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 Crusaders Kings 2

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PostSubject: Crusaders Kings 2   Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:00 pm

Crusaders Kings 2 is an interesting game. It is focused on global strategy and doesn't deal with field tactics. Basically even if your character leads his own armies (it can happen) you are mostly involved in the planning that takes place beforehand. It has some RPG elements and flavour in the sense that you are playing one character who is the current leader of a dynasty and as a leader it is your duty to ensure that your blood line will endure through the years (from 1066 to 1453, possibly earlier with the Old Gods expansion). That is your number one goal and for that to happen you have to make sure you pick an heir and more to the point that you pick the right heir (because the character who will take over is the one you will play when the time comes for your current leader to kick the bucket).

Each character is defined by a number of traits and stats that make him or her better at different things. Your advisors help and so does your spouse. Gender is important since we're dealing with the medieval world (mostly Europe and the Mediterranean) women don't have the same power. With few exceptions only males can further your bloodline (women still belong to their original dynasty but their offspring become part of the father's dynasty in most cases).

The game mechanics follow the rules of medieval times. Unless you're a king or an emperor you will probably have a liege who will demand things from you in the same way that you will treat your vassals. You can't mistreat your vassals without risking becoming impopular so most of the time it pays to cajole them (mostly with money and honorary titles) and treat them right unless you can replace them with people who like you more. Otherwise they will start plotting against you. Some vassals can be ambitious and devious while others will be loyal and steadfast. Your own siblings can pose some problems. A character from your bloodline could be plotting to get one of your own advisors killed... That can be messy. Playing a high ranking lord with a vast domain is an entirely different experience.

Your success is measured by your prestige and your piety. Getting in the good graces of the Pope can have large benefits. Dealing with the clergy is important since you have to make sure they like you or they won't give you any income (it all goes to the Pope if they don't like you). Your character traits and your actions play a huge role. Some characters will like you more if you share some traits with them and if you have the same interests. Other characters will dislike you if your traits are at odds with them. If you display some cardinal sins the clergy won't like you because of them.

You also have to take in account the population, if you put too much pressure on them or if you're a foreigner you increase the risks of uprisings. Each leader can control a limited number of domains before getting some penalty. In medieval times you were supposed to delegate power to your vassals and your kin. Concentrating all the lands in your hands is frowned upon (quite an understatement).

Diplomacy is of paramount importance. Mariage is the most direct way to form an alliance with another dynasty. Grooms and brides are all different and it is of the utmost importance to pick the best possible mate for your heir because her stats will be taken into account when defining your character's ability to manage his domain and possibly more importantly she may be able to pass good (and bad) traits to the resulting offspring. Taking care of children is important as well since you can either raise them yourself (and influence their upbringing) or give them as wards to another character (from your court or even another court) so that they may learn some of the traits their mentor have.

War is a bit complicated. Unless you're fighting a crusade or somebody who has been excommunicated you will have to have a specific claim on someone else's fief. If you don't you can't expect to take over. You have to play by the rules of feudal times. Hence the importance of finding people who have valid claims to a territory so you can fight for them and possibly make them your vassals when you succeed or get them to marry people from your own family so people from your own bloodline will have claims on these domains. You can also forge fake claims (and sometimes the AI will do just that in order to justify a war against you). Things can get messy because you have options to assassinate other leaders and conceive elaborate plots against them (or members of your own dynasty). Sometimes an assassination can do more than a regular war would.

This may seem a bit complex but it gets better while playing the game. At first the number of options is simply daunting but provided you give it a try it can be rewarding. I must confess I've spent two hours reading about the game and watching tutorials before starting my first game and it was time well spent. Simply put, this game has a steep learning curve and the only way to really enjoy it and get a fair idea of its true potential is to go through the entire process of learning how it works. I'm in the middle of my first game and I'm still learning a lot and making some mistakes (but hopefully learning from them).

The great thing is that you can either go for a game oriented approach that is entirely practical and in which you'll focus on the most efficient choices to justify your actions or you can roleplay in which case some choices may look a bit iffy on paper but may end up becoming great moves that will make your game much more satisfying.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

I'm going to give you an idea of what I'm talking about by telling you about my first game. Most tutorials on the net recommend starting with Ireland because you can start as an independant count without a liege and possibly if you play your cards right you can unite Ireland and become the king or Ireland before the English or the Scots come knocking at your door. I decided to go for another type of game by picking up Lyon because it is the place where I live in real life so I started with a count who is a vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor. The major drawback is that expansion is limited (starting with two counties my military is not that impressive compared to any of the larger powers). Being stuck between a rock and a hard place with France and the Holy Roman Empire means that my land was on the first line when fighting began between these two powers. Having to deal with Provence to the South and Savoy to the East only made it a bit harder. In any case I decided that I would play the game with the hope of getting the Duchy and possibly uniting the Kingdom of Burgundy if I could. Being landlocked I didn't have many options.

My starting character had a decent start as a ruler with a rather good Learning ability and he ended up gathering a large amount of Piety points (Piety and Prestige are the main things that contribute to your score, when a leader dies these scores get reset and your total score goes up by the same amount). In fact I did so well gathering influence with the Pope (giving him money) that my character became known as "The Holy" and his liege (the Holy Roman Emperor) made him a Duke (normally you have to pay for that privilege if it is not bestowed upon you). Things went pretty well and my first leader had a long life managing to expand his domain so he ended up leaving three counties to his grandson. He also started forging many alliances to increase his prestige (being a Duke helped a lot). Since I was playing him as a religious nut when his heir became a heretic he decided to have him executed before making his grandson his heir. I also had fun with some random events reflecting the morals of the time (or lack of morals in this case) marrying younger female descendants to older rulers so they would die and in turn allow my character to forge new alliances when that would happen. He also wasn't that holy when he had an affair with the wife of one of his younger sons eventually fathering his own grandson...

When he died at a ripe age he had made sure his successor would be trained as a good replacement. My second ruler started off pretty well by making sure he had a son that would have an heir (it took some time because the first babies were all girls). Marrying his son to a Croatian princess was a good move when it came to prestige but at the time I hadn't foreseen how it would play out but let's not get ahead of ourselves. So my second ruler wasn't the most religious guy which made sense considering his own grandfather had his father executed for being a heretic. In fact he started off by being excommunicated by the Pope which can be problematic in this game since it means you're fair game (people can wage war against you if they want to). My first move was to bribe the Pope to mend bridges and then I started trying to look for ways to expand my domain. Giving a county to the heir was a way to keep him content. Transitions between rulers can be tricky because vassals don't like change and it is important to make sure your heir has a safe claim to your domain. My guy must have been doing some things right because the Holy Roman Emperor (the son of the first one) decided to make him his steward.

I tried a more devious approach by going for plots and assassinations (costly but sometimes they can pay off) and although I couldn't expand the domain I was able to thwart all the attempts to seize parts of it and prevent my competitor from claiming the Duchy that I was holding (if I hadn't my heir would have started as a Count and therefore would have been obliged to usurp the title in order to regain it). I dabbled in crusades (not that seriously as my military power hasn't progressed much unfortunately despite some improvements in warfare) and also joined some factions within the Empire (lords trying to push another lord in order to stage a coup against the Emperor or simply vying for independance from the Emperor). It all resulted in a bloody civil war that ended with my ruler being defeated by the Emperor's army and taken to prison before he died at a ripe age a few years later leaving an underage heir in the care of a regent.

Even if this ruler ended up in jail he had managed to forge some pretty good alliances by making his daughter marry the heir of Sicily so she ended having the Queen of Sicily as a daughter (although she wasn't part of our bloodline having a Queen as a granddaughter is not too shabby especially since I ended up getting her married to one of her cousins from our bloodline). The Queen of Sicily's mother ended up plotting and killing one of my trusted advisors so she was jailed for the rest of her natural life (you have to be cruel to be kind). My ruler was lucky enough to get a very good younger wife as an old man. Since she wasn't a high ranking noble prestige took a hit but her high traits and stats made her a perfect match for his old years and more importantly allowed me to have her mentor the heir of the domain so that he would benefit from her teachings (getting a needed focus on stewardship in order to maximize profit later on). The other stroke of luck was managing to marry the father of his heir to a Princess of Croatia. The son died in his 40s (his grandfather and his father lived well into their 70s) but this alliance gave some serious claims to the next heir. At her husband's death the Princess of Croatia went back to her country and was later sent to jail by her own sister the Queen (talk about a dysfunctional family).

So now my character is the grandson who has been tutored by his grandfather's wife. His aunt the Queen of Croatia has kicked the bucket so his mother is Queen and he is the direct heir to the throne of this country. If all plays out well he should become King in his lifetime (depending on how long his mother lives but considering that he is 16 and she is in her 50s it shouldn't take too long and there is always the option of assassinating her to speed up the process). Since the grandfather's widow is only 37 and considering that she has the best stats I have ever seen so far I've decided that my new ruler was going to marry her. It's a bit iffy but if you look at history weirder things have happened. She's still young enough to get him a male heir of his own and (unless an untimely demise is in store for her) she will likely be able to tutor him so he will be very effective at managing his treasury (just like his father). Or I can have the main character tutor his heir (always a sound plan since he has the right traits that I wanted).

I don't really know how things are going to play out from here. I have a young ruler with a much older wife but she will probably give him an heir before she is too old and she will be of great help managing the economy (one thing I've learned is that getting more gold is essential in order to get more options). In time he will become King of Croatia which means that he will play on a different scale and I assume that as a King he will no longer be a vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor (which will allow him much more leeway). His grandfather lived to be 75 so if he lives that long he can possibly reign for almost six decades (unless he dies in his 40s like his father or even before that if he is unlucky). Once he has a few male heirs his bloodline will be assured and the claim of his dynasty on the throne of Croatia will be secure.

I'm already considering a possible alliance with his cousin in Sicily. I wonder how things would play out if I managed to get her husband (his cousin) killed so he could marry her and possibly join the two kingdoms together.There are so many possibilities and so far I'm really amazed at how my first game has been playing out (I still have much to learn obviously).

In conclusion if (like me) The Prince by Machiavelli is your bedside book and you love The Game of Thrones for all the intrigue and backhanded nastiness (by the way a GoT mod is being made for CK2) then you will love this game. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:08 am

I've been rather lucky so far but Gavelkind is threatening the stability of my domains (according to this rule of succession your holdings are divided among the children on the ruler's death). The heir to the throne has been married to a Duchess from Sicily for years and they're not having any children (I thought her two counties would be a great addition). My King has married after his wife passed away and he has fathered a second son who will take over Dauphiné if I don't get rid of him (I'm keeping him for now in the hopes that the first heir finally gets a male child).

Playing a King is a different ball game and I have to cope with cultural dissent and some religious trouble (Catholic ruler with a mix of Catholic and Orthodox vassals). The good thing is that I now have a much better army (still rather puny compared to the big ones but enough to deal with any wayward vassal with delusions of grandeur). I have to say that not having a Liege anymore is really nice.

I can't figure how to switch away from Gavelkind so that the big problem right now. I've been reinforcing my holdings and using my Chaplain to get in the good graces of the Pope so things are looking pretty well on that front (I don't want to risk being excommunicated and then dogpiled).

Getting Burgundy is not a possibility (the French have settled in Dijon). My idea of forging an alliance with the Queen of Sicily has backfired but if my heir gets an heir I should get a foothold there.

Right now I'm more concerned with finding ways of keeping the peace. I had to strip a Duchy from one of the vassals in Croatia (he was way too powerful being a Duke in control of three counties between him and his vassals) but it hit hard and it took me a long time to recover and regain influence (some vassals still hate the King for this).

I have been incredibly lucky to get Croatia. Otherwise I would have been stuck with three counties and no kingdom (I was boxed in). It's not like I planned it or anything. I simply thought it would be a good idea to marry a Princess, little did I know then that she was in line for the throne (it took quite some time before she became Queen). Still, I'm learning about that stuff and I'm slowly beginning to figure things out.

I think that considering the situation of the County of Lyon (affiliated to the HRE but next to the French) it's hard to play a military game so going through the diplomatic route is probably easier.

At least my dynasty is not dead (yet). If the heir doesn't get a son before his father kicks the bucket I'll have to choose between him and the second son (always nice to have one because for a moment I was hanging to a thread with only one heir especially one who doesn't seem to be having a son anytime soon). In my opinion the first one to have a son wins (and the other gets assassinated unless I can figure how to shift away from Gravelkind).

lt's my first game so I have no idea where it is going to take me (I didn't think it would take me to Croatia that's for sure but I'm glad it did). I try planning things out but things have a way of turning around (now if only that heir could get a son, he's been married for ten years now it shouldn't take so many years considering neither he or his wife have any traits that reduce fertility besides they're living in Sicily together so I thought drinking wine and watching the sun set over the sea they could find some time to get on with it but apparently it is not the case).

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:07 pm

These are like "Breaking News" HOT! Fresh from the kingdome Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:20 pm

RYU, Laughing

Keep the updates coming Cara. It's like a medieval soap opera... Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:17 am

Thank you guys, I was a bit concerned that reading this would be a bit boring. Smile

I stopped with my third ruler becoming King of Croatia as a young man inheriting the crown from his mother. He had married his grandfather's wife and they had a son together who was betrothed to the Duchess of Sicily. This King was able to rule for almost 60 years and in the course of his reign he would be known as the Great but he would die an infirm and completely senile with his Spymaster acting as a Regent.

For most of his reign his efforts were directed towards securing his possession of the Kingdom which meant converting everyone to the Catholic faith, adopting Croatian culture and keeping the Byzantines at bay while quenching local revolts. He finally managed to get rid of the outdated gavelkind in favour of an elective process which caused many problems and forced him to revoke the titles of Dukes so he would control the voting (which didn't help with plotting vassals among which his son from a second marriage who he had to murder because of his ambition that became a threat to the king's safety).

At the same time his daughter-in-law had views on the Kingdom of Sicily but her dreams were crushed and she was jailed and blinded. Still after her release she managed to give an heir to her husband (which is what I've been waiting for). This heir would one day be able to bring together the Duchy of Sicily, the Kingdom of Croatia and the Duchy of Dauphiné.

In the meantime the King divorced and married a Princess of the HRE in the hopes of fathering a child that would inherit the two counties in her possession and maybe join that child with the main branch of the family so that the heir would rule over a bigger domain and possibly get a claim on the HRE (the current Duchy of Luxemburg being occupied by members of our dynasty for several generations, they had turned out to be good allies so forging the same sort of relationship with France would be a great way of keeping enemies at bay).

A funny thing happened when a vassal Count in Rama became the husband of the ruler of the Byzantine Empire... Especially since a few years later she died and the Count remarried with a lowborn wife.

The end of the reign was marked by illness and discontent. Vassals wouldn't rebel but they kept plotting and scheming.

At the death of the King his son succeeded him on the throne. A grown man he had little patience for games. His blind wife had died and he had remarried with an unworthy wife that he divorced promptly before marrying a clever Nubian princess. His heir was his son who was betrothed to his half sister (who is in line for inheriting land from her mother provided the inheritance gets sorted out with younger siblings).

The problem was dealing with strife at home. Tired of all the petty squabble between vassals, the new King enforced absolute rule and started taking titles away from his vassals to give them to unambitious men who would own him everything. This made him look like a tyrant and since he couldn't give away too many Duchies without risking losing his heir's claim on the throne he had to cope with unsatisfied vassals (at least until his son would be of age).

Known as the Merry (quite a misnomer considering how much he relied on political assassination to further his goals) King Audoïn II was assassinated by his own son and heir, he was only 60. His heir, the Duke of Sicily was slightly more popular than his father and started by hosting a grand tournament but unlike his father being of Orthodox faith his religious dissent created much discontent with his Catholic vassals.

As the heir of his uncle the Duke of Franconia our ruler intended to murder him and grab the counties in his possession but Duke Mislav joined a rebellion first so good King Dietrich I "the Accursed" had no qualms about killing him and squashing the rebels.

After fending off a Byzantine invasion the King had to face another insurrection and that time he ended up losing his crown to an underage count who was silly enough to make him his Marshal. Dietrich took advantage of that defeat to convert to the Catholic faith and Croatian culture. Then, calling on his cousin the King of Bulgaria, Dietrich was able to regain his crown only three years later. He eventually got a pardon from the Pope.

But peace wasn't to last long... Another insurrection followed and the Byzantine Empire took advantage of this rebellion to take away the land from Dietrich's former vassals... His own ambitious son Prince Turstin de Forez was denounced for plotting against his father who had him executed. Depressed and mad with grief and contemplating suicide the King started killing all his relatives. He was soon excommunicated and while his kingdom was crumbling before his many enemies both foreign and domestic he was murdered by agents working for his half sister (the only relative in his court he had not managed to get killed). Her reign would be short lived and she couldn't possibly turn the tide. At the end of the year 1252 she was deposed without leaving behind her a direct heir with the de Forez name.

Final score 13348 (15 December, 1252)

Rulers:

Duke Artau the Holy (44 years)

Duke Audoïn I of Dauphiné (41 years)

King Audoïn the Great (59 years)

King Audoïn the Merry (7 years)

King Dietrich the Accursed (30 years)

Princess Suzana of Croatia (5 years)

In the end what initiated the downfall was mostly the cultural/religious problem that made it really hard to keep vassals happy. The other problem was dealing with succession (another problem being landed heirs growing up in foreign lands with hindsight I shouldn't have made one of them inherit the Kingdom). I couldn't get Primogeniture so I settled for Elective and despite trying my best to make Dukes happy (and avoiding ambitious ones) I couldn't get them to vote for the person I wanted so I ended up keeping Duke titles which made my vassals unhappy... I probably should have made Dukes of people from the de Forez dynasty and simply go with the flow as long as it all stays in the family (or alternatively settle for Gavelkind and get rid of extra heirs -a possibly dangerous method).

All in all I enjoyed this game a lot. The dogpiling at the end was something I had expected. I couldn't get my vassals to forget some of my character's actions and I made some bad choices when it came to Dukes and succession. Revoking titles is something that is too costly when it comes to influence (unless you get rid of everyone apparently). Tyranny doesn't pay.

I really liked some of the details like having the possibility to commit suicide with a depressed ruler or the fact that an ambitious son can actually kill his own father. The dwarf and eunnuch titles for vassals don't seem to be that common but it's nice to see that sort of details in game.

I think I've learned a lot during this first game. The most important thing being that I should always keep some cash to pay mercs if I get attacked by some big army (thus preventing my own levies from being diminished and leaving me weak). Going through assassination sprees can be fun (except for the dishonourable modifier of course) but it's not always the most effective way (especially when it takes several assassination attempts and end up costing a real fortune). I need to get better at waging wars and I need to be careful about not making the same mistakes again when it comes to ruling a kingdom. It becomes increasingly harder to compensate for a bad decision when you're set on a path... Especially for a beginner who is still figuring things out. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:01 am

Found out a Crusader kings 2 mod which sounds interesting :)http://www.moddb.com/mods/elder-kings/features it converts real world into Tamriel. It's still in progress but the idea is nice Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:52 am

Nice find Ryu! There is also the Game of Thrones mod, the map looks really good and IMO the mechanics of the game would work pretty well in this setting (you already have eunuchs in CK2 and GoT is not about magic).

Paradox games is going to release new stuff so the game will be expanded.

I'm on the fence when it comes to the Sunset Invasion (Aztecs crossing the Atlantic to attack Europe) as it is a bit too zany for my taste.

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:40 pm

haha, nice story Cara. Now I'm really interested! I'm probably going to have to way at least a week before buying it (tight budget and all), but I'll definitely keep an eye out for specials on the game. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:43 am

Yeah well, it's an amazing game but you've just bought a car so you may want to keep a look on the price tag. I got the CK2 Collection for 19.99 euros but now it's back to full price at 79.99 euros (and the collection doesn't include the Old Gods DLC and the Celtic cosmetic stuff). In total so far I've spent 42 euros and some change on the game. I'm probably going to buy the new DLC stuff as it comes out, the game is worth it but spending the cost of a pack of smokes on DLC from time to time doesn't hurt the wallet as much as buying all the DLC stuff in one go. Arguably some things can be skipped (cosmetic stuff and extra songs) without hurting the game and other things are optional (if you're not playing a Muslim ruler the Sword of Islam DLC is not going to be very useful to you).

I'm considering starting a new game with the Old Gods in 867 AD (instead of a later date). In 1066 I found that being stuck between France and the Holy Roman Empire was a pain because it limited my options and then being stuck next to the Byzantine Empire looking to annex my Kingdom was another major annoyance (and I'm not saying anything about cultural and religious issues with a Catholic foreign king ruling over Orthodox vassals especially when I realized after converting them to Catholicism that my king's heir had converted to the Orthodox faith).

So now I'm thinking about starting in Scotland but in 867 it means Vikings will be knocking on my door pretty soon (unless I skip to 1066 for my second game) or maybe start in the Holy Land and try not to get crushed by crusaders when they start racing towards Jerusalem (but it won't happen before 1090). Another option would be to give a Pagan ruler a try. A CK2 game takes a very long time to play so I want to think this through. In my last game I couldn't see a way out from the hole I had dug so I ended up getting rid of all my heirs to get to the end. This time I want to take advantage of the things I've learned and stick to the game even if it means having to make a come back (this game may take away your crown from you but if you can get it back it's all the more satisfying).

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:33 am

My second game was very short, my Muslim ruler died after a few years without having an heir (despite the fact that he had four wives). Laughing 

I've started my third game and it is a blast. I picked a Count in Fife (Scotland) in the 9th century. The early game was very limited (not much money, no troops to speak of and a bunch of raiding vikings attacking on all sides) but my Earl stick to his little county and although he became a vassal of a viking king he didn't get killed.

His son was rather interesting. I discarded existing sons in favour of the one resulting from the marriage I had orchestrated and he started fine with some good traits and good stewardship but also a few bad traits (homosexual which can be a pain since it makes it harder to get children) and a really weird one, the possessed trait.

It turns out that he believes Jesus is talking to him and that leads to all sorts of strange religious events... He received many useful traits from being a religious fanatic and also became a heretic in the process. But since his people really liked him he was able to convert them to his heresy (since he is surrounded by pagans anyway being a heretic is not such a big deal besides it means that he doesn't have to worry about his converted bishops giving any money to the Pope).

Spoiler:
 

I really enjoy the randomness that his religious fanaticism brings to the game.

Having a character speaking in tongues and getting a diplomacy penalty because of that is simply hilarious! cheers 

I'm doing much better than in my first game. I've managed to grab two counties in Scotland and one in Wales the last one being a petty kingdom/duchy so my character is technically a Jarl now.

He's got his eyes set on Scone and the throne of Scotland (occupied by his liege). If I can pull it off he may end up doing pretty well (provided he can get a navy because having potential claims in Ireland isn't that useful if you can't sail there).

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:56 am

Carabas wrote:
Yeah well, it's an amazing game but you've just bought a car so you may want to keep a look on the price tag. I got the CK2 Collection for 19.99 euros but now it's back to full price at 79.99 euros (and the collection doesn't include the Old Gods DLC and the Celtic cosmetic stuff).

I've also seen CK2 (juste the vanilla game) at 17,99$ on amazon. So if I buy it there, along with the Steam version of Old Gods, it would be coming to 33$. Are all those little DLCs interesting, or is it cosmetic stuff only?

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:16 am

Triactus wrote:
Carabas wrote:
Yeah well, it's an amazing game but you've just bought a car so you may want to keep a look on the price tag. I got the CK2 Collection for 19.99 euros but now it's back to full price at 79.99 euros (and the collection doesn't include the Old Gods DLC and the Celtic cosmetic stuff).

I've also seen CK2 (juste the vanilla game) at 17,99$ on amazon. So if I buy it there, along with the Steam version of Old Gods, it would be coming to 33$. Are all those little DLCs interesting, or is it cosmetic stuff only?

Why not to wait for the Steam Sales Smile

As for the DLC, you know it depends on what do you want from the game. From the very start I always wanted to play as a pagan, so for me it would've been an awesome DLC.
IF you tight on money you should buy Amazon version and play it for a while. You'll understand if you need another DLC.
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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:27 pm

The base game is totally playable. It doesn't have all the features of course but you don't need them to get started with the game.

The Old Gods is probably the most important DLC especially if you want to play as a Pagan ruler, Sword of Islam is a must have if you want to play as a Muslim leader, Legacy of Rome is useful for players who like the Byzantine Empire and lastly The Republic is interesting if you want to play as a merchant republic. Mostly each of these DLC add a different gameplay (which is nice) but if you don't mind getting started with a Catholic ruler in 1066 you can play the base game. Patches bring extra stuff already.

The game is very modular so you can disable DLC you don't want for instance I'm not a big fan of the Sunset Invasion DLC because Aztecs discovering Europe is a bit too zany and campy for me. You can still play mods even if you don't have all the DLC (some features are not implemented if you don't but it shouldn't prevent you from playing mods).

The Ruler Designer allows you to customize your starting leader and dynasty it's not essential and it may even feel a bit like cheating (the option is probably interesting in order to experiment once you've tried many original leaders but it's not really necessary IMO).

The music is nice but like the cosmetic stuff it's not of paramount importance (besides it is easy to add your own music to the game and I've added many tracks from Civilization medieval music and other medieval soundtracks to my CK2 game). You also have mods for portraits if you don't want to spend money on cosmetic stuff but don't want the game to look too vanilla.

I agree with Ryu's advice to wait for steam sales if you want to get the DLC at a later time without burning a hole through your wallet.

The Old Gods is probably the best of the bunch because it allows you to start in 867 before the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of France are created so it may make the game easier if you want to expand (big empires can be very static and powerful so they tend to be major obstacles for new players like myself when it comes to expansion). Of course dealing with Vikings is a real pain... I managed to hold on to my land for almost a century before getting swamped in my last game as a small Count in Scotland (all the Norsemen ended up attacking me at the same time) so my advice would be to start a game at a safe distance from Norse raiders if you don't want to be frustrated because they will ruin your economy (or start as one if you want to enjoy all the looting and the plunder).

You should give the demo a try. There are only a few starts that can be played and you can only play for 20 years but it should give you an idea of what you are to expect in the game (bear in mind that it can be daunting at first especially since the tutorial is very buggy).

If you get the game from Amazon it shouldn't be a problem as this version probably requires Steam anyway. At 18 dollars it is a pretty good deal IMO and if you really like the game adding the Old Gods will offer you many different options and if that's not enough you will be able to pick other DLC according to your needs. It's not such a bad way to start actually because there are so many options with all the DLC stuff that at times it can be hard to decide what to play next. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:16 pm

RYUchan wrote:
Why not to wait for the Steam Sales Smile

Usually, the big sales are at christmas time or just before summer. So I could wait, but I'm in a down of computer games right now (I'm playing Medival 2 Total war, Civ 4 and Dead Island). I'm sort of put off by all three games right now. It's the perfect time to start a brand spanking new game... Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:36 pm

Then go for it Tri. Give the demo a try first just to be sure. You don't need the DLC stuff at the moment (frankly I've barely touched any of the DLC stuff myself except for the Old Gods). After playing the game you'll see if you want to get the Old Gods (the earlier starting date alone adds much replay value to the game) but the base game can keep you busy for quite some time.

I have many games that I've been meaning to play (and too little time) but I can safely say that in the foreseeable future CK2 is going to have the largest chunk of my gaming time. There is absolutely no contest. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:16 pm

I finally bought the vanilla game on amazon. It's shipping from the UK, so the ETA for me to get it is apparently the 26th of July... Laughing And do they usually charge the item right away on the credit card? It's been about a day, but there's still no charge on my card. Or do they charge it once the package leaves the warehouse?

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:25 pm

It's a good thing you're not in a hurry then. Smile

I can't remember when they actually charge but I think it's when the package leaves. I had some problems with delivery (they would send my package to Belgium until I changed the shipping address, I think it was because of the zip code) but I never had a problem getting my money back.

Until then you can focus on your social life because trust me on that CK2 is going to make socializing really difficult. king 

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:19 pm

I can't see the image you posted at the end of your message. It's a dead link icon.

But yeah, I'm being optimistic. It says I should get it between the 26th of July and the 9th of August... Laughing I don't remember waiting for so long to get a package, specially since it was shipped today (I got a confirmation), but oh well... I'll play it when I'll get it! Smile

EDIT : I see you smiley face with the crown now. I dunno. Must have been a bug.

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:25 pm

I haven't posted any picture in my last post so it must have been the smiley. Smile

You may get it before that... It shouldn't take more than three weeks for a package to go anywhere these days. I know Canada is on the other side of the pond but still.

I've started a new game in 867 and I feel like I'm finally getting how wars work (frankly it's not the part of the game that I prefer). I started in Lyon as a Count and I still have to contend with a greedy liege just like in 1066 but at least he is not an emperor (yet). My first ruler had become the Duke of Dauphiné and my second ruler has managed to take over the Duchy of Provence (but the title belongs to his liege). I'm saving up loads of money so I can afford mercenaries if some big bad comes knocking on my door (to give you an idea my liege can muster more than 6 times the amount of troops that I can summon so adding a few thousand mercenaries can make a difference alhough for the moment I don't have enough gold to level the odds if it ever comes to war between us and If I was seriously considering rebellion I'd have to start an independent faction to get other vassals to rebel with me so we'd have more of a fighting chance). I can now take over small claims without hiring mercs (which saves cash). My current heir is married to a Byzantine Princess (I don't think anything will come out of it but she has pretty nice stats).

I'm really serious about saving up as much as possible so I can afford to defend my land and keep expanding. So far I'm doing better than in my previous games but there is always the possibility of something unexpected happening that would force me to change my plans.

I've got my eyes on Burgundy but Italy looks pretty nice (especially now that I have some land on the Mediterranean). I want to stay away from Spain (it's a mess) and the North of Europe because of those vikings plundering left and right...

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:59 pm

I was looking through the cosmetic DLCs on steam, and I notice there's a ruler designer. So basically, you can design your starting ruler, the name of your dynasty as well as your coat of arms? Have you tried that one? I might take it. Yes, it's fun to be historically accurate, but at the same time, creating yourself in your game is always fun (I play the hockey game on the playstation and I always have a player I created after me in the game... Cool 

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:21 pm

Here is what I posted above on that subject:

"The Ruler Designer allows you to customize your starting leader and dynasty it's not essential and it may even feel a bit like cheating (the option is probably interesting in order to experiment once you've tried many original leaders but it's not really necessary IMO)."

I'm not a big fan as it is easy to get carried away and I love the idea of struggling to get a "perfect" leader. With the Ruler Designer you can min max and take traits that don't really have any disadvantages on the long run (wounded, ill or excommunicated which can all go away rather quickly) and trade that for the Genius trait (massive bonus to everything) which will probably pass down to your heir.

That being said if you want to change names and dynasty flags you should get it. Remember that the dynasty flag only shows up on the character screen. It doesn't change the flag that your armies are carrying (these depend on your highest title and the heraldic symbol associated to that title).

The DLC has some advantages when it xomes to experimenting with traits. I was lucky enough to get two characters who were Possessed and I've read that Norse leaders with this trait can be fun to play so I may use the Ruler Designer to get this trait at the start.

All in all I favour rulers with a high Stewardship (more money) and there are opportunities for increasing stats below 8 during the game (by selecting the proper Ambition your character can decide to improve his less prominent stats). So if you're into min maxing this is something to keep in mind (getting several traits at 7 can allow a character to get better in different fields during the course of the game).

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:02 pm

Ok, now I really want to play. Why can't the game be here NOOOOOOW! Sad

That's the downside of paying for a game on amazon versus buying a downloadable game online. I used to be able to wait, but I guess I was pampered with the games I bought on Steam... :/

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:51 pm

I get what you're saying. That's the great thing about Steam (and GOG) the major drawback is that in the end it means less jobs since retail sales must have been taking a hit in the last few years (and for the record I'm not saying Amazon is better when it comes to preserving local jobs). I for one do blame distribution and localized versions. The reason I like buying games online is because I'm sure I'll be getting the English version and not some half assed French version translated by people who are underpaid and overworked and probably shouldn't be involved in translating anything in the first place (the French version of Skyrim is so bad it hurts). I still think buying games online should be cheaper since costs are not the same (file hosting is to be taken in account but there is no packaging and no DVDs and stuff -manuals have been gone for a long time now).

Of course nowadays you can't buy most games without running Steam, the only alternative being GOG but they don't cover recent titles (with a few exceptions).

Take comfort in the fact that once you will be able to play the game it will probably eat up all your free time...

While you wait you may want to have a look at some tutorial videos:

http://crusaderkings-two.wikia.com/wiki/Videos_for_Beginners

Trust me when I say that these will save you some major headaches down the line. The in game tutorial is buggy as hell but watching these will really help you getting started (jumping right in is an option but it is rather frustrating when you don't know what you're doing).

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:15 pm

Lo and behold! I got home last night and in my mailbox was : CRUSADER KINGS 2!! Very Happy  I got on my computer and wanted to write a Facebook message to my friend to whom I said, an hour before, that it would take forever to receive the game. I had internet connection problems Tuesday and I noticed it hadn't been fixed. So I said "I don't need the internets, I'll just install and quickly check out the game! Very Happy" . I pop in the disc, and the message I get is "You can't install the game in the Offline mode. You must be connected to Steam online to install the game".   

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PostSubject: Re: Crusaders Kings 2   Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:51 pm

Unfortunately we're not in 1998 anymore... It sucks but you should focus on the positive, you weren't expecting the game for at least a fortnight. Hopefully your internet connection will stop acting up and you will be able to start the game and share your impressions with us.

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