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For gamers who love World History!


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I did a search for this and couldn't find anything, so thought I'd submit a very brief review.  DS 15 has been raving to me about how great the video strategy game Europa Universalis IV is.  Basically you choose a country and play as that country in whichever time period you choose, anywhere from the mid-1400s to the mid-1800s.  After taking AP World last year, he feels this should be part of a World History curriculum.  The makers have gone to great lengths to provide historically accurate information about each time period.  In particular you learn a lot about the balance of power in a region (since this is a strategy game, and you do want to take over the world), but you also learn a lot about culture, leaders, religion, etc.  You learn the most about the time period you start in; eventually your own actions will affect the tide of events, so the story becomes less historical.  There is a steep learning curve, as the game is quite complicated.  According to DS, this is an excellent game for a teen who enjoys strategy games and world history.

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DS plays every game in this series, including Crusader Kings (1066-~1400), Europa Universalis (~1400-~1800), Victoria(~1800-1936), and Hearts of Iron (1936-1945).  It is possible to string them together to model out later European history in a single gigantic campaign.  With mods, some have it going back to Rome, but the quality is not as high with mods.

 

It differs from Civilization in many ways.  Civilization does not follow history at all, but drives along a path of likely development.  The EU series follow history closely, with all the minor nations, leaders, children, spouses, etc.  Politics, marriages, children, and intrigue play a big factor.

 

The one complaint we have about it is the great number of DLC modules needed to play the full game.  If you get it, watch for discounts on BundleStars or Humble Bundle.  They occasionally have the series on sale, including DLC, for 70-80% off.  You just have to watch, and be patient.  The full game can cost close to $200, but may drop to $40 or less on occasion.

 

 

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Thanks Mike in SA for explaining how the game differs from Civilization.  DS was explaining that in Civilization, if you play well you can have nuclear weapons in the 17th century; it really is all about technology development.  E.U. places much greater emphasis on diplomacy and the balance of power involving several factors.  This is where it gets complicated -- the game is continuously keeping track of your legitimacy, power, stability, prestige, manpower, treasury, and several other factors I can't remember.  Also, Civilization is played by taking turns.  E.U. is simultaneous; while you are making your own decisions, the nations around you are also making decisions.  This complicates play (and often requires you to pause the game.)

 

I personally think one of the coolest things about Europa Universalis is the map at the start of the game which allows you to see in fairly small detail how the world changed from year to year.  I also think its really cool that you can play as a Native American tribe (the map shows where each people group lived in the Americas, and you can choose from among several to play) -- I think this came from an expansion pack.  Again, you can view the map of the Americas and watch the shifting of Native people groups over the years in the same way you can view country names and borders change in Europe, Asia, etc.  The historical content is primarily at the start of the game; afterwards your own play disrupts the flow too much to represent actual history (though it still involves historical concepts of that time period.)

 

Other DS, who has not studied as much World History, does not find the game quite as exciting; he feels it is best played when you are more intimately familiar with world events in that time period (mid 1400s to mid 1800s).  Its still a fun game, but he doesn't get the same thrill as older DS who loves the little details that tie in with what he has learned about.

 

DS bought the game when Steam was having a 75% off sale.  He bought it for $10, and then spent another $10 on expansion packs.  The basic version is $40 right now on Steam.

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It's mind-boggling how much my older two children have learned from playing these games. I need to get my younger two hooked ... my older kids (especially my oldest) tended to research every thing they came across in the games that seemed interesting to them. 

 

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I'll second both the amazing historical detail of the ParadoxInteractive games (CrusaderKings, Europa Universalis), and the learning opportunity.  I enjoy Civilization, but it's not really the same thing.

 

The PI games are extremely detailed and the game mechanics are pretty close to history in many ways.  You also have the ability to 'start' at any location/time, and the initial game state matches what the world was (unlike Civilization, CrusaderKings and EuropaUniversalis always use actual world geography).

 

It's also true that they're more exciting if you know something about the time/place you're playing.  I recently learned about Mongolian political/military history and was THRILLED to go look at Crusader Kings and find the grand-children if Genghis Khan, with their correctly modeled family history, military holdings, political relationships, etc.

 

One of the most interesting things to do in the games, IMO, is pick a starting point and play 'what if'.  What if Ogedei Khan hadn't died young.  What if the kings of Eastern Europe had ignored the Pope and sent their armies west instead of east, etc.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

You'll want the DLC for EU IV or CK II.  At least, that's what DS says...  The others (Victoria and Hearts of Iron) aren't as relevant to European history as CK and EU.

 

Thanks, Mike. If you have other strategy games that you recommend, I would appreciate it. I used to play Age of Empires when I was traveling 100K+ miles per year. It was great for long flights. My son loves strategy games as well. Anything semi-educational and not uber violent is a plus.

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You'll want the DLC for EU IV or CK II.  At least, that's what DS says...  The others (Victoria and Hearts of Iron) aren't as relevant to European history as CK and EU.

 

I'm the non-gamer in the family - what is "DLC?" Like an add-on module or expansion pack? 

 

Okay, I clicked on a few and found that Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India is specifically noted as an expansion pack for Crusader Kings II. 

 

So, to play that, I would need to buy Rajas and Crusader Kings II, correct? And if something is not noted as an expansion, it is a game that can be played on its own? 

 

Edited to add: if anyone feels inclined to tell me what we would need to order to play the game in modern history, like leading up to WWI and anything past that, it would be lovely and appreciated. Or even what would be 'everything.' 

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DS plays every game in this series, including Crusader Kings (1066-~1400), Europa Universalis (~1400-~1800), Victoria(~1800-1936), and Hearts of Iron (1936-1945).  It is possible to string them together to model out later European history in a single gigantic campaign.  With mods, some have it going back to Rome, but the quality is not as high with mods.

 

It differs from Civilization in many ways.  Civilization does not follow history at all, but drives along a path of likely development.  The EU series follow history closely, with all the minor nations, leaders, children, spouses, etc.  Politics, marriages, children, and intrigue play a big factor.

 

The one complaint we have about it is the great number of DLC modules needed to play the full game.  If you get it, watch for discounts on BundleStars or Humble Bundle.  They occasionally have the series on sale, including DLC, for 70-80% off.  You just have to watch, and be patient.  The full game can cost close to $200, but may drop to $40 or less on occasion.

 

Okay, I think I'm starting to get it. Europa Universalis is one game in the series that covers 1400-1800; the others are in the same style but cover different time periods, correct? 

 

So, for modern history, I would want Victoria and Hearts of Iron, and any expansions that look good. 

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So, do you suggest the Paradox Grand Strategy Collection for 19.99, or something else? 

 

DS says this looks like a great deal!  https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/paradoxgrandstrategycollection_storefront

 

He recommends some expansion packs to go with it.  He suggests googling for advice about expansion packs; apparently there is a lot of info available about each option.

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I'm the non-gamer in the family - what is "DLC?" Like an add-on module or expansion pack? 

 

Okay, I clicked on a few and found that Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India is specifically noted as an expansion pack for Crusader Kings II. 

 

So, to play that, I would need to buy Rajas and Crusader Kings II, correct? And if something is not noted as an expansion, it is a game that can be played on its own? 

 

Edited to add: if anyone feels inclined to tell me what we would need to order to play the game in modern history, like leading up to WWI and anything past that, it would be lovely and appreciated. Or even what would be 'everything.' 

 

Yes, DLC (downloadable content) refers to the expansion packs.

 

Okay, I think I'm starting to get it. Europa Universalis is one game in the series that covers 1400-1800; the others are in the same style but cover different time periods, correct? 

 

So, for modern history, I would want Victoria and Hearts of Iron, and any expansions that look good. 

 

Yes, each game covers a different time period.  DS was saying that it would be difficult to actually play straight through from Crusaders to Hearts of Iron, as they are separate games -- when you start each one, it will restart everything to look historically like that point in time. 

 

DS recommends just googling for information about the expansion packs related to the game you want (Europa Universalis, or Hearts of Iron, or whichever time period game you are interested in).  There is a lot of information available about the expansion packs; some are excellent, others are lame and not worth the money.

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DS says this looks like a great deal!  https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/paradoxgrandstrategycollection_storefront

 

He recommends some expansion packs to go with it.  He suggests googling for advice about expansion packs; apparently there is a lot of info available about each option.

 

I bought this, plus the DLC expansion packs for Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis (per Mike's recommendation). It was about $50 all in, and will probably keep us busy for awhile. :) 

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Yes, DLC (downloadable content) refers to the expansion packs.

 

 

Yes, each game covers a different time period.  DS was saying that it would be difficult to actually play straight through from Crusaders to Hearts of Iron, as they are separate games -- when you start each one, it will restart everything to look historically like that point in time. 

 

DS recommends just googling for information about the expansion packs related to the game you want (Europa Universalis, or Hearts of Iron, or whichever time period game you are interested in).  There is a lot of information available about the expansion packs; some are excellent, others are lame and not worth the money.

 

There are "converter" mods that allow you to play seamlessly from one end to the other.  Now, it might take an entire year to do so...

 

Yes, DLC: Downloadable content.  The DLC packs give you all the important ones in a single go.  These games can get real pricey, real quick.

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What do you need to play this? Computer? DVD player and TV? I am clueless.

However, I am going to buy these so that my gaming boys will at least learn history or practice their hsitory knowledge while gaming. They do spend an hour a day gaming anyway.

 

Ha!

 

They are PC games.  They're on steam, so you can probably use a Mac or Windows machine, and possibly even Linux.  You'll have to check on Mac or Linux, to be safe.

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DS says that in playing EU for about 25 hours, he hasn't seen anything.  The ESRB rating mentions brief references to sexual material.  It's rated Teen for "Drug Reference, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Themes, Mild Violence ."  Sorry I can't find more details for you.  Maybe Mike in SA or someone else with more experience can speak to this better. 
 

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What does "Sexual Themes" means on these types of games? 

I've probably played 30 hours of CKII over the last 6 months - I've not seen anything beyond the fact that kings and queens reproduce. <shrug>  It's not like there's video to watch or you go trolling for the queens handmaidens or anything.

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If any of you or your kids frequent the site that sells these...could you post here again if they go back on sale? I'd love to get this for my sons for Christmas this year, but the link I followed has it at 99.00 right now. Is that the sale price?? It's been several days since y'all posted the sale, so I'm thinking it's not. 

 

I'm off to see if I can be added to an email list that might alert me of sale prices :).

 

Thanks for the rec!!

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If any of you or your kids frequent the site that sells these...could you post here again if they go back on sale? I'd love to get this for my sons for Christmas this year, but the link I followed has it at 99.00 right now. Is that the sale price?? It's been several days since y'all posted the sale, so I'm thinking it's not. 

 

 

No that's definitely not the sale price!!  I can't remember for certain, but I think that "Grand Strategy Collection" linked earlier was $20 when on sale.  Keep checking back; I think they go on sale quite frequently.  75-80% off seems typical.  And FTR, my DS only owns Europa Universalis 4 and there is plenty just with that to keep you busy for a long time.  (Although he tells me that he is interested in Hearts of Iron 4 which is due out soon.)

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  • 2 months later...

RE: EU4

 

I'm still thinking of this as a Christmas gift and resurrecting this thread to ask a few questions. I've never bought computer games before, only the Wii & Xbox kind that come with a disc to operate. Do I need to make sure I purchase this on the computer it will be played on? If I have 2 sons, do I need to purchase it 2 times, once on each computer? 

 

ETA: not to sound dumb, but how do you actually interact with the game? With the mouse & keyboard?

 

Tia

Edited by 4ofus
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RE: EU4

 

I'm still thinking of this as a Christmas gift and resurrecting this thread to ask a few questions. I've never bought computer games before, only the Wii & Xbox kind that come with a disc to operate. Do I need to make sure I purchase this on the computer it will be played on? If I have 2 sons, do I need to purchase it 2 times, once on each computer? 

 

ETA: not to sound dumb, but how do you actually interact with the game? With the mouse & keyboard?

 

Tia

 

Sorry for the delay in responding.  You can purchase through Steam, and so you need to open a Steam account.  You can then download the game on any computer using that Steam account.  So, no, you do not need to purchase it twice for two computers.  However, only one computer can be logged onto the same Steam account at one time.  You can easily play the game offline, so that shouldn't be a problem.  The only thing they couldn't do is play against each other, which would require both of them to be online at the same time.

 

Yes, you play with a mouse and keyboard. :)

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I'm so glad you posted about this; my husband looked into it and we definitely plan to add these to our gaming collection. I personally am an adamant non-gamer (based, increasingly, on...nothing) but he and our older 2 kids will probably enjoy playing these. Is there some efficient way to keep an eye on when these go on sale?

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What age?  Could a 12-13 y.o. history-loving gamer handle this?  He could use one more present, bonus that it's downloadable.  He probably knows more about ancient history at this time than European though.  I'll need to figure out if his Surface 3 can play it but it's time to make cookies :)

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Can the kids interact with friends on this game? Sort of like playing Minecraft or something? Or is it predominantly one-player based?

 

You can play one-player or against others online.  DS is currently playing with a good friend who lives in another country; I think they are teaming up right now as Spain and France in the 1500s... interesting.

 

 

What age?  Could a 12-13 y.o. history-loving gamer handle this?  He could use one more present, bonus that it's downloadable.  He probably knows more about ancient history at this time than European though.  I'll need to figure out if his Surface 3 can play it but it's time to make cookies :)

 

Probably too late for Christmas buyers, but for those who are still interested -- DS says its extremely complicated, and he is still figuring it out, but a patient 12-13 yo who enjoys complicated strategy games would enjoy this.

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What is Steam?

 

I have never gamed, but I want this for us.

 

So you need a regular computer, and what else?  How do you get this and get started? 

 

(Honest to gosh, I'm totally clueless.)

 

Steam is basically an online place you buy and keep games.  So you don't get physical copies of the games, but keep them in your Steam account.

 

You go to their site and I believe you have to download their user interface and create an account.  You use a regular computer or laptop.  I don't know about other devices. 

 

It's kinda nice because if something happens to your computer you won't lose the games.  It's all web based.  And recently they added the feature that you can return games after trying them within a certain time period if you end up not liking them.  That's a pretty unusual option. 

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