Butua is a tiny, two-province vassal of Mutapa. It is very poor, but its capital produces gold and so Butua begins with enough income to build over its force limit and hire an adviser or two. Butua is tribal and begins with no institutions, but the coastal provinces of Kilwa and Sofala have Feudalism and will spread it to the Zambezi region. Lastly, Butua has very strong national ideas that will make it a very powerful empire once its neighbors have been eliminated.
Unfortunately, Butua begins on a time limit: Mutapa will initiate the process of annexation a decade after the game starts and it will only take a year to complete the process. If Butua is to have any hope of survival, it needs to secure support for its independence from its overlord's rivals, who will themselves become the next obstacle to Butua's rise once Mutapa lies in ashes.
This guide will explain various strategies to help Butua secure its dominance over southeastern Africa. Since the requirements for the Rozwi Empire are in Butua's immediate path of expansion, this can also be considered a guide for that achievement.
Opening moves and preparations
The absolute first priority is to see which other countries have chosen Mutapa as a rival because these countries will be very amenable to supporting Butua's struggle for freedom. They may need some nudging though, but improving relations with them should convince them to help. Kilwa is the optimal choice because its more advanced armies (Kilwa starts with more technologies than Mutapa) will crush anything Mutapa sends against them. Maravi is also a good choice because it is mostly equal to Mutapa in power. If the player secures the assistance of both, the war against Mutapa will be fairly easy. It is a good idea to make the official request for support as soon as possible or one of the potential allies may get dragged into a war, which will bar Butua from asking support until the war ends.
Butua will need to prepare well to defeat Mutapa. Reaching military tech 3 and building up as many troops as the economy will allow is paramount; the force limit should not be a barrier. A player with Common Sense can alternatively focus on developing the capital to increase manpower and money to support larger armies and also to rush for Feudalism. If the player can save up enough ducats, building a fort in the capital will be a huge asset because Mutapa and its allies will be forced to waste soldiers and time on a siege, especially since the wargoal of an independence war is to defend the rebel capital. The major disadvantage of the development approach is that Butua runs the risk of Mutapa upgrading its military technology before Butua can, which will put Butuan soldiers at a huge disadvantage.
Butua should also fabricate several claims on nearby provinces that it will want to take from its overlord. The most important province to secure is Massapa, which lies in Butua's capital state and produces gold.
Lastly, a player with Rights of Man activated will benefit greatly from choosing theMwari cult. Butua's soldiers already gain a +10% morale from their national traditions, so the bonus +2.5%discipline will ensure that Butua's troops outperform Mutapa's at equal technology levels. Adding an adviser that further increases discipline or morale will let Butua defeat larger enemy armies with ease.
The fight for freedom
If Butua can marshal enough soldiers, positioning them near Mutapa's armies and leading a rapid strike may very well knock their armies out of the war from the get-go. A player with Cradle of Civilization activated might even be able to attack Mutapa's army while the troops are still drilling and at near-zero morale. Otherwise it is best to link up with allies. Butua can only take out tiny loans in the range of 6-10 ducats (unless the player has manually developed provinces) and the player should not be afraid to take out dozens of them to recruit new soldiers and mercenaries. If both Kilwa and Maravi have joined the fray, the war should be easy to win. If the odds are not initially in Butua's favor, careful maneuvering and overrunning isolated enemy armies will make the war more manageable. Bear in mind that the war goal merely requires Butua to hold onto its capital, so warscore will constantly tick up as long as it is held. Mutapa's allies often get distracted by attacking Butua's allies. This is fine because it allows Butua to occupy as many of Mutapa's provinces as possible. If the ally signs peace while Mutapa's provinces are occupied by Butua, Butua's warscore will skyrocket without the penalties from occupied ally territories, which can bring the war to an immediate and very favorable end.
It is important to try and seize as much of Mutapa's territory as possible, with the best acquisitions being the gold-producing provinces and provinces close to Sofala if the player intends to passively gain the Feudalism institution. Mutapa will be very weak after its defeat and will become easy prey for neighboring rivals or even Butua's allies once the truce timers are up. If Butua's treasury and manpower reserves are utterly drained, then taking only two or three provinces is fine, but otherwise the player should aim to maximize territorial gains; stripping Mutapa of all its ducats will also help Butua recover from the war more quickly. Once Butua wins the war, the first phase of the game is done and the Rozwi can begin to prepare for greater things.