Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Crusader Kings II. It's My Island II

In 1066 Duke Murchaid of Munster, of House Ua Briain ruled over a modest demesne. He was unmarried with one adult son (immaculate conception we can only assume) and had three vassals and 16 various courtiers hustling about his court. Two Irish counties were his to command, and a Ducal Claim on the county of Desmond meant there was room for immediate expansion if the necessary armies could be raised.

Oh, Ah, Oh, Eh, We're a Happy Family!

I have some big ambitions, me, and it's best not to waste any time! My overall goal, for this game in any case, is to unite the various counties of Ireland and create the Kingdom of Ireland with me as its head. I also want to change my succession laws to allow my female offspring to inherit land and titles, so one day a Queen may sit on the throne. Further to that I plan to import some 'colour' in the way of exotic spouses because, as we know, the Irish can't tan and too many pasty people running about ruins my mood!

Snog, Marry, Avoid?

In order to change my laws to allow females to inherit I need to have the cultural trait 'Basque'. As the game lasts 400 years, nothing happens immediately and planning for the future is essential. By sending your children off to be educated, they acquire the traits of their mentors- including cultural ones. In order to have a Basque ruler one day, I need to import some Basque blood. Not wanting to settle for some common pot-scrubber, or courtier, I arranged to marry a Basque Princess. Marrying "up" socially provides a bit of a prestige bonus, and the skills of your partner count toward your own total and make your ruler more efficient so choosing wisely is key. In game characters can choose ambitions and the first one available is 'get married'. Easy enough then! With that done a few more options pop up, including the one to kill my new wife. For some reason the game is big on domestic violence and I've found, at times, that is my only option for an official ambition.

After getting married, checking out my vassals, building up my infrastructure, appointing councillors, hosting a grand hunt and few other intrigue events it's time to get busy uniting my island. I use my Ducal claim on my neighbor as an excuse to attack (keep in mind I am using the cheat code to allow an unlimited supply of gold in this game). A randy band of Saxon mercenaries are only too happy to pillage the countryside on my behalf. Ahh, it's good to have gold.

I ensure my line is secure by marrying my heir to a Hungarian Princess and ensure all the other members of my house are busy making babies. There is a lot to do and hours can be spent just learning who's who and what their ambitions are (in fact this entire post represents about 20 hours of game play). My battle goes well (several thousand mercenaries assures it will) and I continue to expand by pressing various claims on my neighbors and taking all the titles that I can. The game throws a lot of random events at you and how you react will affect what happens, sometimes many years down the line.

Sleep with my nephew's wife? You bet!
I like that the character portraits change as you age, and in this case, get the Pox.

In 1081 I enact one of my long term plans by sending my Grandson to my wife to be 'educated'. This will make him Basque and allow for the change in inheritance laws in the future. I've also changed my laws to Primogeniture so my heir will inherit all my titles upon my death. And speaking of death.....

Ahh, it was a good life.
In 1082 Duke Murchad is dead, and my heir, Duke Brian II takes over the reigns of my 10 vassals and various counties. It takes some time to sort out the court and make some unhappy vassals happy. I marry off my half-sister (Duke Murchad's daughter) to the King of France which means I get the prestige of having one of my family as the Queen Consort of France. The king himself doesn't come off too badly either considering she's 16 and he's 33! The side-effect of this new alliance is that he calls on me to help in his holy war which goes so well that once it's over I decide to take over as much of Portugal as I can. By 1088 I can claim the title of Duke of Portugal!

Just what every Irish ruler wants- someplace sunny to vacation.

By claiming titles you get claims on any provinces that are, de jure, a part of it. All the counties in Ireland, for example, are de jure, a part of the Kingdom of Ireland. It allows for expansion and I use it to further my ambitions. You have to be cautious, however, because you are only allowed so many holdings and titles before you vassals get angry and begin to plot against you. In 1091 I have enough provinces under my control to create the Kingdom of Ireland, and a King is born!

The Kingdom of Ireland. Note I'm already expanding east.

In 1094 I succumb to Typhoid Fever while in Spain and my heir takes over.
I spend the next several years pressing my claims in Portugal and expanding into Scotland and Wales. By inviting claimants on those counties and empires, and then pressing those claims in war, you can expand as they become your vassals. You can also strip them of their titles, or assassinate them and appoint who you like. You have to be careful how much power you give a family member with a claim on your throne however, because if they get ambitious it can lead to trouble. In 1104 I finally change my succession laws to allow females to inherit on the same grounds as men. This makes finding spouses very difficult as you have to marry them in matrilineally. Otherwise the new husband will have claim on the wife's holdings and all offspring will be of his house/culture. If often means you will marry your female heirs to commoners as higher borns refuse to give up their own claims to become your consort.

My goals of marrying an exotic fulfilled. My little brown babies will one day rule Ireland!

In 1108 I fall ill and die leaving my female heir to become Queen Gueneroda I of Ireland. Long live the Queen! Or not as we'll see next time.


  1. Oh man. This looks like a civilization game for medieval history nerds. You are making it look really appealing!

  2. That's a really good way of describing it actually! The parallells to Civilization are there with the focus on a long-term dynasty and the massively addicting quality of the gameplay. Just-one-more-year.........

    You can also fast-forward the time up to the point where a day goes by every second or so.

    I'm already looking forward to my next game- cheat free this time- and I'm not even close to being done this one. 20+ hours so far lol.