Anyone play Europa Universalis 2?

I just picked this up the other day, because I remembered hearing good things about it awhile back and was itching for a new PC title.

So far I’ve been playing the Age of Mercantilism campaign as Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, and seem to be holding my own, although Spain is just vastly dominant, points-wise. The game seems incredibly deep, and I love the balancing act between domestic/economic/military production, as well as the affects of religion and stability. And, with all the established casus belli between Sweden and its neighbors, Russia, Poland, Denmark, Austria, Spain, etc. finding a country to legitimately declare war against is not a problem.

Unfortunately, I went to check the Gamefaqs message boards to see if there are any insights I should know regarding the game, and there are maybe 5 posts total for Europa Universalis 1, and no posts at all for Europa Universalis 2.

Has anyone around here played this game, and if so, what are some tips or strategies you’d suggest?

  • Balut

For tips, go to the community forums at the game’s web site. - probably the most complete game forum regarding strategies, policies, disagreements, etc.

I play this game A LOT - easily my favorite strategy game since Civ 2. Strategies largely depend upon which country you are playing and what era you are in. But some basic tips:

  1. Only wage war with clear goals in mind. Wars can easily turn into a major drain on your economy, and bunch of bad random events while in a war can cause major headaches. So fight with a short term plan so that war exhaustion doesn’t kick in.

  2. Trade maps if you have +195 relations with an explorer country or foreign power that knows places you don’t. Colonies and trading posts bring in major cash in put in the right place.

  3. Since the latest patch, avoid making too many royal marriages with countries you fight a lot. (e.g. Sweden should be careful about simultaneous marriages with Denmark and Russia). Under the new patch, war with married countries is a stability hit for the declaring power.

  4. Cavalry are generally superior until the late 17th century, so build your armies around them. Of course, quantity has a quality all its own.

  5. The domestic policy sliders (changeable every ten years) only have minimal impacts in the short run, but in the long term they dramatically change the face of your country.

  6. Try not to fight in snow-covered territories, especially if the army is already under supplied. This is the fastest way to lose large armies.

  7. By hovering the pointer over an enemy army, you can get an idea of its size and whether or not it is led by an historical commander (Gustavus Adolphus, Napoleon, Wellington, etc.) Avoid fighting historical commanders if possible, especially with armies led by default generals.

  8. Though conversion of heretic provinces can get expensive, in the long run (over a hundred year period) they are worth it. It makes it much cheaper to regain stability if all provinces are the state religion.

  9. If you don’t have a center of trade, plan the quickest way to get one. The tarrifff income is significant and it will cheaper to place merchants.

  10. Even if your country isn’t doning anything at the moment, pay very close attention to your neighbors. If they start doing things like cancelling military access or warning neighbors, a war is likely imminent - but not certain.

Hmm, I think I’ll try it out again; I can’t remember what turned me off on the game last time.

Can anyone recommend worthwhile mods for EU2? I’ve scanned their forum, which contains a number of mods, but they are all over the place and I don’t want to waste time.

Any experiences?

My one addition to TSG’s excellent advice would be: patience

If you expand too quickly you’ll soon have most of your neighbours attacking you, and while they can be fended off, the constant drain on your treasury and internal revolts can tear you up from the inside.

Learn how the “badboy” increase/decrease is handled and this will help you pace yourself.

I just dusted EU2 off myself. DOM2 is fun, but the history aspect of EU2 makes it a classic.

The biggest tip is to manage your “badboy” rating. Watch your reputation, when it gets to tarnished, or worse, lay low for a few decades. Badboy goes up when you take territory and make war withour cause. You take a big hit if you annex entire countries through war. If you have leaders with good diplomatic skill (Elizibeth I for England for example) it is much better to make vassels and diplo-annex.

Be carefull what territory you are taking. Not being of the state religion gives you a -30% on income from the territory. Incompatable culture gives another -30%. No land connection to you capital gives another ~10%. Check the base tax value as well. As Sweden, taking a 1 tax value Turkish-Sunni territory will net you nothing. Since the requirements for tech advancement scales with the number of territories you own, the goal is to get a max average income. This is why a one territory country with a COT advances in tech so fast while a big country with lots of fish and wool (like Hungary) falls behind in tech.

As others have said, go to war only with specific goals in mind. Make peace either when you get the job done or it is clear you won’t. Dragging wars out for a decade will kill your economy. Don’t be afraid to pay off the alliance leader if you are losing. You won’t win every war.

Oh, and don’t bother with the Centralization domestic policy until you’ve set the others how you like. There are waaaaay too many anti-centralization events to bother.

The latest patches makes civil war more common in a decentralized country, so I try to at least keep it in the middle until the end game, when I push towards centralization seriously. Civil war is still pretty rare (unless driven by events) but can be a real game breaker. If you can keep positive stability you’ll be OK, but that can be a chore at times.


I tried so hard to get into this game but never could.


I never tried EU2, because, while I loved the mechanics of EU1, the AI was so horrible it was never a challenge. Is the AI in EU2 any better?

Not much better. Each patch balances things a little more, but the AI is still prone to making stupid little mistakes.


Not much better. Each patch balances things a little more, but the AI is still prone to making stupid little mistakes.


I don’t mind the EU2 AI, because in EU2 I feel like I’m playing against the rules not the other countries. The A/I could skip every turn and it would still be impossible to really expand quickly because of the all the problems that come with rapid expansion in EU2. It’s not like Moo2 or Civ2 where the AI limitations allow a cakewalk victory for an aggressive expansionist player.

I don’t mind the EU2 AI, because in EU2 I feel like I’m playing against the rules not the other countries.

Very astute comment, Nick! I recently reviewed Crusader Kings and sort of came to the same conclusion. Your opponent isn’t necessarily the other countries, but the complexity and challenge of running your own country. Or, in the case of Crusader Kings, your own dynasty.


I agree completely. Crusader Kings is, IMO, Paradox’s best game since EU2. It’s got a lot of problems (many rooted in poor AI), but like EU it keeps you focused on interesting things throughout.


Gamestop lists a 8/31/04 release date for Crusader Kings, and both EBWorld and GoGamer don’t even have entries for it. Is it already out or are you guys talking about previous copies?

This thread does make me want to dust off EU2 again, which I never got past the interface barrier on before. Maybe with my failed Victoria experience and semi-successful HOI experience I’ll have a prayer…

It was out in Europe a while ago, but the NA release date is supposed to be late June. I’m working from a review copy, but you can order it direct from Paradox now if you can’t wait.


The AI is no better, but the number of cheats added to the AI make it appear competent.

I couldn’t disagree more about CK’s AI. While I’m pleased that Paradox might get a decent review out of Tom, the “play within yourself” aspect is far worse than EU and ultimately destroys any replayability. Paradox are working on another patch and this is supposed to be one of the main areas being fixed.

BTW anyone trying to get hold of the game might want to order it direct from Paradox here:

It takes on average between 1 and 2 weeks to reach the US, I was lucky and received delivery within 5 days. Much easier than hunting it down in stores.

While we’re on a roll talking about Paradox games, is Victoria worth it now? I remember it came out with its own gameplay/balance issues which were altered but not fixed by patches.

While we’re on a roll talking about Paradox games, is Victoria worth it now? I remember it came out with its own gameplay/balance issues which were altered but not fixed by patches.[/quote]

Depends on what you’d consider balanced and fixed. There have been some flattering reports on the Pdox boards, but 1.03b hasn’t done it for me yet. I’m waiting until 1-2 more patches before resuming, but lots of people appear happy with it. I’d say give it a try and see what you think.

While we’re on a roll talking about Paradox games, is Victoria worth it now? I remember it came out with its own gameplay/balance issues which were altered but not fixed by patches.[/quote]

It can be a rewarding game if you have the time to commit to it. The economy is still a maze of menus and buttons, and it is still very difficult to keep your people rolling in the consumer goods they need. The resistance fighters have been toned down, making wars less of a nuisance, and there have been little tweaks here and there to make it more satisfactory. I still love the political model, though I wish there was more to make countries more distinct.

Balance was never much of an issue with me; the gameplay and interface was another issue altogether.

I like much of what is in Victoria, but ultimately it suffers from just having too much in it. A complex game doesn’t have to be complicated, but Victoria is.

If you have the patience to get into it, Victoria might be for you. At the moment, though, I think it is the least successful of the big four strategy games. Hearts of Iron has been patched into a very good game (though not always interesting), EU2 was a classic out of the box, and Crusader Kings has a lot to recommend it. Victoria is not a bad game by any means, but it is a real challenge to understand, even for people like me who’ve played all these games. It still has a pretty high frustration factor.