EU:tPoP – Defying Destiny DD #2

The Horse is Mightier than the Pen

Nominated for three CSR 2023 Awards

We are really stoked to share that Europa Universalis: The Price of Power has been nominated in 3 categories in the 2023 Charles S. Roberts Awards for Excellence in Conflict Simulation Games.

  • Game of the Year
  • Best Strategic Game
  • Best Political, Social, or Economic Game

Holy smokes! It is really such an honor just being nominated for such a prestigious award, but since the winners are determined via a public ballot, we thought it would really cool if you felt like giving us your vote. 

Give Your Vote by May 13!

We'll quote a crucial bit of voting information from the CSR site:

"The ballot will be open until Midnight, Eastern Time, onMay 13, 2024. Please vote, but only once!"

We also want to give a little shout-out to our good friend Petter Schanke Olsen's game, Halls of Hegra, which got nominated for "Best Solitaire or Cooperative Game".

Gamefound Preview Page is up!

We don't have an exact launch date for you just yet, but go and sign up on the Preview Page to become a Follower and get the campaign notifications when things start happening. We will publish more content on that page as we get closer to the launch date.

Defying Destiny Dev Diary #2 - Great Horde

So, where is Defying Destiny at right now? You haven't heard from us in a while unless you've been hanging around on the Discord server lately. The reason is because we've been hard at work creating content for the new expansion. So far, we have written more than 100 new Event Cards for the game, many of which you can see in the image above, some of which we will go into more detail about in the Dev Diary Chapter below. We have also created a number of new Missions to further enrich the experience of playing the new featured Realms.

Aside from all the new Realms we are adding, we are also adding 10–12 new generic Events for each of the four Ages, to enable you to shake things up for more variation in existing scenarios, and to give you more freedom in creating new scenarios for the game. We'll talk more about these Events in upcoming Dev Diary posts, but we're also providing an example of one such Event today.

For the time being, we are using existing illustrations as placeholders on the new cards, but rest assured, Joeri is already in full swing creating fantastic new artwork for the Defying Destiny Events (no AI involved).

Here's one of our favorite images from the current EU:tPoP Event Cards, but we thought it fit quite nicely here. We've used it as a temporary placeholder art for the new Great Horde Events, but rest assured, we have new art in the making for the Defying Destiny Events.

The Horse is Mightier than the Pen

Of course! A horse doesn't care about what you write about them, it's a war horse, stomping your bones is what they do, you don't even have to write anything.

In all seriousness though, the Great Horde was a Realm that came pretty high up the list of most-wanted Realms, and they seemed like a fun challenge to do since they represent something very different from most of the Realms featured in the game so far. We thought they would provide a nice opportunity to offer a fresh take on gameplay, a new and challenging way of experiencing EU:tPoP.

True enough, it was also a big challenge to write Events for a Realm that faded out of history rather early in the EU:tPoP timeframe, but we found some interesting and relevant events in the real history of the Eurasian steppes that we could build our in-game Events around, which we think can bring a new section of the board to life.

Who is the Great Horde?

Located in the Steppes of today’s Southern Russia, the Great Horde was a successor state of the Golden Horde (one of the many Realms that the Mongol Horde split into in the 14th century).

In the 1444 Setup, we find the Great Horde at a weakened state, with many of the other nearby Khanates having broken off from them (the Kazan Khanate, the Nogai Khanate, and the Crimean Khanate to name a few). But still, they are the most powerful of the Khanates trying to maintain control over the Russian principalities that surround them. Nominally, these Russian principalities are still subjects of the Khan, but in reality the tide has already turned and these roles are about to switch.

How does the Great Horde play?

Their strengths and weaknesses both encourage an aggressive play style, relying on their Missions which will provide them with additional Cavalry Units allowing them to punch above their weight. This is also reflected in the way their Events will pose their neighbours with choices on how to face this aggression, like in the Great Stand on the Ugra, will they bend the knee or will they face them in battle?

As the Ages pass, the Great Horde will have to deal with issues and opportunities inspired by those that the nomadic peoples of the steppes had to face historically, like trying to unite with the remaining hordes against the Muscovite power (One Last Chance to Unite), addressing the new tribes migrating westwards (Arrival of the Kalmyks), or dealing with new rivals arising from the Mongolian steppes (Dzungar Khanate Expands).

To better represent how a realm like the Great Horde would operate, they will also receive their own Government Form, Steppe Horde, which will punish them for not being at war at the end of the Action Phase, while allowing them to ignore the Unrest penalty for staying at war until the following round, and will also allow them to Subjugate Distant Realms from the Northern & Central Asia map.

The Great Horde should hopefully prove to be a fun and unique experience that will please those more focused on combat, with the final objective being to become the Khan of Khans.

We think that we're onto something, and we've had some fun with it already, but a few lines text on some cards do nothing unless we put them to the test, so that the pen might give new life to the horse. "TEST THE TEXT" we say (we don't actually say it, but we could start right now).

So, don’t just take our words for granted – we paired the Horde with the feisty Persians so that you can now try them both in a brand new Scenario over on TTS. This couple could meet over a cup of tea in Samarkand, or engage each other in a race to the Pacific, but we also put them together with the Mamluks and Ottomans, completing an ensemble that will compete for supremacy on the Eastern Europe map board and Distant Continents. This actually allows you to leave the Western Europe map in the box (which also places this among the Scenarios with the smallest footprint to date). We have tentatively called it Middle Eastern Tussle(until I come up with a catchier name).

The TTS savefiles have been shared in our official Discord, where you will also find others to play the Scenario together. And be sure to give us your feedback over on Discord, or via Kickstarter messages, or through our Website Contact Form.

Finally, let's have a look at an example of how the new Generic Events will be supporting the new featured Realms.

With Great Horde and Persia sitting on the border between the Eastern Map and the Distant Continents, adding some new challenges to those Distant Continents was something that made a lot of sense.

We tried capturing the emergence of new powers at the expense of others in those regions with the new Event, Mughal Rise, Timurid Demise. This Event sees the emergence of three new powers in the Indian subcontinent and Central Asian region, the Emirate of Bukhara, the Mughal Empire, and the Kazhak Khanate. The player taking the Event will get to either make friends with the newcomers, gaining an Alliance or a profitable Trade Action, or use the turmoil to their advantage to gain Claims against the lands surrounding those newly formed DNPRs (simulating how the Persians, for example, took advantage of the weakening of the Timurids in order to take over some of their western territories).

Cut and sleeved for testing. I threw Abbas in as well, since I don't think he was featured in the previous Development Diary about the Persians.

Office Tussle/Test

We invited an office favorite, Kent (actor, archeologist, nerd... not necessarily in that order, but ticking all the right boxes), to do a bit of in-house testing a couple of weeks ago, and here's a snippet from that session to round this diary off:

Unofficial EU:tPoP Tournament in Poland

Finally, we wanted to give a little shout-out to the upcoming EU:tPoP tournament organized by Mikhs with the help of other Discord community members:

CounterCon2024 will be a three-day event, from May 24th to May 26th, with people from multiple countries meeting to play Europa Universalis: The Price of Power in Łódź, Poland. The main purpose of the meeting is to have fun playing EUtPoP, which will require some prior knowledge about the game. If you are interested in participating, contact Mikhs directly (you can find him in our official Discord server), or go to the Facebook Event page. The event will take place in Mediateka Memo, the most modern library branch of the City Library of Łódź.

Next time …

Next week, we take a look at Aragon, popular among many in our survey, and a Realm whose geographical position sets them up to be a key player in the early tPoP-timeline. Perhaps we'll throw in another Realm too in that update.

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