yeah you read that right.
so as i’ve talked about before, EU4 has various tech groups that its cultures fall into. and as i mentioned before, i actually like the idea of making the country that i’m playing, Brythonia, non-western, for reasons i previously discussed. but that got me thinking. people see the british isles as a heretic backwater in this world. france is a shattered mess being gobbled up with an italian crown. spain is facing a re-reconquista by sultanate of algiers. the holy roman empire is powerful, yes, but lotharingia, bavaria, saxony and mecklenburg stand independent, and challenge its power.
what if the perceived “center of civilization” in this timeline isn’t northern/western european? it certainly has the potential to tip that way if spain, portugal and brythonia begin colonization projects (and this is going to be a “cheap” source of westernization for them, i’ve decided) but if i look at where the actual great powers of “europe” are… we have sardinia, algiers, byzantium (even in the midst of its civil war with a breakaway greece), croatia, a mongol khanate in arabia. moreover, outremer crusader states, whose western population is mostly italian, have thrived in egypt and jerusalem. the center of civilization, for these people, is as it ever was! around the Mediterranean. most of these states are the heirs, geopolitically if not culturally, of great, ancient empires. rome, carthage, babylon, egypt, macedonia. what if these Mediterranean states felt more kinship with one another than they necessarily did with their religious brothers? seeing themselves, perhaps, as stewards of their brothers of the faith, and equals with the great empires of other faiths.
relations with the mongols are likely to be somewhat frostier. they don’t SEEM like our sort. but they come from far to the east and have a strange eastern religion, and maybe that gives them some legitimacy as heirs to an unknown “cathay”.
in such a world racism probably doesn’t function on skin colour (though it may yet, if the triangle trade develops in the same way). people who are assimilated members of a properly ancient culture get a pass, barbarians are looked down on.
some of the biggest, baddest nations don’t fit this model of course. crimea, poland and mali are big, threatening and powerful. but there were similar states outside of the “west” in our history too, so i’m not too bothered by it.
so what would this actually mean in gameplay terms?
croatia, serbia, the greek empires, jerusalem, egypt and algiers and the ilkhanate are now “western” where previously they (or their vanilla equivalents) were in eastern or muslim tech groups. ilkhanate maaaay be in the ottoman tech group if it still exists just because they’re likely to be an insane engine of destruction in the western tech group, needs testing.
the french, british, spanish and scandinavian states are now in the “eastern” tech group. they have an option for cheap westernization if they can tip the poles of europe by building colonial empires (fairly likely for britain and spain)
not sure what to do about germany. switzerland is probably western. if the ottoman tech group exists then germany might fit well in there. otherwise, torn between eastern and western for them.
mali, ifat and oman are the only cultures still in the “muslim” tech group at the start date. this is a significant upgrade for mali.