Poland is one of the more interesting countries to play. It has definite challenges, including aggressive neighbors and adverse events. Nevertheless, Poland is not doomed to disappear and can thrive, particularly when played from the Grand Campaign.
Tips for success:
Domestic Policy Settings 1. Advancing Centralization early and often is crucial as future events often include -3 or -5 Centralization plus -3 Stability. 2. Advancing Innovation early and often assists in military development, which is important as Poland's tech group takes more investment to progress. Poland begins with the Latin tech group (the best tech group) but then has the Orthodox tech group once Lithuania has been inherited. 3. Improving Land and Quality can somewhat compensate for a lower Military rating than opponents. Poland does receive its share of good generals.
Expansion 1. In the early game, acquiring one or more of the neighboring Germany provinces is desirable (e.g. Moravia, Silesia, Brandenburg, Danzig) to develop a buffer around the core Polish provinces and thwart agressive expansion by neighbors. Also, one of these provinces can be ceded later on if Poland needs to desperately conclude a war with a Teutonic neighbor. 2. Maintain good relations/alliance with Lithuania so the preconditions for an annextion are in place in the late 1500s. 3. Targeting Russia in the early game will add some provinces and hopefully hobble what could be a very powerful adversary later on.
Investment Priorities If Poland is at peace, its income will grow over time. Good investment options: 1. Build up fortresses in key provinces. Poland is vulnerable to simultaneous invasion from multiple opponents. 2. Invest in Fine Arts academies in core provinces. This will assist with population growth and rebuilding Stability. 3. Poland generally cannot afford to invest in Navies and Colonies.
Alliances 1. In the earlier game, an alliance with Austria or Russia is desirable. Poland must avoid facing Austria, Russia, Sweden, and Brandenburg at the same time. 2. If Poland is successful, an alliance with a strong France in the mid to later game can be a major benefit, particularly if Russia is weak and Austria is the main threat. 3. An alliance with Sweden and/or the Ottoman Empire can assist in thwarting Russian expansion.
Poland can be very challenging, but it can also be quite rewarding to overcome the many obstacles and negative events.