Victoria 2
Short game description

In V2, the player controls the destiny of a freely chosen country in the period 1836-1936, making decisions in the areas of production, trade, finance, research, politics, population development, diplomacy and the military. Although the focus of the game is on the military, there are also economic issues of great importance.

V2 is extremely complex, diverse and comparatively difficult to learn due to its high learning curve. However, if you enjoy such so-called Grand Strategy Games and have overcome the entry hurdles, V2 should be a good long-term companion. Due to its level of difficulty, it is only suitable for older teenagers who have sufficient ability to abstract.

From a technical point of view, V2 does not have any special requirements, but only runs on Windows computers. The basic game costs 20 Euro (reduced 5 Euro) with Steam. The recommended DLCs 'A House Divided' and 'Heart of Darkness' cost another 30 Euro (reduced 15 Euro). V2 is playable in single and multiplayer mode.



Areas of competence


A) Decision and rationality


B) Relationship and interaction


C) Order and system






Division of labour/cooperation
















Oppurtunity costs










Coordination/economic order


Conflict of aims




Reference to other domains:











+ little   ++ medium    +++ much

General Learning objectives

… stichwortartige Aufführung

Further contents:

Economic systems, Industrialisation, Fiscal policy, Industrial policy

Learning potential 

V2 puts the player in the role of a state leader, acting within different political systems (e.g. democracy, monarchy, dictatorship) and political frameworks (depending on the composition of the parliament). Different forms of economic policy with their respective advantages and disadvantages can be pursued within the framework of the associated limits. In doing so, the needs of the population and the economy must be taken into account as much as the state budget, the level of education or military objectives. The role of the citizen can be strengthened by a better understanding of (economic) policy.

Furthermore, V2 can promote thinking in economic categories. Although only a subordinate playful aspect, it is important to keep the needs of the population in mind, so that undesirable events such as revolutions are avoided. A central challenge in the game, on the other hand, is scarcity: Besides money, this applies especially to military units, which cannot be increased arbitrarily because they are bound by the size of the population or the number of possible naval sites. Furthermore, the required raw materials and goods are often not available in the desired quantities. Research points are also scarce and significant, as they can be used to research new and more efficient technologies. V2 has to deal with numerous conflicting goals. This is evident, for example, in the research of new technologies, which are not all available at the same time and improve a wide range of different areas, making prioritisation necessary. Conflicts of objectives are also found in the area of fiscal policy. For example, when setting tax rates and customs duties, on the one hand there is an interest in the highest possible revenues, while on the other hand high taxes result in lower demand, fewer investment opportunities and greater public dissatisfaction. Often, V2 also involves taking singular decisions, each of which favours one goal at the expense of another, for example when it comes to foreign trade policy issues. In some game decisions, cost-benefit considerations have to be made and, if necessary, risks weighed up, which applies, for example, to the question of whether war should be waged against another country (benefits: possible conquest of a region - costs: internationally worse image (infamy points), lost armies and population - risks: danger of not achieving the war aims or losing the war). Growth of economic performance, population and military power is also important for the success of the game. Besides organic growth via investments and population development in V2, growth in V2 is caused by won wars.


V2 contains numerous contents that are important for economic education. Thus the player gets a deeper impression of the course of the Industrial Revolution including the importance of several technical and scientific innovations. In addition, the specifics of different economic systems such as free market economy/laisser-faire, state interventionism or planned economy are dealt with. Decisions in the areas of fiscal policy (tax rates for different population groups, borrowing, expenditure structure), foreign trade policy (customs duties, creation of security reserves in the event of supply bottlenecks) and industrial policy (establishment of certain factories, subsidies, infrastructure) are integral elements of the game.

V2 also illustrates the relevance of the education or qualification of the population as well as the infrastructure for successful industrialisation processes. It also makes it clear that interrelated production chains lead to synergy effects. Finally, information texts on economic ideas and economic scientists are displayed again and again; however, no decisions have to be made in this context, so that they are probably not read by many games.

Economic misconceptions are hardly likely to be encouraged by V2. Although most of the facts are presented in a rather abstract way, the content is hardly objectionable. The only criticism that can be levelled with regard to the economic forms is that the problems of a planned economy (especially low productivity, poor satisfaction of the population's needs) are hardly evident in the game.

From a historical point of view, it must be noted that some starting conditions in 1836 do not correspond to the situation at that time. This can be solved by using the 'Historical Project Mod (HPM)'.

Although historically correct, the warlike element of the game could be evaluated critically from an educational point of view: (Won) wars are militarily and economically beneficial to the course of the game, so that they could be seen as a legitimate, rational means of politics. This can be promoted by the abstract depiction of battles and wars, in which the suffering for soldiers and civilians caused by wars is not reflected.

Although Victoria 2 has significant economic learning potential, its potential for history is much greater. For example, between 1836 and 1936, both global (e.g. colonization, industrialization) and country-specific (e.g. German Reichsfoundation, Japanese Meji Restoration, American Civil War) historical developments are depicted comparatively realistically, especially when using the 'Historical Project Mod (HPM)'. There is also a lot of general information integrated into the game and partly combined with decisions (e.g. Olympic Games leading to improved diplomatic relations, world exhibitions, expeditions, scientific and cultural discoveries, crises like the Polish liberation movement). V2 also improves the understanding of the importance of economic, cultural, technological and military inventions. With regard to wars, V2 makes clear both the motivation for warfare (increased international prestige through wars won, economic power, use of existing military also, alliance obligations) and military strategies (composition of troops, technologies, situation), even if from today's perspective this is seen rather critically from the point of view of peace education.

For political education, there is learning potential through the examination of different forms of government and party systems as well as the political reforms that can be implemented in V2 (including electoral law or freedom of the press). Furthermore, the importance of security alliances, including their deterrent function, becomes clear. The game also raises awareness of the military-strategic importance of certain countries (e.g. Iceland and Hawaii as military bases, Turkey because of its control over access to the Black Sea) or channels (Suez and Panama Canal). The latter is also relevant for geographical education. In addition, the players not only learn about the location of numerous countries, regions and cities, but also get at least a rough idea of their population size and natural resources.

Teaching assignment

For normal teaching V2 cannot be recommended due to its complexity and time consumption. For the same reasons, the game is also only very limited suitable for use in project days or voluntary work groups. For such settings it would be best to explain the game mechanics to the students and give them the opportunity to exchange information about the game and its contents. In this way, V2 could be better managed and access to the game could be created. On this basis, an independent examination of V2 is possible, in the context of which the learning potential described above can unfold. This can be supported by encouraging the players to reflect by asking questions such as:

  • - How do the different economic systems differ from each other?
  • - What are the conflicting goals in the game? How do you deal with them?
  • - What effects do high/low tax rates have on the upper class?
  • - Compare your gameplay with the actual history of the country you have played.
  • - During the game you have got to know several cities and regions. Check which countries they are in today.
Further Links

- Wiki 

- Videoguide

- Instructions for multiplayer-games