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Opinion Grand Strategy Games AKA I Have No Idea What Is Going On Simulators

RetroRadTV

Member
Dec 30, 2020
150
165
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twitch.tv
As I keep getting older it keeps becoming harder to be entertained long by even the best received games.

One of the ways I've started to counteract this in the last 2 years especially is trying out franchises and genres I never have to broaden my pallette and find fresh experiences to entertain myself with.

So the Paradox sale is on steam and I scoop up 3 of their titles. Europa Universalis IV, Hearts of Iron IV, and Crusader Kings 3.

Now to be fair each of these games does have a tutorial and they seem fairly robust. Crusader Kings doing the best job of the 3 along with being the most interesting to me out of the bunch.

To try to soften the blow of what seems like the most complicated shit I've ever put myself into aside from college math and science courses, I decided to look up YT guides. Did they help? Hell no ! It made my brain shoot out my ass like liquid lava from information diarrhea dumps. One of the most viewed guides is over 2 God damn hours long. How is anyone retaining this after one sitting ? Who is watching 2 hour guides for new players?

Has anyone got tips for this genre? Is CK3 the best one to try to get into these with ? What do you find to be the appeal of these games if you are a fan ? When does it start to click you think ? MOBAs took me a hot minute until it clicked so I'm no stranger to getting pooped on while I drive a struggle bus to funville over the dirt roads of this shit sucks.

Also, how does competitive MP work for these games if at all ? Is it hours or days just for a match ? Seems brutal as hell.

I plan to invest more time into CK3 but just need some compass pointing on where to go to speed up learning and what to focus on so I'm getting enjoyment along the way.
 
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SlimeGooGoo

Party Gooper
Jun 29, 2020
2,562
7,067
670
As I keep getting older it keeps becoming harder to be entertained long by even the best received games.
You're not getting old, it's the gaming industry that has embraced mediocrity. So don't worry about that.

Anyway, I'm not personally a fan of complex strategy games. It takes way too long to understand how the basics work before you can even start having fun.
I assume after you've "graduated" in learning the rules it probably becomes a unique experience every playthrough though.

If you find yourself giving up and months later returning to give it another chance and everything suddenly starts clicking, it's perfectly normal.
 

dmman

Neo Member
Oct 16, 2020
14
10
150
Each of those grand strategy games are fairly different than each other, usually I pick up one at a time and see if it clicks with me after a few (maybe 5-10) hours. That might depend on your interest in the era the game takes place in and the gameplay. Not all grand strategy games will click with you, I could never get into crusader kings 2 after so many attemps. On the other hand if it does, you get hundreds hours of relaxing entertainment out of it. As I get older I tend to revisit these games again and again periodically and they don't stress me out. For me EU 4 and Victoria 2 worked the best.

Also for what it's worth, I started to get into these types of games by playing total war games. You can simulate the actual battles if that's not your cup of tea and play the map only, similar to the games mentioned above. These tend to be simpler and gives you a good idea about what to expect from Paradox grand strategy games. For me this game was Empire Total War, the campaign map gameplay is pretty simplistic but was a blast for me at the time as a beginner to these types of games.

The above are just general suggestions not specifically for OP
 
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LaochEire

Neo Member
Sep 5, 2018
4
3
120
I completely agree. I've been a massive fan of grand strategy for years. I greatly enjoyed EU III and initially loved EU IV. I don't think Paradox help with the large amount of DLC for each game. EU IV has 20+ DLCs and with each DLC comes new tweaks and gameplay mechanics. Each update also contains a massive patch that changes core mechanics to work better with the new features.

In reality, what happens for the user is that unless you play the game continuously for years you'll never get into a settled version of the game where you become comfortable. For example, the EU III wiki was an amazing resource for all players. It explained the mechanics and provide guides for nations. The EU IV wiki never got running and was abandoned because the contributors could not keep up all the major changes EU IV had with each DLC. Some expansion releases could make 80% of the wiki obsolete.

I have 1200hrs in EU IV according to STEAM. I would consider myself a pretty poor player because that 1200 hours is made up of sporadic sessions over the game's 7 year release. So yeah, I do think they are over complicated and are not helped by this agile development method that Paradox has employed.
 

kyussman

Member
Dec 6, 2018
855
1,357
390
England,UK
Ha,ha.....I feel you OP.Grand Strategy in theory could be my favorite genre,I love the idea of recreating history through gaming....but I've not even bothered to try one after seeing the complexity involved.....my brain wouldn't cope,lol.
 

MHubert

Member
Dec 22, 2019
386
453
390
As I keep getting older it keeps becoming harder to be entertained long by even the best received games.

One of the ways I've started to counteract this in the last 2 years especially is trying out franchises and genres I never have to broaden my pallette and find fresh experiences to entertain myself with.

So the Paradox sale is on steam and I scoop up 3 of their titles. Europa Universalis IV, Hearts of Iron IV, and Crusader Kings 3.

Now to be fair each of these games does have a tutorial and they seem fairly robust. Crusader Kings doing the best job of the 3 along with being the most interesting to me out of the bunch.

To try to soften the blow of what seems like the most complicated shit I've ever put myself into aside from college math and science courses, I decided to look up YT guides. Did they help? Hell no ! It made my brain shoot out my ass like liquid lava from information diarrhea dumps. One of the most viewed guides is over 2 God damn hours long. How is anyone retaining this after one sitting ? Who is watching 2 hour guides for new players?

Has anyone got tips for this genre? Is CK3 the best one to try to get into these with ? What do you find to be the appeal of these games if you are a fan ? When does it start to click you think ? MOBAs took me a hot minute until it clicked so I'm no stranger to getting pooped on while I drive a struggle bus to funville over the dirt roads of this shit sucks.

Also, how does competitive MP work for these games if at all ? Is it hours or days just for a match ? Seems brutal as hell.

I plan to invest more time into CK3 but just need some compass pointing on where to go to speed up learning and what to focus on so I'm getting enjoyment along the way.
Best initial tip is to start a game, and just roll with the punches. In CK3 it is made fairly easy to learn about new mechanics throughout the game by using the extension windows, and honestly, learning about all the mechanics before playing your first game is a chore you don't want to bother with. Just accept that failure, death and tragedy is a part of the game experience, and whenever you stumble upon something you don't understand - look it up. Remember, this is more of an RPG than a strategy game.

More generally, I would start focusing on learning the differences between a De Jure Duchy, Kingdom, and De Jure Empire. This should give you some obvious goals to reach, and in this process, you will also learn about distribution of titles and managing your succession. When you have understood these basic mechanics, learning about the rest shouldn't seem as daunting.

This might sound a bit arrogant, but these games are actually not that hard. It's just that there are so many convoluted systems that at first seem impossible to wrap your head around, but when you do understand them, reaching your goals become outright easy. This is currently one of the CK3's core problems.

I have clocked in about 1k hours in CK3 so far.

Edit: some extra tips
- Always play Ironman. Save scumming is a treat with all the bad carbs.
- Multiplayer is fun, but due to the sandbox nature of the game, competitive play usually just means annoying and messing with the other players. Establish some ground rules, or goals, before the game.
- Become acquainted with the modding scene. This is where it's at.
 
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Tschumi

Gold Member
Jul 4, 2020
3,998
4,561
715
There was one shining moment when I understood CK2 and played it like a boss until I got bored of owning at it, and decided I didn't actually want to make the world homogenous. Went back to it last year and realized I had forgotten every last bit of my mastery. Sad moment.
 
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ANDS

Member
Jan 18, 2012
3,189
361
720
I tried CK2 a few years ago and couldn't get into it. Picked up CK3 anyway. Stuck with it and sunk like 100 hours into the game. It is definitely one of those make your own adventure type games and is complex as you want to make it. I did look at a few tutorials to understand some of the systems better (like warfare which I was doing all wrong).

. . .however once you get your groove it really is a great game. Haven't messed around with those others, though that Victoria 3 game looks interesting.
 

amigastar

Member
May 14, 2018
917
767
375
38
I've played CK3 when it came out on gamepass. Now i'm learning Europa Universalis IV with youtube videos. I've had many fun with CK3 so I want to learn EUIV.
 

GHG

Member
Nov 9, 2006
25,726
36,768
1,845
Based on everything you've written in your OP I'd recommend you start with Victoria 2.
 
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eyesabitdull

Member
May 10, 2020
1,482
2,638
405
As I keep getting older it keeps becoming harder to be entertained long by even the best received games.

One of the ways I've started to counteract this in the last 2 years especially is trying out franchises and genres I never have to broaden my pallette and find fresh experiences to entertain myself with.

So the Paradox sale is on steam and I scoop up 3 of their titles. Europa Universalis IV, Hearts of Iron IV, and Crusader Kings 3.

Now to be fair each of these games does have a tutorial and they seem fairly robust. Crusader Kings doing the best job of the 3 along with being the most interesting to me out of the bunch.

To try to soften the blow of what seems like the most complicated shit I've ever put myself into aside from college math and science courses, I decided to look up YT guides. Did they help? Hell no ! It made my brain shoot out my ass like liquid lava from information diarrhea dumps. One of the most viewed guides is over 2 God damn hours long. How is anyone retaining this after one sitting ? Who is watching 2 hour guides for new players?

Has anyone got tips for this genre? Is CK3 the best one to try to get into these with ? What do you find to be the appeal of these games if you are a fan ? When does it start to click you think ? MOBAs took me a hot minute until it clicked so I'm no stranger to getting pooped on while I drive a struggle bus to funville over the dirt roads of this shit sucks.

Also, how does competitive MP work for these games if at all ? Is it hours or days just for a match ? Seems brutal as hell.

I plan to invest more time into CK3 but just need some compass pointing on where to go to speed up learning and what to focus on so I'm getting enjoyment along the way.
I fucking love CK3 and it's in my top 3 most played games on steam.

CK3 may be complex, initially, but once you get your hand onto the game slowly you'll learn to play better.

For me, the key to the game is to realize that dying is normal, and that you're meant to allow your successors to take over for better or worse.

Second, is to just keep playing and take your time to learn the mechanics like marriage, war, and gene traits being passed down.

Third, don't watch how to guides. Watch actual playthrough with commentary so you get an observer's knowledge of how the game can be played.

Keyword is CAN BE PLAYED.

Because the game allows you almost complete freedom to play how you want to and you can click 150 hours and still not get into creating your own religion and what that entails.

It was fellow Gaffers that ushered me into playing CK3 about a year ago, and I was skeptic at first - and almost gave up - before I really took the time to learn the mechanics and realizing I'm playing the greatest RPG game in my life.
 

Chairman Yang

if he talks about books, you better damn well listen
Sep 14, 2005
7,314
74
1,730
I would recommend an approach that might sound counterintuitive. DON'T try to learn the games all at once, up-front.

What I mean by that is, play without a goal or expectation of "winning". Just goof around, hover over buttons you find interesting, and generally take a very passive approach to learning. Just tinker with things as you will, and you'll gradually absorb information by osmosis.

After that, when you know some of the basics, you'll be invested enough that you can learn more. Just remember that gradually learning IS the game. Even when you think you've mastered everything for every country, a patch or expansion will come along and the learning process will start again.
 

RetroRadTV

Member
Dec 30, 2020
150
165
285
twitch.tv
I would recommend an approach that might sound counterintuitive. DON'T try to learn the games all at once, up-front.

What I mean by that is, play without a goal or expectation of "winning". Just goof around, hover over buttons you find interesting, and generally take a very passive approach to learning. Just tinker with things as you will, and you'll gradually absorb information by osmosis.

After that, when you know some of the basics, you'll be invested enough that you can learn more. Just remember that gradually learning IS the game. Even when you think you've mastered everything for every country, a patch or expansion will come along and the learning process will start again.

Pretty much this. I would recommend this to other new players too.

Just play and experience it all. It's a game where the fun is just in playing and seeing things unfold.

It's actually a really low skill floor, and a high ceiling to keep you coming back for more and more.
 

Hari Seldon

Member
Dec 5, 2008
16,774
1,345
1,230
CK3 is more of a weeb strategy game but it is fun enough. I’d recommend that for a starter since it is the newest with the least amount of DLC and complexity.

The HOI series is my jam tho. I have more hours in those than any other game except WoW. But you need WW2 knowledge to tackle that beast. If you don’t know the difference between a destroyer and a cruiser then stay away lol.

EU4 is most like a board game and can be fairly easy to learn in pieces. Start with Portugal and learn colonization and trade. Once you have trade figured out you are ready to graduate to a more fun nation and try diplomacy and a more militant game.