I recently bought all (or well most) of the Paradox published games in a Steam Sale, I’ve been curious about playing some of them for a while now anyway, and it seemed like as good a time as any.
Paradox typically publish hardcore grand strategy games in a similar vein to Civilisation and the Total War franchise, but with a difference. They tend to play in real-time with the player having the option to pause at any time to dish out commands etc. Another interesting thing about these games is that many of these games overlap slightly in time and as a result it is possible to convert your save of one game into the next and play through four games, over nine centuries, and by the time you get to world war 2 the world looks utterly mad.
The first game is Crusader Kings, but for good or ill it wasn’t in my steam bundle, so I skipped to game two, Europa Universalis III.
I wanted to pick a faction that wasn’t too powerful, but wasn’t too small, and had room to grow. After an agonising 20 minutes (any nation that existed at this time is playable, including some that no longer do so) I picked Swahili. As you can see below, it was a good size, but was in a good space to grow out across the largely unclaimed Dark Continent.
So I jumped in hoping for the best. First thing I discover is I can’t yet recruit explorers and take unclaimed territory until much later when you unlock the ‘New World’ ideal, so I decide to play it cool for now and consider taking one of my neighbours in a while after I’ve got myself set up.
My first action as Warchief of the Swahili Horde is to micromanage my government sliders. You get to do this every few in-game years and they can effect everything from tax values, national stability, and troop effectiveness (at the same time mostly). I decided to move my ‘government centralisation’ slider closer to centralisation. It’s still close enough to de-centralisation that I don’t feel like a tyrant, but over just enough to improve my income somewhat. Unfortunately…
One of my key provinces, Mozambique, immediately revolts. Turns out Swahili provinces are split between the state religion of Sunni Muslims and Tribal Animism and the Animists are pissed at this new centralised crackdown. I zoom over to inspect the damage and it’s bad. There are 4000 rebel soldiers fighting against my paltry leaderless 2000 in Mozambique and several other provinces are on the brink. First things first I pause the game and try to recruit a general to my cause. They’re expensive but it might make the difference and I can’t recruit any more troops this fast.
I suspect it’s because my troops were already in battle (and losing) but I was unable to attach my general to them. But no matter, because while I was scrambling to stamp out fires, I’m under attack from my neighbours.
Mutapa has decided to attack me, and their ‘Just Cause’ is ‘Tribal Feud’. No that’s not petty or opportunistic at all.
To be fair, Mutapa never make any substantial movement against me, and from what I saw of their provinces, they didn’t have any troops in the first place but like so many internet nerds were just beating their chests in my general direction for ‘mad props yo’.
Naturally my soldiers are crushed by the revolt.
I lost Mozambique, and every soldier under my control, and decide to call it there after approximately 10 minutes.
I think I may try this over again with a different faction, but I might try some of the scenarios first so I can get a little more familiar with the game, I spent the whole time flailing at the interface looking for anything to help me.