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A medieval wargame played on your computer. It was spun off from the popular game Europa Universalis. The first version of Crusader Kings had some file corruption bugs that were never properly patched, so most people play Crusader Kings II. The game uses historical figures and situations, so you cannot create a realm of anthropomorphic penoids like in Spore. Still obtainable via abandonware vendors.
Crusader Kings II
Okay so this is what most of you probably came for. A.K.A "I murdered my gay heretic son in favor of my retarded syphilitic other child because he is more obedient and fertile and got my balls cut off by Greek captors."
Crusader Kings II is best summed up as a Dynasty Simulator. You play the part of the head of a dynasty of nobles as your families fortunes wax and wane through the ages. While initially you could only be various flavors of medieval European noble houses, complete with coat of arms, later expansions would eventually broaden the range of playable experiences to include Arabic harem masters, Mongolian hordes, VIKINGS, Jewish tribes, merchant republics and more, the basic gameplay remains the same: Gain enough power to survive the tides of history and reach the highest score possible when the game ends.
While that might be the "objective" of the game, (such as: Restoring the Roman Empire and Fucking up all of Europe on the side, Taking Holy Relics back from filthy Heretics, Forming a Holy Roman Empire on Steroids, etc.) the real meat of the gameplay lies in how you guide your character through their lives. Their short, brutal, adultery-filled lives. For example, starting from a petty duke of Murchad, some Irish noobland, ending up a syphilitic, dwarven, insane Holy Roman Emperor having a horse for a courtier, dying fighting the Jewish Mongols in pagan Lithuania.
Is no longer being worked on by the devs at Paradox because they have announced the next game, Crusader Kings III coming out sometime in 2020.
Crusader Kings II Basically follows a simple premise: You're a King/High King/Sultan/Deathlord on a Horse let loose in a world of Heresy, Shitty Friends, Homeless shitheads that wanna make a kingdom out of your existing kingdom and strangers who want to torture you for fun, have fun. Almost immediately you can do whatever the hell you want. See that country right there? You can take it. You wanna have some crazy-ass Harem? You can do that too. The real challenge of the game is keeping your Vassals happy so they don't poison you, keeping your title away from the hundreds of bastards your predecessor left behind, and making sure your next-door neighbor doesn't surprise you with an army of angry Heretics standing at your front doorstep.
Some More Detail
The game world for CK2 is Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Central and Southern Asia as well as what we would consider Western China. The map is then divided into whole mess of little territories called counties. Each county is/can be part of a duchy, each duchy part of a kingdom and each kingdom in turn, can be, or already is a part of an empire. Depending on which game start date you choose (Early Middle Ages of 769, the Viking Age of 867, the Iron Century of 936, the High Middle Ages of 1066 or the Late Middle Ages of 1337) will determine what kingdoms and empires are on the map.
Once you make your choice of start date,
you select an independent realm (usually a kingdom but you can select down to a count who rules only one county if you wish) You can then choose any start landed character independent or no whose highest title is above Barony I.E. Counts and, if you have the proper DLC, can then make you're own ruler. Designing the ruler is divided into a few steps, not unlike making a character for typical RPG. You start by designing their looks which is dependent on their ethnicity (you can mix things up too, making a Bedouin woman in Finland or an Irish man in Sri Lanka if you want), then you move on to design their family crest/coat of arms. After this you get to the meat of your character where you choose a bunch of traits for them to increase or decrease their stats. The five "main" stats are Diplomacy (how well you can chat with these inbred asses), Martial (how well you can cleave that Viking berserker in half), Stewardship (how well you can manage your vassals as well as how many you can handle), Intrigue (want to poison your daughter-sister-wife? This is the stat you want) and Learning (how well can you read and/or reason). Three other sub-stats play a big part of the game as well - Health (pretty simple to understand), Fertility (how likely you are to have a kid when doing the nasty) and Age (do you need an explanation on this one?). Every trait you pick raises and/or lowers almost all of your traits and may also affect how others treat you. For example, you could start the game as a Genius (boosts all of your stats basically) but you're paying for it by being older. If you have a lot of good traits but are too old to survive more than a day without someone spoon feeding you prunes, you could take a couple of debilitating traits such as Inbred though that carries a lot of stat, health and fertility penalties as well.
Once your character is made and you're in the game, your ultimate goal is survival of your bloodline, and always have legit successor. Everyone and their Anti-Pope wants your lands. You can turn enemies into friends, friends into enemies and convert to heresies but everything you do comes at a cost of either manpower, gold, prestige or piety (usually combinations of them as well). And you want babies, lots of them. The more kids you have, the more likely at least one won't end up in some Sultan's prison and the more likely you are to let your dynasty continue. Once your character dies (from plague, war, poison, old age or otherwise), if you have an heir that holds territory or inherits your lands, they are your new character. Hopefully you raised them right and they are not inbred, slow, left-handed, cruel heretical zealots.
Some Silly Things
With all of the expansions, the devs have added quite a bit of hilarious little content to the game. Some of these are:
- Playing chess with Death himself for your life.
- Joining a few peasant children to play a tabletop game of figures arrayed against each other, all attacks and armor saves determined with ballistic/assault phases. Now where did we hear that before?
- Inventing flight but wrecking the wingsuit as the baker's son is too fat to maintain lift.
- Being able to break the map up so there are no kings or emperors and half the map is filled with anthropomorphic cats, dogs and dragons.
- Hearing heavy metal covers of Christmas songs during December IRL.
- When sieging Tuscany, Italy, you may be counterattacked by "Tuscan Raiders."
- Literal Cthulhu worship if you are a lunatic pagan.
- Eating an immortal courtier and gaining its powers.
- Blaming the baker's wife and imprisoning her for 20 years to make sure you are slick.
- Sinking so deep into madness that you can declare turnips to be currency, or reach the zenith of madness and make a horrible decision; declaration of Universal Rights of Humanity, ensuring no one in your territories will be discriminated on race, skin, religion or gender, torture is illegal, and the height of civil rights will be reached. Can you imagine? In 1200?
- Making a horse a member of your council and being able to marry her. He in turn, can spawn horse children from human wives who will spread across the world and make the whole world a Game of Thrones...of horses.
- All Greek nobles eat up CPU in philosophizing about castrating EVERY OTHER NON-GREEK. Yes. Google it.
All in all, these little things will pale in comparison to the insanity your personal game will have (such as your spymaster putting a hit out on himself to prevent him from finding out about a hit he put out on himself), but they are always fun to see and reinforce that this is just a game.
- After the End - What if, instead of Medieval Europe, the game takes place in post-apocalyptic North America?
- Triforce Kings - CK2 with The Legend of Zelda races and characters.
- Elder Kings - From the mad mind of Bethesda, the world of Tamriel is yours to conquer. Ever wondered what an Argonian Empire in Skyrim would be like? This one is for you.
- A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin would be proud from all the murder, incest and intrigue you get up to in this game. Comes with multiple start dates as well.
Plenty of others that run the gamut from adding magic, laser guns and more. Make sure they are up-to-date with your version of the game and enjoy.