- For the pre-1.26 government system see a previous version of this page.
Each country is ruled by a government of a specific type providing benefits and sometimes maluses. The different kinds of government forms ranges from constitutional republics, where the state is governed by elected officials, to despotic monarchies, where the monarch exercises undefined and often unrestricted power over its government.
The interface by itself displays many types of information, for instance: the current ruler and heir, the type of advisors a player has, the country’s main and accepted cultures and the monthly production of monarch power. Some government also have access to unique mechanics and abilities.
Government types are organized into four major groups. Each type uses a different stat to track the loyalty of the nation to the ruler.
- Main article: Monarchy
Monarchy is a form of government where power is held by a single individual, i.e. the monarch. The ruler reigns until death. Several mechanics, such as royal marriages and personal unions, are mostly limited to monarchical forms of governments. Monarchies use legitimacy.
- Main article: Republic
Republic is a form of government where power is, in contrast to a monarchy, held by a group of people. Republics have republican tradition instead of legitimacy. In some republics the ruler rules for life, but in others there is an election cycle.
- Main article: Theocracy
Theocracy is a form of government where power is held by the religious elite. Theocracies get to designate an heir from a list of candidates. Although the choice does not affect the future heir’s monarch skills (set at random), they give the player different effects and events once the heir comes into power. Theocracies use devotion with the Common Sense DLC.
- Main article: Tribal government
A tribe is regarded as a society that hasn’t developed a concrete definition of what a Westphalian nation-state is. Nomadic by nature, the power is held by either a chief or by a group of fellow tribesmen. As monarchies, tribal governments use legitimacy, royal mariages, etc. Steppe hordes will use horde unity instead of legitimacy if The Cossacks is enabled, and Native councils don’t use any type of government strength value.
Switching government type
If the Dharma DLC is not enabled, it is possible to peacefully change the type of government in power for 100administrative power in the government interface, though only within certain groups of government types listed below. The other government types are barred from doing this. For example, a feudal monarchy can become a despotic monarchy in this manner, but not a constitutional republic (different group) or a revolutionary empire (not allowed at all). New government types become available as administrative technology is researched.
Various decisions allow most types of monarchy (with the right idea groups completed) to peacefully become a theocracy, an oligarchic republic, or a merchant republic; similarly, the Secularization decision allows a theocracy or a monastic order to transition into an administrative monarchy, and non-merchant republics may become merchant republics.
A country can be changed forcibly to another government group (e.g., a monarchy turning into a republic and vice versa) via a revolt (e.g., if pretender rebels overrun the state) and/or, for republics, by lowering republican tradition to 0. Certain events (particularly disasters) and decisions can also change government type.
Released nations retain the government type of their overlord, so it’s possible to change government type at the start of the game by playing as a country of the desired government (or vassalizing it and switching to it), conquering the desired country, then releasing it as nation and switching to playing with it.
- Without Common Sense a nation becomes a cultural union automatically by reaching 1000 development and may not change its rank through the government interface, only through country formations, decisions, etc.
The government rank system divides countries one of three ranks: Duchy, Kingdom, or Empire. A country’s starting rank is based on historical considerations, though players can improve their rank by reaching certain total development values or via decisions. Ming, Byzantium, Ethiopia and the Timurids are the only empire-rank nations in 1444, while there are many kingdoms and duchies.
Once the required development (and prestige), as listed in the table below, is reached, it is possible to upgrade the government rank in the government tab. The rank cannot be downgraded, even if one’s development shrinks later in the game. However:
- Certain government types have fixed government ranks and cannot change it manually or otherwise.
- Holy Roman Empire states (including the emperor if a member) cannot rise above duchy rank unless they are electors, in which case they may become kingdoms but not empires. The HRE electors Bohemia, Trier, Cologne and Mainz are the only kingdoms in the HRE in 1444.
- Vassals, Daimyo subjects, colonial nations and marches are always duchies; a country loses any higher rank upon being vassalized (unless the rank is locked by its government type) and won’t be able to change its rank while subjected. Junior partners in a personal union and tributary states can change rank freely.
- No HRE member can become an empire, though a non-HRE Empire-tier Emperor may still add themselves to the HRE (though they will become dukes upon doing so).
Note: Rank bonuses (as listed in the table) replace each other; so the net bonus of going from duchy to empire is +1 diplomat, not +2.
Additional benefits and mechanics
- Higher-tier countries get a −10 penalty per tier towards accepting diplomatic vassalization, increasing to −30 if the requesting country is of lower tier. Conversely, a country that is of lower rank than the proposer gets a bonus: a duchy towards a kingdom gets +10.
- The government name displayed in game will vary depending on the rank. For example, the ranks for most republics will be diplayed as Republic, Grand Republic, and Great Republic, while for steppe nomads it will be Horde, Khanate, and Khaganate.
- If the player has enabled the Common Sense expansion, then the player becomes a Cultural union for their culture group at empire tier.
- Obtaining Empire-tier is an Age Objective in the Age of Revolutions for those owning the Mandate of Heaven DLC.
Fixed government rank
Some special tier 1 government reforms have fixed government rank, regardless of prestige or development, and cannot change it manually or otherwise.
Decisions and events changing government rank
Most country formation decisions will raise the government to empire or kingdom tier (if not already of a higher tier) without the need to reach the usual development thresholds. However:
- Nearly all country formation decisions that change government rank to kingdom or empire tier will cause the country and all of its provinces to leave the HRE unless it is an Elector or the current Emperor. Note that these decisions don’t increase the government rank above kingdom for electors nor do they increase the rank above duchy for non-electors.
- Forming the Roman Empire, Italy, or Germany will always remove both the country and all its provinces from the HRE.
|Rank acquired||Country formation/reformation decisions|
|Empire||Byzantium, Persia, the Timurids, Arabia, Germany, Japan, Bharat, Hindustan, Rajputana, Deccan, the Marathas, the Mughals, Inca, Maya, Qing, Russia, Ruthenia, the Roman Empire, the Golden Horde, the Ilkhanate, the Mongol Empire, and the united Holy Roman Empire|
|Kingdom||All other formables except Iceland, Tuscany, the Mamluks, Austria, Kurland, Punjab, Orissa, Nagpur, and Prussia (only when formed with the Teutonic Order)|
In addition, the Ottomans and Rûm can become empires through the decision to make Constantinople their capital, while Persia has an event raising it to empire status if it is Shia, has at least 70% religious unity and controls the Persian heartland. Vijayanagar can become an empire by completing its “City of Victory” mission. Elector theocracies of the HRE may become kingdom-tier with the “Elevate Bishopric to an Archbishopric” decision if they are no longer Catholic or by spending 25 papal influence. However, Christian theocracies secularizing into monarchies by decision will be downgraded to duchies if they don’t meet the usual 300 development threshold.
Government reforms allow the player to custom-tailor the nation’s government to their needs by picking the desired reforms at the different tiers using Government reform progress points.
There are various reforms available to each of the government types with each tier having (usually) 2-3 reforms. The first tier usually determines the chosen power structure of the nation and consequently defines what abilities/mechanics are enabled to that nation. The last tier usually allows changing to a different government type though it comes at the cost of losing several reform tiers.
The game starts with first step already passed. The second tier costs 100 reform points and each following step has its cost increased by an additional 50 reform points. It is possible to change picked reforms at a cost of +10 corruption.
Reform points have a base accumulation of +10 points per year, further multiplied by a variable related to the level of autonomy of the nation’ provinces.
- Without , the game uses the old government system. Each government reform has a pre-Dharma equivalent; an effect that would enact a reform instead changes government to the equivalent type. Starting governments, including special types, correspond to tier 1 reforms. For the pre-1.26 government system see a previous version of this page.
- Special governments made available through other DLCs are denoted as such.
On the government tab is a button to “Strengthen government” by spending 100 military power. By doing this, the country gets one of the following, as appropriate for the government type and active expansions:
Additionally, from the Age of Absolutism onwards, it gets:
- +2 Absolutism
The button is only available if the appropriate government value is not already at maximum; it cannot be used solely to boost absolutism. It is also disabled if a republic turns into a dictatorship to prevent a reliably easy restoration of republican government.
- Main article: Ruler
The ruler is the head of a country. As the representative of a nation, there are several ways a ruler can influence the progress and development of a state, one of them being the fact that monarch points come primarily from the ruler.
The heir is, for monarchies and similar government types, the successor of the ruler. The heir is vested with the future sovereignty of the state, and they are crucial in determining the future legitimacy of the monarchy. A strong claim results in a high legitimacy while a weak claim results in low legitimacy.
The consort is, for monarchies and similar government types the spouse of the current reigning ruler. The consort is tasked with the opportunity to take the place of the throne if the ruler dies and the current heir is not of age.
- Main article: Advisors
An advisor is a knowledgeable person who is responsible for aiding and advising the leader of a nation.
There are three types of advisors, which align with the monarch’s powers: administrative, diplomatic and military.
- Main article: Monarch power
Monarch power is one of the most important mechanics in EU4. In a way, monarchical power represents the ability of a ruler in governing a country and influences the rate at which technological innovation and infrastructural investment takes place. Despite its name, republics and other similar government types also use this mechanic.
There are three types of monarch power: administrative, diplomatic, and military.