EU4 Beginner Nations Guide: 15 Nations for Every Playstyle (2024)

Your ultimate EU4 Beginner Nations Guide, offering an overview of 15 ideal starter nations in Europa Universalis IV. Learn about nations best suited for administration, diplomacy, and military conquest.

Starting your EU4 Journey

Welcome to our EU4 Beginner Nations Guide, the perfect starting point for beginners venturing into the world of Europa Universalis IV (EU4).

In this grand strategy game, your choices will shape the future of your chosen nation through the tides of history.

Choosing your nation is the first and most important decision you’ll make. With hundreds of options, it can feel quite daunting.

But fear not – in this EU4 Beginner Nations Guide, The Reliable Narrator has handpicked 15 nations, ideal for beginning players.

Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

Administration and Economy

For those who enjoy economic strategy and intricate administration, these five nations will allow you to shine. Dominate trade networks, manage internal affairs, and grow into a prosperous, rich nation with one of these options.


In our EU4 Beginner Nations Guide, we start with Holland, a small yet potent entity perfect for economic growth. Despite being nestled between larger nations, Holland possesses the potential to create a vast trade empire.

Harness the lucrative English Channel trade node with opportunities for expansion into the New World and Asia. However, be wary of Holland’s powerful nations. Successfully navigating these early threats can lead to forming the Netherlands, a trade superpower in the late game.


Next up, we have Saxony. This nation is a great starting point for beginners who want a taste of managing an inland nation within the Holy Roman Empire (HRE). Saxony’s strength lies in its potential for peaceful administrative and economic growth.

But be wary of the potential adversaries surrounding Saxony. Navigating the complex politics of the Empire can be challenging. If you can manage your diplomatic relations effectively, the Saxons can become a major economic powerhouse and a key player in the HRE.


Our EU4 Beginner Nations Guide wouldn’t be complete without Burgundy. Known for its affluent start, Burgundy presents an exciting challenge for players interested in administration and economy.

Burgundy starts the EU4 managing multiple vassals, which offers valuable practice with internal affairs. It can be tricky maintaining independence from France and the HRE, but with the right strategies, you can potentially form the formidable nation of Lotharingia and become a significant force in Europe.


Poland offers an interesting combination of administrative strategy and diplomatic gameplay. The nation starts EU4 with a decision to enter a personal union with Lithuania, which can give you a strong position in Eastern Europe.

Be mindful, managing this large union can be an administrative challenge. Later in the game, you can form the Commonwealth, making Poland a great choice for beginners aspiring for growth into a potent administrative power.


Venice is an intriguing choice in this EU4 Beginner Nations Guide for administrative enthusiasts. As one of the richest nations at the start of the game, Venice provides the opportunity to manage an extensive trade empire. Its unique government form, Merchant Republic, offers different gameplay, focusing on trade and economic power.

With multiple potential enemies close by, like the expanding Ottoman Empire, your diplomatic skills will also be put to the test. If played well, Venice could dominate the Mediterranean trade and play a pivotal role in Italian and Balkan politics.

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Diplomacy and Exploration

Are you more intrigued by the art of diplomacy, or the thrill of discovering uncharted lands? Our next five nations are perfect for those who want to focus on alliances, political maneuvers, and venturing into the unknown.

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Portugal earns its place in our EU4 Beginner Nations Guide as a prime choice for beginners interested in diplomacy and exploration. Their location and historical friends provide safety for development and expansion.

Portugal’s major draw lies in the Age of Exploration, which can lead the way in exploring the New World, Africa, and Asia. Be wary, though; managing overseas territories brings its own set of challenges. If navigated well, Portugal can become a colonial powerhouse and a trade juggernaut.


Austria offers a different gameplay experience focusing on internal HRE politics and diplomacy. Their position as the initial Holy Roman Emperor allows players to navigate the intricacies of maintaining royal marriages, securing alliances, and thwarting external threats.

The task of keeping the HRE intact can be quite challenging, but it provides a great insight into the diplomatic aspects of EU4. If played well, Austria has the potential to maintain its dominance over the Empire and become a formidable force in Europe.


England, in our EU4 Beginner Nations Guide, stands as an excellent option for players looking to dive into the depths of diplomacy and overseas exploration. Their island location offers relative safety, allowing you to focus on internal affairs and establishing a strong naval presence.

The War of the Roses and Surrender of Maine events can present an early challenge, but surviving this can pave the way for a rich colonization experience, as well as engaging in diplomacy with Europe and the New World.


The Kingdom of Denmark presents a unique gameplay experience centered around managing personal unions, as it begins the game ruling over Norway and Sweden. Balancing these relationships is a diplomatic challenge that can teach valuable lessons in maintaining vassals and allies.

Furthermore, Denmark’s position allows for control over the Baltic Sea trade and exploration into the New World. If managed effectively, Denmark can incorporate its partners, dominate Northern Europe, and potentially venture into colonization.


Concluding our diplomatic and exploration list for this EU4 Beginner Nations Guide is Aragon. This nation’s position makes it great for exploration and trade, in the Mediterranean and the New World.

With opportunities to expand into Italy, France, and North Africa, as well as very close ties with Castile, players can steer Aragon to form Spain and become a dominant global power.

Military and Conquest

Finally, for those of you with a penchant for war and conquest, this EU4 Beginner Nations Guide presents five nations with strong military potential. If leading armies and expanding borders is what you love, these nations offer the might you seek.


Topping the list in our EU4 Beginner Nations Guide for military-focused nations are the Ottomans. They offer a diverse gameplay experience with a strong emphasis on military expansion.

The Ottomans start in a powerful position with an excellent military and several paths for expansion, making it a perfect choice for beginners interested in conquest. One potential challenge is managing aggressive expansion and relations with neighboring nations.


A must-include in any EU4 Beginner Nations Guide, France is a solid choice for players interested in military gameplay. The nation begins in a strong position with large armies and rich lands. The Hundred Years’ War with England presents an initial challenge, but winning it can set you on a path of European domination.

Be prepared for coalitions as you expand too quickly. If played well, France has the potential to become a formidable force in Europe and the world.


Muscovy offers a blend of military expansion and administrative challenges. You start with the goal of consolidating the Russian region and dealing with the diverse group of principalities surrounding you. As Muscovy, you’ll face the challenge of managing vast, often inhospitable lands and the looming threat of the Mongol nations.

However, if players are successful in these moves, they can form Russia and become a major force in Eurasia. While not for the faint of heart, this EU4 Beginner Nations Guide offers Muscovy as a high-risk, high-reward starting option.


No EU4 Beginner Nations Guide is complete without Brandenburg. This nation highlights military gameplay within the HRE. Starting small but with strong military ideas, Brandenburg offers the potential to form Prussia, one of the strongest military powers in the game.

The early game requires careful navigation of HRE politics and expansion. Brandenburg also starts with poor land. However, overcoming these hurdles will set you up for domination.


Rounding out our EU4 Beginner Nations Guide is Sweden. Though starting under a personal union with Denmark, Sweden’s strong military ideas make it a good choice for a military-focused game.

The early game challenge of breaking free from Denmark offers an exciting start to any campaign. Once independent, Sweden has the potential to become a leading power in Northern Europe and dominate the Baltics.

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Reliable Thoughts

We hope our EU4 Beginner Nations Guide serves as a reliable roadmap to help find your ideal starting nation. Remember, every nation has its unique challenges and opportunities. Make your choice based on your playstyle and enjoy the game.

Whether you’re driven by economic growth, diplomatic finesse, exploration endeavors, or military might, there’s a nation in Europa Universalis IV ready to take you on an unforgettable journey. Each nation, no matter how powerful or small, presents its unique challenges and opportunities.

This EU4 Beginner Nations Guide is the beginning of your grand strategy adventures. Be sure to visit The Reliable Narrator regularly for more insightful guides, tips, and strategies to help you master Europa Universalis IV.

Here’s to the start of your journey, the rise of your nation, and the stories you’ll tell in the world of EU4. Happy gaming!

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EU4 Beginner Nations Guide: 15 Nations for Every Playstyle (2024)


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