End Times: Europa Universal IV’s Million-Man Battle

Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy games create extraordinary scenarios. Often they’re based around small, local events – everyone seems to love sharing Crusader Kings II‘s twisted family trees and tales of incest, treachery and knives in the dark – but occasionally a story emerges that shows how preposterous and impressive these games can be at the other end of the scale. I’ve never seen anything quite like this million-man battle from Europa Universalis IV [official site] though.

As mentioned in the player’s narrative write-up, this battle is “the culmination of nearly a thousand years of history”. The reason I’ve never seen anything so impressive (or horrifying) in my own games no doubt has something to do with my tendency to play for a couple of centuries and then start again. I’m an early game expert, a mid-game fool and an end-game disaster.

Seeing this sort of thing makes me realise that I sometimes take for granted the remarkable possibilities that these engines make possible. I often refer to EU IV and its strategy siblings as alternate history simulators – engines that create stories – and, like many finely machined things, it seems to do its work effortlessly. That’s not the case of course but all of the effort is hidden. Game developers are clever like that.

I like this massive war because of the context. It’s a piece of history and I’d love to see the full AAR that goes with it. Here’s some flavour:

“The war begins as the lord of Alania, Empress Anastaia, hopes to capture Prague before the Coaliton of Christ — as the other side would like to be called — can gather their forces. However, they prove to late. The Moravians gather with their allies, and hope to approach the city from the east. Alan forces muster with all of their allies, in an attempt to stop the relief of prague. Outside of the tiny village of Hradecko, over a million men were about to fight…”

Click through for the full story, with lovely strategic maps.

Of course, this almost certainly isn’t the biggest battle ever recorded in EU IV. It might not even be the biggest battle you’ve ever seen. Share your stories of triumphs, tragedies and Pyrrhic victories below. The more details the better.

And if you want some tips on surviving a long war, allow wise Rob Zacny to be your guide.


  1. JajaJanx says:

    I had just finished a Ck2 campaign to prepare for EU4 when it released. It was to be a grand campaign. A Mongolian France, a Spanish Empire that owned the lower half of said France, Byzantium under a PU, and Russia myself the owner of said PU. Now one would think as Russia with no rivals I would expand east for the easy game. I drove west; Spain decided to copy my decision to head toward the Rhine. The wars of “Protection” over the German states lasted until the end date of the game. I think the biggest battle lasted for 6 months just from the amount of reinforcements pilling in steadily. One thing that always happens though for big empires is they just become to big to hurt one another realistically.

    • The Council says:

      I must be doing something wrong (or perhaps you might say right) as I never get these insurmountable power blocs. I always wind up steamrolling any direct threat or desired territory, the lesser nations are unable to conquer each other and unwilling to effectively ally against me. The closest thing I had to legitimate concern with my Karling Roman Empire (started as Charlemagne, founded the HRE, restored the actual Roman Empire and its borders, imported to EUIV) was a united Africa. They put up a great resistance, but I never feared a counter-invasion. I simply won out in the war of attrition.

      Might I ask if you’re playing multi-player or altering your playstyle to accommodate the AI? I want these epic stories that aren’t only about my nation’s/dynasty’s greatness.

      • Aetylus says:

        If you want the epic stories, try changing nation every hundred years… just switch to you main rival. Its the only sure fire remedy for player blobbing.

      • JajaJanx says:

        Its more I just self impose an anti blobing rule. Also this was EU4 V 1 so Spain was much more powerful then normal due to old school colony rules. The Ck2-EU4 Conversion also lends itself to superpowers I feel.

  2. cannonballsimp says:

    This seems like the place to remind everyone that there is a 61-team CIV5 AI battle going on at the moment. You might remember that they started one with ~40 civs, which crashed. Evidently the more civs you have the stabler it gets. Or perhaps it just had to be a prime number.
    link to reddit.com

  3. SuicideKing says:

    How do you make these white maps showing army formations?
    link to i.imgur.com

  4. Andy_Panthro says:

    Ah, this reminds me of that Crusader Kings diary that Adam was writing… I guess it went the way of most other RPS diaries (like John’s Neverwinter Nights 2 one).

  5. Occa says:

    Nice, but as a proud Bohemian/Czech I cringe at someone calling Hradecko a city. Hradecko is a region around the city of Hradec.

    /end nitpick