"Europa Universalis: Faith Power Wealth: Global Conquest and
Diplomacy from Columbus to Napoleon" (I)
We have to advise consumers not to obtain this game, because it did not work in two different
installations in Windows XP and it says during installation that it was not intended for Windows
NT (which is what XP is.). The patch addresses some problems but creates others. The reviewer
does not know, but it might be a consideration for hard-core gamers with Windows 98.
Although "Europa Universalis" (EU) was an ambitious plan and accomplished quite a bit,
consumers always have to look out for games that get sent out too soon, simply because
marketing/finance says it's time to shrink-wrap to make a buck. Under capitalism, developers are
the ones who know when a game is really done, but even developers have a self-interest in
botching games to prolong their employment or increase consulting fees. We are not saying every
developer would stall to make a buck, only that the self-interest of developers is ambiguous--
thanks to capitalism, not anything inherent to computer programming. Likewise, finance &
marketing departments should know that not all reviewers are dependent on their company's ads
to make a living. We at MIM are here independently telling people things about "EU" that a
corrupt game industry would not. In any case there is now a second edition game which we will
review at a later date.
We also have to criticize the entire computer industry for allowing a situation like this. A game
comes out in late 2001 and already by 2003 it is unusable on the operating systems people buy
with their computers. So often supposedly revolutionary changes in technology are really just
excuses to buy more hardware and throw out old software. In a socialist society we would not
have to suspect the motivations of finance departments, developers or operating system/hardware
"Europa Universalis" is most like the other more well-known game "Civilization" and to its
credit EU is the more realistic and informative. Scenarios start with the historical and political
alliances of that day in history (in time periods between 1492 and 1792) and as the player is in
charge of the kings in his country the player is left open to change those political and military
alliances and do a better job with the economy.
Other than the historical introductions, we also appreciate a few other aspects of the game. Best
of all a player may be merrily expanding his/her empire--peacefully with prosperity--but success
inevitably leads to the creation of trade blocs--a truth about history to this day. Other players may
restrict or completely block trade in their territories and colonies. Such trade restrictions lead to
formal justifications for war. The only way to end such a trade restriction may be through war.
We are especially thankful that the manual mentions the "opening" of Japan by force. The
bourgeois political and economic theorists glorify trade as a question of individual free will. In
reality, the Navy goes to a country, bombards it and then trade starts.
The bourgeois Liberal theories apply to everything from signing a contract to work for Taco Bell
to sexual relations "between consenting adults." They never look for the force underlying all
exchanges of monetary or sexual nature--and that force is always there, which is why we have to
fight for across-the-board communist anarchism as the long-run goal. The liberal Liberals can be
the worst of all seeking to reform things by addressing some of the underlying coercion in sexual
and employment exchanges while prettifying the others. They end in all sorts of twisted
hypocrisy that never goes anywhere.
That's how it is possible to say that a war is necessary for Liberalism--whether Iraq or Japan.
When they get there, the occupiers kill the opposing journalists--kill people for political
opposition--and then say they brought "freedom." That's the nature of war. When a country does
not want to trade as in "EU" that is political.
In China's case, the Liberals (West) arrived, bombed and invaded to force China to take up an
opium addiction. "Free trade" included drugs.
"EU" gives players a true sense of the economic causes of war at the simplest level. There's no
labor theory of value or Marxist theory of accumulation in "EU," but trade blocs are a start.
Another thing we like about "EU" compared with the earliest persynal computer simulation
games is that "EU" depicts struggles within its administrative units--in this case provinces. The
natives of every province have varying degrees of likelihood of attacking settlers and even
"EU" does not provoke serious thought about the nature of settler theft of land. When a player
sends troops to a province, they may fight with natives simply to "defend themselves." Without
sending troops, a player takes a frequent risk that the natives will massacre everyone in the
trading post or colony created. The ideological level of the power-behind-the-throne sending
his/her settlers and traders is about the same as a burglar who kills the victim of theft in "self-
True, it is possible in some cases for settlers and natives to live together peacefully in "EU." In
real life, it is also true that not all settlers are the same. The vast majority are nothing like
Amerikkkans. We at MIM are focusing the fire on settlers who rise to petty-bourgeois status at
the expense of other nations' lives--as in Amerikkka, I$rael, Australia, apartheid South Africa etc.
Finally, we should mention the religious element to the game. Each province has its degree of
nationalism/provincialism. What we like is that the religious element becomes intertwined with
the national question. Provinces may not like an occupier especially because of his/her religion.
This becomes expressed as a military-national conflict. "EU" says it's a question of "tolerance,"
but we like the fact that such "tolerance" is a political question as each country has the right to set
its "tolerance" to other religions.
Best of all within the religious question, Catholics find themselves urged to convert to
Protestantism. This is the subject of an ancient debate between Marxism and idealism. In "EU,"
if the player survives the wars and instability, Protestantism provides an economic advantage
over Catholicism. The idealists stress the power of the Protestant religious ideas themselves and
the fact that one converts and then economic advantages start to flow in "EU" would seem to say
the "EU" developers support the idealist interpretation. On the other hand, before a player
converts his/her country to Protestantism as the official religion as happened in that day in
European history, the economic advantages of Protestantism become known to the player. Hence,
the real reasons for converting are spelled out. If others are already Protestant, there will be
political advantages as well. Converting may also be an excuse to make war on other countries
for their resources. All this comes out in "EU."
"EU" was supposed to be an ambitious and more historically accurate alternative to
"Civilization." Although this game is a technical failure for XP users, it demonstrates the
possibilities of the genre.