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Europa Universalis (EU) is a grand strategy video game released on March 14, 2000 by Paradox Interactive and distributed in North America by Strategy First. Originally based on a French board game of the same name by Philippe Thibault, Europa Universalis lets the player take control of one of seven European nations (others are available in different scenarios) from 1492 to 1792, expanding its power through military might, diplomacy, and colonial wealth. The game takes place on a map divided into approximately 1,500 provinces, and proceeds in a pausable real time format. The lead game programmer was Johan Andersson.