Saturday, May 20, 2017

Europa Universalis IV - Initial Thoughts

About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)

Paradox Development Studio is back with the fourth installment of the award-winning Europa Universalis series. The empire building game Europa Universalis IV gives you control of a nation to guide through the years in order to create a dominant global empire. Rule your nation through the centuries, with unparalleled freedom, depth and historical accuracy. True exploration, trade, warfare and diplomacy will be brought to life in this epic title rife with rich strategic and tactical depth.
Previous Playtime

4 hours

What Was I Thinking When I Bought This

Honestly, I think the name just filtered into my consciousness through general internet osmosis. I'm pretty sure that the game I intended to buy was Europa Universalis III, given that I'd first heard of the series a couple of years before I actually bought it. What I can say with certainty is that I had no idea what I was getting into with this game. "I guess it's about European history" was the extent of my foreknowledge.

Expectations and Prior Experience

I should probably start by addressing the elephant in the room - I once had a goal of completing a full Crusader Kings II game and then importing the map to Europa Universalis IV. I even wrote a whole long post about how that was something I always wanted to do and how I was really looking forward to the challenge. Unfortunately, I underestimated, by quite a lot, exactly how long Crusader Kings II would turn out to be. My old save file still exists, and I did lay it a few times over the last year, but I'm still nowhere near the end date. So my choice is to either take a 60 hour detour or just suck it up and admit defeat.

Maybe I'll do it one day. So long as there's life, there's hope.

Anyway, as for Europa Universalis IV, specifically, I've played the tutorial a couple of times and had two very short and painfully unsuccessful where I attempted to play the Iroquois and China and managed to completely bungle my military. I'm hoping that I've gained enough gaming wisdom over the past couple of years that the learning curve becomes manageable, but, realistically, my hope is slim.

Here's my prediction - I will, against my better judgement, refrain from being aggressive in the early game and try to pursue an isolationist, trade, and infrastructure-focused policy. My neighbors will blob alarmingly and at some point my territory will seem like a valuable prize. I'll lose my first game by being absorbed by some imperialist asshole. And then I'll write a post complaining about it.

That inevitability aside, what it's really going to come down to is whether or not playing as a doomed pacifist feels productive. As long as I have the sensation that my power is growing, I'll be happy.

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