|Government type||Absolute monarchy|
|Ruling party||Høyre (conservative)|
|Capital||Copenhagen (ID 372)|
|Tech school||Traditional academia|
Denmark is a small but old kingdom in Scandinavia, just north of Prussia. It is strategically positioned by and in the Skagerrak Strait, which connects the Baltic to the North Sea and the Atlantic. Historically, this allowed it to control a great amount of trade through this chokepoint. By 1836, however, the Skagerrak has lost this strategic advantage, and Denmark has been reduced to a third-rank power. It's far from impossible to have it rise to power once more, however.
As Denmark the player can take on many different routes, each with their own challenges. One particular thing about Denmark, however, is the ability to form Scandinavia, through decision or event. This will require you to be a Great Power, however, a feat not easily accomplished as Denmark. You could alternatively try to conquer all of Sweden, which would be difficult by itself was it not that the Russia often spheres Sweden. Alternatively, you could be offered the crown of Scandinavia by event (the 'Gutter Crown'). Whether or not you take it is up to the player.
To become a Great Power as Denmark, the most obvious way to do so is through researching the Culture techs that give Prestige. Denmark has an excellent position for research with very high literacy, and can easily keep up with the rest of the world. Not only will this allow you to sphere Sweden and form Scandinavia, it'll also help you gain a Great Power ally to counter Prussia or Austria.
Denmark's army is small when compared to its neighbors, and not likely to suddenly become a lot larger. This means that, by itself, Denmark will have great difficulty defeating Prussia. Copenhagen, however, lies on an island, and can be defended by ship. This will require a massive investment in the navy and naval infrastructure. Prussia has cores on Denmark and will try to reclaim them. Holstein at the beginning of the game is a satellite of Denmark. To prevent a Prussian invasion early on, break your alliance with Holstein. Then it will be impossible for Prussia to get to Denmark in the event of a war for the early years, as then Holstein will be neutral and—as the only country with a land border with Denmark on the Jylland peninsula—will block Prussia's armies from reaching you over land. Prussia starts off with a small and weak navy, so the Danish Royal Navy will be capable of preventing them from landing troops. Thus it is possible to avert war with Prussia for a number of years.
However, the Danish economy is very poor at the beginning and maintaining the Danish Army of 30,000 men and the Royal Navy of 10 ships will become difficult. But a sizable military is necessary considering the Prussian and Austrian menace, so the first research targets should be Practical Steam Engine, which will increase farming output and revenue. It will take a few years for this to be accomplished so one should expect to go into a large debt in the early period. But after this is accomplished, keeping taxes and tarrifs at or near 100%, it will be possible to eventually pay off your debt and begin making progress. Early goals can include starting to build up factories and also expansion, for example taking Johore and it precious metals would help the economy. The player should be careful to not send away the entire navy when attacking Johore as then Prussia will declare war, so only sending the transports is advisable.
For a state of its size, Denmark has very good global reach, with a base both in West Africa and the Americas (the puny island of Saint Thomas). If you were to decide to play very expansionary, this could be great launching pads for your conquests ( Sokoto in Africa, some Latin American states or Haiti in the Americas). Danish Ghana can also be great base to start colonizing from, provided you have the naval capacity required.
Denmark in Heart of Darkness is in a much better starting position than before: because Prussia doesn't gain the Casus Belli to take Schleswig from you until it researches Nationalism and Imperialism, you have quite some time to prepare, and maybe even find a proper ally to withstand the German brutes. Denmark starts as an absolute monarchy, but have the decision Danmarks Riges Grundlov which allows it to change to HM's government relatively quickly if the player wishes.
Colonization and Conquest
Denmark's best and most obvious way to expand is through colonization: Sokoto, close to your base in Danish Ghana can be easily subjected, and is wealthy in both goods (coal and cotton, excellent for getting an Industry going) and manpower: you could easily raise an army here to defend the motherland and maintain your Global ranking. The coastline south of Sokoto is even more important: it contains even more Coal, not to mention an abundance in Rubber late game.
There are, of course, plenty of other targets, both in the Americas as in Africa or even Asia, it all depends on what you decide to do. Denmark is ultimately small, compared to its neighbours (specifically Germany), so you will probably have to expand beyond Europe.
Normally Sweden is the only country Denmark needs to sphere to form Scandinavia. It is recommended to focus on Prestige techs early on if one intends to form Scandinavia. Of two reasons. It is a quick way to reach Great power status and Denmark needs 40 prestige which is by far enough to secure a lower great power position early in the game.
One has to compete with Russia to influence Sweden. Russia is missing Freedom of Trade from the beginning and they don't have good relations with Sweden. if one keeps good relations with Sweden from the start of the game, it should be easy. It is very important to hold on to Schleswig-Holstein to begin with as Prussia intends to take it and make the Scandinavian unification impossible. If Iceland, Norway, Jan Mayen or Schleswig are independent these must be put in Denmarks Sphere.
One should consider the possibilities of giving Schleswig its independence. It will be a puppet of Denmark and easily sphered and put back into Scandinavia. It prevents Prussia/NGF/Germany from attacking Denmark as they no longer have the War of Unification casus belli and it prevents them from attacking Schleswig as it is a puppet.