Total War: EMPIRE – Definitive Edition Very Hard/Very Hard Strategic Genius Guide

Total War: EMPIRE – Definitive Edition Very Hard/Very Hard Strategic Genius Guide 1 -
Total War: EMPIRE – Definitive Edition Very Hard/Very Hard Strategic Genius Guide 1 -
Making this Guide for anyone who is trying to unlock the strategic genius achievement and still hasn’t. I thought my advice may be useful. 1.1% of players have achieved it so far. After several attempts I was successful.


Tips to Win

1. DO NOT give up. Can’t stress this enough. This game will get really frustrating and seem almost impossible. It will get BORING as you get attacked from nations constantly and repeatedly. Persevere.. Take a break if you need to. I gave up on my Poland Lithuania campaign in May 2020 and came back a year later…to finally win. 
2. Don’t auto-resolve anything, it’s basically impossible on this difficulty. You have to play literally every battle. You have to act decisively and win all battles against all enemies, margin for error is almost nil. This is achievable because battles aren’t that hard, but i’m talking about the ones that you might be not favoured in. 
3. For me, I played as Poland Lithuania, a weak faction with hardly any special units. First tip is, you need to get allies somehow and keep them. Secure your borders somewhere. Helps if you are on the edge of a map – Russia had my entire eastern border secured, so allied with them. Allied with Austria early as a Western counterbalance. 
4. For me, the first 45 years were a real struggle. The way I was able to win, was not fighting on too many fronts. Even if a country hates you and is at war – if you satisfy a condition of either A) taking one of their cities or B) defeating 1-2 of their armies – they might accept peace if you bribe them. Give them whatever they want – technology, money etc. You want temporary peace because you cannot fight all your enemies at once. You ideally want to deal with 1-2 enemies at a time ONLY. But you won’t have enough money to fight wars in two areas due to the ridiculous AI money bonuses. So you will need to use 1 full stack in a strategic spot to fend off 1 nation and use all your other stacks to crush another. 
For me, this meant putting a full stack at Istanbul because the Ottomans would repeatedly attack. And If I lost Istanbul, I lose the campaign as I would get overwhelmed. 
5. About 90% of my army for the entire game was line infantry because they’re cheap, beat horses with square formation always (dumb AI cavalry always charges you by itself) and can bayonet charge cannons. You’ll lose 30-40 from one round of shrapnel shots but it’s worth it. I built no fleets until 1790 because I couldn’t afford it. My ports were blockaded non stop all game. But don’t worry – you don’t need fleets to win, just taxes from cities and factories. Cannons are handy later on in a small amount, mainly horse ones for quick movement. 
6. Take advantage of how dumb the AI is. Yes it gets insane bonuses but it can still be manipulated. It DOES naval invade but not frequently. Sometimes it gives up entirely. I was at war with Maratha Confederacy after they conquered the Ottomans. They sent several stacks to take Istanbul but couldn’t. After a few attempts they completely gave up. I left my full stack in Istanbul for probably 40+ years and AI never tried to take it. 
ALSO, a trick I used to win the campaign. It was about 1788 and I had 36/40 territories required. I was allied to Great Britain and Great Britain was allied to Russia. My alliance broke down with Russia and they declared war. I called Great Britain to join me but they didn’t. Now, I could’ve fought the battles and won, but I was worried Great Britain might turn on me in the West and the campaign was done. 
So, what I did was the following: took advantage of geography. Gave away all my territories on the Russian border to Great Britain in exchange for like half as many elsewhere. Because Great Britain didn’t allow military access to Russia, despite being allied, Russia could not attack at all. I effectively boxed the AI in. All they could do is naval invade – and they won’t do that with 6-10 stacks, only 1 stack at a time. 
Then I paid Russia for peace and paid Great Britain for an alliance again. Kept bribing Great Britain with a state gift for every extra territory I got so they didn’t get too angry and turn on me. Had Great Britain declared war I was done for. 
Then I sent fleets to America to conquer poorly defended pirate settlements and get over 40 territories by 1799. 
So point is, take advantage of bad AI because the AI takes full advantage of the stupidly high money bonuses they get to screw you all game. 
7. Lastly, you just need a breakout. Once income is 10k+ you have won the game. When you have enough soldiers 3-4 stacks to keep pushing forward and take 3-4 cities, you can snowball the campaign. You just need to get that break. 
For me it was taking Berlin from Hannover. And after taking it, I was assaulted by thousands of their men and United Provinces reinforcements. If I lost that city, back to square one. 
Instead I won an almost impossible battles by using cannons inside my city with shrapnel shot and narrowly holding it. When you get a breakthrough it begins the snowball process. 
8. I never upgraded any of my workshops, farms, docks etc. Maybe casually. Basically all I built was jesuit colleges to reduce religious unrest. Here and there I made improvements to other things but the most important thing is replenishing troops and building more troops. That and conquering cities. 
9. You can turn the tax rate up to the maximum (or close) for nobility and lower classes usually once every 2nd turn with no consequence as they just send you letter of demands or do a worker’s strike, which does nothing. 
Anyway, hope these tips and insight helped for anyone trying to get this very hard achievement. If there’s any questions, let me know. 

Written by Josh

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