This is the third in a series of reviews looking at the evolution of Europa Universalis IV. See the previous reviews here:
Europa Universalis IV: A Fantastic Point of View
Wealth of Nations: National Trade

During development of Wealth of Nations, PDS had mentioned merchant republics as being too small and vulnerable, even though they tended to be fairly small and long-lived in history. So the next project was considered a ‘mini-expansion’ and focused on republics in general. Res Publica was released on July 16th, 2014, alongside patch 1.7 for a minimal $5 (most expansions are $15, and ‘small’ ones are $10).

Getting Ahead in the World

One important patch change was a reverse in direction. Like in previous games, being behind your neighbors (or just other members of your tech group) in technology grants a bonus to your progress. Whereas before it had been a bonus to budgetary investment per country and tech, in EU IV it is a reduction in power cost from the most advanced neighbor you have.

This was initially a 5% (30 power) decrease in cost per level, but in patch 1.6 this was decreased to 2.5%. In patch 1.7, it was changed back to 5%, the maximum possible bonus was increased (though it’s really hard to get past the old limit), and the worst tech group penalties were removed. Various Far Eastern and African groups actually had penalties to power generation, effectively lowering their base 3 power per group, and these were removed to give everyone the same overall power generation, though non-Western countries still pay more for technology.

The idea had been to discourage lagging behind in technology for the cost bonus by reducing that, but now, they rewarded staying on top of technology. Any time the next Administrative or Diplomatic technology would be ‘ahead of time’ (each level has a target year, and it is more expensive before that point), you get a +20% to production or trade efficiency, giving a nice boost to income for keeping up with your studies.

An extra addition to the patch were three new idea groups (one per category). This also meant adding new policies for all the new combinations, and brought the number of choices up to seven per category.

Focus, Pinkie, Focus

The most useful expansion feature isn’t republic related: With the expansion, you gain the ability to set a national focus. This is done from the main Monarch Power display on the government tab. Activating one gives you two extra power points per month in the chosen field, while you gain one less in the other two.

It’s a nice bit of flexibility, and kind of a shame that it’s not in the base game, as there are times when one area is starved for points (especially Administration), while the others are doing well. The cost is that it can only be done every 20 years, but some countries will start focused, and are ready to change or remove focus from the start.


The idea of the faction system for Ming China from EU III: Divine Wind had been retained, but the principles changed a bunch. There were still three factions, and now they were tied directly to the three power types of the government. However, factions no longer prevented you from being able to do things. Instead, they each give two bonuses and one penalty.

Unlike before, faction influence isn’t subject to large shifts due to ruler ability and domestic policies (which no longer exist), but the military faction gains influence from army tradition, and the diplomatic faction gains influence from navy tradition, while the administrative faction gains influence from stability. In addition, you can spend monarch power to give influence to a particular faction.

Patch 1.7 reworked this so that factions are associated with particular government types (for modding purposes), and added factions to merchant republics. These are of course different from China’s factions, granting bonuses around goods, and trade instead of extra advisors and diplomatic reputation.


As briefly mentioned in the main review, republics have republican tradition. This is a measure of confidence in the government, and replaces legitimacy for monarchies. It is a more limited mechanic, with fewer things affecting it (though there are a number of events that directly touch it), and only a couple things that it affects.

The primary effect is that not being at full legitimacy increases stability cost. High tradition also reduces overall revolt risk, with the same maximum of legitimacy (-2%), but at minimum tradition, there is only an elimination of that bonus, instead of it swinging all the way to the +2% penalty that a monarchy has to deal with.

Republics generally elect (player choice) a new president every four years, with the base stats being one point each in two categories, and four in the one that he focuses in. Re-electing the previous president boosts him by +1 in each category (e.g., becomes 5/2/2 depending on his initial focus), but reduces tradition by 10. Tradition generally increases by +1 per year, so constantly increasing the stats of one president leads to an erosion of six points per election.…

There are, of course, events that give a choice between tradition, and losing money and the like, so the path of a stable democracy can be rocky. On the other hand, there can be stability-boosting events at a cost of tradition, and that’s a pretty good deal if you can afford it.

If tradition gets and stays very low, a republic can turn into a Despotic Monarchy. With the Res Publica expansion, this will instead be the unique Republican Dictatorship government, which will last until the current dictator dies. At that point, it’ll either go over to Despotic Monarchy, or if tradition is back up (probably through events, as it doesn’t raise on its own at this point) it goes back to the previous republic form.

Merchant Republics

An extra bonus for Merchant Republics in the expansion is that they can now create trade posts. These generate a bonus to trade power and naval force limits, with a limit of one per trade node, but must be ‘built’ in an owned province that isn’t in the country’s main node. However, despite what it seems, it’s not considered a building, and only costs Administration power (no money) to build, and is buried away in the trade section of the main province interface (though the existence of one does show up in the trade map mode with all the other modifiers).

This gives merchant republics a reason to develop a network of far-flung territories. Better yet, they continue working if the governmental form changes, but of course, there can’t be any new ones at that point.

Dutch Republic

As something of a follow up to the previous expansion, the Netherlands got more customization with this one. They can now choose (through event) to take the unique Dutch republic government form.

This gives them a slider, showing the relative power of the Statists and the Orangists. This shifts with every election (and, of course, events), and with the Orangists in power, the ruler rules for life, but doesn’t cause the republic to fall (though it will cause tradition to stop growing), and there is another election on his death (and events might kick them out of power). Statists act like a normal republic, though the Netherlands can always have royal marriages with other countries no matter who is in charge.

The primary government bonuses are to trade and heavy ships, the Statists will boost naval capacity and trade power, while the Orangists boost army capacity and stability.

As with most of the unique governments, it’s a fairly flexible form, and the bonuses are certainly good compared to early-game governments, and competitive with later ones.

Elective Monarchy

In 1444, Poland is leaderless, with a 0/0/0 interregnum, that can be solved in a few ways. The easy (and historical) one is to form a personal union with Lithuania, becoming the leading partner with Lithuania’s Kasimierez Jagiellon as the head of the monarchy. With the expansion, this will then fire an event to change the government type to the unique elective monarchy.

On the surface, this is a fairly good government, with bonuses to manpower, revolt risk, and vassals (which Poland starts with two of, plus Lithuania). On the other hand, the succession gets… complicated.

As the nobles vote for who succeeds to the throne, they are vulnerable to outside influences. Other countries can use a diplomat to canvas for a successor from their dynasty. Each month the diplomat is kept on the job there is a small chance of picking up a vote for that country’s candidate. You can spend legitimacy to gain votes for the Polish candidate, which should make it fairly easy to guarantee a native king given the scale of the voting, but there are events that seem to fire fairly often that will reduce his votes.

As a country that successfully supports its candidate, you get prestige, very good relations with Poland (a temporary +100 boost, as well as the normal +25 ‘same dynasty’ modifier), and a good amount of monarch power in all three categories. And once this happens to Poland they lose one diplomat (that hurts) and have a higher than normal cost to reduce inflation or war exhaustion until it can find a way out of the elective monarchy.

Finally, there’s a number of historical events that will fire related to this government, that tend to curtail power. Poland is given lots of possibilities with the setup of Poland-Lithuania, but there’s a lot of challenges too.


It’s hard not to recommend anything this cheap (and 50% off sales are fairly frequent), but… there may not be a lot here. National focus is the big ‘useful to everyone’ feature, and generally worth the money by itself… but it is also available through the later Common Sense expansion, so if you go for that big one, there’s no point getting this just for the focus.

On the other hand, if you want to play as any of the merchant republics, the trade posts are handy, and the extra mechanics for the Dutch are nice, and the electoral monarchy is also interesting, so there lots of good small reasons to buy this small expansion.