What To Expect In Europa Universalis IV: The Cossacks

Ahead of its The Cossacks expansion release on Tuesday, Europa Universalis IV [official site] developers Paradox have pulled together all of the features the sixth major update has to offer in one handy developer diary. Expect improvements and more in-depth explorations of domestic politics, culture, diplomacy, and maintaining peaceful inter-territorial relations in exchange for a little coin. Running countries, eh? Easy when you know how.

I could listen to Paradox project lead Martin Anward talk all day, poring effortlessly over new details I just know are going to initially boggle my brain in practice. The latest developer diary aims to bring you up to speed with The Cossacks’ new features, wherein Anward talks at length about Estates – the expansion’s central feature which introduces power groupings that add internal politics to your countries – and the importance of keeping them on-side so as to avoid conflict and political and economic instability in your countries.

That said, it’s also important to avoid over-pandering to the wealthy elite so as to prevent any given Estate attempting to overthrow you. There’s also mention of Diplomatic Feedback – a new interface that allows you to control your attitude and relationship with the game’s AI, which can help build trust and increase the chance of forming alliances during, post an pre war. Culture has also been expanded, meaning you can now set secondary and tertiary cultures by way of geographic location. Typically, Anward goes into far greater detail and mentions a number of other less significant, but equally intricate, additions which you can catch firsthand here:

Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks is due on Tuesday, December 1st.


  1. Rizlar says:

    The only change I really want now is camera rotation. Kidding aside, loads of nice stuff. Particularly the more hands on diplo options and espionage ideas for managing relationships and wars.

  2. JamesTheNumberless says:

    This is brilliant stuff, sounds much more like it in terms of having the tools of pacification and exploitation of the ideas of ethnicity and culture as used by large scale states like Russia. The old culture mechanics never quite cut it when it came to blobbing up.

  3. clom says:

    I’d really like to ‘get’ this game but it just isn’t clicking so far.

    Completed the tutorial a few times in different points of time but was lost as soon as I start a game.

    Any tips? I watched a few vids but I didn’t find those to be much help either.

    • ishumar says:

      Half the fun is finding the fun in watching a map of the world turning different colors at imagined historical dates and reading little pieces of infotext “Huh, Poland conquered Crimea? Oh no, the king of England is a von Habsburg? What, Norway is winning the League war against Austria? Wait, Spain colonized Siberia? The Ottomans have provinces in India?” and then then mostly going “oh crap”

      You won’t really find it fun when you are new to the game, because you don’t really understand the normal equilibrium of EU IVs pseudohistorical setting. But to fully enjoy the game, I think you have to be predisposed to enjoy the odd alternate history you and the simulation are creating. This is also why when you start a game you should probably have a more or less clear goal in mind, like being Augsburgian Holy Roman Emperor or colonizing the Americas with Korea. (Don’t attempt either on your first playthrough though)
      Do something easy first, like Portugal. Colonize the crap out of everyone, earn ducats and be best friends with Spain. The tutorial teaches you what things are, but not how they work, which takes a few hundred years (and in the game).

      Also remember that the game is extremely slow. If you play a few hours a day, it will take you weeks to complete a campaign.

      Ok back 1684 and to dying to France as Italy

      • ignare brute says:

        Even though it implies obviously missing some carefull planning and info, I do often play in high/max speed and slow down only during wars, or even just pause when handling specific issues.

    • porousnapkin says:

      Don’t overthink it. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options and feel like your missing something important. Once the game starts, just figure out your one primary goal and start working towards it. If you’re Portugal, for instance, just figure out how to start colonizing.

      Then hit play and start progressing the time. Run it up to 3x speed or higher. You’ll learn how to use the systems best by playing the game. It will draw your attention to them when they’re important. When you don’t understand something you do think is important, google it. The game makes WAY more sense when it’s moving and you’re seeing the systems interact.

    • teije says:

      Some good points, but I personally wouldn’t start with Portugal. The colonization game is pretty boring. Instead, pick a smaller European country not in the HRE, or even better, one of the Persian Gulf/Indian/SE Asian states – Vijay or Oman for example. It allows for a gradual immersion into the game concepts, internal management and expansion.

      Then play my personal favourite Ottomans for your second game – tons of options there, some interesting events, and room to expand in several directions.

      It’s a game that only a very select few master due to its complexity, open sandbox nature and how often Paradox pumps out new DLC with major gameplay changes – and despite my 400+ plus hours in it, I’m definitely not one of those.

      • Llewyn says:

        Everyone’s different. I bounced off EUIV for 9 months or so after buying it before finally managing to make headway – playing Portugal. You’re right that colonization isn’t a dramatic game, but it is a relatively low pressure one in which to learn the overall mechanics.

        Smaller countries with large aggressive neighbours are situations where every single decision can matter. “Failing” without the slightest idea or understanding why can be offputting for a lot of people.

      • Blastaz says:

        Different strokes for different folks.

        I would say definitely don’t start with a “hard” game. Play someone big and easy so the game forgives you for your mistakes and you are big enough to try your hand at everything. France is the perfect choice, then Castile or ottomans.

      • The Pink Ninja says:

        Yes, I’d really recommend not doing this. I have hundreds of hours in the game. I’d struggle with all HRE minor and I still don’t think I could win as a minor non-western.

        It’s hard to play as a small state and it’s hard to play a state that doesn’t have western tech… except the Ottomans.

        The thing is the game and so much of what is fun is fighting and winning wars. You can’t learn EU4 just by letting time run and staying at peace. Big state with western tech are better at wars. You should learn fighting and wars first and let everything else fuel that.

        I’d recommend the Ottomans: Large, strong military ideas and good provinces, not Western tech but close and you westernise easily, lots of weak states to expand against into the east and south. You don’t need to worry about keeping allies, just don’t get so much aggressive expansion you form a coalition against you.

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      Most of the mechanics are simple, it’s just there are a lot of them. Play as the Ottomans. They’re really strong so you have less to worry about and can keep focus on the game. Don’t worry about messing up or losing or being perfect, just press on. If something is stopping you from winning go on a forum explain what it is and ask for the solution.

      I can’t give specifics hints and tips because there are so many mechanics it’d take all day so I’ll just focus on military:

      1) Don’t let yourself drop get two or more levels lower in military tech than anyone on your borders and definitely don’t start a war with anyone anyone two ahead

      2)Try and keep your army up close to the force limit but not above it as even one or two units above get super expensive

      3) At the start have armies be 2/3rd infantry and 1/3rd cavalry. When cannons get introduced slowly increase their numbers, first so so they equal your cavalry then so they are 50%-100% of infantry. Cavalry only get weaker over time so they will probably be the same in your endgame armies as they are in your starting armies

      4) Manpower is king, especially if like me you suck at managing the finer details like terrain and organisation. Build barracks and training fields and take quantity as your first military idea. Only go into wars when you have recovered a good portion of manpower and peace-out when you hit zero, even if if is a white peace.

      5) Don’t take too many provinces in a peace. Aggressive expansion creates alliances who will attack you. Overextension can cause massive rebellions across your empire.

      6) Attrition kills more men than battles sometimes. Never let peacetime armies rest in a province where they take attrition. In war it’s a little trickier: Armies need to be big enough to equal or out number the armies you are attacking

      7)Give armies generals, don’t be afraid to use your king or his heir

      8) If you keep forts at full maintenance your military tradition (That stats that determines how good generals are)

      9) As Ottomans just build galleys and keep them in one big fleet to protect the Dardanelles. Upgrade them when the tech comes along.

      10) My strategy in war is to gather all my armies on the border, keep them close together and fight en-mass. Once I have crushed their major armies I then take forts

      Even as I write this I realise how much I left out but they’re some good basic tips.

      • Llewyn says:

        They’re excellent basic tips. There’s a couple of things in there that I’d really like to emphasise:

        – Manpower and Attrition. Attrition is a silent killer in EUIV – if you’re used to CKII then you’ll be used to seeing its effect on your armies immediately, but in EUIV it can be hidden by reinforcements from manpower. What then happens is that your armies take the attrition losses but are promptly reinforced, depleting your manpower. Often you will be able to reinforce faster than your manpower recovery rate, so your reserve manpower tends towards zero. This crippled me for a large part of my first campaign before I realised what was going on – I couldn’t understand why I had no reserves while my enemies’ appeared to be endless.

        – Fighting en masse. Also siege en masse – not with all your units stacked together necessarily, but siege adjacent zones so that you can bring in reinforcements quickly. When sieging my way across a country when there are still significant enemy forces I work in triangles – two stacks sieging adjacent zones on the frontline with a third behind them able to push forward into either zone if needed.

        – Fighting en masse 2. Don’t be tempted to split your forces to chase down a smaller army unless you’re certain your chasing force can handle the entire enemy armies – if there’s a larger force in the fog of war it will be waiting to try to pick off a part of your army.

        Finally, my own piece of advice (which veterans might strongly object to): Don’t try to understand all the (any of the!) intricacies of trade. Life’s too short.

        • The Pink Ninja says:

          Manpower is the most important thing in war unless you are really skilled. Probably the second most important thing is generals but they’re sort of random and they can slide if you have a regular one with a good army and more manpower and guys.

          The third thing is discipline which is basically how well you fight. You get discipline from:

          *+5% from the Absolute Monarchy government type (Which I almost always take and stick with)
          *+5% from Commandant advisers
          *+5% from completing the quality national idea
          *+5% from completing the offensive national idea type

          In addition several military nations also get it as part of their national ideas/traditions (National ides are ideas you unlock for every three ideas you research. traditions you just start with)

          The fact Ottomans start with +5% discipline is another reason to take them

          And yes, I have over 500 hours into the game, probably more, but don’t really get trade. I just switch them between collecting and transferring and stick with whichever gives me the most money.

  4. GreatBigWhiteWorld says:

    All these dlc’s later and EU4 still doesn’t do it for me… Bring on HoI4 :D

  5. Mortomes says:

    Shouldn’t that be “Wot to expect”?

  6. slerbal says:

    This DLC sounds like a good’un and I shall be getting it on release. I’m also finding it very hard to not board the hypetrain for Stellaris. The dev diaries are doing a good job of convincing me there will be a game I will have many hundreds of hours of enjoyment out of.