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Europa Universalis Development Diary #1

EU dev diary 1

Greetings, Europa Universalis fans and board game enthusiasts! It is with great pleasure that we are publishing this first development diary for Europa Universalis: The Board Game. We know that some of you have been waiting impatiently for this. Now it is finally here, and this diary is the first of many to come.

As you may already know, Paradox Interactive and Aegir Games have embarked on the great task of bringing Europa Universalis back to the tabletop.

As anyone vaguely familiar with the video game knows, EU is a complex game of many features. Accordingly, an epic 4X board game that offers the players the wide variety of options and choices that an EU board game should, will also have a lot different aspects to it. In these development diaries we will try to focus on one, or a few, of these at the time.

In this diary we will give an overview of the map board. This is the main playing area of the game, where such things as military conflicts, trade, exploration and the results of diplomatic actions will take place.

The Map Board

map board overview
The prototype map board without any playing pieces on it

First off I have to warn you that all of what you see in the photos here are temporary graphics used in the prototype version of the board game. Thus all the graphics are subject to change, and will have added details in the final product. Still, EU4 gamers should instantly recognise much of the look of the map.

The main map covers Europe and the Mediterranean region. In the smaller inserts on the left are maps of North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. As you may deduct from that, we are initially focusing on the European nations as playable realms. The scope of the board game, for playability reasons, needs be narrowed down a bit compared to the video game, and after all it is called Europa Universalis. Future expansions however, may take a closer look at other parts of the world.

Furthermore, you will be able to section up the map and use smaller parts of it for smaller scenarios and lower player counts.

Areas and Provinces

Here is a close up of two areas containing some of the Polish heart land provinces

The map is divided into areas and sea zones. Inside each area there is a number of provinces, marked with the coats of arms of the realm they belong to. Armies move and fight battles in areas, while the ownership of provinces provide tax income, manpower and victory points. Winning a battle in an area will enable you to occupy hostile provinces inside that area. The border of the Holy Roman Empire is also indicated on the map. All areas, provinces and realms will have names on the final version of the map. Some of the area borders are likely going to change a little, and some new provinces will be added.

Also on the map, you will find trade nodes and trade routes. These provide a different way of accumulating wealth. Some areas have mountain borders that restrict the movement of military units.

Playable Nations

The playable nations in the regular set ups for the Grand Campaign will, for balance reasons, be limited to the major powers of Europe. The provinces of these realms are highlighted with golden (as opposed to silver) frames around their coats of arms.  These will include France, England, Castile/Spain, Austria, Poland-Lithuania, the Scandinavian Kalmar Union, Muscovy/Russia and the Ottomans.

Each of the major powers will have events and victory cards specific to them. However, there will also be a number of scenarios that let you play various minor nations, and this can provide a very different type of game. More information about these scenarios will be provided in a future development diary.

For the active player realms, province tokens will be used to indicate the current state of a realm’s territorial possessions.

Enjoy the weekend! Next time we will take a closer look at one or two of the major powers. We will also reveal the box cover.

PS. If you really want to, it will actually be possible to play the Grand Campaign as any European realm, but this is not something we would recommend to inexperienced players.

PPS. Don’t forget to visit us and check out the game at the Paradox Interactive booth in Hall 5 (5-A104) if you are going to SPIEL in Essen this year (25th to 28th Oct). We would also greatly appreciate it if you let the world know of your interest for the game by saying so on the Spiel Preview Geeklist on Boardgamegeek.