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Europa Universalis Development Diary #2

So, it’s time for another development diary. It comes a bit later than we intended, since we have just come back from the biggest European board game event of the year, Spiel in Essen. As you may guess, we have been very busy with this lately. I said last time that we would take a closer look at one or two of the major powers, and I apologise for this, but we have to do that in the next diary instead I’m afraid.

In these two photos you can get an idea of how busy the booth was. All the demo tables were full, from Thursday morning until Sunday afternoon.

Box Artwork and Miniature Sculpt

© 2018 Tomasz Jedruszek & Aegir Games, All Rights Reserved

Even if we changed the content a little from what we had planned for this dev. diary, this doesn’t mean don’t have anything of interest to show you. Quite the contrary. First off, we hope that you are as excited as us to see the magnificent box artwork that Tomasz Jedruszek has created, in its full splendor. We think it really captures the spirit of Europa Universalis in a great way, both in the details and the composition as a whole. Tomasz has previously created box art for well-known board games, such as A Game of Thrones (2nd ed.) and Dominion, as well as a host of artwork for Magic the Gathering. Please check out more of his work over on ArtStation.

Miniature sculpt: digital render and 3D printed sample

In addition to this we also just received the first sculpt for one of the miniatures, and had a small test batch 3D printed. We think that these detailed soldier figurines will add a new level to the visual and tactile experience of playing the game. We hope you like it!

Monarch Power

Now lets get into some more game play details. All EU4 players will be very familiar with the concept of Monarch Power. But since there may be a few reading this who haven’t played the video games or who’ve only played earlier versions of EU, we’ll try to explain the basics of it.

Monarch Power is a type of immaterial resource at the disposal of your nation. It is divided into three different categories; Administrative Power, Diplomatic Power and Military Power. These resources represent both a nation’s level of innovation and its capacity to perform actions related to each of these fields. The skills of your monarch and his/her advisors will be key factors in determining the rate at which these Monarch Points are renewed. We will talk more about advisors in another Development Diary.

So far it’s much the same as in the video game, but we are taking this concept a step further the board game. Monarch Power will be required to perform pretty much any type of action. If you want to perform a military action, like moving an army or playing a military card, you will need to pay for that action with Military Points and so on. Monarch Points will also be used to invest in the development of Ideas, recruiting military leaders, increasing diplomatic influence and much more.

Monarch Point Cubes

All Monarch Points are represented by the little cubes you see in the photo above. Where these cubes are located on your player mat determines what type of Monarch Power they belong to. When they are spent on actions, you return the cubes to your main supply. The sylinders in the photo indicate how many new cubes you would get in each of these fields at the end of each round. (When we have settled on the final layout for the player mats, they will of course get a nice design that fits with the theme of the game.)

Hiring the right advisors and investing these points in a clever manner will be key to the success of your realm. Your choices in these matters will also signal the priorities of your realm to other players.

The concept of Monarch Power is closely tied to the way the Action Cards in the game work. Thus, that is what we will take a closer look at next time.

For news about the upcoming Kickstarter and reminders about Development Diaries, sign up to our Europa Universalis newsletter.

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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.

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A Summer of Conventions and an Essen Autumn

As we move from summer to autumn (or fall to those across the pond) we are constantly working on the Europa Universalis board game development. At the moment we are focusing on making compelling event cards and victory objectives. However, you will also see more regular updates from the team in the coming weeks and months.

Places we have visited or are going to visit soon.

We have been, and really are, enjoying the opportunity to travel to conventions and fairs to meet fans and gamers in Europe and North America. Above all the feedback that we get is absolutely invaluable to us. But it is also just great to meet people who are as passionate as us about the Europa Universalis experience.

Also we will be drawing the winner of our mailing list competition tomorrow. As soon as the winner has been notified, we will announce it here on our blog. The lucky winner will receive a copy of Twilight Imperium 4.

Meeting board gamers at Arcon

Summer kicked off with the Arcon gaming convention in Oslo in June, where we demoed the game to eager fans from Norway. We had introduced some new and some adjusted features since PDXCon and were eager to try them out with new gamers, and we had lots of great feedback from those who played and those who sat around watching. This input subsequently carried into the continued work on the game over the summer.

Europa Universalis demos at GenCon

At the beginning of August Aegir Games travelled to GenCon with Paradox Interactive and Free League Publishing. This was our first visit to the greatest board game spectacle in North America, and it didn’t disappoint. Most importantly we had a Friday packed with Europa Universalis demo sessions for board game writers, bloggers, podcasters and vloggers. We also got to talk to some old friends and personal heros in the board game industry. We even got to play some new games and make some new friends. Here you can get some first impressions from Roll for Crit, and a full demo session recording from the Board Game Kaptain.

Developer Diaries

Starting at the beginning of next month we will begin publishing developer diaries, focusing on different aspects of the game. Here we will go through game features, one or a few at the time, and explain how they work. We really look forward to that, and hope that you do too!

Meet us at Essen SPIEL ’18 (Oct. 25–28)

The highlight of the board gaming year, for many, is SPIEL, that mammoth of an event taking place in Essen every October. Aegir Games will certainly be present too. For a lot of Europa Universalis fans and board gamers this will also be the first chance to see the prototype of the game up close. If you are planning to go, please come to see us at the Paradox Interactive booth (booth no. 5-A104). We would also be very happy if you would like to give us some love on Boardgamegeek’s SPIEL ’18 Preview list.