This week's Friday Five is a fun one, as Max Edwards (@onechaptermore) shares an unusual (or is it?) perspective on strategy games. Please share your own in the comments - I suspect we all have some similar stories of alternate histories and dark Dwarven drama. (Ok, maybe not the latter.)
I never quite get on with Role Playing Games. Despite their similarities to the genre I love – they and I never quite click. Instead I like my worlds more flexible. More dynamic maybe. I like a game where no two players play the same game, where stories happen naturally, where the romance is in the telling.
I tried to write this with descriptions of the games, but it just didn’t capture it. So instead, I’m going to tell you a story. Not everyone likes dwarves, football, incest or the middle ages. But I hope you can appreciate that a game has created these stories. That they are unique to me, and yet everyone who has played them will have something similar. And that’s amazing.
Europa Universalis 3
The year is 1680. The mighty nation of Oman has spent the best part of the last 250 years conquering southern Arabia and Eastern Africa, in the name of spreading the Shi’ite religion while surrounded by heathen Sunni. To our south lies Somalia, cash rich and technologically weak. When I can, I like to steal the odd province and chunks of gold off them. When I can. The problem is that they are allied with my Northern neighbours, The Ottoman Empire. In the early 1500s they inherited Hedjaz, in modern-day Saudi Arabia. In the early 1600s they took Egypt, destroying The Mamluks and Tunis in a series of wars. They are the most powerful nation in the world, capable of fielding 125,000 troops at any one time.
All it took was a year.
My Indonesian colony had rebelled. I sent a couple of thousand troops over to quell it, and The Ottoman’s bit. All of a sudden I was at war with them in the North, flooding my African and Arabian holdings. I had 10,000 men on the Island of Bahrain, but only the capacity for 2,000 to be evacuated to Indonesia. They destroyed my navy, then destroyed those poor 10,000. Every mainland province, captured. Ethiopia, wrested from my grasp. The Mamluks, reborn in provinces that should have been mine. My nation split in two as The Ottoman’s took my coastal provinces.
1780. A war between Oman and Delhi breaks out. Britain and The Ottoman’s intercede on either side. Constantinople falls to British and Omani troops. Delhi is captured by 100,000 men, Bengali-British and Ceylonian Omanis. India becomes Shi’ite.