Europa Universalis 4 England Guide: Strategies & Ideas

Play as England and expand across Europe in EU4

Europa Universalis 4 england guide

The most popular nation to play in EU4 is England, and it’s no surprise why. With its rich history and powerful navy, England is a formidable nation to play as. However, playing as this nation can be challenging, especially for newer players. Still, we do recommend and encourage new players to try starting as England, as it is an incredibly interactive playthrough with an easily defendable mainland and endless possibilities for colonial and overseas conquests.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to playing as England in Europa Universalis 4, covering everything from early-game strategies to late-game objectives, as well as forming Great Britain. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, our EU4 England guide will help you navigate the complexities of playing as this nation.

Start of the Game

When starting as England, here are some key points to keep in mind:

Europa Universalis 4 England
  1. Geographic Position: England is located on an island off the coast of Europe, which provides some natural protection against invasions. However, it also means that you are somewhat isolated from the rest of the continent.
  2. Government Type: England starts as a monarchy, with a king or queen as the ruler. This means you’ll have to balance the interests of your royal family with the needs of your country.
  3. Starting Goals: As England, you may want to focus on building a strong navy to protect your island, expanding your colonial empire, and maintaining good relations with your neighbors on the continent. You may also want to consider getting involved in the Wars of the Roses, which will go over later in this guide.
  4. Potential Challenges: As England, you may face challenges such as rebellious Scottish and Irish vassals, aggressive French neighbors, and the need to balance your colonial ambitions with the demands of your home country. You may also face religious turmoil, as England starts the game as a Catholic nation but may convert to Protestantism later on.

Alliance with Portugal

England and Portugal in Europa Universalis 4
Make sure you maintain your alliance with Portugal

You will begin the game in an alliance with Portugal. You will want to maintain this throughout the game as they will eventually become a great colonial ally. Initial alliances are not as important with England, but you also have the option of forming an alliance with Castile. Keep in mind they will likely become a hostile rival later in the game.

Conceding Land to France

For the purpose of this playthrough, we will be conceding our land in France. This will save many headaches down the road and even open the door for a French alliance later in the game. In preparation for this, you will want to make sure your army is back on the English mainland up near the Scottish border. At the same time make sure to destroy all forts on your soon-to-be French land so they will not get the benefits of some free forts. This is optional, but early on I see no reason not to.

Almost immediately you should find that Scotland enters an alliance with France. Typically this will be their only ally, however, sometimes Scotland will also have a few minor Irish nations in their alliance as well. You will want to begin a spy network in Scotland and form a claim as soon as possible.

The First War

After the beginning steps are taken you will want to declare war on Scotland. Be sure that they drag France into the war too, but this shouldn’t be an issue. Once the war begins make sure you use your navy to repel any thoughts of a French invasion on the mainland, but let them take all your French land. While that is happening your English army should be able to overwhelm the Scottish military leading to an easy conquest. If Scotland is allied with any minor Irish nations you can use your navy to block the land straight between mainland Scotland and Ireland.

Peace Deal with France

Once France takes all their cores on the mainland and some time has gone by offer them a peace deal that includes all the land. You will be offering everything, except Calais, and France should almost always take this. If they don’t agree on a deal right away, just let more time drag on. Eventually, they will agree on a peace deal.

Once France has their land and is out of the war, they will become a nonfactor for the remainder of the game, given you play your cards right. You may even find their relationship with England immediately improves following the war.

Conquest of Lothian and Aberdeen

In the short term, you will take an economic and prestige hit for this, but the long-term benefits will more than make up for this. From this point, you should have most, if not all of Scotland conquered. Take as much land as you like, prioritizing Lothian and Aberdeen as you will need them to form Great Britain later on.

England conquest of Lothian and Aberdeen in Europa Universalis 4
Prioritize acquiring Lothian and Aberdeen; they are needed to form Great Britain

In the peace deal with Scotland, also be sure they abandon their relationship with France. This will help you freely conquer the remainder of Scotland in the next war. It’s also good to walk away with some gold if you can.

After the War: The War of Roses Disaster

Once your first war for Scotland has concluded you will want to brace for the possible War of Roses event. As England, you start with a useless ruler, who has 0/0/0 for skills. He also has the trait of low fertility.

From the start of the game, a disaster countdown will begin and when triggered, the War of Roses will start. You will have to replace your ruler with either one from the House of York or the House of Lancaster. Once chosen, you will have to defeat a series of rebels supporting the other house. If triggered, it’s not the end of the world; you will likely just have to defeat a few rebel armies. Once the disaster is over you will get a free +1 stability and some administrative power.

Avoiding War of Roses

In my playthrough for this article, I was able to avoid the event by getting an heir and having my ruler die as general. This sequence can’t always be counted on and is very much up to luck, as the low fertility modifier gives a lesser chance to have an heir.

If avoided, great! However, it’s always a good idea to brace until it’s decided one way or another, as a rebel army can overwhelm you if you are in the middle of another war.

First Idea Group and Further Conquest

Exploration Idea Group

Once you get the option to pick your first idea group, you will want to choose the Exploration idea group.

You will want to prioritize getting the first two ideas quickly even if it means falling a little behind in your diplomatic technology.

The first idea, “Quest for the New World“, allows England to discover and colonize new lands, which can provide England with new resources and markets for trading, as well as a source of new settlers and potential soldiers. The second idea, Colonial Ventures“, gives England an extra colonist, which can be used to establish new colonies in unexplored territories.

When available, be sure to send exploration missions to the New World and send a colonist to Newfoundland as soon as able. This will be used as a jumping-off point to colonize colonial America around the Hudson Bay trade node which should be your first colonial goal.

Conquest of Scotland and Ireland

While your early colonial missions are going on you, will want to finish your conquest of Scotland.

Conquest of Scotland as England in Europa Universalis 4
Make sure you finish your conquest of Scotland

Once you conquer Scotland, you also want to finish your conquest of Ireland. This should be a fairly easy task with the main challenge coming from managing your administrative power from the cost of coring so many provinces.

Conquest of Ireland as England in Europa Universalis 4
You’ll need to acquire Ireland to unite the British Isles

Religious Conversion

Around this time, you will start to see Protestantism appear in different places around Europe. In most playthroughs, England usually becomes Protestant.

Protestant Religion in Europa Universalis 4

Protestantism provides various bonuses to a country that embraces it, such as increased tolerance of heretics and the ability to choose their own church leader. Additionally, Protestantism has a unique mechanic called “Church Aspect,” which allows players to choose between different aspects that provide various bonuses and penalties.

In the case of this playthrough, I chose to convert to Protestant early, which was a mistake I would recommend avoiding. Until I had the majority of my provinces converted to Protestant, I dealt with many religious rebels and stability events. All of this was manageable but is certainly avoidable. You can avoid this by either not converting at all or waiting until more of your provinces are naturally converted through centers of Reformation.

Forming Great Britain

You will also soon get the option to form Great Britain around this time. You will change your shade of red, get a new name, and some new useful national ideas.

Great Britain in Europa Universalis 4

These ideas aren’t anything super complex but will have good synergies with the rest of the playthrough.

Forming Great Britain is very easy and really only requires Lothian and Aberdeen. From this stage, once you hit administrative level 10 you will be able to form Great Britain.

We have your journey covered as this expanding empire in our Great Britain guide.


Playing as England in Europa Universalis 4 can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. With its unique geographical position, powerful navy, and potential for colonial expansion, England offers endless possibilities for players of all skill levels. By following the strategies and ideas outlined in this guide, you can navigate the complexities of playing as this nation and emerge as a successful ruler, whether you choose to form Great Britain or carve out your own path in the world. Good luck and have fun!

Avatar of Tyler Vareski
Tyler has over 11 years of experience playing strategy games. He has a particular fondness for Europa Universalis IV, of which he has logged over 900 hours. Despite the challenges that come with playing a complex game like EU4, Tyler finds it incredibly rewarding and loves sharing his knowledge and strategies with fellow gamers. Outside of EU4, Tyler is a massive Star Wars junkie. He also likes 2K too much and doesn't eat enough vegetables.