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Turning a vassal into a march can be an excellent idea if you’re in any of these three situations:
- Your vassal has strong military ideas
- Your vassal’s geography includes mountains, hills, and other defensive terrain
- Your vassal is next to a powerful rival
Any of those things will affect the value of marches in their two purposes: for offense, and for defense. So marches can be worth it, but generally in specific situations — and we’ll cover them in this guide.
Marches: Brief Pros & Cons
Tip: The Diplomatic idea group removes the stability penalty and drastically reduces the opinion hit to just -10.
Purposes of a March
#1: For Offense
Vassals with strong army ideas excel even further if you make them a march. You’re essentially sharpening their strengths and using them as a spearhead against your enemies.
Since they’re controlled by the AI, marches allow less micromanagement on your part.
A couple of examples include:
- In the Province UI, you can mark enemy provinces as your march’s objectives. They’ll prioritize occupying those if possible.
- In the Subject Interaction tab, you can adjust their Military Focus, which dictates their behavior during war. You can have them focus on sieging provinces or have them hunt down enemy armies.
Note: This type of march loses its usefulness if they take too long to reach your enemies. If they need more than a year to get to an objective, consider reverting them back into a vassal instead.
#2: For Defense
Marches with difficult terrain make ideal buffer states.
They can act as sponges, absorbing your enemy’s time and manpower.
A great example would be the Georgian Orthodox nations around the Caucasus. They have these characteristics:
- Their starting national traditions boosts their fort defensiveness
- Their geography is mostly mountains
- Their region is a natural choke point
- They’re surrounded by large bellicose countries
If you have a chance to subjugate any of them, turn them into a march and feed them provinces.
They’ll be useful against the Ottomans, the Russians, and everyone else in that region.