Europa Universalis II (Mac)

edited May 2003 in Gaming
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  • edited December 1969
    Anybody have any opinions/info on this game, which is just out for the Mac? Fun, not fun, good, stupid, absorbing, boring? What style of gamer is it best suited to?

    Blobs of Glup
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Europa Universalis II (Mac)

    Anybody have any opinions/info on this game, which is just out
    for the Mac? Fun, not fun, good, stupid, absorbing, boring? What
    style of gamer is it best suited to?

    The short answer is, you'll either love it or hate it. There's nothing in between according to the folks I've talked to who have played it. Reason being is that it's not really like anything else out there, and it's pretty complex. I for one loved it.

    It's different from any strategy game you've played...it's turn based RTS :). It's like playing Civ except everyone is taking their turns at the same time. So you can be building city improvements or tweaking your tax code when all of a sudden the mongol horde will attack. You can tweak the passage of time though, anywhere from pausing (allowing you to take your time and que up a bunch of things), to one year/min.

    The other interesting thing is that, as far as relations with other countries goes, the game makes you behave as an actual country would. Border clashes are common, but full scale wars are not, since your enemy this year could be your closest ally the next. Generaly you need a Casus Belli (cause for war) to attack another country and get away with it. If you attack without one, you'll be on the hit list of every country in the region, which means that other countries have a Casus Belli on you now, and all your trade is gonna dry up, so it'll be hard to maintain a military. Also, your people tend to not like war; if you go off on a world domination kick, your people are going to rebel like crazy. Then religion comes into play...if you attack a country of the same religion, you better have a good reason, otherwise the clergy turns against you, which causes rebellions. There is an exception...the Turks seem to have a thing for conquest, so if you take the Ottoman Empire you can go willy nilly and take over a large portion of the world. You need a *huge* standing army to keep it though, since once you're outside the middle east nobody likes being ruled by an Islamic power :)

    The other interesting thing is that there are no victory conditions. The game plays out for 400 years, at the end of that time whichever country has the most points wins. You get points for having a strong economy, good foreign relations, strong military, etc. You also get "missions" throughout the game, like "Sign a trade agreement with England within 5 years, get 100 points".

    I could go on, there are a ton of facets to this game. It's very deep, and there are lots of ways to win. It's also different every time you play. Want a walk in the park, take the Ottomans. Want a challenge, take a small, insignificant country surrounded on all sides :)

    -Mori


  • edited December 1969
    Re: Europa Universalis II (Mac)

    I was wondering the same thing as BR. Thanks for your post. I think Carch and Cauldyth used to talk about it on CPHL, so I think I'll be buying it.

    What about multiplayer... is there any, if so, is it any fun?


    image
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Europa Universalis II (Mac)

    I was wondering the same thing as BR. Thanks for your post. I
    think Carch and Cauldyth used to talk about it on CPHL, so I
    think I'll be buying it.

    As I recall, Carch hated it, so bear that in mind ;)

    What about multiplayer... is there any, if so, is it any fun?

    There is multipayer, but I've never used it, so I'm not sure how good it is.

    Check out the official forums (http://www.europa-universalis.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?forumid=51). There's a ton of info there, and also a whole mess of third party scenarios available.

    -Mori
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Europa Universalis II (Mac)

    How good is the AI generally? Is there much diplomacy, and if so, is the diplomacy AI strong? And if there is diplomacy, is it set up so you have several options for action/response, or is it limiting?

    Blobs of Glup
  • edited December 1969
    FWIW, I ordered EU2 today. (vlt)

    I'd still like answers to these questions if anyone has them:

    How good is the AI generally? Is there much diplomacy, and if
    so, is the diplomacy AI strong? And if there is diplomacy, is it
    set up so you have several options for action/response, or is it
    limiting?

    Muff, if you buy it and want to try MP over the net, let me know.

    Blobs of Glup
  • edited December 1969
    Kewl

    I'd still like answers to these questions if anyone has them:

    I'm wondering about diplomacy, too. I have yet to see a game that really implements a believable diplomatic AI for a computer. Civ 3 was pretty lousy. Moo3 was a total travesty.

    Muff, if you buy it and want to try MP over the net, let me know.

    Will do... not sure how soon I will buy it, my thesis is coming along verrry slooowly.

    image
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Kewl

    I'm wondering about diplomacy, too. I have yet to see a game
    that really implements a believable diplomatic AI for a
    computer. Civ 3 was pretty lousy. Moo3 was a total travesty.

    There is a code patch to Moo3 that is almost complete (for the PC version anyway). I am pretty sure the diplomacy AI has been addressed in some way (though I don't consider it a "travesty" personally). I assume you picked up the data patch (which adjusted some of the spreadsheets underlying the game) already.

    Will do... not sure how soon I will buy it, my thesis is coming
    along verrry slooowly.

    I prefer to play SP for a while with a new game anyway. Take your time.


    Blobs of Glup
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Europa Universalis II (Mac)

    How good is the AI generally? Is there much diplomacy, and if
    so, is the diplomacy AI strong? And if there is diplomacy, is it
    set up so you have several options for action/response, or is it
    limiting?

    Diplomacy is pretty good. It's definately not you against the world. I remember being really ticked with Civ 3, because treaties and alliances didn't mean a damn thing. I had to keep all of my borders defended because the moment they were left open I would be invaded, regardless of the relations I had with the countries around me.

    Europa was much better. If you have an alliance with another nation, you have to be pretty vile to them to get them to break it. As a general rule, if you have an alliance with another country, they won't attack you unless you attack them, since breaking alliances is a huge hit to a country's stability. It works both ways though...if another nation is pissed at you, it's going to take a *long* time before relations will improve, if they ever do. If a nation's religion is at odds with yours, it's very tough to improve relations. If you're Catholic, a Sunni nation who doesn't like you is probably never going to change their mind.

    There are a lot of diplomatic options, and I doubt I remember them all. All the standard stuff is there, with some other things like Royal Marriges (which if successful will give you the option of claiming that country's crown later), vasal states, annexation, trade embargos, and others.

    -Mori


  • edited December 1969
    [b]Re: Kewl[/b]

    Well Safari just ate my post so I will just post the link to the Ultimate Bug Collection from the moo3 forums. Suffice it to say that "taking one's time" is largely irrelevant, because the damn thing is fundamentally broken. Most have been addressed in the code patch, but who knows when or if it will come out.

    [img]http://www.clanplaid.net/~muffin/questionmuffin.gif[/img]
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Kewl

    Well Safari just ate my post so I will just post the link to the
    Ultimate Bug Collection from the moo3 forums. Suffice it to
    say that "taking one's time" is largely irrelevant,
    because the damn thing is fundamentally broken. Most have been
    addressed in the code patch, but who knows when or if it will
    come out.

    Give me a hint as to which of the "Ultimate Bugs" you're talking about? I don't understand your reference to "taking one's time."


    Blobs of Glup
  • edited December 1969
    Keen

    Now I'm looking forward to getting the game. Not that I'll have a lot of time to play, with a new job and a new baby... but then again, I always prioritize "sleep" last, so I will manage somehow.

    Blobs of Glup
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Kewl

    Give me a hint as to which of the "Ultimate Bugs"
    you're talking about?

    Note that the LIST is ultimate, not the bugs -- I guess a problem with English. However, if you're wondering about major bugs, there are many, many, many. Where to begin, where to begin.

    -AI does not attack -- ever
    -Point Defense weapons do not work (neither do armour-piercing)
    -Cannot attack enemy planets in a system where you already have planets
    -military AI builds nothing but transports and support troops
    -Econ AI is extremely wasteful, overdrives too far (because overdriving is also currently not implemented properly)
    -Colonization AI sends all available colony ships to any planet not colonized; or if you ask it to colonize a planet, it will send all available colony ships there
    -Ledger has errors in it
    -Accessing planetary queues requires a three to four step drill-down
    -Planetary viceroys override user's choices
    -Build queues often show inaccurate build times; items like System Seat of Government can be built over and over again under certain conditions
    -Save games don't store sit rep info
    -Development plans cannot be saved/loaded from file
    -Turn processing time increases steadily even in small-universe games, can take several minutes for "Waiting for Ground Combats" to process
    -If a planet starves to death, any attempts at landing colony ships on planet results in the planet still being in "starvation" mode; only way to get around this is to use enough colony ships to have at least 1 population point and the "starving" flag gets fixed (mostly a problem on yellow or red planets)
    -Planet specials. Sometimes they do not disappear after certain terraforming conditions are met (like Pollution), they should not be present at all (a system Guardian special after you kill the guardian), magnate civ specials often remain even after magnate civ is dead
    -If you choose to Watch or Cede Control of space combat, Military AI takes control of ground combat without asking, meaning it will (a) bombard all ordanance and then (b) unload all troops on the planet
    -Cannot pick which planet to attack in a system

    That's all I want to write for now...

    I don't understand your reference to
    "taking one's time."

    Quote "I prefer to play SP for a while with a new game anyway. Take your time."


    image
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Kewl

    Note that the LIST is ultimate, not the bugs -- I guess a
    problem with English.

    Yes, that was supposed to be a little joke. 8-)

    However, if you're wondering about major
    bugs, there are many, many, many. Where to begin, where to
    begin.

    [LIST]

    I believe all of the ones you listed are identified as addressed in the patch. From what I understand (and only because I read the forum board where the QSI guy reports on it), they are now down to fixing minor bugs generated by the patch, so it should be fairly close to release.

    -Cannot pick which planet to attack in a system

    Yes you can -- at the bottom of the Combat Scheduler is a button for "Show System View" or some such. If you select that, you get the diagonal planet map, with one planet selected (turning circle around it). Click a different planet, go back to Combat Scheduler, and your attack goes against the selected planet.

    Of course, I had to find that out myself, and I occasionally forget it's what I want to do, but it's there.

    Quote "I prefer to play SP for a while with a new game
    anyway. Take your time."

    Ah. My "take your time" was about EU2, not Moo3, so that's why your reference to the Moo3 being "fundamentally unplayable" was confusing to me.

    http://glup.blogspot.com
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Kewl

    I believe all of the ones you listed are identified as addressed
    in the patch. From what I understand (and only because I read
    the forum board where the QSI guy reports on it), they are now
    down to fixing minor bugs generated by the patch, so it should
    be fairly close to release.

    I agree with you, all those bugs should be fixed in the patch. IF the patch ever comes out before I give up. The delays have been unbearable... speculation was that Atari is only going to pay for one, so they're making it as big as possible, but QSI has stated that further patches will come. So why, again, are they making a megapatch? I'm just a wise-cracking artificial intelligence guy, but even I know that when you make changes, problems increase exponentially, not linearly...

    Yes you can -- at the bottom of the Combat Scheduler is a button
    for "Show System View" or some such. If you select
    that, you get the diagonal planet map, with one planet selected
    (turning circle around it). Click a different planet, go back to
    Combat Scheduler, and your attack goes against the selected
    planet.

    Thanks, I'll have a look.

    Ah. My "take your time" was about EU2, not Moo3, so
    that's why your reference to the Moo3 being "fundamentally
    unplayable" was confusing to me.

    Gotcha. I still think it's fundamentally unplayable. An AI who never attacks is useless.


    image
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Europa Universalis II (Mac)

    I just picked it up, and am about to try it out. I'll let you know what I think.
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Europa Universalis II (Mac)

    I just picked it up, and am about to try it out. I'll let you
    know what I think.

    Cool. My copy is on its way -- should get to me by Monday at the latest.


    Blobs of Glup
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Europa Universalis II (Mac)

    OK, I got EU2 yesterday and fiddled around with it last night. It looks like a very complex, comprehensive game, but after I went through the tutorial I felt I had a vague understanding of the basic concepts and absolutely no understanding of how to get started in a real game. When I started a scenario, I had no idea what I should do, focus on, think about, produce, etc., etc. There was no guidance (unless it's in the manual -- I didn't read it) as to what my goals were, how to get victory points, and so on. Meanwhile, things were happening around me. It was all very confusing.

    On the other hand, I only spent about an hour with it, and I assume that with more time, I can figure it out. But it appears there is a fairly steep learning curve.

    BC, anybody else -- concur? Disagree? Any advice?


    Blobs of Glup
  • edited December 1969
    It's not as scary as it looks :)

    Yeah, the tutorial is a joke. I should have mentioned this before, sorry about that.

    This is one of those games that you really have to learn by doing. As you've noted, it's complex, and the learning curve is steep...but once you're over the curve, it's surprisingly smooth sailing.

    Definately give some of the smaller campaigns a run through before you tackle the Grand Campaign. The Age of Exploration campaign is probably the best place to start. The countries are all pretty solid by then, so you should start with a decent military, and a stable economy rather than having to build it from the ground up. I'd take either Spain or Portugal for starters.

    Check out this page (http://www.chema-cagi.com/eu2/Beginners_EU2.htm), it's a pretty good beginner's guide. He also has several other FAQs on his main site (http://www.chema-cagi.com/Europa_Universalis.html)

    Also check out this chart (http://www.mydocsonline.com/pub/hexagonia/poster1_4.ZIP), it has info on the different levels of land and navel tech, what each diplo option is and what the effects are, and a lot of good tips.

    Victory points are complex. Some parts of it are pretty straight forward, like missions. You'll always know what you'll get for completing a mission, or what you'll lose for failing it. Everything else is kinda below the surface. Some of the FAQ's available will list how many victory points certain actions are worth, but there's no master list of how they're assigned. It's like your rating in Civ, there are a ton of things that factor into it, but generally the better your country does, the more points you get. The three main ways you get points are completing missions, having a strong economy, and good diplomacy/winning wars.

    It takes a while to get used to this game, and it's very overwelming at first, but you're right, give it a few hours of playtime and you'll have it pretty much down.

    -Mori


  • edited December 1969
    Re: It's not as scary as it looks :)

    Yeah, the tutorial is a joke. I should have mentioned this
    before, sorry about that.

    I'll get my revenge... some day... ::shakes fist::
    Definately give some of the smaller campaigns a run through
    before you tackle the Grand Campaign. The Age of Exploration
    campaign is probably the best place to start. The countries are
    all pretty solid by then, so you should start with a decent
    military, and a stable economy rather than having to build it
    from the ground up. I'd take either Spain or Portugal for
    starters.

    I'll try that.

    Check out this page
    (http://www.chema-cagi.com/eu2/Beginners_EU2.htm), it's a pretty
    good beginner's guide. He also has several other FAQs on his
    main site (http://www.chema-cagi.com/Europa_Universalis.html)

    I found that beginner's guide today. I will probably download the PDF version and keep it handy (though on reading through, it didn't really tell me what I should be planning at the beginning of a game).

    Also check out this chart
    (http://www.mydocsonline.com/pub/hexagonia/poster1_4.ZIP), it
    has info on the different levels of land and navel tech, what
    each diplo option is and what the effects are, and a lot of good
    tips.

    I'll look for that.


    Blobs of Glup
  • edited December 1969
    Re: It's not as scary as it looks :)

    How does EU play in OS X? Can you hide it when it's running, or somehow change contexts?

    One thing I really don't like about moo3 (amongst others!) is that you can't suspend the app... either you are playing it, or it is not running.


    image
  • edited December 1969
    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    Ok, I've kept my yap shut long enough :)

    If EU2 is anything like EU, it's obscenely complex, with a byzantine interface and no helpful help. I tried to like EU, I really did -- the concept was very appealing to me. It's just that I spent so much time trying to figure out what I was doing, or how to do something, it sucked all the fun out of the game for me.

    I ended up hating EU. A lot. YMMV.

    _/ C's Site o' Fun!
  • edited December 1969
    Re: It's not as scary as it looks :)

    How does EU play in OS X? Can you hide it when it's running, or
    somehow change contexts?

    One thing I really don't like about moo3 (amongst others!) is
    that you can't suspend the app... either you are playing it, or
    it is not running.

    So far, it looks like it's all there is, but then I haven't really tried to suspend it or do anything else.

    http://glup.blogspot.com
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    Ok, I've kept my yap shut long enough :)

    If EU2 is anything like EU, it's obscenely complex, with a
    byzantine interface and no helpful help. I tried to like EU, I
    really did -- the concept was very appealing to me. It's just
    that I spent so much time trying to figure out what I was doing,
    or how to do something, it sucked all the fun out of the game
    for me.

    I ended up hating EU. A lot. YMMV.

    Now why didn't you speak up sooner? I would have liked to have your opinion in the mix before I decided, since I know you are into games of this nature, but I took your silence as meaning you had no opinion.

    Bah. (I'm giving EU2 more time anyway.)

    http://glup.blogspot.com
  • edited December 1969
    I agree...

    I had the same reaction to EU...I gave it a good try, but I just couldn't get into it, there was too much confusion. I liked the concept enough though that I have EU2 a spin. I found EU2 to be much improved, and once I figured out what I was doing I had a blast with it.

    -Mori
  • edited December 1969
    Re: I agree...

    Well, I played more last night, and I think I'm sort of getting the hang of it. Still, there seems to be an awful lot going on that I can't keep up with, let alone figure out how to react. I saw a Mission to get a royal marriage with Hungary, so I did so pretty easily -- but why? Sure, I got VP for it, but as an exploring Spain, I have so little contact with that part of Europe that it just seemed completely irrelevant. Meanwhile, I'm trying to establish trading posts or colonies in the New World, and having no success, while Portugal seems to have no trouble at all.

    On the other hand, I seem to be quite a mercantile power. Now I just have to figure out what the hell I should be doing about the rest of the world. (And what can I do with a conquered vassal other than collect cash from it?)

    Well, I seem to be enjoying it, at least, even though it's confusing.


    Blobs of Glup
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    Now why didn't you speak up sooner?

    Well, I haven't really tried EU2 so I don't feel right slamming it :)

    A lot of reviewers liked it a whole lot. Plaid too. So, I figured it was a weird Carch thing. Lots of Plaid like those backstabbing diplomatic games, too, but they're not really my thing either.

    I guess I'm looking for more eye candy and slicker interfaces in my games now ... I like a game to have a good balance of everything. EU had the gameplay but I felt like it I was fighting the game rather than playing it. If they mostly fixed those problems, my objections are moot.

    One other thing about it ... it's a challenging thinking game, not a fluffy diversion! It's possible I was playing it at a time when I was doing entirely too much hard thinking at work, so it didn't satisfy my need to unplug my brain.

    _/ C's Site o' Fun!
  • edited December 1969
    Re: I agree...

    Well, I played more last night, and I think I'm sort of getting
    the hang of it. Still, there seems to be an awful lot going on
    that I can't keep up with, let alone figure out how to react.

    It's going to be that way for a while...I'd focus on one thing at a time...only work on colonies, or only economy, until you get each facet figured out. The tutorial really should prepare you for all this, too bad it stinks. You definately have to work harder than you should to learn this game, but ultimately it pays off.

    I saw a Mission to get a royal marriage with Hungary, so I did so
    pretty easily -- but why? Sure, I got VP for it, but as an
    exploring Spain, I have so little contact with that part of
    Europe that it just seemed completely irrelevant. Meanwhile, I'm
    trying to establish trading posts or colonies in the New World,
    and having no success, while Portugal seems to have no trouble
    at all.

    Royal Marriages are purely to build relations. If you have a Royal Marriage, you can almost certainly get an alliance as well. As Spain, an alliance with Hungary isn't going to do you a lot of good up front, but there are definate benefits. For example, Venice and the other nations around Italy (who end up being big naval powers in the Med, so you'll probably clash with them at some point) would be a lot less likely to mess with you, since doing so would also mean war with Hungary, who can make quick work of them on land. Also, if the King of Hungary dies with no direct heir, you can make a claim to the throne. That doesn't happen much though.

    On the other hand, I seem to be quite a mercantile power. Now I
    just have to figure out what the hell I should be doing about
    the rest of the world. (And what can I do with a conquered
    vassal other than collect cash from it?)

    Other than compete with them economicaly, you don't do much with countries you don't border.

    Aside for being a good source of income (with no direct costs involved), a conquered vassal doesn't do a ton for you. They're a perminant alliance, so if you go to war, so do they. But they wouldn't be a vassal in the first place if they were a military powerhouse :)

    Usually though you won't make a vassal with the intention of keeping them that way. Almost always the intention is to Diplo-Annex them (convincing them to join your country without conquering them). If possible, this is the way to go if you want to take control of a nation that shares the same religion as you, since your populace doesn't like fighting people of the same faith.

    Well, I seem to be enjoying it, at least, even though it's
    confusing.

    That's a good sign...then it should definately be fun once it makes sense :)

    -Mori

  • edited December 1969
    Re: I agree...

    Royal Marriages are purely to build relations. If you have a
    Royal Marriage, you can almost certainly get an alliance as
    well. As Spain, an alliance with Hungary isn't going to do you a
    lot of good up front, but there are definate benefits. For
    example, Venice and the other nations around Italy (who end up
    being big naval powers in the Med, so you'll probably clash with
    them at some point) would be a lot less likely to mess with you,
    since doing so would also mean war with Hungary, who can make
    quick work of them on land. Also, if the King of Hungary dies
    with no direct heir, you can make a claim to the throne. That
    doesn't happen much though.

    Don't suppose I could poison the old coot, huh?

    Other than compete with them economicaly, you don't do much with
    countries you don't border.

    Speaking of which, is there any good way to protect merchants in a CoT? I can get up to 6 (monopoly) in Veneto, but it never lasts very long. Is there any way to increase their longevity?

    Aside for being a good source of income (with no direct costs
    involved), a conquered vassal doesn't do a ton for you. They're
    a perminant alliance, so if you go to war, so do they. But they
    wouldn't be a vassal in the first place if they were a military
    powerhouse :)

    True. In fact, my one vassal is Granada, which became a vassal due to being at war with me at the beginning of the game. They hate me, and I don't like them much, which means annexation is not going to be in the cards for a long, long time, if ever. (Of course, they are not good Catholics like we Spaniards. 8-)

    Blobs of Glup
  • edited December 1969
    Re: I agree...

    Don't suppose I could poison the old coot, huh?

    Nope, the one major thing that EU lacks in the foriegn relations department are spies/assassins. Although, that's historicaly accurate. Prior to the 20th century political assasination was almost entirely an internal issue. Fringe groups or lower ranking members of your own nation might try to knock you off, but foriegn rulers wanted your army destroyed, not you personally.

    Speaking of which, is there any good way to protect merchants in
    a CoT? I can get up to 6 (monopoly) in Veneto, but it never
    lasts very long. Is there any way to increase their longevity?

    Not that I know of. As time goes on and new merchants come on the scene, they're going to get pushed out. The only way to keep control of a CoT is to keep sending merchants there. I've found that even if you're an economic powerhouse, you can only control 2-3 large CoT's at once. You can control more if you go for small ones that nobody cares about, but you won't make much money.

    True. In fact, my one vassal is Granada, which became a vassal
    due to being at war with me at the beginning of the game. They
    hate me, and I don't like them much, which means annexation is
    not going to be in the cards for a long, long time, if ever. (Of
    course, they are not good Catholics like we Spaniards. 8-)

    Yeah, you need to have *very* good relations in order for another nation to allow you to anex them. 195 or above...even if you're at the full 200 they still might turn you down. It's a combination of how much they like you, how your military and economy compair to theirs.

    -Mori

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