Prussia is one of the 12 major factions available for play.
played in v 1.0
Prussia - Estimated HARD
Prussia's campaign is for those who like to think fast, talk fast, and move fast. You start with two provinces, unfortunately they are both seperated by Poland-Lithuania's lands. Isolated as they are they can only offer each other limited support, building your empire will be increasingly hard in such a position, and waiting only makes it worse. Poland could easily be replaced by Austria, and then you will be forced to contend with a powerful southern neighbor. Therefore your first move is clear. Take West Prussia. Doing this, however, will bring you into direct conflict with not only Poland, not only Poland-Lithuania's two protectorates (Saxony and Courland), but also Russia who is allied to Poland.
You start with two decent sized armies, one in Berlin and one outside Konigsberg, they might not look like much but you've got the treasury to bloat those stacks with some Line infantry right of the bat. You're going to need to use troops wisely if you want to have a chance at destroying Poland and doing it quick. Spend two turns building up your forces and don't forget to take your cannons into the fray when the time is right.
Start researching military technologies, with the ultimate goal of achieving ring bayonets ASAP. Prussia starts with Plug bayonets already so this won't take too long. You have a single school and a gentlemen, put them to use! Destroy something over in East Prussia and build a school there as well. This will come in handy later.
Before you strike, you're going to need an ally. Poland is too large an adversary and has too many protectorates for you to go into this thing alone. I suggest Austria, but getting her on your side won't be easy. Well, actually it is if you have the money. Save up 5000 gold and send the Austrian king a state gift. A thoroughbred Horse. Right after he recieves it, offer an alliance. Feel free to sweeten the deal with plug bayonets, they'll need them. Austria is going to be your shield in this war, they will soak up a lot of heat allowing you to pick off Saxony and Courland before delivering the Coup de grace. Be sure to smile as you shake the Austrian King's hand... you've just signed the death warrant for half his army.
Don't be fooled by the weak moniker, they have the potential to levy mass amounts of troops, enough to overrun you if you're not careful. Once you've got your ally feel free to declare war at any time. The sooner the better as giving Poland time to build up only hastens the possibility that their "weak" will turn to "strong". Your army in east Prussia should immediately hit West Prussia, laying siege to Gdarisk. The garrison is small and the towns people will rise up to defend, but they should be no match for you. If Austria entered the war with you (your relations should be good enough that they did) Poland won't attack you outright, they will see Austria as the bigger threat and try to deal with them on their way to you. You should be much more concerned about Saxony and Courland.
Ah yes, Saxony. You're going to need to knock them out fast or else you'll be fighting a multi-front war. Don't underestimate them, while their main army is filled with militia they can put up a serious fight. Immediately after you take Gdarisk you should push on Dresden and force Saxony into an open confrontation with the army stationed near Berlin. This will force the Ai on the defensive and not give it time to maneuver in the province. Siege Dresden and cut the head off of the snake. Auto-resolve if you don't feel like a battle, your line infantry numbers beat Militia's by a mile.
Turn 3 and you've already knocked out Saxony, Protectorate of Poland-Lithuania. They are not going to be happy about that. You have two options here. You can either sue for peace from Poland, or do so from Russia. Be advised, however, that Courland is still alive and is very much at war with you due to their protectorate status from Poland. If you make peace with Poland they may just turn and declare war again. I chose to make peace with Russia. If they refuse at first send a state gift and give them some tech, that should pretty much ensure they are at least "indifferent" to you. If they still refuse, give them a few turns and a few more gifts.
With the sleeping giant out of the way and Austria and Poland fighting savagely along my southern border I turned my attentions to Courland. Your best bet is to leave an Army near Berlin/West Prussia and send one of your stacks up to deal with Courland on its own. It should be enough, but be advised that Courland had numerous artillery batteries in my game against them and proved far more dangerous than Saxony. Still, I was able to win a number of modest victories and eventually pushed on their capitol. If Courland is raiding your towns and you can't seem to pin down their main army, it's likely that they are devoting all assets to try and raid you. I noticed the Ai wasn't keeping an army between me and its city so I snuck around them and captured their capitol a few turns later. That was the end for them.
Alternatively you can prolong the destruction of Courland a few turns and build your army up while keeping yourself between them and Konigsberg. This is the best plan as you'll have combat power in hand for the next step.
If Russia did not accept your call for peace a few turns ago, continue building relations and trying for peace. They won't be able to resist after a few china sets. Remember that stack that we had near West Prussia that we were building up? Well now its time to put it into action. We needed it in hand for our next step, which is absorbing the Polish counter-attack. You didn't think it would be that easy did you? Position it near Konigsberg and have them wait. While they sit quietly on the home front, bring the army who sacked Courland down and take Vilnius. Depending on how much the Polish have thrown at the Austrians, this can be either easy or downright bloody. In my recent play through of this stage the Polish had commited huge resources to fighting the Austrians and i was able to take it no problem.
Keep your defense stack in place, if you move it you can expect Poland to come walking in and take Konigsberg! Exempt Vilnius from taxes and leave a few militia behind as you push on to Minsk which secures your eastern flank. As before, Exempt Minsk from Taxes and march back to Vilnius and station your troops there.
You may notice in the screenshot i've lost Konigsberg, that is because i didnt have the defense stack ready and in place! I had the money but just didn't have them moved up. The result was I lost two provinces and effectively traded my homelands for Poland's. If this happens you may find yourself bogged down and in a very dangerous spot, hence why I suggest keeping that army between you and them.
The last objective is Warsaw, but don't underestimate your enemy. It's a powerful war-factory and can crank out Line infantry quickly. Try to position your Armies in a way that the enemy will be forced to march through them to attack, then wait. If no attack seems forth-coming then feel free to move in from either side (using either your defense army or the veterans of the Lithuanian campaign) to trap the Polish in a vice. In my experience, moving the defense army across the Polish border was enough to provoke an attack. I was able to defeat them in a bloody battle and break the power of Poland-Lithuania. Then all I had to do was move in the Lithuanian Campaigners and besiege Warsaw. Auto-resolve, done.
Poland-Lithuania now has a final settlement and you should have quite the growing kingdom. It's up to you now whether to destroy them, or make them your protectorate. I chose the latter. They could come in handy as a buffer between the Ottomans.
After blitzing and breaking the power of Poland-Lithuania, you're going to have to spend a few turns concentrating solely on building up your new provinces. Warsaw is the hardest of the four provinces to keep that you've acquired from Poland, with Vilnius coming second and Minsk giving relatively no trouble at all. Try to destroy a factory in Poland and replace it with a threater, as well as exempting the region from taxes and keeping a huge garrison. All of this, however may not be enough and Poland could rise up in a loyalist rebellion.
If you've kept a large garrison, however, this will be easily put down. Crush the rebels and let not one survive, your entire empire will take note and public order should improve. You should still maintain a large garrison in Warsaw, or perhaps build a few wooden forts in the area. After you've crushed the rebellion and made your new subjects understand their lot in life, you should focus energy upon building up your infrastructure. Up to this point I had been going all for broke with military techs and was noticing cash was getting hard to come by, it's a good idea to research the tech 1 farming techniques ASAP.
I destroyed a workshop or two and converted them into schools to help my research to help in this matter as well. I took a short-term drop in cash but the long term payoff has been worth it. Basically, I have six school spread among my provinces ensuring I am at the forefront of the technological curve. It's paid off and had an interesting side-effect. With this much tech power you can actually influence wars. An example of this is the war for Scandinavia that has been raging since turn 3. Sweden couldn't seem to take Denmark no matter how hard they tried, so I loaded them up with military techs and two turns later they had conquered the entire north! It didn't last, but it was humorous to see. Give it a try some time, playing the arms-dealer is surprisingly fun.
Once you've researched the first level of agriculture you'll be able to upgrade the many farms that your provinces are filled with. This is perhaps the smallest but the most important step in your campaign. Upgrading your farms ensures that even if trade is cut off you have a large portion of your economy still going. When you get the chance, upgrade the factories that you didn't destroy in your technology blitz. You need them working just as much as you do your farms.
It took around four or five turns until I could finally start taxing my new conquests and could enjoy the benefits of the early wars I'd fought. From this point you can pretty much approach the situation how you see fit. The route I chose was a land grab against some of the smaller provinces. My initial target was Hanover, to test myself against their huge armies but Bavaria had otehr plans and attacked me right out. Of course, when Bavaria attacked me it gave me an interesting chance to start chipping away at Austria's diplomatic strength. It should be noted that every game I've played as Prussia (i've played three thus far) Bavaria has declared war on me shortly after we shared a border. In the games where I did not build relations with Austria this was particularly painful.
Austria is sitting right on your southern flank and will need to be dealt with before long. They are just too strong to leave alone. The path to killing Austria that I took was a divide and conquer one. When Bavaria attacked me it forced Austria into a choice. Support Bavaria or support me? I had spent the entire game building relations with Austria so it was no surprise when they sided with me against the small state.
Unfortunately, Bavaria is a powerful state, despite its small size. I recommend no less than one and a half stacks to deal with them simply because they are going to mob you if you don't commit your forces.
Be meticulous in your battles against them, be persistent, and you'll remove them from the diplomatic picture. Never, ever let them have a force behind you. Don't try to push on to their capitol for a quick kill, take your time. Invading from Dresden leaves you a narrow corridor of advance that is very easy for Bavaria to defend. You're walking into the dragon's maw, the last thing you need to worry about is forces at the rear. If you're careful and patient, you can remove Bavaria from the picture with a few tough battles. They were the most dangerous ally of Austria and are now out of the way. The others will only stop trading with you, which if you've developed your farms up will not be a problem in the least.
At this stage I was making around 7-9k a turn and could finance huge armies to be levied, therefore it was my conclusion that I could really do whatever I wanted and that's my suggestion to you. If you are going after Austria then build up and look for targets of opportunity, a War with Austria will be rough. Right before declaring war, side with the Ottoman Empire and build relations with them. Once you've got an alliance and are friendly then it's time for war!
That concludes a first look at Prussia, and it should be enough info for you guys who are struggling.
Turns played 1-30 played on H/VH