will be able to compete with that unless they start with combat modifiers or your idea was to attack a GP as an OPM.

If you are very close to your goal but bankruptcy is already looming you can debase. This should be treated as an emergency button. You don't need to 100% your enemy just because you go bankrupt and taking five additional loans + debasing 10 times just for one extra province is rarely worth it.

Don't worry about corruption, if it happens, welcome it!

Your MP will be set to 0 so the monarch point increase doesn't phase you for 10 years and you can get rid of a minimum of 10 corruption during that time.
Even more important: It decreases unrest.
Bankruptcy gives an additional 3, so every bit can help.

2 examples:

An early Reich

A friend of mine wanted to form Germany as BB and got the option to contest a Castille PU over Spain. He gave up and sent me his save.
BB vs Portugal, France and Castille (PU over Aragon and Naples) vs Brandenburg, no allies

Massive amounts of mercs, constantly going over FL, hardpushing for forts, negative income of up to 30 per month. You avoid any war of attrition. You get your goal and you get it fast.
Paying off his loans would have taken ~12 years and his inflation would have skyrocketed. Bankruptcy was the best choice.

After the war was over and an alliance net was set up

No DoW during all of it. Allied Poland in hopes of a DoW from Ottomans so I could ditch them, have them weakened and get their northern provinces later (salt, cloth and rather high dev).


Luck of the Irish

England and Scotland allied minors early, England allied Scotland as well and lost its continental provinces.
You could wait for favors from France or Castille, but with the power of bankruptcy there is no restarting.

Especially since your only enemies are Scotland and England

Pretty sure Castille and France completely suffice, took Denmark for good measures.
Never played Denmark, didn't want to risk them allying England and wanted to take away one of their alliance slots.


Post-war stress relief

So you've fought with twice your FL, paid something upwards of 10 ducats a month (way upwards), got all the land you wanted, completely destroyed your enemy and are now waiting to crash.

Don't speed 5 this. There's more to do.

First you want to check how much time you have and lay out a plan.

Objects you need to achieve:

- Do not get rid of corruption yet. Save the cash.
- All newly acquired provinces have unrest. Core them. Do NOT increase autonomy. You want them to pop to get a 10 year provincial modifier of -100 unrest
- Fire all your advisors. If your alliance net doesn't feel good enough or something changed during the war, consider picking up a dip rep advisor to make new alliances easier to come by as he gives +5 reasons to ally you.
- Get rid of mercs if possible. Check rebel stack size for that.
- After rebels have popped, set army maintenance to 0.
- If you still have enough loans left, take some more and build churches, marketplaces and workshops in all your provinces.
This is one of the main reasons why bankruptcy is so damn effective. Not only do you break an enemy more than twice your size, you will also be rewarded with free buildings for doing so!
- If you have cash left, build barques up to your FL and protect trade in your main node. Do not pirate.
- If you still have cash left... just kidding, you don't.
Make sure all buildings and units will be finished before you accept your bankruptcy. Remember, everything in progress will be cancelled.
- After rebels in provinces with more than 10 unrest have popped, increase your stability to 3.
- All remaining provinces that are still rebellious have their autonomy increased, leaving you with a minimum of -13 unrest in all provinces or between -13 and 0 but the option to increase autonomy, if necesasry
- Buy down war exhaustion if necessary. Won't be, generally speaking. You only lost mercs during your war.

And most importantly

- All excess monarch points HAVE TO BE INVESTED! Develop the hell out of every cloth province, your capital, everything that nets you the most. Your MP will be set to 0, remember? Better have that in your nation than in the pockets of some greedy banker.

I'm bankrupt. And now?

Check your income. Smile.

You've got buildings maxed in all provinces and put a ton of MP into your provinces. You should have a massive positive income way bigger than anything you could achieve under normal circumstances.
Check your rebel stacks. None? Well played.
It is now time to get rid of any corruption you might have acquired. Put the ledger to max.
Still positive income? Well played.

Hire some level1 advisors if you can to catch up with techs.
That's it for now.

The next 10 years you can speed 5 through it. It goes without saying that you will deny any CtA during that time.
None appeared? Well played.

You now have a well developed country, broke your biggest enemy, increased your nation's size by a huge margin, got an income of several ducats a month and maybe even got a decent trade fleet.

All of it for the price of 10 years on speed 5.

And that, my friends, is the power of bankruptcy.
 
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Dominion

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I am fully aware that there are better strats and bankruptcies are usually only used for openings for most players.

Just wanted to show a highly underestimated and sometimes even feared mechanic and how much you can gain out of it.

For anyone who doesn't like no-cb Byz strats, attacking alliance nets and similar, this is a nice alternative to try at least once.

It's way faster than acquiring favors with huge nations while tiny.
You can either wait 30 years for an ally while he can call you into offensive wars, delaying your progress, or you can do it yourself and wait 10 years.

It can absolutely be the superior option.

Got motivated to write by @draxdyn 's thread
Not sure if I could put that into a wiki article though (or how I would be doing that).
 
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Wiglaf1

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Interesting post. I always thought of bankruptcy as instant-gg, and never considered the (possible) benefits of it.
 

BarskiPatzow

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Lol, you made this thread just in a time when I need it and was wondering if it is worth to bankrupt myself lol.
 

Evil Geniuses

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Post-war stress relief

Objects you need to achieve:

- All newly acquired provinces have unrest. Core them. Do NOT lower autonomy. You want them to pop to get a 10 year provincial modifier of -100 unrest

Doesn't lower autonomy make the rebels pop easier?
 

Dominion

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Doesn't lower autonomy make the rebels pop easier?
Corrected my mistake. Thank you.

Point is to pop the rebels to get the -100 rebelion modifier from recent rebelion.
On one hand, yes, but usually the drawbacks are too big.+10 unrest for 30 years is annoying and it prevents you from a second bankruptcy immediately afterwards should you need one.

Rebels will pop on their own anyways unless you stacked unrest modifiers, which is highly unlikely during the early game.

I meant to say "do not increase" because a lot of streamers (and therefor a lot of players) lower autonomy immediately after conquering a province.

Bankruptcy should add some sort of yearly corruption or something.

It even removes a bit of Inflation ;)

I don't know if it should be worse honestly.

Right now it's a very neat niche mechanic barely anyone ever uses. It would make sense to turn it into something you absolutely have to avoid, but I feel like that'd just remove content.

The average game is way too much of "build units, fabricate, DoW, repeat until dead" already imho.
Things like bankruptcies add variety.

But I am probably biased :)
 
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pikaemperor

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It can easily go south for any random reason, if some random event pops up and gives you rebels like you get a 0/0/0 pretender to enforce demands on you. There is also the case of one of your allies getting rekt for intervening or enforcing peace and then derping, resulting in them looking very weak or unwilling to join in defensive war which can result in some big alliance chain dow on you. Bankruptcy strats should be last resort for the majority of the time.
 
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Let's talk about how strong bankruptcies in SP really are.

Introduction

When I first started out, I was sweating like a Swede in a sauna whenever I saw the "you have a loan" flag.
With time and experience players start to get a grasp on opportunity costs and options presenting themselves.
A popular example would be taking 1000 ducats in loans and a quick DoW on any member of the Lübeck node no matter your location.
Open the ledger with "L", 2nd page, 6th column from the left. Sort it. Lübeck alone usually has around 1500 ducats around that time. In the end you invest a few years of gametime, gain no AE (except for the no-cb, if it was necessary) and get ~2500 ducats + war reps.

So far, so good, but what about bankruptcies.


Effects

The negative modifiers look scary at first.
Quick notes about what's standing out the most

- You should never go bankrupt as a colonial nation. The opportunity costs do not justify it.
- Negative 100% morale (0.51 flat morale for armies) looks scary
- Advisors can be lvl1 max due to the +100% increase of costs
- Autonomy in all provinces seems like a horrible idea.
- Institution spread doesn't affect you if you aren't behind in institutions anyways
- Interest per annum will not matter, you will be swimming in cash, more on that later

Also noteworthy:
- All advisors will be fired
- All mercs will be disbanded
- All monarch points will be set to 0 (!)
- Stab and prestige hit
- Buildings and units in progress are cancelled


Reasons for bankruptcy and how to survive it

There are always good alternatives to it, but not only do they require a certain aggressiveness and game knowledge, they also have their own drawbacks. Bankruptcies have _none_ except for a 10 year pause after a war, which is something most people have to do anyways.

Since the AI counts all standing forces of the target+allies as one single entity you need to prepare well.

First you grab the strongest and most stable allies available.
This includes, but isn't limited to: France, Castille, Portugal, England, Muscovy, Russia, Ottomans, Persia (if allied to Ottos)
Stay away from Poland, Austria, Hungary, Mamluks, Tunis, Sweden, and Bohemia at all costs.
Avoid Denmark after Sweden broke off or if their subjects are receiving support.
Not only do they get attacked regularly, but since you're taking up a diplo slot with 0 morale units it means their normal standing forces are reduced by 1 potential ally, making them easier targets for other nations.
Unless your alliance net is already strong enough, in which case you ally them on purpose so they are more likely to get destroyed.

If in doubt about various allies, check if any of them are diplomats or have the "Silver Tongue", "Careful" or "Calm" trait.
Stay away from militarists or the "Malevolent".
Most of the time it won't matter, sometimes it will and if it does it can screw you over bigtime.

Sidenote: If traits and personalities clash it is difficult to predict how the AI reacts. This has been confirmed by a dev.

The reason to do it is if you want to make a massive push, if you absolutely need to break out of somewhere or break an enemy and do not want to wait for a random DoW to weaken them.

You can not plan for a bankruptcy if the general disaster "peasants war" has started to tick as loans will increase the progress and you can't handle its effects.
It can not start ticking if you are already at war.


Warfare

Disclaimer: Ideally you have the first 3 ideas of administrative unlocked for this. Unlocking only the first one is enough to break most enemies though.
Save your monarch points during war, especially admin. Do not tech up. We'll get to that in a second.
If you have a disaster ticking, get rid of it. You can not survive any kind of disaster while in a bankruptcy.

As you can see in the following examples you only want to go bankrupt against clearly superior forces. If they only have 5-10 troops more than you you can easily do it with normal loaning.

What you want to do is is to invest heavily in merc infantry. Your regular troops are cavalry and artillery and whatever infantry you have at the start of your war

After every battle you detach all infantry (mercs+regular), consolidate and fill your ranks with mercs again.

Make sure you always either have at least one stack sieging or a big enough stack left on a fort so you won't lose siege progress.
Big enough meaning enemy armies divided by 10 so you won't get stackwiped instantly and can send in your main army.
The more often you successfully engage, the better. They need to flee, rebuild armies, get their morale back, all of that gives you time to siege in peace.

Remember: You are using at least twice your Force Limit. Barely any nation will be able to compete with that unless they start with combat modifiers or your idea was to attack a GP as an OPM.

If you are very close to your goal but bankruptcy is already looming you can debase. This should be treated as an emergency button. You don't need to 100% your enemy just because you go bankrupt and taking five additional loans + debasing 10 times just for one extra province is rarely worth it.

Don't worry about corruption, if it happens, welcome it!

Your MP will be set to 0 so the monarch point increase doesn't phase you for 10 years and you can get rid of a minimum of 10 corruption during that time.
Even more important: It decreases unrest.
Bankruptcy gives an additional 3, so every bit can help.

2 examples:

An early Reich

A friend of mine wanted to form Germany as BB and got the option to contest a Castille PU over Spain. He gave up and sent me his save.
BB vs Portugal, France and Castille (PU over Aragon and Naples) vs Brandenburg, no allies

Massive amounts of mercs, constantly going over FL, hardpushing for forts, negative income of up to 30 per month. You avoid any war of attrition. You get your goal and you get it fast.
Paying off his loans would have taken ~12 years and his inflation would have skyrocketed. Bankruptcy was the best choice.

After the war was over and an alliance net was set up

No DoW during all of it. Allied Poland in hopes of a DoW from Ottomans so I could ditch them, have them weakened and get their northern provinces later (salt, cloth and rather high dev).


Luck of the Irish

England and Scotland allied minors early, England allied Scotland as well and lost its continental provinces.
You could wait for favors from France or Castille, but with the power of bankruptcy there is no restarting.

Especially since your only enemies are Scotland and England

Pretty sure Castille and France completely suffice, took Denmark for good measures.
Never played Denmark, didn't want to risk them allying England and wanted to take away one of their alliance slots.


Post-war stress relief

So you've fought with twice your FL, paid something upwards of 10 ducats a month (way upwards), got all the land you wanted, completely destroyed your enemy and are now waiting to crash.

Don't speed 5 this. There's more to do.

First you want to check how much time you have and lay out a plan.

Objects you need to achieve:

- Do not get rid of corruption yet. Save the cash.
- All newly acquired provinces have unrest. Core them. Do NOT increase autonomy. You want them to pop to get a 10 year provincial modifier of -100 unrest
- Get rid of mercs if possible. Check rebel stack size for that.
- After rebels have popped, set army maintenance to 0.
- If you still have enough loans left, take some more and build churches, marketplaces and workshops in all your provinces.
This is one of the main reasons why bankruptcy is so damn effective. Not only do you break an enemy more than twice your size, you will also be rewarded with free buildings for doing so!
- If you have cash left, build barques up to your FL and protect trade in your main node. Do not pirate.
- If you still have cash left... just kidding, you don't.
Make sure all buildings and units will be finished before you accept your bankruptcy. Remember, everything in progress will be cancelled.
- After rebels in provinces with more than 10 unrest have popped, increase your stability to 3.
- All remaining provinces that are still rebellious have their autonomy increased, leaving you with a minimum of -13 unrest in all provinces or between -13 and 0 but the option to increase autonomy, if necesasry
- Buy down war exhaustion if necessary. Won't be, generally speaking. You only lost mercs during your war.

And most importantly

- All excess monarch points HAVE TO BE INVESTED! Develop the hell out of every cloth province, your capital, everything that nets you the most. Your MP will be set to 0, remember? Better have that in your nation than in the pockets of some greedy banker.


I'm bankrupt. And now?

Check your income. Smile.

You've got buildings maxed in all provinces and put a ton of MP into your provinces. You should have a massive positive income way bigger than anything you could achieve under normal circumstances.
Check your rebel stacks. None? Well played.
It is now time to get rid of any corruption you might have acquired. Put the ledger to max.
Still positive income? Well played.

Hire some level1 advisors if you can to catch up with techs.
That's it for now.

The next 10 years you can speed 5 through it. It goes without saying that you will deny any CtA during that time.
None appeared? Well played.

You now have a well developed country, broke your biggest enemy, increased your nation's size by a huge margin, got an income of several ducats a month and maybe even got a decent trade fleet.

All of it for the price of 10 years on speed 5.

And that, my friends, is the power of bankruptcy.

This perhaps suggests that bankruptcy should remove all province flags for recent rebel uprising.
 

Dominion

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It can easily go south for any random reason, if some random event pops up and gives you rebels like you get a 0/0/0 pretender to enforce demands on you.
Rebel events are scripted and can be expected. As Austria you know about Styrian rebels, for example.
There is no random 0/0/0 pretender rebel event and even if it were, chances for the pretender to actually be 0/0/0 are laughably slim.

There is also the case of one of your allies getting rekt for intervening or enforcing peace and then derping, resulting in them looking very weak or unwilling to join in defensive war which can result in some big alliance chain dow on you.

See: Reasons for bankruptcy and how to survive it

Bankruptcy strats should be last resort for the majority of the time.
I use them as a standard opening and have done so ever since my first one. Barely any experience is needed to pull one off and they are the superior option most of the time.

Unless you prefer restarting your game until you get the rival/alliance nets you desire, which is something I refuse to do. I play with the cards RNG is handing me.

I know people avoid it like the pest, which is what this thread is for. To show its strengths and give tips how to handle it so you don't fall in one uninformed and can avoid crashing :)

This perhaps suggests that bankruptcy should remove all province flags for recent rebel uprising.

Nooo, don't ruin it :(
 

Runite Drill

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I did this as Ryazan vs Muscovy. As no one wanted to ally me I released the land I took as a vassal and joined Novgorod's Trade League as an OPM. I then force-bankrupted myself. It did the trick.
The worst part is that you loose all your MP and -3 stability, since you can't instantly raise stability again, it's pretty good at starting new disasters if you are not prepared.
 

Dominion

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Agree. As soon as someone is bankrupt you just no-cb him to get the most of his land before anyone else does.

Bankruptcies in MP are truly game over.

The worst part is that you loose all your MP and -3 stability, since you can't instantly raise stability again, it's pretty good at starting new disasters if you are not prepared.

That's why you absolutely need to raise your stab to 3 before going into bankruptcy.

You can't handle a disaster during one unless you are already very powerful. But in that case, you don't need a bankruptcy anymore.
 

Hessian Mercenary

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Would it be possible to store admin points in newly conquered provinces, go bankrupt after the war, cancel core creation and grant them to a vassal to buy back stability? Or is core creation cancelled when you go bankrupt? Would mean you need some very good timing though before you hit the 10% mark. You could also time it with estate interactions to get some monarch points after bankruptcy
 

Dominion

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You can use estates. Core creation will get cancelled.

I wouldn't recommend it anyways. Coring is more important.

You don't go bankrupt when your financial situation is sunshine and unicorns. Better get the core to state and increase autonomy.

If you increase autonomy before coring you have 100% afterwards. If you increase autonomy after coring and statifying, you get 75%.
 
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durbal

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I can't think of a single reason any of this if more effective than just managing wars and an economy better. Dropping hundreds of admin to get to +3 stab is enough of a reason on its own to avoid bankruptcy as a planned strategy.

It's a ridiculous risk (without savescumming and stuff) while already well into campaigns and there is no start in the game difficult enough that would require this -- small OPMs surrounded by big enemies can already defeat them and peace them out for big ducats to pay off the loans they took during the war.
 
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bbqftw

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I would rather debase to 40+ than bankrupt tbh

Either way you are wrecking yourself for a long time, and in either case you're going to spend a lot of time stabilizing, so whatever war you bankrupted yourself better be worth it (or its the only option when you're completely blocked off)
 
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Dominion

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I would rather debase to 40+ than bankrupt tbh

Either way you are wrecking yourself for a long time, and in either case you're going to spend a lot of time stabilizing, so whatever war you bankrupted yourself better be worth it (or its the only option when you're completely blocked off)
Just wanted to show a highly underestimated and sometimes even feared mechanic and how much you can gain out of it.

For anyone who doesn't like no-cb Byz strats, attacking alliance nets and similar, this is a nice alternative to try at least once.

Think the BB screenshot from a friend's game shows rather well that a lot of people don't have the ability to pull off a lot of nations and even if you do, a bankruptcy is very easy to play.

A controlled bankruptcy is nowhere near as bad as debasing to 40+.

The Ireland example was really nice btw. Went bankrupt twice during that run.
Whatever strategy you decide on in the situation (2 minors allied to England, 1 allied to Scotland, England+Scotland allied to each other) is inferior to a bankruptcy.
Mainly because the path is clear, simple and fails rarely whereas warfare and expanding let you run into different kinds of problems, assuming you lack the experience needed.

Ally neighbours, go over FL, merc up, win, sit around for ten years on speed 5, have tons of cash and decently developed provinces. Easy.

Haven't tried it on VH yet though. Don't think I would do it. Ten years is ten years after all, but waiting for favors and similar intermediate strategies are way worse.

Repeating myself: This is clearly not a strategy for every game and there are usually better options.
But when the opening occurs, why not?


This thread was intended to show the power of going bankrupt when well prepared.

People are too scared of it and tend to overlook its benefits.

:)
 
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