This is a guide for playing as Prussia in the grand campaign on very hard difficulty.
Guide to Complete Prussia Grand Campaign
This guide for is playing as Prussia on both very hard campaign difficulty and very hard battle campaign. I’ve written some other campaign guide however this one is specifically being written with the very hard difficulty in mind. This guide will also include some basic pointers for the very hard difficulty in general.
Basic Very Hard Difficulty Tips
Before I get more in depth and Prussia itself here are some basic stuff you need to know about playing on very hard difficulty in general.
Navies: This is probably the biggest thing, you need to rule the waves and run a trade empire on very hard difficulty. The money you get from defeating and capturing enemy fleets then selling them is invaluable. Sending merchant ships to the trade theaters will also super boost your economy to fund all your land armies. Getting a navy going is a priority from the very start.
Put cheap ships in your ports: In any port you have you want to build a cheap boat in it to deter surprise naval invasions. An army can’t move after disembarking if they don’t do it in a port so if someone surprises you they can’t take a region and you might be able to use diplomacy to stop their invasions.
Alliances: Now don’t get me wrong diplomacy in this game is pure garbage however alliances will be important. Now these aren’t actually alliances they are more non-aggression pacts, you make them to have a secure borders and buffer states so you can use your armies on hostile fronts.
Take it slow: When taking territory you want to go slow, go too fast and you will have too many fronts and too many enemies.
Forts: In the previous point I said take it slow with region taking, when you take one you should always build it up with a fort, forts will be very important to defending your border regions.
Government Buildings: In your regions you want to build the government building for the best tax and repression results. You shouldn’t build/keep the military building, major cities are more than fine for turning out armies while minor cities can just be tax centers.
Try to take colonial regions before destroying a nation in their home theater: This isn’t really a very hard difficulty but an important tip. Something that can happen if you destroy a nation and new nations emerge from their overseas regions it can lead to unfixable crashes, so you should try to take those regions or put yourself in position to quickly get them.
Play battles defensively: Playing offensively is too dangerous on very hard and overall it is just better to adjust your army as the AI advances on you.
Let your artillery do the talking: On very hard it takes much much more to break enemy units, utilizing artillery to do the killing is the best way to rack up the casualties.
Support units: On normal you might be able to just set up your line infantry and wait for them to win the gunfight. You just can’t do this on very hard, even if you win one battle you will most likely be worn out and won’t have the man power to compete. So you must use support units, grenadiers, cavalry, and skirmishers. Use line infantry to tie the enemy down and use support units to wreak havoc.
Run them through: When using cavalry after the charge run through the enemy, this will add additional morale shocks that can help route enemy units.
Prussia starts out in an interesting position. A good starting army, only 2 regions, and hostile nations to the north and south.
Here are the first deals you want to make:
A trade agreement and alliance with Great Britain which you will want to pay them 3,000 for. Its a steep price but if you don’t do it the first thing Britain will do is load up armies to invade you. This alliance should last you until the late game when you are ready to backstab them.
An alliance with the nation of Hannover is also important, they will serve as a buffer state between you and west Europe. You need your armies in the North, South, and East so having a buffer state on the west will make things much easier.
Trade agreements with the following nations: Austria, Ottomans, and Saxony. Saxony will request money but just counter with 5 turns of military access.
Sell plug bayonets to the 13 colonies for 500 gold, you will want this to build up some towns.
Don’t offer Poland-Lithuania anything, once you end your turn they will offer you an Alliance that you will want to accept.
Technology is important. Your first priority will be artillery techs because if you remember in the general tips section I said that you need to let your artillery do the talking. The most important early techs after canister shot is in this order: improved grenades, socket bayonets, naval shore facilities, empiricism, and Military syllobus. Be sure to also go down the route that will get you the steam engine tech so you can build steam dockyards and give you the ability to build first rate ships of the line.
Prussia is an absolute monarchy so you have full reign on the cabinet. Your starting naval minister is bad so you are gonna want to replace him, with Ernest Kastner but not right away. Replace the naval minister with each canidate with Ernest being the last so after the first turn you start getting new canidates. You should do this everytime you want to replace a canidate so you can get a steady stream of new canidates that can help you build a better cabinet.
You want to set taxes to maximum at the start but lower them on turn two. You will also want to keep taxes as high as possible because you will need the money to get the ball rolling.
Prussia starts out with all 3 agents, a rake, a gentlemen and a missionary.
You want to send your rake to Vienna and sabotage the military building. Now keep in mind you have little chance of it working but its one of the only real uses of this agent other than scouting. This is a good idea for any rake you get except you send them to other cities.
Keep your missionary in East Prussia at first until the population is about 30% protestant, this should remove any religious unrest. Once this is done you should send him to Silesia and so on and so fourth as you take catholic regions.
Simple here, send him straight to the college, any new ones you get should also go there, though only if they increase the research rate, if not send them to the newly acquired college in Denmark. If you get anymore gentlemen and they don’t boost research at any of your colleges then send them to steal techs.
First Military Target
Denmark Will be the first nation you declare war on, you will want to build a sloop and recruit line infantry in East Prussia so you can get the war going as soon as your sloop can pick up your forces in East Prussia. Don’t worry about the Danish Navy as Sweden will most likely weaken it or even destroy it. If the Danish fleet survives particularly the 5th rate you want to try and steal it, it will make the early game significantly easier.
The Early Game
The early game will involve war with Denmark then Austria who will declare war themselves. Once Cophenhagen is taken Sweden will declare war. You will also be at war with Russia since they are allied to Denmark but they should leave you alone. You will have one army for defending Brandenburg then advance into Silesia and an army in Denmark. Denmark is very important because they have a port that will soon emerge and you want this to be your naval factory. In the South you will want to go slow, you don’t want to over expand and open yourself to Ottoman invasion.
Something you are gonna want to do is play defensively in central Europe and take advantage of the AI nations attacking each other. Sweden is annoying but if you can sneak the army you have in Denmark to Norway and take it you can probably get them to peace out in exchange for Norway back. You should then target Iceland to knock out Denmark from the game, once you do this you should peace out Russia and get an alliance with them. Sweden will declare war in again in the near future but you should be able to get your navy going and use it to block land armies from crossing into Denmark.
The Mid Game
Once Denmark is gone you should grab all your militia units, pikemen, and demi cannons to take out the Pirates and begin colonization of the Americas. Spain will most likely declare war however they aren’t too tough, just keep in mind they usually have a large army in Mexico and they will probably load that into boats and move them around that way. Poland-Lithuania might attack too, this is also why you don’t want to push into Austria because you will need to keep them ready to deal with Poland. Austria and Poland usually are at war so you will be able to play them off of each other to your advantage. By this time you should the tech and the ability to build a shipyard capable of building 5th rates. Once you have these ships you should start cranking out indiamen and sending them to the trade theater.
Once the money starts coming in you will be able to afford more armies, at this point Sweden, Austria, and probably Poland will most likely declare war but now you will be able to afford armies to take them on. Pushing into Scandinavia should be easy and you should have naval dominance so it will be easy to fairy armies though out the peninsula. As for Austria you should take out their last regions when the Marathas start pushing through the middle east, this will make the Ottomans weaker so they aren’t too tough they declare war once you have a border with them. Venice will also declare war once you take Vienna. Just keep in mind that you should always have forts on your frontier to deal with these threats.
The Late Game
At this stage the Marathas should be deep in the middle east, you should send an army on boats to India, with all their armies in the Middle East their homeland should be lightly defended. Bengal is a good target but any major city will be good as you want to start cranking out military units as soon as you get there. Having many wars where you take a few regions then make peace then repeating every few years is the ideal way to taking out India.
Back in Europe once Austria and Poland are dealt with you can turn your attention to the german and Italian minors as well as the France-Spanish bloc. Again you are gonna want to plays these nations off against each other, the German minor states are usually at war with the France-Spain bloc because of the scripted war of succession in the early game. One side usually wins out but once they do you want to pounce while their armies are weakened from fighting each other. The Italian minor nations are just speed bumps on your way to taking out Spain. Russia in the late game will probably break their alliance with you, this is a sign that they will declare war soon, So more armies will be needed in the east.
The End Game
While you grind up Russia and the Marathas you can probably go ahead and backstab any allies you have left, like Britain. Just keep in mind that you want armies ready to take out any oversea territory to prevent any crashing. Soon you will be at the point where you are just clicking end turn until you win.
Here are some basic tips about armies.
For your first conquests you will just want all the starting units you have combined with additional line infantry units you recruit. Once you get the technology to upgrade your military units you will want to gradually add more units. Personally I find A general, 2 cannons, 2 howitzers, 8 line infantry, 2 light cavalry, 2 heavy cavalry, and 1 grenadier the best composition. If you are really good at micro managing you could swap out one line infantry for another grenadier.
On the map
One good thing about Prussia is that they start with 2 regions that are good unit factories that are also the location for all their unique units.
Open field battles
As I said earlier you want to play defensively. Bombard the enemy with artillery and once they engage your line infantry units use cavalry and especially grenadiers to deal the morale shocks needed to break the enemy. Grenades are extremely deadly as they can kill hundreds in mere seconds.
Attacking a Fort
The best way to attack a fort is to put a hole in the wall then use artillery to kill the enemies as they plug the hole with troops.
Just keep in mind the AI might rush out to rush your artillery so be ready for if it happens.
Defending a Fort
There are two ways to defend a fort and they depend on if the enemy has artillery.
If they do have artillery
If the enemy has artillery then you want to hunker down and shoot them as they run in. Your troops have almost unbreakable morale while inside of the fort and the enemy will be tired from running across the map to get inside so melee should be a simple affair.
If they don’t have artillery
If the enemy don’t have artillery then you should be safe to just stand on the walls, the enemy will be tired from running up to your walls they will be very easy to kill in melee because of how tired they are and the advantage you will have with them only having a few men able to climb up at a time.
Early game navies come down to one very powerful unit, the 5th rate ship of the line, this is why being able to steal one from Denmark or Sweden is invaluable. A 5th rate has good range and maneuverability allowing them to take out entire fleets by themselves. Here is a video showcasing it.
Just keep in mind that lucky shots or the wind being unfavorable does happen so you might lose from time to time but overall you should be fine.
Late game navies don’t require complicated strategy, just start churning out first rates and blow up anything that gets in your way.
Prussia at first might seem daunting but it is far from impossible to use them while playing on Very Hard difficulties. Hopefully this guide helps those who might struggle with them.