EU4 Scotland Guide (How To Make Money & Expand)

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Scotland has a very interesting starting position and a unique achievement tied to them.

It begins the game in the shadow of their English cousins to the south, having limited paths of expansion. The English, however, are bound to be occupied in the famous Hundred Years’ War against their medieval archenemy, the French.

Your early plan should be to annex the Irish minors as soon as possible, and then muster the strength to go toe-to-toe with the English.

After that, by securing good allies, you can push for the “Auld Alliance Reversed” achievement at your own pace.

Making money will have to wait a bit. Before expanding into the English Channel trade node, your income will be limited.

But that is not a problem at all. You will soon annex England and reap the benefits of controlling most of the trade in that node.


Opening Moves


1. Estates Privileges

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Typical estates setup for smaller nations.

With Scotland, as you will end up controlling the English Channel, I recommend giving some monopolies to the estates. Extend them until you conquer all of Britain, then start revoking them.

Just make sure to always have one privilege slot open in the Burghers tab to get the 1% interest loans when necessary.

Other than that, “Primacy of the Nobility” providing +1 MIL points is important to ensure you have better MIL tech than England.

“Religious Diplomats” will allow you to secure allies much easier, especially early on.


2. Expansion in Ireland

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Starting position and Scottish mission tree.

Scotland’s opening moves are pretty much set in stone.

The following steps should guide you through the very early stages of the campaign:

  1. Ally France – You want to ally France before they end up at war with England. This accomplishes your first mission which gives claims to Northern Ireland and England.
  2. Break the Alliance – You do not want to be called in the inevitable Anglo-French war. You want to declare a separate war while the English army is weak.
  3. Attack into Ireland – Use your claims in Ulster and go to war annexing the Irish minors. If any of them are allied to bigger powers (usually England or Denmark), attack their Irish allies to circumvent fighting the bigger ally.
  4. Annex all of Ireland – You should be able to annex the emerald isle while the English are still at war with the French.

Important: It’s recommended to restart the campaign if the “Surrender of Maine” event somehow didn’t fire, or the English backed down during it. The event usually fires very early on, so restarting isn’t a big deal.

France may declare war on England anyway, but it is not guaranteed.

The English might also decide to attack you if not occupied in the continent.


3. Fighting the English

After securing Ireland you need to start pushing into England.

Declare the war when you see their manpower close to 0 and their army count close to yours. Some tips for that first war:

  • Your allies do NOT matter – Whatever allies you have will not be able to land on Britain. The English navy is too strong.
  • Hire a lot of mercenaries – Do not be afraid to take loans and go over the force limit, you will repay them later.
  • English allies do matter – England will usually be allied only to Portugal. Portugal has a lot of ships and will easily land on Britain. Try to spot them early and fight them as they land.
  • Look for good generals – While hiring mercenaries, you should search for any lead by a good general. You want generals with good “shock” and “siege” stats.
  • Siege the fort in Northumberland ASAP – After taking that fort, the road to the entirety of England is open. The only two other forts are in Wales (which is irrelevant and can be ignored) and in London.
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First war against England. Rebels and enemy armies in Ireland are a common sight.

At the peace deal, demand Dublin, the northern England area and as much money as you can take. If the isle of Mann hasn’t rebelled yet, you can also demand that.

Your nation should look like the picture below.

You still control no land in the English Channel trade node. A good idea is to send privateers there and siphon some money from the English.

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Aftermath of the first war against England. Kildare in Ireland is my vassal. Notice the 12 privateers in the straits of Dover.

When your truce with England ends, declare war on them again and take your permanent claims from your mission tree. Do not forget to demand money as well.

You can even demand the Welsh fort and release Wales as a vassal to later give them back their land.

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Aftermath of the second war. You can see my assigned estate privileges on the left.

After the second war, you should be in control of all Centers of Trade in Britain except London. Privateering should no longer be profitable as you have a stake on the English Channel.

Simply move your main trading port (or outright move your capital) in the English Channel trade node and start collecting there.

Two more wars will be needed to completely wipe the English off the map. These wars should be trivial to execute.

Note: Do not forget to also conquer the trading port of Calais in the mainland, if the English still posses it.

At this point, after getting Administrative technology 10, you can form Great Britain. Beware, if you are aiming for the unique Scottish achievement you have to remain as Scotland.


Making Money as Scotland

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Scotland controlling all Centers of Trade in the Channel, except the ones in the Lowlands. You can see the merchant setup in the top right.

After you conquer all of Britain you can start boosting your income considerably.

Let’s see how you can achieve that:

  • Secure more trade power for yourself in the English Channel trade node

    Upgrade Centers of Trade, conquer provinces in the node and build light ships to protect trade there.

  • Embargo the Danes

    Denmark should’ve been your rival for most of the game. Being Rivals, you can embargo them at no cost. Now that you can also build a strong navy you can challenge them for control of Iceland and even invade mainland Norway.

  • Colonize north America

    Establish colonies in Canada and the Eastern Seaboard. You can directly steer trade from there into the North Sea, and from there into the Channel.

  • Construct buildings

    Manufactories and workshops in provinces with high-value trade goods (e.g., cloth, iron, bronze). Marketplaces in the Centers of Trade.


Getting the ‘Auld Alliance Reversed’ Achievement

The unique Scottish “Auld Alliance Reversed” achievement requires you to have France as a vassal WITHOUT forming any other nations.

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The achievement unlocked.

After securing Britain and setting up a respectable economy, you can start looking into expanding in the mainland.

Defeating France is no easy feat.

They enjoy +20% morale of armies and +5% discipline from their national ideas alone.

Scotland’s national ideas provide no bonuses to your army’s quality. It does however give considerable bonuses to manpower and force limit, which should help.

It is recommended to go for at least one, if not two, military ideas before attempting to fight the French. I recommend 2 of the following three:

  • Quantity – If you also opted for economic ideas earlier, quantity-economic policy will allow you to develop your provinces for even cheaper.
  • Quality – You can’t go wrong with increased combat ability, discipline, and excellent policies.
  • Offensive – Discipline, siege ability and better generals are always welcome.

Be sure to also secure France’s rivals as your allies. Spain, Austria, and Burgundy are your best bets.

This is unreliable though, and it is not unheard of the Spanish to even be allied with France.

After defeating the French in a war, demand some provinces where the nation of Gascony has cores and release them as your vassal. Do that with Toulouse, Provence, and Burgundy too, if possible.

In the following wars, use the reconquest casus belli to reclaim these nations’ land. That way you will suffer far less aggressive expansion than if you tried to outright annex France.

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Reclaiming vassal provinces in the French south.

Remember, the achievement requires you vassalize France. This means you can cut them down to size in any way possible.

Give land to your allies, release nations, and return cores, even if you do not directly benefit from it.

This way you do not amass any aggressive expansion.

Remember to be patient. France is huge and owns lots of high-development land. Bringing them to a size where you can vassalize them (or annex and release as vassal) will take a lot of wars, especially if they have colonized.


Continuing the Scotland Campaign

If you want to continue the campaign after getting the achievement, you can annex France, culture shift into the French group, and re-form France yourself.

You could also form Great Britain instead.

If France still has cores on your vassal provinces, you will be able to annex them at no cost. To ensure this is the case, make sure to demand the provinces by simply selecting them during peace deals. Do NOT demand France to “return provinces”, they will lose the core that way.

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Forming France and annexing the vassals

You can combine this achievement with the unique Wales achievement “Home and Away”.

You already own all the required provinces except Rome, which you shouldn’t have a hard time securing as France.


  1. Release Wales as a vassal
  2. Feed them the required provinces from the “Subjects” tab
  3. Annex them
  4. Release them again, ticking the “play as the released subject” button this time
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Another achievement secured, despite the border gore.
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G. Tsechilidis

Born and raised Greek citizen. His love of history, geography, and all things map-related, are certainly a contrast to his pursuit of a master in civil engineering. An avid gamer from a very young age, he found the perfect match in Grand Strategy Games. If not for a good chess match or a round of carambole billiards, you'll certainly catch him firing up EU4 or a Total War game to spend the evening.