The Best Ideas for Portugal in EU4This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Portugal is one of the most interesting and flavorful nations in the game. A perfect starting nation for beginners, especially for those seeking to learn the ins and outs of colonization.
The Portuguese national ideas focus on colonial expansion and building towards a global trade empire. However, they also pack quite a punch militarily, their ideas passing under the radar of many experienced players!
This list will analyze the best idea groups to compliment your national ones and ensure your nation’s dominance. Of course, depending on your goals and vision for the campaign, any idea group can be situationally better than the ones mentioned.
Also, this guide is aimed mostly at single player experiences, while also clarifying any multiplayer nuances.
Quick Tip: For those who want a typical Portugal single player campaign, my recommendation for the 5 first idea groups are Exploration-Expansion-Offensive-Trade-Quality.
7. Maritime Ideas
Maritime ideas are considered by many to be a meme-tier pick, and rightfully so. They offer no direct bonuses to your economy or military.
However, they fulfill a certain niche for maritime nations like Portugal. Their boost to your naval force limit and light ships indirectly buffs your trade income, as you can afford more ships on protecting trade.
The coastal repair for ships and massive sailors modifier makes your life easier, as you do not need to micromanage your navy as much. The policies are all mediocre unless you absolutely need the naval buffs.
The decision “confirm thalassocracy” which is available only if you have finished the maritime idea group is a nice cherry on top.
If you want to meme around stacking marine modifiers, maritime is a must pick for your campaign! I’ve used the idea group to great effect in many a sea-focused campaigns of mine.
6. Offensive Ideas
Offensive ideas provide an all-around boost to your military capabilities. In the case of most nations, quantity ideas are superior, but Portugal begs to differ.
Portugal greatly benefits from the +10% artillery combat ability provided by the policy in conjunction with economic, due to their national ideas.
If you’re going for a more militarily focused game, aiming to expand in Europe, picking this group early is the way to go.
In any case, even if picked in the later parts of the game, as one of the preeminent military idea groups they provide excellent value by substantially beefing up your military.
5. Economic Ideas
Economic ideas are some of the strongest all-around ideas for any nation in the game.
Especially strong in competitive multiplayer games as a first or second pick.
Every single one of the ideas in this group is decent, slightly boosting your income directly or indirectly. However, the -20% development cost for fully unlocking them is the main reason you want this group.
The other upside of economic ideas is their amazing policies with other powerful groups, like quantity, quality, and trade.
Usually, you want to pick economic ideas early. But in the case of Portugal there are other priorities, even in multiplayer games.
In most single player campaigns, you can make do without them at all, or pick them as a 3rd group if you want to play super-tall, barely expanding at all in Europe.
4. Trade Ideas
Trade ideas are also a strong group regardless of nation.
In the case of Portugal, the value you get out of them is even greater. Especially if you are aiming for a more relaxed game where you don’t completely dominate every single trade company region you set foot in.
Their sole focus is buffing up your trade income, skyrocketing your money-making capabilities in the late game. They also provide very strong policies with economic, quantity, quality, and even religious ideas.
More of a late game idea group, certainly NOT to be picked before your 4th slot. An easy choice if you are unsure of what to pick in the late game.
3. Quality Ideas
Quality ideas provide an all-around buff to your army and navy. Sometimes even picked by nations that barely make us of the naval bonuses, this idea group is even stronger on Portugal who extensively benefits from them.
The +10% infantry and artillery combat ability stack on top of your national ideas buffs to make your armies formidable.
In fact, the +1 artillery in Portuguese national ideas is one of the most underrated modifiers in the game. All artillery buffs you can stack have a lot more value, especially in the middle portion of the game.
Good policies are the icing on the cake. All other idea groups you will consider picking have great synergy with quality.
2. Expansion Ideas
Expansion ideas are a no-brainer for any nation heavy on colonization. Portugal, of course, is no exception.
Expansion ideas ensure you can colonize faster, giving you 2 extra colonists and +20 global settler increase. They also make your overseas provinces more profitable and make governing your colonial subjects easier.
Alright policies with trade, diplomatic, and quantity. An excellent policy for any colonizer with exploration ideas which is a must pick after finishing both groups.
Certainly your 2nd idea group in most games. Finish it ASAP along with exploration and activate the exploration-expansion policy for a boost to your colonial capabilities.
1. Exploration Ideas
Exploration ideas are the bread and butter of all colonizers – with some very specific exceptions, it will be your 1st idea group.
Although many a times you will swap it for another group in the late game, they are almost a necessity to discover terra incognita and colonize overseas. After all, you cannot recruit explorers and conquistadors without unlocking the first ideas in the exploration group.
The excellent policy with expansion provides a huge boost to your colonizing potential in the middle game, allowing to change your native policy to “trading” and avoid all native revolts.
If you have trouble at sea (against a strong Great Britain for example) this idea group has a policy with the naval idea group providing +20% global naval engagement that will guarantee your dominance at sea.