Greetings everyone, Paradox Syndrome will be a series of critical and perhaps overly pessimistic (I tend to necro when I think that something has not lived up to its potential) evaluations of aspects of Paradox Interactive's grand strategy series and its influence on other grand strategy games. For this evaluation I think that I will start with two connected aspects; one will be mana in its various forms and the other will be the goals which these games encourage the player to work towards. Mana is something which has made something of a comeback in recent strategy games therefore it is efficacious to define mana, essentially, mana is a representative currency which can be spent to instantly perform an action, some examples are the monarch powers in Europa Universalis IV and the faith mechanic in Sid Meier's Civilization V. Some Paradox Interactive games do not include mana but the ones that do take it as far as possible, Europa Universalis IV has three major types of mana which are used for almost everything from developing the economy to raising stability to recruiting leaders to reducing war exhaustion. Mana is reflective of a general attitude in Paradox's developers. In paradox games there are other things which show this mode of thinking. One of these is the manpower system. I like the idea behind manpower, but I dislike how detached it is, I think that there should be some sort of effect on your economy if you conscript hundreds of thousands of young men into the army, but as it is manpower is basically just a timer for increasing the size of your army/replenishing losses and therefore a timer for war. Manpower is detached from economy. Absolutism also reflects the mindset, absolutism is by no means a form of mana, yet it does reflect another arbitrary statistic which is required to expand rapidly during the mid-late game. Now I will talk some about the goals which Paradox games encourage the player to work towards, in Paradox grand strategy games, the goal is pretty much to become the greatest power, the player usurps the power and wealth of other empires and becomes #1. Yay, you will not have any challenge from this point on! But I find that after this the games become quite boring, once you have grown to be so large there is really no meaningful goals to attain. The games do not have much interesting late game challenges. They try to generate these through late game crisis events like the Prethoryn in Stellaris or revolutions in Europa Universalis, or Sunset Invasion in Crusader Kings, but these things, once again do not hurt major powers nearly as much as minor ones and can be quite grindy and feel quite arbitrary to me. This has been a very negative post overall with me taking cheap shots at Europa Universalis in particular, I think that I will do another one of these where I focus on more positive effects of Paradox's products and many of their better ideas. But, I do enjoy playing some of their games and I do not wish to ruin other people's fun, so if you enjoy Europa Universalis or any other Paradox Interactive games then do not enable a stranger on a forum to ruin your fun.