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A list of exploits for Victoria v1.03b

Colonial manpower v1.00 style

  • Exploitive Level: Low or Extreme (see bottom for test)

In the initial version of Victoria, you could freely use colonial provided manpower to build regular quality divisions. On higher difficulty settings, when your divisions lose men they deplete your soldier pops. Fighting wars with reserves can leave you with national provinces devoid of any pops. Simply accquire some colonial land which is pop heavy (China is a good target) and convert a few million pops to soldiers. You can use your new manpower reserves to reenforce your standing divisions, but not build more than the allowed limit. You can however do a one off build which will allow you to exceed your division limit. For example, say you have 38/40 French soldiers, you can build 99 French divisions from your colonial manpower once and end up with 137/40 French divisions. You can often find a single pop in one your nation provinces, convert him to a soldier and build 99 divisions whilst only being able to support 1 of that type. In the later part of the game, you need not have a single soldier pop in a state province thus allowing you to dedicate your population to production and use useless colonial pops to man your army. The exploitive rating is low as the AI still builds its divisions according to the v1.00 setup (the UK is the best example here) so you are merely using colonial manpower in the same fashion.

Edit by LM+: If you do not have soldier POPs of a particular ethnicity to absorb losses, you take none. This exploit can therefore totally ruin game balance if you use it to avoid losing POP manpower.

Turn any colony to a state

  • Exploitive Level: Medium

You will often find yourself with many colonies that will never recieve immigration from your national pops and are on different continents making them impossible to turn into states. You can sell these colonies to nations which can turn them into states. For example, selling African colonies to Transvaal or Oranje. The computer will instantly make them states and you can buy them back as a state ready for building factories. In cases such as Africa, ,many of these colonies will not be a part of a civilised nation's core provinces allowing you to buy them back fairly easily. This exploit is best done with 200+ relations and lots of money.

Florida Swamp Land Fire Sale

  • Exploitive Level: Extreme

The AI *loves* to get claim buildings in trade, and why not? When you claim a colony you get prestige and BB free provinces. So, let's say you have a colony building in all the provinces in a state like Nigeria. You have 1 fort/mission/trading post/coaling station and then the rest are whatever. So you trade the rest and keep those 4. Then you can still claim the colony with no ill effects.

Rope a Dope

  • Exploitive Level: Low

Normally you can only DOW a country every 5 years, but sometimes you need/want to take down a country faster than that. Well, as long as you aren't *many* times stronger than the target nation they will still honor their alliances/independence guarantees, even within that 5 year period. I believe they get a prestige penalty too. Just make sure you have no troops in their territory when you declare war.

The most obvious target here is the UK and their allies in India.

Immigration Plan C

  • Exploitive Level: Low to Extreme

You can get immigrants, but unless you are the US it is rather hard, requiring a good party and lots of reforms (see elsewhere for details).

An easier way to get immigration is to take bits of China or Europe. Chinese RGOs will be full and the extra population will be looking to move - quite possibily to your country's home provinces if you manage your RGOs well. You can also convert Chinese or European POPs to craftsmen to increase the chance of them moving to your industrial heartland.

Note that all POPs other than Europeans, Chinese, and your own nationality will not migrate very far.

A more powerful version of the above is to expand a good money-making RGO, sell the province to China, and buy it back when the hordes have arrived. This can get you millions of people and massively increase your resource and industrial production, and therefore qualifies as among the biggest exploits available.

(some edits by LM+, who knows perfectly well what migrating Chinese can do)

The Tariff Shell Game

  • Exploitive Level: None

Your POPs pay tariffs on anything they buy off the WM. They don't pay tariffs if you produce the good yourself. So, if you set the good to buy <0 you'll accumulate the good and your POPs will buy it off the WM. Then sell your stockpile every now and then.

Edit by LM+: This is not an exploit, because your people are able to buy less, just like what happens when you raise taxes.

The War That Wasn't

  • Exploitive Level: High

With colonial wars against civilized nations, you can only enter colonial provinces or take colony buildings. This leads to a couple of different uses of such that are rather exploitive.

Most notably, the AI doesn't understand how to seize colony buildings, and will ignore them. So, if you just want colony buildings, issue a colonial war and send some CAV units around to take all the buildings you want. Keep in mind the AI will try to attack your ships and colonies though.

Secondly, one must have a colony to issue a colonial DOW, but it doesn't have to be anywhere the AI can reach. Keep a colony in the middle of the US, for example, and the AI can only fight you defensively.

Thirdly, a colonial war cannot be upgraded to a regular war, and still mandates an enforced peace period. It also has WE accumulate *very* slowly. So you can use colonial DOWs to stop regular wars.

Social Reforms For Nothing, and Your Immigrants For Free

  • Exploitive Level: Very Low

If you enact all political and social reforms off the bat, you'll generally get a flow of immigrants for the next 15 years or so. The problem is reforms are expensive. Well, bankruptcy clears all debt. So, spend yourself into a hole and you essentially get these reforms at no monetary cost.

Now, I label this as only maginally exploitive since bankruptcy does come with some costs; 300+ prestige, half your factories, and all your stockpiled goods. So this will not work very well unless you have some means of getting prestige outside of researching culture techs. The Italian and German states, with many neighbors to war with holding your culture/national shield provinces, are your best bet here.

Also note that immigrants ignore social reforms if you are in debt.

The Perpetual Prestige Machine

  • Exploitive Level: Game Ruining

Pick some weak nation that has no allies. DOW them. Don't annex or take provinces, instead get at least a humiliate. You'll make a small amount of prestige most likely this first time. But now, as the country has below -100 prestige you can DOW them for 1 prestige point after the peace treaty expires. If you occupy them and don't take land/annex you'll get 100 prestige every time. Netting 99+ (culture techs modify prestige, so you'll actually get more than this in the latter part of the game) prestige every 5 years makes winning the game trivial.

Beads for Manhattan

  • Exploitive Level: Game Ruining

When you have +200 relations with a big colonial power, you can trade land for more land than you give. You could give 3 colonial provinces and receive 5 in exchange for them. In a next trade you can easily get back the 3 provinces you gave earlier + 2 new provinces in exchange for 3 of the provinces you exchanged earlier.

Taking India was never so easy! Btw, trading also increases relations, so you can work up to 200+ relations without giving money and wasting diplo points in improve relations actions by land trades from relations +100 upwards, and +100 relations can be easily got by changing constitution. (Constitutional Monarchy for UK or other European countries.) Doesn't work with core provinces. (fFrom TheFlemishDuck)

Choo Choo from You You for Free Free

  • Exploitive Level: Low (High when used in conjunction with "Beads for Manhatten")

The UK is a real railroad-whore, it will rail any province it gets hold on. Get 200+ relations with UK, trade provinces with it, let the UK cover the traded provinces with railroads, then trade them back. Free railroads. (from TheFlemishDuck)

Who needs Privates when you have enough Admirals?

  • Exploitive Level: Low

The benefit from Capitalist POPs is cumulative and affects all factories in a state. They act like mini-railroads except there is no limit on when or how many you create! Thus one can concentrate your industry in a small number of states and promote POPs to capitalists like crazy in these states. It's like having a level 20 railroad in 1845! Further benefit can accrue for those countries with large populations (China, Russia, UK and to a lesser extent the US come to mind) if you continuously promote your largest POPs to capitalist. These soon provide outragous amounts of tax income. (from MacroEconomics)

Note that patch 1.03c caps capitalist and aristocrat bonuses to 50%, significantly reducing the exploit level for this.

The Sucker Punch

  • Exploitive Level: Low

There's a territory you just have to conquer that is in tough terrain and defended by 300k of enemy troops. You sent in a corps of 500k men and they took 400k casualties while the enemy only lost 100k. Time to use the the sucker punch technique! Take your attack force and split it into two parts, 2/3rd in one group and 1/3 in the other. Attack with the larger group and wait. Eventually send in your second force timed to arrive right before your first force begins to have divisions eliminated. Manually retreat the larger force three to four days before the second force arrives. The enemy will reinforce his defending units during that small temporal gap and reduce his morale to zero assuming you have inflicted enough casualties on him with your first attack force. The second attack force will arrive presently with the enemy at zero morale and the battle will be won. The AI should be checking for the presence of other enemy attackers before it reinforces, but doesn't. Silly AI! (from MacroEconomics)

Super Size Me

  • Exploitive Level: High

The AI values those last claim buildings so much, that as long as you have good relations with the AI, it will begin offering you tech plus money in exchange for the claim. With that offer up on the screen, pause the game and open a new negotiation screen with the same AI country. Complete a land exploit trade as described previously (switching claims and getting excess goodies). Then accept the AI's trade offer. Since you no longer own the claim building the AI was attempting to buy, you get the tech and money for free. Won't crash the game either. Just free cheese. (from MacroEconomics)

Just a Little More Friendly

  • Exploitive Level: Very Low

When you do trade deals with the AI, relations increase with +15 regardless of the circumstances. So if you wish to improve relations with someone, just open negotiations and give him £100. This is much cheaper, and often more effective, than using the actual "Improve Relations" function which in my experience mostly gives a mere +10 in relations. (from Varyar)

(from JimBob) It's hard to consider this an exploit, really. You might think it's an exploit to get +15 relations for just 100 quid, BUT also consider that if some country has been reduced to just one province, and you give him a core province of his for free, relations only improve by +15, too! Suppose Belgium conquers the Netherlands, and gets everything except Amsterdam in a peace settlement. Then the Belgian player, in a fit of generosity, gives the whole lot back to the Dutch. +15 relations! But if they do it one province at a time, it's +15 +15 +15...

The Cheap Regular Reserve Army

  • Exploitive Level: Medium

Imagine that you have an army of 150 divisions. Expensive to keep standing in full strength during peace, right? Nope; place all your 150 divisions in 1 province (preferably a unimportant one), one that preferably has a land connection with your capital.

Now, trade away that province with an other country, woosh your 150 division army is in your reserve. Now set your army maintainance slider to 0 upkeep. Your army in reserve won't lose strength but stay at 10/12K size, but their costs will be significantly less. When war comes near, set your slider back to 100% and deploy your forces. They will have half organization when deployed (not all that bad) and they can be deployed where you want (given that the province you want to deploy to had a land connection to the province that was used to get the divisions in the reserve).

This way you can have a large "standing" army for a very cheap upkeep cost without having to keep the maintenance and manpower sliders up at a costly rate. Not tested with ships but presumably it works the same way, Although ships are easier to reinforce.

Note that when you deploy an army from the reserve that is in size 10/12K but you have your maintenance slider still at 0%, then they will deploy as 1900k divisions so you have to set your slider to 100% before deploying them. (from TheFlemishDuck)

The Twice Tech'ed Army

  • Exploitive level: Medium to High

This one is rather difficult to execute, but could give an advantage in mp. Take for example Prussia; play it historically but don't research any army techs, and keep feeding the German minors all the other techs you discover, so your army has pretty low fire/shock values, while theirs are advanced. Now beat Austria in 1866, which is easy even with an outdated army since you can position your troops on the border and quickly seize the necessary provinces to trigger the winning event and you'll inherit the German minors and their advanced armies

Now for the interresting part: each military tech you'll discover will give you a boost in combat values to ALL your troops, including the already advanced ones you just inherited. Result: you now have an extra 20 divisions with extra high stats. just remenber to stockpile some RP to quickly buy military techs to be on par with France on time. This strategy also works with the Italian unification.

EDIT by qwerkus: A further way to exploit this is building a lot of south german guards, and than annexing and liberating a south german sate (like Baden). Since south german isn't your primary culture, all guards will revert to Baden; than apply the above described strategy, (though I would go for an earlier popular unification) letting Baden do the research. Notice that having 'army-industrial' research establishment at the time you release Baden drastically improve the process, since Baden will research a lot more army techs. Promoting clerks there also helps. At the time of the unification, you get back your upgraded guards, ready to be twice-teched. This way, you can increase the doubled teched army to virtualy any size. Notice though that the upkeep cost is ALSO doubled.

"Nein, we are just vacationing!"

  • Exploitive level: High to Extreme

After fighting a regular war against an enemy nation you often end up with land troops inside their borders. These troops can move around freely and the AI will ignore them as long as you are at peace. Once war is declared, however, they immediately lose all morale and are easily annihilated by any enemy troops standing in the same square, so this does not work in MP. In SP however it is quite frankly terrible. By leaving a stack of 20 or so engineers on top of the enemy capital (with a minus attrition general) they will immediately begin to capture the city at the start of the war, as well as digging in for massive fortification once they are done. This denies the enemy their mobilisation pool and they will often attack fruitlessly against your well dug in divisions.

This can also be used in colonial wars when the enemy won't even bother trying to uproot your troops. This is practically like pressing an "I win" button. Since the captured territory (even though it is not colonial) counts towards the warscore the enemy will be hard pressed to beat you.

-Added by Dysken

The Krakow-Ponzi scheme

  • Exploitive level: Game ruining

This exploit relies in the fact that the amount of war indemnities a defeated nation will pay takes only in account the income of that nation, during 2-3 latest days of the months, and the fact that diplomacy-money counts as regular income. So all you need to do, if you need some extra cash, is DoWing a weak nation - like krakow -, occupy the land, and ask for war indemnities. Than, 2 days before the end of the month (means the 29th of any month, besides february, where it's the 27th), open the diplomacy menu with Krakow, and send a generous gift. As a result, the Krakow income will skyrocket on that day, and thus the amount of war indemnities, since the engine believe the income of Krakow on that particular day is relevant for the entire month: on the first day of the next month, watch the Bonanza. I don't know the exact formula, but its certainly better than any ponzi scheme: you send about 10k money, and 3 days later Krakow pays you about 250k back ! Of course, Krakow doesn't have this kind of money, but it doesn't really matter: the country will just go deeply into debts, and rather accumulate state bankrupcies than fail in the indemnities payment. Getting millions in just a few month kills the game experience, and is only usefull if you're having a test game, and are too lazy to edit the savegame, or hit a thousand times the F12 <money> cheat. Another use is to force-bankrupt an insanely rich nation, like the UK, after a major war, for historical realism. You can of course just edit the savegame after the operation, and remove a few zeros from your cash reserves, though this might be the only time in the gaming history, that somebody "cheats" himself poorer ...

-already known by many, article wrote by qwerkus