I decided to play a minor nation: westphalia.

I tried many times and failed because it was very hard. I try to look up some tactics but did not find one.
So I kept trying and i was succesful.
I decided to discribe the beginning...the way to survive.

What did I do?

1. Turn
1. I updated ALL houses within my country at once.
2. The rest of the money i spend on units.
3. I requested trade agreements with EVERY nation possible accept
United Provinces. Why? Because you need to decide wether to attack UP to
get a huge city or to attack another nation.
IF you want to attack UP and you have to consider that GB will take its side and GB is an enemey
that is really really had to defeat.
But when you have a trade agreement with UP then it will be even harder to make peace with GB because you violated
an agreement. Also GB is BBF with Hannover. So IF you attack UP, then you are also at war with GB and mostly very soon with Hannover....

You have to have a big city very soon. I thought about it many times and tried it out. here is the best way in my opinion:

2 - 4 Turns you are spending the money on troops. Clavery and Infanty. Have a look at the different types....some are better some are cheaper.
I always took the cheapest line infantery.

After that I attacked: FRANCE. The main player besides Prussia.
Why? Because this is the only tactical option.

I had to decide weather I attack UP, Prussia, France or Sachsen.
Sachen was destroyed after the second turn by prussia.
Prussia was too strong and too far away.... Berlin is too far from the homeland.
UP was not an option so I ask for trade. (see above).
France was united with Spain. And Spain is also very powerful BUT has NO big city at you location.
France hat Paris and was united with Spain. Normaly that means that you are at war with Spain too, BUT spain ist under preassure because of the UP.
UP wants belgium and spain is defending it.
When you declare war on france, the chance are high that spain is not going to join, because they do not want a two front war. (SAVE before declaring).
I declared war, spain did not join.

now you have to decide waether you go THROUGH Elsass Lothringen or TAKE Elsass Lothringen. It depends if there is a threat, a big army you need to destroy fist.
You are going to take paris....From this moment on you have a far better position.
You need to watch out for Savoy.

In the near future you will have to attack UP and you have to fight off the prussia.
BUT Hannover is hostile too.
First go for the UP.
Then for Belgium.
Why? because if you go first for belgium, UP is going to be pissed. they will attack. and they might be stronger after you fought the spanish in belgium.
Hannover will be next....but do not declare war. Wait until they do it. GB won't join them.

If you surviveed so far, prussia will be waek because of the wars with austria and poland.

hope this helps.