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08 February 2011 @ 03:35 pm
Crusader Kings  
I have no idea how come I'd never run across this game before, it's been out for years & years (2004 originally I think, maybe?), and it seems to be right up my street. You control a dynasty initially in charge of a kingdom or dukedom or county in high medieval Europe. There seem to be 3 times you can start, one of which is 1066 and the game runs through to 1452 and the end of the medieval era. You get to do things like choose the basic laws of your realm, set taxation levels, raise armies, marry off your children, form alliances with other realms etc etc. Once your main guy dies the inheritance laws you've set determine who the heir is - and he has a whole different set of friends and rivals (and a different personality) so you have to start almost over and keep the dynasty going towards its longer term goals. I believe once you get to 1452 the "winner" is the realm that's highest ranked, but I've not got to the end of a game so I don't actually know how that works!

I heard about the game via the Civilization community I lurk in (Realms Beyond), and I've jumped into a tutorial/showcase succession game running there - that thread is worth a look if you're interested in the game because Mist (who's captaining the game) knows what he's doing and has played the first turnset giving us a very thorough tutorial. Thankfully I'm quite far down the end of the list, so by the time my 10 years turnset rolls around I should have a handle on the game enough not to embarrass myself ;)

In the solo game I've started I decided to use one of Mist's other suggested starting points from our game planning thread - so I started off as Duke of Lombardia. Note that Mist describes this as a filthy rich dukedom & I still managed to crash the economy pretty quickly. Oh, and I got him excommunicated straight off because I changed to a set of laws that the Pope wasn't keen on. But that Duke died off fairly quickly (of old age), so that was OK as the heir wasn't involved ;)

So here's about 18 months worth of stuff from my game - first tho, a quick look at who's who:

main man Fulco

This is my main man at the moment - Duke Fulco. He's average at war, a little crappy at intrigue and pretty good at diplomacy and stewardship. His liege is Heinrich of Germany, and he has one vassal (his big brother, who is also second in line to the dukedom after the child heir). You can see he is married and has 3 kids.

the wife

I picked his wife out because I needed a spy-master and she's got quite a good intrigue stat (she's even better at diplomacy, which seems to've slipped past my notice - I'm just learning my way around still and it shows). Note she only has 2 kids, one of Fulco's is a bastard. Also note she's friends with her husband, which is convenient but not really necessary ;)

the kids

I've fostered out the bastard, and put him into court education in the hopes he'll be useful to the heir Gabrino later on. The daughter will eventually get married off, hopefully making someone somewhere happy with Lombardia. Kids develop traits & stats as they grow up, and get educated which affects stats.

the realm

On the left there I'm looking at who my courtiers are - only men can be Marshals or Bishops, so you either have to grow your own or hope for someone eligible to decide to join your court. But for the other three positions you can try and marry your sons (daughters go away, remember) to a woman with decent stats in the area you want - hence Fulco with his spy-master wife. The main stat for a court position is added to your ruler's stat to affect things in game - like the martial stat affects how many troops you can have, so you want high numbers for you courtiers.

The main picture is a "relational" map and shows us Lombardia (my main county) and Pavia (the other one I rule directly) in the darkest green. Also Grisons in the mid-green, ruled by my vassal (keeps big brother occupied and out of trouble, and there's a limit to how much you can directly rule anyway). And the pale green are also part of Heinrich's kingdom of Germany (I think).

So over about 18 months from March 1092 what happened? Well, Fulco got ill rather inconveniently:


The wee red heart indicates that (the tooltip is offset). You can see that affects various stats, and carries a risk of death. A couple of times over 1093 (May & December) a miracle worker came by and tried to cure him:


(Tooltips are offset again, those are the three options in order). I paid up, hoping for the best, but had no joy. He eventually got better spontaneously in 1094 *phew*

Back in May 1092 we had a bishop arrive (just as well, I had no-one in my court with an ecclesiastical education):

new bishop

Pavia was building stuff - finished a Royal Post in March 1093:

Royal Post

And started a Court of Justice:

Court of Justice

Sadly the typhoid rampant in Lombardia meant everything was taking 900% longer time to build, and in April 1093 dysentry spread to that county as well. This means my economy is pretty shot, too, as the diseases also drive down income.

My kids are still growing though, and in Dec 1093 I was able to decide on Gabrino's future role in life:


He's heir, so I didn't think an Ecclesiastical Education was quite right (he'd end up only suitable to be a Bishop). And at the moment I don't have conquering plans (putting your army out in the field costs a lot of gold, and until the typhoid and dysentry die down I don't have much income from Lombardia). So court education it was, which will hopefully work out well (that fits you for tasks like Chancellor, Spy Master and Steward) and give me a well-rounded future ruler.

And that's 18months, or so - it's a neat mix of reacting to random events (illness etc) and of holding long range plans in my head (not that they're all that plan like at the moment - build up economy, go stomp on a couple of neighbours is the limit of the plans). J reckons he can tell I'm into the game, coz I keep forgetting to cook dinner on time ;)
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Emily Portman "The Glamoury"
Fortune depends on the tone of your voicebopeepsheep on February 8th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC)
Ohhhh, that sounds really good.

I'm horribly engrossed in the *cough* civ *cough* alpha on FB at the moment but when that's done and dusted and into open beta I will look out for this.
Margaretpling on February 8th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)
(After getting sucked into Project Legacy on FB, I'm more intrigued by Civ (once it hits open beta, cba to try & get involved in the more closed stuff) - still a little unsure how it'll work, but I'm sure that's been thought of.)

As CK is so old it's pretty cheap on amazon (I paid about £8 for it), too :) Also - depending on when you get time to play you might want to wait for Crusader Kings II, which is apparently out later this year.
Fortune depends on the tone of your voicebopeepsheep on February 8th, 2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
Ah, may wait for that then.

Civ on FB - it's interesting but I'm not really supposed to talk about it! It's not 'Cityville with a tech tree', which is what a lot of us were fearing, and the devs are actively playing alongside us and listening to our comments and critiques. We're about to start v4, I think, and there have been quite a lot of player-driven changes in each version. A few major kinks still to iron out, though!
magidmagid on February 8th, 2011 05:03 pm (UTC)
Looks interesting.

I was wondering how the younger son ended up with his elder brother as vassal.
Margaretpling on February 8th, 2011 05:34 pm (UTC)
The inheritance laws I picked were Salic Consanguinuity (mostly because Mist said it was good in his tutorial post). As I understand it that means that your strongest son inherits, strong being determined by titles, prestige and martial stat. So I thought Fulco looked like he had better stats, so made him Count of Grisons (which may be where he started actually, I forget - only took notes for that random 18 months to write this post not from the start of the game). So he was first in line to inherit before his big brother. Now Fulco has the title his strongest son will inherit (bastards don't count) - there's only one at the moment so it'll be Gabrino whether or not he has any titles. If Gabrino dies then Fulco's big brother is next in line (salic inheritance skips any females and all their descendants, so Clorinda is out of luck). The other sorts of inheritance were primogeniture where you've got to hope your first-born legitimate son isn't a loser and gavelkind where your domain is split up till you run out of sons. And semisalic variants of each where females count (good if you look like you're running out of male line descendents). Oh, and Elective Law where it's all about prestige and martial stat, I think. So the consanguinuity one lets you give your favourite enough titles to "win", and influence it.
magidmagid on February 8th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)

Cool that you can choose which inheritance laws to use.
Margaretpling on February 8th, 2011 05:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, and then I gave Fulco's brother the county so that he wasn't hanging about with a chance of causing trouble.