Paradox games in order of which you prefer and why?

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delta180

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I think it would be interesting to get a glimpse at what people value and like about Paradox games and how people differ on the matter, if you have not played one of the games just don't include it and if you want to add another game go ahead
 

delta180

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EU4 - this was my 3rd paradox game and favourite, for some reason it always get slated on the forums (for being too blobby or for limiting blobbing in the wrong way) but I find the fact that any small power in 1444 can be a great power in the 1700s amazing, out of all Paradox AI I find EU4's to be quite smart and constant challenge to my ambitions, sometimes I might even be fully annexed, but always trying to fight out of my corner to become a power is almost always rewarding no matter who I start as

Stellaris - this would be my favourite game but sadly the AI is not competitive enough for me and the game lends itself to snowballing which is one of my least favourite mechanics in any game, on the flip side I find nation designing in this game to be done really well, it allows me many outlandish

CK2 - I really like that war is not easily available and you have to get creative when expanding but religions and empires start to take over the world in the end which ruins the fun for me in the end, I like to play CK2 for long periods of time (I have played 4 games from 769 to the 15th century) but the late game is blotted with problems (even more than EU4)

HOI4 - this is unlike other Paradox games in that it situates around 1 or 2 wars, the AI is a bit incompetent so it is a war I normally win, I find it difficult to play minor powers because the fate of the war can be decided without you (if you don't count as a major and your majors lose that is the end of you), there is no real progression, you either win or you lose, but the mechanics and strategy of the war are easily enough for me to say it is a game I enjoy

Victoria2 - despite the high praise that this game enjoys, I don't see it as the masterpiece others seem to think it is, I am not from the old guard playing Paradox games when they were 8 so this game did come out before my time, I like international diplomacy and Crisis, they are good and I do wish something like that was in other Paradox games, the economy may seem overwhelming at first but due to very little player agency my interaction is normally "this factory makes lots of money normally build this", the AI is abysmal and never seems to be following any kind of strategy and I never truly feel challenged

Imperitor - this game has some interesting mechanics but I find that they are poorly implemented, civil wars don't happen to the strongest nations, despite the period being about the rise of Rome, Rome is not an unstoppable force that has to be stopped like the Ottomans or Prussia in EU4, in fact most great powers sit in their corners of the world never so much as speaking to each other, this is the only Paradox game I have never played until the end date
 

Keizer Harm

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Let me follow up your well-reasoned analysis with my simple man's ranking: I value Paradox games based on their ratio of stories to buttons.
  1. CK2 -> zillion stories, okay amount of buttons
  2. EU4 -> okay amount of stories, lots of buttons
  3. Stellaris -> some stories, okay amount of buttons
  4. HOI4 -> some stories, a zillion buttons
So that's my order.
 

Gwydden

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Let me follow up your well-reasoned analysis with my simple man's ranking: I value Paradox games based on their ratio of stories to buttons.
  1. CK2 -> zillion stories, okay amount of buttons
  2. EU4 -> okay amount of stories, lots of buttons
  3. Stellaris -> some stories, okay amount of buttons
  4. HOI4 -> some stories, a zillion buttons
So that's my order.
Is "some" more or less than an "okay amount"?

Anyway, my priorities are much the same. Ranking only those I've played:
  1. CK2: I never got into Total War, unlike every other strategy gamer on the face of the planet, it seems. Didn't like the battles; I'm very much stuck in the AoE/Starcrat/Warcraft era of RTS. The TW game I played the most was Medieval, and even then I kept thinking "This would be the best game ever if it ditched the boring battles and focused on the dynastic intrigue part." Wouldn't you know. CK2's just the perfect intersection of my interests: strategy, roleplaying, storytelling, and medieval history.
  2. Stellaris: Played this a fair bit once upon a time, though never got into it enough to buy any of the expansions. Actually my first PDS game, from back when I was on a 4X bender. It's more simulationist and has got more going on than other games of its kind, but I can't help finding space games a bit... dull. Space is literally made up of nothing, so I don't get what the big deal is about.
  3. EU4: Recently played some of it. It's alright, but I don't foresee getting much fun out of it. Too many numbers, too many buttons, and yet not much going on. I once heard someone say that an EU4 run mostly consists of waiting for time to pass between wars, and in my time with it that certainly rang true. A min-maxer's wet dream, I'm sure, but I never cared for min-maxing.
  4. Sengoku: Poor man's CK2.
I have very little interest in World War 2 or twentieth-century history in general, so I probably won't ever bother with HoI4.
 

Keizer Harm

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Is "some" more or less than an "okay amount"?
Less; though it should be obvious that my methods are not 100% scientific :)
 

Reidy

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CK2 (2k hours on steam, but i had the game before i got it on steam so i dare say i have around 3-4k hours)
EU4 (750 hours)
Stellaris (698 hours)
then HOI 4 (381 hours)
Even though its not a paradox game per-se my last would be For the Glory because all those years ago it was my first GSG that wasnt total war and i fell in love with it then found out it was based on games from another company (Paradox) so i went and got EU3 Divine Wind and the rest was history

I recently got into Victoria 2 and im loving it now that i actually know how to play it and how to work the economy (i had Vicky2 for years but couldnt get into it) now that i was in the house bored i decided to just sit down read some guides and power it... now that i know how its systems work im having a blast, now i see why so many people want a thrid one

Im constantly re- trying Imperator every time a new update releases or simply every now and again because im convinced theres something there to love (if that makes sense?) kinda like Vicky2 it took me a while to appreciate Vicky but once it Clicked i was hooked. Imperator is fun... it just isnt hooking me like the other games.

Id love to be able to sit and type out what i love about each game but my minds coming back blank but imma try. i love the individual stories of CK2, however EU4 is more country focused so i love its focus on guiding a country itself into dominance. Stellaris was more of a dream come true due to my love for Space Games... till i discovered paradox games my fave games were ones like Sins of a Solar empire and Distant Worlds and Star Wars Empire at War so Stellaris kinda scratched an itch that was in the middle of those space games.

It wasnt until recently that i discovered the Multiplayer aspect of these games which has opened an all new level of fun that i didnt even know existed. i introduced my younger brother to GSGs and he enjoyed them as much as me so we would have day long multiplayer games and it took the already great experience of Paradox games and eclipsed it... the only negative aspect is its kinda soured the Single player aspect because whenever im playing on my own all i think is "huh,this would be even better with Company" which is odd because i HATE any kind of multiplayer game. i much prefer singleplayer games but these games are unique in that they are still fun while playing with others.
 
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Kovax

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HOI3 - Still playing this venerable old dinosaur, both vanilla and with mods. The micromanagement is a pain at times, but there's nothing else out there that adequately simulates not only the combat but the logistical limitations that defined and constrained the major strategic operations of the time. I love playing a mid-size or minor country and using the "butterfly effect" to alter the course of events. From everything I've seen, HOI4 doesn't constrain the theaters of operation according to the actual limitations of the period or the populations of the countries involved, making it more of a low-fantasy game loosely based on WWII. Besides, HOI4 is only available through Steam, so I can't play it. As long as I'm still enjoying HOI3, that's not a problem, and I'm not sure I'd even buy HOI4 if it were available elsewhere.

EU3 - Taking a small country and being able to turn them into a superpower over the course of 400+ years (or get wiped off the map) is incredible, especially when several different game mechanisms all conspire to make rapid expansion difficult and punish larger countries. Playing "tall" or "wide" are both viable options, while choosing where between those extremes one wishes to play is a matter of taste.

Victoria 2 - I've got a love/hate relationship with this game. I'm not particularly fond of the time period, and the game really requires constant and painfully tedious micromanagement of one's Sphere of Interest if you're a Great Power, but the use of "pops" to define cultural, political, religious, and occupational differences within a province is something that really needs to be implemented in more games. This is by far the best "nation builder" game I know of. I keep coming back to it, playing compulsively for a week or two because of the depth, and then putting it aside for months due to the tedious micromanagement.

CK - The interactions on an individual level are interesting, but the interface is rather primitive, and your actual options are rather limited at times. I would probably enjoy CK2, but I cannot and will not deal with Steam, so until/unless CK2 is released through other services, I'll be limited to the previous installment in the series, as I am with HOI and EU.

Stellaris - It's fun for a while, and then it gets boring. I've started half a dozen games, enjoyed the initial phases of exploration, early expansion, and initial clashes., and eventually gotten bored with each of them after the borders solidified.
 

John Buford

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My Top3:

1. Hoi3: i played Hoi4 a year or so intensive but there was a point where i thought: man! i miss those research tree, the micromanagement with the leaders/divisions. Then i found out about the Imperium Mod and love it - although i have severe problems with crashes.

2. Vicky2: one word: pops! I still play it with several mods

3: EUIV: M&T Fan from the beginning. I dont play it Vanilla.

Sometimes i fire up CKII and Stellaris and enjoy it for some time. Here i also play only mods...