- For the region, see Kongo.
刚果开局拥有两个附庸： 卢安果 和 恩东戈。与邻国相比，这和它相对较大的体量使其成为该地区最强大的国家，但它依旧不能对抗一个完整的同盟体。对于刚果来说，避免被迫面对一个庞大联盟的最简单方法是获得自己的盟友，最好是像 卢巴 或 卡曾贝 那样的更东部的的盟友。发动一场早期战争可能是个好主意，因为等待太久可能导致刚果的盟友与最初的目标之一结盟，使早期扩张复杂化。最好的第一个目标是 特尤 ，它的唯一省份(Anziku)是刚果文化，并且位于刚果的首都区域。
虽然在 特尤 身上浪费外交关系的理由很小，但这取决于玩家是要吞并还是附庸其他被征服的部落。部落政府减少了潜在外交关系的数量，但在早期游戏中，行政君主点数比外交点数重要得多。启动吞并附庸进程，将会腾出来更多的外交关系，推动国家发展和达到力量极限。
未启用 常识 的话，封建主义必须从另外一个接纳它的国家中获取。最容易的传播途径是非洲东南部，但要到达那里，就需要迅速扩张，并迅速解锁5级行政科技，以解锁探索理念组。一旦这样做了，在刚果地区和东南部非洲之间的空白省份地带开拓殖民地，将有机会制造宣称并发动战争。由于此时大多数省份可能已经或即将接纳封建主义，把这些省份变成国家的核心，有利于封建主义的接纳；如果没有这样做，封建主义依旧会自动传播到刚果核心地带。
在启用了 常识 的情况下，玩家最好是强制产生封建主义，尽管这是一个微妙的战略选择。产生封建主义将需要花费数千点君主点数的投资，并将使刚果在科技上落后于邻国。从长远来看，这么做将节省更多的君主点数，但这将大大推迟扩张，因为在攻击邻国之前，刚果将需要等待军事科技的发展。推迟主动产生封建主义的做法，将使刚果可以立即开始快速扩张，但这最终将花费更多的君主点数，因为刚果购买昂贵的科技。
在启用 常识 的情况下，君主点数在发展度的支出会推动下一个尚未推广到该省份的思潮的传播。注意，通过事件获得的发展不计入思潮的传播，如果该省有多个未接受的思潮，只有第一个将获得进程。每一个思潮需要在一个省份投资大约25-30个发展度，总成本在2,400到3,400个君主点数。思潮进程将以较小的增量开始，随着更多的开发的进行而逐渐增大(因此您的第一次开发可能会带来1.5%的进度，而玩家的第25次开发可能会带来9.5%的进度)。
- Mpemba (+22.5% 传播, +10% 开发成本)
- Soyo (+17.5% 传播, +15% 开发成本)
- Mbata (+12.5% 传播, +15% 开发成本)
- Mpangu (+12.5% 传播, +15% 开发成本)
- Mbamba (+17.5% 传播, +30% 开发成本)
- Yaka (+7.5% 传播, +15% 开发成本)
- Kumbana (+7.5% 传播, +15% 开发成本)
Portuguese explorers will discover the Kongo rather quickly, which will soon trigger an event chain that offers the Kongolese the chance to convert to Catholicism. Converting to Christianity will permanently strengthen relations with all of Europe and deny Catholic empires like 西班牙 and 葡萄牙 the use of the Deus Vult casus belli, reducing the threat from the west. It will also allow the Kongo to use the same casus belli to conquer nearby Fetishist and Muslim countries without having to fabricate claims.
Notably, the decision to convert to Catholicism will automatically reform the tribal monarchy into a normal despotic monarchy, saving the player the trouble of burning the administrative power and stability on the Reform the Government decision.
A Catholic Kongo will likely be locked out of competing to become papal controller unless the Kongolese invade Europe. However, the massive amount of papal influence gained from converting dozens of provinces will open up every papal blessing to the player. Stability, legitimacy, and prestige will flow in abundance and inflation will cease to be a concern. Embracing the Counter-Reformation will give two free missionaries, speeding up conversion of the empire by a decade or more. Lastly, Kongo can secure its place in the colonial race by beating other Catholics to some colonial regions and securing the Pope's blessing with the Treaty of Tordesillas.
Protestantism and Reformed are potential options as well. They will be much more difficult to spread without the Counter-Reformation's bonus missionaries, but Protestantism in particular can be a powerful religion for Kongo. It also allows obtaining the Printing Press institution without bordering a province where it is present or force-spawning it for monarch power.
Coptic can be acquired by invading Ethiopia. With Rights of Man, the blessings offer powerful bonuses, but Kongo will most likely have to square up against the Ottomans to secure more than one or two of them. If the player intends to go Coptic, rushing towards Ethiopia will allow conversion to start before the empire becomes too massive.
Sunni Muslims exist in abundance to Kongo's east and north. Converting to Sunni will open up alliances with Muslim African states, but most of those are likely to be significantly weaker than Kongo. The true prize is an alliance with the Ottomans, who will cheerfully help the Kongolese drive the Europeans into the sea for good.
There are a few Shia provinces in Africa, and some may pop up via events. Shia can be a powerful religion, but it lacks the diplomatic weight of Sunni and is much less useful for securing Muslim alliances.
Ibadi can be gained by invading the Arabian Peninsula, but it is by far the weakest of the three branches of Islam for Kongo.
If the Rights of Man DLC is activated, Fetishist rulers can choose from various cults that grant flat bonuses and access to many events unique to each cult. More cults unlock as the Kongolese encounter new religions and peoples. Some of the cults have incredibly weak bonuses, but others offer decent bonuses backed up by powerful events. Mwari is very useful for war and the Christianity cult regularly gives Kongo a +50 boost to relations with all other Christian countries in the world.
Without Rights of Man, there is little reason to stay Fetishist unless the player is roleplaying or wishes to maximize use of the holy war casus belli.
Either way, the primary drawback from remaining Fetishist is diplomacy. Most of the other Fetishist states will lag behind in technology and remain regional tribal powers, making said allies useless should the Europeans or Ottomans attack Kongo.
Unlike Catholics and Muslims, Fetishists have a large bonus to tolerance of heathens, so a Fetishist Kongo will hugely benefit from Humanist ideas. The high tolerance and reduced separatism will largely eliminate unrest in newly conquered provinces. Despite being geared towards Humanism, Religious ideas are still very viable, especially because of the Deus Vult casus belli.
Any of the religions of Asia can be acquired if a Fetishist Kongo conquers Eastern or Dharmic provinces and converts via decision. Many of these religions, in particular Hinduism, can be quite powerful, and the lack of any co-religionists in Africa and the western hemisphere opens up lots of opportunities for holy wars. However, an Eastern or Dharmic Kongo may easily be locked out of allying any of the typical great powers like the Ottomans or France. Reliable alliances will only come in the late game when wars and diplomacy become global affairs.
If the player wishes to embrace Judaism, then Kongo will have no choice but to rush east as fast as possible before Ethiopia converts its Jewish population. Do not stop expanding until all of the Kongo and Central Africa regions are annexed. From there, Kongo can then colonize the central belts of empty provinces to try and get close to Ethiopia, conquering through any obstructing neighbors. Another option is to colonize along the coasts and invading East Africa until Ethiopia is reached.
The Fight for Africa
Soon after the Portuguese arrive, Portugal and Spain/Castile will colonize the coasts of West Africa and proceed further and further south as the years press on. Of all the colonial powers, the Iberian kingdoms receive the most bonuses to colonization and will spread the most rapidly, and if the Kongo does not begin to colonize north of Loango, the Europeans will soon close the gap with their colonies. A border with either country will enable the Iberians to attack either using claims or the Holy War casus belli, and even if the Kongo has caught up in technology, the well-developed western empires will initially be able to field larger armies boosted by their powerful national ideas.
This point in the game is when the Kongo is most vulnerable. Sending diplomats to increase relations with nearby European powers will lessen the likelihood of war and even open the possibility of an alliance with one of the colonizers. If Spain begins to turn hostile, France is the best choice for an ally as it rarely displays interest in Africa and often rivals Spain. If 法兰西 refuses an alliance, Portugal is often open to good relations, especially if the Kongo chose to convert to Catholicism. Also, securing the allegiance or support of any remaining African neighbors will boost the Kongo's power.
Should a European power invade before the Kongolese are fully ready, it is strongly advised to take advantage of any defensible terrain and whatever forts that are present to hold them back and bleed them out. Offensive operations at this early point are futile as the European powers will be able to build larger navies that will sink any transports, and any armies that successfully make it to Iberia proper will be trapped in long sieges and likely wiped out by large, defending armies. Thankfully, the Europeans often divide their armies and send numerous tiny armies to invade, allowing the Kongolese to pick off smaller groups one by one. Unless the Kongo is allied with another European power in the war, it is better to seek a white peace as soon as possible to force a truce and buy time to prepare for the next war. If it is possible to make demands, dissolving alliances between European powers will weaken them. The player should be cautious about taking land that may be difficult or impossible to defend in later wars. If territory far from the Kongolese heartland is taken in peace, building another army in the conquered provinces is strongly advised, as it is very risky to rely on transporting troops across the ocean during war until the Kongo's navy is unquestionably dominant.
The Kongo is surrounded in every direction by empty provinces waiting to be colonized. To that end, Exploration is a solid first idea group to choose, as colonizing the coast of West Africa and nearby islands will prevent the Europeans from gobbling up the African continent. The Kongo also enjoys the best position in the game to found South American colonial nations and can easily have its first one formed by the early 1500s. If so, there is a high probability that the Colonialism institution will be born in the Kongo's borders. If the kingdom is so fortunate, it can move to adopt Colonialism quickly and the vast distance between Central Africa and the European mainland will slow the institution's spread to the Western empires, giving Kongo an opportunity to catch up in technology. If Colonialism is born in Europe instead, it will spread quickly in Kongolese ports if the Kongo has founded a colonial nation and can be hastened with development as usual.
Left to their own devices, the Europeans will overrun the entirety of the New World and colonize all available coastal space in western and southern Africa before eventually reaching Indonesia and East Asia, but the Kongo is well-placed to slow or stop the tide. With its many open paths of expansion, the Kongo is capable of pushing in multiple directions at once after finishing off the last of its neighbors. Colonizing South Africa will open up expansion into the Indian Ocean, while destroying the Muslim sultanates in West Africa will keep them out of Spain's hands. A player going for the African Power achievement should, of course, prioritize African routes of expansion above all others, but a colonial nation in Brazil can still be very helpful after it expands.
Alternatively, the Kongo can focus on winning the colonization rush and covering South America with colonial nations. It will find itself in heated competition with the French, Spanish, Portuguese, and possibly the English as the myriad colonial powers strive to expand and strengthen their colonial nations. Thankfully, they often hate each other and frequently engage in destructive wars. Should a major war distract a nearby competitor, the Kongolese can exploit this advantage to take low-cost provinces from colonial nations because even a European power will struggle to protect its colonies while defending its homeland in Europe. Waging wars of conquest and continuing colonization efforts will create large, powerful colonial nations that will increase the Kongo's force limit and strengthen their trading capabilities with extra merchants, in turn aiding the Kongo in its wars against other colonizers.
Players focusing on expansion in Africa, for the achievement or otherwise, should focus on colonizing South Africa and the islands of coasts of East Africa to keep them out of the hands of the Europeans. They will not be able to penetrate the interior for many, many years so there is no competition for the Central African provinces. The greatest danger likely to appear in the conquest of Africa is the arrival of the Ottomans, whose vast territory, incredible wealth, and large armies of high-quality soldiers will pose a serious threat to the Kongo. Typically, the Turks will conquer Egypt and either steamroll the North African Berbers, attack Ethiopia, or simply do both. In this case, the Kongo must focus on expanding as rapidly as it can to bring any remaining African countries under its banner in order to contain Turkish expansionism. When the borders are set, the time will soon come to attack the 奥斯曼 African possessions directly. Doing so alone and when the Ottomans are at peace will likely end in disaster. The best allies to bring in are those that can distract the Ottomans by opening a second front and/or by weakening or destroying Ottoman fleets. While the Ottomans' attention is divided, rapidly pushing them to the Sinai will create an effective chokepoint that can be exploited to inflict heavy casualties on invading Turks. An ally being forced out of the war by losing to the Ottomans is not the end of the world as long as the Kongo has used the distraction to gain ground.
If the player opts not to unite Africa, raising relations with the Ottomans may prevent them from becoming hostile while they expand in other directions. Even so, it is a good idea to block off their expansion southwards.