EU4: What Does “Blobbing” Mean? (Playing Wide Vs. Playing Tall)

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Playing wide and playing tall are two common terms in 4X games.

In playing tall, you concentrate on improving your country’s existing assets. Your focus will be on these:

  • Developing provinces
  • Constructing buildings
  • Leveling up technology
  • Passing reforms

With playing wide, you expand your nation by gaining new territory. You’ll mostly be doing these:

  • Conquering neighbors
  • Annexing vassals
  • Integrating junior partners
  • Colonizing the world

Blobbing is an EU4 slang for playing wide aggressively. A “blob” usually refers to an empire that has rapidly grown large and difficult to defeat.


Are These Playstyles Exclusive?

Not really. It’s normal to switch between styles depending on the situation.

Certain countries start strong and can use their early advantage to play wide. Others begin with only a couple of provinces and must bide their time by playing tall.

You can do both, but you may not have the resources to manage it.

Here’re two example resources which show the differences in the playstyles:

Resource Wide Nations Tall Nations
Monarch Points (MP or mana) Needs mana to:

  • Annex subjects
  • Core provinces
  • Reduce war exhaustion
Uses mana to:

  • Develop provinces
  • Improve infrastructure
  • Increase mercantilism
  • Spawn institutions
Reform Progress Points (RPP) – Slow generation of RPP due to their large number of high autonomy territories

– May need to spend RPP to increase governing capacity

– Generates RPP faster because they mostly have states with zero autonomy

– Rarely has governing capacity problems

– Can focus on passing reforms

Autonomy Affects Reform Progress Gain / EU4
Autonomy Affects Reform Progress Gain

Characteristics of Wide Nations

Nations that are great for playing wide have access to these modifiers:

  • Core-creation cost reduction (CCR)
  • Administrative efficiency

Since wide nations are mostly conquering provinces, CCR can help them budget their admin mana spending. Admin efficiency functions like CCR, but also reduces diplo-annexation costs.

Furthermore, it lowers the impact of conquered provinces’ development on:

  • Overextension
  • War Score Cost
  • Aggressive Expansion
Admin Efficiency Value in the Stability and Expansion Tab / EU4
Admin Efficiency Value in the Stability and Expansion Tab

Wide Nations with Unique Features

Certain special mechanics also fit this playstyle better. Some examples are:

1. The Empire of China’s Mandate of Heaven
Mandate generates faster if the EoC has many tributaries and prosperous states.

2. The Holy Roman Emperor’s Imperial Authority
Imperial Authority generates faster if there’re a lot of members in the HRE.

3. The Mughals’ “Diwan” cultural assimilation system
Individual cultures can be assimilated (i.e., become accepted) by conquering all of the provinces that they’re in.

The Mughals’ Diwan System Is Great for a World Conquest Game / EU4
The Mughals’ Diwan System Is Great for a World Conquest Game

4. Russia’s ability to claim entire areas and their “Siberian Frontier” colonies
They’ve the option of claiming areas instead of just provinces. They can establish colonies by spending diplo mana, even if they don’t have a colonist.

5. Native American tribal federations
Native tribes in North America can band together to form a large, unified federation.

Caddo and Kasihta Have Federated While the Rest Are Scattered Tribes / EU4
Caddo and Kasihta Have Federated While the Rest Are Scattered Tribes

Characteristics of Tall Nations

Tall nations primarily benefit from development cost modifiers. These are numerous but are usually miniscule.

A tall nation is usually stacking these modifiers on just a few provinces, hence the term “playing tall”.

Here’s an example list:

Development Cost Reduction Cause
-5% to -50%
(scales with total national development)
Capital province
-1% to -10% “All Power Costs” modifier
-20% Completing the Economic idea group
-20% Province has a university
-10% Province is producing cloth or cotton
-5% Province is a farmland
-10% “Encourage Development” edict
-10% States with prosperity
-5% or -10% Areas with a level 2 or 3 Center of Trade
-5% “Trading in Tropical Wood” strategic bonus
-5% Nation has embraced Renaissance
-2.5% to 10%
(scales inversely with Burgher influence)
Burghers with at least 60 loyalty

By stacking any combination of these, a tall nation can massively reduce the mana costs to develop a province.


Small but Tall Nations

1. Netherlands

  • Their starting area has plenty of cloth-producing farmland with numerous centers of trade.
  • Their unique government guarantees a ruler with high stats, which contribute to their mana generation.
  • They’re in the English Channel end node. This incentivizes them to focus on developing their provinces.

2. Korea

  • They’re in a secluded area with mountains guarding the only land routes into their country.
  • They have lots of paper-producing farmland as well as cotton provinces. Paper is a valuable trade good. Developing their production is an easy way to make money.

3. Riga

  • They’re a one-province minor surrounded by military-minded nations.
  • Their sole province is a center of trade with an estuary.
  • Their mission tree requires that they stay within 6 provinces or less.
The Archbishopric of Riga Stands Alone in the Baltics / EU4
The Archbishopric of Riga Stands Alone in the Baltics
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Louie Nelson Zafico

As a frustrated otter who dreams of getting published, Louie instead wastes his life cuddling his cats. He spent his childhood playing Suikoden, grew up with Total War, and matured (somewhat) with EU4. He hopes to someday find a geopolitical JRPG with the 4X systems of a Paradox game.