Top 5 Best Free Cities in EU4 – FandomSpot

Free Cities are unique one-province republics within the Holy Roman Empire that possess imperial immediacy.

This means they report directly to the Emperor, free from the shackles of local nobles.

As long as you remain a free city, no one can declare war on you without involving the Emperor as well!

Usually located in high-value provinces with a lot of development, free cities offer a nice change of pace from your typical campaign. Whether you stay as an OPM (one province smaller) or use your position to expand, there are some incredibly powerful choices among free cities.

5. Aachen

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Aachen starting position and national performances. / EU4

Aachen deserves a place on the list primarily for historical reasons.

As the original capital of HRE, playing as Aachen and restoring the city to its former glory is a very satisfying experience.

Aachen’s ideas are nothing incredible. Some nice bonuses to the Republic tradition and diplomacy in general are the highlights. Republican tradition is great if you want to stay as a republic.

However, if you’ve decided to play as Aachen, you probably want to transition to a monarchy and attempt to become Emperor. This is where the diplomatic bonuses will come in handy.

With a typical HRE starting position surrounded by nations of similar strength, you can start your expansion right away. Of course, you can use your free city status before expanding to ensure your survival.

Can you make Aachen the way it was under the rule of Charlemagne?

4. Rothenburg

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Rothenburg initial situation and national ideas. / EU4

Alongside Nuremberg, Rothenburg is one of the two free cities in Franconia. It is one of the less developed, with only 10 construction projects and no commercial center.

But Rothenburg has excellent national ideas.

Military bonuses in the form of early army morale and fortress defenses, as well as discipline and manpower across the board. You really can’t ask for more in this department.

The rest of the bonuses are decent all round, with the first idea being one of the most unique in the game. It undoes abuses of different religions in your provinces, which allows you to completely ignore the Reformation!

The starting position is also typical for HRE.

Although your development is lower than your neighbors, by hiring a few mercenaries you can comfortably punch beyond your weight.

3. Ulm

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Ulm initial situation and national ideas. / EU4

Without Ulm there could be no list of free cities. After all, Ulm is known to be the strongest nation in the game.

For those unfamiliar with Europa Universalis memes – it’s not.

Just a longstanding meme since the days of EU3.

Well, like all memes, this one has an element of truth.

Ulm can survive until late game in most of your campaigns as it is a free city and under the protection of the Emperor. The same applies if you play as Ulm yourself.

Although as a landlocked single-province country you probably won’t have much fun not expanding at all.

Ulm has a unique, if not very strong, foundation of ideas. However, it is able to fight and unite Swabians by switching to this set of ideas.

You start the game with a great level 1 project and a well-developed trade center. Gaining allies and conquering the diverse Swabian nations and forming the Nations of Swabia is a great early goal!

2. Goslar

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Goslar initial situation and national ideas. / EU4

Goslar can easily contend for the title of the most overlooked nation in the game.

His seemingly unremarkable number hides his potential very well.

Goslar simply has one of the strongest think tanks in HRE. With a reduction in development costs and an increase in goods produced, it can be an excellent choice for a large campaign.

However, what it lacks are military bonuses, which can become a problem in certain scenarios.

The strangest thing about Goslar’s national ideas is that they give imperial authority a bonus. This is only relevant if you are the HRE Emperor.

To do this, you must give up your status as a free city and switch to a monarchy.

Early expansion can be a problem as your neighbors are some of the largest nations in the HRE. However, good alliances and opportunistic attacks will give you the upper hand. Remember that as a free city, no one will attack you directly, so take your time.

1. Hamburg

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Hamburg initial situation and national performances. / EU4

Hamburg starts the game as part of the Handelsliga Lübeck, representing the Hanseatic League.

It begins in a rich trading hub with weak neighbors all around. Making alliances with other Hanseatic members early in the game will help you expand.

Hamburg offers you the opportunity to play and complete a campaign without conquering one single province for yourself. It’s a fun little challenge.

Your expansion consists of making your neighbors vassals and providing them with provinces. Colonization and trading companies are also an option.

Whether for yourself or your vassals, you ultimately want to betray your Hanseatic allies and take control of the wealthy cities of Bremen and Lübeck.

The Hamburger (yes, that’s what a hamburger is called in German) Country Ideas Box is great for building a trading empire overseas.

Of course, you can found Hanover when you conquer your southern neighbors and switch to a different idea set.

In addition, Hamburg is associated with a unique achievement. And one of the funniest – a personal favorite of mine:

The Colorful Cow achievement challenges you to control a certain percentage of certain trade goods worldwide, forcing you to set up your trading empire in unique and creative ways. Top 5 Best Free Cities in EU4 – FandomSpot


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