Europa Universalis III is the third game in the long running Europa Universalis series by developers Paradox Interactive. It was launched in January 2007 and was the first game in the series to use the new 3D engine created by Paradox. The game has four expansions: Napoleon's Ambition, In Nomine, Heir to the Throne and Divine Wind
A player can start from any time between 30th May 1399 and 14th July 1789, and can go no further than 1st January 1793. However, the 4 expansions have extended the time line from 1399 to 1821. There are 282 playable nations in the game with unique scenarios such as the French Revolution.
In EU3 there are two types of warfare: land-based and naval. Since the game is set between 1453 and 1791, the warfare constantly changes depending on your technology levels. Also, depending on which region you are based in (West Europe, Asia, America, etc) your units will differ according to how combat evolved in the different regions. There are 3 main types of units in land based combat: Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery. All of them upgrade along with your technology; however, Artillery isn't available until around 1500 when gun powder comes into prominence. They can be equipped with generals which greatly improve the unit and provide essential leadership.
In naval warfare, there are 4 types of ships. Large ships, small ships, galleys and Transports. Ships progress as well, gaining more speed and cannons as technology evolves. The Admiral fills the leadership function in the player's navy.
EU3 also features an advanced diplomacy system. Nations may form alliances to attack their enemies or defend against invasion; another option is a royal marriage, which gives a boost in relations but can lead to either inheritance or a succession war, though unlikely. A Declaration of War can also be sent, and without a Casus Belli will lead to a drop in stability. Trade Agreements can be sent so two countries do not compete against each other economically. A gift of money can be sent to boost relations, and warnings and insults can be sent to try to provoke a war or generally keep relations down; and provinces can be sold to another country if you have no need of them.
There is also an Espionage feature built in that allows you to launch a behind the scenes war on your enemies; you can attempt to kill an advisor, open city gates, and try to get a claim on your opponents territory. It is expensive and very risky as most of the time you will not succeed although the rewards are great. There is a possibility that your spy may still be caught meaning your relations with that nation suffer a big hit.
National Ideas / Advisors
In EU3 there are 30 national ideas. There are 5 different types, Land, Navy, State Business, Exploration and Culture. Until the expansions were released they had no prerequisites meaning any of them were available at any time. Some of the most powerful directions to take are Quest for the New World, which allows you to begin exploring the unknown world, and National Conscripts which gives a 50% increase to the amount of men you can call up to the army. Your nation will also have advisors, these are individuals who you can hire which give a bonus to your nation. There are 12 different types, each with a 1-6 star rating; the higher, the better although they will cost more to hire and then retain.
Economic / Technology
EU3 also has a very complicated economic system; each province produces a resource, wheat is one and there is a lot of it, but for this reason it is very cheap and doesn't sell well. Sugar cane sells very well and is mostly available in America. There is also Tax Income, the higher your population the higher this is, one national idea also increases it. Then there is Center of Trades. These are spread around the world and greatly increase a provinces tax income. You can also trade here which increases your income by sending merchants to them. Income is separated into monthly and annual payments. Monthly payments go directly into technology research and Military/Colonial maintenance. Annual income goes into your nation's treasury.
Technology is broken up into five different trees, Land (Army), Naval (Navy), Production (Resources), Trade (Income) and Government (Ruling Types).
Exploration / Colonization
In total there are around 1249 Land Provinces that you can explore, many of which will already be discovered. You need the Quest For The New World idea and a Conquistador/Explorer in order to begin exploring. You can then start colonizing the land you find, which may have important resources such as Coffee, Fur, Sugar and Gold depending on its location. During wartime, any colonies you have will be a prime target for your enemies. Later in the game, sometimes new nations such as the USA, Canada and Brazil can rise up and try to form their own nation through rebellions, especially if your country is in turmoil.
You can choose to rule with a number of government types, each with their own bonuses and penalties. More of them open up as you progress along the government tech tree. There is also a slider function to change the government, although by moving this slider you send your country into a period of revolt. Your nation has a leader with 3 different scores from 1-10 in Administration, Military and Diplomacy; the higher these stats are the better your nation will fare.
Lastly, there is both an online multi-player mode and a local area multi-player mode for up to 16 players. Everyone has the option of choosing different nations and competing throughout history, or players may cooperate as the same country, each dealing with different aspects of running their nation.
European Universalis have been modded by the user since it was released and there a lot of mods out there. For the latest list see the paradox forums .
There are many different mods: Scenario Mods that come with new scripts but dosnt change anything on the map.
Total conversions that chages the theme or make other substantial modifications to the original. Content Extensions that adds new scripts.
Graphics mods that adds textures, artwork or units appearance.
Some good Mods worth checking out are:
Magna Mundi was a mod that made major overhauls to the original game and was so popular that druing a poll held at the paradox forums it went far ahead of the original game.
So far the mod has been downloadede over 1.000.000 times and is being made into a game on it own. The original modders are hard at work on the game and it going to be released in Q1 2012.
Magna Mundi has been cancelled by the publisher due to lack of progress toward release, but it seems the developers are determined to get the problem resolved and continue working on the game.