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File:A2f2451c0382c60214d69119ac937a88-Victoria An Empire Under the Sun 22.jpg

Victoria: An Empire Under The Sun, affectionately known as "Vicky" among its fans, is a complicated Real Time Strategy / Turn-Based Strategy 4X game created and published in 2003 by Paradox Interactive.

Chronologically it follows its sister series Europa Universalis and precedes its other sibling, the Hearts of Iron series. Vicky starts in 1836 and ending in 1920 (or 1936, if you bought the Expansion Pack). The game is noted for being arguably the most complicated of the Paradox Interactive games, dealing not only with war but also with an impressive economic and political system. It is noted as one of the better aversions of the Command and Conquer Economy.

The game was noticeably buggy at release, but some patches, the Expansion Pack (which changed totally the way the economy works) and some great work by modders has made the game far more stable.

As the game covers most of the Victorian and Edwardian eras but displays the entire globe it will naturally cover The American Civil War, The Wild West and World War One. Since an important part of the game is European Imperialism, Darkest Africa comes into play at times. Also covers the very end of Jidai Geki.

The game is (in)famous for being almost incomprehensible to newbies, due to the vast array of interlocking factors, especially in politics and economy and how those two affect each other. (and how, generally, these things depends on your political party) The effect of these is often to create a rather fascinating effect where as an autocracy you are desperately trying to keep popular support from overwhelming you while a democracy has to take it relatively easy to avoid reactionary insurrections.[1]

A sequel to the original game, imaginatively titled Victoria 2, was released on August 13th 2010, turning this Paradox title into a new series. On February 2nd 2012, an Expansion Pack to the sequel called A House Divided was released, expanding the game to include, among other things, new ways to influence other nations and generate Casus Belli, new ways to control the population and government, new map modes and a new starting point in 1861 right after the beginning of the American Civil War. Most importantly, this expansion recolored Prussia from a sickly yellow to the proper Prussian blue.

This game / these games provide examples of:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Well, not really, but he's kind of a Tsundere. In wartime prices of weaponry can increase quite spectacularly. Of course, this increase also makes it more profitable to build said weapons factories...
  • The Alliance: Spheres of influence in Victoria II can become this, to some extent. Especially true for Prussia and any Great Power looking to form Italy.
  • All the Little Germanies
  • The American Civil War: Exists as a starting scenario and will (via Event Flags) happen in most ordinary games as well, although in those cases due to the weakness of the South it tends to be... anticlimactic. If you want to play as the CSA in the Grand Campaign you'll have to play until the Civil War and then reload as them. Noticeable this is one of the more complex event chains and was, for the longest time, quite buggy (mostly due to a certain party having to win the election in a certain timeframe to trigger the war) There is also an alternate version where New England secedes.
    • Victoria 2's A House Divided Expansion Pack lets players start in 1861, includes more historical Event Flags and actually gives the South a fighting chance.
  • Anachronism Stew: Provinces and states are divided according to the post World War 1 map, which doesn't always correlate with actual historical divisions. This is most obvious in the middle east, which is divided along the lines of the Sykes–Picot Agreement rather then the original Ottoman division.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Averted hard. It takes quite a bit for citizens to actually take arms against the government, but its usually about lots of little things (unemployment, political repression, nationalism) rather than one big thing that upsets them.
    • A House Divided adds an additional step where POPs will join political movements. If you ignore them or repress them too much, they then will take up arms against the government.
  • Appeal to Tradition: Modus operandi of reactionaries.
  • Artificial Brilliance: People automatically try to find the highest quality of political and civil freedoms, even though it's not actually a stat. Playing a particularly liberal power with an oppressive Britain? Expect lots of Indian immigrants.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Something of a problem in Victoria II. The capitalist AI loves to build luxury clothes factories in countries where nobody can afford them, while other countries will happily continue to research philosophy while you're slaughtering their armies with machine guns and poison gas. To add to this, the AI frequently marches its soldiers in massive columns through harsh deserts and freezing mountains, leading to some truly horrific attrition levels which can leave armies decimated before they even see battle. Watching armys lose significant numbers of soldiers before even crossing the border is not that uncommon.
    • Also, to unite Germany one of the states you need is Holstein, a satellite of Denmark. This is not much of a problem, as anyone looking to unite Germany has a unification Casus Belli and Denmark isn't really in a state to resist. So when Prussia invades they take control over Jutland without much problem. But the AI sometimes gets overexited, and annexes Jutland instead of Holstein. Congratulations AI, you've delayed (if not outright stopped) the unification of Germany for the gain of a small peninsula.
  • Alternate History: The inevitable outcome of every game. It's pretty much alternate history the moment you unpause the game.
    • Victoria 2's main menu art is a picture of Confederate soldiers fighting British redcoats. The expansion A House Divided changes this to show American ironclads bombarding London.
  • The Assimilator: Democratic states (especially the United States) get a bonus when assimilating immigrant POPs to their primary culture.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The primary strategy in the early part of the game. However, mid-game tech developments such as the machine gun start favouring the defense.
  • Balkanise Me: One of several war goals is forcing another country to release states from under their control. Inverted with fragmented countries like Germany and Italy, which have to annex several other countries in order to properly form.
  • The British Empire: One of the principal world powers. Starts ranked at #1, and will generally stay there unless something catastrophic happens to them, such as revolution or player interference.
  • Character Portrait: Generals and admirals have unique portraits.
  • Colour Coded Armies: All civilized nations use basically the same soldier model with a different colored coat. Some countries' models are a bit more unique -- for example, South American soldiers wear sashes and Prussians wear pickelhaubes.
    • Subverted by the time the 20th Century rolls around, as everyone starts wearing duller browns and greys. However, the design of the various uniforms also become more unique.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Each country has an associated colour (Britain: red, France: blue, Russia: green, Germany: grey), some of which carry over into other Paradox titles.
  • Command and Conquer Economy: Oh so averted. You don't even technically earn money from producing stuff: Instead your population does, and you can either tax them (which means they can't buy as much stuff...) or raise tariffs (which makes imported goods more expensive). All POPs have their own "needs" of stuff they want (everything from grain and coal to opium and radios) based on their class and type. If you can't satisfy them they'll move somewhere else or starve. Oh, and did we mention that under two of the games' four economic policies you don't actually build factories yourself? Instead your capitalists do (using their own money, that disappears if you tax them too highly). The problem with capitalists, of course, is that they build factories that are the most profitable to them, not the factories that you would prefer built. (For instance, the ones that produce guns).
    • Played semi-straight under Planned Economy. You're in charge of deciding where to build the factories, and you can put them where they'll benefit the nation the most. One of the perks of being a Dirty Communist.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Averted. If you play above 'normal' difficulty, then the AI does get some bonuses to production, but otherwise it follows the exact same rules as the player. If the computer appears to be cheating, it is making use of some sort of mechanic that is not readily apparent. (Such as: The second game opens at the beginning of the Texan Revolution; if you play as Texas, you will soon discover that the Mexican army has better morale than you. But not because of this trope, rather because it has an Engineers brigade attached, which gives +10 to morale.)
  • Cool Boat: Starting with wooden frigates and ships of the line, and moving on through ironclads to HMS Dreadnought.
  • Creator Provincialism: The three Union Tags that have special ways of being formed are Germany, Italy, and... Scandinavia[2]. For those unaware, Paradox Interactive is a Swedish company.
  • Darkest Africa: Treated as a malaria-infested uncivilized hellhole populated entirely by subhuman savages that only machine guns can tame - in other words, exactly like the European powers of the time saw it.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In the second game, states that are not completely controlled by one country have their names show as <owning culture> <state>. This leads to gems like "British British Columbia", "Hawaiian Hawaiian Islands", "New English Northern New England" and "Luang Prabangni Luang Prabang".
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In regards to flags. Every single possible country has a flag for all types of governments (Kingdom, Communist, Fascist, and Republic), and many of them use imagery from lesser-known movements in the country. In a nod to a commonly-held misconception, the flag of the CSA is the historically accurate "Blood-stained banner", but under fascism it's the naval jack that is often called the "Confederate flag".
    • That said, they also made choices like having the British republican flag be identical to the monarchical one rather than using the flag most commonly in use by 19th century British republicans.
  • Dirty Communists: They show up in 1848 (when Karl Marx published The Communist Manifesto) and remain an important factor for the second half of the game.
    • More specifically, Socialists show up around 1848. Communists (basically radicalised and angry Socialists) don't show up until later.
  • Divided States of America: Taken Up to Eleven. Although some of them, like California and Texas, were nations in their own right before being absorbed into the USA, there is also a number of ahistorical nations. Among the nations that can be formed from United States Territory are: the California Republic, the Cherokee Nation, Columbia (with parts of Canada), Deseret, the Manhattan Commune, New England, and the Republic of Texas.
  • Eagle Land: The United States starts as a Great Power, ranked #7. They are the only Great Power to start as a democracy with extensive political freedoms, and as such get a huge boost to immigration. They also start with slavery still legal, which is is important later on.
  • Easy Logistics: To some degree. Your units requires a ton of different kinds of resources to produce (basic infantry requires small arms, canned food and manpower) but upkeep "only" costs you money.
    • No longer the case in Victoria II, where upkeep requires small arms, ammunition, explosives, liquor...
  • Elite Mooks: Guards in Victoria II are a form of this -- they're much stronger than standard infantry, and have a higher reconnaissance value than cavalry, but are expensive and can only be recruited from your primary and accepted cultures.
  • No Swastikas: The flag used to represent Fascist Germany displays an iron cross rather then a swastika.
  • The Empire: Accept no substitutes.
    • What every player strives to be.
  • Event Flag: Abused in the original, almost as much as in Hearts of Iron. Breaking the first game's reliance on these was one of the major design goals of the sequel.
  • The Federation: Any reasonably liberal Great Power arguably counts. The US, UK, France, Italy, and even Imperial Germany (if formed through a liberal revolution) are all particularly likely candidates.
  • Fog of War: The standard version: The player can only see what goes on in his or his Allies' territories, and only into foreign provinces bordering his own.
  • Game Mod: As per Paradox Interactive tradition, many exist. One of the most entertaining for the sequel adds Equestria.
  • Global Currency: The Pound Sterling is used for international trade.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: Entirely possible.
  • Hegemonic Empire: Great Powers can increase influence by building factories and railways in minor states.
  • High-Class Glass: your capitalists will, naturally, dress in top hats, wear monocles and smoke cigars.
  • Hopeless War: Texas and Tripoli are set up to be like this; Texas starts off with armies named after the three battles it lost! Both are weak nations facing down secondary powers with far more divisions. However, this can be averted by a skilled player (or rather, a player who knows how to hold out until the US comes in, in the case of Texas, and who can exploit the attrition mechanic, in the case of Tripoli.) The Victoria II wiki has advice on how to survive as both powers.
  • Imperial Germany: The historical path of German Unification leads to this. You can do it in other ways though.
  • Imperial Japan: Japan starts the game as a fairly well-developed uncivilised nation. Even under the AI, Japan westernises sometime around 1880 and can easily become a Great Power by the endgame.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The Dye Works Accident event in the second game.
    • There's also the "Mummy Found!" event (involving egyptology) the response to which is "Orphans Rejoice!"
  • Inferred Holocaust: Once you've colonized an area, usually in Africa, the speed at which the native population is replaced by yours (it can be up to 99% European in as few as five years) is a little alarming.
    • Furthermore, placing soldiers in a non-colonized province speeds up the colonization. They're probably protecting the settlers, but at what cost?
  • Insistent Terminology: In A House Divided, foreign countries refer to The American Civil War as such. The USA calls it "The War of the Rebellion", and for the CSA, it's "The War of Northern Aggression".
  • Land of One City: Some countries start the game with only one state, which in turn has only one province. Krakow is the most notable example. Luxembourg is another.
  • Magikarp Power: A civilized, industrialized China is truly a thing to be afraid of.
    • As pointed out below, Any German State, from mighty Prussia to middle-power Bavaria to little Saxe-Coburg-Gotha can form Germany through multiple paths.
    • Chile starts as an underdeveloped backwater wedged between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific. However, they're a democracy and get a huge boost to immigration, meaning they can become a Great Power much easier than Argentina (Presidential Dictatorship) or Brazil (Constitutional Monarchy).
  • Mighty Whitey
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: So, you managed to conquer China as an industrialized power? All that production at your fingertips. Oh, and the mother of all Luddite revolts as the sudden mechanization of Chinese agriculture causes the bottom to drop out of that market entirely. Have fun with that.
    • Well it's debatable seeing as the army you built up to take the place is usually numbering in the 100 thousands you can usually crush any revolts easily, plus the patches that reduces the revolt chances from the ridiculously high of the out-of-the-box settings makes it less of a hassle to keep.
  • Non-Entity General: Even though in-game messages are addressed to the leader of the country (eg "King" or "President") you most certainly can continue playing even if your country falls to a revolution.
  • Not So Harmless: Excluding Prussia and Austria, most Germany countries are rather weak and will usually end up just being annexed by whatever powerful neighbor happens to border them. However occasionally some lucky German nation will expand enough and can form either the Southern German Federation, or the Northern German federation. Both of which are usually ranked as great powers in the game and can (when they're not controlled by them) match Prussia and Austria in status and power.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: There's an optimum number of civil servants you need to run your country. Any more than that and all they do is draw a paycheck.
    • Conversely, if you don't have enough bureaucrats, your civil service will quickly descend into chaos and your country will suffer as a result.
  • Old Save Bonus: You can import games from the Europa Universalis series. You can export them to Hearts of Iron 2. Considering Crusader Kings has an export feature to Europa Universalis II, you could in theory pilot the same faction from 1066 all the way through 1964 via the four games, a true feat of Paradox fanboyism.
    • At least one person has actually done so, leading to a world that's...quite different from our own by 1836 - for one, the Spanish Reconquista failed, and America was first discovered and colonized by Muslims; taking the place of real-world Mexico is the Islamic Republic of Mazula - and that's one of the smallest changes.
  • Pretext for War: The casus belli system functions like this. A House Divided expands the system so you can manufacture them, your ability to do so depending on how free your press is.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The entirety of the original game's soundtrack was classical music from the era. Averted in the sequel.
  • Prussia: Starts as #5. Generally will face early conflicts against Austria.
  • Queen Vicky: Well... Duh
  • Quicksand Box: The ins and outs of the economic system can leave the player at a loss as to what to do next...
  • Red October: You will be investing vast amounts of time and resources either trying to avert this, or trying to bring this about and expand it.
  • Red Scare: If you turn Communist, expect everyone to hate you. Truth in Television, of course.
    • With good reason: as of A House Divided, Communist nations immediately get a permanent "Spread the Revolution" casus belli on all their neighbours.
  • Refining Resources: Factories (and Artisan POPs in the sequel) turn raw materials into finished products. For example, cotton is spun into fabric, and then combined with dyes to make clothing, which is then bought by citizens or used by the military for uniforms.
  • Relationship Values: Two different scales. One measures their opinion of you, which means how likely they are to ally with you. The second is available only for Great Powers and measures how much influence they have on smaller nations. While both are mutually exclusive, including a nation under your sphere of influence would usually mean they're more likely to ally with you.
  • Risk Style Map: Hundreds of provinces (used mainly for fighting in) groups of provinces are grouped into "regions" (where your factories are).
  • River of Insanity: There are event chains that simulate expeditions up the Nile, Amazon, and so on. More often than not they disappear without a trace...
  • Royal Mess: When playing as a monarchy, in-game text boxes address the player as "King". Even if you're playing as a not-Kingdom like Austria or the Duchy of Baden, or if you're the United Kingdom.
  • RPG Elements: Military leaders have "backgrounds" and "personalities" which have positive or negative effects on the units they lead. A House Divided introduced the idea of leader prestige: the positive effects of leader traits increase with prestige.
  • Scare Chord: The sound that accompanies the message that someone has declared war on you.
  • Shout-Out: Tons, mostly in event texts, especially the "You have lost X amount of X resources" random events. After getting these dire news the "accept" option is usually a witty remark, for instance, for cotton it is "Frankly, I don't give a damn!" and for Precious Metals it's "My precioussss!"
  • So Last Season: All preceding military developments become pretty much irrelevant with the invention of the machine gun.
  • Stop Helping Me!: The sequel sees Belgium start the game in the United Kingdom's sphere of influence. This would be a great military advantage if there wasn't a world iron shortage coming on, and the UK didn't have first pick of its sphere-members' iron.
  • Tank Goodness: These start appearing towards the tail end of the game.
  • Theodore Roosevelt: He's depicted as the leader of the United States.
  • The Sound of Martial Music: Austria (or Austria-Hungary, depending on whether it loses a certain war) is a prominent player, especially in the early game. Anyone seeking to unite Italy or Germany has to face them at one point.
    • It is easy to avoid facing them when uniting Germany in the sequel, but the way ensures that they will be a very prominent player indeed: play as them.
    • Even if you don't actually go to war, there will be extremely intense diplomatic battles in order to get spheres of interest away, with one side constantly throwing out the other's diplomats or discrediting them.
  • Tsarist Russia: Starts in a rather comfortable #2 spot, blessed with lots of empty land, illiterate peasantry, backwards infrastructure, and a reactionary upper class.
  • Vestigial Empire: This can happen to an especially unfortunate nation over the century of gameplay. Even yours, if you're really that bad/lazy.
    • The Ottoman Empire ends up like this in nearly every game. They start the game as a great power but soon after lose their status and get put into another empire's sphere.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: It's entirely possible to end the game with the world under the domination of a fascist dictatorship with institutionalized slavery.
    • Plus, it is almost impossible to play a great power without committing atrocities, colonial or otherwise. Drive Native Americans off their lands and set up mining operations? Yup! Forbid Africans from teaching in schools in their native tongue? Sure! Execute minorities for trying to oppose your foreign rule? Why not?
  • Video Game Historical Revisionism: Due to the high level of detail present in the game, there are often mistakes made, sometimes for Acceptable Breaks From Reality reasons, sometimes because they can't be arsed to fix it (somewhere though, a modder will) most divisive tends to be the allocation of minority cultures and POP's.
  • War for Fun and Profit: One war cause lets the victor demand concessions from the loser. Plus, countries can actually create a military-industrial complex, which boosts army/navy/industrial research, but hampers both cultural and financial research.
  • You Fail Economics Forever: The capitalist AI in Victoria II at launch only looked at the maximum possible profit for a good when deciding what factories to build - even if nobody in the world could afford it, with the effect that capitalists would sink thousands of dollars into building luxury clothes factories and then immediately go bankrupt. This has been patched, thankfully.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: No less than 47 different resources. Basic types like iron, coal, wheat, and wool are all present, as well as more esoteric goods such as tea, opium, tanks, and luxury furniture. Raw materials such as coal or wheat are mined/harvested by worker POPs in provinces, and are either consumed ore refined into other goods. Some advanced goods, like Radios, Aeroplanes, and Tanks require a production chain that is pretty complex. Luckily you can buy all resources from the world market, assuming there is SOMEONE somewhere who is producing the stuff...though price fluctuations can make an import-heavy economy very vulnerable to shortages.
    • Different powers have different levels of priority for resources, and some resources repeatedly prove problematic. For starters, liquor is required for a variety of units and you can find yourself in dire shortage of it. Cue the British Empire not being able to build artillery because they can't get any liquor.


  1. Which, if you think about it, isn't too far from what really happened...
  2. The odd one out in that it failed, as opposed to, say, Romanian unification
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