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Duchy rankAustria
Primary culture
Austrian (Germanic)

Capital province
Wien (134)

Austrian Archduchy Government monarchy.png

State religion

Technology group
WesternWestern technology group
Austrian ideas

Traditions.png Traditions:

+10% Morale of armies
+30% Improve relations

Imperial authority growth modifier.png Imperial Ambition

+10% Imperial authority growth modifier
−15% Diplomatic annexation cost

Fort maintenance.png Military Frontier

−10% Fort maintenance
+15% National garrison growth

Yearly inflation reduction.png Fugger Banking

+0.05 Yearly inflation reduction
−0.5 Interest per annum

Diplomatic reputation.png Habsburg Dominance

+2 Diplomatic reputation

Missionary strength.png Edict of Restitution

+2% Missionary strength

Diplomatic relations.png Austrian Court

+1 Diplomatic relation

Reinforce speed.png Hofkriegsrat

+30% Reinforce speed
+5% Discipline

Idea bonus.png Ambition:

+50% Chance of new heir
Shield Austria.png
In 1438 the Habsburg dynasty had reached some of the most influential positions in Central Europe. Albert the Magnanimous was able to claim not only the duchy of Austria but also the kingdoms of Flag of Hungary Hungary and Flag of Bohemia Bohemia as well as the prestigious title 'King-Elect of Germany', reserved for those about to be made Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Misfortune struck however and Albert fell in battle against the Turks in 1439, leaving only his yet unborn son, Ladislaus the Posthumous, to succeed him.

Newborn Ladislaus would have a hard time claiming his legacy, and lost the throne of Hungary after a short civil war to the Polish King Wladyslaw. The Kingdom of Bohemia on the other hand is still divided on the issue. Decades of religious civil wars have left the country ravaged with some parts still dominated by powerful Hussite nobles, heretics to the Catholic faith. Only in Austria, the homeland of the Habsburg dynasty, has Ladislaus been accepted, though his uncle Frederick now rules as his regent.

With the catastrophe of Varna the Hungarian throne is again vacant, and Habsburg supporters remain hopeful that it can be reclaimed for Ladislaus. The powerful groups that deposed the boy king once do not seem disposed to accept him a second time. They may well let their dynamic Hungarian regent Janos Hunyadi lead them instead.

The dream of a Habsburg Emperor was not lost with Albert. Upon his death, Frederick, the Austrian regent, was elected to lead the Holy Roman Empire. As the first of his family to sit on the Imperial throne Frederick will leave a legacy for future Habsburgs. Should they choose to pursue his careful policies of diplomatic marriages and patient inheritance planning, the Habsburgs may well build up a position of power unlike that of any family among the kings of Europe. The responsibilities of Imperial rule are great obstacles in themselves. An Emperor must keep the peace in the empire, fight heresy such as the recent Hussites and at all costs protect Christianity from the advancing armies of the Flag of Ottomans Ottomans, a power to which the Habsburgs have already lost one King.

"While other nations do battle, you lucky Austria, you wed." - Maria Theresa of Austria, Last of the Habsburgs (1717-1780)

Austria starts the game as the Emperor of the Flag of Holy Roman Empire Holy Roman Empire. It is located in Central Europe, bordered by Flag of Bohemia Bohemia and minor German states to the north and west, Flag of Hungary Hungary and Flag of Cilli Cilli to the east, and Flag of Venice Venice and Flag of Trent Trent to the south.

As the Emperor of the traditionally fractious German HRE states, it is up to Austria to unify the Empire as the famous Habsburgs and stake their claim on history as a world power. The Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire may be called into defensive wars against outside aggressors, and is also tasked with maintaining order in the empire and enforcing religious unity.

Missions[edit | edit source]

Main article: Austrian missions

Austrian missions are focused around uniting the Habsburg lands and uniting the Holy Roman Empire.

Austrian Government Power Structures[edit | edit source]

Austria has two unique government reform power structures available, one at standard game start and the other more advanced form available after completing the Hungarian related mission, Multicultural Empire, triggering the event 'Reform the Austrian Imperial Government?' Interestingly, the player may elect to keep the Austrian Archduchy but add a +2 Max Promoted Cultures modifier instead of adopting the Imperial Austrian Monarchy which makes the choice slightly less straight forward.

Austrian Archduchy[edit | edit source]

The Austrian Archduchy is a unique government type available only for Austria at the standard start that gives a significant bonus to retaining subject nations. Having this government ensures:

  • Liberty desire from subjects development −33% Liberty desire from subject development
  • Nobility influence.png +5% Nobility influence

Imperial Austrian Monarchy[edit | edit source]

The Imperial Austrian Monarchy is a unique government type available only for Austria by mission, Multicultural Empire, that gives a major advantage in diplomatic power income. Having this government ensures:

  • Max promoted cultures.png +2 Max promoted cultures
  • National unrest.png −2 National unrest
  • Monarch diplomatic skill +2 Monarch diplomatic skill
  • Promote culture cost.png −33% Promote culture cost

Events[edit | edit source]

Main article: Austrian events

Austria's events deal with Austro-Bohemian relations, instability in Austria's holdings in Hungary, famous people of the time period such as Mozart and Metternich, and the Italian Wars.

Reformation[edit | edit source]


Execute decision.pngReclaim the Archduchy of Austria

From Wien, the Habsburg once held absolute power of the Holy Roman Empire, and the very core of their power was the Archduchy of Austria. Now, their empire has long since turned to ash and it is left for us to reclaim the Archduchy and the seat of power in the Empire!

Potential requirements

The country:

If the country is AI-controlled then it:

Playing with normal or historical nations.


Flag of Austria Austria does not exist.
The country:


The country:

  • AI will always take this decision
  • AI gives "high priority" (400) to this decision

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Strategy The below is one of many player suggested strategies for Austria. Bear in mind, due to the dynamic nature of the game, it may unfold differently for other players.

The Emperor DLC significantly changes the game for Austria, with the mission system guiding Austria's expansion and dominance of the Empire.

The Key States and Missions

Bohemia One of Austria's early missions grants a Force PU CB upon Flag of Bohemia Bohemia, once Austria has 5 Electors that have +100 opinion of Austria and supports them for the Emperor. This is fairly easy to accomplish within the first few years of the game. This mission does not require allying all 5 needed electors. Take note of rivalries, as allying rivals can add unwanted -25 penalties with other electors. Also take note of which electors could potentially support others, as electors will not support your candidacy if they are backed by another.

Next is the war against Bohemia. Bohemia is a similarly sized nation to Austria, and also has two small vassals in the Silesia area. Additionally, they can have allies, though they often only have one or two minor princes in the Empire willing to back them. However, despite being outnumbered, the war is easily winnable without calling in allies.

Available allies are somewhat slim. Hungary has a truce with Bohemia, and most of the HRE princes have no interest in attacking Bohemia. The main possible ally is Poland if rivalled to Bohemia. Poland can be promised land to join. But this involves either giving away part of your Bohemia PU, or not giving them land, causing diplomatic consequences.

Bohemia in most cases keeps their starting army on both its forts. Starting the war by rushing either of the forts with your army, and stack wiping the divided stack will help greatly against Bohemia. While they rebuild, you will have time to siege down their forts. A general with high maneuverability, and drilling your troops before the war, both allow your stacks to move faster, making it easier to catch their armies. A morale or discipline advisor is also valuable in making it more likely to stack wipe.

Another key aid in the war is checking the available mercenary stacks for hire. They will be led by their own generals, and a high siege pip can siege down Bohemia's forts much faster.

Once Bohemia is defeated, improve relations with them to positive. If your king dies before relations are positives, the PU will be broken.

Hungary starts off in an Interregnum, and will soon get the same heir as Austria has. The resulting events can result in Flag of Hungary Hungary naturally falling in a PU under Austria, or Austria receiving a PU CB on Hungary. Additionally, Austria has a mission to receive a CB on Hungary if Austria and subjects development exceeds that of Hungary.

In the early game, Hungary is of little help as an ally as they have truces with multiple nearby nations, and are unwilling to help attack others. Additionally, the truce time for breaking an alliance can add years of delay if unlucky. Finally, the diplomatic slot can be better used for other uses So it is best to not ally or royal marry Hungary. Instead, wait until Ladislaus the Posthumous turns 15. Then Hungary will either willingly join. If not invade. With the aid of Bohemia, it should not be difficult, unless Hungary receives a powerful ally.

Milan starts off the game with an old Duke with no heir. A royal marriage with no alliance can often net a PU, or a full Inheritance of Flag of Milan Milan's lands. However if unlucky, Milan has not slipped out of your potential grasp. Two more opportunities await.

Firstly, if the Ambrosian Republic event fires in Milan, both France and Austria as Emperor can receive a force PU CB on Milan. This PU may not last long, as it can be removed if Sforza turns Milan back into a monarchy.

Secondly, through Austria's mission tree, they can obtain a force PU CB on Milan. However, this mission is locked behind directly owning most of Croatia, and the annexing of Venice's non-Milanese Cores in Northern Italy. This adds a significant delay to obtaining Milan.

One key aspect to note. Milan does not start off as an Elector to the HRE. But if an elector is eliminated, and Northern Italy is reined in, Milan can be made an elector. Since you as Austria have a guaranteed means of PU Milan, this can further tip solid control of the Empire to the Habsburgs.

Naples/Two Sicllies starts off the game under an Aragon PU. However, the death of their old starting king will often lead to Flag of Naples Naples going free. Austria through its mission tree also receives a Force PU CB on Naples, after obtaining Milan. However, this PU CB is only available if Naples is independent. If not the mission will only grant less valuable permanent claims. So while waiting for the mission to become available, it is worth keeping an eye on Naples and endeavor to keep them independent. If Naples, however, forms the kingdom of the two Sicllies, you will get a PU CB on it instead. I advice you help this to happen, as it is much better than Naples.

Bavaria does not start the game as a starting tag. Instead, the region is divided between multiple tags, which have their own missions to form the tag. While it is common practice to intervene or use the powers of the Emperor to demand unlawful territory, the Bavarians should be ignored.

The reason for this comes from one of Austria's missions. One of Austria's initial missions is to annex or vassalize 2 of a potential 4 neighboring OPM. Completing this should be held off on until Bavaria is formed. Doing so will shift the mission reward from permanent claims on the Bavarian region to a PU CB on Bavaria.

Like with Milan, giving Bavaria an elector status before forcing a PU on them will help in locking down the elector of the Empire. Additionally, Bavaria is a smaller country than Bohemia, so it is easier to inherit Bavaria, and thus their elector status, than with Bohemia.

Burgundy should be allied and royal married by Austria. The new Imperial incident chain can allow for Flag of Burgundy Burgundy in it entirety to fall under either Austria, France or an ally as a PU. This can fire at any time after their starting king dies. At the start, Burgundy has an only one available free diplomatic slot. So allying them can prevent them allying with any other nation. Thus when the Inheritance fires, they will most likely fall to Austria.

After the event fires, an Imperial incident will fire. France can demand Burgundy for itself, leading to a war between Austria and Burgundy, against France and its vassal swarm. This is likely more difficult than Austria initial early wars, but you will have a year to prepare for the war, and the war will be a defensive one for Austria, meaning your allies can be called in to fend off France.

Poland/Commonwealth is another nation that Austria can receive a PU on through its mission chain. With Silesia under Austria or its vassals, Austria will receive permanent claims on part of Flag of Poland Poland's starting lands, that correlate to the lands Austria took in the partitions of Poland(Galicia). Once annexed, Austria will then receive a Force PU CB.

To obtain the best value from the mission, it is advisable to wait for Poland to reach Administrative Tech 10, which will inherit Lithuania forming the Commonwealth. This will create a much larger PU subject for Austria to control. Note however that Krakow should not be taken from Poland before it can form the PLC, as this province is required for the decision to form Flag of Commonwealth Commonwealth

Spain/Castile is another option. You do not get a CB through the mission tree. If you have a royal marriage with them, they are not rivaled to you, they do not have an heir, but can have one, they are not under a PU, their ruler age is at least 20,both of you have been rivaled by France and Spain/Flag of Castile Castile is not having France's or Austria's dynasty and both of you are at peace, then you will receive an event called "Spain, an Habsburg throne"(for more details, check the The Habsburgs section of the Spanish events part of the Wiki).this will give them a Von Habsburg heir with a very strong claim (100). when he ascends, make sure you have more prestige then them, he has no heir or a heir with weak claim and you have a royal marriage with them and then claim their throne. by then you will probably have Hungary and Bohemia as PU subjects, possibly more PUs (Bavaria, Milan, Burgundy etc ). you will have a strong army by, this will be an easy war. I advice you to PU when the Iberian Wedding has fired or Spain has formed as you will have Aragon too. if event fires early, or you feel you are not strong enough to take down Spain yourself , as Spain can get pretty OP through colonies by mid-1500, then form some powerful alliances before the heir ascends to make it easy, preferably someone who hates them and will always be ready to join you like Britain or Morocco just temporarily and to make the war easier. after the war, you will have a strong empire, with colonies in far-flung regions and Spain's massive colonial navy(and army). after this, either try for PUs on other colonizers or take their colonies for Spain. also, try for a Portuguese PU. you will have all of Iberia, an OP colonizer, a decent navy and also just for the history/roleplay.

Playing Austria is very different from most other nations in the game and therefore offers a unique experience. Austria should retain the title of Holy Roman Emperor in order to maintain their might as a continental power, which means playing the diplomacy and imperial authority game within the HRE. Thankfully, Austria's national ideas form one of the best sets of diplomatic ideas in the game. Maintaining strong allies as well as a fluent diplomacy is also essential as all of Austria's major opponents (particularly France and the Ottomans) have superior military-oriented ideas.

Flag of Austria Austria is uniquely situated for forming personal unions. Austrian missions give a casus belli for forming a PU with Flag of Bohemia Bohemia on achieving sufficiently high relations with HRE electors, and another for Flag of Hungary Hungary after increasing development, regardless of dynasty or royal marriage. In addition, as Emperor, Flag of Austria Austria gets more diplomats and more relationship slots, thus allowing more marriages, while high starting (and likely continuing) Yearly prestige.pngPrestige makes each marriage more likely to result in dynasties, personal unions, or even outright inheritance. Flag of Hungary Hungary will very quickly be of the same dynasty by event, regardless of the player's choices, but a marriage makes for easier claiming as well as a great ally.

As a note, economically Flag of Austria Austria is relatively weak in trade due to its home trade node being the inland node of Wien. However Flag of Austria Austria is unique in that it has one of the few Gold gold mines in Europe (Tirol) and starts out as Emperor with 8 Free Cities (Common Sense.png) providing a Gold Icon.png16 ducat bonus to taxes each year. The inflation from the gold mine can be managed by either Economic Ideas, Austria's third national idea, or by using Papal Influence to choose the Forgive Usury action that reduces inflation.

Flag of Austria Austria is also perhaps in the best position to form the Flag of Holy Roman Empire Holy Roman Empire, due to starting as Emperor, having several diplomatic oriented national ideas, and their relative position and strength in the empire to enforce their will on the other Princes. Following the steps below will help ensure the player can form the Empire at a relatively quick pace.

Imperial Authority[edit | edit source]

In general, things to keep in mind for monthly Imperial authority.png Imperial Authority:

  • with more princes in the HRE +0.004 per prince over 25
  • up to 8 free cities +0.005 per city (with Common Sense.png Common Sense)
  • peace in the Empire +0.10
  • heretic princes −0.01 per prince
  • electors that are vassals or missing electors −0.1 per elector (This does not include personal unions, however the −50 penalty in elections for the suzerain still applies)
  • Imperial provinces under the control of non-members or subjects of non-members −.005 per province.

Other mechanics can be seen at Flag of Holy Roman Empire Holy Roman Empire.

Rein in Northern Italy[edit | edit source]

The Rein in Northern Italy decision, imperial incident, and the Shadow Kingdom Event together portray the real history when the Italian states becoming independent from the HRE over time. They also form a flavor package that challenges the HRE emperor in game, when played by player, and interacts with the rest of German and Italian states.

As the emperor, there are two ways to resolve the overall issue: 1) to rein in the Italian states; or 2) to allow the Italian states to leave HRE.

In order for Italian states to naturally leave, there are two junctures. One is an imperial incidence (requires Emperor) will fire in 1460, giving the emperor a choice of abandoning the Italian states without penalty to Imperial Authority. Another is via failure to rein in the Italian states by 1490 January, at which point, every reined in Italian state adds 5 Imperial Authority, and every one else minus 10 Imperial Authority and leaves HRE.

If the player is able to plan for an imperial reform shortly before 1490, which costs 50 Imperial Authority, and thus resetting Imperial Authority to near zero, the Shadow Kingdown Event does not reduce Imperial Authority to below zero. However, the accumulation of Imperial Authority spans decades and it is not consistent to plan for.

If the player desires to keep, or selectively keep some, Italian states in the HRE, possibly encouraged by the Imperial Authority impact, the player can either use the Rein in Northern Italy decision, or ensure the status of having been reined in among the desired Italian states in 1490 January. (It is an event that is highly probable to fire within January. A common event date is therefore 1490 Jan 31.)

An Italian state can be reined in by:

  • having lost a war to the emperor (as long as emperor obtained tribute from the state, co-belligerent or not)
  • being a vassal of the emperor
  • being allied to the emperor
  • being a free city
  • having 150 opinion or above to the emperor

The war option can be combined with the existing alliance network in Italy. If the Austria game has been progressing smoothly, possibly 3 or 4 era abilities have been purchased by 1480. And that should include the ability to fabricate claims neighbouring claims. Be aware that fabricating claims in HRE requires more spy network and thus take longer. With selective claims and alliance network, a strong Austria with multiple PUs and allies can expeditiously rein in the desired Italian states.

The vassal relation is not the best except for Milan in the case of Austria with many other much stronger and readily available nations to form PU with.

The alliance option can be used as a last resort shortly before enacting the decision or before end of 1490 Jan. Austria needs to be at peace in order for AIs to accept alliance. Considerable strength is also required to counteract AI hesitation to ally with a player that has many alliances. Thus some planning and experimentation is required unless the option is only used for 1 or 2 states.

Granting Free City status requires an empty Free City slot (max 12) in the HRE. Since HRE starts with 12 Free Cities, some would need to be revoked and each requires 5 Imperial Authority. Konstanz for example is in the way of fulfilling the Austria mission tree and may appear as a candidate worthy of spending 5 Imperial Authority on at first glance. However, seizing its province can also be done by declaring war on its ally and toggling it as co-belligerent, without having to suffer the malus of declaring war on a free city, and thus removing any reason to spend Imperial Authority on removing Konstanz's free city status. Overall, since the emperor generally benefit from having many princes in the HRE, there is rarely any reason to motivate the removal of existing free city status. Thus, the benefit of revoking/granting free city status for the purpose of reining in Italian states is dubious. Moreover, only republics are ready to accept free city status. (That does not include merchant republics!) If Austria is able to convince a monarchy to accept Free City status via diplomatic reputation, good relation, and friendly attitude. The 150 opinion threshold should have already been fulfilled.

150 relation score is similarly viable as war, and similarly requires some planning. By 1480, Austrian emperor with the Diplomatic Ideas can have 6 diplomats and significant bonus in Improve Relation. With that, it is easy to maintain near 100 Improve Relation score with all northern Italian states while pursuing other diplomatic objectives. For the remaining 53, since crossing into 1490 will have the score decay by 3, unless a diplomat is actively maintaining relation, there are, for example: Same Religion (10-25), Defender of Faith (10), Influence action as a Great Power (25), Gift (10-25), Improved Imperial Relations (25-100) and the Religious Diplomats estate privilege (25). However, it is worth remembering that relation malus can also exist. For example, by having Milan as a junior PU partner, there may be -25 opinion for Savoy due to Milan being a suitable Rival for Savoy. It is also common for a player Austria to retain some Aggressive Expansion penalty by 1490. The full reduction of AE penalties from early game takes decades and is not a consistent option. Meanwhile, if, for example, Ottoman declares war on Genoa and the player comes to Genoa's defense as the emperor, there can also be a +50~100 relation bonus. However, although such a war is likely, the timing is highly inconsistent. In early game, such incidental bonus is likely countered by significant Aggressive Expansion malus. Later on, especially by the time of 1490, a recent second war declared on Genoa is likely required for the defender bonus to still remain. With AE malus and defending bonus, the player can examine and plan ahead for their remaining impact at around 1480. However, hoping for a fresh defender bonus right before 1490 could be foolhardy.

All in all, as long as the player understands what to expect ahead of time, and leave ~10 years of in-game time to calibrate war/peace and diplomatic strategies for the purpose of reining in Italian states, all Italian states can be retained, if the player so desires.

Once the Shadow Kingdom event is over, if the player has chosen to rein in many Italian states, there may be a large surplus of Imperial Authority over 50. Be aware that every imperial reform resets Imperial Authority to 0. Thus, although it is inconsistent to plan for Imperial Authority over many decades, if there is indeed a large surplus, it is a good time to change the makeup of free cities. On the same token, if the 150 opinion score would have required Send Gift or Influence, then Bestow Imperial Grace would be a better alternative in anticipation of Imperial Authority surplus.

Another thing to consider is the implication over Reformation. Having reined in the majority of northern Italian states is a condition for the Papal State to get the event to join HRE. Allowing the Papal State to join HRE will make the Reformation Event trigger half as frequent for the Germanic cultural group, among others. Since the MTTH is 25% less for nations with less than 10 provinces and another 25% for non-theocratic OPMs compared to all other nations, and such nations mostly reside within the Germanic cultural group, the multiplier of 2 from Papal State being in HRE usually means more delayed Reformation. Whether Reformation is delayed as a result, the Papal State being in HRE would also mean the Reformation Center is more likely to spawn in nations of Iberian or Latin culture group, usually outside HRE. If it does, Reformation may be easier to manage for the HRE Emperor. For example, if OPM Corsica has been released outside HRE, with Papal State in HRE, Corsica would be uniquely probable to become the Reformation Center, making the removal of it extraordinarily straightforward.

Territories in Flag of Burgundy Burgundy[edit | edit source]

Flag of Burgundy Burgundy through Personal Unions controls Imperial territory in Flag of Holland Holland and Flag of Brabant Brabant, as well as six Imperial provinces of its own, making thirteen. This is by far the largest drain on monthly Imperial Authority in 1444.

The strategies behind dealing with Flag of Burgundy Burgundy should have in mind keeping Imperial territory in Empire hands and protected from Flag of France France and Flag of England England. These strategies can be started from Sundgau via fabrication or a rival conquest mission, but Flag of Burgundy Burgundy and its subjects & ally are a match for all of Austria's power, so the player should bring allies. Ways to pull apart Flag of Burgundy Burgundy include:

  • Through the Burgundian Succession Crisis (a luck-based event), which can give direct control over all provinces already in the Holy Roman Empire currently controlled by Burgundy or its subjects. The event's effects are improved if the player has a Royal Marriage with Flag of Burgundy Burgundy and the event is more likely to fire if Flag of Burgundy Burgundy is in a war, and losing. Note though that Flag of France France will generally receive control of the Bourgogne, Picardie, Artois, Charolais, Nevers, and Rethel provinces. The player can choose to release the princes after inheriting their land for more Imperial authority.png Imperial Authority; either way, this can form another base of territory in the Empire to keep the princes in line. This method is ideal, since it involves no wars, no costs, and no aggressive expansion, but the event may or may not occur so it cannot be counted on.
  • War forcing Flag of Burgundy Burgundy to move their capital to one of their Imperial provinces. This causes Flag of Burgundy Burgundy to become an Imperial prince thus restoring all Imperial provinces to the Empire as well as bringing both Flag of Brabant Brabant and Flag of Holland Holland back into Imperial arms. In recent patches, a country must have no other non-Imperial provinces when their capital is taken in order to move it to Imperial territory. The provinces to remove are thus Picardie and Artois (which can be released together as a vassal), Charolais, and the capital Bourgogne. Additionally, in order to take the last two the player must take Franche-Comté unless other area nearby has already been taken from others such as Flag of Savoy Savoy or Flag of Lorraine Lorraine. All of this is made much easier (and thus possible with a single war) by having Picardie and Artois already in another nation's hands: Flag of France France has missions and Flag of England England generally fabricates claims. If the Burgundian Succession Crisis happens after this, France's only remaining gains will be Flag of Nevers Nevers's provinces: Nevers & Rethel. This method leaves France weakest, and gives Austria some direct territory, but garners a large amount of aggressive expansion.
  • At least two wars, canceling the subjects of Flag of Holland Holland & Flag of Brabant Brabant (ideally done first as this makes further wars easier), releasing Flag of Hainaut Hainaut & Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg, and reclaiming Franche-Comté. If the Burgundian Succession Crisis happens afterward, Flag of France France generally gains whatever Flag of Burgundy Burgundy has left other than Flag of Flanders Flanders. This means all 6 normal provinces: Bourgogne, Picardie, Artois, Charolais, Nevers, and Rethel. This method can involve little or no aggressive expansion (depending on what is done with Franche-Comté), which is useful if taking other land nearby. For the player, the effect is almost the same as if the Burgundian Succession Crisis event had happened in their favor, though obviously at the cost of the wars.

Other subject members[edit | edit source]

Flag of Provence Provence at the start is the suzerain of Flag of Lorraine Lorraine (Metz and Lothringen) and controls the Imperial territory of Barrois, from which the player can release Flag of Bar Bar to have an extra prince. As this is three Imperial provinces, it's important to handle, but Provence is allied with Flag of France France to begin. For a super aggressive start, the player can fabricate claims on Lothringen, get a big ally (such as Flag of Burgundy Burgundy or Flag of Hungary Hungary), wait until France/Provence is at war or just finished one, and then use the claim to declare war. It's possible to damage France, take their money, and even humiliate them for Power Projection if they're a rival. Once France is out of the fight, Provence can be focused. At the start, Provence is just small enough to vassalize, which will also release Lorraine. This causes a bit of aggressive expansion, but will eventually allow the player to annex Provence, getting cores next to France and adding territory to the Empire for a boost to Imperial authority.pngImperial Authority.

Flag of Holstein Holstein is also part of the Empire, but is a vassal under Flag of Denmark Denmark. If Denmark goes to war with the Empire early and loses, it is possible that Flag of Holstein Holstein may be released, but it is otherwise annexed fairly quickly and thus difficult to get back. It may be advisable to leave this province as the one lost cause, at least until the player is strong enough to handle Denmark.

Territories of non-member nations[edit | edit source]

Neumark, province of the Empire, starts under Flag of Teutonic Order Teutonic Order's control at the start. There is an event that can allow the TO to sell Neumark to Flag of Brandenburg Brandenburg, but otherwise Brandenburg will usually get it via war. Brescia, a Venetian province, is also part of the Empire, and can usually be returned to Flag of Milan Milan should Austria go to war with Flag of Venice Venice to add their provinces to the Empire. Do note that since Brescia is already an HRE province, it does not need to be controlled to avoid the Shadow Kingdom event or to use the Rein in Northern Italy decision.

If the first Imperial Reform is passed, the Imperial Ban casus belli may be used to secure these provinces.

Minimizing the Reformation[edit | edit source]

For the Holy Roman Emperor, the Reformation is effectively an unavoidable disaster that affects the entire Empire. Princes will convert as their provinces are converted, and each prince that does so causes an Imperial authority.png Imperial Authority growth penalty. Furthermore, any of the player's provinces that get converted (or any converted provinces taken in war) are still very difficult to change back as missionary strength is quite low to start.

The simplest method for handling the Reformation is to use the Emperor diplomacy options to enforce your religion on each prince as they convert. Assuming that they like the Emperor enough or he has enough diplomatic reputation, they will convert back at the cost of a single point of Imperial authority.png Imperial Authority and some relation points. When this occurs, their capital is immediately converted, and if there was a Center of reformation.png Center of Reformation in that location, it is removed. Furthermore, the prince will then work to reconvert their own heretic provinces.

This will not work in all cases, however. The Emperor will likely have enemies in the HRE that will refuse the request, and it is not possible to even ask this of Electors. Thus, the second simplest method is going to war with the country (perhaps by attacking their allies, if they are difficult to get a CB upon themselves). For a heretic country, a war option is conversion, which has a higher war score cost depending on how many provinces are of the heretic religion. Successfully enforcing this concession has the same effect as above: their capital is immediately converted, also removing any Center of reformation.png Center of Reformation there. It can often be worth declaring a no-CB war if required in order to remove a Center.

If a country is too big to convert via war concession, the next option is to take some of the converted provinces, especially a province with a Center of reformation.png Center of Reformation, with the hope of force-converting in a second war. This can be painful, as the converted provinces will obviously reduce religious unity and will have high unrest, and religious zeal will prevent their conversion until ten years after they were first converted. Centers of Reformation, however, can be reconverted immediately (assuming one has the missionary strength to do so), and as soon as the conversion is complete the Center is removed. For this path, taking the Religious Idea group can be very beneficial if not actually required.

As having a heretic Elector is especially bad, there is one final option: going to war to revoke their Electorate. This carries a whopping ten point penalty to Imperial Authority and some relations penalties with other Electors, but if successful allows the Emperor to choose a new (hopefully loyal) Elector. The no-longer-Elector prince is then able to be converted normally. As the malus is especially egregious, this method is not recommended unless there are no other options.

It is possible for a Center of reformation.png Center of Reformation to appear in an area that the player cannot or should not do something about. One in Flag of Denmark Denmark, Flag of Spain Spain, or Flag of Poland Poland, for example, can be difficult to remove. As long as it is outside the Empire, their conversion of HRE provinces should be slowed and the effects should be infrequent enough to handle without too much difficulty. Still, taking said Center or making them change it should be added to the list of priorities for some future date.

One way to reduce the impact of the Reformation is by acting before it occurs. Let single-province countries like Flag of Friesland Friesland or Flag of Oldenburg Oldenburg be annexed by larger countries to prevent Center of reformation.png Centers of Reformation and religious rebels from instantly converting these princes. This decreases Imperial authority.png Imperial Authority tick, as there are fewer princes, but they may be released after 1650 if their cores still exist. With the above methods this may be unnecessary, but it can still be helpful, especially if one has not yet had the chance to take the Religious Idea group or chooses not to do so.

If the player wishes to convert to Protestantism themselves, it must be noted is that an election will be triggered if the player is the emperor. The player will not be eligible to be emperor again until a Holy War has been won or tied (Peace of Westphalia). This conversion path would only make strategic sense if the Reformation has been very successful, the player already is struggling with low religious unity and/or the player has already lost the throne (especially to a weak nation that is more likely to lose a Holy War). Being Protestant does give a +15% relations benefit, which is helpful for an emperor.

Growing the Empire[edit | edit source]

As the likely end goal for Austria is to unite the Empire into a single nation and this is done without all the usual diplomatic monarch point expenditure of diplo-annexing, a strong late game goal is to grow the HRE. One easy way to do this is to revive peripheral nations with cores outside the realm. The Teutonic Order is often swallowed whole by Poland/Commonwealth. It can easily be freed from Brandenburg in one of the typical wars necessary to free captured duchies and then an Imperial Liberation CB can be used on Poland to take back Prussian provinces.

Similarly, Burgundy's capital is often driven by France into its provinces within the HRE, making it a member. At this point, Imperial Liberation can be used to reclaim Burgundy.

Since nations on the periphery of the Empire are typically threatened by a strong France, Commonwealth or Scandinavia, they typically add captured provinces to the Empire if they have good relations with the emperor. This makes them good allies or vassals if the emperor is strong and has the empire under control enough to take on the big neighbors.

Idea groups[edit | edit source]

Diplomatic or Influence are strong contenders for first idea group due to the importance of holding onto the Holy Roman Emperor title. Both grant an Diplomatic relations.png+1 diplomatic relations and Diplomatic reputation.png+2 diplomatic reputation (+10 modifier for elections and +5 per point for supporting Empire reforms). Influence enables reduced diplomatic annexation costs (Diplomatic annexation cost−25%). Diplomacy, however, may have better events (including one that could give Imperial authority.png+5 Imperial Authority), better improved relations (Improve relations.png+25%), and free royal marriage breaking (from Stability.png−1 stability to Yearly prestige.png−1 prestige).

Offensive or Defensive are both helpful to Austria as a major land power that must repel hostile invasions on the HRE. Offensive may be slightly more useful due to the need to wage many small wars within the HRE to free annexed states, as Engineer Corps decreases the length of siege times Siege ability.png+20% and Grand Army provides a larger force limit Land forcelimit.png+20% to win battles against the French, Ottoman or Polish armies.

Religious or Humanism may be essential by the third idea group in order to counter the heretics during the Reformation. It is in the Emperor's interest to remain Catholic and convert ProtestantismProtestant/Reformed.pngReformed princes back to CatholicismCatholicism which makes Religious a strong choice. However, if the Reformation starts right next to or within Flag of Austria Austria, Humanism may be necessary to prevent the religious turmoil disaster. Alternatively, the Religious-Offensive policy (Anti-Heresy Act) offers a powerful bonus (Religious unity.png+20% Religious Unity, Missionary strength vs heretics.png+3% Missionary Strength vs Heretic) for a Administrative power.png−1 monarch point upkeep cost.

Afterwards for the fourth or fifth idea group, take exploration and expansion if you wish to get AEIOU, it is in the mission tree to have holdings in India and China and have all of Australia. also, you might have gotten the Burgundian lowlands under direct control(through the Burgundian Succession event) or Iberia under a PU(through Spain, a Habsburg throne event). if you like colonial games, then it will be very good to colonize if you have the lowlands and Iberia and become OP and rich. otherwise, just ignore colonization as it won't be worth it.

Achievements[edit | edit source]

The pen is mightier than the sword icon
Have three unions at the same time as Austria.
The Ostenders icon
As Austria have the District and Military Administration investments in the West Bengal area.
AEIOU icon
Complete the Austrian mission tree..
Country guides

Central African technology group Central African.png Kuba.png KubaMutapa.png Mutapa
East African technology group East African.png Ethiopia.png EthiopiaMogadishu.png Mogadishu
Muslim technology group Muslim.png The Mamluks.png MamluksMorocco.png MoroccoTlemcen.png TlemcenTunis.png Tunis
West African technology group West African.png Air.png AirMali.png Mali

Eastern technology group Eastern.png Jerusalem.png Jerusalem Karabakh.png Karabakh
Muslim technology group Muslim.png Afghanistan.png Afghanistan Ajam.png Ajam Arabia.png Arabia Ardabil.png Ardabil Hisn Kayfa.png Hisn Kayfa Hormuz.png Hormuz Oman.png Oman Mushasha.png Mushasha Timurids.png Timurids Qara Qoyunlu.png Qara Qoyunlu
Indian technology group Indian.png Assam.png Assam Bahmanis.png Bahmanis Bengal.png Bengal Orissa.png Orissa
Chinese technology group Chinese.png Bali.png Bali Brunei.png Brunei Dai Viet.png Dai Viet Japan.png Japan Khmer.png Khmer Korea.png Korea Majapahit.png Majapahit Malaya.png Malaya Pagarruyung.png Pagarruyung Pasai.png Pasai Sunda.png Sunda
Nomadic technology group Nomadic.png Jianzhou.png Jianzhou Uzbek.png Uzbek Mongolia.png Mongolia

Western technology group Western.png United States.png United States
Mesoamerican technology group Mesoamerican.png Maya.png Maya
North American technology group North American.png Caddo.png Caddo Cherokee.png Cherokee Iroquois.png Iroquois

Andean technology group Andean.png Chachapoya.png Chachapoya Cusco.png Cusco Muisca.png Muisca
South American technology group South American.png Mapuche.png Mapuche