With our recent release of Europa Universalis III Chronicles – and the compilation’s availability this week at the Mac App Store — we thought we’d take a stroll down memory lane and examine a series that has become a major player in the strategy genre.
The original Europa Universalis, which was only available for Windows, hit store shelves in 2000. It was based on a board game of the same name; unsurprisingly, one session of the board game can take weeks to play. Both the analog and digital versions of the game used the concept that is well-known to long-time EU players: control a nation between the years 1492 and 1792 and build its power through military conquest, diplomacy, and wealth. EU also gave players plenty of opportunities to ask “What if?” questions of history.
The game’s popularity paved the way for not only the second and third installments in the series, along with EU III’s expansion packs and the Rome offshoot, but also the Victoria, Crusader Kings, and Hearts of Iron series. All of those titles brought publisher Paradox Interactive to prominence, Virtual Programming came along for the ride, since we have handled the Mac versions of all those titles.
The second edition of Europa Universalis extended the game’s timeline, covering 1419-1820 and giving you more of history to play with.
EU II also deepened the gameplay, which was taken to a new level with 2007′s Europa Universalis III and its Napoleon’s Ambition, In Nomine, Heir to the Throne, and Divine Wind expansions. Playing the game with all four expansions installed, which is a snap with EU III Chronicles, lets you begin in the year 1399 and end in 1821, offering the longest timeline yet.
EU III also lets you choose from over 300 countries to control (EU offered a fraction of that), and it features many provinces, such as the Americas and Africa, that you can colonize. You must oversee your fledgling empire’s economy, advance its technology and unlock new military units and buildings, manage diplomatic relations with other countries, organize your military forces, and more.
The ability to replay history is a big part of EU’s draw, and the third version and its expansion packs offer a healthy dose of that. Will the exploration and colonization of America turn out differently than it really did? Will the Holy Roman Empire quietly fade away, or will it somehow avoid its 1806 dissolution? Which European nations will fail to come into existence or form in a drastically different way? History is yours to play with.
If you’re new to strategy games or the EU series, Strategy Nerd hosts an excellent EU III guide that lays out the basics. Advanced players will appreciate the wealth of reference materials, including strategy and country guides, offered by the EU III Wiki. And like most strategy games, EU III has many customization options — the Paradox forum hosts a master EU III mod list that notes which ones work with the Mac version.