As someone who’s not a huge fan of strategy games, there’s something strangely alluring about Europa Universalis 3. Whether it’s just the sheer volume of what’s going on within the game (and there usually is, whether you can see it past the Fog of War or not), or the amount of scrutinising over decisions that needs to be done, it’s got that “Just one more year” nagging feeling that makes you giddy about what’s going to happen next. It could possibly be one of the best strategy games you’ve passed up on.
Released initially in 2007, Europa Universalis 3 is much like a good game of digital Risk, only better. Well, that’s kind of a lie, because only the battle mechanics (for the most part anyway) are like Risk. The rest of the game is, while I’ll not call it resource management, it’s rather akin to it in its stylings. Looking after your treasury, inflation, as well as investments in technology and diplomatic relations with other nations is also a huge part of the game.
Of course, war plays a big part of your game, regardless of which nation you select. It’s used to liberate oppressed nations, settle trade disputes, crusade against the infidels, and of course, good old-fashioned invasion. Particularly if you’re one of the smaller nations in mainland Europe, and you need a more stable source of income by expanding your borders and annexing fellow minors (although this may incur the wrath of the holy Roman Empire or the Pope if you just launch attacks all over the place).
It’s a game where almost anything can happen. Several play-throughs of mine have resulted in Naples colonising most of Central Africa, New Spain* coming back from America and taking over most of Spain itself, Ireland uniting under one banner and taking over Britain, to name but a few, and perhaps that’s where the addiction feeds from. The game’s only as hard as you want it to be, too. If you want it to be hard, just find a way to make everyone hate you, then fend off all invaders, or if you want to just sit back and watch the world turn, keep to yourself, maintain good relations and don’t form any military alliances.
It’s a great game, very easy to get to grips with, and I’d highly recommend picking it up if you get the chance. It’s for sale on Steam for a mere €7.50 (including all the expansion packs) up until Thursday morning, so if you’re looking for an RTS buzz and haven’t picked this up before, now’s a great time to do so!
Note: New Spain appeared as I played the Whole World v4.02 game mod for Heir To The Throne, the nation doesn’t feature in the base game or any expansions.