At this point I feel like I have to concede that Europa Universalis IV is quite probably my favorite PC strategy game of all time. Understand that when I say that, I am comparing it to classic games like Master of Orion II, Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword, Fallout 2, XCOM, Warcraft II and other such hallowed games of old, games that have camped out in the golden palaces of my nostalgia for, in some cases, decades. This is not ground those games are quick to cede, and their jealous seneschals would quickly poison the idea that any new game be viewed equal to the imaginary perfection of these great nobles.
So it brings a sad tear to my eye when I tell others of this great game, even if what they really wish I would do is shut up about it, and they respond that it is just too daunting, too impenetrable, too complex and downright too scary to play. I can’t fault the response, as it’s been my response to virtually every grand strategy game that came before, and it’s easy enough to imagine opening up Paradox’s masterpiece, looking at the screen, and reacting like this or this.
Much as I may be inclined to now spend the day surfing “nope” gifs, I’ll move on. For science!
I offer this missive not as an exhaustive explanation of the mechanics of the game, but as a primer for those of you whose fingers hesitate over the launch button, who picked EUIV up on a whim during a Steam Sale, or who’ve dared only as far as the title screen and then scuttled away like a timid octopus along the floor of the ocean. Here are a few things that will get you started.