Welcome to our Victoria 3 Dai Nam Early Game Guide. A guide for the early and transition to mid-game. Setting up Dai Nam for success and a self-sufficient economy. We know that there are people who have a hard time finishing the Victoria 3 game. If you are one of those who find it difficult to finish the game, let’s take you to our Victoria 3 guide.
Victoria 3 Dai Nam Early Game Guide
Dai Nam is a mid-sized nation, with a moderate population of 6 million and an even more moderate GDP. However, situated in the resource-rich Indochina region with ample of smaller nation around as room for expansion, you can easily make Dai Nam the new Japan of this timeline, becoming a great power on par with that of France and Great Britain.
The game starts before you un-pause. So what are the opening moves for a journey of greatness?
First is technology. Dai Nam does not start with Isolationism, thus we do get a base tech spread of about 16 to 44, the most likely to spread are Colonialism and Urban planning in Society tree, Cotton gin from Production, and Line infantry with Napoleonic War from War tree. However we only get 50 innovativeness as the base, so we need to research Academic to unlock Universities first.
Next is sorting out the budget. We start with 900 authority, 6k surplus in balance, and a decent gold reserve so our budget gives quite some room to work with. In my many test games, the best course of action is to apply 800 of your authority on consumption tax, prioritizing services and more luxurious goods, however, you should try to ensure that for every 100 authority, you get at least 1k in tax. The normal starters are services, furniture, clothes and liquor. NEVER, and I must stress, NEVER tax grain. Our next actions will rapidly decrease our Standard of Living (SoL), so taxing grain will only incite even more suffering, and as such radicals, also it only gives like 3k tax for 500 authority.
Now check your government tab, best case is that your Land Owner leader starts with the Jingoist trait, giving support for Professional Army. If this is the case, you should try and pass it immediately, it will only take a few months at most. If not, don’t try to pass any law yet, we don’t have any interest in local police force or slave trade as we are building a multicultural empire.
More Before Un-Pausing
Next, lets queue up that building list. We have a measly 5 building production, which is embarrassingly small, so let’s expand that. First, we want to empower more liberal Interest Groups (IG), such as the Industrialist and Intelligensia, so we will build the majority of our early buildings in the capital state of Tonkin, so you should now activate that Road Maintenance Edict in Tonkin (That’s why I told you to save 100 authority earlier). From what I have tested, you should follow this build path: 3 construction sectors, 5 to 7 logging camps (we get some throughput for these thanks to our terrain), 2 cotton plantations (1 if you really need to prioritize the other stuff, but put 2 on the queue), 2 shipyards, 2 paper mills (again, 1 for now, 1 later but leave it on queue), 3 government admin building, 3 tooling workshops, 2 Textile mills.
Then to Annam, press Ctrl+Left Click to queue 10 iron mines, you will need 15 for the first few years, but 10 on the queue would do for now.
Then queue 15 naval bases, spread throughout your states. I suggest clicking one in Tonkin, one in Annam, and one in Mekong, and repeating. This ensures that each state has its bases built consecutively, which is important for your navy to start recruiting.
I don’t understand why, but if you have 2 naval bases in 1 state, the ships only start recruiting one at a time for each state, so building them state by state in a loop makes the most efficient.
Finally, open the Diplo tab (Alt+3 I think) and start improving relations with these nations: Great Britain, Great Qing, East India Company, and Burma. Also declare an interest in Indonesia.
First War, Early Diplomacy Until 1840 – Victoria 3 Dai Nam Early Game Guide
You start with a vassal, Cambodia, paying 10% of their treasury each year for you, which is nice, but you would want them as a vassal since they would be “able” to join your wars, and also pay 5% more of their earnings for you.
Don’t start this war immediately, you start with poor relations with Great Qing, Great Britain, East India Company, and a rivalry with Siam. I tried starting this immediately a couple of times, and one of the big 3 nations I have mentioned often intervenes. You have no fear of either Burma or Siam intervening because they are only your size and are AI, thus giving them a disadvantage. Recruit 2 generals, and whoever has better traits, should be upgraded to lv2, this will save you 5 bureaucracy. Traits that give extra health, defense, offense, or even supply limit reduction are nice ones.
As I mentioned in the Before un-pausing section, improving relations with some of the nations capable of intervening will reduce the likelihood of them poling their nose in your business. Wait for relations with the big 3 (GB, Qing, and India) to reach a neutral state, preferably positive, but anything above -10 is ok. This should take a couple of months, then you can start your wars for the visualization of Cambodia. This war should be quick and simple, but if not, activate conscripts.
You start with a truce with Siam until 1839, so there is some time before you can attack them. Areas of expansion you should keep in mind are the State of North Borneo (for sulfur), the State of Chiang Mai (for lead), Burma region (for better Hard Wood), South Japan (for resource and population), Macao (if the chance presents itself, i.e. Portugal has no allies/defence partners and you have semi-modernized your army).
More First War, Early Diplomacy Until 1840
One thing to note is that while you modernize your nation, so will your neighbours. The one to keep in mind here is Qing, or more correctly, any big Chinese nation that can intervene in your conquest. Ideally, you would want to keep a high relation with them, but this will encourage them to import from you vital goods like iron or tools, which will cripple your economy from a shortage of these goods. My solution is to embargo them, and only improve relations above -10 whenever I plan to invade someone in Indochina. More often than not, they don’t take an interest in Indonesia, despite having Lanfang as a subject there. And by the time you do start conquering Brunei, you should already have Line Infantry and Mobile Artillery compared to whatever backward uncivilized pathetic units they have.
As I said earlier, you desperately need lead and sulfur for your economy, since you don’t have these resources, and I am horrible at trading so I try to build everything myself. That is why you want to have at least 9 naval bases built by 1840, so your navy can start training. Invading Brunei, which usually has Line Infantry with no or little artillery by 1840, requires you to naval invade them. which means you need to be at least on par with tech and have a larger invading force than whatever defense they can muster (usually 4 to 5 battalions, which only amounts to 3 or 4 during the fight of the naval landing – thanks to @nosquimoriturisumus for the amazing guide on this, totally should check it out guys!)
After vassalizing Cambodia, improve relations with them, doesn’t hurt you to do so, since you have like 1.5k influence to throw around. Always try to improve relations with Great Powers and any big nations that can pose a threat to you, that means Qing, Great Britain, French, Dutch, Dutch East Indies, East India Company/British Raj, and any great powers wanting to meddle in Indochina or Indonesia.
Try to conquer Brunei and Chiang Mai as soon as possible, since having these resources early will help with changing your production methods, boosting your economy earlier.
Tech Progress, Economic Boom & Radicalizing your Nation
Passing your laws will be extremely hard with the landowners opposing nearly every reform you want, but this is a Paradox game, as such you can always count on RNGesus to give you something. Check the traits of your leading Interest groups like Landowners, Monks, and Rural folks. They usually have fixed traits (in red) and leader traits (in blue). These blue traits are the gift and the curse that will decide your run. For the first few laws, try to pass the more famous ones, i.e. those with little to no opposition. A good rule of thumb is despite a low chance of succeeding, as long as the opposition is less than 10%, you have a decent chance to pass the law quite quickly.
With that being said, here is the list of a few laws you would want to pass as soon as possible:
Land Voting (because Liberal is King), Professional Army (always nice to have, and it makes your Armed force happy, a rare thing), Guaranteed Liberties (lower the increase of Radicals when your SoL drops, and it will drop), Abolish Serfdom (Surprisingly, the Aristocrats don’t really care about this), Freedom of Conscience (Total Separation is great, but 100 Authority is very nice, also Landowners aren’t bothered about this), Ban Slavery (First obstacle, sometimes it takes me 50 years to ban slavery because it keeps causing massive amounts of radicals), Agrarianism (not too much opposition, and we can transit to Free Trade later), and of course Colonial Resettlement whenever possible (Seriously, so many Pacifist in the government makes passing this a true stick up my back).
Dai Nam already starts with Mercantilism and Right of Assembly, which are both decent starters so we don’t need to bother them just yet.
Next is tech, after Academia finishes, I suggest immediately jump to Empiricism, this unlocks the Liberal Party, which is important if you want to contain your Landowners. After 2-3 months of building, the Intelligensia should be powerful enough for you to get them into your Government, they will be the cornerstone on which you build your new empire.
Next tech is either Urban planning, Colonialism, or Currency Standards. Research whatever was not spreading to you first, and finish the other two, then Central Banking, and maybe Mass Communication and Law Enforcement if tech spread in Production tree is working in your favour.
More Tech Progress, Economic Boom & Radicalizing your Nation
After the 4 important techs in Society tree, you would want Atmospheric Engine and Precision tools in Production tree. By now you should have been in the 1840s, depending on your situation you can research Napoleonic warfare if it has not spread yet, or you can research the Bessemer process/ Intensive Agriculture in Production, or come back to Society and finish the tier 1 techs.
Economy-wise, you should run into shortages after shortages, after all, you are rapidly building up an economy, so it is only natural. After the first 3 construction sectors, there will be a shortage of wood, let about 7-10 logging camps in Tonkin finish, then you should lack Fabric, let one Cotton plantation finishes. By now everything should stabilize and you can look to change some production methods that require tools. Build a couple of tooling workshops, then expand your iron mines as well as your shipyards. To modernize your army, you will need arms, as such queue up some Arms Factory. These will use iron and hardwood, so you should also queue up some new logging camps specifically meant to make hardwood, i.e. not in Tonkin. Again, this means a ton of buildings on queue, but you still need at least 2 more coal mines for your atmospheric engines. Let all of these and the buildings in the Before Un-pausing section finishes, and you would have lost so much tempo. Queue up buildings as you need them, but proactively change the order so that you get what you need first, like naval bases. 3 Universities is also very nice, but you can always get free ones from Industrialists through events, but queue some up just in case. Once you have conquered the required states, build sulfur and lead mines, then start building glass workshops as well as chemical plants. A couple more iron mines, steel mills and engine factories are also necessary to prepare for the future,but not imperative, although steel is needed to improve your tools production, so keep that in mind.
There will undoubtedly times when you fall into to negative balance, but as long as you remain with a gold reserve of 25% total, you will be fine. If it ever falls below that, raise taxes and decrease government expenses, although refrain from the latter, as it will upset some people.
From this Point Onward (Mid Game, Mid-Late Game Transition)
At this point, you should be set for growth, just built stuff when you start running into deficits, and try to pass laws like per-capita taxation or even proportional taxation, along with more liberal laws, granting more power to the people. Proceeding with economic growth and law passing is not the most difficult, but gaining territory is. You can expand in Indonesia is pretty easy, if you pace it correctly, but it is quite difficult to gain enough bureaucracy to incorporate all these new territories and improve your institutions at the same time. Follow your journal entries, expand your army and navy, modernize them, and if everything goes well, by 1900 or even sooner, you can force some weaker great power to recognize you, which will propel you to great power status, because we are building a more self-sufficient economy, meaning we can produce almost everything by ourself, if not we just take land that has such resources. The only remaining resource you can’t discover or own is oil, so just invade Persia for that.