This is the sixteenth in a series of reviews of Paradox’s empire management games. See the earlier reviews here:
Europa Universalis II: A Tale of Two Europas
Hearts of Iron: Europa of Iron
Victoria: Nineteenth Century Essay
Crusader Kings: A Dynastic Adventure
Hearts of Iron II: Return Engagement
Europa Universalis III: A Whole New World
Europa Universalis: Rome: Make a Desert and Call it a Game
Hearts of Iron III: One Plus Two Equals Three
EU III: Heir to the Throne: Not Done Yet
Victoria II: Same But Different
EU III: Divine Wind: Winds of Change
Sengoku: Shogun: Only War
V II: A House Divided: Limited Expansion
Crusader Kings II: The Second Crusade
HoI III: Their Finest Hour: A Final Polish

At the end of 2009, French independent development studio AGEOD was acquired by Paradox Interactive, and renamed ‘Paradox France’ as a separate internal development studio. The first/primary project of the new arrangement was to take one of their best titles (Napoleon’s Campaigns), and do a sequel in Paradox’s Clausewitz engine. Unfortunately, this did not work out, and Paradox France, while still owned by Paradox Interactive, was eventually renamed back to AGEOD, and still develops games under its own AGE engine.

Napoleon’s Campaigns II was retitled March of the Eagles and brought over to Paradox Development Studio for a complete rework. The final game is in many ways typical of Paradox’s pausable real-time empire management series (as opposed to the turn-based, and more traditionally wargame mechanic feel of AGEOD’s games), and was released for PC in February 2013, and on Mac in May. There were two minor patches, but the game did not get any long-term attention.


MotE covers 15 years of the Napoleonic Era, from 1805 to 1820, with an area map that covers Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East (Crusader Kings II provided the initial basis of the map). Like all of PDS’s other games, this is a pauseable real-time game, though with the short time scale, there’s eight periods per day, instead everything happening purely by each day. This mostly just gives battles more chances for events, as movement, construction, and so on, just happens at the start of each day.

The map is fairly detailed, with lots of provinces, but some are much more important than others. All of them have terrain, a development level, and roads, but only some have cities, or fortresses which form the basis of war goals, and taxes. While all provinces have a name that appears if you zoom in close enough, cities and fortresses have name plates that appear much further out, which also indicate that they can be garrisoned with military units stationed inside them (and those that are garrisoned will have an appropriate national flag next to the name plate).

Each province can be built up, but only cities will ever generate taxes, and most things are fairly expensive. With the relatively short time-span, improvements have to carefully judged. Depots can be established to improve local supply limits, recruiting times, and manpower. Roads also help with supply as well as speeding movement; development of a province does the same, but also increases the amount of money generated (with a multiple, and most provinces have a base tax of ‘0’), but this can be very expensive.

Forts and ports can also be built and upgraded in each province, with the fairly obvious defensive military benefits for forts, while ports help with shipbuilding and repair, and also provide some money from harbor taxes. There’s no technological or other restrictions on any of these, just the fact that it’s a big world, and there’s only so much time.

Dominating Europe

As usual with a Paradox game, you can play as any country you like on the map. However, only the eight major powers have proper goals. Like in Sengoku, there is an actual goal to work towards: establish both land and naval dominance.

Each of the major powers has its own list of ten provinces for land dominance, and ten more for naval dominance. Any country that can get seven of it’s list can gain dominance, and if it can be dominant in both, it wins at that point. France and Britain are accorded their central place in the period by France already having land dominance when the game starts, and Britain already has naval dominance. Complicating dominance gain is that you cannot become dominant in a category if someone else already is, so victory probably means defeating another power (or two); however, dominance is judged by current control, so a temporary shift in control during a war is enough for a change-over.

If no one manages to hit both lists of goals in fifteen years, then the country with the highest prestige will win a minor victory, so a smaller country could win by going the full distance, and picking up lots of prestige in the process.


There’s a number of ways that each country is a bit different from the others: the ruler and his abilities (and historical changes are given in events), different government types, and bonuses they give, and the available generals and admirals are based on actual historical performance and availability.

However, each country has the ability to adopt ideas as the game goes on to emphasize certain traits and gain bonuses. There are seven general categories with five ideas each (which must be gotten in sequence), and then the major powers each have a unique eighth category as well.

This general concept had shown up previously in EU III and EU: Rome, where some of them were available at the start, and others became available as technology progressed. Here, you can only get at later ideas in a group by getting all the preceding ones. Since some of them mix and match naval and land bonuses, this can cause annoyance for a country focused more on one or the other. Also, unlike the other two games, you cannot change out an idea you’ve taken for a different one; it’s purely building up bonuses, instead of determining what you need right now.

Each month, every country gains 15 points for spending on ideas. Some countries get events that grant more points in a lump sum, or as a bonus every month for a year or the like. Gaining an idea costs 200 points, and when that number of points has been stored up, an alert appears letting you know you can get a new bonus. In addition, you can easily see what ideas other countries have gotten by looking at their diplomatic view.

Finally, every battle fought generates idea points. Both sides can get points, but the side that was defeated will generally get a lot more than the winner. So a country that experiences a string of defeats will get new idea(s) much earlier than their opponents, and can leverage that to come back more capable later.


Diplomatic options work much the same here as they do in the EU series, if cut down a little. You have diplomats to do actions with, and you get more each month; every country has a bilateral relationship value with every other country that gets modified for actions between them. There’s no dynastic options for royal marriages, and in fact, there’s no alliances. Instead, there are coalitions.

A coalition is basically an alliance, but it is aimed against a particular country, in particular, it must be against one that currently has dominance of either type. Anyone else, including the other dominant power, can start a coalition against that power, to try and bring enough force to bear to force it out of its dominant position. Generally, the country starting a coalition will promise some money each month as a subsidy until the coalition disbands.

You can can have vassals and satellite nations, you can guarantee a country against attack, and give military access to another country so that they have an easier time getting to their enemy…. Generally, other than coalitions, and the mentioned exceptions, it follows the EU diplomatic model fairly closely.


As with other Paradox games, armies are assembled from discrete brigades of different types. Here, there’s a fair amount of detail, and different countries get access to slightly different types of brigades, but that’s generally down to details, and not very noticeable.

An assembled army in the field has a fair number of options on its own. These are generally available as a series of buttons at the top of the army listing. A small army could be set to hide inside a fortress if an enemy army catches it (instantly making it an enlarged garrison that will be tougher to beat until—hopefully—help arrives). At the same time, or alternatively, it can be instructed to avoid battle, but that one is fairly chancy, and the possibility of a battle is checked each day that it is in the same province as an enemy army.

There’s a few things that are only enabled by taking certain ideas. ‘March to the Sound of Guns’, causes an army to attempt to automatically join a battle in an adjacent province. Unfortunately, you then need to remember to turn if off again if a large army becomes depleted and no longer capable of helping much in a battle. ‘Forced March’ just causes an army to move faster, but also increases attrition.

Inside the army, there’s enough going on that there’s three different views of an army in the game. The most collapsed view is all you’ll ever get if you’ve selected multiple armies, and just gives the name of the army, overall commander, and current strength of the army, along with the controls just mentioned. An expanded view gives similar details for each flank of the army, as well as a breakdown of overall strength by each general troop type. And then the most expanded view shows exactly what brigades are in each flank, and what order they’ll generally enter combat in.

There are seven general troop types, with four of them being infantry. Guard infantry are considered their own type, who are some of the best units in the game, with good morale, but only some generals can use them at all. At the opposite end are militiamen, who’s advantages are numbers and being cheap to recruit. In between are line and light infantry, the main ‘regular’ formations. Cavalry and Artillery only consist one general type, though of course there are different types of brigades within them, including, confusingly, guard cavalry brigades, which are indeed high-quality heavy cavalry, but don’t require special commanders to utilize.

There are also brigades that are suitable for garrison use, including fortress artillery with almost no mobility. And the seventh general troop type is ‘service’, which is just for supply train brigades. Supply is a fairly important part of MotE, and army can take its own supplies with it to supplement shortfalls from being far from home. It is sadly hard to get a real handle on how supplies are working as most of it is hidden from view, though the outliner breaks down each separate area that armies are attempting to take supplies from, and how well supplied that area is.


Once a land battle is joined, it works much like it does in CK II. There’s three flanks, and each flank has its own units and commanders. The commanders pick tactics that modify performance, and those can lead to events that add another layer to what happens.

In addition to this, there is also the reserve, with an overall commander who also makes a lesser contribution improving the troops’ performance. More importantly, he directs the commitment of reserves to the flanks, and can also pull out spent units into the reserve. This is probably the most detailed representation of combat Paradox has done yet.

While the eight periods per day doesn’t mean a whole lot elsewhere, it does here, as each period is a time when events can happen. This is also a small problem, as in each period commanders are picking options, the overall commander observes part of the battlefield, and events happen, and all of these go by too fast to really understand just what is going on. Also, a decision point seems to be reached more quickly, and along with the eight periods per day, battles tend to take 2-3 days, which is a bit long for Napoleonic battles, but far shorter than it takes in all of Paradox’s other games, where you have to figure a ‘battle’ is more of a representation of possibly several conflicts as two forces maneuver within the province.


This was Paradox’s second ‘small’ game within a couple of years, and also their last one so far, with no hints that they’ll ever do a more limited game like this again. Sengoku can be seen as a ‘lighter’ version of Crusader Kings II, and this game ended up feeling like a limited version of Europa Universalis. Notably, while there has been an ‘idea’ system in other Paradox games going back to EU III, this particular version most strongly resembles the one that would show up in EU IV later in the year.

While this game was probably no more successful than Sengoku (I note the Metacritic scores are nearly identical), I actually enjoy it more. Sengoku is a game I want to enjoy more than I actually do, as it just feels a bit limited and empty. MotE successfully limits its focus so that it feels like a much more complete game. Some of this, I think, is because of its roots, it retains a more wargame focus. Either I’m just very used to those, or… there’s a good reason why they’re a successful formula. As a final note, I’ll mention that many reviews have pointed it out as a good multiplayer game, because it’s much shorter than a lot of grand strategy games.