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Steppe Up: Europa Universalis IV - The Cossacks

It's not Telltale's The Cossacks, honest

The next expansion for Europa Universalis IV [official site] goes by the name The Cossacks and it’ll be with us before the end of the year. As the name suggests, there’s a spotlight on the independent soldiers of the steppes but the new features mostly seem to improve your options for peacetime management. The key addition is the “Estate system”, which allows you to assign control of provinces to local factions. You’ll lose out on some income but gain benefits related to the faction in charge. More details below as well as a trailer.

The video is adapted from the “Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks”, a historical document of uncertain origin that makes the voiceover’s insults seem tame.

Paradox’s Cossacks introduces lots of pleasant features in between all the insults. New colonial management options seem essential and if the Estate system works as well as suggested it could improve the domestic management side of the game enormously. There are also changes to espionage, horde unity and the changing of culture.

I’m most intrigued by that Estate system though, as well as a mechanic described as “Tell The World What You Want”, which allows you to designate provinces you’re greedily eyeing up as “areas of interest”. You’ll also be able to promise land to allies should they help you to get what you want. Here’s more on Estates:

“You can assign control of your provinces to local factions – priests, nobles, or even Cossacks! – sacrificing some income in the name of lower unrest, more manpower or cheaper cavalry. You must keep an eye these Estates, though! If they get too strong, they may make a move on your throne. If they feel neglected, they may interfere with efficient governance.”

Sounds like a pinch of Crusader Kings II’s vassal system, though not handled exactly the same. Good news for me, as I often crave a helping hand when running a major nation.

Here’s the rest:

“- New Diplomatic Options: Let the world know what you think of your neighbors by setting a public attitude to foreign powers.
– Tell The World What You Want: Designate neighboring provinces as “places of interest”, build trust with other nations, and entice allies with the promise of land for their support.
– Tengri: Tengri is now a Syncretic faith, allowing it to tolerate a secondary religion as if it were a national faith.
– Horde Unity and Razing: Nomadic nations now must pay attention to the horde unity of their tribes – a unity that can only be maintained by the occasional pillaging
– Improved Culture Change: You can now restore a previous culture to a converted province, or convert a province you hold to a culture that is not your own.
– Native Policies: Set your policy for colonial encounters with natives. Are you focused on quick subjugation, peaceful growth or trading advantages?
– Improved Espionage: New spy actions allow you to study the technology of more advanced countries and prod your rivals’ subjects towards independence.

“And, as always, even if you don’t buy The Cossacks, its release will be accompanied by a free major content update for all Europa Universalis IV players.”

This is precisely the kind of expansion that’s likely to pull me back in.

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Adam Smith

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