Playing as Kongo in Europa Universalis 4 can be incredibly fun and is arguably one of, if not the best nation in Africa to play. There are a few different common strategies when playing as Kongo, but for the most part, all include the conquest of Africa and eventual conflict with Europe and/or the Ottomans.
The ideas you take in a Kongo playthrough can be key to securing a successful start-to-finish Kongo game. In this outline, we will discuss some ideas that should synergize well with the goals of a Kongo game.
Europa Universalis 4: Kongo Ideas
In many Kongo guides, the first few ideas to take are often debated. One idea not recommended often as a first idea is Expansion, but I believe it’s an incredibly valuable choice. As the Kongo, you will get a free colonist for 100 years through one of your missions, and with Expansion, you will immediately get another with the first idea in the group. This will be invaluable as you will want to colonize the Ivory Coast, Cape Colonies, and Central Africa around the lakes region. The gold mines in these areas as well as the 3 important trade nodes you pick up will become invaluable.
In addition to the colonist, you will get another merchant early on so you may begin to take advantage of these trade nodes before the Europeans even begin to arrive. Late in the idea group, you’ll get another colonist, more global trade power, and less minimum autonomy in territories as a kicker.
Taking the Quantity group under military ideas can be beneficial in the early stages of the game. While the minor nations in the Kongo basin pose no real threat and are easy to conquer, larger nations like Mali, Kilwa, and Ethiopia will require a more significant military force.
At the start of the game, the Kongo may face challenges related to their available manpower. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize actions that can boost their manpower reserves, improve recovery rates, and reduce land maintenance costs. The -25% attrition modifier for your army towards the end of the group is also helpful, especially throughout most of Africa.
The Economic modifier synergizes well with Kongo’s gameplay style. The first idea increases your national tax modifier, which is always useful. With your gold mines contributing to your inflation, a permanent yearly inflation reduction is a significant bonus. The overall production increase is also valuable since you control many valuable goods. The decrease in land maintenance modifier and the -25% chance of depleting gold mines are other great reasons to take the Economic group at this stage.
As the leader of an African nation in the game, it is important to consider the strategic advantages of investing in trade. Trade is a vital aspect of any nation’s economy, and by focusing on this aspect, you can further increase your nation’s wealth and influence.
By taking the trade idea, you will be able to strengthen your control over the trade nodes in your region, which will significantly enhance your trade power. In particular, the nodes along the southern African coast and the Cape region will begin to see more trade from India and the East Indies flow through them, making them crucial for securing your position as a major trading power.
With increased trade power, you can generate more wealth for your nation and cut off trade routes to potential European rivals. By monopolizing these trade nodes, you can restrict access to valuable resources and increase your bargaining power with other nations.
The trade idea group also offers several other benefits that can help you strengthen your trade network. You will gain more merchants, who can help you control more trade routes and nodes, and greater merchant power, which will increase your ability to influence trade in your favor.
Moreover, the trade idea group can expand your trade range, allowing you to reach new markets and tap into previously untapped sources of wealth. This is particularly important for an African nation, as it can be difficult to access certain markets due to geographic barriers.
Finally, the trade idea group also offers an increase in caravan power, which is useful as you control multiple inland trade nodes in Africa. This will make it easier to transport goods across land and further increase your trade power.
The Defensive military group will provide great benefits to your Kongo nation. Your armies will get an increase in morale, leaders will have greater maneuver pips, further land maintenance reductions, and even fort maintenance reductions. Once completed, enemies will also get increased attrition in your land which is nice as you will be getting decreased attrition from the Quantity idea group and from leader maneuver buffs. All these modifiers can give the Kongo a much-needed edge on some possibly superior European nations that come knocking in Africa. This will be equally useful against the Ottomans who will likely be expanding down into Egypt at this stage.
For the rest of the game, your remaining ideas will be situational depending on how your conquests are going and which strategy you decided to take. I find it will be a good idea to take the Maritime ideas at some point to further increase your naval presence. You should have a good chunk of coastline at this stage and Maritime ideas can give you the boost needed to compete with the European navies around Africa.
It should also be noted that at some stage in the game, you will get an event that allows the Congo to convert to Catholicism. If accepted, you will certainly want to take the Religious idea tree, possibly in place of Economic. You will have many provinces to convert and any neighbor you expand to will have a heretic religion. This would be quite challenging without the Religious idea group. It’s also debatable to take innovation early on so you can attempt to catch up to Europe technologically.
You can definitely go this route, but I find the benefits of Expansion and Economic to be greater than this. However, this really comes down to personal preference and there is no right or wrong way to do much of the playthrough.