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|Government type||HM's Government|
|Ruling party||Whig Party (liberal)|
|Capital||London (ID 300)|
|Tech school||Sea power & The Merchant Marine|
We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist. Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
The United Kingdom, in 1836, begins in a position of utmost envy. It is the foremost industrial, commercial and military power in the world. It is unrivaled at sea, and can easily maintain this position throughout the game.
At the beginning of the game, the UK has a myriad of objectives, which, for any other power, would be daunting.
The sprawling British Empire provides it with ample amounts of resources and manpower. The first objective should be to secure and expand these colonial borders.
- 1 Diplomacy
- 2 Colonial Policy
- 3 Securing the Empire
- 4 World Conquest
- 5 The Peaceful Way
The UK has an enormous capability to fight military conflicts with both its large starting army and navy. The empire is slowed by one major diplomatic concern, that of foreign wars of containment. These wars will be provoked if the UK fights too many wars too quickly. Thus the UK should utilize its Spheres of influence to secure land for future conquests and avoid provoking European intervention. By placing influence points into key nations, like Japan, the UK can intervene and aid these nations should another power attack them. Controlling other nations in this manner also reserves the ability for the UK to seize them at a later date when it feels secure in doing so. Another way to secure a low Infamy, other than slow expansion or sphere use, is to exploit the UK's unique decisions. The UK can make several unique decisions, such as the "London Treaty", which enable the UK to reduce its infamy. The London Treaty for example, will give Greece the small unimportant Ionian Isles in return for four less points of infamy. This is half the infamy cost of a colonial concession war that could be used to gain a huge state in Japan, for example.
Another option the UK player can use is to exploit the development of Germany and Italy for the benefit of the UK. Especially in a multiplayer game assisting the formation of Italy and Germany by using the UK's influence points to discredit or ban France or Austria from the minors in these regions can benefit the UK. If Italy is allowed to form in will gain core on Austria and can be used by the UK to provide a land enemy to Austria and give Austria something to worry about on their western border. This case is the same with Germany for both Russia and France who will need to keep large land forces near Germany should it form. As the UK anything that keeps European nations focused on Europe and not on gaining foreign colonies makes the UK's game easier.
India, the jewel in the crown
For the British Empire the benefits of securing India for the empire are huge. The large RGOs and populous provinces of India provide three major benefits for Britain. Firstly the huge amount of cotton and dye that is produced in India enables the UK to build a huge textile industry back in the home isles, and at a low cost because the UK can provide all of the raw materials for itself. Secondly India can provide the UK with abundant soldiers as the population of India is driven out of their RGOs by improved technology and into the British army, which allows for more industrial workers in the home isles. Thirdly the population of India is so great that they can provide a large base of migrants for other colonies such as South Africa and Canada as unemployed POPs move out of India.
Now that the importance of India has been established how does one seize this prize? At the start of the game the Indian minors have two major flaws that the UK can exploit. One is that the Indian nations have far weaker technology than the UK. If the UK attacks in force it can overwhelm the native Indian armies. At the start of the game the only major opposing native power if the Panjab, which if the UK attacks quickly and in force while the Panjab has weak tech it can be quickly broken. Also by gaining the northern Panjab the UK can secure its land border with China, which in turn makes it easier to gain China in your Sphere and intervene against any other colonial powers. The second problem facing the Indian minors is that they are almost all within the Sphere of the UK at the start. This allows the UK to intervene should a foreign power attack the minors and allow the UK to slowly remove them from its sphere and annex them.
At the start of the game the country of Johore in Malaysia is uncivilized and owns the Singapore state. This state contains several gold provinces and if acquired early will greatly bolster the spending abilities of the UK. If a UK player does not possess the current ability to attack Johore for whatever reason it can be very useful to begin influencing them and adding them to your sphere to prevent foreign gains here. Otherwise Atjeh and dutch Java and Sumatra is valuable provinces, that one might consider.
There are a series of scripted events that trigger the Boer War, but since they're around 1900, you'll probably get impatient. The Zulu are easily annexed for little badboy with the establish protectorate CB, but Transvaal and Oranje Vrystaat will both take 22 points each to annex. It is worth it though, with these areas full of gold and diamonds. Precious metals are, well, precious and will be in demand the whole game. United Kingdom has several smaller colonies in Africa and a large navy, so one can easily colonize all of Congo and Southern Rhodesia and large parts of central Africa
Venezuela is a good target for expansion. It becomes one of the largest producers of oil in the world. Economics 101: Oil = Money. Venezuela lacks protection from any major power, and has a land border with British Guyana.
Securing the Empire
Now is the time to make some major decisions for how to play the game from here on. When Queen Victoria is crowned (Half of 1837), Hanover breaks free due to the Salic Law (AKA no ladies law). This removes your main foothold on the continent. You should decide whether expansion from here on will be focused on Europe or colonial acquisitions. Taking colonies and destroying uncivilised nations is easier, and the more historical option, but taking European territories will give you more prestige and a higher industrial ranking. If you decide to go colonial, the best option would be to try and keep the balance of power in Europe as equal as possible. The Crimean War was a prime example of a British containment war. As technology advances, you need to keep your Navy up to date. The wooden wall must not fall! If you go for Europe, you need to make sure your military is unstoppable. Literally. Because you are gonna incur some massive BADBOY, and even the UK can't beat a coalition of France, Prussia, Austria, Russia, the Ottomans and America. In fact, speaking of America, it is a good idea to take them on early. The further along in the game, the stronger America gets. within 30 years its population goes up by millions. New England is a great excuse for war with America. They are very weak during the American Civil War (ACW). Divide and conquer!!!
World Conquest is much, much harder now, because you must manufacture CB's against nations that don't have your cores before declaring wars. If you wish to conquer the world and don't care about badboy, add as many wargoals as you can reasonably achieve in each war to minimize the impact of waiting for truces to expire. Containment wars, if you can start to win them, are a great excuse to start demanding territory from your enemies. This outdated but interesting AAR was played before you had to have a valid CB to declare war: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?558101-Rule-Britannia-The-British-World-Conquest-a-gameplay-AAR
This world conquest, however, was done as the United Kingdom as of version 3.03 with Heart of Darkness: https://www.reddit.com/r/paradoxplaza/comments/3jn9yr/heart_of_darkness_303_complete_world_conquest_as/
You want to strip every European nation of all their African, Asian, and American colonies so we have free reign in Africa and Asia. Accept the alliance with Belgium(so you can get into a war with the Dutch and take their colonies). Early national foci should be used to encourage clergy.
Immediately disband all Indian infantry and replace them with cavalry. Switch to the Tories and build military-related factories. For the first few years, build exclusively cavalry and artillery. Begin building about 250 steam transports and 50 commerce raiders: these will be used for blockades and transporting troops around the world.
Begin by attacking Morocco, and taking everything except their capital; this prevents the usual Moroccan partition between Spain, France, and the Dutch. This gives 16 infamy. To go over the limit of 25 to provoke containment wars, DOW Tibet with the CONQUEST wargoal(not establish protectorate: always use conquest since it gives more prestige). This also gives you a border with China.
At this point, the Dutch will DOW Belgium; honour the call from Belgium and take all Dutch possessions outside their homeland(this will cost almost 100 warscore, so put your Asian steam transports to good use). The French and Russians will also declare containment wars. You want to take every French colony(especially Algeria and Tunisia) and Alaska from Russia. Occupying these and winning colonial battles and blockades should be sufficient, but if not, try luring the French onto the Channel islands and the Russians onto Osel and defeating them after blocking the straits with your navy.
After you finish the wars with France and Russia, DOW Spain and Portugal to take all their colonies. Neither is particularly hard to beat, and you can lure the Spanish army into Morocco before blocking the Gibraltar straits and defeating them in Africa. At this point, the UK will be the only European country with territory outside of Europe(except the Ottomans).
In Asia, Use your Indian armies and your Chinese ally to conquer every unciv. Remember to take Madagascar early so that France does not annex it; similarly, conquer Hawaii and Haiti before the USA spheres them. South America fields very few brigades at this time, so start with Venezuela, Uruguay, and Colombia and work down towards Peru, Ecuador, and Chile. I attacked Argentina too late, and they now have a massive army, so it's probably best to attack them(and Brazil) early. The USCA is nice because once you reduce them to Guatemala, they become Guatemala, and you can break the truce without penalties.
In preparation for a huge war against Russia, conquer Persia and take Libya, Iraq, and Eastern Turkey from the Ottomans. In the late 1840s, begin moving troops to Canada in preparation for the Civil War to break out(which usually does in the 50s but it could be until the early 60s)
By now, you should be building mainly guards and artillery.
Your main enemies in this period are the USA, Russia, and perhaps China. As soon as the civil war begins, get relations with the CSA to Friendly and intervene. You cannot add wargoals but dividing the USA will make it easier to attack later. When you come back, you can take the Western states for less badboy or New York and Philadelphia to cripple their industry.
In Europe, Spain and Portugal should be conquered or almost conquered to give a land border with France. Then, you can match the French troops in the Pyrennes and beat them with your standing brigades vs their conscripts. Once a foothold in France is established, as well as the conquest of Switzerland and the Low Countries, Germany, Italy, and Austria can be easily reached. During wars with the Ottomans, take Balkan territory so you can attack Austria and Italy from that direction.
The first war against Russia will probably be the hardest war since you'll have to occupy the entire country to get half of Siberia. In the Caucuses, occupy the border provinces with small armies(so you'll be the defender in the mountains), and wait for the AI to launch large stacks. Then, surround the battle and reinforce it, keeping another reserve in case another stack comes to break the blockade. Usually, Russia doesn't attack me in Central Asia, so move your troops in there and avoid attrition. Bring in the Chinese to take Siberian provinces for you and to weaken their army for when you attack China. Once the bulk of the Russian army has been surrounded and destroyed, you can occupy its land and take half of Siberia. The next war nets the rest of Siberia. Obviously, Russia is too big to conquer without breaking a lot of truces, but you'll be able to pass lots of reforms with the militancy.
In the Americas, take the jungle states from Brazil first (Amazonas, Mto Grosso, Para, Marnahas) since it's a pain to fight there.Wars against these countries, and Mexico, should not be a problem. Attack the CSA when they're getting too strong and are already in a war with the USA for Missouri.
In Africa, colonise the entire coast ASAP: with level 3 naval bases in the French Mediterranean coast, they can colonise the land below Sokoto, so colonise from West Morocco down to there first, in addition to Somaliland and Djibouti(since the French can reach there too if the Suez canal has been built). By this point, Ethiopia and the North African states should be annexed. Sokoto can be annexed in 2 wars as soon as you have a border with them.
You should have no problem fighting China. Even if they have hundreds of brigades, they're very low tech; waiting until 1901 allows you to use some of the 1900 military tech, including gas attack(which is very helpful against irregulars and rebels). You should be able to equalise them, but even if not, you can still easily beat them. Just attack all their border stacks, push inland. You should be able to conquer them in 4 wars.
By the 1900s, you should have the Pacific and Siberia completely colonised, leaving only Africa.
By now, you should have complete control of Asia save bits of China, of South America save Argentina and Brazil, and of North America save Mexico and maybe the USA/CSA. Europe should have a reduced France, Germany(or German states), Italy, Austria, Ottoman Empire, maybe Spain, and a still fairly large Russia. Just keep going to war with them, breaking truces if possible (especially against Russia) to pass reforms, and you should be done in the 1920s. To conquer your Indian puppets, and perhaps Burma(if you were unlucky), you'll have to remove them from your sphere. Lowering relations to negative values reduces MTTH for the conquest/Protectorate CB events.
I try to have all reforms passed by the end of the game. Save the Upper House reform for last, since the upper class will be more liberal/socialist than the lower class. The voting only affects the ruling party if you have appointed upper house, so pass those ASAP, since they are usually the dominant issues. After all the reforms are passed, your people should be happy(since you'll be giving them money to get their needs, they have no more desire for reforms, and because you have low taxes). You want a conservative ruling party so you can open/expand factories and so the mostly conservative population won't become militant. Once colonisation is complete, I'd use my national foci on bureaucrats in the colonies to turn as many of them into states as possible. If you're going to conquer the world, you'd better be the most democratic, egalitarian country possible.
The Peaceful Way
Another valuable strategy to play as the UK is by going as peaceful as possible. Wars are always expensive, and even with so many colonies the average income for the UK is not that great, so every war is going to cost you some money. And, since there is one revolutionary event after another, specially in the India provinces, your militancy is expected to be always in a dangerous level. Another reason to avoid wars.
The way to go is focus on industrialization and colonizing. To do so, maintain the Liberals in charge of your politics. Keep in mind: you start with the Whigs Party as the dominant government, but you are very (very very very) much likely to see the Conservatives assuming the government in the first election, due to national support to conservative values. However, you can always use your National Focus points to influence your POPs into any policies you'd like. So, start with the most populous regions (South East England first), and spend there a National Focus to Liberal support. Use your remaining NF to increase the number of Capitalists in your second most populous region (ignore the Indian provinces). After you get a good Liberal support, change regions, but never forget to keep some Capitalists being "raised". Lowering the Rich Strata taxes also helps.
After a while (3 or 4 elections), the Liberals will win, and if you did a good job they will remain in power forever. They have an Anti-Military policy, wich lower your expenses with Soldiers and Officers, allowing you to rush for industrialization. However, don't forget you are the UK: your navy is, and must always be, the best in the world (by far, if possible).
Also, after you have guaranteed the Liberals in power, don't stop raising Capitalists (one NF in a populous region is more than enough). After your National Bank has enough money, your projects will be funded almost immediately by the wealthy Capitalists, and your Industry will rise like the Big Ben tower. Use your other NF to encourage Craftsmen and keep the less profitable industries from going bankrupt.
Should any other Liberal party be formed, always keep in power those who have an Anti-Military or Pacifist policy. Otherwise your expenses with soldiers and officers will be raised a lot, and you may lose control of your economy.
If you ask: why the Liberals? In the late game you have too much to worry apart from investing government money in Railroads or in expanding some Fabric Factory in London. The Liberals set the Capitalists free to use their own money (borrowed from the National Bank) to fund these entrepreneurs, allowing you to play free from worrying that your Industrial might will suddenly crash. So, it doesn't have to be necessarily the Liberals, but you should go for any policies that takes the pressure of regulating your industries off your shoulders. Since the Liberals are the first available who can do that, they are suggested to be chosen.
Provinces and colonization
Even with an Anti-Military policy, it is still very possible to Annex a lot of weak regions along the world. The pre-mentioned Johore, and the South Africa regions are always welcome for their precious metal income, but there is a special case: Panjab.
Panjab is a relatively big country at the southwest of The Chinese Empire, and it has a massive population and weak military advancements. Annexation should be very easy, specially if you call your Indian provinces to fight for you. The thing is, once you get Panjab, immediately start dedicating a NF of Craftsmen on it, and see, in a few years, a major industrial region rise in the middle of Asia. Seriously, Panjab has massive potencial to give you a lot of Industry points, and it is very recommended that you consider annexing it for good.
Needless to say, colonizing Africa after 1870 is also very lucrative, as you can get a lot of coastal regions to raise more Naval Bases, and has some POPs to raise armies should the need arise. It is also a very efficient diplomatic way to deprive your European Great Powers competitors from becoming too strong for you to control or fight, in case of a war or Crisis.
This may be needless to say, but the UK without a respectable navy isn't the UK. You are going to need a lot of advanced ships to keep your abandoned land units Military score from being topped by other Great Powers, and becoming endangered to invasion.
The only way to do so is by expanding your naval bases. Fortunately, UK has a lot of coastal regions among the world, so you can expand a lot of naval bases. The problem is: this is expensive. A level 1 base costs around 3k. A level 2 expansion will costs around 18k. Level 3 goes up to 32k. At the early and mid game, this numbers are a big challenge to your economy, but still it is a very important expense. How do you do it, then?
There is no secret, but just common sense. Establish a bottom treasure number (i.e. 100k), and never allow yourself to spend up to below that value. It is recommended that you always maintain a good money reserve, since the UK eventually is hit by the damn "Pandemic Flu", which may cost massive amounts of money to treat (it can reach 100k). So don't go out spending all your cash in naval bases, or you may hear someone sneezing and BANG, you are bankrupt.
Another aspect, not so critical, is education. Since you own a lot of poorly administrated provinces in India and Africa, your literacy levels are not expected to raise so much with time. Try to keep your education budget at least at 80%, so that you have a fair daily Research Points.
You will notice that reducing your land units National Stockpile expenses will not affect your expenses as much as reducing the naval stockpile. So keep the naval expenses at 50% tops, only raising it if there is no other way than going to war. Your military expenses with soldiers and officers are nothing to be worried about. Keep it also at 50%, and don't worry about it, since you are following a pacifist strategy. Anyway, your massive Indian population will provide you with a decent number of soldiers (it's nothing like China, but it is still enough).
Relations in Asia
Talking about China means directly talking about Russia - if you are not playing on a multiplayer game, Russia very likely to attack China head on for it's most populous territories (or, sometimes, invading Manchuria and Korea first).
For this pacifist strategy, keep in mind that everybody is, at first, your friend, not a potential enemy. Keep relations high at all costs and evade armed conflicts. China is not likely to invade your Indian provinces, since it will be more worried about Russia (and Japan, possibly). Japan is even less likely to engage you in war, except for Crisis events, so you have little to worry about it too.
Apart from that, you can choose to Annex some poor (but highly populated) Indian core provinces in Asia, or take some of the Indonesian islands from Spain and Netherlands. Apart from that, there is nothing else to be gained in Asia apart from lowering your literacy percentage.
Relations in South America
This is a region always inflicted with wars, so, in order to avoid yourself getting into somebody else's fight, do not enter any Military Alliances here. However, Brazil is always a good call for sphering, since it has a lot of Rubber RGO's in the late game, and you are going to need it for your advanced industries.
Another important sphering country is Colombia, for the obvious Panama Channel. Don't ally yourself to them in this strategy either - USA and/or Brazil are always involving Colombia in their respective wars.
Relations in North America
It may be hard to control yourself when the CSA breaks yelling "Slavery! Slavery!", but to maintain a pacifist attitude you should keep high relations with the yankees at all times. Canada is not exactly THAT valuable to you, apart from its 5 or 6 regions for Naval Bases, so it is not worth going to war with the USA for that borders. That doesn't mean you have to be America's best friend in their bloody Mexican wars... Just keep your neutrality, and you may even raise one or two industries in New England or Newfoundland.
Relations in Africa
At first, try to sphere Egypt, as you can build the Suez Channel later on. If you do sphere Egypt, however, be prepared to ban the Ottoman Empire embassy forever until if falls from Great Power, as it will try at all costs to prevent anybody from protecting Egypt.
Apart from that, there is nothing to worry about in Africa until colonization. Morocco will fall to Spain and possibly Portugal, Tunis and Algeria will become French land, Tripoli will be annexed by The Ottoman Empire, and Ethiopia will tickle Egypt for any piece of land. Don't bother with anything.
Relations in Europe
Saving the best for the end, we have your biggest "fear source": Europe. Your biggest enemies, if you ever have any, are very likely to come from here.
It is highly recommended that you form an Military Alliance with France before Russia does it (it almost always happens, and they do it to flank Prussia). France is a very valuable ally, and will back you up in Crisis events, granting some Prestige points when everybody else chickens out. Plus, by doing so you disencourage Prussia from attacking France for Alsace-Lorraine, preventing the formation of Germany (a major competitor to you). Still, your alliance with France will keep Russia from meddling with you at the early game, and grant you a fair victory if Netherlands decide to attack Belgium and you back the Belgians up (you can even demand an Indonesian island from Netherlands for a small infamy).
Another good ally in Europe is Prussia itself, but be ready to be called for numerous wars with Austria. Doing so will probably help the formation of the North German Federation, or even so Germany, with has potential to top you in both Industrial and Military scores (maybe even Prestige), but you will lower France's power, which is also a big competitor in terms of Industry and Military.
It sums up to this:
- ally with France to contain Prussia;
- or ally with Prussia to contain France.
Just a hint: if you don't ally with them, Prussia is very likely to ally with The Ottoman Empire (a weak alliance ever), while France is very likely to ally with Russia (a strong alliance in the early and mid game). When choosing a Great Power to ally with, you directly chooses which alliance you are impeding from happening also. France is more recommended, but if your strategy leans you toward Prussia, go for it. It is not recommended, though, that you ally with any other Great Power, for the following reasons:
- USA: sucks at the early game, and won't be very helpful to you if somebody attacks you in Europe or even in the Indian provinces;
- Austria: always loses to Prussia in their "hegemony" wars, and eventually is reduced to secondary power (or becomes a very weak Great Power). Will be loyal to you if somebody attacks you in the European land, but has a weak army among the Great Powers and will only make you lose warscore due to battle losses and occupation;
- Russia: always involves itself in wars (Kokand, Korea, Manchuria, China, Afghanistan, and other Asian minors), and will try to drag you along;
- Spain: sucks;
- The Ottoman Empire: sucks(x2).
Either way, even without an alliance with a major Great Power it is unlikely that somebody will attack you in the early game. If you even choose to stay neutral in Crisis events (or just backing up the sure winner), you can make a very powerful isolationist UK, with a strong industrial rush and seeing how UK Prestige apparently grow in trees.
Anyways, going full war or keeping your muskets to yourself, the thing is: UK is one of the most mutable countries (if not the most) in the game. Choose the strategy that fits you the most, and rule them all.