So I’ve been playing a fair few mods for EU3 recently, and had a lot of fun doing so.
This is a small compilation of improvements and a few alternative scenarios for the entertainment of those of us who are bored with the vanilla 1399 start. However, instead of putting different starting dates into the mix, we have alternative histories: a scenario where Crusades in the holy lands have been extremely successful, and powerful Christian countries now exist in the Levant and north Africa – although Catharism has managed to escape extinction at the hands of crusaders, and now holds sway in much of southern France. Secondly, a scenario which has the states of Europe fractured into their constituent parts, which has in turn allowed Islam to push deeper into Europe.
Thirdly, a rather interesting scenario inspired by Kim Stanley Robinson’s book, The Years of Rice and Salt; the premise of which is that Europe is wiped out by the Black Death, and subsequently becomes a colonial land to exploit by other powers – chiefly the Islamic powers surrounding Europe.
There is therefore a decision one picks at the very start: will you play a relatively normal game away from Europe, and see what transpires there in several hundred years? Will you select a power on the fringes of Europe (like Muscowy, The Ottoman Empire, or Morroco) and try to capitalise on it’s collapse, or will you pick a new nation in the ashes of Europe to try and rebuild? There are several nations within Europe at the beginning, most of which are Islamic colonists who have come to start their own nations in the ruins of others (although there are a few native remnants, such as Norway in the Shetland Isles, Catalonia in the Pyrenees mountains, Aragon in the Balearic Isles, or Scotland in the Western Isles) . The only criticism of this mod I can really make (since it has no bugs that I’ve come across, and is an enjoyable expansion to the basic game) is that the last scenario isn’t different enough – the screenshot above shows that within a scant 119 years, almost all of western Europe, much of central Europe, and most of eastern Europe has already been re-taken and really this means that the similar scenarios are taking place with slightly different names. Still – the concept is very interesting, and the starting event which every colonial/remnant country gets which allows you to choose the direction your country will go in is very welcome.
Next up is The Steppe Wolf (or AirotciV).
This may well be the most ambitious EU3 mod ever – it allows you to play from AD11 til AD2100, and what’s more – the team has diligently researched the history of that entire period and made all the nations historically correct, territorially speaking, and all playable. Not only that – the entire map has been changed to a replica of the Victoria 2 map, meaning many more provinces and much more detail.
It’s really rather intimidating, really; there’s so many periods to get stuck into, and so many countries to choose. In the end, I thought I’d give a united Islamic Caliphate a go, and started in the year 750, under the Umayyad Dynasty.
Here we can see a large empire, mainly Sunni, although with distinct Shia, Early Catholic, and Orthodox minorities (along with some Tengrists and Animists along the north-eastern borders with the restless tribles). The only other Islamic states in the world are a Persian rump-state along my eastern border (the only Shia country in the world), and the Sultanates of Sind, Khandesh, and Gujurat in India, governing a mainly Hindu populace. I haven’t been able to put all that much time into the mod yet, but it’s mainly consisted of expaning into northern Iberia, south along the coast of western Africa, and north-east by defeating tribal nomads on the Steppes – also some really large-scale missionary work in the Caucases and Persia, to get rid of the Shia and Orthodox unrest there. I’m pretty impressed overall, but there are a few problems – such as it being relatively easy to crash the thing, the slow progression (due to alot more calculations needing to occur), and potentially an information overload when it comes to actually playing the thing – although I enjoyed that, I have to say.
This has been my real timesink, even though it’s something of a flawed gem. A simple premise: start the game in 1200AD instead of 1399AD, thus giving you a different set of starting conditions: powerful Muslims in Iberia, a much more territorially sound Roman Empire, Pagans alive and well in the Baltic, and a pre-Mongol near east. I took on the mantle of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire, and I’ve played it alot, because of an excellent modifier I saw in the modifier list (and I think it’s even in the base game, but I’ve never noticed it before) – “Restore the Pentarchy”. Essentially, if you regain control of five key locations (where the most influential and powerful early-Christian Patriarchs sat), you get a few bonuses and nullify the power of the Papacy.
I’m not sure why this became such a drive to me – perhaps the idea of getting rid of the Papacy (a faction who can, if you are a Catholic, excommunicate you and lead to all kinds of problems) was just tempting to me, but it completely became my drive for this campaign, as well as trying to spread Greek culture all around, which I’ve somewhat achieved:
As you can see, I’ve spread it from Greece and the coast of Asia Minor to areas of Bulgaria and the Balkans, southern Italy, the Crimean peninsula, and around Alexandria.
There are however a fair few problems with this mod. First and foremost – the technology trees seem to have been buggered up somewhat. I’m not fast approaching the 1700s in my game, and there has not been a single updated unit so far – coupled with this is that seeming impossibilty of unlocking the naval and military buildings – they are simply impossible to build for the most part. The other major problem is with colonisation – the provinces which were colonised in the vanilla scenario, but not in this one are when colonised instantly populated with the city that used to be there, and then produce no trade good for the rest of time (trade goods being discovered naturally at about 300 population in normal colonisation) – this makes provinces with a very high tax rate fairly bad to own, and provinces without them an outright liability (this is a problem that the Steppe Wolf mod suffers from too, actually).
Still – I’ve had alot of fun with these mods, and will probably try out more soon.