Conquest of Paradise is the first expansion to the incredible grand strategy that is Europa Universalis IV, not another strategy game I hear you groan! Well Europa is unique to your bog-standard strategy game, because rather than focusing on a small group of infantry in battle, you make the decisions for a nation on a grander scale all in a sandbox world, that means you can do anything you want and follow or change history as you see fit.
A game of Europa takes place over hundreds of years, and allows you to pick any nation between 1444 to the 1800's and do whatever you want, perhaps you want to conquer the world, relive history or just sit and rule a peaceful nation for a few centuries, the decision is yours.
So what can you add to a strategy that provides you a blank slate? Well Conquest of Paradise adds a little bit for everyone; explorers will revel in a completely randomised American continent, as well as trading with natives, establishing colonies and more options for military conquest. But those looking to rule a new nation from a very different angle will be able to control newly formed colonial nations, or the several Native American nations who have their own unique buildings, events and mechanics.
For those wishing to get their telescope and Morion on as soon as possible it is important to note that you cannot simply ride into Europa Universalis IV and begin conquering all that is fair game. Unfortunately the Random New World is only effective on start dates from 1444AD which means you'll need to bide your time gaining administrative and diplomatic points before you can start investing your resource powers in the idea group of exploration so that you may gain Colonists, Explorers or Conquistadors, and most importantly increase your colonial range, before you may begin claiming the ripe New World.
However once that's all out of the way, thanks to the addition of the Random New World you can truly experience all the fun of exploring new land, a simple tick in a check box will mean that the world South and West of Greenland is going to get a proper jigger, so you may land in Kentucky on the East of America, or Pensacola! It may not sound deadly exciting, but when you've played through the same map conquering the New World again and again, its very nice to see a different land mass in its place.
Whilst you're out discovering the New World you'll undoubtedly run into the new colonial nation feature; a colonial nation appears when you colonise five provinces in a single colonial region outside of your continent, so if you do go out exploring you may find yourself forming more than a few of these. When a nation is formed it becomes independent of your region, so you won't be able to construct buildings, run its economy or guide them with your technologies. So basically your land is being taken from you? No.
A Colonial Nation contributes to its original owner in the same way a normal colony would, this is paid through a tariff rate which can be increased or decreased depending on how you feel, raise it too high and you'll find the stability in the nation may drop leading to a war of Independence, thankfully Portugal is a kind mother country, and I've had no complaints from New Portugal yet!
One of the very intriguing features of colonial nations is that if you get a bit bored of ruling your standard nation, well you can give up on them and rule under your colonial state for a completely unique experience, and if you've got the New World randomised it will truly be unique!
Speaking of unique experiences, if you'd prefer a slightly more structured nation to rule, Conquest of Paradise also allows you to control several Native American Nations, but you could rule them before? Well the expansion has made being a Native American Nation far easier than any experiences you may have had in the past, namely because they now have their own special tech tree, as well as unique buildings, however more interesting is the almost nomadic gameplay element that has been added.
If you chose to play as a Native American tribe that holds a single province you have the ability to migrate from one to another province in the New World, all you do is abandon your current one, and start in another, granted this play style doesn't focus on building up your provinces, but if you successfully migrate there's big Monarch points on offer, which is always a nice incentive, and once again, a new experience is great to spice up your stories.
Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise is a great start to the expansions of such a grand strategy, as a bit of an explorer, the randomised New World is a truly exciting and fun way to discover new, yet familiar territory, granted colonial states seem to penalise you from creating the largest possible empire away from home, but they make perfect sense in the long run, and it's fun to rule as a completely new nation.
Conquest of Paradise is available now from all good digital distribution sites for the SRP of £9.99, if you are interested in becoming an explorer you will need to own the core game Europa Universalis IV to play, but you won't regret it!