Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, March 05, 2024
Paradox spring offensive

It is easy to believe, albeit fanciful, that a company that mainly makes grand strategy titles does have some grand strategy in mind with their marketing and game releases. At least for Paradox Interactive it currently feels as if they are in the middle of launching a spring offensive. Between February 27 and March 6 new DLC with accompanying large patches are released for Age of Wonders 4 (Primal Fury), Crusader Kings 3 (Legends of the Dead), and Victoria 3 (Sphere of Influence). Where does one find the time?

I am currently playing the Primal Fury DLC for Age of Wonders 4, having bought the expansion pass. Age of Wonders 4 is definitely my favorite Paradox game, and the addition of a new culture with 7 sub-cultures is adding a lot of new variety to the game. I never bought Crusader Kings 3, but played it on PC Game Pass, and it is still available there, but obviously without any DLC. There is a sale on Steam, but buying CK3 with all DLC (including 2 upcoming ones) costs around $100; I simply didn't like the base game that much, and I have my doubts that the DLCs change that: My suspicion is that Crusader Kings 3 is in reality a weird dynastic role-playing game that only masquerades as a strategy game.

Victoria 3 I am still on the edge on. I bought the base game, but never the DLCs. Victoria 3 is a deeply flawed game, which is extremely frustrating because of a myriad of complicate interactions that often you can't see, or can't properly influence. What I find especially annoying is the system of revolutions, where it is easily possible that you get two competing interest groups radicalized, and both options of whether to enact a law or not will lead to revolution. And political unrest is always handled in the form of a civil war, where part of the country splits of to form a new country and wages war against the other half. That certainly represents a historical reality of the American Civil War, but the revolutions of 1848 in Europe didn't really work that way. [Sidebar: This is also why we should be careful with predictions of what will happen in the USA after the November elections: A "civil war" like the one from a century and a half ago is extremely unlikely, due to the opposing sides not being geographically well separated. Other forms of political violence, like the January 6 2020 insurrection are much more likely. The one thing that is unlikely is that the losing side, whichever one that might be, will just accept the democratic will of the majority.] Victoria 3 doesn't really do political unrest very well, which is a shame in a game where domestic policy is such a big part.

For both Victoria 3 and Crusader Kings 3 for me it might be more fun to watch other people play the game, especially if they bring some historical knowledge and/or roleplaying to the game. Playing these games myself is more likely to disappoint or frustrate me, although I will probably give Victoria 3 another go after the 1.6 patch.

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