Paradox Interactive is a video game publisher best known for historically themed strategy video games, but they also release other genre games, mostly role-playing and management simulation games. They are well known for creating downloadable content and consistent game updates.
If you want to play strategy games on a grandiose scale and also learn about history, Paradox will fulfill your curiosity while still maintaining the fun aspect of learning through games.
Best Paradox Games
We are here to play games and have fun, and Paradox games deliver that with the touch of the past. If you are a historian, you will love reliving moments in these twenty best Paradox games.
Prison Architect is a sandbox city building simulation, although you build prison bars and all the necessary rooms to keep a prison functioning day and night. The real challenge here is to micro-manage as your faculty expands with increasing prisoners.
Fights are breaking out, gangs violating one another, destruction of property, and many more. Things might run smoothly one minute and go all haywire the next minute. Trying to maintain order while providing the necessary conditions is the game’s ultimate goal.
The game is pretty easy to set up, but it gets challenging with adding new features such as infirmary, supply closet, security system, etc. There are so many layers to building and managing that it gets overwhelming, but once you get into the game, it’s addicting.
There is also a satisfying campaign mode that lets you use some awesome tools that show the potential of Prison Architect.
Hearts of Iron IV
Hearts of Iron 4 is a complex grand strategy wargame that takes players into the grand scale of world war two simulation. Playing and mastering the technique is different here because the game provides so much content that learning each strategy to rise victorious makes the game satisfying and fun.
The game simulates the world map of the particular events down to minor details, and altering those events can result in a different outcome from real-world war two. Managing thousands of soldiers and factories might get overwhelming, especially when you are out at war, but the UI providing full information makes the management aspect much less discouraging.
Indulging in political and economic aspects while managing your way to war has never been so entertaining, especially when you are in charge of everything. A true grand strategy game portrays war events from your perspective.
Europa Universalis IV
A grand strategy game largely encompasses the events of the Middle Ages to the early modern period. You can control the entire world of that particular period and change its outcome according to your desire.
Like any other games by Paradox Interactive, where you have tons of information hidden in the interface, Europa Universalis 4 also has a bunch of information the moment you start the game. But unlike Hearts of Iron, the interface is pretty straightforward to navigate.
Starting war or creating peace by an alliance, trading goods, controlling diplomatic relationships. There are so many things you can do in Europa Universalis IV.
Crusader Kings II
Although Crusader Kings 2 is a grand strategy video game, the game tells the story of player-driven characters on an individual level. The sheer amount of chaos that can happen in the game is both memorable and entertaining.
You can go on creating your own set of stories in the grand scale of kingdoms you can reach and characters you can influence. In Crusader Kings 2, we can choose on which day we want to start and have an infinity of possible plays.
There is a whole feature of bloodlines to carry on that spices up the gameplay and also the morale of players as they have a range of possibilities to deal with families. The utter bizarreness of chaotic events is what makes Crusader Kings 2 hold up to this date.
The game is the representation of Europe during the late middle ages from December 26, 1066, to December 30, 1452, and with scenarios such as the Battle of Hastings, the Third Crusade, and the Hundred Years’ war.
With the inclusion of Role-playing elements alongside strategy, the game takes different turns of maintaining relations with other characters and level of trust. Expand your dynasty to conquer the lands to reach out far and wide in this ultimate strategy game of Crusader Kings.
Hearts of Iron II
Take control of the battlefield of World War 2 as you are chosen to authorize any one of hundred seventy-five countries to progress through war taking place from first January 1936 to December 30, 1947.
Prepare your nation for war by building a large military unit consisting of squadrons, naval fleets, and armies while assigning your commander to lead the force under the national flag. The game also touches on the political aspects of the events with economic policies and other factors affecting the nation.
Dealing with such challenges allows players to choose from a number of attributes to better suit their strategy.
Mount & Blade: Warband
A third-person role-playing sandbox game where you can create your own faction and include multiplayer modes in the medieval land of Calradia. Warband is a standalone game of its predecessor, Mount & Blade, introducing a new faction to the game.
From becoming a mercenary to building your own kingdom, you can do anything if you spend enough time and effort in progressing through the game. Although there is no end goal, you have the absolute freedom to do anything and have instant replayability.
Crusader Kings III
Crusader Kings three has an expansive context than that of its predecessors. The game follows the footsteps of Crusader Kings one and two, with the grand strategy dynasty simulator game taking place in the middle ages.
The graphic is updated with tons of new content that are easy to pick up and play, which is welcoming for newcomers. Characters develop their own personal stories through traits and retinue, so there are surprises along the progression that makes Crusader Kings 3 a more personal experience and a memorable one.
Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game
Like any other grand strategy wargame, Darkest Hour also shares its fair amount of content and historical events, such as controlling almost any available country and managing political and diplomatic relationships along with the economic and military departments.
Although it’s a standalone game, Darkest Hour is considered an extension of Hearts of Iron 2: Armageddon. The game is made standalone for easy access for the modding community to tweak the game according to their preference because the version is more focused on compatibility and accessibility.
The Showdown Effect
A 2.5D side-scrolling platform game where you run and gun your opponent. The showdown Effect is an amazing game that takes players back to the era of action-packed fun shooting anything that comes your way.
A multiplayer brawler where you and your friend can battle against one another in fast-paced combat of gunning down your friends or slashing them when approaching at close range. With elaborate and well-thought-out maps, the showdown effect becomes a rapid round of strategically shooting and slashing opponents or using hero ability to better suit the platform design.
The gameplay seemingly uses the effect of light and shadow where the enemy can hide in the fog of war, which makes the game interesting using a cat and mouse mechanic of the game.
Tyranny takes the concept of role-playing similar to that of Pillars of Eternity and spices the game with new and improved content that focuses on its extensive lore.
Character development is masterfully done with back stories that are conveyed by the text-heavy interactive, but the voice acting makes gameplay smooth to the core. Indulge into the immersive world and progress through tons of skills and character development because each choice has its equal and mostly rewarding consequences.
Europa Universalis III
A grand strategy game about a running nation with all the necessary features. You can dwell in warfare, spend time exploring and trading, or be immersed in the deep mechanics of politics and diplomacy.
Take control of a nation and progress through the game by colonizing and taking over other nations to become the ultimate empire of the era. The game setting takes players back to the historical setting between 1399 and 1821, where the player has the freedom to choose any country and build their own form of government, society, trade, and political agenda.
Europa Universalis 3 is carefully crafted to enjoy for its managing aspect as well as its strategy gameplay.
A beautiful game with deep mechanics that is a grand strategy game infused with sandbox elements. Its simple user interface makes the game easy to pick up and play and enjoyable without the need to understand everything at the beginning.
With the inclusion of various aspects to run the country, such as politics, economy, military, and trade, Victoria 2 also becomes a management simulation game where you have to supervise the society to manage resources for the industrial development of your nation.
Paradox Interactive has taken the idea of grand strategy into space with several factions and a space station.
Choose to fight with or against the space outlaws and explore the space for resources by destroying with overly insane planet killer weapons. Ready to claim the entire galaxy by using Faster than light space travel that makes exploration a breeze.
As Stellaris is a paradox game, it has a variety of content ranging from managing the aspect of science faculty and military along to political and diplomatic terms on a galactic level.
Hearts of Iron III
The game is strategized globally and takes place during the events of world war 2. It’s a complex game with layers of strategy from air troops to land military. Everything is meticulously operated down to the very details of the war.
Players might get intrigued by its overwhelming contents, but once you start breaking down every aspect of the game, from military management to resource collection, the game gets really interesting in understanding the way of world war two.
One fun thing is you can change the course of war completely different from its historical accuracy and create your own history.
A grand strategy game takes the concept of all the Paradox games and blows it thousands of times into the vast galaxy. Building an entire galactic empire might be somewhat overwhelming but once you get the basics, controlling your interstellar empire is just as easy as any other Paradox game.
One of the first major expansions of Stellaris, Utopia takes the grand scheme of science fiction strategy and gives new tools to play with the galactic empire and its alien race.
Knights of Honor
The game is set in the medieval era of Europe, where you can pick and play one of the kingdoms from 100 others. As you become the king, you overcome any obstacle that tries to bring you down.
It’s a pretty old game, so the graphics might be dated, but the gameplay still provides tons of enjoyment as you decide to control your troops and your relations with the country, including its economics and politics. As you progress, you gain new perks and unlock new skills in your skill tree.
Knights of Honor is a classic game that provides hours of fun establishing a solid kingdom where you can regulate your empire.
Pillars of Eternity
With its excellent storytelling, diverse classes, and challenging combat, Pillars of Eternity has everything to offer for role-playing medieval fantasy adventure games. The game looks and feels similar to Baldur’s Gate but packs much content into its campaign and story arch.
The game plays more like dungeons and dragons as you explore the fantasy world of Eora by battling and reading the text of NPC you encounter along your journey. You take the role of “Watcher,” a person who can interact with people’s souls and unravel the secrets of their lives.
Pillars of Eternity does a fantastic job with the story and real-time combat with pause mechanics for strategic gameplay.
City skylines is a city-building simulation that takes huge inspiration from sim city. Be the civil engineer of your lands and dwell in urban planning by constructing accessible roads, water supplies, hospitals, schools, and all the faculties required to perfectly run a city.
You start with a plot of land and slowly progress your way up to build larger infrastructures. The growth of your construction depends on the populations who have settled your premise. Maintaining their happiness by fulfilling their basic needs gives rise to the economy, thus unlocking new cities for more construction.
The game tells you little to nothing about surviving on mars, which makes the effort of trial and error much more satisfying and also discovering new ways to sustain life on Mars.
Surviving Mars is a city-building management game at its core with resources to collect and infrastructure to build for people to live healthy and happy life. The game gets extremely addictive after you grasp the game mechanics and how to keep your colony running.
Everything you do can now contribute to the greater society of mars, and failing in any one sector can result in a devastating failure of long and hard-earned progress.