This is the eleventh in a series of reviews looking at the evolution of Europa Universalis IV. See the previous reviews here:
Europa Universalis IV: A Fantastic Point of View
Wealth of Nations: National Trade
Res Publica: A Tradition of the People
Art of War: Reform-Minded Patch
El Dorado: Expansion of Gold
Common Sense: Uncommon Changes
The Cossacks: Cossack Estate
Mare Nostrum: Paradox’s Sea
Rights of Man: Institutions of Man
Mandate of Heaven: Mandated Ages

After a full expansion with a regional focus, Europa Universalis IV development focused on a number of small “immersion packs” that focus on flavor elements for certain regions. These tend to be priced at $10 instead of the usual $15 to $20 for a full expansion. Third Rome, the first of these, was announced on May 12, 2017, and came out with patch 1.22 on June 14.


Three new unique government types came with the patch. The first is the Russian principality, which seven states start with (most notably Muscovy), which get tax and unrest bonuses.

Meanwhile, Novgorod and Pskov are veche republics, which are variant merchant republics. They get an extra merchant, and if Res Publica is in use, they get to build trade posts and have a faction system like a merchant republic. Instead of getting caravan power (inland trade power), they cause extra production in provinces they don’t own, but have a lot of trade power in (which directly increases revenue for the other countries, but indirectly increases it for the veche as they’ll get the increased trade value caused by the production).

Any of these that manage to form Russia automatically switch to a tsardom, which has a strong number of bonuses, including increased manpower, absolutism, and decreased autonomy (this caused complaints, and great veche republic was created as the republic version of tsardom later), and with the expansion it gets the ability to claim an entire area. It costs more from a spy network, but generally less than claiming the provinces separately, so Russia is uniquely able to spread claims faster than anyone else. The former two are locked as duchies, while tsardom is automatically an empire. That kind of goes against the idea of how the ranks should work in Common Sense, but it does help if you don’t have that expansion.

Of course, like just about all other unique government forms, you can’t voluntarily change from these, though the veche can fall to a despotic monarchy/republican dictatorship like a merchant republic.

Additionally, with the expansion, three special abilities are granted to all of these countries (one per type of monarch point). A special form of power is collected for each, based on the current ruler’s abilities, and when it reaches 100, the appropriate ability can be activated. Admin reduces autonomy in all provinces, diplomatic reduces the progress of all rebellions (that can be handy…), and the military recruits streltsy units.

These are a new unit category that costs no money, manpower, or time to recruit, but afterward they act the same as anything else, so they cost the normal maintenance and manpower to refresh. However, recruiting them grants a temporary combat bonus that only applies to them, and can be refreshed by recruiting more in the future (streltsy units have a gray background). However, using them also increases stability costs.

The government types are nice, but I think the abilities are mechanically weak. There’s no variation in the growth of their meters, and there’s only one choice with each of them: hit the button or don’t hit the button (to save it for a more opportune moment). It doesn’t really cost anything else, so the stability cost of streltsy is the only trade-off in the entire set.


Naturally, Orthodox Christianity got new mechanics for the expansion. Orthodox countries have a new state-level ability, consecrate metropolitan. This adds to the maintenance cost of the state, but causes it to recover from devastation faster, and adds to patriarch authority.

Patriarch authority is another religious 0-100 meter, and grants missionary strength, manpower, and reduces unrest as it goes up. This actually already existed, but outside of creating new metropolitan seats, it tends to be fairly static (there are events to affect it, which is all there was previously, and still without the expansion), and consecrating a new metropolitan only boosts it by 5. So it takes a bit of work, and a large amount of territory to get it very high.

Also, authority can be used to commission icons. This is like the temporary bonuses in other religions, but of course consumes a currency that is generally in short supply. The bonuses last two decades, and each icon provides two (related) bonuses, so they tend to be fairly strong.

Both the icons and the metropolitans have events that are possible while those are active. The vast bulk of icon events are positive, so that’s another benefit.


All the culturally-Russian countries had either a unique idea and tradition set, or used a general set just for them already. But the Russian set itself was changed so the second idea is Siberian frontier.

Normally, it just auto-discovers empty terra incognita provinces in the area, but with the expansion you can also establish a form of colony that will settle an empty Siberian province. Unlike a normal colony, it costs no maintenance, and won’t be attacked by the locals. They have good base rate of growth, but since there’s no colonist to help them along (without going for colonist ideas), they will be a bit slow to grow into cities, and they get no help from the usual diplomatic tech bonuses to colonies. This lets Russia colonize out to the Pacific at a cost of 20 diplomatic power per province without having to take Expansion or Exploration ideas just to get an actual colonist to do it that way, which is a big improvement.

Formerly, Muscovy and Russia shared the same idea set, but now Muskovy’s are separate (with an option to keep or change when forming Russia), mostly concentrating on small military bonuses, though one of the initial traditions is +10% shock damage, which is not small at the start of the game.


Naturally, all this came with a map rework of the area, which allowed a couple of one-province minors to become two or three provinces. Additionally, Rostov and Beloozero were split off into vassals of Muskovy at game start (giving them the maximum number of relations already in vassals; be careful).

That part is certainly well done and always appreciated, and the new government types are nice; I certainly like the idea of a variant merchant republic. The expansion bonuses are a bit of a mix for me, as I feel too much of it (which would be any part at all) is too static and devoid of interesting decisions. That said, the new Orthodox mechanics are nice, and the ability of Russia to automatically colonize Siberia is something the game actually needed. It’s certainly an overall benefit, and if you like playing as Muskovy or Novgorod (or the smaller states in the area), it’s worth getting, which is the entire idea.

It does occur to me that they don’t play around that much with Russia’s self-image of being the successor of Rome and Byzantium (referenced in the title Third Rome). Ambitions in that direction are, I believe, already in the missions that can come up, but an event that triggers on the taking of Constantinople by the Ottomans (very likely in most games) would have been a good flavor addition, even if it didn’t do much mechanically.