Victoria II is a historical strategy and economic simulator game from Paradox Interactive that was released in August 2010 and allows the player to control any country between 1836 and 1935. I purchased the game on August 22, and in 17.7 hours (according to Steam) so far I have finished two games. I haven’t bought any of the two expansions yet, but so far I’ve played one game as Sweden, where I successfully finished the game on December 31 1935, and the second game as Oman, which I involuntarily finished last night due to France invading and annexing me in 1919. Aside from my failing to Westernize because I was unable to get my military score high enough (I had achieved every other requirement long before 1919), another issue I had faced as everything fell apart and French soldiers overwhelmed my army was that I had a Communist insurrection in Mogadishu, my only remaining African colony. I don’t remember the exact sequence of events, but Portugal had taken most of my African colonies in the late 1830s or early 1840s, so I only had to deal with Mogadishu, and really I hadn’t had too many problems.
Once thirty thousand Somali farmers raised the red flag of revolution and overwhelmed the infantry brigade of three thousand men garrisoned in Mogadishu, though, I had a problem. I had been trying to retake my colony, and sending fifteen thousand men (some cavalry, infantry, and artillery) hadn’t succeeded and my invasion had been repelled, so I was working on rebuilding and reinforcing my army to try again when the French declared war and invaded. For some reason, in that game/timeline, France had invaded and taken over most of Persia before they annexed Abu Dhabi (or, as it’s currently known in our world, the UAE and Bahrain), which sort of stole my thunder as I had already conquered Nejd and was planning an annexation of Abu Dhabi before the French invaded. Dastardly imperialists.
Half the fun of Victoria, if you ask me, and arguably any Paradox strategy game, is seeing the alternate history hijinks ensue. In my Oman game, for example, Mexico colonized Oklahoma, and the US never took California, New Mexico, Arizona, etc. from Mexico, as happened in our timeline. I’m not sure why. I think it might have been the Oman game, but at one point I saw Communist Liberia, and in my Sweden game Krakow and Wurttemburg fell to the Communists. At another point in the Oman game, Bolivia had become an absolute monarchy before some rebels turned it into a democracy.
As of now, my plan is to buy the expansion packs at some point in the very near future (I get paid Friday) and continue 19th century imperialist and/or industrial hijinks. I haven’t decided who I want to play as next- I’ve been thinking about playing as the Federal Republic of Central America and trying to keep that united, but I also like the idea of playing as the US or some other country that’s slightly more powerful and has more resources. Oman, for example, produced mainly opium and agricultural goods, which is fine and dandy except for when you want to industrialize (or can’t because you’re “uncivilized”, but I digress). Sweden, at least, produced timber, coal, and steel (among others) which are significantly more helpful when you’re wanting to industrialize.
Since I’ve played in Europe and West Asia, maybe I ought to give the Americas a try? Brazil or Argentina (or both) could be interesting. Of course, there’s also the US or Mexico, but it might be too easy as the US, and Mexico would have to deal with the US and Texas one way or another. If I really wanted a challenge, I suppose I could always try Texas.