Victoria 3 Wars: How To Start & Win

Understanding how to start and win a war in Victoria 3 allows you to climb up the ranks & become a strong nation

Although war is not the main feature in Victoria 3 for leading your empire, it sure does play a major role in it. Not only does it allow you to get more area and production, but it also affects a lot of things on the micro level. Once you start a war in Victoria 3, there are a lot of things happening simultaneously. Therefore, before you get into it, you must know how to win a war in Victoria 3.


Main Points:

  • To begin a war, you will first need to take a Diplomatic Action or Diplomatic Play.
  • There are three stages in starting a war: Opening Moves, Diplomatic Maneuvers, and Countdown to War.
  • Getting Allies on your side will improve your chances of winning, but they will demand something.
  • Winning a war has a lot of after-effects, so you shouldn’t start it without any major reason. 

Understanding Diplomatic Actions & Plays

Victoria 3: How to start a war through diplomatic actions
Open Diplomacy to Take Actions [Image credit: eXputer]
Before going straight into war, the first option that you have is diplomatic plays. It will give you a chance of getting what you want with having minimum resources spent. Remember that war requires a lot of things. It will demand resources, troops, generals, and money.

Consider the diplomatic play as implementing a force on an empire to get something you want. However, not always will a diplomatic play be a confrontational approach. Instead, it can be a peaceful approach as well, such as demanding independence.

Diplomatic Action

Victoria 3: how to start a war through actions in diplomacy
Options in Diplomatic Actions [Image credit: eXputer]
Moreover, it would help if you made a distinction between diplomatic actions and diplomatic plays. The diplomatic actions will rely on relations, power, projection, ideological differences, and a base reluctance. Although the diplomatic actions are not that aggressive, they can show your intention of war toward the other nation. 

Diplomatic Play

Victoria 3: Diplomatic Plays on how to win a war
Options in Diplomatic Plays [Image credit: eXputer]
On the other hand, the diplomatic play relies on showing force to get what you want with increasing infamy. To apply more pressure in a diplomatic play, you will need to call on allies or use an increasing amount of force.

Once you show hostility to a region, then there are different choices before you in the diplomatic plays. Consider it as different reasons to go to war with. However, the options in diplomatic plays are based on the circumstances of your nation. Remember that a puppet and a vassal nation will not be able to make any diplomatic play apart from the independence play against their overlord.

Not only that, but the lower-ranked nations will also face significant hurdles in the options of diplomatic plays. The diplomatic play will also depend on nations that are in strategic locations where you have an interest. You can simply check the strategic regions from the bottom right option in the bottom center of the game.

If the nation you are interested in does not come under the interested nations, then you will need to declare interest on your own. Moreover, to declare interest in a region, you need to make sure that your army or navy can reach such an area. Apart from that, make sure you declare a rivalry with them first.

Starting A War In Victoria 3

Confirmation on Starting a War
Confirmation of Starting a War [Image credit: eXputer]
In total, there are three stages that precede open hostility. You can check the diplomatic screen, which will show you the preparation for war on both sides, along with the other countries showing interest in it. You will be able to see which countries are listed there in the first phase, but you will not be able to sway them. Swaying countries will only begin in the second phase.

Opening Moves

Opening Moves, The First Step of War
First Step of War: Opening Moves [Image credit: eXputer]
The first phase of the war in Victoria 3 is called the opening moves. Here you can see how many troops will be joining either side in the war. It will also show how many maneuvers both sides have on hand, which are political maneuvers determined by the nation’s rank. The maneuvers will allow you to add more war goals and sway nations to your side.

In addition, you can have more than one war goal, which will combine different diplomatic plays into one. However, adding more goals will make it harder for you to achieve peace later on. Moreover, it will make you look more hostile and radical to other nations. That will cause more enemies and weak relations with other nations.

Moreover, below the target area, you will be able to see how the target feels about the war. If the target is feeling fearful, chances are they will back down from the war and capitulate before the war actually begins.

The feelings of the nation will depend on factors like military strength, gold reserves, and loyalists. Moreover, don’t think of placing too many troops in the area early on while keeping the other territories unsafe. Likewise, don’t place your troops late either; otherwise, the targeted nation will take a big chunk of your land in no time.

Diplomatic Maneuvers

Diplomatic Maneuvers, The Second Stage of War
Second Stage of War: Diplomatic Maneuvers [Image credit: eXputer]
The second phase before the war begins is diplomatic maneuvers. At this point in time, both sides still have the option of backing down. During the diplomatic maneuvers, you can add more war goals to the list, or you can sway more nations to be your ally.

Remember that no nation will join your side straight away. Each ally will have some aspirations of their own. Nations that have a chance of joining your side can be recognized by a green thumbs up next to them. Clicking on it will show you options that you can offer them in exchange for an alliance. The more allies you add, the harder it will be to achieve peace later on.

Countdown To War

Victoria 3: Countdown to War
Third Stage of War: Countdown to War [Image credit: eXputer]
The third and last phase before the war begins is the countdown to war. Consider it as an idle phase finishing off the immobilization of battalions. However, it is still not too late for either side to back down. So if the opponent’s feelings are strong and they have more allies and troops, you will still have an option of backing down.

Winning The War

Victoria 3: How To Start a War
How To Win a War in Victoria 3 [Image credit: eXputer]
Once the war begins after completing all phases, war support is the key to keeping the war going. As soon as it decreases on one side, the other is able to enforce its demand. However, the level of low war support depends on how much war goals are being pushed as part of the peace deal.

Sometimes, you can even offer the other nation a consolation prize if there are low chances of their war support decreasing even further. Your goal is not only to win the war but to end it as soon as possible because a prolonged war is an expensive war.

The war support takes once a week by a certain value. The value is determined by the percentage of territory occupied, the percentage of population radicalized, total casualties, other events, and the base decay rate. Therefore, it will be harder if you are up and against a larger nation as it will take longer to occupy their territory.

It would be ideal if you could cut off their supplies of goods and negatively affect the population’s wealth and standard of living. You can then either wait for their war support to lower till you can get your goals. Otherwise, you can wait for their war support to reach -100. It will force them to capitulate entirely.

Usually, war support cannot go below zero. Therefore, in order to make them reach -100, you will need to hold the enemy nation’s capital and the war goals. In case your ally’s war support is low or totally gone, you can sometimes get away from giving your ally their war goals.

Managing Your Army

How to manage troops
How to Manage Your Troops [Image credit: eXputer]
Your army and navy comprise battalions and flotillas. They are then led by the recruited generals and admirals depending on their actions during a war. Moreover, the generals are capable of providing buffs, debuffs, and modifiers depending on their traits.

To know the positions of the battalions and flotillas, you can use the military map mode. They are primarily in a strategic region than individual states. Apart from that, the local battalions also join in defense depending on the state the region is in. However, to move or do anything, they will need a general assigned who will give orders to them.

Flotillas, on the other hand, will need admirals to perform actions as well. Therefore, in order to launch a naval invasion, you will require to place flotillas and battalions at the same HQ. If they are from different HQs, then it will simply not work.

Consider Naval Bases and Barracks just like any other building. These buildings need employees and goods; however, changes in their production methods take some time for them to come into effect. Not only that, but it will also give a temporary debuff to your armies. But once it is done, there can be a significant difference in the battlefield because of it.

Focusing on the kill rate is essential as you will require fewer troops to kill more enemy troops. The morale damage shows how much they can pressure the enemies to surrender more quickly. Training Rate indicates that the weakened battalion will take lesser time to get back to full strength. Moreover, the offense and defense show how good the battalion is for the set task.

It is better to specialize your barracks and assign the tasks of battalions accordingly during the war. Simply go to the military tab and adjust productions depending on each general or on each admiral to stay organized.

Apart from that, make sure you have access to the needed goods when it comes to naval bases and barracks. The price of the equipment can be seen in the money section. The expenses will be covered right by the treasury. In case the supply of goods is lacking severely, then it will negatively impact the stats of your army and their performance on the battlefield.

If you are looking for more troops, you have the option of going after the unprofessional army as well. Use the conscription centers to arm the people and send them to war too. The number of troops on the battlefield will surely increase, but these ordinary people will have to abandon their jobs, so your economy will see a slight decline.

Moreover, they will have more risk of dying or returning as dependents, so they will not be able to work as much as they would before going to war. Therefore, if you are thinking of going for conscription centers, pick the region that is the least productive in your economy.

Placing And Supporting Your Army

Victoria 3: How to Win a war with more generals
Calling Backups by Recruiting More Generals [Image credit: eXputer]
After you know how to win a war and manage your troops in Victoria 3, it is time to set them on the battlefield and look around for reinforcement. During a battle, you can appoint one or more than one general on the battlefield. Once you assign them to the battlefield, you can decide which strategy they will use.

There are three commands that you can give to each general. The first one will make the general push forward toward the enemy territory, capturing whatever they can. The second command is to defend your territory and to stop any effort enemy makes in advancing.

Lastly, the third command tells the general to wait in the area. You can give orders to the generals as long as they are not engaged in the battles. However, once they get engaged, they will follow the last command you gave, and you will no longer be able to change it.

If your nation has placed generals in different areas and you want more than one in a war, then you will need to relocate them. The time they will take to arrive will depend on their previous location. It can even take weeks, if not months, for them to arrive, so plan accordingly.

Overseas Battles

If you plan to attack overseas, look for an unoccupied friendly territory or an occupied enemy territory adjacent to the place you intend to place your general. Then your general, along with his battalions, can travel using convoys either at the time of war or before the war.

However, if there is no unoccupied friendly territory or enemy-occupied territory, then there is no front end technologies. In that situation, you will need to order an amphibious assault with the help of the naval force. However, you will be able to do that only when the war has broken out.

To do that, you will need a flotilla with an admiral recruited at the same HQ where your general and his battalions are present. Then you will have to order the admiral to lead the naval invasion at the front so the troops can get there. Moreover, you will need to assign a specific general who will have to move with the admiral.

Apart from that, you can always add more generals, no matter where you are. If all your generals are already deployed in key positions, then you can simply recruit another from the HQ. However, the troops that they will command will be much fewer in number.

Moreover, they will not directly spawn in the area you need them to be. Instead, they will march from the HQ toward the location you want them to be. If the battlefield is far away, then you should expect around fifty days for them to reach.

The After Effects Of War

Starting War in the game
Winning A War [Image credit: eXputer]
Both countries in war have different objectives, but only the winner can achieve what they initially wanted. A truce usually makes sure that there are no new hostilities between the nations for quite some years. Moreover, the truce will prevent getting into diplomatic plays amongst one another.

Apart from that, not all the troops will return from the battlefield. Therefore, you will need to focus more on barracks by putting in more workers and resources. Moreover, the soldiers that have returned to a state of injury will not be able to work efficiently. Therefore, they will use more resources and produce less than they used to produce.

You should think deeply before getting on how to win a war in Victoria 3 since many things are interconnected in it. The inefficient work will reduce the standard of living, and so it will also cause radicalization. Apart from that, you should also expect a decrease in infrastructure and migration attraction.

Overall, the nation’s economy has been affected hugely since the war’s inception. Not only will the poor economy result in rampant poverty, but it will also force people to emigrate. Emigration will further push down the production in your nation.

However, these are the cases when you are up against solid nations or nations which have strong allies. The point of mentioning the negatives is that you should not get into a war without a purpose. Otherwise, you will lose a lot even if you win the war.

There are a lot of positives if you win a war and get land that can be used for production. Moreover, additional resourceful land will increase the GDP of the nation and attract more people to your nation. You will climb up the ranks in the global ranking, and now your army will be more than powerful.

Final Words

To keep the damages at a minimum, you need to make sure that your allies are strong. Moreover, you do not need to put in all your troops to get land which is not worth that much. Before thinking about how to win a war in Victoria 3, make sure that your borders are secure because the allies of the enemies might attack you from other sides.

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Sameer Noman


A passionate gamer and avid viewer of eSports, you'll find Sameer either grinding on Valorant or playing FPS games with his friends. If not, then he'll be testing out all the latest games so he can guide through eXputer to anyone who needs guidance.

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