Europa Universalis IV: The Cossacks – A Comprehensive Guide


“Europa Universalis IV” (EU4) is a grand strategy game developed by Paradox Interactive, allowing players to lead a nation through centuries of history, diplomacy, warfare, and trade. “The Cossacks” is the sixth expansion pack for EU4, released on December 1, 2015. This expansion brings a wealth of new features and mechanics, primarily focusing on Eastern Europe and the nomadic tribes. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore all aspects of “The Cossacks” expansion, including new gameplay mechanics, strategies, and tips for maximizing your experience.

Overview of Key Features

“The Cossacks” expansion introduces several key features that enhance gameplay and add depth to the Eastern European and nomadic nations:

  1. The Estate System: Manage various estates within your country, balancing their influence, loyalty, and power.
  2. Diplomatic Feedback: Gain insights into what your allies and rivals want, and adjust your strategies accordingly.
  3. Native Policies: Choose different policies for dealing with native populations in your colonies.
  4. Horde Unity and Raiding: New mechanics for steppe nomads to maintain their unity and generate income through raids.
  5. Culture Changes: Promote cultures within your empire to enhance stability and integration.
  6. Advanced Spying: Use espionage to support rebels in rival nations and gain other advantages.
  7. New Government Types: Unique government types for various nations, such as the Cossack State.

The Estate System

Understanding Estates

Estates represent powerful social groups within your nation, such as the nobility, clergy, and burghers. Each estate has specific demands, privileges, and expectations. Managing estates effectively is crucial for maintaining stability and maximizing your nation’s potential.

  1. Types of Estates:
    • Nobility: Typically focused on military power and land ownership.
    • Clergy: Concerned with religious matters and moral authority.
    • Burghers: Represent merchants and urban interests, focused on trade and production.
    • Cossacks: Unique to Eastern European nations, focusing on military prowess and autonomy.
    • Tribes: Specific to nomadic nations, emphasizing mobility and raiding.
  2. Estate Management:
    • Each estate has a loyalty level, influence, and territorial control.
    • Balancing estate demands can provide powerful bonuses, but neglecting them can lead to unrest and revolts.
  3. Granting Privileges:
    • You can grant specific privileges to estates to increase their loyalty or reduce their influence.
    • Be cautious, as some privileges can increase an estate’s power too much, leading to potential issues.

Strategies for Estate Management

  1. Balancing Loyalty and Influence:
    • Aim to keep estate loyalty above 50% to avoid negative effects and rebellions.
    • Prevent any single estate from gaining too much influence (over 80%), which can lead to demands for more power or even civil war.
  2. Territorial Assignments:
    • Assign provinces to estates based on their strengths. For example, grant high-production provinces to burghers for economic benefits.
    • Reassign territories carefully to avoid destabilizing your nation.
  3. Using Estate Abilities:
    • Estates can offer unique abilities, such as recruiting troops, generating income, or boosting stability. Use these abilities strategically to support your goals.

Diplomatic Feedback

Understanding Diplomatic Feedback

Diplomatic feedback provides insights into what other nations want, fear, or desire, allowing you to make more informed decisions in your diplomatic interactions.

  1. Desires and Attitudes:
    • See what provinces your allies and rivals covet, helping you predict potential conflicts or opportunities for expansion.
    • Understand the attitudes of other nations towards your actions, enabling better diplomatic planning.
  2. Strategic Use:
    • Use diplomatic feedback to negotiate more effectively, offering desired provinces in peace deals or alliances.
    • Anticipate rival actions and prepare defenses or preemptive strikes based on their desires.

Strategies for Diplomatic Success

  1. Aligning Interests:
    • Align your expansion plans with the desires of powerful allies to gain their support.
    • Avoid expanding into territories coveted by strong rivals to prevent conflicts.
  2. Peace Deals:
    • Craft peace deals that satisfy your allies’ desires, increasing the chances of their continued support.
    • Use diplomatic feedback to offer provinces to allies or vassals, strengthening your coalition.
  3. Managing Rivals:
    • Understand what your rivals want and take steps to deny them, such as forming alliances with threatened nations.
    • Use espionage to disrupt rival plans and support rebels in their territories.

Native Policies

Choosing Native Policies

Native policies determine how your nation interacts with native populations in newly colonized territories. Each policy offers different benefits and drawbacks, affecting colonization speed, native assimilation, and potential conflicts.

  1. Native Coexistence Policy:
    • Natives live peacefully alongside your settlers, reducing conflict and increasing growth.
    • Slower colonization speed but more stable colonies.
  2. Native Trading Policy:
    • Trade with natives for economic benefits, boosting income from colonies.
    • Balanced approach with moderate colonization speed and stability.
  3. Native Repression Policy:
    • Forceful assimilation of natives, increasing colonization speed but risking uprisings.
    • Fast colonization but higher chance of native attacks and instability.

Strategies for Effective Colonization

  1. Choosing the Right Policy:
    • Select policies based on your colonization goals and the native populations in target regions.
    • Use Native Coexistence in regions with large native populations for stability.
    • Use Native Repression for rapid expansion in less populated areas.
  2. Balancing Expansion and Stability:
    • Adjust policies based on the changing situation in your colonies.
    • Be prepared to switch policies if native uprisings threaten your colonies’ stability.
  3. Economic Considerations:
    • Use Native Trading to boost income from colonies, funding further expansion and development.
    • Balance economic benefits with the need for stability and growth.

Horde Unity and Raiding

Maintaining Horde Unity

Horde Unity is a unique mechanic for nomadic nations, representing the cohesion and strength of the horde. Maintaining high horde unity is crucial for stability and military effectiveness.

  1. Horde Unity Mechanics:
    • Horde Unity decreases over time, leading to instability and reduced effectiveness.
    • Increase Horde Unity by winning battles, raiding, and controlling more territory.
  2. Strategies for High Horde Unity:
    • Engage in frequent wars and raids to keep Horde Unity high.
    • Conquer new territories and avoid long periods of peace, which can lead to unity decay.

Raiding for Income

Raiding is a key source of income and Horde Unity for nomadic nations, allowing you to loot provinces and generate wealth.

  1. Conducting Raids:
    • Send armies into neighboring provinces to raid and loot.
    • Raiding increases Horde Unity and provides immediate income.
  2. Target Selection:
    • Target wealthy provinces for maximum loot.
    • Consider the strength of potential targets to avoid costly conflicts.
  3. Balancing Raiding and Conquest:
    • Use raiding as a supplement to conquest, generating income while expanding your territory.
    • Balance raiding with diplomatic considerations, avoiding conflicts with powerful neighbors.

Culture Changes

Promoting Cultures

Promoting cultures within your empire can enhance stability and integration, reducing unrest and increasing loyalty.

  1. Promoting Cultures:
    • Spend diplomatic points to promote cultures within your empire.
    • Promoted cultures are treated as primary cultures, reducing unrest and increasing tax income.
  2. Cultural Strategies:
    • Promote cultures with significant populations in your empire for maximum benefit.
    • Use cultural promotion to integrate newly conquered territories more effectively.

Strategies for Cultural Integration

  1. Managing Unrest:
    • Use cultural promotion to reduce unrest in newly conquered territories.
    • Combine cultural promotion with other stability measures, such as reducing war exhaustion and increasing autonomy.
  2. Economic Benefits:
    • Promoted cultures provide increased tax income and manpower.
    • Use cultural promotion to boost economic development in diverse empires.
  3. Long-Term Stability:
    • Invest in cultural promotion as a long-term strategy for stability and integration.
    • Balance the cost of promoting cultures with other diplomatic and administrative expenses.

Advanced Spying

Enhanced Espionage

“The Cossacks” expansion enhances espionage mechanics, allowing you to support rebels, gather information, and disrupt rivals more effectively.

  1. Supporting Rebels:
    • Use espionage to support rebel factions in rival nations.
    • Increase the chance of rebellions, weakening your rivals and creating opportunities for expansion.
  2. Espionage Actions:
    • Engage in various espionage actions, such as fabricating claims, sowing discontent, and stealing maps.
    • Use espionage to gain advantages and disrupt rival plans.

Strategies for Effective Espionage

  1. Target Selection:
    • Choose espionage targets based on strategic goals, such as weakening rivals or supporting allies.
    • Focus on nations with internal instability or valuable territories.
  2. Espionage and Warfare:
    • Combine espionage with military actions, using supported rebels to create distractions and opportunities.
    • Use espionage to gather intelligence and plan military campaigns more effectively.
  3. Diplomatic Considerations:
    • Balance espionage with diplomatic relations, avoiding excessive espionage that could harm alliances.
    • Use espionage to gain leverage in diplomatic negotiations.

New Government Types

Unique Governments

“The Cossacks” expansion introduces unique government types for various nations, offering distinct bonuses and mechanics.

  1. Cossack State:
    • A unique government type for Eastern European nations with a focus on military power and autonomy.
    • Provides bonuses to cavalry units and allows greater autonomy for Cossack provinces.
  2. Tribal Federations:
    • Government type for nomadic nations, emphasizing mobility and raiding.
    • Offers bonuses to Horde Unity and raiding income.

Strategies for Government Optimization

  1. Leveraging Bonuses:
    • Utilize government-specific bonuses to enhance your nation’s strengths.
    • Focus on cavalry and military power as a Cossack State, and raiding and mobility as a Tribal Federation.
  2. Balancing Autonomy and Control:
    • Manage autonomy levels to balance control and stability.
    • Use government mechanics to maintain stability while maximizing economic and military potential.
  3. Adapting to Changing Situations:
    • Adjust government policies and strategies based on the changing geopolitical landscape.
    • Use unique government features to respond to threats and opportunities effectively.


“Europa Universalis IV: The Cossacks” expansion adds a wealth of new features and mechanics, enhancing the depth and complexity of the game. By understanding and utilizing the estate system, diplomatic feedback, native policies, horde unity, culture changes, advanced spying, and unique government types, players can create rich and engaging gameplay experiences. Whether managing powerful Eastern European nations or leading nomadic hordes, “The Cossacks” expansion offers endless opportunities for strategic planning, conquest, and diplomacy. Dive into the world of “Europa Universalis IV” with “The Cossacks” and discover new ways to shape the course of history.

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