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Horde gameplay differs a lot from your average monarchy, republic, or theocracy. The steppe nomads enjoy a variety of advantages, especially during the early game. This doesn’t come at no cost, however.
The “steppe nomads” government reform locks your military units to “nomadic”, which sharply lowers your units’ fighting capabilities later in the game.
Unless forming the Great Mongol Empire, it’s in your best interest to eventually switch into another form of government.
Why Do Hordes Have Minimal Income?
Intrinsically, the “steppe nomads” reform, which gives hordes their unique gameplay, does not have any negative economical modifiers. The reason most hordes are poor is their starting positions.
All hordes are situated in the Eurasian steppe, holding very low development provinces. Their national ideas also provide little to no bonuses that boost their economy.
An exception to this is the Kazan horde. Starting in control of the Bashkiria goldmine and more than half of the Kazan trade node’s value, Kazan can have a decent income right from the get-go.
How To Make Money, the Horde Way
The best way to make money as a horde is by taking advantage of your nation’s unique affinity for warfare, especially in the early game.
Steppe cavalry at the game start decimates any opposition, provided that the battle is in open terrain. This includes steppes, grasslands, and farmlands.
What you want to do is fight wars against rich neighbors as much as possible.
As a horde, you will always have a casus belli of “tribal superiority” against bordering non-horde nations.
Remember that you can keep your armies in occupied provinces to loot them. The larger the army stationed, the faster the province will be stripped of all loot.
Hordes enjoy a bonus of +50% Looting speed, so don’t forget to put that mechanic to good use.
Conserve your manpower, fight battles on open terrain, and you will eventually gather enough warscore to enforce your demands.
Tip: Do not be afraid to pick a fight with stronger nations. As long as you keep to the open fields, your armies should prove vastly superior.
What To Demand in a Peace Deal
- Money – The max amount you can ask depends on the opponent and is always equal to 25 warscore. Try to always ask for the maximum unless you absolutely need to demand certain provinces.
- War reparations – Costs 10 warscore and is a good source of passive income when demanded from strong nations.
- Provinces – Hordes can raze provinces, which gives them monarch points and money. This won’t be your primary source of income but will boost your monarch point generation. After razing a province, you can either directly core it and quell the inevitable rebellion or release a vassal there.
The most lucrative target is of course the nation of Ming. Especially when playing as the hordes on their northern border, you will look towards fighting them as early as possible.
Ideally, you want to squeeze at least one war against them before they even get MIL tech 4.
Attack their tributaries immediately after your war with them ends. If they answer the call to arms, you can easily siege their capital and demand a ton of money from them again.
Aside from demanding money from your foes, you can obviously expand your nation in any way that fit your campaign’s goals.
Most eastern hordes will attempt to establish themselves as China’s emperors, while the Tatars in the west need to first crush the Russian princes and re-form the Golden Horde.
How To Make Money, the Conventional Way
As noted earlier in this guide, Hordes do not have any negative modifiers related to their income.
If you can secure high development provinces and govern them efficiently, you will increase your income just like with any other nation.
Unlocking Horde, Humanist and Trade ideas can work wonders for your income.
You will minimize unrest in newly conquered territory while boosting your trade capabilities considerably.
Another source of income in the early game is access to goldmines. Sadly, the steppe isn’t really a place with many of those. The Kazan horde starts directly controlling one, while the Chagatai have a goldmine in their vassal, Yarkand.
Conquering these gold provinces and developing them with DIP points will raise your income by a lot.
Just be aware that the more a gold province is developed, the higher the chance it depletes. When this happens, production is cut in half. Though you can always develop it back up of course.