Thursday, 23 May 2002

Europa Universalis II

Listening to:

Bach, Pastorale in F major, BWV 590. Organ music.

I've been playing quite a bit of Europa Universalis II recently. It's quite a compelling game. I started out as the Kingdom of Castille in 1419, and I've since been renamed the Kingdom of Spain. Unfortunately, I still haven't managed to completely take over the non-Portugese bits of the Iberian peninsula. Not only does Aragon still exist, but when western Europe started to fall apart around 1600 (you should see the state of France, even fifty years later: France proper, the French Catholics in the Loire valley, the Huguenots and Brittany: all separate states), a third state appeared in Iberia: Catalunya. This has since been absorbed by France, but I can't see this lasting: the game does a pretty good job of modelling things like nationalism, so I suspect there may well be some serious rebellions against foreign overlords in that part of the world.

I'd quite like to be aggressive and encourage changes of leadership myself, but I have a "rather bad reputation" and if I try anything at all, Austria immediately declares war on me. So, I'm playing it very quiet, and attempting to repair that reputation, while cultivating a network of small state allies with which to make the lives of the other big powers difficult.

And when I play my next Grand Campaign, I want to play as the Papal States and unite Italy. Or maybe one of the Muslim states in the near East. This is definitely a game with legs!

It's a shame that the computer I'm playing it on seems to be becoming more cantankerous by the day. Its DVD/CD drive still automatically recognises and plays DVDs and audio CDs, but for quite a while now it has been refusing to automatically execute CDs with programs on them. More recently, we seem to have lost a high level of networking. It's no longer enough to double-click on IExplorer or SSH to bring up the modem dialog; instead we have to go through Dial-up Connections in the My Computer window. The operating system's internal state is evolving quite independently of our wishes.