Crusader Kings II Sparkle Pony-all

Is there any information on troop types? I looked in couple places but how much difference does having a balanced army make?

First dev diary for The Old Gods is up. Looks interesting but not much information aside from pointing out how they are handling the various religious differences. Some cool screenshots though (traversable rivers!).

The best part about the dev diary is that, if they hold true to form, this means the DLC is only 6-8 weeks out.

Thanks tboon, I don't have the time to keep up with news much anymore. Still buy all the DLC day 1 though. Lol

Elycion kindly gifted me the key to this game. I like turn based strategy games. How far down the hole of one more turn will this take me?

I'd contact your next of kin to ask them to ring you every 6 hours.

If you've not played it (or any similar Paradox game before), have a watch of SeeKayEm99's "Let's Play" series - the Ireland one in particular spends a few of the early episodes going through some key concepts which are not at all transparent, even if you go through the tutorial.

It's not actually turn-based, it's pausable real-time. So you're even less likely to stop playing.

Also, it's not a TBS. It plays in "real-time" but it is pauseable and the lowest speed setting is really slow but time does move forward when unpaused. Also, unlike TBS games, a lot of the time just because you *can* do something doesn't mean you *should* do something. I think that concept is the most difficult thing for new players to grasp: letting the game run without you doing much of anything for stretches of time. The game is long, you have time to do what you (as the player) want to do.

Always remember, the game is about relationships: your character's to other people, other people's to you, and other people's to other people's. Piss people off and they will respond in kind eventually.

Also, unlike most other games, there is no "winning". You "win" if you execute your long-term strategy, which depends on what you want to do and how you want to play. Some people don't like how non-directed CK2 (and most Paradox games in general) is. But if you can get over that, it is fantastic.

So, like dave says, watch some Let's Plays to get a grounding on the game concepts, but also ask questions here if something doesn't make sense to you. We have a lot of folks that love answering questions.

I think you are in for a treat.

Edit: Q-Stonehausered!

Yeah ok I like it. Did the tutorial and then started a game and somehow lost 5 hours. Learned not to start a war unless ready to take on half the freaking world. Fun stuff.

Just check alliances, first

Robear wrote:

Just check alliances, first :-)

And/or make some of your own! Or wait til they start fighting someone else!

I finally tried playing as a Republic in Venice and I really don't know what I'm doing but I'm enjoying flailing about I have managed to assassinate three of my son's rivals vying for the succession of the Republic. After various failed plots involving poisons and stealth, all three of them were killed by massive explosions of a pit filled with manure that my co-conspirators somehow secreted under their respective dining halls. And no one seems to suspect that the three deaths might be connected somehow

FeralMonkey wrote:

I really don't know what I'm doing but I'm enjoying flailing about.

I think that is the most enjoyable way to go about it. Especially in a game as complex as this one it. The exploration of different options and scenarios and experimenting with different styles of game play offer a larger amount of game that one would think of at first glance.

I was also blown up by poop this weekend, after killing my heir to make way for his much more impressive younger brother.

plavonica wrote:
FeralMonkey wrote:

I really don't know what I'm doing but I'm enjoying flailing about.

I think that is the most enjoyable way to go about it. Especially in a game as complex as this one it. The exploration of different options and scenarios and experimenting with different styles of game play offer a larger amount of game that one would think of at first glance.

Definitely. I'd be hesitant to go to videos or play guides. Learning through failure was a big part of the fun for me. I did use a very basic guide to Ireland on a wiki after a few tries, but it left me enough to explore.

Interview about the new expansion over at Strategy Informer. I like this stuff, emphasis mine:

Strategy Informer: With the raiding, what effects will the victim experience - will there be damage to holdings, for example?

Henrik Fåhraeus: Absolutely. We’ve added a loot value to all provinces - it’s a bar in the province view - that can be protected by the fortification levels in each province. So if you’ve upgraded your holdings with forts, they need to take the holdings to get to the loot basically. If a looting army does take a holding and occupies it there is a risk that the buildings will be damaged or destroyed, and even the entire holding itself may end up destroyed.

When the loot bar in a province goes down, so does the tax bar, so a lot of looting will mean that you get less money from the affected provinces until it grows back.

Strategy Informer: So you could essentially use it as a tactic to “soften up” a target nation before going for a big invasion?

Henrik Fåhraeus: Yeah, you could. you don’t need a CB for this, you just mark the unit as a looting unit and then you go off and do it.

Also, in normal wars, every time a province or holding is under siege, the loot value is damaged, even if the sieging unit isn’t getting any loot from it. So even in normal wars you will see economic damage to provinces.

Nearly time

A bit more than a month ago Fredrik_S (thanks Fredrik!!!!) gifted me a copy of CK2 and I've been chipping away at this game ever since. Starting in Ireland appears to be a great place to learn the game - nobody banging down your door and lots of neighbours to invade.

I can't even guess how many hours I've put into this game over the course of a month. It's a nice slow paced game that you can play while doing other stuff. I'm really enjoying it.

My little Irish family fairly quickly crowned themselves Kings of Ireland and placed their relatives in charge of nearly every county in Ireland. I'm not sure if that's a beneficial strategy in the long run, as it does mean there are a lot of claimants floating around, but I'm careful to maintain a balance of power where my soldiers at least equal theirs in number.

I also try to set myself up so that when a new ruler comes into power he has a son old enough to take a big pile of titles immediately so that I have father and son ruling a big portion of the kingdom at any time. Hasn't always happened, but if I have that set up it does go a long way to keeping things quiet. I've already fought down two major uprisings, one at a time when I was already at war with the King of Scotland. I was lucky at that time to have a big pile of money available to buy mercenaries and survived the challenge. Now I keep emergency cash on hand at all times.

I've also been steadily invading Scotland and just recently usurped the Scottish crown. I'm looking forward to seeing how that upsets the balance of power within my kingdom.

Hey awesome. I am glad you like it!

Troy Goodfellow did a Twitch stream last night for people new to CK2. It's now archived on his Twitch channel. It starts in earnest at the 4 minute mark.

Started playing yesterday, as some Irish duke, inspired by the Stream above.
Went well so far, up until like a year before my old king dies, out of nowhere his heir dies, leaving a 10 year old grandchild as the new heir.
Every single damn male familiy member decided they wanted the throne in that exact moment. And even though they each want it for themselves, they can still agree to work together against my poor 10 year old king first, and then, I guess, fight it out between themselves afterward.

I think I managed to imprison every single one of the usurpers, who are most certainly going to rot in prison for life - though their own sons all seem to have inherited their fathers misguided ambitions. Could take a while to weed them all out.

I like this game already. Though it feels insanely complex.

My Marshall must be an incarnation of Kratos or something. He got high martial skill, is 82 years old and simply refuses to die. Had him for most of the game so far. Will be such a sad day when he dies.
Edit: Noo, he died. With a new story as a result. My son was being trained by my Marshall, so I give him a new guardian, who swiftly dies. Then I give him a new guardian... who dies shortly after. Should I be worried?

Shadout wrote:

Started playing yesterday, as some Irish duke, inspired by the Stream above.
Went well so far, up until like a year before my old king dies, out of nowhere his heir dies, leaving a 10 year old grandchild as the new heir.
Every single damn male familiy member decided they wanted the throne in that exact moment. And even though they each want it for themselves, they can still agree to work together against my poor 10 year old king first, and then, I guess, fight it out between themselves afterward.

I think I managed to imprison every single one of the usurpers, who are most certainly going to rot in prison for life - though their own sons all seem to have inherited their fathers misguided ambitions. Could take a while to weed them all out.

I like this game already. Though it feels insanely complex.

My Marshall must be an incarnation of Kratos or something. He got high martial skill, is 82 years old and simply refuses to die. Had him for most of the game so far. Will be such a sad day when he dies.
Edit: Noo, he died. With a new story as a result. My son was being trained by my Marshall, so I give him a new guardian, who swiftly dies. Then I give him a new guardian... who dies shortly after. Should I be worried?

Check the boy's intrigue. There may be a reason his guardians all die. Then maybe give him to a guardian with high intrigue and prepare for a generation of stabbing!

Some of my most interesting games, were games where I lost the throne and a generation later retook it and did a lot of beheading.

4th guardian died :/ At least he lasted a while. Intrigue is 8. He actually has the Deceitful trait. Nasty boy.

Could be someone is knocking off the guardians, to prepare for trying to knock him off.

You got seriously lucky with this stuff happening in your first generation. What an intro to the game!

Oh, not first generation. I'm a 100 years in now. 4th or 5th generation (jumping over that guy who died too early). But it surely got quite insane over the last decade

The kid is knocking off his guardians. Seriously, give him to your spymaster to guardian and you can do all kinds of stuff with him when he comes of age.

Oh, okay, Shadout. That timing is more usual, in my experience. But still, fun fun fun.

So I re-installed last night, and created an Irish campaign, likewise inspired by the crew above. A few questions:

- Do I actually want/need any of the DLC?
- What the hell should I do? On a very fundamental level, I'm looking at the game, and unclear as to what the right way to get started is. There are a ton of options, but it feels very opaque to me in terms of button-presses and in-game effects. Also: is there a help file somewhere, explaining some of the conceptual items in the world -- demesnes, vassals, and holdings, for example?

1) Depends on what you want to play as. If you are looking to get into the game, I would say you don't need any DLC.

Once you get comfortable playing, if you want to play as a Muslim ruler, get the Muslim DLC, play inside the Byzantine Empire, get the Byzantine DLC, etc. The Prince DLC focuses on the merchant republics of the era (Venice, Genoa, Pisa, etc.) and plays a bit differently than a lot of the rest of the game. Upcoming Pagan DLC "Old Gods" will focus on playable pagans.

2) To answer a question with another question: what do you want to do? The "goal" of the game is to have your dynasty survive; beyond that, it truly is up to you. Unite Ireland then go on to take over Scotland, then England? Fight the Moors in Spain? Be peaceful and try to hold onto what is yours? These are all meta-goals you can pursue. Or just play lifetime to lifetime, doing whatever comes up.

To see/learn the mechanics, watch Troy Goodfellow's tutorial session (skip ahead to 4:30 where it starts) where he starts as Ireland. Or there's other Let's Play videos to watch that explain how to play. Or you could just play and figure things out; CK2 let's you experiment and there's not really any way to optimize things - there are better and worse ways to do things of course, but generally you I don't think you can mess up a game all that badly. Learning by doing is what I always recommend and ask questions here if something doesn't make sense. Also, check out the wiki.

Some definitions:
A vassal is someone who owes allegiance to someone else of higher rank. In CK2, the bottom of the barrel are the barons (which you cannot play as). Barons owe allegiance to counts, who, in turn, owe allegiance to dukes. Dukes owe allegiance to kings who in turn owe allegiance to emperors. Some of the top end of this hierarchy might be missing, such as in Ireland where the top people are the dukes. Allegiance was paid in land, so a duke would give a count a county to manage in return for military service and taxes, a king would give a duke a duchy, and so forth. This land is the vassal's holding. Any land a noble directly controls is their desmense. If you only control one county, your holding is your desmense, if you follow me.

In CK2, the most important thing is your relationships with other people. If people dislike you, they tend to want to rebel and/or kill you. Just like in real life, if you are nice to people, the like you more; give someone a holding and they will like you more. They may still want to rebel against you but they will want to do so less than otherwise. Relationships can be modified by a lot of things: your stats, your traits, your history with the other person. If you have a high diplomacy stat, people in general like you more. If you are ugly, or have syphilis, or are brave and they are cowardly, they will like you less. If you have done them wrong they will like you less, if you have given them something (an office or some land) they will like you more. Relationship is measured on a scale of -100 to 100. Negative is bad; the closer to -100, the more they hate you; conversely, the closer to 100, the more they like/love you.

Second in importance is money. Again, like in real life, the more you have the more you tend to be able to do. To make the most money, you need land. Land can be improved - click on a province and the baronies (castles), towns, and churches in the province are shown. Only improve provinces in your desmense. Here's why: if you improve a barony (castle) that you own by building a castle village, that generates +1 gold per month (I think, the numbers don't matter to what I am saying here). You directly get the taxes on that +1 gold (plus whatever it was making before). If you do the same on a vassal's castle, he gets the taxes and then pays you the taxes he owes you. Say taxes are 10%. If a barony is making 4 gold per month, if you own it, you will get .4 gold per month from that barony. If your vassal owns it, you will get 4 x 10% x 10% or .04 gold per month. So for a given province, you make 10 times as much gold.

Gold let's you buys stuff: mercenaries (useful when you need more troops), more improvements (to make more money, have better defense, or more/better troops), pay off the pope (if you get excommunicated, a timely gift will sometimes get the pope to lift it), improve relations (everybody likes guys who give them money), etc.

Next in importance is prestige. It costs prestige (and money) to do things like declare a kingdom. You usually gain some prestige every month; how much depends on your titles (duke of this, count of that, etc.). Winning wars increases prestige. There are events that can increase or decrease your prestige as well. Prestige also factors in for marriages; nobody wants to marry a low-prestige ruler. Prestige is also tracked across your dynasty; at the end of the game it determines where you stand against historical dynasties - this is the closest thing CK2 gets to a "You've Won" screen.

Also of importance is piety. Piety can be used to buy things as well, like use holy orders to fight infidels. Piety is gained every month, depending on traits. The zealous trait earns piety faster, for instance. There are traits that will cause piety to decrease as well. If piety gets too low, the pope may excommunicate you. Or some sneaky SOB can more easily talk him into doing it. Excommunication is bad because then all Christian rulers have a cases belli against you.

So what is a cases belli? A cases belli means "case of (for) war". You cannot just declare war on anyone just because you are having a bad day, there has to be a reason to do so. There are ways and events that give you these reasons. One of the most commonplace is "fabricate claim". Basically this means that you send your chancellor to another province and he "digs up" reasons why the province belongs to you. This may take a long time to do. Once you have a reason (called a claim), you can declare war to make good your claim. Well, if you have the prestige to do so, that is. Some other cases bellis are: de jure claims (you have a duchy that historically is made up of land in another realm, you can declare war to make the duchy whole), overthrow ruler, depose ruler (different from overthrow in that overthrow means you will be king whereas depose means the heir you like best will be king), and independence (when you want to strike out in your own kingdom). There are others.

OK, so enough of this theoretical BS. When I start a new game here is what I do before unpausing: check my ministers, make sure they are the best (i.e. have the highest stats in my realm) for their job. Stewards should have the highest stewardship, spy masters should have the highest intrigue, etc. You will notice that each stat corresponds with a ministerial slot. Once I have ministers assigned, I set them out to do stuff. Never leave your ministers idle. Chancellors should be out fabricating claims or improving relations. Spy masters should be creating spy networks or uncovering plots. Marshals should be recruiting. Stewards should be researching unless you are building, when they should be overseeing construction. Collecting taxes is not a bad use either (more money always helps). Court Chaplains should be improving religious relations.

OK, once the council is out of the way, I see if my character needs to get married. Remember, the overarching goal of the game is to insure the continuance of your dynasty. Which means you need to have kids. I always pick the highest ranked person with the strongest stat that my character needs to shore up. Marrying above station adds prestige. So dukes marrying princesses get a prestige bump. Also of consideration is potential alliances a marriage can bring. If you can marry the Holy Roman Emperor's daughter, that is a powerful ally to have. Spouses add half their stats to the realm stats. Realm stats are your stats plus the pertinent stat of a councillor (spy master adds to Intrigue for instance) plus half your spouse's stats.

Once a marriage proposal is out, I look at any heirs and see if need to get them married. Remember, dynasty must survive. Once that is done, I look around and see what I can claim. If there's nothing, my chancellor will have to fabricate a claim. If there is something, I try to figure out how hard it will be to get it. If they target is smaller than me and has no allies, then I will go ahead and declare war. Might as well get it as quick as possible. Usually this is not the case and I have t wait.

At this point, I unpause and let things play out. My marriage proposal will get accepted, my character will get married and hopefully there will be a few heirs within a couple of years. I haven't touched on a lot of things in this (way too long) post but this should be enough to get started. Play, learn, try things, fail, try different things, ask questions. There's a lot going on, but it all hangs together magnificently. Don't be discouraged if things go bad, you lose a war or your super-awesome heir dies of pneumonia. Unlike most games, this game is not a straight path upward. It has a lot of zigs and zags, which make it far more interesting than most games. And don't be afraid to ask, there are a number of people who read this thread who love answering questions.

tboon wrote:

The business.

Thank you, tboon! That was very generous -- I really appreciate the time spent on the write-up. I actually feel like I kind of know how this works, more so than I did from prodding at it previously. Looking forward to digging in now.