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Crusader Kings II: Haggis for Everyone!

In real life, Malcolm III, King of Scotland, ruled from 1058 to 1093. He died marching back to Scotland and was ambushed by the Earl of Northumbria. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Donald III. 

That was history.

In Crusader Kings II…history had a different path for Malcolm…

The invasion of England by Norway was a success and England was basically removed from the map for a time, as only a few pockets of resistance held on. Instead of marrying Margaret of Wessex (later known as Saint Margaret) Malcolm married the daughter of King Harald of Norway. They would stay married for years – into their 60s. So what if she was insane? She loved Malcolm. She was just nuts. They would even receive the “Deeply in love” trait.

Malcolm’s sons, Duncan (the heir) and Domnall, start the game in 1066 as children: ages 9 and 8 respectively. Malcolm would have two children with the crazy Norwegian princess: a daughter named Elsa (who died at age 13) and a son named Gregory. Gregory would grow up to be a master theologian and serve on his father’s council.  He would later be cast out of the kingdom for being a homosexual heretic who demanded more land from his father.

Duncan, Malcom’s son, in real life ruled Scotland for a VERY brief time (1094) before being murdered. In Crusader Kings II Malcolm would outlive him. Duncan would die of illness at the age of 51 before ever taking the crown. Malcolm would reign into his 67th year on Earth – now old and gray, his lunatic wife still by his side, all of the crazy plots and demands to be made spymaster long forgotten.

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Scotland, during the reign of Malcolm III would retake Caithness from Norway (King Harald was long dead and Norway’s queen had been excommunicated by The Pope so all was fair game and Caithness was Scotland’s to own.)  The Duke or Moray, vassal to Malcolm and lifelong loyalist to him, would embark on a mini crusade to take over Ireland in the name of Scotland. When Malcolm’s reign ended half of Ireland was flying Moray’s colors.

Malcolm would gain titles, win wars, and expand Scotland’s borders. The Isle of Man, Argyll, Galloway and Carrick would all submit to Malcolm’s authority. He would expand crown authority in Scotland, adding more and more money to the coffers.

Norway would slowly lose ground in what was southern England and the country of Lancaster would be founded in its place. France would take over much of Spain and Poland would dominate Eastern Europe.

As Malcolm’s reign neared its end, his grandson, John, the son of his dead father Duncan, would claim heir rights and was next in line to take Malcolm’s crown. John would make claims on lands owned by Malcolm while he was still King. Malcolm was a warrior king and was planning to confront his grandson, who was clearly power hungry and couldn’t wait his turn…

…when a giant meteor slammed into the planet in the year 1109 and killed every living thing on it. In other words, I added the latest patch and it killed my save game file, losing Malcolm’s journey forever to the sands of time.

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Oh well. Time to try out the Hundred Years’ War …

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.

14 thoughts to “Crusader Kings II: Haggis for Everyone!”

  1. Damn, and here I was wondering if the Viking craziness was going to carry on through the generations.  Not to put salt on your wounds here, but about how long in playtime did it take you to go through those 46 years?  These diaries are making me really want to play the game, but gaming time is hard to come by nowdays.  

    And Paradox has been talking all about their “commitment to QA” too…

  2. To be fair to PDox here the game is incredibly stable and I think I had a press copy that was an earlier build. A lot of people have had no save game issues.

    Playtime? Hard to say — 10 hours easy.

  3. These have been great Bill, thanks for the (revised) history lessons of Malcolm III.  I’m intrigued, but also plagued by an older laptop which may not be able to run the thing.  Crusader Kings II doesn’t seem to be a graphical juggernaught, but I imagine that there is some heavy math happening on the back end. How is it running on your machine, is it a system hog? 

  4. Oof that’s rough.

    Your diaries made me download the demo.  I went through the tutorials and played around with it for 45 minutes or so and then… uninstalled it.  I am far far to lazy to overcome that kind of learning curve.  I know I know.. my loss and all that

    But I do love reading them diaries…. I think in the end I like the idea of strategy games, (or I imagine myself as a person that enjoys strategy games) but in reality don’t really have any true patience for them.  

  5. Is every game going to play out like your? The part I have enjoyed about these diaries is how different they are from the actual events. If I play through it I want my ownhistorical time line based on my decisions. Is that how this works?

  6. JayCee,

    I’m running CKII on my laptop, and the game runs great. Here are my specs for comparison:


    CPU: Intel i5 series @ 2.4 gHz (2 cores)

    RAM: 8GB

    Graphics Card: Intel HD 3000


    2.4 gHz is minimum specification according to Paradox. My graphics card is way under specs according to a couple of comparison websites I’ve looked at, but it doesn’t seem to matter all that much. In fact, my laptop runs the full version better than it ran the demo.

    As with any anecdotal evidence, take this with a few grains of salt; this is the first PC game I’ve purchased in years, and I have virtually no knowledge of graphics cards beyond the research I did in deciding whether to purchase CKII. Good luck!

  7. It will be totally different. Troy was also playing Scotland and “his” Malcolm died in like 1075 which changed the entire game. Norway won’t take England every game either. There ar SO many variables that it’s impossible to have the same experience twice even if you re-play the same lord.

    Nothing is set — your world will undoubtedly be different than mine.

  8. Ouch!

    I have had entirely too many games go the way of the incompatible patch update.

    Then again, I have problems getting through the “full” campaign of any Paradox title, but the amount I do get through is always worth the ride….

  9. Hi everyone!  I’m pretty interested in this game based on all the enthusiasm pouring out of NHS . . . but I have performance problems in the demo.  My gaming rig is a barely competent laptop.  The game hangs up, has lag, and the music cuts in and out, when swapping menus occasionally.  I haven’t had any crashes out of the demo, though.

    Is the performance any better in the full release as compared to the demo?

    Also, does the game’s general performance decline as you get further in the game and it is crunching more numbers, like some other games like Civ?


  10. Thanks for talking more CKII… I always wait on Paradox games until about 6 months in when a couple of balancing patches have come out. This time, it’s an enforced wait since my computer is such a piece of crap. When I do get a new one, though, I’m going straight to this game. Everyone previewing/reviewing this has been telling exactly the kind of stories I like to hear from a game.

  11. Have some random alien throw itself at you, then you can decide whether or not to bang it.  If you do, you get to decide what to do with the bastard offspring.


    (Oops.  This was supposed to be in the ME 3 thread)

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