For Mayan countries.
- −1 National unrest
- +15% Fort defense
- −10% Stability cost modifier
- −10 Development cost
- −10% Aggressive expansion impact
- −5% Technology cost
- +10% National tax modifier
- +1 Attrition for enemies
- +10% Morale of armies
- +10% Infantry combat power
Maya is a formable country in Mesoamerica. It can be formed by states with their primary culture in Mayan group and the Mayan religion, namely Xiu, Itza, Cocomes and Kiche in 1444. Once formed, Maya will retain the primary culture, national ideas and Mayan religious reforms of the founding nation. Maya will change the government to despotic monarchy upon formation.
Historically, the League of Mayapan was dissociated in 1441 after Ah Xiu Tutal overthrew and slaughtered the then ruling family, Cocomes. He became the last chief of the league de jure but the rebellion of other states was already unavoidable and the league finally and completely disintegrated in 1461. The truces between the independent Yucatan states remained until Cocomes was ambushed by the Xiu again at Chichen Itza in 1535, a few years before Spanish conquistador Francisco Montejo arrived and conquered Yucatan. The Itza city-state of Petén was the last independent Mayan state before it fell to Spanish invaders in 1697.
- 1 Formation
- 2 Events
- 3 Religious reforms
- 4 Strategy
Reunite the League of Mayapan
This infobox may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. The last version it was verified as up to date for was 1.25.
Once all Maya states of importance fought under the same banner. Let us recreate the League of Mayapan and put the petty conflicts that once shattered the confederation behind us.
The game is not using a random New World.
If the country is AI-controlled, then it:
- Main article: Mayan events
|Available only with the El Dorado DLC enabled.|
The Mayan religion (as well as the Nahuatl and Inti religions) can be reformed to grant the Mayans significant, permanent bonuses as well the ability to jump forwards in technology and modernize. The reforms are:
- A Unified Army: −10% Land maintenance modifier
- Central Arbitration: −2 National unrest
- Central Armories: +10% Infantry combat ability
- Tribal Expansion: +1 Colonists (provinces adjacent to colonies are auto explored)
- Reform the Bureaucracy: −20% Core creation cost
Each reform must be passed separately after meeting a number of requirements, which are:
- Stability +1 at least
- Less than 1% overextension
- No provinces under rebel control
- 20 cities minimum
Upon passing a religious reform, the reforming nation will lose 1 stability, release all of its vassals, and be reduced to a number of provinces equal to 10 + 2 per religious reform already passed (so 10 for the first one, 12 for the next, and so on). The lost provinces will usually be given to nations with cores on them, particularly annexed countries which will be liberated when the reform is passed. If the Mayans own provinces without foreign claims or cores, these provinces might remain in the empire but lose their cores, making it necessary to spend the administrative monarch points needed to core them again; otherwise, they may be given to a neighboring state. Such a situation is only likely to happen with colonized provinces.
The best choices for the earliest reforms are either the reduction to coring costs or the increase to infantry combat ability. The former helps the Mayans conserve administrative monarch points in order to core and recore the provinces needed to reform; the latter helps the Mayans in their repeated wars with other Mesoamerican states. A common mistake by players new to playing in Mesoamerica is to take the colonist first, thinking that it will help expand the empire more rapidly to pass reforms. Colonization of Central America, however, is a very slow and expensive process with only one colonist, tropical terrain, and no increases to settler growth. Consequently, colonization is unviable until the Exploration tree has been chosen and filled out and the ‘Tribal Expansion’ reform should be left until that time. The reforms that reduce land army maintenance costs and national unrest are both very useful, though which one the Mayans choose first is dependent on personal playstyle and the strategic situation. If the economy is sluggish, ‘A Unified Army’ can help raise income; if the economy is fine, ‘Central Arbitration’ mitigates the constant unrest in conquered provinces.
When all five reforms have been passed, the Mayans may fully reform their religion if they border a nation that has adopted at least one institution. The reformation will jump the Mayans to 75% of their neighbor's tech level and instantly give them access to all of the neighbor's institutions. It is beneficial to wait until the neighboring country has adopted all currently existing institutions in order to completely eliminate the tech penalties.
This section may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. The last version it was verified as up to date for was 1.25.
Successfully having all reforms passed and most of Mesoamerica under Mayan rule before the Europeans arrive demands both speed and patience. The difficult reformation process will force a Mayan player to conquer and reconquer territory, in turn draining many Administration monarch points in coring costs. Becoming complacent can make it hard to finish all the reforms without breaking truces, while neglecting preparation for future cycles can push the Maya into a drawn out stalemate with a rising Nahuatl power, most likely the Aztecs. Mayan provinces start out poor and being a primitive nation leaves them with no institutions, reduced gold income, increased development costs, and bars them from building navies; in addition, the Mayans can only colonize provinces that are directly adjacent to fully-settled core provinces. Like all New World countries, the Mayans begin at level 1 in all technologies and, lacking institutions, the Mayans begin the game with a +50% research penalty. They cannot embrace institutions without converting to Christianity or reforming the Mayan religion. In the meantime, the penalty will continue to rise as new institutions spawn, eventually rendering research nonviable.
On the plus side, the Mayan reforms are the best available, making a reformed Mayan faith one of the most powerful religions in the game. Reforming gives a bonus missionary if one controls Chichen Itza and a post-reformation decision (Codification of the Rituals) grants +2% missionary strength, allowing rapid conversion of conquered territories if combined with Religious ideas. The Mayans also have many unique events that provide large amounts of ducats, stability, legitimacy, and monarch points. They do have some unique negative events that can hurt, but the positive ones seem to fire much more often, such that legitimacy will almost never be a concern and a Mayan player will almost never need to manually raise stability. Reforming their religion also gives them all their western neighbor's embraced institutions and a large amount of technology for free, allowing them to catch up to the Europeans relatively quickly. The Mayans do not need to go through the trouble of reforming their government because reuniting the League of Mayapan (thus officially becoming "Maya") automatically switches it to Despotic Monarchy.
Technological Progress Pre-Reformation
The Mayans have severe penalties to research that will worsen as time goes on. It is important to only research necessary technologies as going further will waste thousands of monarch points that could be spent on development considering that reforming their religion will grant the Mayans a number of free technologies anyways.
Pre-reformation, the Mayans should only raise Diplomacy technology to level 3 in order to get the global settler increase bonus, which will greatly speed up colonization. Researching any further is a waste of points until reforming the religion. Instead, diplomacy power is better spent on diplo-annexing, peace deals, developing provinces, and, when the Mayans unlock Exploration, buying new ideas. Developing the production value of provinces will significantly raise income and hasten the spread of institutions later in the game.
It is usually necessary to invest in Military technology to stay a step ahead of the Aztecs, who will focus on advancements to complement their starting military bonuses. However, it is inadvisable to continue upgrading Military technology once the other Mesoamericans have been annexed or vassalized, as the reformation will give the Mayans many free technologies. By the time the Europeans arrive, the penalty to research costs may be rising above 150%, making it nearly impossible and prohibitively expensive to keep up. In the case that the player chooses to forego upgrading Military technology once the region is secured, the points should be invested in upgrading provincial manpower and suppressing revolts through harsh treatment when necessary. Players with Rights of Man installed can also raise legitimacy if it falls very low, but many Mayan events raise it regardless.
The Mayan cycle of expansion and contraction will cost many, many Administrative points to get through due to coring costs and the occasional need to raise stability after passing a reform. The long process of diplo-annexation and post-reform truce timers with liberated states will burn a lot of valuable time that the Mayans just cannot afford to waste. Administrative points not devoted to coring should initially be used to research Administrative technology in order to get Exploration ideas so that colonization and begin in earnest. Upon reaching level 7 Administrative technology and unlocking the second idea group, Administrative points should be invested in development of the capital and other key provinces.
Reforming the Mayan religion will jump the empire's technology levels to 75% of their neighbors and eliminate the penalties from unembraced institutions, in addition to allowing the Mayans to adopt later institutions normally. The neighbor bonus will reduce technology costs and help the Mayans catch up. Most likely, this will instantly unlock one or two new idea groups. However, it is very important to focus on catching up in Military technology before investing in Military ideas. The bonuses that new technologies give will outstrip those of the Military idea groups, though it will of course be necessary to get Military ideas later on.
Do not despair at the technological gap. Catching up in technology is not nearly as daunting a task as it seems as long as the player has saved up a decent amount of monarch points before reforming the religion. Do bear in mind, however, that saving up beyond ~1,300-1,500 points is a waste. No matter how many points are saved, using any monarch points when above the limit will reduce the stockpile to the maximum, which is capped at 999 with all institutions embraced. This could potentially waste thousands of points that could have been invested in ideas and development for permanent bonuses.
At the beginning of the game, there are four Mayan states: Xiu, Kiche, Itza, and Cocomes, listed in descending order of total development. Between all of them the Mayans control 15 provinces, with Cocomes having 3 and the rest having 4 each. The Yucatan states of Xiu and Cocomes find themselves in more strategic positions, but the southern states are not that much more difficult. Almost as soon as the game starts, the Mayan AI countries will immediately rival each other and often Zapotec. The first war should be started within a month or two before inconvenient alliances hinder expansion. If at all possible, try to conquer all of the Mayan states without allying another Mayan country or Zapotec. Expanding to 20 cities will require annexing the other Mayan states and Zapotec, so forming an alliance with future prey also means waiting through a truce timer after dissolving the alliance. It is better to ally with a Nahuatl country beyond Zapotec. If the strategic situation necessitates a Mayan ally though, then ally a non-rival.
The starting strategies for the various states differ somewhat, but after the first cycle, their paths merge.
Xiu or Cocomes
These two countries have similar initial strategy (although Xiu starts with more troops and development): both of them enjoy high income relative to their neighbors, have provinces with low autonomy, and are isolated from the main Nahuatl countries. A good first step is to attack them from the back and demand as many provinces as possible. Once the player is in control of all 14 Mayan provinces, the usual next move is to try to ally with an enemy of the Zapotec and then declare war on the Zapotec. If there is any independent country in the enemy alliance, separate peace treaties will give the most provinces needed and open the possibility of forced conversion to the Mayan religion. It is also important to make sure that national unrest is low enough to prevent the outbreak of rebellions in conquered territories. Increasing autonomy of distant heretic provinces will be a good choice, because after they become independent and are conquered again in next cycle, the autonomy will drop to 50% (40% with a claim). After securing 20 provinces, the player can core them and enact the first reform.
Itza and Kiche
Itza and Kiche have much lower starting income than the wealthy Yucatan states, and both of them directly border a hostile Zapotec. Itza has the worst position at the beginning of the campaign: all three Mayan neighbours are rivals and it is unlikely that they can remove the hostile status of Zapotec in a short time. Kiche, on the other hand, is a little landlocked and will find it hard to gain rich provinces immediately, as it is unable to fight the two other Mayan states initially. Allying a Nahuatl country that has a military alliance with another Mayan state is the first priority. If that state attacks first and breaks the alliance, then one can invite the Nahuatl state to clear the threat and occupy it in return. Otherwise both Mayan states will be called into the same flower war, preventing short term threat. As Mayan states, Itza and Kiche do not have to confront heretics, unless a defeated army with no morale flees to an adjacent province. If so, a good idea is to preserve the army and try to conquer the other Mayan states as soon as the Aztecs or another Nahuatl state have reached a truce in order to lower the risk of being attacked from multiple sides. When facing stronger states, the tropical terrain in Itza and Kiche can be used to drain the enemy's manpower and hurt their morale first, best followed by hunting them down with an army later. It will not be too hard to remove the rival Mayans from the map before enacting the first reform.
First Reform and Preparation for the Future
As listed above, the Mayans need to secure 20 provinces to pass their reforms. Each reform will reduce the country to a number of provinces equal to 10 + (2 x number of passed reforms), so each successive cycle will become easier. However, it is important to lay the groundwork for future cycles at the end of the first one, or the strategic situation may quickly become unfavorable while the Mayans are locked behind newly liberated countries with whom they have truces. Taking the time to ensure the Nahuatl states are too weak to take advantage of Mayan vulnerability after passing a reform will speed up the pace of conquest in future cycles.
The Nahuatl reforms require 5 vassals, so AI Nahuatl countries will constantly force vassalize each other. If the Maya are not careful, they could end up in a stalemate or losing war against a powerful overlord - most likely the Aztecs - and their vassals, but forcing Nahuatl enemies to break alliances, release vassals, liberate countries, give up claims, and empty their treasuries will severely leave the heretics divided, weak, and unable to interfere. Another option is to force convert the Nahuatl to the Mayan religion. This will cause the AI to shift focus from vassalization to conquest, a more expensive and difficult endeavor. Additionally, the former heretics will convert their provinces to the true faith, saving the Mayans the trouble of doing it later.
Important: Passing religious reforms requires 0% overextension, so expanding past 20 provinces will simply waste administrative monarch points.
When all major opponents have been dismantled and weakened, it will be time to pass the first reform. The optimal choice is the reduction to coring costs, which will hasten conquests in later cycles by reducing time spent waiting for the administrative points to core provinces. A possible second choice is the bonus to infantry combat ability, which will give the country an advantage against its enemies.
A common pitfall for players new to Mesoamerica is to take the colonist reform first. Until researching level 3 in diplomacy technology and getting some ideas in Exploration, colonization of the tropical jungles to the south will be a painstakingly slow and expensive process and it can take decades to turn a single colony into a city. This reform should wait until after some of the Exploration tree has been filled out.
Later Cycles and Final Preparations
The strategy for all four Mayan states after the first reform is essentially the same. The Mayan religious reforms are the most useful among the New World religions because their bonuses are diverse, powerful, and permanent. Although colonization is the safest method for expansion, lack of technology and the tropical terrain will significantly reduce the growth of colonies. If proper preparations are taken before each reform, the Nahuatl states should not prove to be much of a threat as long as the player works quickly enough to expand before the Nahuatls recover. Should one of them become too strong and threaten Mayan expansion, an alliance solidified by granting some provinces in war can help. Nahuatl allies will likely suffer from high doom during a 15-year truce. The player should remain wary of the Aztecs, who start with bonuses to their military from traditions and their Nahuatl religion. Preventing them from gaining power is imperative.
It is critical to keep the empire from falling apart because of nationalist or religious rebels. A Mayan state with 10+ provinces can easily afford the salary of a theologian and if unrest is dangerously high, harsh treatment is not a bad idea since New World countries, who do not need to invest as much in technology, can afford to spend Military points there.
Once all five reforms have been passed, the cycles will end and the Mayans can finally expand unhindered. The first priority should be securing a core province next to the empty regions of Northern Mexico, which will open colonization of North America. The terrain here is less harsh and colonies will subsequently grow more quickly, so the Mayans can expand rapidly and check European expansion in the New World. Expansion southwards towards the Inca should not be ignored, but the Europeans will expand more slowly in South America due to the harsh tropical terrain. Colonizing down to Panama will shut the Europeans - especially the Portuguese - off from their quickest route to the Pacific.
Lastly, it is a good idea to annex or diplo-annex all remaining Mesoamerican states. A completely united Mesoamerica will be more able to stand against a European aggressor post-Reformation.
European Arrival and Reformation
Eventually, the Europeans will show up. Hopefully by this time all five reforms have been passed and all that remains is to secure a core with a neighbor with embraced institutions. This neighbor will most likely be Portugal or Spain, with Great Britain and France as less likely possibilities.
After the reformation of the Mayan empire, a whole new set of problems emerges. If the Mayans have not united Mesoamerica, they will have to quickly accomplish this task through conquest, as it will no longer be possible to vassalize the remaining primitives. Trouncing now technologically inferior neighbors should not take too long, but it must be done before the Europeans decide to do it themselves. Even after reforming, a united Aztec Empire with multiple vassals can pose a threat to the Mayan League. As mentioned above, the best way to prevent this is to prevent one nation from achieving hegemony in the first place through strategic alliances with underdogs and constant attacks to prevent the rise of Nahuatl vassal empires.
The next biggest potential non-European adversary is to the south, the Incan empire. The Incan empire is wealthier, bigger, and has very defensible mountain territory that can lead to an uphill battle that the Mayans will ultimately lose; however, the fractured Andean states are much less likely to unite than the Aztecs are. Should the Incan Empire form, the key to winning battles against them is simple: Rebels. As with the Mayans, each empire is a patchwork of smaller states, none of which are happy about losing their independence. If the Incans ever choose to enact a reform, massive revolts will erupt across their empire; this is the perfect moment to strike. Regardless of whether the player chooses to conquer the Andes, the Europeans start to appear towards the mid-to-late 1500's. When they arrive, the player has to act fast, improve relations with them, and help them in their inevitable conquest of the Inca. This is a good moment to reform, then, while they're fighting, the Mayans can crush their colonies and attack them from behind, solving two problems with one war.
If a European nation declares war on the Maya (usually Portugal, Spain, or England/Great Britain) before reforming, then the Maya will probably have to give them some land. This can be mitigated by holding their conquests off as much as possible and signing a truce as soon as the enemy is willing. The Maya need to sign a truce in which they give away the minimum number of regions the European attacker wants, as they will probably not accept anything else. The worst-case scenario is discovering a European nation when they declare war on the Maya. Then the player should Reform religion and try not to give any region needed for the Mayan reformation. These bonus are very helpful for reforming and the Mayans might be able to retake these regions before long, even after the reformation.
The religious reformation will jump the Mayans ahead to 75% of their western neighbor's technology levels, allow the unification of the Maya and transition to a proper monarchy, and will grant the Mayans all of their neighbor's embraced institutions. Once these steps are complete, Mesoamerica has been united, and the Mayans have filled out some of their idea groups, they will reap the benefits of having a solid economy and powerful military supported by excellent national ideas and one of the best religions in the game. Focusing on catching up to the Europeans in Military technology and securing a European ally should be a priority for the newly modernized Mayan league. Once this has been accomplished, a wise next move is to begin wiping out budding colonial nations before they can take too much land, preferably those belonging to the rivals of the Mayan ally. The League is free to choose any direction to expand in, though it is a good idea to hold off on colonizing/invading Asia until more of the New World is secure. Conquering the Caribbean will ensure dominance of one of the New World's better trade nodes, while North America's vast number of empty provinces leaves the way for Mayan settlement of the continent wide open. South America, populated by the fractured Andean states that almost never unite or succeed in reforming the Inti religion and modernizing, also is open for conquest, though this is a race against the clock as the Europeans begin to settle Colombia and Brazil.
A note to keep in mind: left unchecked, the Europeans will take the Pacific islands and establish a presence in East Asia even if the Maya succeed in destroying most of their colonial states. Hindering their expansion is best done by colonizing the various islands such as Hawaii, Rapanui, and the Galapagos before the Westerners can and also by preventing them from colonizing the western coasts of the American continents. This will, however, only slow their progress and provide a larger window of time during which the Maya can begin to build a presence in Indonesia and the Pacific. The Portuguese in particular will often use their colonies in Africa to expand into the Indian Ocean and beyond, while even less-expansive European empires will eventually be able to colonize all the way to Australia as technology and idea bonuses increase their maximum colonial range.
If the Europeans manage to establish themselves to a significant degree in East Asia, the conquest of Europe will be complicated due to their far-flung empires and developing alliances with distant states, which will frustrate peace negotiations by artificially reducing Mayan warscore even if said allies contribute nothing to the war. Invading their colonies in the region is extremely inconvenient, but can be made easier by constructing a separate Pacific fleet and stationing a few armies on the Pacific coasts of the Americas that can be quickly deployed to Asia and Oceania. If the League has founded colonies in the Pacific Islands, these will serve as useful landing pads for invasions of European territories in Asia.
As mentioned before, Mayan ideas and reforms make them well-suited for direct conquest of low cost New World provinces by reducing unrest, coring costs and penalties from aggressive expansion. This makes rapid occupation and assimilation of European colonies a wise strategy, so engaging in as many wars as quickly as possible can nip the Western empires in the bud and secure large amounts of new territory for the empire; almost as important is the blow to European power, the greatest threat to the continuation of the League. Further expansion in the Americas will rely on extensive colonization, which can be done in tandem with conquests of other regions. The Mayans can later invade Europe to take richer provinces or can remain focused on driving them from the New World. Later expansion into East Asia can also be a good strategy since the technologically-lagging Asian countries will not be able to offer significant resistance, with the possible exception of Ming if China has not disintegrated into civil war. Colonizing Kamchatka will provide the Mayans with same-culture, same-religion provinces that can produce troops to fight in mainland Asia. However, the harsh, arctic terrain of these poor provinces makes development unprofitable until the very late game. It is also important to keep in mind that it can take almost two and a half years for a colonist from the Yucatan to reach Kamchatka.
As is always the case with Paradox games, once the empire has established itself as a power, it is up to the player to decide in which direction to advance and what specific strategies work in each war. A general piece of advice that always remains true however is this: the major European empires will always remain a significant threat until destroyed. They are the only nations that have the ability to match or exceed the Mayans in technological advancement and, as already mentioned, they will always relentlessly expand their borders further and further into other territories across the globe unless they are cut down to size. In contrast, the major empires that form in Asia and India are unlikely to modernize and will eventually fall far enough behind in technology that high-quality Mayan troops will simply annihilate them even when significantly outnumbered; these countries will soon pose little threat to a large and advanced Mayan Empire. If the player chooses to invade East Asia, it is wise to conquer the major territories quickly. Mayan institutions will begin to spread to the East Asian states, though they will take a long time to become fully established. A fully modernized Ming China, however, can quickly become a huge problem even though it is unlikely to happen.
In the rare case that the Asian countries adopt enough institutions to keep up in technology, Asia will become a more difficult region to conquer for both the Mayans and the Europeans. By this point though, a player focused on aggressive colonization and conquest will probably still be able to field enough high-quality armies to wipe the floor with their enemies. If Ming disintegrates into small kingdoms, there will effectively be no power in Asia that can threaten Mayan expansion.
The Mayan religious reforms and national ideas are geared towards improving the economy and increasing land combat power, but its only diplomatic bonus is a reduction to aggressive expansion. The most straightforward strategy is to rush Administrative 5 technology to unlock Exploration, which will let the Mayans rapidly colonize as much territory as possible before the Europeans show up, but other picks are possible. A player with Common Sense can instead invest monarch points in developing the poor provinces of Mesoamerica, but this will leave the Europeans much more open land to spread into.
Good Idea Group Choices
- Exploration should be the first idea group chosen, definitely pre-reformation, as it greatly expands the ability of the Maya to colonize before the Europeans take all of the territory. Its largest downside is that the finisher is not very useful for the Mayans since their capital is in the New World, so the last idea can be neglected.
- Economic is a powerful idea group allowing the player to build a strong economy in preparation of the future. It stacks with Mayan national ideas to increase tax revenue and reduce development costs, which will both in turn speed the adoption of new institutions post-reformation. It also helps deal with the problems of inflation that can arise from gold mining and loans in the early game. It is a solid choice for a second idea group after Exploration, especially if the player can fill it out before reforming, but can also be left until after Administrative ideas, which provide useful technological and military bonuses.
- Trade ideas are powerful once the Maya have taken enough territory in richer nodes to develop a strong trading economy. A tax-based economy can forego this group or delay it until later. As Maya, you have the ability to form trade companies in Asia which can yield needed merchants.
- Administrative stacks with the reduced coring cost reform and the -5% cost to technology costs from the Shipwreck Survivors national idea to save a significant number of Administrative monarch points. It also provides more mercenaries at less cost to compensate for Mesoamerica's low manpower. The reduced coring costs in particular are critical for the Mayans, who cannot vassalize colonial nations or (post-reformation) the remaining primitive countries.
- Influence ideas stack with the Mayan national ideas to mitigate the formation of coalitions by reducing aggressive expansion. It also eases the process of vassal feeding in high development regions like Europe. Both of these are excellent bonuses, but a Mayan player may wish to eschew this in favor of another military idea group, especially if the empire focuses its expansion on the Americas or East Asia.
- Religious is an excellent idea group for the Mayans, who get an extra missionary from Chichen Itza and a bonus to missionary strength from the Codification of the Faith decision. With Deus Vult, the Mayans can freely invade anyone since no other country will have the Mayan religion. This can wait until the Mayans are ready to invade rich provinces on other continents, since the low development provinces of the New World will be easy to convert.
- Quantity is very useful for compensating for the New World's incredibly low manpower, especially in the early game. This should be the first military idea group chosen, though it is a bad idea to invest heavily in it until catching up in military technology. It can be a good idea to take this as the second overall idea group, after Exploration, if and only if the player can fill out the entire idea group before the Europeans arrive. It can be difficult to support a large army until after reforming, but at least it means the player will have a much higher force limit to work with. If the Europeans are close to arriving, it is more important to catch up in military technology than in military ideas.
- Quality stacks with the Mayan reforms and national ideas to give a total +30% combat ability to infantry, allowing the Mayans to field some of the best infantry in the game. One could switch this out for Offensive instead, or take both if focusing heavily on the military; it is likely that the Mayans will need both to reliably defeat the European empires. Both picks, however, should wait until after Quantity has been filled out. If going for Defensive ideas, it is best to fill those out before Quality or Offensive as well.
- Offensive provides several powerful bonuses such as increased discipline and a bonus to land leader shock ability. Offensive ideas, however, shine more in the late-game than earlier on, when morale and numerical superiority are more likely to turn the tide. Offensive is an excellent idea group for the Mayans but is best chosen after Quantity and/or Defensive ideas.
- Defensive ideas combine with many other Mayan bonuses to strengthen Mayan armies and forts. The morale bonus is very useful for countering the ridiculous bonuses to morale that many European countries - especially France - receive from their national ideas. This idea group should definitely wait until after Quantity but, if chosen, should go before Offensive and Quality as the bonuses from Defensive are more useful in the early game.
- Expansion ideas, when combined with Exploration, unlock the full colonizer potential of the Maya. If chosen before reforming, it will help the Maya rapidly expand their colonial empire, but it should never be taken before Exploration ideas, which provide more bonuses to colonization and consume less important diplomacy points. It can be left out for other idea administrative idea groups, however, as the Mayans are strong colonizers even without it. If monarch points for ideas are scarce, it can be taken for the initial colonist to be replaced later.
- Humanist is an alternative to Religious ideas. Though individual Humanist ideas are stronger than their Religious counterparts overall, the Mayans receive absolutely no bonuses to religious tolerance and unity but a number of bonuses to religious conversion. Since tolerance of heretics/heathens is capped at +3, a fully Mayan-religion realm will ultimately be more stable than a diverse one.
- Diplomatic can be useful for securing European allies and conserving Diplomacy points that can be used to develop provinces, annex vassals, and sign peace treaties. It is, however, generally an inferior choice to Influence, which serves to reduce aggressive expansion, a key factor in staving off coalitions when the world learns to fear the power of the Mayans, and in general has a high opportunity cost since it can be left out in favor of another administrative or military idea group.
- Naval and Maritime are terrible groups for the Mayans, who can just build shipyards in their many coastal provinces and overwhelm maritime foes with sheer numbers.
- Aristocratic is not a terrible idea group but it is the worst land-based Military idea group for the Mayans. The bonuses do not stack with any of the Mayan ideas or reforms and the non-military ideas in this tree can be found in better, more focused trees. The technology bonus will come too late to be very useful. Overall, Aristocratic is not worth the opportunity cost of choosing another group like Offensive or Quantity.
- Espionage is, at best, a very niche idea group, one that much of the community regards as weak for most countries. It is even more so for the Mayans, who rely much less on claims than most countries.