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Playing as Prussia
The nation of Prussia was forged into a famous military power during the 18th century, largely thanks to Frederick the Great. The kingdom went on to form the backbone of a united Germany. Prussia was always associated with martial prowess and they developed a standing army which was much feared upon the continent. At their height the Prussians occupied a sizeable chunk of Europe and the famous French wit, Voltaire, said of them “Where some states have an army, the Prussian Army has a state!"
The grand campaign in Empire: Total War allows you to choose various factions and in this guide we will be focussing on how to win as Prussia. Playing as Prussia offers a very different experience to that of most of the other major European powers. A continental war is an inevitable focus and all of the provinces you have to capture are in central Europe.
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Prussia starts off in a fairly precarious situation with just two regions which are divided by Poland. You also have no colonies at all and the challenge of building an empire looks to be an impossible dream. However you do start with a few armies and there are possibilities for expansion all around you. The thing to try and avoid is a war on several fronts which can easily happen if you don’t keep an eye on diplomacy. You will naturally find other Protestant nations friendly so try to keep them on side in the early stages. You could also consider building a couple of ships and trying to seize a couple of trade spots in the trade theatres, this can be very lucrative. Trade is also your best bet for the ports.
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The first obvious target is Dresden, Saxony to your south. Since Saxony is a Polish protectorate this will also spark a war with Poland but it will not drag their allies in which is ideal for you. Take Gdansk next and then you have a consolidated base to build from. There is little to be gained from delaying or making peace with Poland so press on and take Warsaw to break them completely. Make sure you don’t leave Konigsberg too weak because Courland will probably attack from the north.
Now the Austrians are liable to attack you from the south. Keep an army in the south to defend your territory there and build a separate force to march north and wipe out Courland. With Courland gone you can mop up Poland and Lithuania and bring your now veteran troops down to face Austria. Take Prague and Breslau in that order and consolidate your position.
As you progress you’ll need to respond to any raids as fast as possible and make sure the money continues to flow into your coffers. Raiding the towns of your enemies can be a good way to distract them from attacking your towns. Even with small forces that you sacrifice this can be a worthwhile exercise. Make sure you build farms, develop schools and repair the cities you seize.
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Politics and Religion
Politically you can afford to raise taxes for the nobility but keep an eye on the peasants because they are liable to want reform. The threat of revolution will loom but you should be able to keep it under control at least in the early phase of the game. Remember to check your government members and boot anyone who is incompetent immediately. They will be replaced by a better candidate for the role and this can greatly improve the running of your nation.
You also have to remember about religion and at least one religious school will be essential so you can send Protestant missionaries into the mostly Catholic regions you are conquering. You should also find it naturally easier to keep good relations with other Protestant nations and this should allow you to form some prosperous trade agreements.
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Try to develop military research and expand your barracks in Berlin and Prague so you can construct better armies. Once you have consolidated your position lead an army west and take Hanover. From here you should aim to unite the whole of Germany so march south on Munich, Bavaria. Pause to consolidate once more before taking Wurttemberg and then Westphalia. With Germany united you can finish off Austria. March a large veteran force on Vienna and then pick off the last couple of Austrian provinces. You will need to convert the lands to Protestantism and keep large forces stationed in order to avoid rioting.
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There is little point in expanding any further to the east so your eyes should turn west towards the United Provinces and France. Amsterdam will be easy to take especially since you should have veteran armies on the continent ready to sweep in. Leave limited defence in the east and sweep west starting with Amsterdam and then pouring south into France.
With the United Provinces and France under your boot on the continent you could either target their colonies abroad or consider Italy and Spain. Depending on how things have developed you may find yourself at war with Spain anyway. Since your power base is now huge and your armies in Europe are experienced it is probably easier to build up your possessions across the continent than attempt to expand overseas. You could also pick off the northern states and Russia to the east or expand south east and tunnel a route through to Afghanistan and northern India. By the time you have control of central Europe progress will be easy and your power will be unassailable. The choice is yours.
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Replay Early Phase
The Prussian campaign is one of the most challenging because the early phase is so tough. You may need to replay the start a few times to get the hang of it and luck undoubtedly plays a part because sometimes you will find yourself at war on multiple fronts too soon. Just remember that diplomacy is important and try to avoid an early war with Britain, France or Spain in particular. If it goes wrong then restart you will learn a little more each time.