|Developer(s)||Paradox Development Studio|
The game was originally based on a French board game of the same name by Philippe Thibaut that was released in 1993. To facilitate the new game, a new proprietary software engine known as the Europa Engine, was developed.
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 3,633 provinces, and proceeds in a pausable real time format.
John Lee reviewed the PC version of the game for Next Generation, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "A full-bodied simulation of European turmoil and global expansion between the 15th and 18th centuries, Europa Universalis isn't all that original, but if historic realism is your passion, you'll like what you see."
The game became a surprise hit for its great deal of depth and strategy. Paradox used this success to springboard other titles such as Victoria, Crusader Kings, and Hearts of Iron.
The editors of Computer Games Magazine nominated Europa Universalis as the best strategy game of 2001, but ultimately gave the award to Civilization III. Europa Universalis received "generally favourable" reviews according to review aggregator Metacritic.
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