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Travis_Bickle

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First of all, what ideas did you take?
Second, there's a fifth tier reform called estates general which will consistently give you decent rulers.
Third, do you want to do a one tag? If not, then integrating Spain isn't a concern.

I don't have the save, but it does seem that your mana and money management is... Not good. There's nearly never a reason to be behind in tech (besides dip if you're doing it on purpose), and your production income is way too low. It seems you haven't built any manus or workshops.

I can't give any specific advice based on your
screenshots, except for practice your war micro. Can you win the war vs England and Portugal in 1444 without running out of money or manpower?
Thank you for the response.

Diplo - Humanist - Exploration - Offensive are the ideas, but I've barely unlocked any new ideas.

I simply haven't had the money to build anything. I've been in debt most of the game. I feel if I had more money I could fix my situation even on tech by hiring advisors, but I'm so far behind now it feels like I should give up. I'm down to 5 loans I got from my estate, but still.

Diplo...I have loads of vassals and PUs I've had to integrate. I've consistently had rulers with 2 or under Diplo and been in several queen regencies/regencies. I think that's the one I've been a bit unlucky on.

The first war vs England/Portugal 100% depends on whether England decide to focus on Scotland (decoy) or land all their soldiers in Iberia and attack me from the south. If they do the latter, like they did, it's very hard not to start with a -10-20k manpower penalty. Given I want to take our Provence before they are excommunicated and Brittany before theyg et allied to England or Austria, it's hard not to start in a hole.
 

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Thank you for the response.

Diplo - Humanist - Exploration - Offensive are the ideas, but I've barely unlocked any new ideas.

I simply haven't had the money to build anything. I've been in debt most of the game. I feel if I had more money I could fix my situation even on tech by hiring advisors, but I'm so far behind now it feels like I should give up. I'm down to 5 loans I got from my estate, but still.

Diplo...I have loads of vassals and PUs I've had to integrate. I've consistently had rulers with 2 or under Diplo and been in several queen regencies/regencies. I think that's the one I've been a bit unlucky on.

The first war vs England/Portugal 100% depends on whether England decide to focus on Scotland (decoy) or land all their soldiers in Iberia and attack me from the south. If they do the latter, like they did, it's very hard not to start with a -10-20k manpower penalty. Given I want to take our Provence before they are excommunicated and Brittany before theyg et allied to England or Austria, it's hard not to start in a hole.
It seems like you've had a strategy on how to expand but haven't developed a strategy on how to get money.

Sometimes fighting a war to grab all of their money is OK, actually a good idea. You don't always have to take maximum land from every war you fight. You can identify the countries that have the most money via the Ledger screens. Target them for a quick war, get to at least 25% war score and peace out for all their money.

On your ideas approach, you're not being efficient by starting groups but not finishing them. Once you finish a group, you get a discount on all further techs from that category and at the moment you're paying full price and not getting any of those benefits.

You don't seem to have any trade fleets of light ships in the key nodes that you have your merchants. Also your merchant collecting in Genoa is not earning much at all and you'd probably make more money by relocating him to North Sea and directing towards English Channel. It would be helpful to check the trade screen (via screenshot) and let us know how much % power you've got in each node. You might benefit quickly from assigning some key provinces with centres of trade to the Burghers, because it makes a huge boost to local trade power.
 
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It seems like you've had a strategy on how to expand but haven't developed a strategy on how to get money.

Sometimes fighting a war to grab all of their money is OK, actually a good idea. You don't always have to take maximum land from every war you fight. You can identify the countries that have the most money via the Ledger screens. Target them for a quick war, get to at least 25% war score and peace out for all their money.

On your ideas approach, you're not being efficient by starting groups but not finishing them. Once you finish a group, you get a discount on all further techs from that category and at the moment you're paying full price and not getting any of those benefits.

You don't seem to have any trade fleets of light ships in the key nodes that you have your merchants. Also your merchant collecting in Genoa is not earning much at all and you'd probably make more money by relocating him to North Sea and directing towards English Channel. It would be helpful to check the trade screen (via screenshot) and let us know how much % power you've got in each node. You might benefit quickly from assigning some key provinces with centres of trade to the Burghers, because it makes a huge boost to local trade power.
You do know that since 1.26 you can only ask for money equal to up to 5 loans in peace deals, right? Gone are the days of farming OPMs.
 
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Early game, take max gold and war reps from everyone you fight before you start clicking territories. This helps manage your finances and AE both. Also, loans are expensive. Be conservative in how you fight wars. Taking loans to win is a lot better than losing, but winning without loans should be the goal. Invest gold in churches, workshops, and light ships up to your force limit. Buildings are crucial.
 
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Travis_Bickle

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I think I've figured out what I am doing wrong. It's again what I've mentioned before, I have a good start to the game, and a strong finish, but in between is weak.

I definitely have to learn how to manage my resources a lot better and not waste anything. That should be a priority for me.

But I also think that I'm pushing myself too early and extending beyond my means. I've seen how well I can eat loads of land in the later game, and I've got a consistent way to get to at least 70 absolutism quick, so maybe I can forgo a bit of conquering earlier on just to make sure my country is being managed properly.

On top of this, I now see the point of vassal-feeding. i.e taking one province + cash + war reps from a country then releasing that province as a vassal and using their claims to get back the rest saves a lot of monarch points.
 
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EarlKonrad

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I'd advise you to play until 1821 while trying to WC, even if you know you will fail. It may help to put things into perspective.

As other have said, your production income is strangely low.
 

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I think I've figured out what I am doing wrong. It's again what I've mentioned before, I have a good start to the game, and a strong finish, but in between is weak.

I definitely have to learn how to manage my resources a lot better and not waste anything. That should be a priority for me.

But I also think that I'm pushing myself too early and extending beyond my means. I've seen how well I can eat loads of land in the later game, and I've got a consistent way to get to at least 70 absolutism quick, so maybe I can forgo a bit of conquering earlier on just to make sure my country is being managed properly.

On top of this, I now see the point of vassal-feeding. i.e taking one province + cash + war reps from a country then releasing that province as a vassal and using their claims to get back the rest saves a lot of monarch points.
I don't think you need avoid all waste; you just need to be careful. The goal is to get your economy set up by ~1600 and then boost absolutism to the max quickly. It's probably more important to get to India/Indonesia by that point rather than have big chunks of Italy. It will give you tons of trade income, especially as you unlock more merchants with your TCs, and your future expansion will be faster because you can conquer in more different places.

I'm going to disagree with a few posters above and say that it is okay to take out loans and carry them for a long time. Loans are investments - you are borrowing money so you can get a good ROI. Sometimes that's to win wars - you can use cash/war reps (plus future territory income) to pay it off. Sometimes that's buildings! Especially workshops and manufactories pay off in the long run. I sometimes carry 30 or 40 loans at once if it's helping fuel my expansion. Usually by the mid-1600s I can pay it off with the massive growth in trade income. The Manufactories institution gives a huge production/trade income bonus so after that I tend not to have money issues.
 
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I sometimes carry 30 or 40 loans at once if it's helping fuel my expansion. Usually by the mid-1600s I can pay it off with the massive growth in trade income. The Manufactories institution gives a huge production/trade income bonus so after that I tend not to have money issues.
Wow, aren't you worrying about a debt spiral and bankruptcy? Genuinely curious how you manage that. Thanks for the response.
 

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Taking out loans to build buildings isn't really worth it, unless you're doing a bankruptcy build (which is something a beginner should probably avoid), or using low interest burgher loans.

A manufactury costs 500 ducats, and let's say you have 3.5% interest. So that's 17.5 ducats per year in interest, meaning that the manu has to bring 1.5 ducats a month to make a very small profit.
If you have good control of trade you can get this much from a manu, but even then it's close.
 
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Travis_Bickle

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Taking out loans to build buildings isn't really worth it, unless you're doing a bankruptcy build (which is something a beginner should probably avoid), or using low interest burgher loans.

A manufactury costs 500 ducats, and let's say you have 3.5% interest. So that's 17.5 ducats per year in interest, meaning that the manu has to bring 1.5 ducats a month to make a very small profit.
If you have good control of trade you can get this much from a manu, but even then it's close.
I've found that the only games I've had where I've been rich have been when I've colonised in the Americans/Africa/SE Asia and have more money than sense. If I am trying to generate that kind of income as France or Muscovy, not colonising, it gets very difficult to get my manufacturing income up at a sufficient level. Even controlling an entire trade node that's a 'dead end' like the English Channel or Genoa isn't enough.

Strangely enough though, in my Venice run I was also rich. But I was also totally in control of Venice, Ragusa, Constantinople and Genoa.
 

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How do your estates look? You have less than 30% crownland. You should revoke land everytime you can and get your % as high as possible. This should give you a 1+ power in every category. Also don't put too much attention on North Africa and Italy, those aren't your focus area's. India! You don't seem to have armies in India, so I'm assuming that you don't have a presence there. Your focus seems to be mostly on Europe, while it really shouldn't. You can get a lot more land a lot easier in Africa and India.
 
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I've found that the only games I've had where I've been rich have been when I've colonised in the Americans/Africa/SE Asia and have more money than sense. If I am trying to generate that kind of income as France or Muscovy, not colonising, it gets very difficult to get my manufacturing income up at a sufficient level. Even controlling an entire trade node that's a 'dead end' like the English Channel or Genoa isn't enough.

Strangely enough though, in my Venice run I was also rich. But I was also totally in control of Venice, Ragusa, Constantinople and Genoa.
The reason why The Americas make you so much money is because there are few nations collecting from trade there and you have enough trade power to push a lot of its value forward to Europe. Still, you can own 100% of the English Channel and not make much trade money if every nations along the trade chain leading to the Channel is collecting ducats. One of the downsides of having Spain and Portugal alive is that they will decrease your trade income as a consequence of them collecting ducats. A solution would be to force them to divert trade to you.

India will make you filthy rich once you get some TC land there. That's because you get a lot of production income, merchant from having a strong presence on the node (and less nations competing for a share of the pie as a consequence of this), bonus to trade power and access to some of the best trade goods on the entire game.

By the way, how many African gold mines do you own? I'd say it is a good idea to try and get all gold mines on West Africa and Southeast Africa ASAP as they combined are worth quite a lot and will help you lockdown both the Zanzibar and Cape of Good Hope nodes.
 

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I've found that the only games I've had where I've been rich have been when I've colonised in the Americans/Africa/SE Asia and have more money than sense. If I am trying to generate that kind of income as France or Muscovy, not colonising, it gets very difficult to get my manufacturing income up at a sufficient level. Even controlling an entire trade node that's a 'dead end' like the English Channel or Genoa isn't enough.

Strangely enough though, in my Venice run I was also rich. But I was also totally in control of Venice, Ragusa, Constantinople and Genoa.
When you conquer Great Britain, be sure to take their provinces in Africa and Asia every war. Let them keep the new world, because you will gain those subjects upon full annexation. This gives you avenues for cheap expansion to boost trade in Africa and Asia without having to take exploration. Also, when you are ready for full annexation, make sure you don't miss a tiny island or colonies that are not yet part of a colonial nation. Nothing worse than not getting a bunch of CNs because you didn't notice that Christmas Island was red. It's one of the few cases where I endorse a save beforehand and a controlled crash if something goes wrong. Paradox should add a "full annexation" button to the peace interface.
 
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The reason why The Americas make you so much money is because there are few nations collecting from trade there and you have enough trade power to push a lot of its value forward to Europe. Still, you can own 100% of the English Channel and not make much trade money if every nations along the trade chain leading to the Channel is collecting ducats. One of the downsides of having Spain and Portugal alive is that they will decrease your trade income as a consequence of them collecting ducats. A solution would be to force them to divert trade to you.

India will make you filthy rich once you get some TC land there. That's because you get a lot of production income, merchant from having a strong presence on the node (and less nations competing for a share of the pie as a consequence of this), bonus to trade power and access to some of the best trade goods on the entire game.

By the way, how many African gold mines do you own? I'd say it is a good idea to try and get all gold mines on West Africa and Southeast Africa ASAP as they combined are worth quite a lot and will help you lockdown both the Zanzibar and Cape of Good Hope nodes.
The issue is that he gets Spain under a PU from the mission tree and you can't divert trade from PU subjects.
 

EarlKonrad

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The issue is that he gets Spain under a PU from the mission tree and you can't divert trade from PU subjects.
I had forgotten that you can't divert trade from PU partners. And neither can you ask for provinces.

Hmm... out of curiosity, how would one go about decreasing a PU's trade power while increasing your own? Using the France + Spain example, the only way I can see of doing it would be to lose a war and force Spain to cede territory/release nations (emphasis on provinces with CoT) and later conquer/vassalize them yourself. But that os convoluted and not work the effort, I think. Could also try and indirectly help PU's rebels to break free... which would also be quite hard to pull of.
 

eoncommander

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Wow, aren't you worrying about a debt spiral and bankruptcy? Genuinely curious how you manage that. Thanks for the response.
Taking out loans to build buildings isn't really worth it, unless you're doing a bankruptcy build (which is something a beginner should probably avoid), or using low interest burgher loans.

A manufactury costs 500 ducats, and let's say you have 3.5% interest. So that's 17.5 ducats per year in interest, meaning that the manu has to bring 1.5 ducats a month to make a very small profit.
If you have good control of trade you can get this much from a manu, but even then it's close.
Taking max gold and war reps in peace deals helps a lot. I should clarify, I don't usually *carry* 30 loans for a long period of time unless I'm emerging from a long/hard war. But if you're conquering, especially if you are conquering efficiently (i.e. grabbing important trade provinces, getting TC land) loans now will be paid off in the future.

@Elisha you are correct about the math, and I do very rarely take out loans directly to cover the costs of buildings. My point was that one shouldn't be afraid of loans as such, that it's possible to keep a number of loans on the books without it being a brake on your progress.
 
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Big Bad France

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Taking max gold and war reps in peace deals helps a lot. I should clarify, I don't usually *carry* 30 loans for a long period of time unless I'm emerging from a long/hard war. But if you're conquering, especially if you are conquering efficiently (i.e. grabbing important trade provinces, getting TC land) loans now will be paid off in the future.

@Elisha you are correct about the math, and I do very rarely take out loans directly to cover the costs of buildings. My point was that one shouldn't be afraid of loans as such, that it's possible to keep a number of loans on the books without it being a brake on your progress.
I think it's worth noting that 30 loans as a small nation is much different than 30 loans as France. You aren't going to make a dent in 30 loans through peace deals as France because the gold you get is based on the size of loans your opponent can take and nobody you fight can take loans as big as you can.
 
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Jomini

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A few other options:

1. Would you want to try to Revoke? The easiest way is to go Protestant, help the Protestants win the League War, and then get voted in and spend a few wars force converting princes. A killer move if you can easily swing it for this is to kill off the Reformed centers (e.g. force convert a minor that gets it in their capital) in or near the HRE. Even without a lot of hand holding a heavily Protestant HRE should be revokeable by 1725. Then you have basically unlimited manpower and you can use your slot-free vassals to hold land for you (while still one-tagging if you pass the final reform in 1820).

2. Have you considered wars of opportunity for cash? Look at who is getting wrecked by some other major. See if you can swing a CB, and then pile on. Nations that are big, but already tied down can yield very strong cash infusions with max gold. Consider pounding on whoever is losing in an Austria/Ottoman grudge match. Or pile onto Poland when Russia or Lithuania is already grinding them down. This becomes even more lucrative once you have a tech advantage and are able to generate CBs on big backwards states (e.g. consolidated Incans, Ming, Vijay, Mali). Snagging just a few clutch islands (e.g. Gotland, Crete, Taiwan, Fernando Po, Socatra) can easily let you gain CBs on punching bags. Sometimes you can even take down the winning side if they cannot reach your territory and you can beat their fleet (particularly if they are losing the naval battle against another enemy) while occupying a random island for ticking WS.

3. Can you afford fewer regiments? Having a major ally or two can significantly decrease the amount of regiments you need to maintain during peace (consolidate at the end of the war). Similarly, while at war, can you bait the enemy with an opportunistic ally? E.g. when attacking Milan and their allies can you find some OPM in Italy to ally, promise them land, and then let them get crushed by your enemies so you can avoid pitched battles and get your sieges while they get rolled and are eventually forced to separate peace? An small disposable ally that will get 100% occupied by the enemy (but idle their armies for a year a two) can make wars vastly cheaper for you to fight. Winning wars is good. Winning them without spending a fortune on replacements is better, particularly in the early game.
 
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Akela

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I think I've figured out what I am doing wrong. It's again what I've mentioned before, I have a good start to the game, and a strong finish, but in between is weak.

I definitely have to learn how to manage my resources a lot better and not waste anything. That should be a priority for me.

But I also think that I'm pushing myself too early and extending beyond my means. I've seen how well I can eat loads of land in the later game, and I've got a consistent way to get to at least 70 absolutism quick, so maybe I can forgo a bit of conquering earlier on just to make sure my country is being managed properly.
A perspective on this that might be useful: your goal in the first half of the game is to maximise the resources you will have available for the second half of the game. That means that it's the long-term payoff of an investment that matters most, not the immediate effect.

Gold is a resource. Manpower is a resource. Monarch points are a resource. Building slots, force limit and CBs/invasion staging points are all secondary resources - you want them, but they're basically useless without enough of the main resources to take advantage of them.

Despite what the game tells you, total development is not a resource (it's not the dev itself that matters, it's the gold and mp you get out of it). Nor is having your country name be written in really big letters.

It sounds to me like your income and costs are probably growing at similar rates during the early game - at a guess, you might be judging how good or bad a play is more by how much it improves your gross income than the effect on your net income. Conquest is a great short-term investment in your country's power, but you only grow linearly like that - buildings are kind of weak as short-term investments but they kick off an exponential growth curve. Trade is similar - the more powerful your trade network is, the more valuable any new additions become. Just dominating Genoa or the English Channel isn't really worth much. The Channel plus two or three downstream nodes is decent, but not that special. The Channel with an unbroken chain to India and the Spice Islands is incredibly lucrative.

TLDR version (paraphrasing Machiavelli): having lots of gold and manpower can always get you the number one Great Power slot. Having the number one Great Power slot does not always get you gold and manpower.
 
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