With Paradox’s main four franchises of Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron, Victoria and Crusader Kings covering four very different aspects of grand strategy, it can be difficult for anything else to fit in between. EU Rome, Sengoku… even the mod-to-game projects, these’ filler’ titles that have appeared over the years haven’t always been received as well as perhaps they deserved. March of the Eagles is the latest in-between title, an EU/Vic/HoI cross-breed set in the Napoleonic era that has some good ideas, but may be unsatisfying to Paradox veterans.
A wargame at heart, March of the Eagles sees you take to the stage in 1805, with France’s imperial conquests in full swing. There are eight Major Nations to choose from – UK & France being the obvious ones, but also Prussia, Austria, Russia, Spain, The Ottoman Empire and Sweden. You can technically play as any nation represented at the start of the game, however those eight major powers are the only ones who can win on their own.
‘Winning’ in the context of the game is defined as achieving complete land and naval dominance by the end of the game’s timeframe- 1820. Each major nation has their own land and sea dominance objectives, many of which reside across the border within other major powers. Naturally, this creates a lot of room for conflict: not only do you have to get your own land and dominance score up to 100%, but you also then have to knock the current ‘leaders’ (France on land, UK on sea), off their top spots. If no one has both land and sea dominance by the end of the game period, then the country with the most prestige wins a ‘Minor’ Victory.
The focus of the game then is primarily fighting the Napoleonic Wars, although unlike Hearts of Iron which tries to support the WW2 focus with some economic and political secondary concepts, March of the Eagles pretty much strips everything else you’d expect from a Paradox title. This can make it slightly single-minded, even disappointing to a Paradox fan — but it could serve as an excellent introduction to the grand-strategy genre.
What depth there is in the game is focused around combat. Much like CK2 you assign generals to flanks of armies, and depending on the unit composition of those flanks you can assign different tactics to those flanks, like Entrenching or Deliberate Assault, for example. You need to use these, plus the terrain and manoeuvring your army in order to come out on top, much like a real general.
The game seems slightly weighted towards playing either France or England, although you can still have some fun with the other major powers. Ultimately, it’s very ‘light’ for a Paradox game which can mean hardcore fans may not get total enjoyment out of it — but it’s good for the challenge of fighting against France and the other major powers, and is genuinely, incredibly, fun in multiplayer.
Find out more about March of the Eagles at the official site.