Andy Schuette has been gaming ever since he could hold a SNES controller in his hands and has been loving every minute of it. He's the funniest guy he knows, and the least funny guy everyone else knows.
Next month will bring a new expansion for Paradox Studios‘ grand strategy game Europa Universalis IV. The Cossacks (independent and semi-militant groups of people who took part in Poland and Russia’s cavalry throughout early modern history, for which the DLC is named) will bring with them a new estate system, more espionage and diplomatic options to leverage your national influence, as well as other tweaks to cultural and religious mechanics. If you’re looking for an incredible strategic gaming experience (we often [though drastically oversimplify by] referring to it as Risk on steroids), Europa Universalis IV is the game for you–and two years later, it’s still getting frequent content updates and improvements.
Of all the changes, the biggest in The Cossacks is the new estate system. While less autonomous than vassals, estates give players the opportunity to manually assign priests, nobles, or the new Cossacks the job of running your provinces in exchange for military and economic bonuses like cheaper cavalry or lower unrest. But, like every other region outside your direct control, you shouldn’t put all of your trust in them as they can turn on you just as easily as they were recruited. After all, restless subjects make for rebellious ones who might seek either your throne or their own independence.
If managing estates isn’t necessarily your thing, Paradox has sprinkled in a ton of other diplomatic and domestic policy options that’ll help you maneuver the battlefield of governance:
- Tell the world how you feel with new public attitude settings and controls in diplomacy. No more will you have to sit in secrecy about how much you abhor your neighboring nations.
- Land can now be used as a bargaining piece to entice allies for their services in exchange for some real estate. You can also select neighboring provinces as “places of interest” to build your own wishlist when you’re called to war, in turn.
- Tengri will be reclassified as a Syncretic faith to allow it to tolerate a second religion as if it were its own national one.
- Nomadic nations now must pay attention to “horde unity” which is maintained by pillaging the neighboring countryside.
- You can now revert provinces back to their original cultures or even attempt to change them to a culture that isn’t your own.
- Set colonial policies that determine how your nation will deal with natives in the New World (wherever that may be).
- Feeling extra sneaky? Use a spy for espionage to gain valuable information about the technology of developed countries or entice estate owners to become independent from their masters, effectively weakening the enemy from within.
The Cossacks are ready to ride out December 1. Will you be ready for them?
Image Credit: Paradox