Tips on How to Start Playing Crusader Kings II
If there’s one game that combines the element of war, intrigue, religion and politics, it’s Crusader Kings II.
This grand strategy game which was developed by Paradox Development Studio is a sequel to Crusader Kings. Since its release last February 2012, the game has received worldwide positive acceptance. It has over more than 1 million copies sold only 2 years after its release.
For those that are not familiar with Crusader Kings II, it’s a game set in the Middle Ages and you play as a medieval ruler trying to gain more influence, power and territory. To achieve success for your dynasty, you would need to have strategic use of marriages, war and assassinations among many other things.
As a player, your main objective is to gain as many piety and prestige points as possible in order to surpass the various historically relevant European dynasties in a fictional prestige ranking. Crusader Kings II is a game about people: your dynasty, your lovers, vassals, family members and enemies.
What makes this game so compelling is the personal element added to it. You are not in charge of an abstract nation; instead the fate of your family is in your hands. It follows the life cycle of human beings – marriage, having kids, death and then an heir will take over and the whole thing begins again. Developing a real personal connection with your characters is inevitable. You will cheer for every triumph they have and mourn their death.
How do you actually play Crusader Kings II?
Below are some tips on how to get started on this addicting game.
Start as an Irish count
This is probably the first tip every veteran Crusader Kings II player will tell you.
You can start as early as 1066 in this game, so go ahead and pick the Stamford Bridge start date then pick a Count in Ireland to play as. It does not matter which one, as long as you pick one that is not too old. Each county in Ireland is its own ruler in 1066. Choosing this timeline will let you learn the ins and outs of the game without having to worry that bigger nation will bother you and impose their rules on you. It’s easy to work your way up from Count to Duke and finally on to declaring yourself as King or Queen.
Before moving on to the next step, pause the game and spend some time familiarizing with the user interface, especially the top left panels. Majority of your gameplay options are in this section.
Create a Family
Remember that in this game, you are not playing as a single character or as a nation, but as an entire dynasty. Crusader Kings II holds lineage and family as the most important things. You don’t want to face defeat when your character dies without an heir to inherit your dynasty.
With this being said, the very first thing that you must do is to get married and secure yourself an heir. Rule for long enough and you can make some changes to succession laws to affect the type of heir you will have. Most likely though, first born sons are made as heir.
Fabricate Some Claims
Improving your realm is important if you want your dynasty to grow for your future generations. One way to do this is by raging wars, though you have to carefully assess if raging war against other dynasties is necessary.
Before you can raise your own troops, you would need to acquire a valid claim first. Though there are several ways that you can gain a claim, you would need to fabricate one during the early stage. This is where your Chancellor can help you. You can find your council by clicking the first button to the right of your portrait in the UI. You should always have a full council, where each of them has three tasks that you can assign. One of those tasks is to fabricate claims.
Before jumping in though, make sure that you spend ample time in checking out the different map modes that are available in the game. Check out the De Jure Duchies view as well as which duchy your current county is part of. In Ireland, chances are you will be part of a two county duchy, so you want to fabricate the claim on the other county. Issue the order to your diplomat and wait until that claim comes through.
It’s Time for War
Now that you have fabricated some claims, you are now ready to go to war.
A number of regular strategy gamers might find this stage disorientating. First, you need to remember that you don’t specifically train troops. Instead, you are provided with levies by every county in your realm that you need to raise. You will be provided of the maximum troops that your own holdings can and you can build and improve buildings to increase the number of your troops.
You should create and maintain good relationship with your vassals as the troops that they are providing depends on the laws you set and how much they like you. If you want to know the number of troops that your vassal can provide, simply hover your mouse over your vassals troops counts in the military panel.
Once war has been declared, beat down your opponents with your raised troops then sit on his holdings to siege them. Winning the war enables you to expand your realm by claiming your neighbor as part of it. This is why playing in Ireland at the start of the game is a wise choice. You can easily claim yourself as Duke and raise your prestige, so long as you can raise the funds to claim the title.
Repeat stages 3 and 4 around the rest of Ireland until you can bring your supremacy to the entire country.
Strategy games like Crusader Kings II will certainly challenge your mind. If you’re up for more games like this, click here to check out more tips about games under this genre.