Back in the early 2000’s, a series of strategic PC games under the Europa Universalis franchise had a remarkable success, spanning 4 titles. These games covered the Modern Age in European History, with some titles expanding the timeframe backwards to the Middle Ages, and forwards into the Napoleonic Wars.
The games were based on a relatively obscure board wargame of the same title, created by designer Philippe Thibault in the 90’s.
Thibault has been later involved in the development of other PC games, and currently he is part of AGEOD.
Back to Europa Universalis boardgame, it was a typical monster game of the era, which required six players to invest a large amount of time recreating the prowess of the different European Powers during the Age of Colonization. The rules covered a vast range of topics (diplomacy, warfare, economic development, exploration & colonization) were quite complex and devoted so much space to historical minutae, that no wonder the game attracted a small but dedicated community of hardcore wargamers (of which I was a proud member).
The rules were also riddled with inconsistencies, details were spread over several booklets, and some mechanics didn’t quite work. Many people in the community developed amendments, house rules and additions. Check Risto’s Events and John Quarto’s Bloodlines. There was also an Expansion Pack that added more tokens and more special rules.
After trying the game I felt somewhat frustrated. There was so much potential in the game! The framework was brilliant, but its actual implementation wasn’t fully playtested, and navigating through the rulebook during actual play seriously hampered the gameflow.
I felt it was worth to rewrite the entire rulebook, keeping the spirit and the essence of the original, but changing what was obviously not working. I did just that, a year before starting the development of Sagittarius.
These rules had been available online for some time but nowadays, years after their release, were difficult to find. Thus, the decision to put them back online again.
You may download the rewrite from here.