Europa Universalis (EU) is a grand strategy video game released on March 14, 2000 by Paradox Development Studio and distributed in North America by Strategy First. Originally based on a French board game of the same name by Philippe Thibaut, Europa Universalis lets the player take control of one of seven European nations (others are available in different scenarios) from 1492 to 1792, expanding its power through military might, diplomacy, and colonial wealth. The game takes place on a map divided into approximately 1,500 provinces, and proceeds in a pausable real time format. The lead game programmer was Johan Andersson and the lead designer was Philippe Thibaut.
The game became a surprise hit for its depth and strategy. Paradox used this sudden success to springboard other titles such as Victoria, Crusader Kings, and Hearts of Iron.
Europa Universalis was followed by Europa Universalis II, Europa Universalis III, Europa Universalis: Rome and Europa Universalis IV