Easy and safe are relative terms in Europa Universalis IV; nations are never safe, and conquest is always on the front of the EU4 AI’s mind. With that said, you can mitigate the risk early on by playing a big and scary country with a large army and navy, with the Manpower to back it up. While these massive countries require micromanagement, that’s what you signed up for when you purchased EU4. Let’s check out some of the best countries to play as in EU4.
Portugal is by far the safest country to start as in Europa Universalis IV. Located in western side of Iberia, you’re flanked by either Castile or the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal is automatically allied with England, and Portugal is on friendly terms with Castile and Aragon, offering strong allies for potential African conquests. At the end of the day, only Castile and Morocco can create a claim for Portuguese provinces as a Casus Belli.
Portugal has reasonable trade power in Sevilla, which means a steady stream of income. The handful of provinces allow for a sizable army, and a hefty navy compared to most countries. Playing as Portugal also sets players up for easy colonization if they want to go that route. As the westernmost nation, chances are you’ll be first to set foot in the Carribean, North and South America.
The only trick is maintaining Liberty Desire at a low level, so your colonies don’t wage war for independence.
France is in the middle of a lot of potentially hostile nations, but don’t let that scare you off. France’s army supply limit is one of the largest in 1444, and they advance quickly with their technological advancements and strong trade power in Bordeaux. Due to France’s imposing presence and proximity to other Great Powers, it’s easy to establish Royal Marriages and Alliances.
Conquest is easy for France when set up properly and targeting the right provinces for the impending blob. Use your allies to your advantage by having them do the heavy lifting, all while maintaining your own personal Manpower so other nations won’t jump you when you’re most vulnerable. French Ideas also provide a safe balance of Military, Diplomatic Relations, and maintenance of native or rebel uprisings.
Castile is a strong Great Powers nation in EU4 that positions itself for expansion wherever desired. The nation is close enough to the main part of western Europe outside of Iberia, can colonize almost as efficiently as Portugal, and can form Spain easily with the Iberian Wedding event. Their army is vast, basically owns the Sevilla trade node, and are on friendly terms with most nations.
Castile ranks well in both safety and a low difficulty, as a lot of typical obstacles – like the Holy Roman Empire, numerous neighboring nations, and income via production or trade – aren’t an issue for them. You can easily play EU4 on the safe side an opt for a pure colony campaign in Castile, avoiding conflict with most countries.
England can be treated as a passive or aggressive country in Europa Universalis IV. Either you can sit in safety on your own little island, or expand into France due to your cores on the mainland. England can steamroll Ireland and Scotland with ease, while creating numerous blockades with their armada.
It’s also not difficult to own the biggest share of important trade goods like Cloth or Iron in England alone.
You can easily slap weaker countries around as the mighty Ottoman Empire. The only country the Ottomans should be concerned about are the Austrians. It’s safe to start some conquests into eastern Africa, western Asia, and northeast Europe. It’s pure domination whether it be land and sea. It’s simple to take a passive approach as the Ottomans, providing a safe and easy EU4 experience, but you shouldn’t sit idle: expand away!
Alliances are easy to come by with some of the larger African and Asian countries, providing some assistance while expanding the Ottoman Empire. Look to Tunis, Tlemcen, Bohemia, or Ethiopia as for those alliance opportunities. While it’s also difficult double tasking, it’s within Ottoman strength to take on two war fronts at the same time. Constantinople can fund a huge army on its income alone, and waging war and pillaging ducats can fund mercenary companies.
Just pick big countries
In EU4, seclusion or sheer army size of countries can be a deterrent for the AI. Taking advantage of this fact leads a safe and easy playthrough in your campaign. Some EU4 countries are at the top of the food chain for a reason.
While a rise to greatness narrative is always fun and satisfying, it can come with serious struggles newer players might not know how to overcome. It’s better to earn your stripes by picking already dominant countries and avoiding major obstacles, like national financial insecurity or being the prime target for other nations’ conquest. Also be sure to surround yourself with powerful allies that align with your own personal goals.
Stick around with SQUAD for more Europa Universalis IV content!