Great Britain in 1836... the world's foremost power in many departments.
- Over 30 million people (that's a lot of available workers and consumers -- thank you, Agricultural Revolution) compared to, say, Prussia with only 3 million.
- A navy boasting 195 ships. Anybody else even close? If Britain does not want you moving about the seas, you are going to have a devil of a time doing so.
- A smaller army -- typical for the British, since their navy and island-ness take care of most threats.
- A large empire, providing a treasure trove of raw materials and a captive pool of export customers.
- The most laissez-faire economy in Europe, which generates tremendous wealth (but which also means the player, as the "government," has only limited influence on business affairs and infrastructure development). Oh, well. The people, being mostly "reasonable and moral," will take care of everything in fine form as they pursue their own happiness. (Those genetically-gifted, most excellent members of British society -- as a whole already the most richly endowed people on the face of God's earth -- will lead the rest...)
- A constitutional monarchy effectively run by Parliament (a type known in the game as "His Majesty's Government"), in which elections are regular and reforms are already advanced.
- The highest prestige in the world, which means that Britain has first dibs on any and all resources for sale on the global market. (Your fertilizer factory hurting for sulphur? Sorry, we got there first...)
With all of those advantages, what is Britain trying to do in Victoria 2? 1) Staying ahead of all competitors, keeping a close eye on up-and-coming continental powers such as Prussia and Russia. 2) Achieving that goal in part by skillfully establishing alliances with countries that will tend to counter-balance those threats. 3) Continuing to have the best infrastructure, technology and factories. 4) Allowing the people, over time, to have their say. Mustn't have any disruptive protests or, God forbid, rebellions, eh? 'Might interrupt business!
JANUARY 1, 1836
From: Foreign Office
To: Prime Minister
Re: Actions, recommendations and rationales
DIPLOMACY: Sir, be advised that His Majesty's government should avoid any offers of alliance from the Americas. The Latins would no doubt relish the prospect of engaging in their local adventures with our backing, but we do not want to make any promise we cannot keep. Fighting in that hemisphere would present enormous logistical difficulties. What is the worst thing that could happen? Mexico might join the ranks of the Great Powers by acquiring Texas ("Remember the Alamo!" indeed!), but that might in turn keep our upstart former colonials in check. Next, we should also reject any alliance offers, for the moment, from major countries in Europe. To be dragged into a European war that has little bearing on our interests would be a terrible blunder. Belgium is one country we might support, however. Their strategic position roughly between France and Prussia can help us keep our rivals divided and weak. We should build an expeditionary force of at least 20,000 troops, based near the major port of Southampton, for the express purpose of intervening on Belgium's behalf, should any nation attempt to attack her. Next, if any African nation, such as Morocco, should ask for support, we might accede to their wishes; our rivals will be attempting to gain colonial footholds around the globe, so we should do everything in our power to throw obstacles in their path. Meanwhile, we should ourselves consider establishing more colonies wherever possible and strengthening our grip on more of the Indian subcontinent. Finally, we should identify those nations around the world who are already friendly to us and endeavor to make them more so by increasing our influence upon them. We might even be able to add some of them to our "sphere of influence."
GOVERNMENT SPENDING: We should not hesitate to employ all budget surpluses to support all aspects of a strong, civilized nation. To wit, investments in education and administration should be maximized. Improvement in these key areas will a) help to maintain our technological superiority and b) reduce inefficiency and corruption, which hamper our ability to collect the taxes taht are His Majesty's just due. Military and stockpile spending may also be maximized, though in times of need military spending can be reduced. Tariffs should not be imposed, as such actions go against our laissez-faire philosphy (while ultimately also making goods more expensive for the British consumer).
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: The choices here are difficult ones, since all advances in knowledge are desirable. Researching military technology might give us the winning edge on the battlefield. (A rifle is far more deadly than a musket...) Researching industrial technologies will make our factories and businesses more productive and efficient. Researching intellectual and social advances will either improve our government or will give us more "national focus" possibilities. (We recommend researching Romanticism and Realism first, so that Scotland Yard may be established, redcuing crime and improving the "rule of law.") Research in the field of commerce will make it easier and easier to generate wealth.
Events reported to have occurred in the first year of competition:
- The Netherlands attacked Belgium. As promised, we deployed 40,000 troops to aid our ally and prevent the Dutch from becoming anything more than a second-rate power. Our 2nd Reserve Squadron is blockading all Dutch access to the sea. Without imports they will eventually be brought to their knees.
- We foolishly agreed to an alliance with Sweden. They no doubt asked for our support because they feared Russia. We now find ourselves at war with Russia, a most regrettable circumstance that must be remedied as soon as possible.
- We promised our support to Morocco, aiming to keep them free of rival influence until such time as we might dominate them ourselves. Spain invaded Morocco. We will not send troops, but two of our fleets are now blockading Spain's access to its troops in North Africa. We will maintain this naval cordon as long as possible.