What have the Romans ever done for us?
When Paradox unveiled the map for its latest grand strategy romp, Imperator: Rome, I don’t mind admitting that I made an involuntary noise that normally only comes out of me when I’m biting into something delicious and unhealthy. It is excellent map porn. Zoomed out, it’s clean and no-nonsense, but when you narrow your focus, it explodes with colour and detail, particularly on the coast, where golden beaches hit seas gorgeous enough that you’ll want to lap them up. Europa Universalis looks drab in comparison.
It makes an excellent first impression, but it doesn’t have many opportunities to make a second one. While Imperator is due out in 2019, the build I got to see is still so early on that, were I to get a glimpse of any other corner of the map, I’d only see barren wastelands waiting for the touch of an artist.
Read the rest of this entry »
Of Mughals and men
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.
Read the rest of this entry »
The grandest game
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 »