|Government type||Absolute Monarchy|
|Ruling party||Konservative Partei (conservative)|
|Capital||Berlin (ID 549)|
|Primary culture||North German|
|Tech school||Military-Industrial Complex|
"We Germans fear God, but nothing else in the world - except Jacobins." - Otto von Bismarck
In the default 1836 start date, Prussia is ranked 5th among the Great Powers. Among the GPs, with six of the army techs researched, Prussia's army is the most modern. At 63.1% literacy, their literacy is ranked first in the game among the great powers. Fast research, good military, and access to the North German Federation and Germany unification decisions (The North German Confederation and Three Hurrahs For Germany!) for infamy free expansion, places Prussia in an excellent position to become the #1 world power.
Unique decisions and events
Brandenburg, Schlesien, and Nordrhein are the most populous Prussian regions, and also are predominantly North German cultured with high literacy. Therefore, they are the ideal places to build factories if you place the Reactionary party in charge for State Capitalism. Ideally, you should have factories manufacturing goods using raw materials produced in-country, so that your beginning industry is not reliant on imports, which can be cut off if the exporting nation builds up their industry sufficiently to utilize all of their raw materials (to be fair - an unlikely occurrence at the beginning of the game). Your beginning production is primarily coal, grain, and fruit. Therefore, cement, glass, Liquor, Winery, canned food, and steel are good early factories. Be careful about military factories: especially Fertilizer, Explosives, Ammunition, Artillery, and Small Arms - though you will almost certainly want some local capacity, their markets seem to be particularly volatile and prone to crashing. Clicking the Trade tab lets you see which goods are in high demand and which are not (by hovering over the prices of the goods). High demand goods will sell better and make better profit than goods not in demand - you don't necessarily want to build one of every factory in every province, or you risk market saturation of a good and all your factories of that type losing money. Factory subsidization is very useful in the first few decades - your capitalists will accumulate capital faster by insuring that their factories don't close due to short term market changes, and the number of craftsmen will build up faster when they are employed rather than emigrating due to unemployment. That said, if the market for a good is extremely oversaturated and you are losing huge quantities to subsidizations, it may be wise to selectively cut your subsidies to gradually lower supply. Ultimately, once you have a small base of industry that you are happy with, Interventionism or Laissez Faire are probably the ideal economic policies you will want, to avoid micromanaging hundreds of factories.
Budget & Taxation
At first, you can tax the poor at 100% and the middle class as much as necessary to keep the budget green. The upper class should not be taxed to enable them to build up capital to build factories and railways for you. Eventually, when your armies and clergy start straining your budget and you start running into budget issues, you will want to research some Financial Institutions technology to increase your tax efficiency. You will also want to prioritize researching some Iron Railroads, Organic Chemistry/Electricity, and Interchangeable Parts to get Machine parts factories - vital for factory construction and expansion, and a highly profitable good. You should always strive to have all your budget sliders at 100%, with 0% tariffs (to make it cheaper for your pops to purchase their needs). The early German economy mostly runs itself and can, with territorial expansion, easily become the #1 industry within 50 years.
Your technological priorities will vary depending on whether you want to play peacefully with a heavily industrialized nation or whether you want to militarily expand. This guide will assume that military expansion is the priority.
- Culture tech. You will want to prioritize the Cultural techs first to increase research points (Philosophy), educational efficiency through Biologism (Social Thought), and a few more national focuses (Political Thought) to focus originally on clergy and then on clerks. You research these first so all the other techs will research faster.
- Army tech - in approximately this order: (Army Leadership) tends to be most important, for less casualties, more morale, and faster troop movement. (Military Science) is great for army organization, so they last longer in combat - it's especially useful for gas attacks and defense. (Light Armament) provides small benefits to army Attack for the first half of the tree - especially useful if you rely heavily on mobilized infantry because they won't benefit from Heavy Armament research unless you micromanage your post-mobilization army compositions, but the second half of the tree provides massive benefits - you will definitely want to be equal or superior to your opponent on this branch. Heavy Armament provides massive benefits to artillery, but it's not so important to be equal or superior to your opponent here because it seems like the AI doesn't focus much on artillery construction. Then Army Doctrine, which doesn't offer any particularly mind blowing advances.
- Navy tech - being blockaded gives you war exhaustion, which isn't fun. You want (Ship Construction) to Steel Steamers, at least, for Cruisers. (Naval Engineering) and (Naval Doctrine) both provide bonuses to your fleet's power. The other two research branches mostly just provide benefits to naval organization. Useful in a long, drawn-out naval encounter, yes, but you won't encounter very many of those where you and your opponent are equal enough that your organization will be the decisive factor.
- Industry tech offers many benefits adjunct to the army techs. (Chemistry and Electricity) is very important for population growth e.g.: more troops and lower army attrition, along with economical benefits through nitroglycerin and Electric Gear, Telephone, Fuel, and Dye factories so you can fund your military. Railroads (Infrastructure) for faster troop movement and more RGO/factory throughput for more funds. Interchangeable Parts (Mechanization) for Machine Parts factories for faster factory construction/expansion for more funds. (Power) is not a massive priority, because your economy should pretty much run itself with those other techs at first, but it does provide massive benefits if it is eventually researched.
- Least importantly, Commerce tech is not a priority except for the tax efficiency techs (Financial Institutions) when your budget begins straining. (Monetary System) will provide some benefits once you start passing reforms, but how much you need it depends greatly on the number of reforms you pass and how much you care about your administrative efficiency. (Market Functionality) is all about diplomatic points for Sphere of Influence.
Accept alliances with the minor Germanic states - it will improve your relations and therefore make it easier to keep them in your sphere should you be delayed in forming the North German Confederation and Germany. In forming Germany, you will be going to war against Austria and France. An alliance with Russia or United Kingdom is ideal, in an effort to make them happy with their alliance count and not seek an alliance with France - such an alliance would ensure that you'd be facing a two-front war when you attack France. Russia's military tech is weak, so it would still be doable, but much more of a nuisance.
Therefore one will have to move fast, and almost attack immidiately to regain this core
Neuchâtel is however placed isolated squished between West Switzerland (which cannot be annexed in the same war due to being the capital of Switzerland) and France. It might be better to let this chance go, and attack Switzerland when more important matters are dealt with.
The North German Federation
The first step for Prussia will likely be the formation of the North German Federation. It increases your population base for your military, your number of regions for your factory construction, and decreases the number of minors you need to spend diplomatic points influencing in order to keep yourself from losing any power. Formation of the Federation requires that Prussia own or sphere all German Empire cores; the decision will incorporate them as well as all North German culture provinces. To do this it must maintain its current spherelings and also get the following nations into its Sphere of Influence:
- Holstein (Neutral to all)
- Saxony (Cordial, in Austria's sphere)
- Hannover (Cordial, in Britain's sphere. Breaks from Britain's Sphere when Victoria ascends the throne around 1840)
Luxembourg additionally starts Cordial to both Prussia and France and can easily be sphered. Although they do not have a German Empire core, they will still be incorporated because they have majority North German culture.
You can also attack Denmark for Schleswig-Holstein. If you sphere them, you will not immediately gain Schleswig-Holstein upon formation of the Federation. Prussia have a free casus belli on Denmark for the German cores there, so it is recommended to attack before one starts to sphere them.
It's recommended that you discredit France in Luxembourg on Day 0, before they can discredit you, if you choose to pursue them. Hannover is easiest if brought to Friendly status and then influence stopped until they break from Britain - then they are easily sphered. Holstein shouldn't be a problem - your likeliest competitors will be spreading their influence around far more than you, if you just focus on your necessary states. Saxony is most difficult - you can increase relations with them and diplomatically duel Austria for control, or you can use your Assert Hegemony casus belli on Austria to take their Sphere away from them, including Saxony.
Dueling for influence in Saxony is perhaps the least costly and most effective strategy for forming the North German Federation within the first five years. It's recommended that you heavily invest around 100,000 currency in Saxony with railroads (if you have them) and large factories. Maximize your influence in Saxony until Austria discredits you, then immediately switch to either Bavaria, Württemberg, or Baden until the discredit timer disappears in Saxony. Achieve 100 influence in Saxony and hold it until Austria's influence reaches 0, then remove Saxony from their sphere. Gain another 100 influence in Saxony, drain Austria, and then increase your relations. Repeat this until they are in your sphere. Once sphered, it's recommended that you drop Austria's standing with them down to neutral, and then switch to Hannover (if Victoria has ascended) or Denmark/Holstein.
With these nations sphered, you can choose the decision to form the Federation.
War for Schleswig-Holstein
1) Sphering Denmark
A benefit to sphering Denmark rather than attacking them for the region: Austria sometimes declares war for Schleswig-Holstein (against Denmark), if you have not done so. If you are an ally of Denmark or on Friendly terms with them (you begin Friendly), you will likely be able to intervene, defeat Austria, and take your war goals (Admit Hegemony, Bohemia, Moravia) from an isolated Austria. On the other hand, if you had attacked Austria, you would have to deal with their allies simultaneously. If you attack Denmark, you will have a truce for five years on Holstein and be unable to influence Holstein and form the North German Federation in the meantime. It takes much less time than that to sphere them. You will be able to attack Denmark for your cores later, if another nation by chance should break them from your Sphere.
2) Attacking Denmark.
If you go the military way for Schleswig-Holstein, you should declare war on Denmark on day 1, as otherwise Austria might end up getting there first. Denmark and Holstein are easy to beat as they have no allies and are far smaller than you. One can easily take Jutland, Danish Ghana, Iceland and Greenland and Danish West indies in addition or make Denmark a puppet if one wants to.
3) Sphering Holstein while defending Denmark. Then attacking Denmark.
The benefit with the third option is that one can intervene in the Austrian-Danish war because one starts at friendly status. Austria will (like option 1) be isolated and easily to beat. During the war, Prussia should have sphered Holstein and kept Denmark at friendly status. Holstein can't go to war against its sphere leader and can't defend the Danes. That way one can attack Denmark for Schleswig and possibly Jutland and Danish Ghana.
In Heart of Darkness one cannot annex Denmark before one has researched Nationalism and Imperialism. But one can however still fabricate a casus belli for either conquest or release of Schleswig. If one releases Schleswig, it will be in Prussia's Sphere of Influence.
In order to form Germany proper, it is necessary to take Alsace-Lorraine from France (you have a War of Unification casus belli automatically). It is also necessary to have in your sphere the South Germanic nations (Baden, Bavaria, Württemberg) that Austria has sphered (if you declared an Admit Hegemony war on Austria for Saxony, you will already have those, unless you lose them subsequently to a competitor). With just those, and being the North German Federation, you can form Germany.
Alternative Strategy: The early war with France
The Prussian player may wish to start fabricating a CB on France literally on Day 1, prepare armies on the border, attack ASAP, siege the state, kill a few French armies to drive the warscore up, and peace out richer by one Alsace-Lorraine. Early in the game, the whole state costs just 16 warscore to demand, which is fairly easy to achieve with simply winning battles. Even if Russia joins in, just two or three armies on the east are enough to hold it off. Allying the UK and various minor nations can help distract France and Russia, but isn't necessary. This whole thing may sound scary, but remember that you don't need to annihilate the oher two GPs off the map. Just get to around 25 warscore and the French will give in. The only disadvantage is that the player will now need to maintain a top-notch military to repel repeated French DOWs since much earlier in the game.
Preparing for War with France
If Russia is not allied with France, you will want relations over 50 with them to prevent their attacking you while you are occupied on the Western Front. If they are allied with France, you'll just have to manage (or wait for the alliance to break). You will want to have recruited as many troops as you can (no Irregulars), and to be at least as current on military techs as France (if you go to the Great Powers page, click France, click Show Wars, the right side of the screen will show you how many naval ships and army brigades they have in addition to other information. Hover over their number of brigades and it will tell you their number of army techs researched and military tactics percentage).
The war for Alsace-Lorraine
The simplest way to defeat the French is to hold back from the border, let them come to siege your provinces, and then smash their armies one by one. Don't wait too long. The French can, and will, mobilize large quantities of men. Attacking them while they have low organization will be a massive boon to your cause. Surround them whenever possible to destroy their stacks - this will be difficult at first, with such a small front and large quantity of their troops but you will be able to pin them eventually.
Greater Germany: Absorbing Austria
If you have Austria in your Sphere of Influence, and you press the Form Germany decision, the entire Austria will be united with you in Greater Germany, although its land won't get your cores. This is entirely optional. Knocking Austria from Great Power status in order to sphere them requires some maneuvering, however. This Wiki recommends to attack Austria with a Humiliate CB, siege it completely, and wait for it to lose its GP status because of the loss of manufacturing and military scores. Note that if Austria allied another GP and they are aiding them, the player needs to peace out that GP first in order to make Austria lose its GP status. Then, the player should add the "Add to sphere" wargoal and sue for peace. Now, a Greater Germany can be formed containing all of the core German lands plus whatever land Austria had. This should be possible with any luck within the first 10 years of the game.
Many people do not know that Germany can easily absorb Austria at any later time by sphereing it. Unlike with other union states there is a slight trick to this merger. Austria will not petition to join Germany unless Hungary exists. For the player pursuing this objective using Free State or Liberate Country to create Hungary is vital during one of the early conflicts. The choice of war goal depends on whether the player wishes to include the remaining Hungarian states in Greater Germany. Austria can be annexed in this way even if it has already changed its name to Austria-Hungary.
The repeating wars with France
After you defeat France for Alsace-Lorraine, they will be eager to declare war on you to retake their lost lands. These wars will likely continue for some time unless you weaken them and/or strengthen yourself sufficiently that France no longer feels up to the challenge. Absorbing Austria alone doesn't help much in reducing the frequency of DoWs, which are all the more annoying because of the French alliance with Russia and UK's tendency to chicken out of your defensive wars. The player should aim to break the alliance by either allying Russia himself or weakening one or both countries.
Mid Game Strategy
If you added Austria to your Greater Germany, you will notice that they have fairly low literacy in many regions. As mentioned earlier in this guide, getting Biologism quickly is a major priority to rectify that situation.
The French will likely attack for Alsace-Lorraine. You will want forts on their border and possibly the borders of their Spherelings. The Russians are less likely to attack but will if you go over your infamy limit and they sense an opportunity to raise a second front. If you plan on going over the infamy limit, forts on their border are also advisable.
You can take states from the French to weaken them, to lower the intensity of their attacks, but this can be infamy-intensive (releasing their colonies offers minimal benefits - their starting colonies and Madagascar aren't particularly powerful).
Russian states tend to be low literacy and expansion on that front will hurt your research, though it is certainly a possibility. If you wish to expand, states such as Kiev provide large amounts of grain and coal to produce glass and liquor from. Altenatively one can force Russia to release Belarus, Poland or Ukraine which will weaken them significantly.
1871 - 1900: Colonial Era
Sphere Ethiopia and Oman(do Oman as early as possible, Portugal likes to take their African posessions) to protect them from other colonizers, and then remove them from sphere and annex them. Both can be gobbled up in one war, as they have less than 5 states. When fighting Egypt for Dumyat, annihilate them completely to encourage Ethiopia to attack and take Eritrea. You will thus get one free state for the same infamy.
Taking Zulu, Danish Ghana and/or Brunei and building naval bases in them will give you access to additional colonizable land. It is advisable to secure these beachheads before the Scramble for Africa starts.
The Chinese region offers the best colonial states in the game, and an Eastern front to launch operations against British India while your mainland troops storm the Isles.