- +10% Global trade power
- +20% National sailors modifier
- +25% Naval force limit modifier
- −20% Galley cost
- +1 Diplomat
- +10% Trade efficiency
- +30% Foreign spy detection
- −20% Naval maintenance modifier
- −5% Sailor maintenance
- −10% Stability cost modifier
- −10% Cost to justify trade conflict
- −10% Land attrition
- −10% Naval attrition
- +25% Galley combat ability
The Most Serene Republic of Venice is a merchant republic, and a dominant trade power in the Mediterranean. As a merchant republic, it gets one more merchant compared to other nations, but it faces issues with reduced republican tradition if it expands to own too many state provinces. For this reason, having a vassal to feed low value provinces may be helpful. With Mare Nostrum, Venice can also seek protection by forming a trade league with nearby OPMs, and create them (as trade cities) from its conquests.
Historically the republic grew rich from trade with the bordering empires. The trade with Byzantium was fruitful, but as any savvy businessman the Venetians looked to the new holders of Constantinople after its fall to the Ottoman-Turks. The Ottomans are the major power of the region, but with clever diplomacy and the riches of Mediterranean trade the Venetians will prosper.
Venice itself is in good position to expand in many directions - to the minor nations in the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Italian nations. The last one, however, means meddling with the Holy Roman Emperor (HRE), usually Austria, which is a more powerful military nation than Venice, at least until 1490, when the Shadow Kingdom event will cause the Italian HRE princes to leave the HRE.
- 1 Missions
- 2 Events
- 3 Decisions
- 4 Strategy
- 4.1 Setup
- 4.2 Neighbors
- 4.3 Mid and late game
- 4.4 Republic matters
- 4.5 Idea groups
- 5 Achievements
- Main article: Venetian missions
Venice's missions are centered around maintaining their initial territory and furthering their dominance in the Mediterranean.
- Main article: Venetian events
Venice's events revolve around tensions with The Ottoman Empire and The Papal State, Mediterranean trade, and domestic issues.
Form Italian Nation
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As the heart of the Renaissance, our nation is blossoming culturally. We have just entered the beginning of what looks like a prolonged artistic rebellion, especially in the field of architecture and literature. The cultural evolution is not aiding our country in maintaining peace within our borders however. Our country is continuously stricken by foreign states seeking power and territorial gain.
Italy does not exist.
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Venice has many neighbours, aside from their Greek island vassals. Each of these is discussed in turn.
Venice starts with two Greek vassals, Corfu and Naxos. Both are fairly unimpressive, and are filled with religious heretics (Orthodox). Both vassals can be diplo-annexed during the first few years (or a bit longer - the first one gives the player −3 diplomatic reputation for 10 years, which makes further annexations slower if you don't synchronize the annexations to be finished on the same month). Venice should also expect some work from missionaries to clean up heretical ideas, as well as keeping control of rebels. Be wary of Greek separatists rising up in Naxos and Corfu, as if they're successful, they will defect to the Byzantines.
With Art of War, vassals' claims can be pressed, and Corfu and Naxos will both tend to fabricate claims against the Ottomans. These can be very useful for expanding a foothold in the region of Greece, especially since they share both religion and culture. That said, integrating at least one of the vassals to free up additional relationship slots for alliances with larger nations is recommended.
In addition, Venice guarantees the independence of the Knights of Rhodes. They have no real army and no real navy, and the only value of the arrangement is that neither Mamluks or Ottomans claim Rhodes. The arrangement brings in no ducats to Venetian coffers, and it uses a diplomatic relation slot. Cutting the cord is generally seen as an optimal arrangement for Venice, as Venice needs to use several slots early on to secure alliances. With Mare Nostrum Venice can form a trade league, and the relationship slot that would normally be spent guaranteeing the Knights, can instead be used on creating a trade league, which will nevertheless protect the Knights who very probably be happy to join a Venetian trade league. Other potential valuable members of a trade league are the Free Cities and OPM bishoprics in the HRE (e.g. Salzburg and Ulm), who also being guaranteed by the Emperor, are unlikely to be targeted, and Italian OPMs such as Modena and Lucca. The western ones can help Venice take control of the Genoa trade node, where they have no provincial trade power.
A small, lonely OPM, Albania has trouble finding allies and is usually annexed by the Ottomans very soon after the start of the game. Venice has a core on them, as do Ottomans, and they are reluctant to be vassalized because Venice also owns one of their cores. Although it is possible to take Albania before the Ottomans, it will significantly raise tension with the Ottomans, who will want their core back. However, as long as the player has other strong allies, such as Austria, Poland and/or France, the Ottomans will be unlikely to try and take the core back. If the player gets such alliances before they declare war on Albania, and the Ottomans declare on them also, it can be possible to vassalise Albania, drawing the player into their war against the Ottomans. As Albania's leige, Venice will be the war leader, and able to call allies in to defend. This can allow a very early and significant blow to be dealt to the Ottomans.
With Mare Nostrum, an alternative approach to Albania is to invite them into Venice's trade league. This gives them protection similar to that of a vassal (any attack on a member of the league is an attack on all), but being independent they will be slightly stronger. Unfortunately their armies will still be crushed easily by the Turkish doomstacks.
Ragusa is an OPM merchant republic that controls the only center of trade in the Ragusa trade node, which is the node between those of Constantinople and Venice. This of course makes it an extremely desirable target for Venice to conquer. Unfortunately, at the start of the game it is guaranteed by the Ottomans, who are far too powerful for Venice to take on alone. Waiting for the Ottomans to be in a particularly troubling war may result in the Ottomans not honouring their guarantee. This may allow Venice to pounce on Ragusa, taking the valuable centre of trade. Alternatively, making sure to have a more powerful fleet than the Ottomans, and ideally some powerful land-based allies such as France, Austria, Spain, and/or Poland, can allow direct confrontation with the Ottomans.
With the introduction of trade leagues, including Ragusa in the Venetian league is vastly preferable. This keeps Ragusa from starting their own league for defence and also poaching other potential members. Ragusa's location also limits their options or willingness to expand which will keep them in the Venetian league which will maintain it if continuing as a Merchant Republic. With the bonuses of a trade league (transfer trade power and trade steering), Venice will easily be the key player in the node with no war required.
Venice's Adriatic and Aegean holdings are a perennial target for Ottoman expansion, particularly Durazzo, which is their core (as is Albania's only province), and the strategically important Crete. However, the danger is mitigated somewhat by the fact that they are surrounded by easy targets: the Anatolian beyliks (with the same religion and culture), Byzantium (a very high priority, with a mission and a decision that gives a free core on Constantinople and increases its development), the Knights, Wallachia, Serbia, Bosnia, Trebizond (all with missions and permanent claims), Theodoro, the Caucasus, and the Turkmen hordes are weaker both on land and at sea; while missions to conquer the Levant and Egypt from the Mamluks are likely to become their primary focus for 20 years or more. And once the Shadow Kingdom leaves the HRE's protection, Crimea (probably an Ottoman vassal) is sure to go after a suddenly vulnerable Genoa. All of this means that Venice only needs two things to keep the Ottomans at bay: a more powerful navy, and a strong land-based ally. With these in place, the Ottomans will look for lower-hanging fruit before rousing the hornet's nest of Venice and her friends.
Austria can be a powerful friend or a troubling enemy. Austria may start rivaled to Venice, in which case, seeking alliances with other strong nations such as France and Poland is recommended. However, if Austria does not start rivaled to Venice, then pursuing an alliance with them can be very valuable, as they are often also rivaled to the Ottomans, and can therefore be an effective ally against the Turks. If they haven't rivaled Venice, then an alliance with Austria is almost guaranteed as they almost always have a friendly attitude towards Venice, helped by the historical friend modifier the two share. Austria also starts as the emperor of the HRE. This means that they will protect princes of the empire against aggression from outside forces such as the player Venice. Shortly after 1490, the Italian princes will fall out of the empire, and so Austria will not longer protect those with which it doesn't have alliances.
Byzantium and Athens
Constantinople is a very rich province and it not only is a center of trade, it also features the Bosphorus Sound Toll for an additional +10 trade power. It's a great place to put a trading post (with Res Publica) and allows for significant control in the Constantinople node despite having little land in it. It will also weaken a major rival to deny them this province. Byzantium has trouble finding alliances, and usually does not gather any before being declared on by the Ottomans. However, after fabricating claims on them, it can be possible to declare on Byzantium before the Ottomans do. Like the case of Albania, if Venice does declare early on the Byzantines, it is likely that the Ottomans will do so also. Vassalising Byzantium in such a situation would allow the player to assume control of the war against the Ottomans, and call in their own allies. With allies such as France, Poland or Austria, a victory over the Ottomans is achievable, and would even allow the player to return all the Byzantine cores that the Ottomans possess.
Cyprus and the Mamluks
Cyprus is a key location for a trading game allowing a trading post in the Aleppo node. This allows Venice to control the flow of trade away from the Constantinople node if another power controls it. With the addition of trade leagues, however, Cyprus is a target for induction into a rival league (specifically Genoa or Ragusa), greatly adding to the danger of attacking if this happens. Therefore, it's recommended to complete the "Monopolize Adriatic Trade" mission for the permanent claim on Cyprus as soon possible and to initiate the expansion of Venice's fleet immediately for the coming war.
Cyprus begins the game guaranteed by the Mamluks, and the Mamluks have a significantly larger standing army than Venice. However, the Mamluk Mediterranean fleet can be overcome with a modest expansion of Venice's own. Seeing as the Mamluks lack a land connection to Venice (except via several countries of whom at least one is likely to refuse access due to rivalry), they will not be able to leverage their superior land army should Venice attempt to seize Cyprus. Cyprus is a wealthy province, and would make a fine addition to Venice. Taking Cyprus also allows Venice to create claims on more of the Mamluks' mainland provinces, most importantly around the Sinai for access to the Red Sea and Indian trade. A claim can be gained either though fabrication (from Crete), or by completing the "Monopolize Adriatic Trade" mission. If the Mamluks have also been investing in their navy, taking a divide-and-conquer approach to naval combat and declaring the war when their forces are split can still lead to a relatively easy victory. However, defeat with raw numbers is not difficult: just build shipyards in every possible province and fill up the expanded force limit with galleys (they are better in combat in the Mediterranean than light ships).
The Mamluks hold Alexandria and Rashid, very valuable provinces in terms of trade power in the Alexandria trade node. However these provinces are Sunni. Until the player is able to convert them, they would be an ongoing source of corruption, and quite possibly cost the player more than they stand to gain by taking them. Also the Mamluks start with a larger standing army and higher force limit than Venice. For these reasons, expanding into Mamluk lands may have to wait until either enough decisions are passed increasing religious conversion speed, or religious or humanist ideas are taken, allowing conversion of the provinces, or else preventing the hit to religious unity they would cause. It would also usually prove wise to wait to do such expansion until either the player has expanded elsewhere such that they can field and army of equal size to the Mamluks, or else waiting for the to Ottomans attack and diminish the Mamluks (which they usually do), or some combination of both of these.
Genoa are the largest competing Mediterranean Merchant Republic. Although an HRE prince, they also start with the Greek island Chios, as well as lands in the Crimea. Once the Shadow Kingdom event triggers, and Genoa fall outside the empire, or even sooner in the event of losing their HRE lands and their HRE prince status with them, taking Chios can prove valuable. If not pursued by Venice, the Ottomans will often attempt to take Chios, and Crimea can often defeat them on the Black Sea coast, whether independent or as an Ottoman vassal.
As Genoa has dwindled as an Italian power, Milan has become Venice's biggest rival in the north of Italy. Milan has some of the most developed provinces in the world, and will seek the return of their core on Brescia. Strong allies will dissuade them from attempting to take the mainland European Venetian culture lands. If Milan gets a port it will build a lot of light ships and siphon off Venice's income in the Venice trade node. Milan is capable of getting multiple powerful allies, and is also protected by the HRE (Austria) until the Shadow Kingdom event, so Venice needs to pick allies and fights carefully. When warring with Milan, do not forget they start with +10% infantry combat ability thanks to the Milianese traditions, so outnumbering them is advised.
Hungary may start rivaled to Venice, and prove an ongoing source of concern. They usually secure an alliance with Austria making them difficult to confront militarily. Expanding into Serbia and Bosnia before Hungary do can be one way to minimise their strength. If Hungary is not rivaled to Venice, they can prove a useful ally against the Ottomans, although usually Poland or Austria are preferred.
Naples start as a junior member in a personal union under Aragon. If France or Castile start rivaled to Aragon, it is possible to draw them into war against the Aragon-Naples pairing on the promise of land. The South-East Italian coast would be valuable provinces to add to Venice, increasing their trade power in the Venetian node, and avoids the problems of trying to attack into the HRE as well as an avenue of expansion while waiting for the Shadow Kingdom to fire.
The Papal State and Urbino
The Papal State starts controlling central Italy, as well as being the liege of Urbino. Every one of the Papal States' provinces except for Rome and Avignon belongs to the Venetian node. This makes those provinces desirable to Venice, for increasing their trade power in the Venetian node. The Papal State is not a member of the HRE, and so attacking them avoids the problems of trying to attack into the HRE as well as an avenue of expansion while waiting for the Shadow Kingdom to fire. Taking provinces in the Venice node is however not so desirable, since owning too many provinces impacts Republican Tradition and it's easy to dominate the node without them.
With so many high development provinces, Venice is in a great position for Curia politics (also the Venetian event Dominican Inquisition). 50 papal influence is well spent on a permanent +1% mercantilism as often as possible. Making an enemy of the Papal States can lead to many Doges being excommunicated and putting a stop to all of the powerful bonuses of Papal politics. If this happens, it may be worthwhile to burn one's bridges by passing the Statute in Restraint of Appeals, and/or convert to Reformed for trade focus.
Ferrara start as a two province minor HRE prince, in the Venice node. However, they hold the province of Ferrara, which, having the Po Estuary, contributes significant trade power to the Venetian trade node. Taking the province is extremely desirable for Venice to ensure a virtual monopoly on trade power with the Venice node. However, starting as a HRE prince means that attacking Ferrara to take the land is challenging, as they will be protected by the Emperor. Waiting for the Shadow Kingdom to fire may well prove necessary in order to pursue the taking of that highly valuable province. If Ferrara can be isolated diplomatically or with overwhelming force, a nice bonus can be the release of Modena who, being grateful, will sign right on for the trade league.
Mantua start as a one province minor HRE prince. They are surrounded by larger states, and often annexed by Milan or Ferrara relatively early on in the game. Being an OPM, it is possible for Venice to invite them to a trade league. This will help protect them, as well as help increase the trade value in the Venice node due to the bonus to goods produced that trade league members receive. For this reason, it can be more valuable for Venice to make a trade league involving Mantua than most other potential members, as it will ensure additional trade value in the Venice trade node, most of which will be flowing directly into Venetian coffers.
Bosnia start off wedged between Hungary, Serbia and the player Venice. They can be a relatively easy means of early expansion, but care should be taken regarding their Orthodox provinces, which will be an ongoing source of religious disunity and corruption, and quite possibly cost the player more than they stand to gain by taking them if they are not converted in a timely manner. Bosnia can make a useful vassal or march for Venice, as they can be fed Serbia, and potentially even the Ottomans. This would help Venice avoid the penalty to Republican tradition which occurs when owning too many provinces. Alternatively Serbia makes a good march as it has excellent military ideas, though remember that Venice itself will have to expand to three times the march's development for it to gain the benefits of being a march.
Mid and late game
Medium and late game expansion directions are really a matter of personal preference. If the player wishes to stay a merchant republic expansion will be somewhat limited, but if they do not mind becoming a monarchy, then all options are on the table, including forming Italy. Regardless of the direction taken keep the trade network in mind and re-arrange all merchants to ensure as much trade value as possible is captured.
Republican tradition is very difficult to maintain and there are not many ways of increasing it. It's important to keep up since it significantly increases the cost of boosting stability. It's almost always better to choose anything but decreasing republican tradition whenever a random event occurs - in particular the Council of Ten event, which has the potential to completely eliminate any tradition gain (−1 annual tradition). It is usually advised to not fall below 66 if wishing to remain a republic, which is the point when noble rebels have a chance to spawn, attempting to turn Venice into a monarchy.
Trade, Maritime and Plutocratic ideas should be strongly considered. Trade and Maritime will allow Venice to increase their trade dominance, with additional merchants and extra trade ships owing to increased naval force limits. Religious and Humanist are also good choices, for the conversion and tolerance to prevent corruption resulting from low religious unity. Plutocratic ideas cover a number of bases, and with Economic ideas allows a policy which increases republican tradition, which is a very rare modifier. However, care should be taken if selecting a military idea groups as the first idea, as getting additional military ideas at the cost of staying on time with military tech is dangerous.