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.