In my last post, I briefly discussed my experience coding a mod in Europa Universals IV (EU4) and my disaster’s starting conditions. You can check out that post here. For this week, I thought I would delve into some of the “events” related to my disaster mod, explain how they work and the history that inspired them.
First of all, what are “events”? Events are a mechanic in EU4 that take the shape of a pop-up notification that interrupts players during regular gameplay. Some events have trigger conditions that the player must meet for them to appear, but others have a random chance of appearing at any point during gameplay. There are hundreds of events within the game that provide positive, negative or mixed results for a player.
Each disaster in EU4 has a list of events that can only occur if the disaster is active. Usually, they are designed to impede the players’ efforts at ending the disaster, but some provide bonuses. For instance, many of the events associated with the “English Civil War” disaster spawn rebels that a player must defeat, but the “New Model Army” event gives players a bonus to the morale of their army and navy.
In my mod, I created nine events that appear when the Nine Years’ War disaster activates. While based on the historical record, the majority of the events are designed to be interactive, with the players’ choice determining whether the event has a positive, negative or mixed outcome.
For instance, the “Spanish Intervention in the Nine Years’ War” event, which is based on Spain’s involvement in the rebellion, activates roughly thirty-six months after the disaster begins. The event informs the Spanish player that there is a rebellion occurring in Ireland and offers the player to support the revolt for 100 ducats and 5000 manpower. If the Spanish player chooses to support the Irish rebels, the action triggers an event for English players that explains how Spain intervened in the Nine Years’ War and spawns rebels for the player to deal with. There is a guaranteed uprising of rebels in Ireland, referencing the Spanish landing at County Cork in 1601, but there is also a 30% chance for rebels to rise in South-West England, referencing the failed Spanish invasion of the British Isles in 1596.
Another event with a similar interactive concept references the exploits of Robert Devereux, who, after falling out of favour with Elizabeth due to failing to subdue the Irish rebellion, ultimately launched a failed coup against the government that sent him to the block for treason. In-game, the “Renowned General Stands Trial” event activates if a player has a general fielding command of an army, explains that the general has failed to subdue the rebellion and is guilty of disobeying the monarch’s direct orders. The player chooses between sending the general to the Tower of London or losing prestige and keeping the general in command of their forces. If the player sends them to prison, there is a random chance that a follow-up event will activate that states the once distinguished general blames the government for falling out favour and is launching a coup, spawning rebels in the London area. If the player chooses not to send the general to the tower, no uprising occurs.
Other events I coded activate only when the player meets certain conditions. For example, the “Munster Settlement Destroyed” event can only fire if the player has territory in Munster, and rebels occupy it. Similarly, when the disaster ends, players can get two final events that deal with the Flight of the Earls in 1607 and the formation of the Ulster Plantation in the immediate aftermath if they own territory in Ulster.
While it was difficult at times, I had a blast coding events into EU4. It was fun to transform historical events into interactive encounters that players must navigate through. Although it technically bends the historical record, I believe it results in a much more engaging experience for the player. In the end, isn’t that what games are about?
 G.A. Hayes-McCoy, “The Completion of the Tudor Conquest and the Advance of the Counter-Reformation, 1571-1603,” in A New History of Ireland III Early Modern Ireland: 1534-1691, ed. T.W. Moody, F.X. Martin and F.J. Byrne (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009 ), 122 and 133.
 Roger Lockyer and Peter Gaunt, Tudor and Stuart Britain 1485-1714 (London and New York: Routledge, 2019), 293-294.