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Europa Universalis IV walkthrough: Forming Hindustan
Europa Universalis IV has a massive number of starting countries to choose from, and it can be difficult to pin down an appropriate choice on your first pass through the game. There's an even more pressing fact to consider, as well: many countries simply don't exist yet. Whole empires are just waiting to be born... but they require the right set of requirements to put into place. Hindustan is perhaps one of the easier ones to set into motion, and can prove an excellent springboard into conquering the rest of the world.
Hindustan is one of the more interesting states to form in the game in that it can be created through multiple means. The only real stipulation for eligibility is beginning as a state bearing one of the Indian subcontinent's four culture groups: Hindustani, Dravidian, Western Aryan, or Eastern Aryan. Each of these four groups includes a rather large list of territories which must thereafter be claimed in order to unify your country into Hindustan. These states are all parts of different territorial governments, necessitating a series of wars to unify them all (and whatever else you care to take) into Hindustan. Refer to the National Decision 'Form Hindustan' under the Missions and Decisions tab to see a full checklist of the necessary territories.
This open-ended quest inevitably leads to a decision: where will you begin your quest to form Hindustan? There are numerous states to choose from, though they sometimes vary wildly in power. You can choose one of the smaller states (Malabar, Kochin, Venad, Ceylon, etc.) if you want a challenge, but you're likely better off choosing a larger, stronger country on your first go. In the screenshots provided I chose Vijayanagar; you can alternatively go for Bahamanis, Malwa, Garjat, or another of the northern states. You don't face any overwhelmingly-powerful forces in the subcontinent, so your chances of success with any state that has three or more territories at the beginning of the game is fairly high.
The cultural and territorial requirements aside, the formation of Hindustan requires only an independent nation (not a vassal, in other words), a Stability of 3, and a state of peace. None of these are difficult to get, assuming your wars go as planned, though peace can be tricky if you've been drawn into a protracted engagement.
Let's Build a Nation
Almost regardless of where you set down roots in the subcontinent, you will almost always have at least one or two neighbours who are single-state, weak opponents (hence Vijayanagar being a smart choice, as it has four adjoining states you can grab from the get-go). These are the territories you need to pick on first. Form up your army and fabricare false claims on these territories. If it works, great; if you get caught, the country will be angry at you and you'll still ultimately get the war you want. Invade each in turn, watching out for alliances that may draw you into wars with the larger countries nearby. The last thing you want is a battle on two fronts right at the beginning of the game.
After taking over these smaller states and establishing cores to prevent resistance (religious conversions are also very helpful in cutting off rebellion), you'll want to look to your larger neighbours. Have a look at your checklist of necessary states and pick on the country with the most necessary pieces of land. Make nice with the countries surrounding them will placing fabricated claims on your target's territories. Once you have a nice network of alliances set up (in this part of the world even a single alliance will probably do), sweep into a war and take the territories you need. With luck, your allies will honour their agreements and keep the enemy off-balance from the other side, creating a nice pincer movement.
In other parts of the world it's not necessarily a wise idea to occupy every enemy territory, as some foes (say, Russia, or perhaps the smaller Great Britain) are spread over vast spaces. The subcontinent's states, by contrast, typically claim five or six territories at most. Consequently, it's wise to group up your troops, go on a forceful offensive that decimates all of the enemy armies, and then spread out to conquer everything at once. This serves three purposes:
- You'll prevent your target from generating more troops
- You'll prevent uprisings from getting in your way
- You'll prevent your allies from taking territories you need to form Hindustan
I can't stress this last point enough. You'll have to go to war against your buddies eventually if you want to conquer the entire subcontinent, but Hindustan does not require the conquest of every area nearby. Note, too, that the other groups in the region are capable of forming Hindustan, and many of the territories in the requirements list overlap. Make sure you get exactly what you need to achieve your ends before anyone else can, as there cannot be more than one Hindustan.
One last thing to note: core your new provinces as you get them. You need to have a core in each territory on the checklist to for Hindustan, and while it doesn't take that long to form a core (a few years at most), that much of a delay can really hamper your strategy if someone else decides to declare war on you in the meantime.
In truth, forming Hindustan probably won't be the most difficult part of your game, and the small series of wars needed to create the subcontinent's dominant power shouldn't take much longer than the early 1500s. More difficult is what lies beyond: the Mughals, the Celestial Empire of the Ming, and, perhaps inevitably, the superior firepower of the Europeans. If possible, try to expand west to Africa, and set up a colony or two with European neighbours; this will allow you to gradually Westernize Hindustan and gain a major technological advantage over your neighbours back east. After all, who said India's forebears had to settle for a subcontinent when they could conquer all of Asia?