Sunday, 21 July 2013

Europa Universalis III Simulation: The Orient (China, Japan, and Korea)

For the next segment of my series of Europa Universalis III simulations (the other parts can be seen here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), I have decided to take a look at the much requested East Asian nations: the Chinese dynasties and Mongol hordes, the Japanese daimyos, and Korea.

The Orient

In 1399, Europa Universalis III's start date, much like Eastern Europe covered in Part 3, the East Asian mainland was just emerging from centuries of Mongol rule under the Yuan dynasty. The Red Turban Rebellion would put an end to this in 1368, establishing the Ming dynasty ruled out of Nanjing. China would see a golden age under the Ming, building works such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

Across the Yellow Sea, the Koreans, having also just gained their independence, would seek to push the Ming out of the peninsula. However, their armies sent to fight the Chinese would revolt at the border and establish the Joseon dynasty in a coup in 1392.

The Far East in the game's start date, 1399.

On the other side of the Strait of Korea, Japan remained relatively unscathed from the Mongols thanks to the famous kamikaze, or "divine wind" (the Europa Universalis expansion's namesake), two typhoons which would destroy the Mongol ships attempting invasion in both 1274 and 1281. Japan at the time was under the Ashikaga shogunate, which lacked much real power. As a result, the archipelago was divided among the daimyo, rival Japanese clans.

The mainland immediately descends into war in most games, with the Ming trying to incorporate Tibet into their empire (sound familiar?) and the Manchu trying to subjugate the remnants of the Yuan dynasty: the Oriat Horde and the Mongol Khanate. The Mongol Khanate are typically defeated by around 1460, but the Oriat Horde and the Tibetans are surprisingly capable in the face of a much larger enemy. Their frontiers tend to oscillate in and out of their control. These sporadic wars, which are typically never quite won, continue the entire game.

The Ming begin to encroach upon the smaller Southeast Asian kingdoms by 1500, however they never obtain complete dominance here either. The Koreans, much more adventurous than their historical counterparts, would also venture into Southeast Asia only to meet the same fate.

Starting in the early 17th century, the Koreans begin to slowly encroach upon their northern border with the Manchu, taking some of the adjacent provinces. Historically the opposite happens: The Manchu would force the Koreans into submission after an invasion in 1636.

By 1700, the Wu begin to show up in southern China in the majority of games. The Wu are actually a hypothetical dynasty, based on the Wu kingdom, one of the Ten Kingdoms. The Xia and Qin, the other hypothetical dynasties, do sometimes appear, but not nearly as often as the Wu (and not enough to show up on this map).

Interestingly, the Manchu never manage to cross the Great Wall in the majority of games as they do historically, with the Ming dynasty typically surviving until the end date.

In the Land of the Rising Sun to the east, things move at a slower pace but follow the same inconclusive nature. Very little happens until the last half of the 14th century, when the Taira clan begins to be dismantled as the Minamoto and Fujiwara make gains in the north and south. These two clans appear to be the most dominant.

By 1600, the Minamoto begin to advance upon the Tachibana lands to the south. From this point onwards however, no statistical outcome appears to have any sort of advantage over the other as there is very little change or movement.

Historically, not much can be said about Japan. The way Europa Universalis III models the daimyo is far from the truth, as there were many more than four clans vying for the shogunate. For a more accurate depiction (although much more limited in scope) check out Paradox Interactive's Sengoku.

Looking at the map at the game's end date, it is quite easy to see that not much changes (at least definitively) in the Orient, things look very similar to how they did in 1399. In reality, the dynasties of East Asia were much more fragile; hopefully this is modeled more accurately in Europa Universalis IV.

Whats next?

Please leave a comment on what you would like to see next! There are many locations yet to be covered: Germany, the Middle East, India, Italy, Southeast Asia, etc.


  1. Great! I like your work :)

  2. This is wonderful work, I love the concept. Will you ever do one of these for Victoria? I would love to see that...

  3. Love the videos and write ups, very interesting read. India, Germany and Scandinavia!