Europa Universalis 3: Chronicles Review
Ever felt like you wanted to start off as a smaller nation and rise to greatness? That is most certainly possible in Europa Universalis 3, in more than a single way. When I played EU 2 I would often play as Poland, and try to colonize North America, which I usually succeeded in doing. In terms of complexity EU2 was on the level of Hearts of Iron 2, which roughly translated into “Not THAT demanding, for a Paradox game.”. What of Europa Universalis 3? Let me just say that my dream of a Global Polish Empire was quickly slapped out of my mind, when my neighbors turned out to have way more willing allies than I did. So, yes. EU 3 will be more challenging than EU 2, but after a while I got the hang of the game again. My fourth or fifth playthrough ended up with a powerful Hansa Sea Empire, whose only problem was Inflation.
In order to get a better idea of what the Chronicle pack offers to you I will recall the key events within my Hanseatic Empire. There were the ups and downs, times of war and peace. Overall though, I had a swell time (and I have yet to conclude that long “round”). If you want to skip the story keep scrolling down until you see “What about Europa Universalis 3?”.
Europa Universalis 3: Chronicles Review
It all starts in 1399. The Hansa is composed of three small provinces on the northern coast of what we would know as Germany today. The small Merchant Republic holds only one strength, its Trade Center. It is the source of its income, aside from the taxes its provinces will bring in. At the beginning Philipp Schmerse acted as the head of the Hansa… for a whole three years. Konrad Tiedemann took over the position, and almost immediately attempted to conclude alliances with different nations.
It soon became apparent, that although you could have many Allies it is very easy to get mixed up in numerous wars you do not want to take part in! During the number of wars that the Hansa was forced into, losing every single one, a new policy was adopted. A “No Alliance” policy. Instead, all the acquired funds were put to expansion. The home provinces were improved, and emphasis was put on colonization preparations. The first Hanseatic colony ended up being a small island to the West of Europe named “The Azores”. It proved to be an unbearable burden economically, and due to the strained expenditure there was a resulting “Loan Spiral” which eventually lead to the complete bankruptcy of the Hansa.
Eventually the Hansa recovered from this economic crash, but Konrad’s “rule” ended and a new merchant took the “throne”, Niklas Dabelstein. A man so bent on Mercentalism and Navy that he almost lived on a ship. Knowing well the mistakes of his predecessor, Niklas carefully expanded the colonies, balancing expenditure with income. During his reign the Hansa managed to control a portion of the African coastline, which in the coming years was slowly expanded. However, his rule was marred by a terrible period of civil unrest. Although the Catholic faith was dominant for a long time, new branches of Christianity emerged, and “took over” some of the Hansa home provinces. The reactionary approach around Europe, and within the Hansa, lead to Civil war. Hamburg was conquered, and all the armies that were stationed in Africa had to be recalled to counter this new threat. The single bloody battle for Hamburg marked an end of the Civil War, but a force had to remain in the area, due to more outbursts that threatened from within.
After Niklas came Hartwin von der Fechte, and history would mark his as one of the most brutal leaders of the Hansa. As the African colonies expanded, Hansian explorers discovered the Mali Tribe, spanning over numerous provinces, just to the south of them. This sudden halt in expansion forced Hartwin to focus his work, temporarily, on other key events occurring in Europe. In order to improve the standing of the Hansa there were a number of “tasks” he could complete, in order for the Republic to function even better. Due to the nature of the Hansa, a lot depended on persuading other nations to join the Hansa Trade League, as well as lifting expensive taxes and tolls, or persuading England, one of the Naval powers of the time, to become a member. A lot of this called for careful diplomatic work, since the Hansa was in no position to wage an all out war to achieve its needs. Much was achieved, and the Hansa grew, stronger than ever before!
Then came the worrying news from Africa. Portugal waged a Colonial War against the Mali. If they won, the Hansa would be completely cut-off from the rest of Africa. The single army in Africa was quickly ordered to head South, and cut off the already invading Portuguese, by conquering the Mali provinces around them. The weakened Mali force could not withstand the new invader, and was forced to surrender more and more of its territory. When reinforcements arrived, and the Hansa pushed into Mali with force, a peace treaty was signed between Mali and Portugal. Mali lost only two provinces, leaving the vast majority of its lands to the Hansa. What followed was a bloody war, where the Hansian forces pushed aside all Mali resistance, destroying far bigger forces, and eventually leading to a complete collapse of Mali.
Having conquered most of the Mali territory, the Hansa held a strong influence in Africa, but it became apparent that these new territories were unstable, and an army was necessary to keep control. On the other hand, there was the ever present possibility of another civil war in Europe, and only a token, yet sufficient, force was left in Africa. After about twenty years of relative peace, riddled with constant uprisings both in Africa and Europe an unexpected threat appeared. A number of African tribes decided to conquer back what the Hansa has claimed. Against the small force of four thousand Europeans, a mass of 30,000 tribals appeared. What nobody expected was that the “Core” Hanseatic provinces, when captured by the Tribals, revolted and caused mayhem within the Tribal territories. Meanwhile the 4,000 brave Hanseatic men repelled siege after siege, and even routed the smaller Tribal Armies. Eventually over 16,000 men were delivered from Europe, but by that time the war was very much decided. The final turning point of what was known as the Kanem Bornuam-Hansatic Religious War came when the largest bulk of the Tribal and Hanseatic armies met. Over 9,000 tribals met against 8,000 soldiers. On one side you had the leader of the Tribal Forces, while on the other a hastily recruited General. The conclusion of the battle was a complete disaster for the Tribal forces, while the vast majority of the Hanseatic force stood unscathed. After five years of constant war the Tribals were forced to surrender.