- +1 Yearly navy tradition
- +10% Trade steering
- +25% Hostile core-creation cost on us
- −1 National unrest
- +20% Fort defense
- +1% Missionary strength
- +2 Yearly papal influence
- −10% Ship costs
- +1 Diplomatic reputation
- +1 Yearly prestige
- +25% Naval force limit modifier
The Second Treaty of Guérande, signed in 1381, formally declared Brittany neutral in the Hundred Years War. This conflict seems likely to once again lead to hostilities, as French demands for the surrender of Maine go unmet by England. How far the Dukes of Brittany will honour their promise of neutrality remains to be seen; there could be much to gain from involvement in the war, but also many dangers. Brittany is unlikely to be able to stand against either of the warring powers alone, and to that end may consider cooperation with the rising power of Burgundy.
Brittany is a rich and fertile land with much potential for development. The capital of Nantes has seen grand reconstruction efforts following a bloody succession war and currently stands as one of the major Atlantic port cities. The port of Brest meanwhile would make an ideal naval dockyard, being both a sheltered natural harbour and strategically located to intercept both French and English fleets.Brittany must choose its friends and enemies carefully if it's to survive in the modern era. If the tumultuous politics of Europe fail to offer opportunities, perhaps Brittany's destiny may lie beyond its shores.
Brittany is a mid-sized country in the French region. They border France, a potential threat to their independence. Although European Brittany is usually absorbed by France and the rest of her ends up exiled in the colonies when played by the AI, in a human player's hands the nation has a huge potential to become a European powerhouse, or colonial empire. Both ways provide a fun, interesting and challenging game.
Form French Nation
If the country is AI-controlled then it:
Position and Neighbours
France is a large threat to Brittany. France begins allied to Provence and Provence will likely rival Brittany. This can cause France to be hostile toward Brittany from November 11, 1444. To compound this, France can often times be rivaled with Burgundy, whom Brittany begins allied to. Some diplomatic juggling and potentially lots of luck early game would be necessary to gain France as an ally. It might be better to seek allies elsewhere, looking toward rivals of France to mitigate the threat. Surviving long enough could see France turn friendly or protective of you later in the game.
It is common for France to warn player Brittany very early in the game, possibly complicating the conquest of Anjou from Provence. Sometimes you will see the French break their alliance with Provence, but beware of warnings when planning conquest. France has the potential to have a lot of enemies, so there may be opportunity to expand into Provence despite a warning from France. It is also quite likely that Burgundy and France will go to war over Provence early in the game. Should Provence fail to gain any other large allies next to France, it is likely that Burgundy could be the aggressor. Conversely, should Provence be able to maintain its alliance with France, you could see France or Provence declare war on Brittany should the player fail to form worthwhile alliances.
Provence usually starts rivaled to Brittany, and although larger than Brittany, their lands are distributed. Provence begins allied with France, but loses this friendship often enough. Provence also shares dynasty with the French.
Despite being protected by the French, there sometimes arises an opportunity for Brittany to take Anjou if France is involved in multiple wars. Provence can sometimes pull alliances from other European powers, but this seems inconsistent.
England starts with extensive French holdings, and are often rivaled to both France and Burgundy. They are usually too busy being ejected from mainland Europe by France or Burgundy to concern themselves with Brittany. Although a potential ally against an aggressive France, it is recommended to attempt to get alternative alliances, because England can have trouble dropping off enough troops to meaningfully assist in a war against France.
England has a few circumstances early-game that can help player Brittany if strategized properly. The Hundred Years War, Lollard Heretics, and the War of the Roses can seriously hamper AI England early game. These events can fire rapidly back to back and have the English sprawling for manpower, ducats, and technology. Should War of the Roses fire and the French fight the English over Maine, player Brittany could find themselves in a position to expand into Normandy, Alencon, or Maine. If England is mutually rivaled with Burgundy, there is a great chance they will help in early war for promise of land. A seriously opportunistic player might be able to swipe a couple of occupations and the fort on Normandy and demand the province of Pale, of East Ireland, opening up many opportunities for expansion, while at the same time limiting what the French can take in their defensive war against the English AND strengthening ally Burgundy with the offering of Calais.
Another possible problem for the English early game is their 0/0/0 starting ruler, should he live a long life and produce an heir, England could fall behind in tech significantly. That could pose additional incentive to attack for mainland holdings in a second war of aggression against England. Taking land on the mainland will GREATLY anger France, so make sure you have worthwhile allies before attempting such bold maneuvers.
Burgundy start the game with personal unions over Holland, Flanders, and Brabant and with Nevers as vassal. They are often rivaled to France, England and Austria, and Denmark. The large number of subjects means that Burgundy brings a significant allied force to war with them. However, their border with the Holy Roman Empire and tendency to attack into it has a tendency to drag their allies into wars against not only those nations, but also the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and all of their allies. Sometimes AI troop coordination causes Burgundy's subjects to be caught in the open alone, resulting in heavy losses. They tend to be better in wars for land rather than using Show Superiority casus belli because of their lack of coordination. Despite this, Burgundy is essential to Brittany's survival early game.
A major downside to depending on Brittany's alliance with Burgundy is the Burgundian Inheritance event. During the event, Burgundy and its vassals are split between France and either the Holy Roman Emperor, Castile, or possibly to another nation by marriage, although the latter 2 are a bit more rare. This results in Brittany's alliance and protection of Burgundy evaporating and a target getting painted on Brittany's back. It is imperative to find other allies early game to mitigate this risk. The event won't fire after 1500, so it is safer to assume Burgundy can be relied upon at that time.
Irish Insertion Strategy
In order to avoid Brittany's initial wars being with England, France or Provence, all of which command larger armies than Brittany, one method of early expansion, is to carefully watch the Irish minors, while building up a transport fleet, and insert Brittany into their wars. Ideally the player will find a war between two un-allied Irish minors. Hopefully the defending Irish minor is losing, and as their opponent begins to siege down their capital, offer them an alliance. They will usually accept, and as long as there were not multiple battles, they should still have not lost enough war-score to allow them to call in Brittany. By landing on Ireland, besieging the allied capital and moving on the siege down enemy capital before the allied minor even has a chance to rebuild any troops ensures that the Brittany will be in control of the siege. From this point, it is simply a matter of waiting for the siege to complete with a diplomat free, so as to be able to take the province the day the siege completes, rather than allowing Brittany's ally to control the peace deal. This required finesse and careful timing to ensure territory is ceded to Brittany. Once a single province in Ireland is under Breton control, it is a relatively straightforward process to fabricate on and consume most of the rest of them. This can allow Brittany to approximately double in size before returning to mainland Europe and attempt to make gains there, or alternatively, a closer staging point from which to launch into the New World by means of exploration and colonization. Some of the Irish minors are vulnerable to becoming vassals under England so be wary of this threat, especially during planning stages. From here try to form and alliance with Scotland and thus choke England and prevent their expansion. Scotland regularly allies with France which can lead to a beneficial conflicts of interests for the Bretons. There is, of course, the potential use of "The Best CB" on any Irish minor without an ally. Aggressive expansion isn't a huge issue here because it isn't on the European mainland.
Colonization and Exodus
Brittany's westerly position, is an advantage for the colonization game, and the New World is rich for expansion potential as well as for increasing trade value returning to the Old World for Brittany to collect. The Mexican and Caribbean regions are especially sought after. Because it is possible to grow a Mexican colonial nation very easily by means of conquest from the Aztec and Mayan states. However, take care as to not grow any colonial nations so large as that they being seeing themselves stronger than their overlord, or they may begin to seek independence. The player may also attempt to colonize the natural harbors and estuaries in North America to boost the player's trade steering through there.
Colonization is also useful for attempting an Exodus strategy. In which rather than becoming a European power, after colonising 4 provinces in the New World rather than completing another and allowing a colonial nation to form, all remaining European provinces in the state in which the capital resides are sold off or given to vassals. This allow the player to the move the Capital into the New World. This allows for fast and extensive expansion against the technologically inferior Native American nations.
Brittany can play a number of ways, either as a trading power, a warring mainland Europe nation, and also a colonial power. For a trading power, Trade ideas, as well as maritime, for the extra merchants and naval force limit, allowing extra light ships are worth strong consideration. If playing as a warring mainland Europe state, then Administrative, Diplomatic, as well as Quantity, Quality, Offensive and Defensive ideas are all worth considering. Care should be taken when selecting a military idea, as the first idea group, as it can be challenging to keep up to time on military technology while simultaneously investing in military ideas. And so generally these can prove to not be an ideal first idea group. If playing as a colonial power, then the Exploration is almost a must, and Expansion is well worth considering also.
Forming France with Brittany kind of feels strange as the player could have just started as France, but is viable for role-playing campaigns. It also adds the benefit of the very powerful French National Ideas, should the player choose to abandon their Breton roots as well as cores on the entire French region.