I'd been hearing about Europa Universalis 3 for the past few years and always hoped to play it. The game was available in one of the IndieGala bundles earlier this year so I snatched it up. I just started playing this past week and I can't stop! It's incredible! The level of detail that goes into crafting this 16c world and the intricacies of gameplay make for the perfect experience!
While its fun now though, I must confess it was awful when I started. I didn't read the manual (I only read physical manuals, not the digital versions) so I was a little lost and the tutorial did a poor job of acquainting me with everything. It took me a few false starts to figure out how to actually play. I tried playing as a small pacific island figuring it would be easiest to start with a one island country. The game progressed so slowly I gave up. Next I tried my hand as China in the late 1700s, although that ended within five minutes after numerous provinces revolted. Finally I decided to play as Russia in the late 1700s and I've been sticking with that ever since.
I started out with small missions to build universities, while colonizing Alaska. After a few decades of that and amassing an unrivaled treasury I decided it was time to do something more. My relations with the Ottoman Empire were not that great, so why not invade? I built an army and crossed liberated province after province, although I was shocked to learn that conquering a province does not transfer ownership of it. You have to acquire it in a peace agreement. There goes my master plan. My war score grows every day though, and eventually it will be large enough to make peace and gain territories. That's assuming I can maintain my manpower. I'm falling behind and I might have to settle for a peace soon. I'll come out ahead though.
The main problem I find is that there's not always that much to do in the game. I'm occupied with war so it's fun, but before that it was just waiting around for buildings to finish and then building something else, and the occasional colony to deal with. It was hardly edge of your seat action. The war changed that though. I was surprised none of my allies came to my aid though. Seriously Prussia? Where were you when I needed your armies?
Now I'm focusing on the end war; finding out how to get the provinces I want and maintain an advantage over the Ottomans. Russia once considered them a threat, but no longer.