- +10% Production efficiency
- +10% Goods produced modifier
- +10% Trade efficiency
- +1 Yearly legitimacy
- +1 Merchant
- −2 National unrest
- +20 Global settler increase
- +15% Light ship combat ability
- +1 Diplomat
- −10% Sailor maintenance
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The small island nation of Ternate seems to start in a terrible position, but it doesn't. The starting province happens to be one of the best provinces in the game. Of particular note is that Ternate is hidden in unexplored territory from most of the world, only being visible to seven nations, which means coalitions are particularly unlikely to form, since they require the nation to not have the "unknown" attitude towards Ternate.
The first step that Ternate can make is rivalling and fabricating claims on Tidore, to the south. They are just as wealthy as Ternate – both provinces have 5 tax, 5 production and 3 manpower. Moreover, both islands have the "Spice Islands" modifier (+3,0) on the production of trade goods, which amounts to a considerable income in early game. The player should attack Tidore as soon as possible and shall not restrain from the use of mercenaries. Instead of fighting with separatist the player may increase autonomy in Tidore. Next recommended target is Makassar. The player is not able to fabricate claims on them, instead they may try sending light ships on protect trade mission (therefore it is not worth to dispose of ships) to increase trade share to 10%, and then justify trade conflict using diplomacy. While Makassar lies too far from Ternate's lands to be cored, it can be vassalized instead. It is very likely that new subject already have some claims on one of its Sulawesi neighbours – they can be attacked using vassal casus belli, but annexed in the peace deal by the player instead and cored, since they lie in a colonial range. From there next targets can be claimed on in a regular way.
Ternate starts out a Animist, changing to Sunni or Hindu is recommended. Sunnis can be found in the western part of Borneo, Sumatra, and the Malay Peninsula, while Hindus can be found in the eastern part of Borneo, Java and Bali. In order to convert to the chosen religion, the player should conquer enough provinces following it to make over half of the national development. Then sending a missionary at zero maintenance can provoke the rebels to activate, and accepting their demands will change the state religion. Alternatively, staying Animist until the Europeans arrive is a possibility as well, bordering them will fire an event converting Ternate to the religion of their European neighbour.
Exploration is perfect as first idea group, allowing you to create colonies and spread throughout the spice islands. Colonize close to the next target and use the colony to fabricate claims or use the Religious CB and go to war.
Administrative Ideas for the mercenary bonuses and reduced coring or Religious Ideas for the CB make a good second group, and Quantity as third should give you the manpower and force limit for further conquest. Later, consider Trade to build a powerful trade empire for boatloads of ducats, and Expansion for the additional colonist and settler increase, plus a merchant and some trade bonuses.
It is very easy to get the Turn the Table achievement as Ternate. Colonise Australia until a colonial nation is formed, play as the colonial nation (requires Conquest of Paradise DLC) and vassalise Ternate.