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Westernization is the process of embracing the industrial revolution, bringing your country into a new era, and joining European and American nations as a peer.
Non-industrialized countries are looked down upon and can be easily conquered for little Infamy by foreign powers. Their primitive armies can pose little resistance, their population cannot grow without adequate medicine, and their economy is hampered by the lack of industries.
Playing as an Asian or African nation, westernizing should be your first goal.
To westernize, you will need to enact reforms as fast as possible. These reforms are different from those available to industrialized nations as they require research points, and house support only acts as a cost modifier.
Each reform grants progress toward westernization represented as a percentage, and you won’t need to pass them all. It all comes down to choosing the most efficient reforms and maximizing your research points.
How To Increase Your Research Points
As a non-industrialized nation, you will get fewer Research Points than your western counterparts, but all the tricks that work for them will also work for you:
- Increase Literacy across your country: it provides you with a flat research bonus, and also reduces the cost of every reform, so this is a no-brainer.
- Encourage Clergymen in your most populous state through your national focus (you are limited to one before westernizing). Clergymen provide a direct bonus that caps when they are 2% of your population, but also improve education until 4%
- Accept advisors from Great Powers and other random events: the sooner you westernize, the better.
- Enact Special Decisions available to countries such as Persia or Japan that can drastically increase your progress.
Finally, you have an option not available to your industrialized rivals.
Research Points Through Expansion
Larger countries with weaker neighbors can get Research Points based on the amount of conquered land and on which military reforms they already passed.
Choosing your targets is very easy: go after smaller nations without modern armies and overwhelm them with raw numbers and superior quality. Due to your low rank, you might have to implement negative tariffs to get the raw materials needed to raise and replenish your armies, but it’s definitely worth it.
Choosing when to strike, on the other hand, is a balancing act: the more military reforms you pass, the more Research Points you will get; on the other hand, the juicy minor you are eyeing might be annexed or sphered by a Great Power if you wait too long.
Furthermore, the Establish Protectorate casus belli is only available to westernized countries.
You will have to make do with Conquest, which comes with a massive 22 Infamy.
You might want to reduce your Infamy score by releasing some satellites, especially if you only took them for the research boost.
Which Reforms to Pick
If you have avenues of military expansion, getting at least one of the first four military reforms is useful.
A strong pick would be Imported Weapons: it allows you to recruit modern infantry instead of irregulars.
If you are on a more peaceful path, on the other hand, administrative reforms are way more efficient.
Here’s what a typical non-expansionist reform order would look like:
- You should start with Education because it will make other reforms cheaper by improving your Literacy.
- Industrial Construction and Improved Transport will give you a cement factory and some early railroads, helping you build up the economy.
- Land, Administrative, and Financial reforms should follow: these are the most efficient ones and will give you the most progress for your Research Points.
Catching Up To The Great Powers
After westernizing, you still have only the first few technologies unlocked, and both your infrastructure and army are outdated compared to the West.
The first technologies you should grab are those improving your research:
- Late Enlightenment Philosophy
You should now aim to become a Great Power yourself: being in the Sphere of Influence of a powerful neighbor will give you the time to establish yourself without the fear of a foreign invasion destroying your revolution.
If you didn’t expand early on, this is a good time to use your new casus belli to invade larger, non-industrialized countries to gain population and prestige.
In the end, larger countries such as Persia, China, Japan, and Korea will play a regular Great Power game, while smaller tags such as Siam and Ethiopia will be in for a tougher run.