Art Game: Europa Universalis IV: Art Of War Expansion Out

I like to avoid conflict Europa Universalis IV as much as possible, preferring to play small nations prioritising survival, and seeing what happens if I decide to convert to protestantism. The new Art of War expansion might compel me to dabble more deeply with the grand strategy game’s options for aggression and conquest, though. It’s got 100 new countries, it revamps the Reformation to encourage more religious conflict, and it makes it easier to gather soldiers and form armies.

It’s out now and there’s a launch trailer below.

Europa Universalis IV is one of those games that looks outwardly terrifying – vast in historical scope, and in the number of countries and provinces available to control – but which reveals itself to be much simpler than it initially appears. Or rather, it’s exactly as complex as you think, but you quickly learn which numbers, menus, mechanics you can ignore if you wish, and which you need to get to grips with immediately. EUIV was the first entry in the series where I did that, and I’d now much rather spend my time pootling over Europe than, say, attempting to conquer Civilization.

Paradox say that Art of War is arguably their largest expansion ever, featuring:

– Revamped Papal election and curia system
– Religious leagues in totally redone Reformation structure, to encourage religious conflict
– Hundreds of new provinces and dozens of new nations throughout game history
– New revolt system that traces general unrest
– Greater flexibility in managing and sharing fleets
– The creation of client states as a new form of subject ally
– Army construction template for easy rebuilding of destroyed forces

Which perhaps justifies the slightly higher-than-normal price, as the expansion will set you back £15/$20 on Steam.


  1. TC-27 says:

    £15 is worth it for the new rebellion mechanics alone – not playing whack a mole against rebellion stacks is a nice change.

    Finally convinced myself to go to bed last night after winning religious league war for the HRE and installing myself (Brandenburg) as a Protestant Emperor.

    No just to figure out how to get enough Imperial Authority to start passing reforms – I suspect the only way will be to go to war against France will will take a very careful use of my elite but relatively small army.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      The rebellion mechanics change whether or not you buy the expansion.

  2. Myrdinn says:

    I just came here to say I’ve been gaming over 20 years and these grand strategy games have been one of my most beloved ones in all that time. Crusader Kings 2 probably wasted more of my time than EU4 though; this expansion has drawn me back to the Rennaisance, playing my current game with France and having a blast.

  3. Gothnak says:

    I hope when i’m in my 80’s and sent to a home that they have decent computers and i can sit and play Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings as i’ll finally have enough time to devote to them then.

    • Rizlar says:

      They will all think you are crazy but you are just talking about declaring non-cassus belli wars on one province minors and steering trade to your big nodes.

      • Lanfranc says:

        I like big nodes and I can not lie/You other princes can’t deny

        • Horg says:

          When the trade steers in with an itty bitty fleet / and ducats on your balance sheet / you get declared upon

    • mike2R says:

      You might upset the other residents if you like swearing at your little computer people.

      “For *&$£’s sake! You’re 85 years old and infirm, and you were never all that in the first place. Your son is ten times the man you are, and you’re wasting his best years by hanging on to your pointless piss-soaked existence. WIll you just die already!”

    • laijka says:

      Unless you’re already close to your 80s they don’t even have to have decent computers. Decade old potatoes will be able to play EU and CK by then.

  4. Brinx says:

    I’m really liking the changes on paper, though I have yet to play it, since the, sadly only mediocre, Charlemagne sucked me back into CK2.
    Still, all of these new mechanics sound like they are really great.

  5. teije says:

    Best expansion for EUIV yet definitely. Spoken as someone who has played all of the EU/CK series. Lots of great changes and surprisingly few & minor bugs (often an issue with Paradox DLCs). The local autonomy & unrest systems are very well thought out and add more welcome complexity to internal realm management, which was weak before. Tons of new provinces/countries, some overdue UI help (e.g. automatic fleet transport), good reformation mechanics, etc. Some people are finding performance has been considerably slower, but I haven’t noticed anything and my specs aren’t top of the line.

    15 months after initial release, EUIV is feeling like a very rich experience, and knowing Paradox, there’s at least 4-5 more DLCs to come.

    • Gormongous says:

      I held off, and now I’m reading that the LA limit for colonies means that the Americas, Southeast Asia, Siberia, and Africa are vastly weaker for the native countries there than they were before the DLC, even taking into account the increased number of provinces. If a province is colonized, it remains at a minimum of 50% LA for the remainder of recorded history no matter who conquers it or what is built there, unless a colonial nation is created including that province. This is confirmed by Paradox to be working as intended, so as someone who prefers playing the rest of the world, I have a good reason to hold off further on this DLC until it’s on sale and hopefully tweaked a bit.

      • teije says:

        Yes, that’s a unpopular design decision which is an issue for many. It is easily modded out if you want (see Pdox forum for how). I would expect that to get revised. I usually play in the old world, so enough countries to play with that are not affected.

        Waiting until sale is always good though, it’s a pricey DLC.

      • Katar says:

        It’s not a fantastic change, but if you want to see why some sort of limit is needed now there are hundreds of new provinces load up the 1776 bookmark and select the USA. Congratulations you are the most powerful nation, repelling the British is trivial you are even powerful enough to have a decent chance of invading France.

        Now imagine playing as a Native nation and having most of the North American continent under control before the European powers turn up. With the unit rebalance also meaning you can field gun armed infantry, cavalry, and artillery even before the Europeans turn up and introduce horses and the concept of firearms to you, it would be trivial to stop the Colonial powers.

        Basically the game balance has unsurprisingly been thrown out of whack by the addition of so many new provinces. It will likely take several very unpopular patches to sort things out.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          I like the current balance, I even like the constant changes in balance that these updates produce. I’m not finding the Native Americans overpowered in the slightest in my England game but I’m looking forward to revisiting the Cherokee. In my last game with them I was one province away from the No Trail of Tears achievement. In the last version before the update I managed to form Germany – I may have a crack at Italy in this one, or now could be the perfect time to try my first Muslim nation (after 600 hours clocked it’s probably time!)

          Overall the balance in Europe seems better now than it was. France were much too blobby in the last version and if the Burgundinian inheritance didn’t happen they ended up swallowing up the Netherlands and making the arrival of the Dutch republic very short lived indeed. Now Burgundy seems able to hold its own a bit better.

          The changes to trade nodes (not sure whether this has happened in this one, or the last one) are amazing. I’m very glad that Western Europe node is gone, the Antwerp node is gone, the north sea node makes much more sense now as does a direct connection from west Africa to the Channel… My income from trade in my England/GB game right now is about 400/month :)

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Also I have about 52k in the bank, over 500 ships, and have to keep finding ways to get rid of my monarch points as they keep maxing out… It’s possible that England is OP in this one ;)