EU4: How To Play in Southern India (Mysore, Madurai, & Kandy Early Tips)

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Southern India is one of the most interesting places to start your campaign. The Deccan plateau and the land of the Tamils to its south are home to some of the richest provinces in the game.

Controlling the great trading cities in the south and the famous diamond mines of Golconda at the plateau’s heart is certain to bring prosperity to your nation!

However, unless you choose one of the regional powers of Vijayanagar or Bahmanis, you are going to have a hard time in the early game.


Situation at Game Start

The southern part of the Indian subcontinent. Political map on the left, trade map on the right / EU4
The southern part of the Indian subcontinent. Political map on the left, trade map on the right.

The Indian south is dominated by two powers at the game’s start.

  • The Shia Bahmanid Sultanate in control of most of the Deccan Plateau
  • The Hindu Vijayanagara empire controlling the southern part of the Plateau and the coastal trading hubs of the Tamil people in the Indian Ocean.

Aside from those, this region is home to numerous smaller principalities. All of these are Hindu except from the Maldives.

The less notable ones are:

  • The Malayalam princedoms on the spice-rich Malabar coast
  • The Sunni sultanate of the Maldives on the southwest of the subcontinent
  • The Reddy Kingdom of Andhra in the northeast

    Sandwiched between the Bahmanis, Vijayanagar and Orissa they find themselves in a precarious position. However, they started allied to Vijayanagar and have several cores on their neighbors.

The more notable nations are:

  • The princedom of Mysore

    Has a unique achievement tied to it “Tiger of Mysore”. To unlock it, you must conquer the entirety of the Coromandel and Deccan regions. Starts with three core provinces controlled by Vijayanagar.

  • The Kingdom of Madurai

    Heirs of the great Pandya empire, they start reduced to a single province to the very south. They also have a unique achievement “Pandya empire”, tasking you with conquering their former lands. They have cores on almost all Tamil provinces under Vijayanagar’s control.

  • The Kingdom of Kotte and their vassal, Kandy

    The two nations starting in the island of Ceylon along with Jaffna, Vijayanagar’s vassal. They both have the “The Buddhists strike back” achievement tied to them, which requires conquering all of India and converting it to Theravada Buddhism. On top of that, Kandy also has another possible achievement, “Cotton Kandy”, which requires you to be the leading producer of Cotton.


Playing as a Stronger Nation

Both Bahmanis and Vijayanagar have lots of flavor and a unique mission tree tied to them.

They are also extremely strong to play as. Their gameplay is straightforward. Simply beat the other early on and mop up the weaker nations in the area.

Bahmanis and Vijayanagar both start with cores on each other’s land / Europa Universalis IV
Bahmanis and Vijayanagar both start with cores on each other’s land.

From that point on it plays like any middle game campaign.

Your northern rivals (usually some combination of Jaunpur, Bengal, Delhi, Gujarat and Mewar) should be considerably weaker than you, after you have unified the south.

These two also have a unique achievement “A tale of two families”. As one of the two, you need to conquer the other’s capital and have them not exist.


Playing as a Small Nation

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Estates setup as Mysore. The +1 military power for the Marathas will ensure you are at least on par with your enemies technologically.

Regardless which of the smaller nations you have chosen to play as in the region, your starting moves will be along the same lines. This is because in every single campaign, the two major powers of the region – Vijayanagar and Bahmanis – are always rivaled and hostile to each other.

Your goal is to play them against one another and ultimately betraying your opportunistic ally when you feel strong enough to go against them.

The following steps should dictate your early game:

1. Fabricate claims
All the southernmost nations are situated very close to each other. You should be able to fabricate claims on at least two of them. Do not forget to put them as rival to speed up the claim fabrication.

2. Ally Bahmanis
While you are fabricating the claims, do everything in your power to improve their opinion of you and ally them.

This includes:

  • Scornfully Insult their rivals
  • Royal marriage
  • Offering them military access
  • Changing your attitude towards Vijayanagar to “threatened”

3. Curry favors
You should have a diplomat currying favors with the Bahmanis to get to 10 favors ASAP.

To curry favors, simply go to the “influence actions” section after selecting Bahmanis on the map and click the “Curry favors” button.

4. Conquer all your small neighbors
Some helpful tips for this stage:

Tip 1: Some of these nations will usually be allied to Vijayanagar
You can circumvent that by attacking one of their allies. Another way is attacking a neighbor of theirs and waiting for them to declare on the same target. Vassalize the target and you will be automatically at war with them.

Tip 2: Vassalize Madurai
Unless you are playing as them of course. Madurai has a lot of cores on Vijayanagar’s lands. Mysore is another good vassal.

Madurai's core provinces highlighted / Europa Universalis IV
Madurai’s core provinces highlighted.

Tip 3: Don’t hold back
Do not be afraid to go over force limit, take loans, and hire mercenaries

5. Declare war on Vijayanagar
You want to take back whatever cores you and your vassals have on them.

Do not give any land to the Bahmanis if you called them using favors.

Situation before moving against Vijayanagar. Madurai and Kolathunad are vassals / EU4
Situation before moving against Vijayanagar. Madurai and Kolathunad are vassals.

Fighting the First War Against Vijayanagar

After finishing the conquest of your fellow neighbors, it is time to move against the big yellow blob to your north.

By now you should have enough favors to call Bahmanis without them expecting anything in return.

If for some reason you haven’t, you can still call them, but they will expect territorial gains. It’s not the end of the world if you give them some of Vijayanagar’s land. If you give them nothing, they will most likely break the alliance.

Some tips for the war:

  • Rely on Bahmanis – Bahmanis will lift the heavy weight in this engagement. Their Shia religion gives them a slight edge as it provides morale of armies. They are close in strength with Vijayanagar. Try to secure a path to link up with them as soon as possible.
  • Go all out – Take loans, hire mercenaries, and go over the force limit. You will probably be on the brink of bankruptcy as the war is coming to an end. If unavoidable, makes sure to peace out before you go bankrupt.
  • Do not aim for 100% warscore – Vijayanagar will have allies in the north and possess several forts you need to siege. You are unlikely to achieve 100% warscore with ease. This is totally fine. You can repay your loans even without demanding a single ducat, due to how much you will expand.
  • Do not demand money – Due to their high war participation, a good amount of money -usually more than half- will go to your ally, Bahmanis. Demanding more land is far more important. War reparations are fine if you have warscore to spare.
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Demanding all of Mysore and Madurai cores, as well as the single core of Kolathunad costs 74 warscore. Despite not asking for money and being one loan away from bankruptcy after the war, the loans can be paid off comfortably due to the vastly increased income.

After the First War

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Situation after the second war versus Vijayanagar. Madurai is a vassal.

After you beat Vijayanagar the first time, your economy will improve considerably. Do not forget to lower autonomy in any provinces. And do not mind the increased unrest, they would rebel anyway due to separatism.

Your next move should be to fabricate claims on the rest of Vijayanagar, especially on their high-development provinces.

While waiting for the truce to end you can annex any remaining minors in the area.

When you feel strong enough break the alliance with Bahmanis as they are an obstacle to your expansion.

Be sure to secure their rivals as allies ASAP.

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Mewar and Orissa are usually good allies against Bahmanis.
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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.