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Tips for Getting Started in Victoria 3

Victoria 3 Review

Need some help getting started in Victoria 3? Hopefully we can point you in the right direction with these tips.

Victoria 3 is so open-ended and complex that developer Paradox has included playthrough goals on the main menu. This is so you can acquaint yourself with the game without losing the forest for the trees. Still, each playthrough throws up something new, and it meant our first days with the game were rather daunting.

We’ve bundled up all the Victoria 3 tips we wish we’d have known to begin with in the hope that your journey through the Industrial Era is a smooth and successful one. 

1. Pay Your Military

In Victoria 3 you have to juggle the needs and wants of several different interest groups. Keeping them happy doesn’t just endow bonuses but it also stems off a costly revolution. It is hard to keep everyone on the same page when you are trying to push through controversial laws that some of your people do not like. But one easily overlooked way is by setting the wage of your military and government workers.

In the budget screen, symbolised by the coins on the left of the screen, go to ‘overview’ and you can set the wages and how aggressively you tax your population. Paying your government workers and military well will give you a boost to their respective interest groups. Not only can this stave off revolution, but it can actually save you money if an interest group likes you enough to confer a bonus.

You can exploit this by having no military, but setting the military wages high. You can pay nothing for a plus five armed forces approval. We will warn you that this is a big gamble, though!

2. Remember to assign decrees

Decrees are an easily forgotten part of Victoria 3 as you can only access them via the political lens. It’s easy to navigate the game without using the lenses for the most part and so you may not even know these exist. Decrees are bonuses you can assign to individual states that cost 100 authority a pop. This may seem expensive but the bonuses are usually very much worth it. You can increase the throughput of your most productive industry or encourage social mobility so you can fill those high end jobs.

If you look through them you may see a fix to most regional problems that can occur. Some of these decrees can be prohibited by a technology requirement or specific laws. It will overtly say what is required if you cannot enact a decree.

3. Spend authority points on consumption taxes

Another way to spend your authority points is on consumption taxes. Consumption taxes are extra taxes that are placed on specific goods used in your market. It increases the price of the chosen resource for your population and puts that into your income. This price increase doesn’t affect your buildings.

The benefit of more cash is obvious, but it may have a secondary benefit of making some of your population not be able to afford said good. This will lower their standard of living but will make the resource cheaper for your buildings. 

You can add a consumption tax by clicking the budget panel and going to the overview tab. The more a good is consumed the higher the authority cost.

4. Rally your conscripts

Victoria 3 has less of a focus on war than any of the other Paradox grand strategy titles, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. The time may come that you need to defend yourself or even push your own agenda through the chamber of a cannon. You can read more about declaring war here.

Getting to grips with the battle system can be tough, and rallying your army even tougher. When a diplomatic play starts you can begin to mobilise your troops. You can appoint generals to lead a battalion, and by mobilising them you are then able to guard a front or attack it. Your battalions will be made of a certain number of ‘regulars’ and ‘conscripts’; the ratio of these is determined by your army model law.

If you need conscripts to make up your fighting force, then you will need to conscript them as soon as the diplomatic play is initiated. Using the army lens at the bottom of the screen, you will see the option to recruit generals and to activate conscription centres. Once a centre is activated it will begin the process of producing troops that will join your generals or defend its region if it is under an attack.

You will want to make sure that you are activating these centres early so that troops arrive in time, especially if you do not rely on a trained army. If your nation is wide spread, there will be local HQs that will be the hub of your regular soldiers that then can go to various fronts, taking time based on distance, making conscription even more important to have started early.

5. Use institutions effectively

Institutions in Victoria 3 shape how much your laws impact on your society. A law may allow you to hold a secret police force, but the institution determines how powerful that police force is.

The institution tab can be found next to laws on the politics display. It shows you which institutions you have active, the level to which they are enacted and the cost of this on your bureaucracy. It is easy to ignore this page, but using institutions effectively can get you out of a tight mess.

If you are really struggling with an issue in your nation, passing a law that creates an institution isn’t the solution, but it’s the beginning of one. Say you need a better educated nation as you have many factories without the top brass to manage them. Passing a law to create schools has a small effect. But the real meat is that you now have an educational institution that gives you strong modifiers if you invest more into it.

It is important to know that the institution modifiers change depending on the law that applies to it.  Having ‘Religious Schools’ will provide influence modifiers to the religious group that is increased with the institution. This modifier isn’t there if you have enacted a different educational law.

6. Consider your troop make-up

Unfortunately, we’re not here to discuss your lieutenant’s luscious lashes: rather, we’re talking about army composition.

Your army is made up of two types of troops: regulars and conscripts. Regulars are trained in a barracks and are immediately available. Conscripts, on the other hand, can be drafted when war breaks out. What is also important to note is that these troops can have different types of equipment and it’s often best if they do.

You can change the equipment used by a regular battalion by going to your barracks and you will see five production methods. Changing the production of one of these five will alter the resources needed to fund the battalions in this state. You need to be able to have these resources available for your forces to be fighting fit, so prudence is worth having.

The same five categories are available for your conscripts, but you will not be using these resources until the conscripts are activated. This means there will be a sharp jolt to your economy when you enlist these conscripts. You aren’t able to un-conscript until the war is over, so you will want to outfit conscripts in gab that you can sustain.

Lastly, each barrack and conscript centre can be outfitted separately. You can use this to manage the expenses of your army.

7. Visit the Buildings tab often

Above, we mentioned that you can have two barracks producing differently to best suit your needs. This is true, not just of army buildings, but of all buildings. The buildings tab is the best place to see what is needed and where.

On the left of your screen is a factory building that opens the buildings tab. You can see a list of all your buildings, separated into urban, rural and development tabs. There’s also a special tab for construction. This overview is one that we use more than any other in Victoria 3.

Firstly, you can see each type of building and expand this to view each instance of that building. This will show you what is making money and what is struggling without checking every nook and cranny. It gives you the ability to expand this industry too, and by hovering over the potential expansion you will see its likely economic impact. This will also help you determine which state is best suited for new industry. There is nothing worse than investing in a new building to find there is no one available to fill it.

8. Implement new tech regularly

To be honest, this is just us telling you to use the building overlay again. Its helpfulness in implementing new technology is so great, however, that it deserves its own inclusion.

When you have discovered a new technology, you will often have new production options available to you. You may have a new way of fertilising your crop or building engines. Some of these production options will be easy to change. If you have one factory in your capital, you know that you can go straight to that building and weigh up the pros and cons of the new production methods.

However, you may have a whole myriad of buildings that span several states that could be upgraded and the building menu stops this from being a pain.

When you’ve acquired a technology in Victoria 3, go to the building panel. Scroll through the buildings and see if there are any new exclamation marks among the production choices. This means you know what new options are available. From there, you can choose to make sweeping changes to that industry or look at each individual building and work on a slower transition.

Click here for more Victoria 3 guides