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Crusader Kings II: Holy…

When we last left Malcom III, King of Scotland, he was contemplating whether to help King Harald, his Viking Father in Law in a war of independence in Norway. Malcom thought about it. Mulled it over in his keep. Raised a paltry army and …went hunting with his boys.

His scheming wife, the daughter of Harald, is still trying to have every low level potential heir to the throne killed in the most gruesome way imaginable. Good thing she’s a fertile lass. She’s power hungry and I am convinced totally nuts.

So I leave Harald to fight his renegade son and consider the issues in Scotland…

The immediate issue is that Moray has launched a Ducal War in Buchan. These Scottish nobles are bickering over scraps and Malcom isn’t powerful enough of a king to stop it. Scotland at this time has a king, sure, but the vassals can do basically what they want. If a Scottish Duke thinks he has a claim to another title he may just attack that noble without even telling Malcom what he’s up to. Malcom is loved at this point but not totally trusted and definitely not thought highly enough to be asked whether or not a noble can go to war. Independent buggers.

So it was quite a shock to see a quiet Scotland in 1077 and all of a sudden these armies just pop up and start duking it out.

“Hey I’m the king!”

“Oh King, eh? Very nice.”

No one cares.

After Moray kills Buchan and basically takes his land and titles, Moray then launches another attack on a claim in Argyll – which is under the thumb of the Duchy of the Isles, an area in western Scotland that I have wanted a piece of since I started the game.

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Crusader Kings II is all about picking your spots when it comes to alliances. You don’t need to know the history to enjoy this game (it helps) but you do need to understand that picking your allies is crucial. Ever watch the show The Tudors? Or in a way A Game of Thrones? That’s what this game is like.

Moray, for example, is tight with Malcom. And even though he took Buchan I decide to support his claim to Argyll – this allows me to go to war and what do you know – but Moray DIES in the battle and his 10 year old son takes over control of his realm. Actually his regent takes over but seeing that I have a 12 year old daughter who thinks the kid is as cute as a button…and as luck would have it Little Moray has the traits “Weak” and “Ill” I REALLY don’t see that little rascal living past 20. And if he does I always have my lunatic wife I can call on in a pinch. So a marriage is in order and I wonder who is gonna get all this land when he dies?  I wonder….

Anyway after a tough fight Moray and Malcom combine to take Argyll and Scotland enters a time of peace. For four years very little happens in the highlands. Sure some nobles die and I switch up my council a bit. The local mayor dies. He was a dick though. A few kids come of age and get tutors. Oh, yeah, and Malcom decides to TOTALLY change the inheritance laws of the realm, issuing Gavelkind which makes my oldest son and his wife LOSE THEIR MIND.

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Read this and you’ll see why. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavelkind

In short, my eldest son isn’t going to get everything. This takes his opinion of me into the toilet but every other child I have now LOVES them some Malcom. They feel like they have a chance. Not that they’d …kill each other over this or anything.
Other than that not much happens for several years. I upgrade my keep…which in this era basically means adding a small wall and another market stall. Easy to forget 1080 Scotland is a pretty rough place even for the nobility.

And out of the blue The Pope Phone rings. This is rarely, if ever, good news.

The Pope, who is known to be incompetent,  has issued a Crusade in Ascalon. Sweet Jesus – in Ascalon? That requires taking a series of galleys from Scotland, sailing AROUND Spain, past Italy and waving at the Parthenon and landing in what is now modern Jordan. If I don’t do this the Pope – who remember doesn’t like me to begin with – could excommunicate me. That’s bad.  

I’d call King Harald to help but he died in 1081. Norway is now almost totally in control of what was England with only a few pockets of resistance left. It’s just flat out cool to watch what would have been a world history changing event take place in a game.  

So. 1080’s sailing tech, in Scotland (these are not Viking boats we have here) sailing all around the Mediterranean to land in a faraway land where we have NO idea how many pissed of Ascalonians will be waiting…

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What could possibly go wrong?

Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

7 thoughts to “Crusader Kings II: Holy…”

  1. The CKII demo alone ate up days of my life. So far I’ve spent over 11 hours as the Earl of Carrick, then became the Earl of Carrick, Galloway, the Isle of Man, and Ulster. Then the Duke of Galloway. Now the King of Ireland. Scotland had better watch their arses, because as soon as I’ve finished conquering my De Jure counties on the green isle, I’ll be setting my sights on the Scottish throne!

    …and for shits and giggles I’ve been marrying persians and demanding they convert to christianity.

    If you want an easy way to take over a particular county without waiting for your chancellor to fabricate a claim, you can look at the claimants to that title, find otu who will accept an invitation to your court, and then declare a war of succession on behalf of that person. If you win, you gain the county as part of your holdings, and the person you waged the war for takes it over as your vassal. This can only be done for people of lower rank than you though. As a Duke, you can’t make the claimant of another Duchy your vassal. Earls can’t make anyone vassals…except maybe barons.

  2. You’re really making me want to pick this game up, Bill.

    Not good, as I’ve been spending way too much money recently.

  3. Now that I’ve played the demo–for way too long last night, actually–I agree with you wholeheartedly on the addictive power this game holds. I don’t think I should play it any more for the sake of my feeble social life, but I really want to.

    Does the retail game differ from the demo in any substantive ways? I had trouble with the interface–though, granted, I’ve not played a game like this before. I don’t usually go for real-time strategy. In fact, I think the last “strategy” game I played was X-Com UFO Defense/Enemy Unknown. I would really like to bring up two characters at once to compare stats, especially if I were trying to marry two people with complementary skillsets. Is that even something I should be worrying about? I want my vassals to be good at their jobs, of course . . . but I don’t want them to be too good.

    The game seemed to chug on my laptop, but I don’t know whether that’s because of my processor or my video card (I don’t play PC games much either–can you tell?). There is no way to change graphics quality in the demo; is there a way to do it in the retail game?

     

  4. I too have just started a new game as Wales. I quickly began by inviting Persians to my court and marrying them off to my family again…however, this had the entertaining quirk of creating the “Sultanate of Wales” when I united the kingdom.

    Sultan Bledynn I of Wales is raking in the cash too. Creating an Anti-Pope gives me 22+ income per month just from 5 counties!

    Also; an addendum to my point below about inviting title claimants to court. I figured out today that they wont become your vassal unless the county is part of your De Jure lands, or unless they’re part of your dynasty. So to get counties and duchies that aren’t part of your De Jure lands, you have to marry the claimants into your family and wait for kids…or maybe marry their kids into you family and wait for grandkids? I’m still experimenting…

  5. 851018 992979Really properly written story. It will likely be valuable to anyone who usess it, including yours truly . Maintain up the excellent function – can?r wait to read a lot more posts. 845092

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