Want a mountain of first-class PC strategy games for half-price? Get 'em while you can, because Paradox Interactive, the publisher of the Mount & Blade, Europa Universalis 3, and Hearts of Iron 2 strategy games (among others), is celebrating its 10th year in business by offering everything it's released to-date for 50% off regular retail cost all week long.
That means stuff like Europa Universalis: Rome for $10 (regularly $20), Mount & Blade for $15 (regularly $30), and slightly older but critically celebrated games like Crusader Kings and Sword of the Stars for just $5 each (regularly $10 each).
I was there (by which I simply mean "paying attention") when Paradox's first history-minded empire-builder, Europa Universalis ("Faith, Power, Wealth"), rolled off the line in early 2001. It got everyone's attention. For all the preliminary niggling about armies ping-ponging between provinces and coalition forces operating independently, the game offered something unprecedented: a real-time strategy game that played like a turn-based one. Managing your empire wasn't another game of symmetry/permutation analysis. Shorn of turn-based gaming's fragmented determinism, events unfurled nearer the sort of lively dynamism associated with serious geo-political simulations. Sacrificing that obsessive-compulsive need to quantify precisely how X interacts with Y was part of the system's pleasure. To date, I've not been able to approach a board-style strictly turn-based strategy game with the same relish. After all, the old "you-go, I-go" approach--from checkers to chess to Civilization--was always something of a workaround anyway.
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