Europa Universalis 3: Heir to the throne demo

By Kieron Gillen on December 11th, 2009 at 11:20 am.

Nothing like a good map first thing in the morning

This is definitely the sort of game that will appeal to the 28-30+ age-bracket. It’s the demo of the expansion pack to Europa Universalis III – a game I have so much trouble spelling that I’m afraid to actually play the thing. Anyway, it’s a time limited version of what teh full expansion offers, with you playing as eight major European powers between 1492 and 1550. Chart territories! And similar! You can see more details over at Paradox’s site – where you can also buy the thing. Hurrah for commerce! Hurray for trailers! Here’s one now…

Hurrah!

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78 Comments »

  1. Lambchops says:

    That ridiculously tiny 28-30+ year old demographic must really be enjoying themselves this year.

  2. Shadowcat says:

    I think you’ll find that “28-30+” is (a) exactly the same as “28+”, and (b) not a bracket.

  3. Miles of the Machination says:

    I never really saw the appeal of these in depth stat micromanagement conquest games, then again I’m not 28-30+

    • DMJ says:

      Fortunately I’m precisely 28-30+.

    • bookwormat says:

      “Fortunately I’m precisely 28-30+.”
      You mean you are going to be born in 2 years?

    • DMJ says:

      @bookwormat: Yes. The “reply” feature is so broken that it’s getting my responses two years before my birth.

  4. Argh says:

    If it doesn’t appeal to you then why comment about it? Just move along. I’ve heard people say modern warfare is a masterpiece, frankly i think its a crappy game with a retarded story for ADD kids, but thats my opinion and I’ll keep that to myself.

    • Okami says:

      No, you didn’t.

    • Serondal says:

      Yeah you totally didn’t :P

    • Pantsman says:

      He did say “I’ll keep it to myself”, not “I do keep it to myself”, which I suppose means that in the future he’ll be keeping it to himself, just not now.

    • TeeJay says:

      Redux:

      “If it doesn’t appeal to you then why comment about it? Just move along. I’ve heard people say talk about certain games as ‘masterpieces’ which I think are crappy with a retarded stories for ADD kids, but that’s my opinion and I’ll keep it to myself.”

      Success!

  5. underproseductor says:

    I’m 16 and I love Paradox grand-strategy games (both EU and HoI). Something’s not right with me.

  6. Fede says:

    HTTT’s demo is a little buggy at times, it does add a lot to EU3 IN (the second expansion), but I think I’ll wait for some patches before upgrading.

  7. FP says:

    @Argh: I can’t help noticing that in fact you didn’t keep it to yourself.

  8. ChaK_ says:

    Might give it a go.

    I need an endless addictive management game atm

  9. Bhazor says:

    Wow. Thats really naff map art compared to King Arthur or Medieval.

    I mean fair enough the graphics are always an afterthought but when you’re spending hours looking at the sodding thing you can’t help but gripe and wish for fluttery trees and diddy wee carts and ships.

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      While it’s true the map is not all it could be (later Paradox games with the same engine, such as Rome and Victoria 2, are much more beautiful), neither King Arthur or Total War is trying to simulate a map of anything like this scale or complexity. EU3 has something on the order of two thousand land provinces alone, and half that again in the sea.

      And if it really bothers you, there are plenty of mods that do wonders with it.

  10. Tunnel says:

    When you play you probably won’t even use that map. You’ll be using the less detailed one where countries are painted in bright, clearly differentiated colours.

  11. Silverhood says:

    Bhazor: EU3 has several map overlays. The one you see is the terrain map (shows weather too). There’s one for religion, one for nation states (each country diff colour), one for culture / region, one for the Holy Roman Empire and one for trade resources. You swap between them every 10 seconds.

    EU3 isn’t about the graphics anyway – you have way more important things to worry about. For those interested in EU3, I’d highly recommend the Magna Mundi Platinium 2 Mod (in short, MMP2). It adds historical events to a dull vanilla game, and racks up the difficulty for large expansion while making it easier to survive while small fry. Oh, and it uses a much prettier map ;)

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      I think the sun is setting on MM, myself. MMG2 was a superb mod, really pushing NA to the limit of what the engine could do. MMP was an excellent port of that mod to IN. MMP2… really failed to exploit the possibilities of IN in the same way that MMG2 exploited those of NA. Still a good mod, but oddly… missing in places. Now ubik’s declared there will not be a major rewrite of MM for HTTT, I’m terribly afraid that the mod will never reach its potential. :(

  12. Berto says:

    I’m 26 and i adore the Paradox games. However, 20€ is a bit too much for an expansion like HTTT. Hell i bought EU3 plus Napoleon’s Ambition and In Nomine (the previous expansions) for 22€. I dont think i’ll buy the game all over again for a few improvments.

    And Keiron EU 3 is not that complex, actually its surpringly accessible for a grand strategy game. Its a lot easier than than Hearts of Iron, Victoria or Civ4.

  13. BonSequitur says:

    It’s not really easier than Civ4, although Civ4 has more difficulty levels and a cheaty-face AI that would make it harder when playing on “hard.”

    And yes, you got screwed with that one. 20 Euro is a bit much compared to the $20 it costs elsewhere.

  14. Tei says:

    My friends play strategy games that make Europa Universalis look ezMode. It could be a nerd thing. As a geek, I am more interested in science fiction than in history, so I hate these simulators that try too strong to repeat the history, and have fears to branch the history.

    WHAT IF the Popa would have conquer all the europe, and build a new Rome in UK? (note: thats the base of one science fiction book).
    WHAT IF Russia was conquered by germany in the WWII?

    CIV is more realistic than this type of games. CIV is not tryiing to hard to force historical events. Hell… give Ghandi nuclear powers and he could have changed the way he written history from pacifist to belicist (here is another WHAT IF that whould have been good for a nice sci-fi book, Ghandi with nuclear bombs). There are more ways the history could have developed, than the ONE that has developed and people seems limited to imagine.

    • Nimic says:

      “This type of games”? That’s not really true, though. It was true with EU2, which I still think is a very good game, but not with EU3. In EU2, historical events happened whether it made any sense or not. It’s actually been one of the criticisms towards EU3 from EU2-fans, that it’s too “random”.

      Personally, I love it. It’s one of the best games I’ve ever played with In Nomine (second expansion), and from reading developer diaries and the likes, I think Heir to the Throne just might make it even better.

    • Railick says:

      Dude did you say Civ4 is more realistic than EU3? That just about destroyed my brain. A game where you can start as America in BC with George Washington wearing a fur skin and a skull cap as the leader is more realistic then EU3, really? You can make some extreme changes to history in EU3 and HOI3 (Germany can easily conquer Russia) CIV 4 is not even /slightly/ realistic. I’m not saying it isn’t a good and fun game but it is far from realistic and Civ has always been that way. (In Civ 2 you could easily destroy a tank with a phallanx.)

    • CMaster says:

      @Rallick – no you couldn’t. In Civ 2 the Phalanx had 10 HP and did 1 damage/victory while the armour had 30HP and maybe did more than 1 damage. The odds of a Phalanx winning a combat against armor were pretty remote. In fact, it’s far more likley in Civ 3 (I’d have to actually run the maths on it between 2 and 4 to see which was more likley to cause that result there, as well as deciding which unit was the best equvilant to phalanx). What you say was quite possible of Civ 1 however.

  15. Tunnel says:

    I too was surprised by how accessible EU3 was. Once you learn the basics, you can just start playing and figure most of it out as you go.

    Also, it has very little micromanagement. Sure, there are tons of little intricate adjustments you can make, but no repetitive annoying tasks you feel you shouldn’t be bothered with. You don’t need to constantly build your armies to replace your losses, the game automatically supplies them with your nation’s manpower when they are on friendly territory. You don’t need to replace obsolete units, they are automatically updated. You don’t need fifty small armies to attack and defend your provinces, a couple of large units can move swiftly to hold the homeland while another couple can conquer the enemy.

    It’s a very complex game, with many intricate layers which I’m still discovering in every playthrough. Given that, it’s surprising how smooth it plays.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Oh, that IS nice to know. I may even try out the demo, knowing this.

  16. Vadermath says:

    Have you actually played EUIII? Because, saying CIV is more realistic is just…stupid. This game does not try to repeat history at all, but simply be realistic as to what could have changed over the course of history. This is about alternative history, not science-fiction, as much as I like both.

    CIV is simply too…random, compared to this.

    • Tei says:

      @Vadermath: The fall of the berlin wall, the 11/S, the fall of the CCCP… all these events feel totally random to me. Most people never predicted the following events. History is random wen played forward, and predecible wen played backward, I think.

    • Baris says:

      @Tei: Christ, I love your comments. It takes a few weeks for them to grow on you, but when they do it’s a delight to spot one.

    • Grandstone says:

      @Tei

      I agree with you, actually, on your point about history being unpredictable as it moves forward, but I always thought Civ just didn’t get the “messiness” of history as correctly as do games like EUIII or even the later Total War games. Individuals don’t really matter in Civ’s universe.

  17. Pod says:

    I ruined my first EU3 playthrough by choosing to play as an Indian nation. Turns out you spend the whole game with nothing but crappy basic troops whilst western Europe is allowed to ‘tech’ up.:(

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      The question is whether you’re supposed to play the game to recreate history or to make your own history. Or choose between the two. If it’s only the first then I can understand. If not, then there are different ways of more or less realistic ways of advancing that could be chosen to develop your nation of choice. Disappointing, then, that you weren’t allowed to do so.

    • Kelron says:

      @Hmm-Hmm It’s a mix between the two. You can significantly alter history, but it’s hard to do so on the kind of scale of making a 3rd world nation into a superpower. It is possible in various ways, but the tech disadvantage is hard to overcome. Personally I prefer this to the Total War games where every nation is “balanced” with minimal relation to actual history.

      For most players, EU3 is at its best when playing as a western European nation. There’s a lot of nations all packed together in a small space, and it’s the most detailed region of the game with the HRE, papacy, reformation and various historical events adding depth.

    • Railick says:

      Personally I love to play as Native American nations and then CHEAT . (even cheating it is freaking hard!) IF you’re playing as natiive american type in something like invest land_tech 2000000 and it will give you a new level in land tech (maybe) By the time you’re in 5 or 10 levels you’ll be typing it in 40 freaking times to get 1 level of land tech because of all the things against you for having a native american tech :P Ontop of this you have HORRIBLE government where every time your leader dies armies appear on all your non-core provinces and if you get more than a certain amount of provinces your leader gets huge negative traits that make it very hard to run your country. So even cheating lightly it is a challenge. (You could of course just go into the save file and change your countries tech to Latin and the government to Fuedal Monarch and you’d be set to take over the world as native americans : ) )

  18. Snall says:

    To be fair I’ve been playing these type of games since I was 15…but since I’m now 27 I guess I’m only a little out of the..bracket.

  19. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    As someone who (eventually) got into Victoria (a little) but couldn’t wrap his head around HoI, would Paradox vets recommend me trying EU? When I have more time I’m going to play this demo, but I played a past EU demo and found the tutorial unhelpful and the demo to limited to learn on.

    • Kelron says:

      @Mad Doc

      Yes, give it a try. It takes a while getting used to but it’s muchmore accessible than Victoria and HoI (neither of which I’ve ever learned to play properly).

    • Railick says:

      I’ve just wrapped my head around HOI3 after playing it since it was released and giving up about 20 times. EU3 I learned the first time I played it, it is VERY simple yet very elegant. Out of all the Paradox games it has been the easiest for me to learn. I’ve had a great deal of fun playing as Castile or Portugal durning the grand campaign.

  20. WCG says:

    28-30+? Darn! Way too immature for me, then?

  21. disperse says:

    Cue hordes of 27-year-olds buying this game out of spite.

  22. Hulk Hogan says:

    Crusader Kings is my favorite Paradox game, so dynasties… cool.

    I always ended up getting my king excommunicated because I assassinated people at random for the hell of it.

  23. SAVBUT says:

    The new casus belli system is pretty damn awesome and dealing with pirates doesn’t suck monkey balls anymore. I’d say this expansion is well worth the price

  24. Serondal says:

    27 here too, I think it is safe to say it should at LEAST be 27 + not 28+, really though anyone can enjoy this type of game. Currently I’m engrossed with HOI3

  25. jsutcliffe says:

    I’m going to take some credit for popularising “28-30+” even if I don’t deserve it!

  26. Railick says:

    I take credit for creating the word handy j, and apologize at the same time ( I know for a fact I’m the first person to ever use that term ! ;P )

  27. Baris says:

    So wait, I do need the original game to play this?

    • Railick says:

      To play the Demo , no . to play the expansion yes, you will need the first game but just to play this demo no you don’t need it.

    • Baris says:

      Ah, alright. I’ll give the game a whirl then, your and Vinraith’s posts about it have intrigued me.

  28. cjlr says:

    I don’t know who here has checked the AARs on the Paradox fora, but a guy by the handle of Prawnstar came veeery close to complete world conquest (without converting from paganism) playing as Iroquois.

    Sure, it takes some rampant AI abuse and some really gamey tactics… but it’s possible!

  29. Railick says:

    Did he just run out of time or did something horrible happen? (I can’t imagine what it would be like to have your leader die under a tribal government when you’ve taken over most of the world and 99% of your empire doesn’t have a core on it :P)

  30. Vinraith says:

    The whole notion of Pdox releasing demos for these things is totally alien, though I hope it helps them generate sales. For my part, I’ve (predictably) already pre-ordered the thing with some early Christmas money. Then again, I’m in that “30+” group. Then again, I started playing EU2 in my early 20′s, and all of these games are really just an attempt to recapture the feel of tabletop wargaming from my teens, so I’m not so sure about the age thing.

  31. Railick says:

    I played EU When it first came out, snapped it right up because it sounded incredible. That was back in 2000 so I’d have been 18 years old at the time, sounds about right :) I couldn’t really get into it sadly and something else came out around the same time that stole my attention, not sure what maybe a total war game or something. I got EU2 when it came out hoping it would be better, sadly it was the same thing so I left it behind. Now I get Eu3 when it comes out and then don’t play it until just the last few months. Vinraith convinced me to get the expansion packs and try again, I did so. Low and behold I’m REALLy into Paradox games now (I’m even waging a succesful war against Nationalist China as Japan in HOI3 which I never thought I would do) These games are a lot like dwarf fortress in that once you get past the interface and the mechanics they are a great deal of fun and very easy to handle once you know everything you need to know. (maybe less so with HOI 3, I spent about an hour reorganizing my forces when I first started my Japan game just so I could tell what the heck I had access to. 20 entries named Hosidniadian isn’t very helpful :P)

    • Vinraith says:

      @Railick

      I snapped up EU1 the same way you did, but found it totally impenetrable. It was only after playing Civ 3, and being deeply disappointed by it, that I had a look back in Paradox’s direction and discovered EU2. I don’t know why I even bought it considering my experience with 1, but I did, and I found it worlds easier to get into for reasons I don’t entirely understand. Anyway, I’m glad 3 finally opened up for you, they really are some of my favorite games on Earth. :)

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      Paradox games have ruined me for Civ. I used to have great fun with Civ 3 when I was younger, but by the time Civ 4 rolled around I was neck deep in EU3 and it just looked so much like Fisher Price My First Empire Builder.

      And once I’d learnt to play Vicky competantly… ruined I say, ruined.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Jae Armstrong

      Eh, Civ games are just completely different types of game, really. If you want history, Paradox is the way to go, but if you want something a bit less involved, heavily moddable, and well-balanced/fun in multiplayer Civ is your better bet. Civ 4 is quite good, IMO, and the mods alone more that justify its existance. Fall from Heaven is marvelous.

      But I understand what you mean. If an enjoyment of history is what was driving you to play Civ (which is how i was pre-EU2) then Paradox games totally kill that motivation. After that, you either find a new reason to play them or you don’t.

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      It wasn’t so much historicity as… well, I have this thing about complex systems. I see a sort of beauty in them I find hard to describe.

      EU3, when I met it, felt like this… great big grandfather clock, with a thousand thousand tiny cogs of cut crystal and silver filigree all turning and pushing against each other in a myriad intricate motions which together made this greater and infinitely complex dance. Whereas in comparison Civ was like, like, like some early prototype of the internal combustion engine; great clunking black iron grinding together and belching out choking smog.

    • Kommissar Nicko says:

      @Jae: Your analogy for Civ makes me want to play it again. Not sure what that says.

  32. Andrew Dunn says:

    Definitely getting this expansion. For all that HOI3 was a soulless, broken disappointment and not fit to lick HOI2′s boots, I love EU3. The ahistoricity of it doesn’t bother me as much when it’s spread over hundreds of in-game years rather than a couple of in-game months.

  33. Vinraith says:

    @Andrew Dunn

    “For all that HOI3 was a soulless, broken disappointment ”

    Give it time. EU3 was pretty subpar before the expansions, as well.

  34. Railick says:

    @Andrew Dunn

    I’ve found HOI3 to be light years better than HOI2 in many areas. Not the least of which is the new order of battle and command structure which I find endlessly fascinating. Last night I spent about 5 hours creating my own special army for attacking China. Like I mean I literally took each division and put it into a custom named corps by hand, then put those corps into custom named armies and those armies into a customized army group and attached that to the customized theatre HQ. the effect is that I was able to roll over Shanxi with my army because it was so well organized and responded to my orders, all just using the AI in objective mode at corps level I never issued a direct move order at all.

    After that I pushed south into Nationalist China where I ran into some problems. Namly the Chinese are using their allies to move troops around by I’m not at war with their allies so I can’t chase them or counter attack them I can only respond to them once they’re in my provinces  I can’t even bomb them until they’re in my province or support the ground combat until I lose which is a bummer, may cause me to declare war on those allies soon.

    I also managed to create a special army for marines once I researched them and used them to invade National China’s northern most port in a daring raid which linked up a new supply chain to my existing battle. Now I’ve landed an army of light tanks which are going to buzz a line straight to the capital while I redeploy my marines to invade the other National China port further south  It’s all good times, not heartless at all.

    @Vinraith – I didn’t care for Civ 3 either, but Civ 4 was golden.

  35. Vinraith says:

    @Railick

    Yup, Civ 4 brought me back to the franchise.

  36. Railick says:

    Don’t get me wrong there were somee things I liked about Civ 3, the videos for the great wonders and the graphics were fine it just was missing something that made the game Civ, where as (For me) Civ 4 nailed it right on the head. I still have very fond memories of playing Civ 2. I would always go for a fanatical government so I could over run the world with Fanatic army units which were really pretty strong considering they were free ( I think they were either free or they didn’t cost upkeep or something like that)

    How about Alpha Centauri, that was one heck of a game!

  37. Railick says:

    Vicky scares me like a giant 20 legged beast with 5 heads and swine flu. I actually broke down and get the whole Paradoxian collection a few days ago (Including CK , the expansion from Rome which I didn’t have, Vicky and it’s expansion) So far I’ve not played any of them that I got :P I read online that vicky has like 40 resources you have to manage it all just sounds horrible hard.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Railick

      I’ve owned Vicky for quite a few years, and have never had any luck with it. VickyWiki is a must, I’m told. I need to go back and take another shot at it, but there are SO many things to play.

      Oh, and did you get Deus Vult for CK? That’s important.

  38. Railick says:

    Maybe I’ve getting 2 mixed up with 3. There is one of them where the game doesn’t scale very well and the way the combat is handled is wonkey so the Phallanx stands a good chance against a modern era solider for whatever reason :P Still Tanks fighting Phallanxs isn’t realistic in and of itself so there :) Nyah
    <edit> I actually found some example of what I was talking about before, this is in refernce to Civ 2.
    “The idea of repair should be added to the game.
    Give things the same offense and defense power they have now, with the
    offense number also representing the number of points of damage the
    unit does. The defense number could also represent the number of
    points of damage a piece of equipment could take. Thus, tanks can
    still kill tanks in one shot, but a lucky shot by a phalanx would no
    longer terminate your battleship. ”

    Shadowcat “It hammers at my retinas like an evil woodpecker of pure energy”

  39. Railick says:

    @Vinraith – Yes I got Dues Vult, I tried to play it but I was totally lost as to what I was suposed to be doing or even which lands were mine. I seemed to be able to do all sorts of things but wasn’t clear why I should do them ;)

    • Vinraith says:

      One trick with Paradox games is figuring out what map mode to play in. The answer, in the case of CK (IMO) is to play in diplomatic mode. It’s easy to tell what’s yours, what’s your vassals, what’s your allies etc.

    • Kommissar Nicko says:

      This must be asked: Is Victoria something of a spiritual successor to that old-fashioned game, Imperialism?

      Answer carefully, because entire weeks of my life are at stake.

    • Yahoo says:

      “This must be asked: Is Victoria something of a spiritual successor to that old-fashioned game, Imperialism?”

      It’s far more complex, but…yes. I found the two games to be share similarities. Especially with the production chain/market system.

  40. Railick says:

    Very elegantly put Jae

  41. Dewrj says:

    Surprised that no one caught the “teh” as in
    “…a game I have so much trouble spelling that I’m afraid to actually play the thing. Anyway, it’s a time limited version of what teh full expansion offers…”
    Ironic, if you ask me

  42. Steve Pedro says:

    I feel much the same as the OP; I have wasted many hours with this game, and at the end of the day, the problem is always the same: this game is fundamentally not fun. Unless you want to start attacking people left, right and centre with no justification (at which point I would argue the historical aspect of the game becomes moot), then you are basically consigned to sitting gaping at your screen for hour upon hour. The game is sorely lacking on both the domestic and diplomatic fronts, so I’ve decided to remove it and discard it once and for all.

  43. rahul says:

    its good not thats much interesting