One of the four board game adaptations of Paradox Interactive’s game franchises is for Europa Universalis, which some of you might recall actually started as a board game. Not many have played the original Europa Universalis board game, as it was notoriously difficult to properly play. Too many moving pieces and too much calculation. Which made it port over to video games pretty darn well once Paradox got their hands on the IP.
Unlike the Crusader Kings or Cities: Skylines board games, Paradox Interactive and Aegir Games’ Europa Universalis – The Board Game is as close to a 1:1 translation of the game as possible. While I wasn’t able to properly demo the game at PDXCON this past weekend, press did get a walk-through of how the game will function by developer Eivind Vetelsen. At the moment the game is being designed as a 4X experience for 3-6 players, with the game possibly going to a 2-8 player format in later iterations. Vetelsen did not discount the idea that the game might be playable solo but “not for the vanilla version.”
Much like the pc version of the game, Europa Universalis – The Board Game will be a heavy resource management game that will ideally take 4-6 hours to complete with players controlling their kingdoms from the late Middle Ages to the Early Modern period (1444 through 1821). While the game does come with set scenarios, those are designed for players to control one of the larger kingdoms – Castille, England, the Holy Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, etc. Its possible that future versions of the game will allow you to start with a smaller principality, much like the pc game. The scenarios do come with recommended kingdoms for players, but again, that can be changed by the players. The unplayed countries will be controlled by the game, but in rather broad strokes.
There will indeed be special mechanics for espionage, covert ops, diplomacy, and the Holy Roman Empire itself based on how much power your emperor has over the collected countries that made up the Empire.
Like all of the historical strategy games from Paradox, Vetelsen’s vision for Europa is to focus on alternate history and give players as much freedom over the fate of their fledgling nations as possible.
Europa Universalis – The Board Game is still in development, so much of this is subject to change based on game balance, but the game is in playtesting phases. The prototype available at PDXCON was rough with many of the pieces being generic carved wooden blocks, however, the game’s rules and mechanics are coming together well. It will likely be a while until we see the game actually release, but thats not as far off as it could be.
And considering the original board game’s raw state, Aegir Games doesn’t exactly have a high bar to surpass. That said, I think we can be hopeful that the EU board game will be thoroughly enjoyable.