Europa Universalis III
by Paradox Interactive, 2007, $39.99.
In Europa Universalis III, a player must blend exploration, trade, diplomacy and warfare to transform one of nearly 300 historically accurate countries into a global empire. Game play spans more than 300 years, and players can begin at any date between 1453 (after the Fall of Constantinople) and 1789 (the French Revolution). The country and time period you choose will affect the speed and ease of your progress.
You have free rein to govern your nation, deciding the political system, national religion, diplomatic stances and so on. You can remain neutral or craft a strong military. You can choose to play out history, making the same choices and decisions your chosen country made, or alter it. Regardless, game play may trigger specific historical events. For example, if you are playing as Great Britain on July 4, 1776, depending on your relationship with the American Colonies, you could spark the American Revolution. More than 5,000 historical personalities make cameo appearances during the game; several are available as advisers, including Napoleon, Descartes, Newton and Cardinal Richelieu.
Originally published in the June 2007 issue of Military History. To subscribe, click here.