Paradox Games Strategy Guides?


So, I’m a regular commenter on the Guns of Infinity forum, and noticed a lot of fans for the games produced by Paradox studios. Spurred by their love of the games, this weekend I downloaded Victoria 2, Crusader Kings 2, and Europa Universalis 4. Now I have the games and no clue what to do in them.

I’m starting this thread because you all know way more about the games than I do. So if anyone has any strategy guides, or just a few tips for a noob, that would be nice. And guys, please try to keep it on topic.


The best way to learn is look up video series on the games being played. I recommend you look up Arumba and Quill18 on Youtube.
Both of them have tutorial series on Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis 4, but those are at least three expansions behind and severely outdated.
For Victoria 2, I don’t know many good video series. Only youtuber/streamer I know of that has played quite a few series of it is Shenryyr2.

Another source of information are the wikis. They can also be slightly out of date and are definitely more intense than just watching someone play. Most of the information you can gain after learning the main mechanics, is gained by trial and error.


Thanks, will be sure to check them out.


W/r/t EU4, start as France, make peace with England, and then spend your time trying to annex your vassals.

By the time you’ve accomplished that, you’ll have learned enough about the game to either continue or restart and play it better.


That’s kind of what I’ve been doing, only with England. I figured stating on an island would make it harder for people to invade me. Was I way off base?


Your right. England is one of the easier nations. This generally applies to all the large european nations. Good beginner nations also include Castille, Austria and the Ottomans. Although it may also be a good idea to start with a regional power (One of the Nordic Countries, Portugal, Naples) to get used to the game and its systems. Learning EU4 tends to be trial and error in the beginning (At least it was for me who never looked up any tutorials) as its very complex and you have to get accostumed with the systems, but once you understood everything you can play every nation and suceed.


General advice for CK2? Take the long view. Crusader Kings spans a truly absurd amount of history so you can afford to think a couple of generations ahead. That being said, if you see an opportunity, take it. Nothing ventured and all that.

Some more specific advice:

  • If possible, ditch the gavelkind succession post haste. It can do really bad things to your demesne, taxes and personal levies when your ruler dies, having his lands divvied up among all his sons.

  • Conquest by warfare is pretty reliable, provided you have a casus beli. However it is slow. Not the sieges, but rather the fact that there is an automatic ten effin’ year long truce between the combatants afterwards. As a result warfare is great for bringing lots of small independent counts into the realm (Ireland, I’m looking at you), but sucks when you’re trying to conquer the whole Holy Roman Empire. (There are exceptions, e.g you can spam holy wars one after another provided you meet the criteria for them. EDIT: This bit about holy wars is incorrect, please ignore it.)

  • Intrigue. When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. Forgive me, but I had to use that quote. It’s true too. Intrigue demands an actual bit of cunning on the players part, a decent grasp on various mechanics and a willingness to fight really dirty. This is the world of marrying a ruler’s sister before he has a chance to have kids, murdering him, thus putting your new wife onto the throne and ensuring that any kids the two of you have will inherit both their parents’ land. (This actually happened to me. CK2 brings out my inner bastard.) Seriously though, be careful around major plots before you have a good handle on the mechanics of how the game does stuff. Check out the Paradox forums, there’s always good (or at least interesting) intrigue ideas floating about there (Raising another nation’s heir, turning him into Joffery mk2 so that all his vassals would revolt and the Pope would sanction an invasion is a fine example of what they come up with.)

Of course this all depends on you playing as a feudal catholic lord. If you play as a pagan Viking or a Persian satrap, you’re going to get a totally different kind of game. Either way, leave your morals at the door, chase your goal with naked ambition and always, always keep an eye on your vassals. Treasonous bastards one and all.


I had an hour-long break this morning, so I started CK2. I chose the king of Leon, simply because of the trailer. I have already murdered both my brothers, forming the kingdom of Spain, and have my sights set on France. Any long-term plans I should have? Also, what should I do for Victoria 2?


@jasonstevanhill I though the patch that launched with Common Sense unified France from the start. I’ve only played with Common Sense, so I’m not sure if that’s the case, but France got a major nerf and is viable to get smashed by England and Burgundy early on without the vassal armies.
In Common Sense the easiest starts are Poland, England, Castille and the Ottomans.

@Zane_Hiam For Victoria 2, I would advice against fast expansion no matter which country you go for. Play it slow, figure out how research, industry and the populations systems work. When you’re a minor nation or a secondary power, you’re in a good place. Once you reach Great Power status, all the other Great Powers will be gunning for you. That’s not a good place to be in when you don’t know what it entails.


CK2: Empire of Hispania? and maybe Francia?

Victoria 2: I usually play as Austria and then form the Dual Monarchy.


I haven’t played since Wealth of Nations. I ain’t got time for that shit. :wink:


For CK2, start as count of Dublin in the earliest date you can choose, 1066 without dlc or even earlier with Old Gods or Charlemagne. Then unify Ireland, then Britain. Starting as big realm has the risk of major succession crisis, which could be challenging for new players.

For Vic2 with Heart of Darkness, SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA. Seriously Prussia is suitable for new player, and China for more advanced players.


So, I got a couple of things to say about all these games. I am a huge fan of Paradox and, personally, I think it’s easier to start with CK2. Being medieval means not having to worry about a lot of stuff, especially with the character centered gameplay. Once you get the hang of it, move on to EU4. I don’t recommend importing the save from CK2, which you can do if you own an expansion, because it makes it all seem so dull when you’re too big. The real challenge of these games is to start small, work your way up, fail a few times and get back on your feet, and I mean it. It takes a couple of tries to get the hang of it, so go guides. I second the recommendation of Quill18 and Arumba, but some hardcore guys like DDRJake and shenryyr2 for EU4 are worth cheking out on YouTube. The paradox forums are also filled with guides, and if you’re using Steam, you’ll find some good ones there as well.

From CK to EU you already notice a big difference in levies, countries, warfare and money, but the system is very similar and I think it’s a lot more fun. Moving on to Vic, this is a game that is hard if you’re not big. Hard hard. Really hard. I mean it. The economy is usually what screws people over, and since the basis is imperialism, as a small nation, you simply cannot escape conquer, be it diplomatic or militaristic, due to the fluctuation of economy and trade goods, where the whole supply and demand things really shine. The diplomacy of the game is pretty awesome too, and becoming a great power requires very strategically advanced moves, so starting out as one is easier.

So, being a beginner, the game usually suggests England, France, Sweden, Spain, big nations from start to finish in all three games. From base tax to initial resources, they are pretty fun to go with if you want to be big. In CK2, it’s also fun to explore the empires like the Abassid or the Byzantine. As you advance, you can try picking harder nations to go with, like russians, Burgundy and Portugal in EU and Brazil and Japan in Vic. The harder ones are the smaller ones, less territory means less money and less rank, less respect and more likely to be attacked by bigger nations. I think it’s fun to be squish-squashed and when things go right, become a badass. It’s quill18, I think, who has an amazing Japan gameplay of Vic where he was mad lucky and managed to do awesome stuff while teaching me the game.

Just remember to set goals, becoming an empire within your realm, conquering your neighbours or crazy ones, like conquering England with India. And have fun!


If you feel like playing as a Muslim in CK2, here are some things you absolutely have to know:

Decadence: Muslims have a unique system called decadence that basically ensures that your dynasty will never have 10 living male members. This system applies to your entire male dynasty (in other words, if you see the drop of blood in the top right hand of their portrait), and controlling it is terrible. Don’t be afraid to imprison and execute extra brothers, cousins, and sons.

Women: Daughters are basically useless to Muslims, unless you marry them to particularly strong neighboring dukes/kings. You’ll have the option as a Muslim to have up to four wives, but doing that is suicide for decadence, so only marry more than one woman if you have no male heir & spare and worry about impending death.

Murder: Once you have a 2 sons, assassinate or imprison every other male in your dynasty. Decadence bro.

Side (and not so serious) note: NEVER marry into the triple chin gene. Doing so basically infects every one of your dynasty portraits with triple chin, and it’s awful.

Also look at the Reddit CK2 thread if you’re feeling brave and have no problem with incest.


I might want the triple chin gene just for fun :smiley:


I agree, I am very picky when it comes to familial looks. Pfft, I always go four wives just to go and have an insane time with being a Muslim. Oh and they have very powerful CBs, Invasion and stuff.

Iberia is great to play in to learn how to play. Beating up on the Muslims, killing your brothers and getting money handed to you by the Pope is so much fun.

Oh and trait-wise CK2, start by trying to get people with the Strong trait. Or Quick or Genius. GENES ARE IMPORTANT!


Nah the way to win as France if you really want to be gamey is you need to just continually reload until Austria is friendly and ally with them and it’ll keep Burgundy off your back due to combined strength. Also they will never side with England because they have Calais.

@Zane_Hiam if you decide to play France you can get an event called the Burgundian Succession you just need to kill the King of Burgundy without Austrian help and then you can claim lots of his lands.


In EU4 I already conquered Burgundy because of a trade dispute. It felt great, but now France is mad at me. No matter. They too shall soon be vassals of the British Empire!



Never fuck with France in EU4 unless you can micromanage like a motherfucker. You will lose, your people will hate you, and France will just hate you more.


Yes France is the Great Blue Blob. The only way you could beat them is if you outnumber them or as @Lotus said micromanage like a boss. France’s military is OP.