Towards the end of last year I decided to finally get fully acquainted with Europa Universalis IV, overcoming the steep learning curve after 8 or so hours (good by Paradox standards.) The thing that really drew me into the game was how it made me understand things like geo-politics and strategic diplomacy, as well as teaching me a lot about history. Just things like:
"I am Spain, I really want to invade Morocco, as I'd really like more control over the Gibraltar strait, but they're allied with the Ottoman Empire, who are big. Very big. If I attack them, then I'll be in a bloody war that could cost many lives. Meanwhile, France, to the North of me, are no longer my allies, and treat me as a rival. They have their eye on some of my territories. That's even less of a reason to start a war with Morocco, as France would surely take advantage of it. Not to mention their power. Hang on, Russia have problems with both France and the Ottomans. If I make them my rival, I'll possibly be able to call them into a war with me, and at the very least have the insurance of them both being a bit scared of attacking me."
I've always had a passing interest in history, but EUIV really taught me a lot more, making me understand why some countries made the decisions they did when it came to war and alliances. At the initial time of playing, I decided to read Henry Kissinger's World Order, followed by Tim Marshall's Prisoner's of Geography. EUIV really pushed the subject of world politics onto me, particularly history. That's just to mention two, as I'm now currently reading Sean McMeekin's The Ottoman Endgame, which is giving me a lot of amazing insight into the Ottoman/Balkan conflicts before, during and after WWI. That book was bought for me by my girlfriend as I wouldn't shut up about about my EUIV games and all the strategy I put into them. Reading this book in particular is really showing me in that period how often the situation I was in with Spain above actually happened!
I've been interested in history, but EUIV has actually made it into a full blown hobby for me! I was wondering if anyone else had any similar experiences with games they've played? I know a few people (including a friend of mine) who are big Witcher 3 fans, and read the original books.