Victoria 3 – The Ultimate Guide

This is a complete guide to Victoria 3, dealing with every aspect of the game, with the aim of leaving no stone unturned. This guide allows you to understand not just the basics of the game, but also how the mechanics work, why, and where to locate and how to understand virtually every aspect of Victoria 3.

This guide is based on the original video posted on the YouTube channel, and you’re more than welcome to come watch the complete tutorial video 🙂 I apologize for any spelling mistakes or weird fragments that do not translate from a video to text format.

Campaigns, Countries, Ranks

Victoria 3 is a grand strategy game that takes place in the 19th century, and not just in Europe, but the entire world. This means that you can play over 100 different nations all over, whether in good’ol Europe, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, or indeed, Africa. As a first, Victoria 3 even allows you to play the game with certain victory conditions in mind if you wish, declaring a final winner based on one’s economic power, hegemony of the world by force, or how egalitarian one’s society is. You can even play a game where tutorials pop up every now and then to help you on your way, or play the classic sandbox game we all know and love. Before beginning a game, it’s also possible to change the rules of the game, meaning how aggressive the AI is towards the player and others, the nature of formable and releasable nations, and even how subjects appear depending on their overlord.

Most notably, as a first, Victoria 3 allows us to play without ironman mode or with a game state that differs from the normal, unmodded game, and still collect achievements. This is a fantastic change because it also means that we can play the game with mods if we so wish, without sacrificing the ability to unlock achievements for our accomplishments. I myself have modded the Ottoman Empire to look red instead of green, which I personally think is a better fit.

Every country has it’s own color on the map. Normally, one name goes with one color, say Blue with France, as opposed to yellow for Spain. But in the case of Sweden, its color also shades in Norway. The same goes for Russia and Finland, or Great Britain and India. This means that Norway, in the case of Sweden, is a subject, as in a junior partner or a puppet. If you don’t like the sharing of color between overlord and vassal, you can toggle this feature before beginning your campaign.

Every country has their own color as long as they are independent though, and for most of these, the color fills in each country. However, certain countries, like some in South America, Oceania, and most of all in Africa, have no filled-in color. This leads us to the very first game mechanic you should be aware of, namely the ranking of state power, which influences not only your strength on the world stage, but also your very ability to play them. In Victoria 3, we have Great Powers, Major Powers, Minor Powers, and Insignificant Powers. But we also have unrecognized major powers, unrecognized regional powers, unrecognized powers, and even decentralized powers. All of these, except the very last type, are yours to play, mainly because decentralized powers are nations without any real state system at all.

Now there are obvious differences here, but some are not so obvious. Great Powers are the mightiest nations in the world in terms of prestige, technology and the ability to project their army, navy and economic power to the world. Major powers are actually more regional in nature, like Two Sicilies or Sweden, and even though they are recognized by the great powers, this recognition has more to do with culture, economics, technology levels, innovation and statehood than actual power. For example, Luxembourg has a prestige rank of only 69 (nice), and as such is insignificant, but it still is recognized. On the other hand, Great Qing, AKA China, has a relatively mighty prestige rank of 12, but remains an unrecognized major power, even though it is naturally much more powerful than Luxembourg. If Great Qing really wants to be recognized however, it has to win a diplomatic play against a recognized major power or stronger.

This ranking is more than just bragging rights though, as it impacts various mechanics in several ways, and we’ll get to those in turn and order. For now let’s put it simply; a higher power ranking lends you more might and sovereignty on the world stage.

Now, Victoria 3 takes place in a world that, for the most part, is really starting to look like our own, spanning the years between 1836 and 1936, exactly 100 years. We have empires here, but they’re not yet those we know from Hearts of Iron 4, where the world was completely dominated by Europe. No, Victoria 3 takes place in a world where Europe is still in the air after having jumped off the springboard, and is still taking advantage of its momentum. Let’s take Great Britain as an example.

Beginning, The Map, Notifications

Great Britain’s color is light red, and the map has a lot of it. At first glance, this intimidated me from playing them, as I felt dealing with such a massive empire would be like beginning on the deep end. But actually, if you remember the game’s use of colors for subjects, you’re not personally controlling all of this directly. In fact, I’d say Britain is a fairly tight play for such a powerful faction. This is because you’re only really in direct charge of the 10 states in the home islands, plus 17 unincorporated states around the world. But compare that to the Ottoman Empire, who definitely feels more consolidated with its lack of outside colonies, but has a massive 29 different states. What I’m saying is, don’t let the size of the colors of these empires fool you. However, what can complicate things, is not just the managing of states, but also another important Victoria 3 aspect – namely the market. You see, where Britain can be hugely complicated, is in its market. Britain’s market spans the globe like no other, and this gives you less direct control of what comes in and what goes out of that market.

And so since Great Britain might be a bit too much to chew on a first run, let’s begin with something of a smaller faction that’s a bit easier to handle, namely the beautifully named major power of not just One, but Two Sicilies. And here’s why I think Two Sicilies is a great starting faction. First of all, this is a compact nation, sporting a humble 6 states. Furthermore, it’s situated smack down in the middle of the Mediterranean, with two Great Powers to its immediate north, a decaying Spain in the West, a rapidly decaying Ottoman Empire to the east, and an up-and-coming Egypt to the south. What’s more though, is that we have smaller factions here as well. Italy is fragmented, and smaller states might one day join you in forging a one true Italian nation. And of course, there’s Greece, all too tasty looking to be left alone.

But enough with me setting the mood, let’s get down and dirty with the gameplay and mechanics once and for all. First things first, let’s talk about the map. The map is where your actions are reflected in Victoria 3, from which colors remain present, which expand and shrink, to the size of cities and the prevalence of trade ships. Even your buildings make their appearance here, creating a vast cultural landscape the more you develop it. The map is where your empire is formed, and where your allies and enemies exist.

Our map has a few basic rules. If we zoom out, the map appears to be made out of paper, with the names of locations both for countries and oceans. The entire world is present here, from massive Russia to tiny Malta. On this level, clicking on foreign countries reveal their main country panel, showing useful information about them at a glance. However, this map does not simply exist on one level. Zooming down changes the map to reveal a 3D space showing terrain as is. If we now click on any piece of territory, we will instead open information for that specific territory, known as a state. Zooming further down reveals even more detail, like city names, cities themselves, trade routes, ships, and even trains and railroads. No matter which zoom level you’re at, right clicking on a region offers you various options we’ll return to later, including the country information panel we saw before. The map in Victoria 3 is truly massive, and we all do well to familiarize ourselves with our part of the world before beginning the game.

And now let’s talk about notifications, or situations as the game calls them, found at the top of the screen shaped like bubbles. Notifications are temporary messages telling you of various states in your country. While notifications can be mostly negative, they appear first and foremost to remind you to deal with complications or potentials in your country. The number in the bubble details how many messages you have, and clicking on them may expand a list, or open another window. As we can tell, we’re also being reminded by another bubble to choose a technology to research, as we currently have none selected. Just like the research notification, similar types of reminders appear when you find yourself in unique situations, so don’t worry if you rarely see other types of notifications. In fact, as a rule, the less notifications, the better.

Capacities

For our first main game mechanic, let’s talk about capacities. Capacities can be found in the top left corner, and includes bureaucracy, authority, influence, and money. These are essentially the game’s ability or mana points, and everything you do in the game, directly or indirectly, eventually leads to these numbers going up or down.

First is bureaucracy, which is the capacity representing your country’s administration. Bureaucracy is gained first and foremost from building and operating government administration buildings in your states, but can also be influenced positively by certain political parties or choices you make during events. Conversely, bureaucracy is spent primarily to administrate your states, whose cost increases with population, operating and expanding institutions like education and police, setting up export and import routes, employing and promoting generals and admirals, and again from making choices in events. It can also be influenced positively or negatively from technology and laws.

There is actually no hard cap of positive and negative levels of bureaucracy, which is something that goes for every capacity in the game. This means you can always earn more bureaucracy, and there’s never an amount too large to lose. In addition, you can always add more trade routes even though you’re deep in a negative balance.

However, maintaining a positive balance is not just good for keeping your options of expanding your trade routes or general staff open without negative consequences. A positive balance actually increases your construction efficiency up to a hard cap of 10% at 100% bureaucracy excess, while a negative bureaucracy leads to tax waste as low as 100%, which would be absolutely detrimental to your economy. In other words, even if you really want to import or export goods more goods, keep in mind that the goods and money you may make from trade, might just well be lost in wasted taxes.

Next we have authority. Authority represents the level of internal state control of the country. It is mainly used for and spent on three things, namely to issue decrees in states, which are positive local modifiers, or to suppress or bolster interest groups, i.e. the political parties in your country, and lastly, to add consumption taxes to specific goods. Authority is first and foremost determined by the laws of your country, but can also be increased by certain technological innovations. Having an excess of authority will cut down the time it takes parties to deliberate on enacting new laws, while having a negative balance will hurt the opposition parties’ approval of your government. As with bureaucracy, it’s possible to spend as much authority as you possibly wish, but the consequences of a large negative balance will once again be detrimental to the integrity of your nation.

And now to influence, which represents your country’s external diplomatic capacity. Influence is first and foremost used to enact things like trade agreements or making diplomatic moves, like forging alliances, embargoing nations, or maintaining puppets or other subjects. Your level of influence is first and foremost determined by your country’s rank, but will also be improved by certain laws, making other countries your rivals, or indeed your ruler’s personal traits. In other words, rank is the deciding factor here, and can therefore be changed quite drastically depending on whether you rise to or fall from the graces of power. Having an excess of prestige lowers your rate of infamy decay, a factor which rallies other countries against you, while a negative balance lowers your prestige.

Finally, our last capacity is money.

Money might sound self-explanatory, but it’s actually the most complicated it’s ever been. You see, your balance of money is a result of the total income of your country, minus the total expenditure. That is the big number you see here, and it will either be green, representing a positive income, white, meaning a positive weekly income but a negative temporary income, or red, meaning a net negative income overall. Money is gained by taxation, tariffs, and minting of currency, but can also be gained by war reparations. Conversely, it is spent on government and military buildings and wages, producing new buildings, trading convoys, subsidies or choices made in events.

What’s really interesting here though, is that it’s no longer about making more and more money. The number you see up here will always be your current income balance at any given point, but if we hover over the number, or click on it to open the budget window, and enter the assets menu, you’ll notice that we have several bars here. If you have a negative income, the principal, representing your loans excluding interest, will increase. Your maximum principal amount is determined by your credit limit, i.e how much you can borrow, which in turn is a value equal to the sum of all cash reserves in the country, i.e the value of the cash reserves in all your buildings, plus a base value determined by your GDP.

That sounds very complicated, so let’s make it simple, and say that the larger and healthier your economy, the higher your credit limit and loan ability is. If you do accrue loans, the bar underneath your weekly income will turn red and expand if you have to loan more money. If you exceed your credit limit, you will go into a default which pauses all construction in your country and decreases every existing building’s productivity. To get out of a default, you must either accrue a positive balance once more, or you can declare bankruptcy. A bankruptcy is the absolute last resort, as your entire debt is wiped, but will greatly anger your people, wipe out all borrowed cash reserves in your country, and penalize you with severe economic and military penalties for a long ten years.

On a happier note, a positive weekly income, known as a budget surplus, will lead to the accumulation of gold reserves. Instead of your income being an ever-expanding number, your maximum gold reserves is a set value at all times, determined by your GDP. If you exceed this limit, only diminishing returns set it, and stockpiling gold is essentially the same as tossing money away. Indeed, if you at any point have a negative income balance, money will first be taken out of your gold reserves before you ever have to take up loans. Think of gold reserves as money you have in the bank, which can be used at any given time, and as long as you have gold reserves, you’re not necessarily in immediate economic danger.

In essence then, a balancing act is required here, as even though it is nice to have a positive income, it is often wiser to invest money into buildings even though it eats away at your current reserves, as long as it means you can make more money later. For example, even though some countries begin the game with a negative income balance, they often also begin with large gold reserves. This means it’s okay to spend money even though you’re losing money, as long as you have a long-term plan, exactly because the gold reserves are there to help you on your way. If you have a positive income balance but have accrued loans, your surplus will first go towards paying back your loan and any interest. In Victoria 3, as opposed to EU4, loans are paid back automatically, so there’s no need to remember to manually repay them.

Those were the capacities of Victoria 3, and even though they might seem complicated at first, each capacity is so distinct from one another that I’m sure you’ll get a good grasp of them in no time. They essentially function quite like monarch points in EU4, and can be interpreted as replacements for administrative, military or diplomatic monarch points, with some changes, so if you know EU4, this should already be relatively familiar to you.

But let’s go one tiny step down, and talk about the other values right below.

GDP, Standard of Living, Literacy, Radicals, Loyalists

To the far left, we have our total GDP value, which is short for gross domestic product. This value is determined by the sum total of every good produced in your country, multiplied by the goods’ market price. This means that the more you produce profitably, the higher your GDP becomes, and when seen relative to other countries, is a good indicator of how strong your overall economy and market is. The GDP affects prestige, the amount of money that is minted at any time, and as we’ve seen, affects how large your gold reserves can become, and the size of your credit limit. It even factors into other countries willingness to join your market.

To the right we have a nice little book and a number, representing the literacy of your population, or as the game calls them, pops. Literacy is the percentage of pops in your country who can read and write. Literacy is important for jobs or professions that demand higher literacy. For example, peasants and laborers require no literacy, and even though a building like wheat farms employ a certain number of aristocrats, they employ a far larger number of laborers and farmers, meaning you’re almost always guaranteed to max out your most essential workforce.

However, a government administration building employs aristocrats, bureaucrats, clergymen and clerks, all of which require either a higher level of literacy or a higher level of wealth to become. In other words, the more advanced the building, the higher qualifications your pops will need. As the game progresses, literacy will increase depending on your education investment into the education institution, and whether you have built universities or not. As a rule, a higher literacy rate means a more developed, industrialized country and a better economy.

Next up is standard of living, and my friends, this is a major one. Standard of living is a measure of the living conditions of all the pops in your country, with material wealth as the baseline. It first and foremost governs birthrate and mortality, but a higher standard of living also works to increase the migration attraction of a state, meaning how likely other people are to move there to find work and a better life.

This number is the average standard of living in your country, but this is further divided into stratas, or segments, i.e the lower, middle or upper classes. Each of the classes may increase their standard of living, but they can also diminish. A very useful trick here is to hover over the number, enter the tooltip, hover over the number next to the lower strata, enter the next tooltip, hover over the number next to what they pay versus the base price, and then enter this final tooltip. Alternatively, open the population icon on the left, and do the same from there. This window shows you the entire spectrum of needs for the vast majority of your population in the early game, telling you which prices they pay too much for in comparison to what they should. In this way, you can attempt to balance the prices to ensure that the poorest in your country are not made poorer by having to pay more than they should for basic goods.

It must be remembered that each strata has their own expected minimum standard of living, and crossing those infers negative consequences to your country, in the form of radicals.

Radicals are particularly unhappy individuals within pops in your country, and they become unhappy either from lowered standards of living, or from experiencing discrimination and choices made in events. Radicals can negatively impact the approval of political parties, cause turmoil in your state, or empower radical political movements. In essence then, radicals are rarely something you want to have, unless you’re looking for certain movements to push through legislation or indeed to fight revolutions.

On the flipside, loyalists are happy individuals within pops, who will work to defend the country from dissidents. They can increase the approval of political parties, and are created when the standard of living increases, or from choices during events.

Those were perhaps the most important factors in the entire game, and affect every other part of it, so if this was relatively easy to grasp for you, then I applaud you. Welcome once again to Victoria 3. And for everyone else, feel free to watch this tutorial again.

Game Time, Speed, Pins

There are several other menu groups in our UI, both to the left, the right, and in the lower corner. For sake of ease, let’s get rid of the right corner first. In the top right, we have our date systems, telling us which month, date, and year it is. This is also where we can change the speed of the game or even pause it. As you can tell, the game begins paused, allowing you to set up the perfect game before actually beginning the countdown to 1936.

Remember that Victoria 3 takes place in real time, not by turns, so adjusting the speed of the game is important if you want more time to make decisions, or less time between in-game events. Additionally, whereas CK3’s EU4’s cycles are mostly measured in months, and Hearts of Iron 4’s cycles are measured in days, Victoria 3’s cycles are measured in weeks. This means that even though anything can happen on any given day, your income is generated on a weekly basis, and most mechanics and modifiers also refresh when a new week begins. In addition, the most-top right icon opens the main menu, while the icon below reveals the aptly named Vickypedia, a complete encyclopedia of every term and concept in the game, which is very useful if you forget what defines a concept.

Right below is a neat construction menu, where it either tells you that nothing is under construction, or shows you one or more underway constructions. Additionally, clicking this button will open the full construction menu on the left.

Further below is where timed events will appear, and if that’s not enough, these events will also appear as icons on your map, so it’s important not to miss these. It’s also possible to pin various windows to the right side of the screen, as we see has been done here for some of them. As the Ottomans for example, we have the sick man of Europe entry pinned, as well as our army and navy commanders. We will return to more pins later.

In the lower right corner is where every notification in the game will appear. This is where you will get notified on which countries are making alliances or beginning diplomatic plays, whether political parties’ approval of you increases or decreases, market movements, whether for prices or new imports or exports, and more.

Production Lens

Next up, let’s look at the lower menus, which is essentially your easy access to ruling the nation. Beginning on the left side, this little magnifying glass allows you to search for any location in the game, be it a state or a city.

To the right is where we really get into it. Each of these icons or lenses represent a different part of the game, and from left to right, we have the production lens, which agriculture, resource and industry buildings, and will be your main way of increasing development and the standard of living in your country. Each icon has a number by its side, indicating how many eligible states there are where you can build these industries in your realm at any given time. For example, Two Sicilies only has one valid state for iron mines, coal mines, and sulfur mines.

This means that, in this case, Calabria becomes your main source of heavy resource industry, while Sicily is where you can build sulfur mines. By clicking the icons themselves, the construction window opens, which tells you exactly where the eligible provinces are, and where they might be the most profitable to build in the moment.

Political Lens

Then we have the political lens. The first section here also deals with buildings, but very different ones. Construction sectors are buildings that once built not only increases your available construction points, i.e how fast and how many new buildings may be built at once, but also the construction efficiency, meaning that each building is more productive the more of them you have in a state. As a rule, it is better to have more construction sectors in a country than not, but do keep in mind that more construction sectors means that you also spend more money each week on finishing buildings, as more goods are purchased at once to complete an order. In the game, making more buildings of the same kind in the same state, is known as expanding a building.

If we additionally hover over the buildings, we can see the exact type and base number of goods they produce per level at full employment, the goods they consume per level, how many people of from which pops they employ, and some very other important factors, like how much urbanization they bring to the state, how much infrastructure they use, their productivity as represented by throughput percentage, and finally, how many construction points they actually demand to build. Since many buildings demand hundreds of construction points, this suggests that having more construction points is vital for being able to construct more faster, but always keep in mind the costs here.

Next we have the government administration building, which is hugely important. Government Administration buildings are always operated at a deficit income because they don’t produce any goods, but do operate on the paper resource and pay wages to workers. So why then should you build them? Well, administration buildings actually produce a set number of 50 bureaucracy points per building level when fully staffed, and increases a state’s taxation capacity by 10 points. This means that this building alone is crucial to keep you from experiencing tax waste, both from a deficit of bureaucracy points, and from increasing taxation capacity in states with growing populations.

What’s more though, is that this is an urban type building, meaning it increases urbanization in your state by 20 points. Urban centers are created in a state per 100 urbanization level, and brings with it several positive factors like a growth in services. Finally, there’s the university, which not only educates the population and makes pops more qualified, but also increases innovation, which increases the rate at which technology is researched.

Moving on we have Decrees, similar to edicts in other games, and are essentially special temporary laws you give to individual states. For example, Road Maintenance provides 25% infrastructure in a state which can be very useful in a pinch if you were to suddenly lack infrastructure. Similarly, encouraging manufacturing, agricultural or the resource industry will increase those sector’s productivity by a massive 20%, which can be major positive changes depending on your situation.

Thing is, decrees cost authority to issue, 75 authority points per decree to be exact. Seeing as authority is a precious capacity, decrees should only be used when needed, if authority is not needed elsewhere, or if you think the authority is generally well spent in doing so.

State Actions are simple, dealing with incorporating states, i.e making newly conquered or acquired states integral parts of your realm, which often takes years, or changing your capital.

Diplomatic Lens

Then we have the diplomatic lens, which naturally deals with diplomacy and often non-domestic actions. The first of these tabs deal with declaring interests and establishing colonies. Now interest is a new concept in Victoria 3. Where prior games have had a mechanic called diplomatic range, which means that you can only communicate with factions within a certain distance from your own realm, Victoria 3 as interests in strategic region. First things first. In order to have diplomatic relations with other countries, you must either be a close neighbor of said country, or have an active interest in their region. This allows you to do things like improving relations or establishing trade agreements. However, if you want to get down to business in Victoria 3, you have to begin what’s known as diplomatic plays.

Diplomatic plays is another innovation in this game, and governs every offensive or military action in the game. But in order to even begin a diplomatic play, you have to have an active interest in the region of your choice.

Every nation has an inherent interest in the region or regions their countries or their subjects naturally occupy. This means that Two Sicilies has a free interest in Italy. At the beginning of the game, we have a maximum of four strategi on region interests we can declare, and we begin with Occitania and the Balkans already selected. However, this gives us room to declare 2 more regions as interesting, and for Two Sicilies, I find it natural to pick North Africa and the Nile, as this might be where we’ll have an easier time expanding.

However, establishing an interest takes time, a month to be exact, and any diplomatic plays or actions will not be available until the interest is officially established. In this way, where and when you can initiate diplomatic plays or actions is always clear to you. Again, each icon has a number by its side, detailing how many options there are per action.

Be mindful though, that a green number does not mean that the other side will accept whatever offer you send their way, only that they are able to even hear what you have to say. For example, Two Sicilies can initiate an alliance with 4 possible nations, but as you can see, only Sardinia-Piedmont, in this example, actually wishes to ally with us. In other words, a red color on the map shows us where nothing is possible. A green color shows us only where something is theoretically possible.

Military Lens

One more to the right we have the military lens. Here we can raise barracks or naval bases, both of which increases our army and navy size respectively, but also our army and naval power projection, whjch is a value determining how mighty other countries see us, and which consumes military goods.

In Victoria 3, your naval power is actually more important for your prestige and international recognition than army power, and so the naval base actually increases your maximum declared number of interests if you build many enough. Next up in the army tab, we can active conscription centers during a diplomatic play to raise non-regular battalions, and we can recruit generals, which costs authority.

In the navy tab, we can similarly recruit admirals. It’s important to note that generals and admirals are recruited on an Hq by HQ basis, meaning they will only lead battalions from their native HQ. That is something we’ll return to when we deal with warfare later on.

Trade Lens

Our last but not least lens, is the trade lens. Trade is alfa omega in Victoria 3, and this is where it gets done. The first window allows us to build construction sectors and ports. As we saw earlier, construction sectors are vital in order to build more and faster. Ports on the other hand are entirely different beasts. Ports are your best early game way of increasing infrastructure in a state, which becomes important if you build a lot of buildings that demand infrastructure to function properly, which every building to a certain extent does.

Later in the game or for the more developed right off the bat, like France, railroads also come to provide infrastructure and even produce transportation for goods and or people, but railroads are naturally landlocked and demand other types of goods. However, ports also grant you convoys, which are essential in managing overseas trade routes, which again, most trade routes are. Most overseas trade routes demand between 10 and 20 convoys each, and when one level of port provides you with 200, it can be quite the powerful thing, especially if you run a country reliant on imports, or one with a lot of coastlines. Of course, each trade route also demands 20 points of bureaucracy to maintain by default, so keep that in mind.

In trade actions, we’re able to move our market capital. As opposed to a regular carpet, a market capital is where your main center of trade is. Most often, a country’s capital and their market capital is the same, i.e, Naples is both capital and market capital of Two Sicilies, and Constantinople is both the capital and market capital of the Ottoman Empire. In certain cases however, as in the case of the United States, the capital state is DC, while the market capital is New York. This makes sense when you see that the GDP of DC is a measly 8000 pounds, while New York’s is a massive 5 million, and houses most of the country’s industry and trade connections.

Finally, we have the two last windows that mirror each other, the import and export trade routes respectively. This is where you can easily find goods to import or export, and again, the number next to each image tells us how many countries offer or can be offered goods. Clicking on a good opens the window for said good, and this is where you’re able to see which country can offer the largest quantity of your chosen good, or which market is most profitable to trade with. We will go deeper into trade later in this tutorial.

Map Modes

That was the last of the lenses, but there is another little icon here, namely the map mode icon. Victoria 3 offers several ways of viewing the world, even though we’re always looking at the same map. In this menu, we can easily switch between various modes of seeing the world. Here we can see various countries attitude towards the country of your choice, see which states have the highest GDP, check out how the world is divided into markets, see where our military HQ are located, see where the standard of living is the highest and lowest, and indeed see the world’s many strategic reasons where we might declare our interest.

By default, the main map mode is the political map mode which dynamically changes to terrain as you zoom in, and it’s largely the most useful to be using if you’re not in need of something specific.

And that’s it for the lower end of our menu. This is when we get into the real meat of things, so my friends, welcome to the left side of Victoria 3’s UI. And let’s begin with the classic flag in the top left corner, the very symbol of your realm.

Country Window, Infamy, UI Tips

This is your country’s de facto home screen, which details arguably the most important information about your country. Here we can easily see your country’s rank, and hovering over the text or prestige icon tells us exactly what these titles and numbers mean. This is by the way a crucial point of Victoria 3’s UI, namely the nested tooltips.

By hovering over any orange text in the game, a little information box called a tooltip will open. By either moving your mouse towards this tooltip, hover over this text long enough, or clicking the middle mouse button depending on your preferred settings, you can move the mouse into this tooltip, and hover over yet another orange text which will open up yet another tooltip. This is a great way to learn what certain terms actually mean in this game, and for this example, to see what bonuses are given to you buy virtue of being a major power.

Of course there’s more than rank to his window, as we can see our total army size, navy size, GDP, population, literacy levels, standard of living, the state religion, and the primary culture or cultures. Additionally, the window shows us the country’s government type, the interest groups in power, and of course, the faction leader. If your faction has any temporary or permanent modifiers, they will show up as icons underneath the main information.

One last factor remains here, namely the infamy mechanic. Infamy is essentially the same as aggressive expansion in EU4. In Victoria 3 though, infamy is a factor determining your international reputation. A low infamy level keeps other countries from seeing you as a direct threat to the balance of power, while a high infamy level makes them prone to wanting to cut you down to size, and often doing so together in coalitions against you. Imagine Napoleon fighting off coalition after coalition because he gathered a wild amount of infamy.

Wars between great powers where cities of high population sizes are taken increases infamy much more than a war based on retaking lost homelands, however. For example, in an Ottoman war against Egypt, retaking Adana in a return state diplomatic play gives 5.5 levels of infamy, decreased in a major way from the Ottomans having a very legitimate reason for wanting it back, and as you can see, from Egypt being an unrecognized power.

However, outright going for the conquest of Lower Egypt leads to an infamy of 20, largely because this is not Ottoman homelands, and because of Lower Egypt’s much larger population size. In other words, it’s important to pay attention to infamy levels when initiating diplomatic plays, and which factions might be extra offended by your actions.

You might have noticed that when I chose diplomatic plays against Egypt, that I did not use the diplomatic lens at all. Instead of going down, clicking diplomacy, then diplomatic plays, choosing return state, and then choosing Adana, all I did was right click the Adana province, and choose return state. This is a core design philosophy of Victoria 3, where you have several ways to maneuver the UI, which is meant to make things more efficient.

While using the menu down below might give you a better overview of the entire world’s possibilities, simply right clicking on a province you know you want is much faster and a lot easier. In the same vein, sometimes Victoria 3’s UI systems works in conjunction with others. For example, if you wish to know the military power your possible or even worst rivals, say Austria, France, and Russia, you could click on each individual country to see their numbers.

Or you could make life a bit simpler, by first clicking the military lens, and then clicking the map list on the lower left. Now you’ll get to see every country in the world’s military forces neatly arranged by rank, name, number of battalions or flotillas. The same goes for the other menus as well, as combining the lenses with the map list gives various ledger-type of useful information.

Politics, Laws, Interest Groups, Institutions (Part #1)

The first real menu on the left side however, is the politics window. Ok, now do not worry, stay calm, I know this seems intimidating, but bear with me, and you’ll get this in no time. This is the politics overview window, and it’s where we’ll see exactly how our faction leader thinks and influences the country, which interest groups are in government, their relation to the government, their size or clout relative to each other, and even their current traits. In addition, this is where law reforms will show up, any political movements, and our institutions. This overview is a simple at-a-glance introduction to your government, so follow me to the ACTUAL government screen.

Alright, this is more like it. Let’s begin at the left, as is tradition by now, and start with our dear old King Ferdinando di Borbone delle Due Sicilie. All faction leaders have at least two traits, but may accrue more as time goes on. Traits are modifiers linked to a specific person that makes them who they are, and in the case of Ferdinando, being imperious makes him a fantastic ruler, and as you can see, offer various effects depending on which role he serves.

In other words, military commanders or political leaders may also be imperious, but have different effects apply to them due to their role. In addition, each faction leader belongs to a certain interest group. This is important because it partially determines your government’s legitimacy, as a government with wildly different ideologies, or those differing from the ruler or the country’s current laws, will help to lower the overall legitimacy. The main factor of legitimacy is that influences the time it takes to enact new laws, and becomes very important if you want an efficient government. Each faction leader also has a stance on one certain political topic. In our King’s case, he is a royalist, and opposes all other forms of government.

Right below our king is the government, for the time being solely made up of the landowners, which happens to be the faction our king subscribes to. And if you haven’t already done so, why don’t you subscribe to the channel while you’re here? More people means more legitimacy for the Andy’s Take government, you know. Anyway, interest groups are more or less universal in Victoria 3, even though they might be called different things. The traditional establishment is more or less always symbolized by the purple windmill, the armed forces by two swords, the religious parties by folded hands, and so on.

The landowners are currently happy as our current laws work in their favor. This enables their first positive modifier, family ties, to be enabled. If they become more happy, or very angry by future law changes or event decisions, we will gain even more bonuses or severe penalties respectively, and they may even leave the government outright if they get angry enough, joining the opposition. Keep in mind that the larger your country, the more these effects will impact you in either direction, as they’re always based on percentage.

In our case, the landowners have 28.2% clout, which essentially means they control 28.2% of the national assembly. Right below we see the policies that drive the landowners the most, and where they stand on the issues. In addition, just like with the faction leader, each party leader has their own personal ideology which impacts how they vote. Together with the party’s clout and their stance on the issues, these factors all determine which laws are open to you, which leads us to the next window.

In Victoria 3, you may only vote on laws which the faction leader’s ideology, interest groups, or political movements support, or which other laws are indeed not hindering. This means that even though it would be great for our country to enact a national guard to keep radicals away, neither our faction leader nor our government parties have any desire to enact it. Only the armed forces and petite bourgeois support it, but neither of those are in government, meaning they cannot put forth legislation. Or in the case of the Ottoman Empire, it would be amazing to be able to enact per-capita taxation, but in this case, neither leaders, parties, nor our entire current economic system, in this case traditionalism, forbids it.

However, and back to Two Sicilies now, if we wanted to be regressive and listen to the landowners, we could vote to enact peasant levies, which reduces our standing army but raises our conscript potential, giving the landowners more political strength in the process. Due to the landowners’ 28% clout, this gives us a 28% base chance of enacting this law every 180 days, even though events triggered during the debates might change this for better or worse. This means that enacting laws is partly a matter of setting up the right government and choosing the right decisions during the legislative process, but also a matter of luck during the process itself.

To the right we may additionally see how many in the national assembly support the law, how many are against it, and how many who simply don’t care about it. Keep in mind that only your government interest group’s power will count towards a law being enacted, so even though an opposition party supports the new law, their support will not count during the voting. Indeed, if the vote fails to pass, you cannot make another vote on the same law for a full year.

This is why it can sometimes be useful to reform your government. This allows us to mix and match parties for the optimal mix of legitimacy and chance of new laws getting passed. Even though you’re likely to lose legitimacy by changing up the government even a little depending on your current laws or who your ruler is, it might be wise to sacrifice some of it for the sake of country progress.

Do keep in mind however, that parties with more clout, and indeed those whose ideologies match those of the faction leader and laws, tend to lose less or indeed positively affect legitimacy. For example, if we wanted to enact national guard, we would need the support of the armed forces. When we now add them to the government, we see that legitimacy increases, partially because of their clout, but also because some of their ideology matches the laws of our country. With our new government confirmed and even increased legitimacy, we can now see that national guard is open for a vote, and with a 22% chance of being enacted every 180 days.

However, after clicking to enact it, we see that it actually only takes 167 days between checkpoints. This is because factors that increases or decreases the time are now factored in, and our government’s legitimacy and our surplus of authority helps to shorten the time.

This is not the end though. Simply choosing to enact a law will alter the interest groups’ approval rating of the government, as they approve or disapprove of the direction you’re taking the country in. This is important to remember, especially when we’re talking about powerful interest groups. These are IGs that have 20% or more clout, and this means that their positive or negative effects are doubled. On the flipside, we also have marginalized factions, those IGs with less than 5% clout. Their positive or negative effects have no say no matter how happy or angry they get. Either way, it’s important to plan for the worst.

Politics, Laws, Interest Groups, Institutions (Part #2)

Let’s take the case of the US as an example. Here, we have a democracy, which works quite differently from a monarchy. Here we have many interest groups that sometimes come together in actual political parties, as when the petite bourgeois is absorbed into the democratic party because their policies align. However, at the beginning of the game, the US is relatively stable, unless you wanna change things up of course.

The southern landowners have been made more powerful by the Missouri Compromise, and their added power only diminishes slowly over time. However, if you no longer wish to remain a slave state, here’s what you can do. In the beginning, no parties in government support abolition. However, it’s evident that both the Whig Party led by the intelligentsia, and the evangelicals, would vote to abolish it. But if we reform the government by adding the Whig party, we must also add the parties wanting to join the democratic party, who we know opposes abolition. However. After doing so, and quickly beginning the vote to ban slavery, the evangelicals might just choose to join the Whig party instead, all the while the petite bourgeois is eaten by the democrats. This brings us back to the powerful interest groups and being careful of even beginning the debate on laws that might upset them.

When hovering over banning slavery, it becomes clear how this will affect our interest groups approval of the government. Because slavery is a major issue in the US, and more specifically, because certain party leaders are outspoken abolitionists or slavers, it affects our parties all the more in either direction. The evangelicals will for example increase their approval of the government by a massive 20 points, while the opposite is true for the southern planters. In the case of the latter, they will become so angry that they will radicalize, meaning they’re likely to attempt to start a revolution or civil war.

In other words, while most laws won’t impact the parties as much as the slavery issue, be mindful of your choices, both regarding those dealing with government reforms, and the laws themselves.

As you can see, we have a massive number of law types here, 21 in fact, divided into three sections. These are the power structure, dealing with government, hierarchy and military; the economy, dealing with everything from taxation to trade, colonization and education systems, and finally, human rights, dealing with everything from free speech to welfare policies and migration. Each of these sections are vital in their own way, but carry different weight depending on what you want to focus on.

For example, a military power does well to make sure it has a professional army and a national guard to make the armed forces happy, while a country focusing on economics first might it more favorable to make sure taxation and an educated populace is present along with a large workforce, meaning both educational laws, laws regarding women in the workforce and child labor laws are modernized.

Finally, certain types of laws will enable something much larger than just a modifier change, namely institutions. Institutions are just that, powerful pillars of your state. For example, Two Sicilies already begins with the Law Enforcement institution on day one. This is a type of institution which seeks to lessen the impact of turmoil in your country. Turmoil occurs when states contain enough radicals and unhappy pops, meaning they are already radical enough to cause turmoil. As you can see, our Law Enforcement institution is at level 1, which gives it the effects of 10% added political strength to the landowners’ interest group, and -20% state penalties from turmoil. Increasing the level of institution will further increase these effects, but will also cost more bureaucracy per level, so be aware that institutions come with a large bureaucracy cost.

However, why do the landowners receive power from law enforcement? Well, that has everything to do with the law that enables the institution in the first place. Under the policing law, we have enacted a Local Police Force, which can be imagined as being ran and answering to the local landowners, which in turn gives them power.

However, a sizable part of our government wants to enact a dedicated police force, which will standardize and centralize it. This will make it less effective at preventing turmoil, but it will actually be even more effective at preventing turmoil from happening in the first place. In addition, because it’s no longer a local force, the landowners will not receive any more power from this institution. In the same vein, being a monarchy inherently provides the landowners with more political strength, while having a state religion provides more power for the catholic church. This means that both laws and the institutions some of them enable, may favor certain parties over others, and you do well to keep this in mind as to not experience any unforeseen consequences down the line.

Finally, let’s take a look at clout. Clout is as mentioned the combined political strength of an interest group, and determines the possibility to enact laws and make legislative changes. Clout can be won or lost, both with time, but also through laws, the wealth of its supporters, events, and importantly, through the changing tastes and lifestyles of your population, who will vote according to their needs and preferences. However, it’s also possible to directly influence the power of an IG, and this can be done by clicking on the interest group icons wherever you find them.

If we take a look at the landowners, we have the option to suppress or bolster them, meaning diminish or increase their power over time. Doing so does cost us 200 points of authority however, so again, take your need for authority into account. You might notice however that we’re currently unable to suppress the landowners, as the option is greyed out. This is because the landowners are in our government, and it’s impossible to suppress a government interest group.

Additionally, this window provides you with everything you need to know about a specific IG. We have the overview, including ideologies of the party and its leader, the pops supporting the group, every law the group currently wants to enact, and the modifiers currently influencing every interest group in your country. In addition, every general or admiral in your employ are also ideological beings supporting their own interest groups. Recruiting new generals or indeed promoting generals of a certain IG will additionally increase that IG’s political power.

On the flipside, retiring a general will lower the IG’s approval by 1 point, which Is actually quite a lot.

And that’s it for internal politics, a massive part of this game certainly affects every other aspect of your country. Let’s now move on to the budget, the inner sanctum of Victoria 3.

Budget, Gold Reserves, Credit, Investment Fund

The budget panel gives us a complete overview of our national revenue and national expenses. At the top of the overview panel, we see how much money is gained from taxation, tariffs, minting, and other income. What’s important to note is that there are several types of taxation, from income to poll taxes, and tariffs are of course just a tax on trade goods.

Additionally, we can also use a varying amount of authority points to add consumption taxes to certain goods, meaning that they will become more expensive to buy for our pops, but provide us with a lot more income. At the very top, we can also raise or lower the general taxation level for everyone. And when I say everyone, I of course mean the people the taxes are targeting, which of course is determined by your taxation laws. It will also give you various bonuses or negative effects, as raising taxes will provide more money, but also give you less government legitimacy and create more radicals.

The opposite is true for lowering taxes. Importantly, many taxation laws in Victoria 3 disproportionately target the poor, meaning that raising taxes will often lower the overall standard of living. This means that as long as you can reliably keep the taxes low, it’s often a smart thing to do in order raise standards of living. This of course must be balanced with your ability to expand buildings and raise the standard of living in that way.

If we go down the panel, the expenses show us everything we need to know about where money is being spent, be it government wages and buildings, which increase with administration buildings for example, the military, and other payments internally or externally. As you can see, the government also pays for construction goods.

This means that every time you raise a building, the cost of materials for that building comes out of the government purse. The cost of said building is further increased or decreased by the type of construction sector you’re using. For example, Two Sicilies begins with the wooden buildings sector, meaning that the buildings constructed are based on basic materials of wood and fabric. Increasing the standard of the construction sector to iron-frame buildings will not only give us more construction points per building, but also increase their productivity.

At the same time though, this will demand that you also spend money on iron and tools materials for every building you raise, meaning it will not only cost a lot more money, but also employ more people and types of pops during construction. It can be difficult to know when to switch from one construction sector type to the next, but in general, it is wise to do so when your budget is in the green, and you’re certain that you have a surplus of the goods required for the production, i.e iron and tools, as the prices of those goods will increase significantly with the increased demand. The same goes for the higher levels, where even more complex goods are needed. But let’s get back to supply and demand a bit later.

For now, we can also raise or lower the wages used to pay government or military workers, but this will also have the positive or negative effects of making the intelligentsia or military interest groups happier or angrier. Lastly, any laws you may enact that adds payments of other kinds, like welfare will also appear here.

Then we have the states panel, which gives a simple overview of the states in our country, and their total expenses and taxes collected. As you might be able to tell, these numbers don’t exactly add up to our 8 thousand pound income surplus, so this panel only details your revenue in taxes, not the revenue made from trade or elsewhere. In addition, clicking on either of these will take us right to the state of our choice, and give us a detailed overview of it. As with other similar panels, we have an overview panel giving us important information at a glance, such as the state’s population, if it’s an integral part o your country, if it has any special beneficial or negative modifiers, if the state has a surplus of infrastructure, or whether it can properly tax itself. Further on we have a buildings panel we will return to later, a population panel we will also return to, and an information panel detailing every important fact about the state.

And now back to the budget, and we move on the last panel, namely assets. As we mentioned when we talked about money, this is where we can keep an eye on our loans and gold reserves, and indeed our total credit. The principal bar tells us how much loans we have accrued, and how much we’re paying back every week. The reserves shows us our total gold reserves, and how much we’re adding or subtracting every week. Then we have the investment pool, which is a very interesting factor.

The investment pool is essentially taken from the dividends of pops with ownership shares, and put into this fund which can then be used to pay for the construction of new buildings. The investment pool usually grows slowly over time if you’re experiencing a surplus, but certainly much slower than your gold reserves.

Depending on your economic system, which decides whether the government may collect money into the investment pool and from which pops it is collected, you may then automatically spend this money to partially or in full fund new eligible projects depending on the fund’s size. If we take a quick look at the economic laws, we see that neither traditionalism nor command economy allows investment funds, while interventionism, agrarianism, and laissez-faire systems do, although in each one, the investors come from either the aristocrats or the capitalists, or a mix of the two, and while interventionism allows us to fund whatever we want, laissez-faire only allows us to subsidize infrastructure and trade centers. In order to return to the budget screen, all we have to do now is click the return arrow. Sadly, there is no forward arrow to take you back to a place you returned from.

Finally, the declare bankruptcy button allows us to declare bankruptcy, to detrimental effects as we mentioned before. And that was the budget, my aspiring economics students, well done for following along thus far, I hope you’re still sane wherever or indeed whenever you are.

Buildings, Production Methods, Economy (Part #1)

Now onto buildings. We have of course already dealt with the concept of constructing buildings as we did when we looked at the lens UI, but the buildings window is where we get a full overview of things. Whereas the production lenses and the others divided the buildings into various sectors depending on where they’re built, the building UI does something similarly, but slightly different.

This is where we see the buildings we have already built, divided into urban, rural, and development sectors. They not only include already constructed buildings though, as when we scroll down, we also see every potential building for that sector, even those we cannot build yet. This is particularly interesting, as this reveals Civilization-type of cultural sandboxyness to buildings, as Two Sicilies, if the right choices are made and the tools and technology are there, can come to build both the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.

By expanding for example the government administration building tab, we can see that we have buildings of this type in both Sicily and Campania, at level 3 and 6 respectively. From here we can then very quickly choose to expand a specific state’s buildings by clicking the plus icon next to the total number, or we can click the plus icon on the right side, which is essentially the same as choosing the building from the political lens and then choosing a state to build in.

As you can see however, there is much more to buildings than simply the building. This is where get to production methods, an inherent factor in every building in the game.

Production methods govern everything from how the goods are produced, to which goods are produced, to which sector that owns the building. Let’s for example check out the logging camps found in the rural sector. At the start of the game, Two Sicilies has two logging camps in Campania, and two in Abruzzo. Notice that the production methods right under the logging camps name are identical to those next to each state. The only difference is that changing something from this row of icons, changes the production method for every single logging camp in your country, while changing a method from down here, changes it for that state only.

And here’s why this is important. For our logging camps, we are currently using simple forestry. This means that we produce 120 units of wood, and we’re not consuming any other good. The only thing we’re spending money on are wages for the workers. In fact, this is not completely true. Logging camps, like the majority of buildings in the game, are not run by the government, but are privately owned. This means that the building owners, not we, are spending money on wages, that the building income versus expenditure decides the profitability of the endeavor, and finally, decides the amount taxed by you and the money coming into your investment fund.

Either way, our logging camps are currently using the most basic of production methods. If we wanted to, we could decide to force them to modernize by beginning to utilize sawmills as our technology level permits it. The change in itself does nothing, meaning it doesn’t cost us any capacity points or money purely to make the change.

What does impact us however, is the production and consumption of our logging camps. By changing the production method in the country to sawmills, we would produce 120 more units of wood per week. However, this also means that the logging camp owners would have to place orders for tools, consuming 20 units per week, since tools are required to make saws. In addition, the logging camps would collectively lay off 2000 laborer pops, but in return hire machinists who can work the new tools. Right now this change would be profitable, telling us that the logging camps would make a profit of over 1000 pounds in total. However, that is of course not factoring in a myriad of things that could impact the price of tools or wood. And this is where inflation and supply and demand come in.

If you’ve ever played EU4, that game has a dedicated inflation number that decreases your income as inflation goes up, essentially mimicking how the same amount of money is worth less as inflation increases. In that game, inflation can never be negative however, and it’s a rather crude interpretation of inflation as a concept. This system is radically different in Victoria 3, as inflation itself is no longer a separate game mechanic, but is inherent in the very gameplay itself, in the form of supply-driven inflation and deflation, or said in simpler terms, prices increase when people buy more of them, and they go down when people buy less of them.

In the case of our logging camps, tools are consumed to make the camps more productive. But this consumption was not there before, and so a new market for tools is made, increasing the demand for tools. Here we can see exactly how much our production change will impact the price of tools, and one unit of tools will go from costing 36.2 pounds, to 43.2 pounds. At the same time, this change makes our logging camps more productive, meaning they’re able to produce a massive 120 more units of wood per week in total. With more wood on the market, this decreases the price of wood from 18.2 to 13.4. This means that if all else is equal, tool factories will become more profitable, while logging camps might become less profitable.

In our case however, our logging camps are becoming more profitable, but this is because we are not just producing wood here. And this leads us to the next production method, going from how we produce, to what we produce.

Logging camps are actually able to produce two types of wood – normal wood, and hardwood. These are different types of goods that serves different purposes, and are therefore also priced differently. You can see exactly where goods are produced and where they are consumed by hovering over the good itself, which is very useful.

Currently, hardwood production is selected for all our logging camps, and by hovering over the tab, we see that this method of production produces 80 less units of wood than prioritizing softwood production would, but also produces 40 units of hardwood in total. If we then check out the logging camp in a state, we see that each state produces an equal amount of soft and hardwood, namely 10 units per factory, 20 units per state, and 40 units countrywide.

Indeed, by hovering over the production methods, we can see at a glance how much what each good is worth. In our case, wood is cheap, costing only 18 pounds per unit. Hardwood however, costs 48.6 pounds per unit. These numbers in itself do not tell the whole story. If we now hover of the good themselves, a window shows up detailing exactly why the price is the way it is.

The financial world of Victoria 3 is divided into markets, and each market prices good differently depending on supply and demands of that market. In our case, wood is actually cheaper than the base price, meaning consumers of wood pay less than they otherwise would have. The reason is evident right here – we have more sell orders for wood than buy orders, meaning we are producing more wood than the market demands, about 82 units before the sawmills were built, and 194 units after.

So how is the situation for hardwood? Well, here it’s different. Hardwood is expensive in our market, as we have significantly more buy orders than sell orders. However, increasing our production method to sawmills did not increase production of hardwood. So what happened? Well, despite not having more buy orders for wood from businesses, our buy orders from pops did increase. In other words, the sheer number of units of wood sold itself, even though they are sold at a lower price, now generate a higher profit because a proportionally larger amount of wood is sold.

Buildings, Production Methods, Economy (Part #2)

In other words, we’re talking about a multifaceted market here, but there’s more to this. When we made our logging camps into sawmills which demand tools, we are in fact also increasing the demand for tools, this is clear. Tools however must also be produced, and tools are made from iron and wood. Since we now demand more tools from our sawmills, and produce more wood which lowers the price of wood, we’re not only increasing the price of tools, but because of the lowered price of wood, it costs less to produce the same amount of tools as we did before.

As such, our tool workshops are experiencing a double dip of sorts due to the lower production price and higher buy orders. This all results in a higher productivity level of the factory, meaning a higher economic value per employee per year, and a higher weekly balance, which of course is what you want to see.

Of course, there’s always more goodness to be found in Victoria 3. As we’ve talked about earlier, pops work in factories to earn wages. The amount of workers can be seen here, and the blue bar is filled when the factory is fully employed. Every factory also has a cash reserve, which is essentially the gold reserves of the factory, its assets. While the factory runs a positive balance, some of the money is put into this reserve, while the rest is given as dividends to the owners of the factory.

In this case, the owners are capitalists. However, this is also where our investment funds come from, as we’ve mentioned before. Part of the dividends paid to capitalists are not only taxed, but also paid into the investment fund of country, if one is present. As Two Sicilies, we currently have a positive investment fund due to the positive weekly balance of our factories, and we can see exactly how much we’re getting from each type of building right here. This is why keeping a positive balance in your factories is so important – it not only gives you more tax income, but makes your pops richer, which in turn taxes them more and puts more money into your construction sector investment fund, meaning you have to spend less money on building costs.

If a factory were to have a negative income balance however, otherwise forcing the owners to downsize production and fire employees, in turn leading to higher prices, lower standards of living and higher radicalism, we do have the choice, again based on our economic system, to subsidize buildings. This means that any deficit comes out of the state funds rather than the owners’. If a particular production sector is losing money, but is vital to you, this is something to seriously consider.

Now that was a good chunk of info, but we’re not done with buildings just yet. Our next production method deals with automation. Automation governs how our products are assembled, and new modes of production here will often take a while to become available. In this example, I’ve jumped forward in time to 1869 (nice), but still using our tooling workshops as an example.

Here, we are currently using Hand Assembly as our mode of production, but as we see, a new mode, the Water Tube Boiler is available to us. When hovering over this option, we see that enabling this new method would make the factory consume 30 units of coal, which obviously costs money. However, changing to this method does not provide us with any more tools produced whatsoever. So how is this a profitable change? Well, exactly because of automation.

By enabling water tube boilers, we are essentially using machines to do the work of employees. We make more money simply because we’re now laying off 4500 workers, which is literally half of the laborers employed by the workshops. Therefore, the money we lose from buying coal, is gained from paying less in wages. Of course, this profit may changes over time and have unforeseen consequences. Now our tooling workshop is suddenly reliant on the market price of coal to make a profit, and our laid off workers are now without work.

This means that unless the price of coal is acceptable low, and you have work elsewhere or indeed education options or welfare for your former employees, this workshop might turn unprofitable and you may gain more radical pops over time. This is all to say that innovative production methods are never inherently good upgrades, it all depends on your market and society as a whole.

Other modes of automation exist as well, such as transportation which sees you pay for railways instead of workers. But no matter the production modes, they all follow the same rules of weighing the potential benefits versus the potential costs, now and in the future.

Lastly, as we’ve touched upon before, virtually every building is owned by one of several owner types, be it merchant guilds or worker cooperatives. For most economic systems in the early to mid-game however, buildings will often be owned by merchant guilds or be privately owned by capitalists.

This ownership can change by law changes or indeed by other production changes. When we change our logging camps’ production method to sawmills for example, the ownership changed hands from the merchant guilds to the capitalists, because as production methods and processes change, so do the people required to do the new types of business and investments. The various ownerships naturally also empower various types of pops, as government owned business will make bureaucrats wealthier, and worker cooperatives will put the dividends back into the hands of the laborers as the new owners.

That was a basic introduction to supply and demand in terms of domestic production, and my God if it wasn’t a long one. If you’re wondering about the military buildings, we will return to that in the military section of this video. Now though, we are finally moving on to the market.

The Market, Trade Relations, Tariffs (Part #1)

Now I know I’ve said that various sections of the game are the alfa omega, but the market is the REAL alfa omega of Victoria 3. Of course the truth is that all gameplay aspects are interconnected, and in many ways, we have already touched upon many of the market’s main aspects. But, not all.

By clicking the market icon, we open our country’s market window, where every good that exists on the market is detailed. Here we get a complete overview over the supply and demand, or sell orders and buy orders, every good’s market balance, meaning if the good is aplenty or lacking, and every good’s market price, whether it’s above or below the base cost. Clicking either tab will sort the goods by that tab, which is usual for when you’re trying to fix a market imbalance. In addition, clicking the top icons will only show certain types of goods, from industrial to the more luxurious kind.

Of course, fixing market imbalances leads us into the next section, namely that of trade routes. No country, at least in the beginning, is completely self-reliant, especially if they wish to expand and compete with other powers. While producing your own goods is all well and good, sometimes, letting other people do it for you is the better choice, and mutually beneficial trade is never a bad thing when done with friends.

At the beginning of the game, Two Sicilies has a massive input goods shortage of paper. Paper you say, what’s so important with paper. Well, my friend, empires run on paper. At least government administration buildings do, but our kingdom currently produces no paper whatsoever, while currently demanding 62 units of it. So how do we rectify this injustice as fast as possible, as to avoid the detrimental effects of our administration not running properly, and price of paper running absolutely rampant, as indicated by the shiny gold coins by it’s icon? Well, the market is the answer, and trade routes is also the answer.

As we can see, we are in fact already importing paper from the Papal States, although not nearly enough to cover our demand. By hovering over the trade route, we can see exactly how many units of paper are traded to whom, between which markets and routes, how much we make from import or export tariffs, how this trade affects the pricing of the good in both markets, and how much bureaucracy it costs to maintain. The icon next to it is a ship, but the number is 0, meaning this is an overland route, and not a naval route requiring convoys. Finally, the X icon on the right side allows us to end this trade route.

However, we need more paper, not less. If we click on the paper icon itself, we can see exactly how much our market supplies of paper from production and trade, and how much it demands. As we can see, all of our paper currently comes from trade, but we’re only providing less than half of our total buy orders. This means we need to go down here, and set up a new import route.

If this menu looks familiar it’s because you’ve seen it before in the trade lens, and it works the same as it did then. The best way to sort our paper problem, is to get as much as it as possible. However, each trade route provides the same amount of paper, so for us, it’s best to sort by productivity, as that also provides us with the most income after tariffs. In this case, Russia offers the most favorable trade route, and so that’s a good place to start.

We can see right away that the market price of paper has tumbled, but perhaps not as much as we’d like it to. That’s why we can go back and trade even more, now from the British. Now the price of paper in our market has been significantly lowered. But even though it remains far above its base price, our government administrations are no longer worried about a shortage, and your government is paying much less for paper then you used to.

In the future, you can now think about building your own paper mills, which will help free up bureaucracy points, and make a plan to make yourself relatively self-reliant on it. Self-reliance is not only good because being a producer means your society is productive, but it also safeguards your supplies in times of war, where trade partners might become enemies. It is therefore wise to always pick your trade partners with care, and mostly trade with those you have no immediate rivalry with if you can avoid it.

Of course, sometimes you have a market surplus of a specific good. Two Sicilies for example, is a big producer of luxury clothing, in fact the 8th largest in the world, despite our modest size. We produce more luxury goods than we need in our market, so why not make some money from the surplus? To do so, we pick the luxury good from the market details menu, go down to new export route, and have a pick at the most profitable trade routes.

For now, it seems the Egyptian market is in great need of luxury clothing, and their tariffs laws favor us. By sending only 25 units, our trade route is twice as effective as the trade route to the Spanish market, making more money with less goods sold. This will of course make the price of luxury goods more expensive in our own market, but not so much that it hurts. By trading away luxury goods, the textile mills in Campania become more productive with a bigger weekly balance due to the price increase of its goods, and we make more money from taxation and tariffs.

Of course, how much you make from tariffs, how many goods you can reliably import or export, or how inviting your market is to others, indeed if you’re even able to trade at all, all depends on your trade policies. A policy like free trade will remove all tariffs for example, while isolationism goes the other way, and completely prevents trade altogether.

The trade routes screen additionally shows us how many convoys we have available for trade routes, and how many we’re using, equaling the strength of our supply network. At the top, a neat overview suggests which good we might wish to import or export, although I’d recommend figuring that out mostly from the details window and general market balance, or indeed from the notifications at the top, which will tell you if your market has an input shortage, or if a good is particularly expensive.

The Market, Trade Relations, Tariffs (Part #2)

Of course, just as with your internal market, supply and demand also go for the trade between markets, and with a relatively open market, other countries may also import from or export goods to you, as long as your market is attractive enough.

However, if you wish to influence the actions of other markets, i.e their trade with you, you may change tariffs on a good-to-good basis. This is known as a market good policy. The default is no priority, meaning you tax imports more than exports. If you’re low on a certain good however, you can choose to protect your domestic supply, meaning remove tariffs on imports which encourages other markets to sell to you, while also raising tariffs on exports, discouraging them from buying from your market and thereby depleting your supply.

If you have more than you can use however, encouraging exports might be the way to go. This policy completely removes export tariffs, but increases import tariffs by 30%. Be careful however, as these policies may dissuade other countries from continuing their current trade with you if tariffs are raised too high.

Finally, we have the members tab. The members of the market refer both to the countries within your market, and the states within those countries. As Two Sicilies, we are the only member of our market to begin with, but this can of course change with time.

For example, if we subject other countries to our rule, they will automatically become part of our market, and all of their buy and sell orders will automatically influence our newly expanded market. In a market like this, there is no longer need for or possible to conduct trade between the countries, as their markets are now one and the same, only the rules are dictated by the market owner. For example, if we jump ahead in time, we as Italy have both Greece and Egypt as our puppets, and they are therefore incorporated into our market.

In this scenario, if we look at the price of wood for example, two of our four most valuable producers are located in Egypt and Greece, meaning outside our own country. However, since they are inside our market, their location outside of Italian borders does not matter – this wood is still bought and sold within our market, leading to a surplus or shortage depending again on the total number of buy and sell orders.

Expanding your internal market can be very useful in this sense, especially if other countries provide goods that decreases the price of common goods like grain and clothes, making everyday goods for the lower classes cheaper, which eventually raises their standard of living. Indeed, expanding your market is one way to fill buy and sell orders without actually trading.

Of course, expanding your market can be done without subjugating others. It is possible invite others to join you in a customs union, or indeed join other country’s market, with the only difference being that the partners are free to leave the other’s market at any point.

If you do want an agreement with another country, but not something as serious as sharing a market, you can always establish a trade agreement as long as you are market owner. A trade agreement is a single diplomatic relation between two countries, which eliminates tariffs and bureaucracy cost of trade routes between them, while also increasing relations over time.

A trade agreement will make you less tariff income, but might be a good choice if you are low on bureaucracy but need to import goods. This makes it important to know which goods the other market offers, and which it lacks. The positive side of a trade agreement is after all that you get to import and export goods without barriers, but of course so does the other country. So just like with a customs union or other shared markets, be mindful so your market is not flooded with cheap goods that make your industry unable to compete. On the flipside, being a small country without many goods might mean it’s a super idea to have your market flooded, because that means you can focus on producing other types of trade goods entirely.

Tariffs aren’t the only way to restrict trade with other countries however. If you really want to hit an enemy where it hurts, it’s also possible to embargo them. This means that you cut of all trade relations with them until you change your mind or indeed until your enemy attacks you and opens your market to them. Additionally, countries automatically embargo each other if they happen to be at war. Indeed, war can be a big part of trade.

If you want access to another market, you can wage a war against them through a diplomatic play to open their market to you. This forces the country to adopt the free trade policy, opening up their markets to trade not just from you, but everyone. Another way is to wage a war to establish a treaty port. A treaty port is a coastal province taken in war which essentially opens the target country’s market to you, and allows you alone to bypass that country’s tariffs and embargo. Unlike opening a market however, a treaty port does not change the targeted country’s trade policies.

In other words, trade is a massive deal in Victoria 3, and it’s important to learn how to manage it well enough to get an edge over your competitors or rivals, and to exploit those below you. Now onto the military and warfare, arguably the least important part of Victoria 3, despite remaining vital to understand.

The Military, Navy, Warfare (Part #1)

The military is your last line of defense should diplomacy fail. By clicking on the military icon, the military window opens, beginning with the army panel. In Victoria 3, your army is divided in two – the regulars which is your standing army, and conscripts, temporary battalions that can be called upon during wartime if you need more men. The number beside each soldier tells us how many units of each we currently have.

Now despite having a standing army, the army must be mobilized if they are to be of any use. Mobilization can only happen during a diplomatic play which involves a possible war, and are done on a general by general basis. Additionally, each general is assigned to a so-called HQ, a region in your country from where they mobilize their units.

As you can see, Two Sicilies begins with two generals, one for each Sicily, amiright? Anyway, we have a combined regular force of 50 units. However, each general currently only leads 20 and 16 units respectively. Now, since we only have one HQ, why should we want two generals? Well, say that you fight a war, and suddenly, you’re fighting on two fronts. That’s right, in Victoria 3, wars are no longer fought by moving units around.

The movement and delegation of units is now completely up to your AI generals and their modifiers, removing all battlefield control from the player. Instead, its up to you to deal with the macro stuff. For example, we now assign generals to fronts, and fronts appear depending on the war and how the borders are located. If there is no clear border, as there may not be in an overseas war, you must also make use of your navy.

While armies may be assigned to either advance a front, meaning it will be aggressive and seek to occupy enemy lands, an army may also defend the front, hunkering down and relying on defensive bonuses. Armies may also remain idle in their HQs, waiting for further orders. For navies, they can either patrol coastlines against enemy ships, protect shipping lanes against enemy attacks, raid enemy convoys, or indeed support a naval invasion, which is necessary when fighting an overseas enemy. In this way, both armies and navies are assigned to various fronts or tasks in various regions, and having more generals or admirals may increase your capability to maneuver.

However, it can also be wise to consolidate your army, especially if you’re fighting a single enemy on a single front. There is no way to manually move units from one general to another in Victoria 3, so we have to get creative here. As a rule, your base commanders begin at level one, and can lead a maximum of 20 regular battalions. However, by promoting your generals, they’re able to lead more units at a time.

For example, Two Sicilies begins with a few units garrisoned, who are not enlisted with a general. If you want to have them be available for use at a front, you now have two options. You can either hire another general, which can be beneficial depending on the general’s strengths, and if you wish to empower the interest group they belong to, or you can choose to promote a current general. Any new or promoted general will automatically pick up any garrisoned units in their HQ up to their command limit.

This also means that, if you want to cut down on generals, or have one large army, you can retire generals while promoting a single general to a rank which allows them to lead more men. This command limit can be seen on the general’s overview panel, and the command limit is a mixture of their rank and possible character traits. Be mindful that character traits also make generals and admirals better or worse when fighting in certain conditions, which may impact the outcome of a war.

Additionally, armies and navies operate based on morale and supply, which is represented by this bar. As a rule, it should always be full during peace time, but is likely to decrease when your armies are fighting battles due to the loss of men and possible supplies.

Then we have our garrisons, and this is where the military systems intersect with good old buildings and production methods. This is massively important because it allows you to field better units and weapons. This panel is very much like the last one, but with a focus on the armies themselves. And you might recognize this menu type from the buildings section.

That’s because we can find the same icons if we go to buildings, development, and barracks. As you might be able to tell, these are in fact all production methods. The first deals with the type of soldiers you field, be it irregular infantry, line infantry, all the way down to mechanized infantry much later in the game. As opposed to the production methods in buildings, here, as a rule, more advanced infantry is always better, giving us better offensive and defensive capabilities the further down we go.

As you can see though, it is only better insofar as you’re able to provide your infantry with new weapons and ammunition, represented her by the goods consumed and the pops required. For example, Skirmish infantry requires many more officers than Line infantry, and needs a whole new type of good to equip, namely Ammunition, which in turn requires you to either import the good, or build munition plants.

The Military, Navy, Warfare (Part #2)

However, your army and navy are divided into various sections. Upgrading just the infantry is not the end of things, as you also have artillery, reconnaissance, specialized companies, and medical aid to think about. As before, an upgrade in each of these sections is always a good thing for your military as long as you can equip them, which of course demands more from your economy, because even though the government does not own military buildings itself by default, you are the one paying for the weapons your army is using.

And because armies are not necessarily always expanding, upgrading your entire army’s worth of new weapons is likely to see a spike in the cost of weapons, and therefore also in the price you pay for military buildings. You can see at a glance how much you pay for military goods in the money tooltip, in the budget overview, or indeed by checking in on the military building itself. It goes without saying therefore that a strong army is one that can maintain itself, and a strong country is one that can afford to maintain the price of its army.

Therefore, trying to produce weapons of various types is important, or importing them if need be. For good measure, it’s also important to know that while barracks increases your army size and army projection, the latter meaning how intimidating your army is to others, they don’t actually make you any weapons. That job is up to industrial buildings like arms industries and munition plants. So let’s take a look at the arms industry, your first provider of military goods.

Arms industries can be found in the industrial section of your building browser, but unlike your barracks, which are placed in the development section of a state, is located in the urban section. This means that they actually also contribute quite a lot to the urbanization of a state, which is just good business. Like any other building, arms industries also have production methods. The first method concerns how much ammunition you make, as we’ve gone over before.

However, and crucially important to the supply of your military, is what you actually prioritize to produce. Arms industries can actually focus solely on making small arms, meaning rifles and pistols. But any reliable army naturally also requires artillery. Therefore, producing an equal number of cannons and pistols is often the better choice, as to not experience a shortage of either of them. Right now, small arms and cannons are actually priced relatively similar, but as a rule, most nations always require more small arms than cannons, because every soldier carries a gun.

This is why, if you ever need more small arms, but do not wish to change the production method of a state’s arms industry, you can either import more of it, or if you don’t wish to rely on other markets, build more arms industries in other states, and focus on small arms production there. You can do this simply by placing this building in any other state, and be mindful to change the production method even before construction is finished. Changing the production to small arms only will also decrease the consumption needs for the factory, as less iron is needed when you’re not making cannons.

Of course, in order to upgrade your military so they can even make use of new weapon types, new technology is required. We’ll go over technology in more detailed later, but for now, Two Sicilies begins with the Line infantry tech already researched. The next infantry upgrade is found in General Staff, which opens the possibility to use skirmish infantry, which increases their offensive and defensive attributes. Once that is researched however, like we touched upon before, only making small arms and cannons isn’t enough anymore. In order to actually make use of your new infantry, you also need to research percussion cups, which once finished, allows you to build munition plants. This is because skirmish infantry not only require small arms, but also this new type of ammunition.

However, the adventure does not end there. As you can, munition plants themselves require input goods, and some of these might be completely new to you. In our case, we now require explosives and lead. Lead mines can only be built in provinces that provide lead however, and so, you might need to import it. But explosives? Explosives is not a resource, but a manufactured good in and of itself.

Explosives are actually produced in another factory, the chemical plant, which can also be found under industry. Chemical plants first and foremost produce fertilizer for farms, but by changing production methods, we can actually make it produce both fertilizer and explosives. But even in order to do that, we require the resources of coal, sulfur, and iron. But in order to even consider this upgrade, we have to first go back to the technology tree, and research intensive agriculture, which is what opens up the possibility of raising chemical plants in the first place.

In essence, an entire research and production chain is needed before you should even consider making the costly and time-sensitive decision of upgrading your infantry, as there will also be some time before your army’s equipment can be exchanged for better ones. Of course, you also have the option to simply import everything you need, bypassing most of these steps. But this naturally makes you extremely reliant on foreign markets and powers, and when it comes to something has important as the military, you might wanna think twice about that.

The Military, Navy, Warfare (Part #3)

Finally, the navy panel shows us the main details about our navy. As opposed to the army, the navy is always on defensive missions like patrolling coastlines or shipping lanes, but can only be employed offensively during wars.

While you can change a navy’s production methods in this panel, as with the army, you’re only doing so on a per-general basis. If you wish to upgrade your entire navy when the time comes, you have to go back to the building browser, go to development, and then to naval base. What’s interesting here is that upgrading your navy not only makes your navy bigger, your navy projection stronger, while also demanding more advanced goods, but it also increases your capacity for declared interests.

Lastly, let’s take a look at conscripts. Conscripts are essentially a war-only part of your military, as they are made up of civilians drafted into your armies. Unlike regular infantry, your amount of conscripts is determined by both your population size and army model law, meaning a national military provides you with more conscription battalions than a professional army model would. And unlike regular battalions that are either garrisoned or assigned to generals, conscripts are activated on a state by state basis.

They are then assigned automatically to the army and front of the general assigned to the same state HQ. In the case of this Ottoman Empire war against Greece, we can mobilize our general in the Balkans, put him on the front against Greece, and then click activate conscripts. We can then choose the states in the Baltic region. Just like with regular infantry, these conscripts will mobilize over time, and join the army until full mobilization is complete. While every general has a set number of regular infantry they can command at once, they also have a set number of conscripts, although this number tends to be much higher.

Just like with regular armies however, conscription centers must also be upgraded to feature the latest weapons. While the centers themselves cannot be built – that again depends on your population and army model laws, you can change their production methods, which again will demand more resources.

Do note that because you are making ordinary citizens leave their jobs to fight a war, they are never guaranteed to get those jobs back when the war is over. This makes conscription units somewhat of an economic gamble, as units returning to no new jobs risk radicalization from lower standards of living for themselves and their dependents. Naturally, losing enough men in a war may also decrease your economic engine in the form of a lower population and workforce.

While in a war, battles will occur once armies meet on the frontline. The frontline is marked by a line of fire. The advancing army will meet the defender, never the other way around, and the clash results in a battle. Only when the battle begins do we see cannon animations on the map, and we can click the swords icon to look at how the battle is progressing.

Additionally, we can see our army’s collective advantage or disadvantage at the frontline icon itself, showing a green or red number depending, and each side of the front. The size of the battle is determined by the armies and the territory, so it’s likely that your entire massive armies won’t all meet at once, so expect many skirmishes taking place up and down the frontline over time. This is when various modifiers enter the scene. Like we’ve seen before, generals may have a big impact here depending on their traits, giving them various bonuses to offensive or defensive operations. But there’s more here. Remember our infantry and cannon units? Well, what’s very interesting here, is that each level of the various production methods bring with them different bonuses to offense and defense.

As we can see in the tooltip under offense and defense, the defensive capabilities of our infantry increases progressively more than their offensive modifiers, reaching a climax with trench infantry. This changes after that though, and mechanized infantry partially featuring tanks are suddenly much better at offense than defense. The story is different when it comes to our cannons. They are equally capable in offense and defense until shrapnel artillery becomes available, when the offense increases. But once we reach siege artillery, we suddenly have in increase in offensive capabilities. Imagine the extreme artillery bombardments during World War 1, and you can imagine why. It’s important again to notice that in terms of offensive and defensive modifiers, your modifiers never decrease with newer methods, so as long as you can provide the equipment, upgrading is always a good thing.

Be mindful however, that with bigger and better guns, also comes more devastation. This means that tanks and artillery at one point become so powerful that they partially destroy the terrain in which they fight, which will take time to heal after the war, and this can be seen on the map. In other words, if you want to spare your citizens, economy and landscape, its always best to fight in enemy territory. Just make sure to command your forces to fronts where they won’t get encircled, and be certain your supplies get through to keep moral up, which the naval protect shipping lanes command can always help you with.

Once territory is occupied by a foreign power, that territory on the political map will take the shape of the occupier’s flag, you know, to assert dominance.

In this way, both armies and navies are multifaceted concepts that impact both your production, trade, and your nation’s power versus others.

Diplomatic Plays and Diplomacy (Part #1)

But how do we even begin a war? Well, that’s what we’ll find out when we now move onto diplomacy panel. Diplomacy, as we saw with the diplomatic lens, is all about exerting your power or making relations abroad. As always, both your production, trade, and military endeavors are affected by and part of diplomatic actions.

At the top of the window, our rank and power status are proudly displayed, followed by our declared interests, which this button allows us to do if we have the capacity for it, as we dived into in the diplomatic lens section of this video. Below that we have an overview of potential ongoing wars, followed by diplomatic plays, and finally our diplomatic status or relations with other countries. In addition, the country browser displays every country in the game on a list, showing us their ranks, name, our mutual relations, and any incurred infamy on their part. You can also rank the countries according to each of these. The next panel is where any potential subject states will appear, and allow us to release them if we so wish.

This doesn’t seem like much for such a big part of the game perhaps, but we have of course gone through diplomacy in a myriad of ways already, exactly because it is such a vital part of every aspect of Victoria 3. But there are more aspects we haven’t truly explored, and the first of these is how diplomatic plays actually work, not just how to active them or when.

Diplomatic plays are your gateway to greatness on the world stage, especially when other countries stand in your way. So let’s say we’re Two Sicilies, and we feel like an early expansionist agenda might be a good thing, and have decided that we wish to puppet Greece, turning them into a subject state that we can also annex later on.

Now we have three options. We can go open the diplomacy panel, open the country browser, sort by name, and locate Greece in alphabetic order. Or we can open the diplomatic lens, choose diplomatic plays, make puppet, and choose Greece, or my favorite option, to simply right click on Greek territory, and click puppet.

As you can see, doing so does not automatically start the war. We must first decide if we actually want to do this, and we’re shown here how much infamy our action will incur, which countries we will reduce our relations with, which enemies we will face, and which countries might be liable to join the war. In a more complex scenario with allies and enemies on both sides, this panel might look like this. Here we have definite enemies, definite allies, likely allies, and countries that can be swayed either way. Notice that we’re also given an overview of each country’s max total of units. But let’s return to our first example for now, and confirm the play.

Now, no war began just yet. But what happened, was that a diplomatic play in the Balkans began, meaning that every nation with an active interest in the region may involve themselves in what’s going on here. A diplomatic play is symbolized by a circle divided into three sections. The first section is known as the escalation phase. This is when the two countries lay out their aims for their war.

This means that even though our primary goal is to puppet Greece, we can still add more aims for our war. This includes demanding war reparations, meaning forcing the other side to pay you money after the war, or conquer more states, meaning if all you want is your puppet Greece controlling the West Aegean Islands while you get the mainland, you can. That is, you can, insofar as you have the maneuver points to afford it. Every action during a diplomatic play spends maneuver points, a unique resource limited by your rank, and these are used and spent on a per diplomatic play basis, meaning they refresh from one play to another.

However, be mindful that adding certain war goals will increase the infamy penalty you’re facing, which can impact other countries’ willingness to join your side or be your friend after the war. Notice also that the other side has a stance on how they see this conflict – Greece is fearful, meaning they believe their chances of winning this war is very low.

For now though, let’s add war reparations to our war goal, costing us 10 maneuver points. In this escalation phase of opening moves, it’s also wise to mobilize your forces early if you believe it will come to war, since doing so takes time. However, since we are superior in the face of Greece, we can stick to mobilizing only our regular generals for now. Notice that in this war with Greece, we are not sharing any land borders, meaning we cannot set up a front. Instead, we have to wait until the actual war breaks up to set up a naval invasion, involving both our navy and army. In this case, we are lucky that our naval force is twice the size of Greece’s.

The next phase of the play is called Diplomatic Maneuvers, because now is when to find your allies if you can. These can be found in the next panel. Here we see that Greece have one great power leaning towards them, while we have another leaning towards us. Those in the middle might be swayed to either side as long as they have a green thumb next to them. Now you might get lucky and have these countries join your side without spending maneuver points, but as a rule, if you really need allies, spending some points is good move. However, we’re not only spending the points themselves, we are also giving up something in order to sway the country. In this example, we can spend 20 points to offer Austria an obligation.

Obligations are essentially powerful diplomatic favors which can be used to hold sway over another country. If a country is obligated to you, they cannot begin nor join a diplomatic play against you. In addition, an obligation may be used to force another country into accepting a diplomatic agreement with you, or absolve it to make them ally with you in a play, or simply to increase relations. Outside of diplomatic plays, obligations can be acquired when one country purchases another country’s loans.

It takes some time for the other country to choose whether to accept our offer, but Austria eventually accepts ours. In addition, it turns out that only Montenegro joined the other side, despite both the French and the Ottomans leaning towards Greece. Once the diplomatic phase is over, neither side can persuade others to join them, and in this last phase of preparing for war, it’s up to the remaining parties to join sides of their own accord, or to declare neutrality.

In our case, no other country joins, and because Greece has come to term with realities, they actually back down before the war begins, keeping both our nations from spending innocent lives in a messy war. This is a complete victory for us, despite now owing Austria an obligation for doing nothing, although doing so might have been what persuaded France from not joining at all – that we’ll never for sure. But, remember how we wanted war reparations from Greece in addition to puppeting them?

Well, when a country backs down before the war begins, only the primary war goal of the attacking country is accepted. In our case, we managed to puppet Greece, but got no money afterwards. This means you should be very careful when deciding which war goal is the most important to you before beginning a diplomatic play – because you might just get what you want without having to fight for even more.

Diplomatic Plays and Diplomacy (Part #2)

An early play such as this might seem risky, but sometimes, risks pay off. However, sometimes even bigger risks pay off. Say we redid this play, without even asking for Austria’s help. Because we are lucky in that no other power joins now either, Greece backs down anyway, and we have our puppet without having spent anything for it other than some temporary mobilization payments.

So why did France not join Greece? Well, there are likely a number of factors, one which could be that Greece is after all a distance away from France, that our relations with France are relatively decent, or that defending Greece would be difficult, with France having transport their troops by ships, or wait with sending troops over until an actual front had been established. Either way, sometimes, risks are worth taking, and sometimes, they are not. That’s for you to decide when the time comes, my young apprentice.

You might’ve heard me mentioning relations back there, so let’s get into what that’s all about.

Every centralized country in the world has not only a declared relationship status with every other country in the world, but also an attitude towards each other.

This can most easily be seen at a glance by clicking the diplomatic lens itself, which will then show us what others think of us. The darker Green, the better relations we have with them. As you can see, a darker color tells us that we have both good relations, and that their attitude towards is positive. In addition, countries may view others in certain ways depending on their strategic priorities. Austria for example, seeks to protect us, while France seeks to cooperate. This might be one reason why France did not choose to go to war with us before.

Our newly established puppet however, who now also sports a new flag, are shaded red, due to their rebellious attitude, despite our relations remaining neutral.

This leads us to another important aspect of Victoria 3, namely how relations between countries affect which diplomatic plays and actions are open to you. Say we want to annex Greece, meaning integrate them into our country proper. In Victoria 3, this demands that you begin an annex state subject play. But as it turns out, at this time, we are not able to do so. Why is this, you may ask, when we have amazing relations? Well, that’s exactly it. Contrary to every other Paradox game out there, Victoria 3 actually demands that you have poor relations with a country before annexing them. The idea is that two countries that love each other would not seek to destroy the other’s state. As such, even though it might seem unintuitive for the indoctrinated at first, it seems we have to turn to our diplomatic actions.

Diplomatic actions can often be seen preparing your country for future diplomatic plays, although this is not always the case. In our case however, in order to begin the annexation of Greece, we need to worsen relations. This can be done in several ways, for example by damaging relations over time, costing influence points to maintain, or a one-time worsening by expelling their diplomats, which also prevents us from actively improving relations for 5 years.

The same principle goes for attacking other countries. You cannot attack another country if your relations are high, as this simulates how countries don’t backstab each other out of nowhere. Wars are usually a willed development or last resort after years of antagonism or estrangement after all, or just a matter of not knowing each other. The same goes the other way of course, as you need at least cordial relations to offer alliances, defensive pacts, or customs unions. In this way, Victoria 3 might move a bit slower than other Paradox games, but in return, we have a diplomatic system which seems more reliable and predictive in the long term. At least you’ll often know in good time who your enemies are, although you’ll never know when they’ll actually strike.

For an overview of other countries’ diplomatic standing, we can right click, open diplomacy, and then get right into it. Here, we can see both attitude and relations between our two countries and those of others to the country of choice, their infamy level, if they are participating in wars or diplomatic plays, and indeed which diplomatic relations they currently enjoy.

And finally, the interactions panel shows us every theoretically possible diplomatic play or action against the country under current conditions. Notice that the option to conquer a state is not here at all, it’s not even there but greyed out. This is because we do not have an active interest in the region.

For our final diplomatic option, let’s take a look at establishing colonies, which is an option under the regional actions of the diplomatic lens. In Victoria 3, colonies is a separate concept from simply conquering other states whether they are close or far away. Here, colonizing is a diplomatic tool used against decentralized nations only.

This means that instead of going to war, colonies are made by settlers travelling to decentralized territories, which over time will create provinces owned by you, which will expand bit by bit over weeks, months and years. The time it takes to create a colony is modified in part by the condition of the land, for example whether malaria is present, or your colonial institution level. However, in order to even be able to colonize, you must have enacted a colonial law enabling it, and the type of law determines whether you’re encouraging settler migrations there, or if you’re purely exploiting them for resources. Some states begin with laws already enacted, others do not. In the case of our dear Two Sicilies, we are not yet participating in the colonial race.

Colonies are essentially long-term projects, and you will not make much money from them until you’ve expanded their production of various goods, or, as you can see in the case of British Gambia, found a province that in the future may hold a valuable resource type which is yet unknown. I’m guessing rubber.

Establishing colonies will create tension with the nearby decentralized nations you’re colonizing. If the tension reaching a volatile level, they’re likely to begin a native uprising war against you, meaning it might be good to build a barracks in your colonies at some point.

It is worth noting that all colonies begin as unincorporated states, and cannot be incorporated until the colonizing is over. This might of course take years, and since unincorporated states are exempt from taxation, making colonies your go-to for resource production is much more worthwhile in the short-to-medium term than trying to turn them into tax-exempt metropolitan urban centers.

Technology

And that was it for diplomacy, an aspect we’ve dealt with throughout the game, but one which still has many unique mechanics related to it. And now, let’s move onto technology, represented by the lightbulb icon, which when clicked opens the technology tree.

In Victoria 3, technology is divided into three main sectors. Production, which governs industry and business, military which governs the arms race, and society, governing economics and political thought. All of these sectors are vital in the long run, but as a ruler, you have to decide which new technologies to go for first, weighing the needs for various innovations against each other.

Think of it like choosing what kind of state you wish to be or even need to be right now, versus where you might go in the future. As Two Sicilies for example, we have no true rivals at the beginning.

This means we could take three years to research intensive agriculture if we wanted, kickstarting our production sector. However, 3 years is a long time in a game measured in weeks. In that time, we could instead finish mass communication, empiricism, AND Napoleonic Warfare, giving us a boost to authority, influence, and a better army. In the end, it’s all about needs and priorities, who you’re playing as, and what you’ll do to stay ahead of the game.

New technology will also over time lead to interest groups or pops clamoring for new laws, especially as you research new social ideas which are more liberal or grant disenfranchised or radical pops more rights.

How fast you’ll be researching new tech is dependent on your literacy rates, meaning the more people than can read, the faster tech is researched. This is called innovation, and can be further enhanced by building universities. Luckily, there’s also another way to get up-to-date ideas into your country. If other countries have already researched technology you have yet to obtain, these ideas might make it into your country through technology spread.

Technology spread is a mechanic which mimics the spreading of ideas throughout the world, and for each section, assuming a new technology is researched outside your borders, one piece of technology is the subject of this spread for every sector. How fast they spread without your specific action is another matter, and can be seen in the top right corner.

In our example, we see a number of factors making an impact, including literacy once again, but also censorship laws. A major difference between technology research and technology spread however, is that the former is always a set number, while the latter gives you a random number between two poles every week.

In other words, with enough literacy, universities, and good planning, it’s possible to get an edge over the others and become a high-tech powerhouse. Well, as high tech as the 19th century allows us to be.

Next up is culture, something we by some miracle have not really touched yet. Well, here we go.

Culture, Religion, Formable Nations

By clicking the cultures icon, the culture window appears. Here, we get an overview of our state’s cultural situation. This means we get to see which culture or cultures are the primary ones, what our citizenship laws are, which religion is the dominant in the country, and the church and state laws. In addition, we have a list of cultures presently in the country and how dominant they are. Notice also how the map changes to give a cultural overview of the world, showing only the dominant culture in each state. This map can also be found by choosing cultures overview in the lower right map modes menu.

In Two Sicilies, only one culture is present at a quantifiable level. But in something like the Ottoman Empire, a whole range of cultures exist, and yet, only the Turkish is accepted. The rest are discriminated against, which brings us to citizenship laws. Citizenship laws govern which cultures in your realm are accepted, and which experience discrimination. This means that these pops are paid less, have less political strength, are less likely to gain qualifications, become more radical over time, and are likely to emigrate away from your country.

In the case of the multicultural Ottoman Empire, National Supremacy is the current law, meaning for a culture to also be accepted, it must share both a heritage cultural trait, meaning the broader geographical region the culture is from, and a regular cultural trait, meaning to which language-group the culture’s pops belong to. For example, in the Ottoman Empire, only the primary culture Turkish speaks a Turkic language while also being of Middle Eastern Heritage.

With the law National Supremacy, which requires both cultural traits to be similar, only Turkish is an accepted culture. However, in Austria, which also has subscribes to National Supremacy, both South German and North German are accepted, because North German shares both language and heritage with the primary south German culture.

On the opposite end, France is almost as liberal as can be without accepting everyone as citizens. France has enacted the cultural exclusion law, meaning that as long as a culture shares either language or heritage with French, it’s accepted. In this case, it means that as long as pops are francophone, or come from Europe, everything is cool. If you wanna take it a step further and become a truly multicultural society where everyone is accepted, you must first have the proper ideas in your country to support it. In this case, the technology called egalitarianism in the society tab is required. This tells you how important new ideas are to the laws in your country.

In addition, certain cultures also come with obsessions and taboos. These are essentially do’s and don’ts for the culture’s members, saying something about their desire to consume certain goods. In Italy for example, South Italians are obsessed with wine. But in the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish population is obsessed with tea, but see liquor and wine as taboo. So what enables these obsessions and taboos? Well, obsessions can stem from a good that’s widely circulating in your country, meaning more people are getting of a taste of it. Taboos on the other hand, are often tied to religion. This means that Muslims will always see liquor and wine as taboo, while Catholics and Protestants have no inherent taboos whatsoever.

As for religion itself, it’s mostly based around the church and state law. For example, based on your law here, pops are discriminated against. In Two Sicilies, only the state religion Catholicism as accepted. But in France, Freedom of Conscience prevails, but this might not be as liberal as you might think. In essence, freedom of conscience means that in order to be accepted, a religion must share a trait with the state religion.

In France then, all types of Christianity, whether Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox or Coptic would be accepted, while Sunni Muslims, Buddhists, or Shinto would not. If you want truly free religious acceptance, check out the United States, who’s church and state laws are based on total separation. The US still has a state religion based on heritage, but it no longer has any official say in state affairs, or in treating other religions as inferior.

Finally, some countries can form new countries entirely based on their culture. This is known as Nation Formation. If Norway slips free of the Swedish yoke and conquers all of Scandinavia, it can form the empire of Scandinavia. If Prussia unifies enough German States, it can create the North German Confederation, or even Germany.

And of course, if Greece retakes lost Balkan territory, it can form Byzantium. Only specific countries have unique nation formations like these, and they’re often based in history, even though we have cases like Egypt, where it one day might be able to form Arabia. However, each such empire formation has candidates for such a project. This means that any of the countries with the right cultures listed, may be able to form the new nation if they become powerful enough. In the case of Scandinavia, both Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and a potential Iceland may be eligible to form Scandinavia.

And that was culture and religion in Victoria 3. These concepts are of course closely associated with population, which happens to be our next section.

Population, POPs, Political Engagement

The population window gives us an overview of our country’s population, namely how large it is, how rich they are, how many who take part in politics or political movement, and how many who don’t. Further down, we see exactly the standard of living experienced by our different classes or strata’s. Remember that there’s never an equal amount of people in every strata, so even though the upper strata’s standard of living is almost three times that of the lower, the average standard is still 10.4, since there are so many more lower strata pops. By hovering over each name, you can further see exactly which professions belong to which class.

Continuing we have some neat graphics, and you can change how they appear with this button. Here we see our population segments neatly divided into charts, for a quick overview of everyone in your realm. These are useful if you want to find out how many people you might make more radical with a new law or event.

Next we have the detailed list, showing us by profession how many they are, their average standard of living, and the interest group the majority in each profession supports. Click on each, shows us a further division of the profession into states, and their cultural traits and where they work. However, despite the majority of our entire population being peasants and supporting the ruling party, peasants are generally poor and have low literacy rates.

This means that they don’t partake in politics as well, meaning this support for the rural party is wasted. As we can see by these icons, the vast majority, be it all the way from peasants to clerks, are politically inactive, meaning the vast minority, including clergymen, aristocrats, bureaucrats, officers, capitalists and engineers are the ones deciding our country’s future.

But that’s not where political power buck stops. Notice how the aristocrats make up less than 1.6 percent of the population, and yet control a massive 21 of the political power. Now that’s not right, especially because their party, the landowners, is like the worst in the game. Like we mentioned, this is partially because of their wealth, but crucially important, our laws wildly empower them.

Not only does being a monarchy empower their interest group by 25%, but being an autocracy empowers the politically active aristocrats themselves by 50%. What’s more, having a hereditary bureaucracy system empowers the landowners by a further 25%, and lastly, our local police force awards them a further 10% political strength. Indeed, our King himself supports them, giving them a final 5% bonus strength. In other words, the entire system is rigged against the common man, and if you want to modernize your economy, military, and society, the landowners – or as I liked to call them – the purple windmills – must be quelled at all costs.

A fact of your population is also that the number of people belonging to the various professions, cultures, or religions is not a static thing. Depending on the available jobs, technology, education, labor, migration and citizenship laws, and indeed, assimilation decrees, pops will change professions, classes, and interest group loyalty as the game goes on.

For a foreign pop to be assimilated by the way, they must first be accepted in your country. If you then wish to speed up the process in a state, you may choose the promote national values decree, which doubles the cultural and religions conversion rates for accepted pops in the chosen state. Other useful population-based decrees include violent suppression which lowers penalties from state turmoil, emergency relief which increases welfare payments by 50%, promoting social mobility which increases education access and qualifications, and the greener grass campaign, which makes a state more attractive for pops to migrate to.

That was population in Victoria 3, which of course encompasses more than just the people themselves, but various previous parts in this video, such as culture, production, and military. In the end, your entire state is made up of people after all, of pops, and no country exists without them. No matter how many purple windmills there are.

The Journal

Next up is the journal, which is kind of the more linear parts of Victoria 3. In essence, the journal is where missions or tasks appear. These are known as journal entries, and depending on you’re playing as, various journal entries will simply ask or demand that you accomplish certain tasks, sometimes within a specific time limit, lest there be trouble.

Some entries are generic, meaning every country may receive them, like the mission to urbanize your country. Others are much more unique. For example, Two Sicilies has the Risorgimento entry, meaning we can form Italy through diplomatic means when certain conditions are met. Perhaps the most insane case of the journal entries however, remains with the Ottomans.

At the beginning of the game, the Ottomans receive an entry known as The Sick Man of Europe. Not only does this entry itself harm our prestige, but in order NOT to trigger the extremely ominous entry, “The Dead Man of Europe”, we must complete at least four out of six Tanzimat-labeled entries in only 20 years. If you can accomplish this, you will have saved the Ottoman Empire from certain obscurity, but I assure you, it is perhaps the hardest official task in any Paradox game to date.

In other words, journal entries come and go with countries and with time spent in-game, and help to frame your experience, often appearing to hint at what’s good for your country, or help you to experience new ways of playing.

Decisions and The Outliner, Pins

Additionally, the Decisions panel hint at what might be in the far future. These are essentially massive undertakings which require anything from interests in a region to a massive amount of bureaucratic capacity points to complete, but often for great rewards as well.

That was the journal, and interesting little thing that ads a lot of flavor to the game and makes countries or cultures stand out.

Then we have the outliner. We noticed early on this video certain windows are pinned to the right side, in our case the commanders and admirals. The outliner allows us to add or remove these pins, making it easier to see our chosen information at a glance.

For example, I would personally recommend to pin the interest groups panel, since knowing the strength of your IGs is always important. This is done by clicking the start icon next to the list. To remove it, simply click it again. If you only wish to keep up with certain parties, you can always simply pin them, and they will appear on the right side. If you want them pinned, you can still collapse the list by clicking the arrow.

Lists work for IGs, commanders, markets, colonies, and finally, our states and territories.

Map List and More Map Modes

And finally, after all this time, we have arrived at the final UI element. The Map List.

The map list is interesting because it’s quite anonymous. It essentially works like a ledge, meaning a book of information of sorts. However, clicking only the map list itself only shows us a list of countries. It only truly works its magic when we keep it open, and combine it with the lenses on the bottom.

As you can see, the map list changes its information based on which lens we have selected, providing very useful information from various parts of the game. My personal favorite list is the military map list, which I find extra useful because it allows me to quickly see the army and navy power of every country in the world.

Final Words

Well, I genuinely can’t believe we made it. If you’re still here, I applaud you, and truly hope I’ve made your journey into the world of Victoria 3 a bit easier. This tutorial was made from a desire to help and teach, as my first meeting with the game was overwhelming and difficult, simply because no tutorials existed.

Victoria 3 is one of those games that become exponentially more fun the more you play and learn, and I hope that’s your experience after reading this all-encompassing tutorial, which first and foremost is meant to help you understand how to begin your game in a confident way, and to teach you to learn even more as you go.As you might’ve noticed, this tutorial was made for a video format, so I apologize for any weird overlaps or fragments.

If you enjoyed the video and found it valuable, I really hope you’ll leave a like on the original video, comment and subscribe to the channel. I also hope you’ll consider supporting me as a YouTube Member or as a Patron, as content like this takes a long time and a massive amount of work to make. If you have any further questions, feel free to drop them in the comments, and don’t forget to join the channel’s Discord. Thanks again, and I’ll see you next time. Cheers.

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4 Comments

  1. This is the first so-called “beginner’s guide” that actually did a great job of introducing me to the game’s intertwined mechanics.

    Literally every other “beginner’s guide” had the presenter going off on a never-ending nested loop of of tangents, would introduce a mechanic by referencing half a dozen other mechanics that hadn’t been introduced yet, or just seemed to be regurgitating information from the dev blogs without any real understanding of what they were talking about.

    So thank you again for a genuinely informative and educational beginner’s guide that had me starting up a new game with a sense of excitement rather than trepidation!

  2. Thank you for a well thought out, organized explanation of the game.

    This kind of presentation is what I always wish for with a new game. Sadly, no longer do we have manuals (even pdf documents) that lay things out like your guide does.

    Also THANKS THANKS THANKS for a verbatim transcript as finding a section and rereading the pertinent part is MUCH more efficient that looking for the exact information needed (in the middle of a timestamp section) in a video.

    IMO, Paradox Interactive should 1) Compensate you for this work, 2) Hire you to continue with more detailed explanations of the interactions in the game and 3) Hire you PERMANENTLY to work on PDF documents introducing and explaining their new games. (assuming you want the job LOL)

    EXCELLENT WORK! Thank you!

  3. Very Nice.
    Just a few misspellings: “alfa” (found in several places in your text) should be “alpha” the 1st letter in the Greek Alphabet, just like “omega” is the last letter in the Greek Alphabet. So “alpha omega” means something like “from the beginning to the end” or “first to last” or “start to finish”
    also percussion CAPS not cups, as a form of ammunition used in small arms.

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