Posts Tagged ‘Europa Universalis IV’

It’s grand strat-a-day: Crusader Kings II and EU IV both expand today

ck2-jade-dragon

With this week’s release of Star Wars: Battlecrate 2 marking the end of big, noisy shooter silly season, there’s a whole lot more breathing space for a wider variety of games. Case in point, a double-whammy of DLC for Paradox’s grand strategy heaviest-hitters, Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV.

Big add-ons for both have landed today, with CK2: Jade Dragon putting China front’n’centre, and EUIV: Cradle of Civilization looking at the state of the Middle East and Asia during the early modern era.

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Steam’s Halloween Sale is great for grand strategy

halloweensale

With Halloween fast approaching, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about typical spooky things: ghouls and ghosts, vampires and werewolves, marrying off my daughter to an appropriate suitor and the best trade strategy to dominate the Aegean. The Steam Halloween Sale is in full swing until November 1, and thanks to Paradox Interactive, it’s full of grand strategy games.

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Kings of the castle: the forty-person strategy game of Europa Universalis IV held in a Polish fortress, part 2

eu4-castle-big-2

We sent Brendan to a castle in Poland to witness a giant session of strategy game Europa Universalis IV [official site]. In this final report, he tells us of the manipulative merchant kings of India, and how blood money corrupted the world. You can read part 1 here

I’m eating soup with the ministers from Malaysia, Italy and Bavaria when the head diplomat of Mughal India comes to our table and starts talking about money again. His long black robe flows over his thin frame, a matching velvet cap on his curly dark hair.

“The Ottoman have trade locked up,” he says. The Italian minster smiles. You can always trust a Mughal to talk about markets. Soon, all the world leaders at the table are speaking in impenetrable detail about world affairs – intricacies and intrigue, money and merchants. It’s like sitting in a restaurant with the Illuminati. They smirk, they joke, they laugh. Tomorrow, they will be at war. Anywhere between 7-10 million people will die.
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Kings of the castle: the forty-person strategy game of Europa Universalis IV held in a Polish fortress, part 1

eu4-castle-big-1

We sent Brendan to a castle in Poland to witness a giant session of strategy game Europa Universalis IV [official site]. In the first of a two-part report, he tells us of war-hungry Germans, scheming Saxons and unlucky Irish – the victims and villains of an epic four-day LAN party

I wake up to the sound of muskets. Outside, the ministers of France, Japan and Hanover are shooting 17th century flintlock rifles at nothing in particular. Two helpers, holding belts of wooden jars strung together like sausages, refill the guns of the world leaders with an eardrum-shattering amount of gunpowder. I plug my ears as they fire into the air. I want to ask the ministers from Hanover about the war. One million people have died – 292,000 from starvation and freezing, the rest from bullets and sabers. But all talk of treaties, battles, deals and diplomacy has been put to one side, replaced with deafening bangs and childish giggles. I stuff my hands in my pockets and walk back to the castle. Welcome to the strangest game of Europa Universalis IV ever played. Read the rest of this entry »

40 people are playing Europa Universalis IV together in a real castle

Castling is a good tactic in chess but perhaps less so in EU4

[Update: the organisers have now set up a Twitch livestream for this, which you can see here]

Hello from Poland, where I am currently living in a castle with forty angry strategy gamers. The castle is Zamek Czocha, a 13th century fortress that has been occupied more times than an airport toilet cubicle. This week its invaders are the Grandest LAN Party, a giant multiplayer match of historical strategy game Europa Universalis IV [official site]. This is normally a game of slow and ponderous decisions on a big map of the world, but in this castle it also involves four days of clambering through secret chambers and crossing high balconies to talk to the representative of Norway about an underhanded alliance with Moldavia.
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Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization announced

I'd go for a little sleepie in a cradle right now.

Paradox’s historical strategy Europa Universalis IV [official site] will expand once more later this year with Cradle of Civilization, the next paid expansion. Its main focus is Muslim empires, expanding and reworking the Persian region and Islam. And as is the Paradox strategy way, the expansion will be accompanied by a free update bringing related changes for all players. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m guilty of doing very silly things to Bohemia in Europa Universalis 4

bohemia

As a wayward youth, I spent many an hour scribbling willies of all shapes and sizes on school jotters. As a respectable, responsible adult, I’ve graduated to ruining multiplayer games instead. Specifically online games of Europa Universalis 4. Bohemia is my muse, and I’ll never stop trying to make it look like a winky.

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Paradox giving games to customers affected by regional price rises

Paradox have started handing out games as compensation to those affected by their recent surprise regional price hikes. Prices went up by only a few percent for some people but almost doubled for others. Paradox have reverted the prices now. They had thought they might be able to give partial refunds but that’s proved unworkable.

Instead, anyone who bought Paradox products at the higher prices — which were between May 17th and July 6th — is eligible to claim a game from a list including Stellaris and Crusader Kings II, or alternatively two bits of select DLC. Read the rest of this entry »

Civ 6, EUIV and Endless Legend designers on how their strategy games create the illusion of a world

Big, slow, sweeping strategy games expose their rules in a way no other game does. Call of Duty doesn’t have floating numbers above enemy heads, telling you their movement speed, for example. But in most 4X and grand strategy games, there is no attempt to hide exactly how everything works: the stats, their interactions, are all laid out and plain to see. Yet these games are utterly dependent on their ability to evoke a sense of place, scale, and history – they have to be much more than just a fancy chessboard, they have to feel alive, or they’re just not much fun. How can these games survive and thrive under such conflicting pressures? I spoke to three of the world’s top strategy game designers, from Firaxis, Paradox and Amplitude, to find out. Read the rest of this entry »

Europa Universalis IV and Hearts of Iron IV DLC looks to the East

Look at that wee tank!

Adam is away at E3 and thus someone who isn’t Adam needs to develop emotions and/or words regarding the new DLC available for two of Paradox’s grand strategy games, Europa Universalis IV [official site] and Hearts of Iron IV [official site]. That person is me so I was hoping that somehow it was an under-the-sea expansion of some kind. The fact that the DLCs are called Third Rome and Death or Dishonor respectively implies not. I’ll wear my snorkel just in case, though. Read the rest of this entry »

Paradox on the future of historical strategy, RPGs and their internal development studio

At the Paradox Convention last month, I was hoping to see something new from Paradox Development Studio, the internal team responsible for the company’s core strategy titles. There were new expansions for Europa Universalis IV [official site] and Hearts of Iron IV [official site], and the hiring of Jon Shafer is an interesting move, but no actual games were announced. I sat down with creative director Johan Andersson and CEO Fredrik Wester about the possibility of a Crusader Kings [official site] sequel, the expansion model, and what the future holds for the development side of Paradox.

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DLC double bill for Europa Universalis 4 & Hearts of Iron 4 on June 14th

Paradox have announced a historical grand strategy expansion blowout-o-rama for June 14th, when they’ll launch the Third Rome ‘immersion pack’ for Europa Universalis IV [official site] and the Death or Dishonor ‘country pack’ for Hearts of Iron IV. Yup, both on the very same day. Paradox had a similar plan in April, releasing Europa Universalis and Stellaris expansions on the same day, so I guess they’re confident a grand strategy double-header is not as odd an idea as it might seem. For players who do want both of ’em, Paradox will offer a small discount. It’s a war-o-rama. Read the rest of this entry »

Jon Shafer on designing Civilization 5, joining Paradox and making strategy games better

Jon Shafer was 21 years old when he became lead designer of Civilization V. Now working at Paradox on an unannounced project and on his own historical strategy game At The Gates in his spare time, he says he’s learning from the likes of Spelunky along with the more obvious strategic influences. We spoke about how the second half of every Civ sucks, the part the series played in his life, the perils of boredom in strategy design, how much we love maps, and what the future holds for both Shafer and Paradox.

I began by asking how he ended up sitting at the Paradox Convention, in Stockholm, the city that has now been his home for two weeks: “It’s quite a long story, actually.”

That story begins in Denver, around 2003.

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Best Europa Universalis 4 mods

Since you already know what the best Crusader Kings 2 mods are, I thought you should probably get the skinny on the best additions to Paradox’s other grand strategy romp: Europa Universalis 4. It’s got more than a few, too.

Tweaks, fantastical overhauls, graphics improvements – modders have given the game plenty of love. And while some mods have fallen by the wayside, there’s still a mountain of crackers to dig through. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam charts: no funny business

He was a boy.
She was a girl.
Can I make it anymore obvious?
He wrote the weekly Steam charts.
She read them.

What more can I say?

Other than that these are the ten Steam games with the most accumulated sales over the past week, obv. See ya later, boy.

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Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven released

Oh goodness me, I’d forgotten that Europa Universalis 4 [official site] has an expansion out today too. Along with releasing Stellaris: Utopia, those busy bees have launched EU4: Mandate of Heaven. This tenth expansion for the historical grand strategy game focuses on China and Japan, expanding them with new unique systems. Have a peek: Read the rest of this entry »

Europa Universalis 4: Mandate of Heaven ascending April

You must choose: history or sci-fi? No time to explain. Pick now. No do-overs. 3. 2. 1. Time’s up! Huh, that’s your decision? Interesting. You’ll have to stick with that. Okay, now there’s time to explain: Paradox have announced a release date of April 6th for the next Europa Universalis 4 [official site] expansion, Mandate of Heaven, which is also the release date for Stellaris’s Utopia expansion. What are you going to do, play them at separate times? Tch! So if you chose history, you can look forward to an expansion focused on China and Japan. Read the rest of this entry »

Europa Universalis IV looks east with Mandate Of Heaven

Space is getting grander and more interesting thanks to the Utopia dlc for Stellaris, and Crusader Kings II is receiving a rabble of Monks and Mystics next week, but Europa Universalis IV [official site] hasn’t been left out. A tenth expansion is coming. It’s called Mandate Of Heaven and it adds an objective system based around semi-dynamic ages (from Discovery to Revolutions) to the world while introducing new mechanics for the Empire of China, daimyos and Shogunate of Japan, and Manchu. Read the rest of this entry »

How historical games integrate or ignore slavery

Video games always come with an expectation that the player will suspend disbelief to some extent. Genetically engineered super-soldier clones don’t exist, radiation has never and will never work like that, and overweight Italian plumbers could never make that jump. In most cases, if we are unwilling or unable to suspend our disbelief, we may well struggle to enjoy the game and our questioning of the basics of its ‘reality’ would probably make us insufferable to be around.

There are some games however, where the realities of our world are key to enjoying the game. These are the builders like City Skylines, simulators and sports games like Prison Architect and FIFA, and even crime games like Grand Theft Auto. One genre has a particular problem when it comes to maintaining a foot in the real world yet still creating a setting where one can have fun without becoming mired in morally questionable events and choices: historically based games. And among historical games, few subjects are as complex to represent as slavery. Many have tried, from Europa Universalis IV and Victoria II to Civilization and Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry, and in this article I’ll investigate the portrayal and use of slavery in these games and more to explore what they get right, what they get wrong, and how games could do better in future.

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Learning to love imbalance in strategy games

From the forum threads full of arguments to the constant tweaking and occasional overhauls via patches – balance has long been one of the pillars of strategy games. It means fairness, a level playing field, and in competition it means that victory comes purely from player skill. But balance, and the quest to reach it, can easily become the enemy of surprise and of the joy that comes from succeeding against the odds.

Balance’s lofty position implies that nobody wants to be the underdog, that conquest is only satisfying if you have the exact same or at least equally effective advantages as your opponents. Sure, when actual money and trophies are involved, this sort of balance is necessary, but when you’re playing for fun? When you’re playing on your own? Give me the imbalanced every time.

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