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Beginner's guide

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== Game Versions ==
Games produced by Paradox Interactive invariably have many versions. There are essentially two types of versions:
* Patches: Each release of Victoria 2 has patches specific to that release, with the last official patch for the "vanilla" game being 1.3 (there was a 1.4 beta patch), while the latest patch for A House Divided is 2.31. (''note:'' the original "Victoria 2" game is referred to as the "vanilla" version). Patches to the game improve stability, gameplay, and add new features to the game based on user input from the forums. As a result, it is absolutely essential to apply patches -- these patches—these represent a more complete and "finished" version of the game.
* Expansions: The game has two expansions called A House Divided and Heart of Darkness. Expansions are considered important for high quality gameplay. This wiki uses a [[Template:Version|versioning system]] to ensure that content on a page is correct for only the most current game versions: pages that are marked as obsolete should be updated as needed by readers.
===Budget===
Managing the '''[[Budget]]''' is one of the most important components of game play. Perhaps counter-intuitively, the bulk of national income is derived from poor taxes. Since POP types in the middle and upper classes are generally more desirable, players often set High class taxes at or near zero to maximize capitalist investment in the economy. Middle class taxes should typically be set at lower levels (going to zero in the later stages of some games) to encourage successful lifestyles for those POPs. Tariffs are a useful way to generate income as well, but should be used carefully and sparingly, with notice given to whether or not POP needs are being met (refer to the pie-charts in the budget window: large sections of red will create POP demotion and increase [[militancy]]). As a result, tariffs are ideally set at 0%, but when necessary can be used in the 1-20% range for periods of time. Tariffs typically restrict economic growth in general (POP spending ability, factory efficiency and profitability, etc.), thus when possible they should be used on a limited basis.
In terms of budget expenditures, the simplest rule to apply is that all sliders should be set at 100%: e.g. maximum spending. This is problematic for some nations at the beginning of the game, but as a general rule this is a sound approach because all expenditures significantly help the nation. Education spending increases research, administrative spending increases the efficiency of collecting taxes, military and national stockpile spending make it possible to field an army, and so on. Thus, the primary areas that ever see cut backs for some nations, depending on national circumstances and a player's goals, would be reduced spending on the military slider first, and reduced (generally not to fall below 50%) spending on the national stockpile.
===Technology===
[[Research]] is a fairly simplistic part of game play. Strategy choices highly depend on national circumstances. For example, for a [[Prussia]] that seeks early [[unification]], a jingoistic strategy would be in play which means all-out military research. For a nation like the [[Ottoman Empire]], [[colonization]] would be an important way to maintain [[great power]] status and thus colonization technologies would be a point of focus.
In general strokes, however, certain strategic parameters can be followed:
===Diplomacy===
In diplomacy, it is firstly important to understand national [[prestige]] as well as national status in the form of [[great power]], [[secondary power]], [[civilized]] and [[uncivilized]]. Naturally, being a great power is the most beneficial because it allows the use of [[spheres of influence]], which is a potent way to expand a nation without resorting to military force. Alliances are similarly important to utilize: the AI often creates significant webs of alliances, thus when declaring war a player will often face multiple adversaries. As a result, it is important to build up military alliances in defense. Finally, it is important to understand and carefully use the [[casus belli]] system to avoid any problems with [[infamy]] that can lead to vicious "wars of containment" that are survivable only by a first rate military.
===Military===
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