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Thread: United Provinces

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    The Abominable Senior Member Fall Down Champion, Hexxagon Champion Monk's Avatar
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    Default United Provinces

    United Provinces guides

    Please review the ToC before posting new strategies.
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    Member Member Malkut's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Provinces

    Hallo, guys! Here's a guide for new people looking at playing one of my favorite factions, the UP.

    The UP are about one thing and one thing only: the Benjamins. There are quite a few obstacles between the Dutch and that giant pile of gold and easy women that they've been dreaming of: France, Spain, and the Pirates, for starters.

    However, with a bit of planning, these are not insurmountable. We'll be livin' it up like rock stars in no time flat!


    LEGAL LOOPHOLES SAVE LIVES

    Like the British, you face the daunting prospect of war with the Franco-Spanish alliance, but unlike them, you don't have a channel of water filled with warships between them and you. Thus, you must find a way to move without being steamrolled by both major nations.

    Spain is obviously your top priority. They're practically at your doorstep! But if you declare war on them, France will jump in as well. What's a guy to do?

    The answer is, declare war on New Spain. That's right: the colony. France's treaty protects the government of Spain, but not it's colonial holdings. TAKE THAT OPENING. Fighting Spain is far easier than fighting Spain AND France. Be quick about it, though: New Spain vanishes forever at the end of turn two. This is a once-in-a-lifetime offer.


    GETTING AN EDUMACATION

    The sooner you load up on schools, the faster you'll learn. Fortunately, you're surrounded by schools. The only problem is that none of them belong to you.

    Taking on the gaggle of tiny nations next door is a high risk/high reward sort of thing. You're already at war with Spain. Fighting on two fronts isn't a terribly good idea, and two of those nations are allied with non-hostile Austria and Prussia.

    However, those two nations lack a huge navy, and can't impact your economy very much. If you can play the diplomacy game well, then there's a good chance that you'll walk away with a substantial European empire and enough schools to think your way to victory. If not, there's a chance you'll be dragged down.

    Oh, and take Mysore right away. It's got one, too.


    A DIAMOND MONOPOLY IS FOREVER

    The De Beers corporation is a leftover of real life Dutch imperialism from way back when. Having long ago ruthlessly crushed any competition, they charge exorbitant prices for semi-common lumps of shiny mineral, largely by wholecloth inventing a fake cultural tradition that turns the sacred act of proposing marriage into an excerpt in crass consumerism.

    Now, I know what you're thinking: yes, you can totally cash in on this.

    Every gem-producing provenance is right there, in your reach. Two of them are in South America, one is at the tip of India, and the others are in Ceylon and Mysore. Grabbing all the gems in the world makes them more valuable on the trade market.


    KINGS OF THE SEA

    Unlike most other factions, you start with a special ship called the Fluyt. Having possession of a heavily armed trade ship from turn one means that you've got an excuse to get out there and start securing trading ports early on.

    Your first opponets for sea dominance are the Pirates, those scurvy dogs. Fortunately, you've got a nice settlement capable of producing line infantry right next to their two islands, so eliminating them quickly is not very hard.

  3. #3

    Default Re: United Provinces

    Looking for any tips on a recent UP campaign (VH-CAI/Normal-BAI)!

    I generally try to make my Empire games interesting by resisting the urge to overly cripple my main enemy factions in the early game. I decided to play UP as an aggressive trade nation rather than mucking about much on the continent.

    Turn 1 I made trade agreements and alliances with Rhineland and Hannover. I dropped the Maratha trade agreement for one with the Ottomans. I'm planning on expanding into India in the early game and covet the Maratha territories. I send trade ships out to the various theaters and hit pirates as appropriate.

    Turn 2 I hit New Spain with a DoW. Hannover and Rhineland join the war. I took Brussels with my continental army. I have no other territorial demands in Europe! (Ever hear that one before?) But seriously, I want to maximize my trade lanes or I'd stay out of Europe completely. But in the new world I do have my covetous eyes on Cuba and land there with some Line Infantry trained at Curaco.

    France declares a turn or two later. Hannover and Rhineland join the war on my side with the Italian states and Louisiana fighting for France. I fight an offensive engagement against France on the continent and get mauled pretty badly despite having superior total numbers and artillery. Not sure what the deal is, but France just chews me up.

    I'm able to take an undefended French New Guinea with the Pikeman unit that started in UPs adjacent territory. I make peace with France in exchange for Curaco and get a bunch of cash and a trade agreement in return. I take Cuba, then Hispanola and then make peace with Spain in exchange for some of France's cash and a tech.

    I don't recall the turn #, but it's still quite early. My plan at this point was to solidify the South American holidngs and take a pirate island or two, but otherwise try to stay out of war as much as possible with the psychotic campaign AI in both Europe and America while preparing a push into India where the expansion shouldn't be as damaging to European relations.

    I think it's a good plan, but I'm a little spooked by the strength of France's continental army! I'm new to Empire, but are UP's line infantry markedly worse than France's? Is there something about France's generals that makes their forces that much stronger?
    Last edited by Leptomeninges; 05-16-2011 at 18:22.

  4. #4
    Moderator Moderator Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Provinces

    If you got beat up that bad, chances are that you auto-resolved the battle.

    What is your difficulty setting?

    The Spanish territories in South America are very good ones. Wait a few turns before taking on the Pirates. If you are lucky they will take Curacao from the French.

    If you are good at naval battles the pirate fleets can be a good source of income, selling off the captured ships, but don’t try this on auto-resolve, particularly if you are set on the upper difficulty levels.

    Morocco is also a good place to take for their location near the trade lanes and their two ports.

    I would also make sure you have a powerful fleet before you take on any of the Indian factions. They will build a lot of ships and some are powerful ones.

    There are several regions there with multiple ports and the second of each of those is likely naval rather than commercial.


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  5. #5

    Default Re: United Provinces

    Yeah, I saw that in another thread about auto-resolve being brutal on VH CAI. That was the problem. I'm often a little lazy but it's incentive for me to improve my skirmish map skills. I refought the battle last night manually with a much more favorable result. Playing on VH-CAI and Normal-BAI.

    I grabbed Cuba and Hispanolia, but think I'll leave the other Spanish provinces. I know that places like Mexico are stupidly rich, but I don't like to overly cripple main factions. I want a viable Spain to make the end game interesting. Also, I have a tendency to under-garrison provinces and worry that some crazy AI would just tromp across the continent to demolish me in South America. The islands seem easier to defend with a fleet.

    I appreciate the advice on Curaco. I took the Windward Islands, but may leave Trinidad/Tobago. I do this pretty commonly as part of my "house rules" to make the campaign more interesting anyway.

    I've thought about Morocco. I definitely want a multi-port city in the European theater. Kicking around Denmark as an alternative for the linked trade lanes, but I'll likely pick up one or the other at some point.

    I also appreciate the advice on having a big navy before tackling India. I want to consolidate and upgrade my holdings a bit and spam some trade ships, but I'll be headed there next.

  6. #6
    Member Member jawalla's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Provinces

    I always play VH-CAI & BAI but as the UP France always declares war on me turn 2 and I can't really beat 4 armies of line infantry. Should I just turtle in Amsterdam and expand abroad or try to take westphalia?

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    Moderator Moderator Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Provinces

    If the French go to war with you then use it to take French Guiana and the spice production there.

    The Windward Islands are more of a hassle than they are worth until you manage to get the Pirate Faction in hand.

    Westphalia is a good bet but it will usually mean you are also at war with Hanover.

    If France always declares war on turn 2 chances are you are on one of the upper difficulty ratings. You may want to ease off on that a bit until you have a better feel for how to manage that faction.

    You have to expand elsewhere to afford your troops and navy. You also have to protect your trade spots form pirates.

    Put together a good government and check your minister positions to make sure you are getting the most out of who you have.

    There is more than one way to handle the faction so you will need to experiment and see what fits your play style.

    Good Luck!


    Education: that which reveals to the wise,
    and conceals from the stupid,
    the vast limits of their knowledge.
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    Member Member jawalla's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Provinces

    I always take guyana but should i next take the pirate islands or should i take cuba/hispaniola?

  9. #9
    Moderator Moderator Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Provinces

    That depends on how good you are at naval combat and if you are at war with Spain already.

    If you and Spain are fighting then grab what you want and take out the Pirates later. Just don’t wait to long if you want those islands. Someone else may want them too.


    Education: that which reveals to the wise,
    and conceals from the stupid,
    the vast limits of their knowledge.
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  10. #10
    Member Member Antioch's Avatar
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    Default Re: United Provinces

    Fighting pirates is always a priority if you want to trade with a chance of benefit .
    Capture the two pirates regions is a good strategy then you have a military harbour in caraibean sea for free .

  11. #11
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    Default Re: United Provinces

    Recently I took a crack at playing as the Dutch, here are some of my thoughts...

    Hard Campaign, Medium Battles.

    The Pros:
    1. Republic! More income + faster research is a great combination. The Dutch REALLY benefit from the enlightenment tech.
    2. Alliance with Britain. This is huge, the Anglo-Dutch tandem is guaranteed to go head to head vs the Franco-Spanish alliance. It's very good to be on the same side as the Brits.
    3. Access to India. Unlike the New World, India is fabulously wealthy. Staking your claim on the subcontinent early on means access to resources, schools and a tax base.
    4. Fluyts. While not as domineering as Spanish Galleons, these still get the job done. It still makes more sense to park regular merchant ships on trading nodes, but early on the ability to construct combatworthy ships out of trade ports is invaluable.

    The Cons:
    1. Your position in Europe is EXTREMELY weak. You are totally dependent on trade, which makes lots of scenarios lethal to the Dutch Republic. For example:
    Your capital gets sieged for one turn == Loss of trade income == Bankruptcy == Death.
    Your trade port gets blockaded/invaded == Loss of trade income == Bankruptcy == Death.
    Because of these vulnerabilities it is absolutely paramount to make sure that the Netherlands are adequately protected both on land and at sea.

    2. You are totally dependent on trade since your tax base at least initially is virtually non-existent.

    3. France and Spain are rich, powerful, allied with one another, right on your doorstep, and absolutely adamant about eliminating you. You do not need to seek out wars in Europe as wars will find you and very soon. Because of that taking Belgium too early becomes a very risky proposition. Generally it is best to avoid expanding in Europe if the expansion means lowering the defenses in the Netherlands. All it takes is one turn to bring the republic to its knees if the appropriate safety measures are not taken.


    Suggested strategy:

    1. First turn.
    Consolidate what you have: Curacao is a sitting duck, so sell it before the Spanish take it away from you. You'll get it back eventually but for now it's a liability. Dutch Guyana is on the contrary a launchpad for invading French Guyana, so queue up some native warriors to get ready for the inevitable war with France (usually starting on turn 2). Send all of your American Navy to Europe. NOW. Not the next turn, not after you crush that pirate fleet, NOW. It's THAT important because of the unique Dutch weaknesses.
    On the Indian front queue up some Sepoys in Ceylon and prepare to invade Mysore. India is your meal ticket, the earlier you cash in on that, the better.
    In Europe take all of your ragtag Army in the Netherlands (with all the obsolete pikes and old school artillery) minus one general, load them up on a single ship and send them to India. They'll be invaluable in the invasion of Mysore. Immediately queue up as much line infantry as the Netherlands could produce (I think 3). Yes, France will declare war the next turn, but it will take them a few turns to create an invasion force and move it into Belgium. By then you should have a full stack deterrent force ready to repel any aggression against the republic.
    Sign overland trade treaties and alliances with your immediate neighbors (Hannover and Westphalia). Trade will bring you much needed cash and alliances will mean that they won't backstab you at the most inconvenient moment. Speaking of alliances, they exist primarily to make sure that you don't get sneak attacked, NOT to aid you in wars. In fact, when attacked by France I do not call on my allies to help, since most of them will break the alliance instead. Likewise, when your other ally Austria gets attacked it's best to give them the finger, they're far away and their problems are not your problems. Let them fend for themselves.
    I would also recommend replacing your one industrial building in the Netherlands with a second school. Research is crucial. You won't lose much in tax base anyway since the bulk of your taxes will be coming from India.

    2. Long term strategy.
    As for the rest of the game, invade Mysore as soon as your expeditionary force arrives from Europe (combine it with the Sepoys from Ceylon), hold your ground in the European and American theaters ( except for taking French Guyana), and play the India card to the max. With half a dozen Indian provinces under your belt you will feel far more secure and able to pursue other goals (such as expanding in Europe a bit). Speaking of the European expansion, you desperately need a drydock. Denmark becomes the perfect candidate for that after it gets whipped by the Swedes. Take Iceland and turn it into your naval base. It's far enough away from everyone as to not require any protection, but close enough to supply you with the much needed ships of the line.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by rvg; 04-02-2012 at 20:19.
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