A friend over on BrokenForum has been writing a superb Command Ops AAR where day by day he recounts the battle for Bastogne on the same days in December that those historic events occurred all those years ago. The result is a superb retelling of history along with the interesting perspective of someone playing through the battle in the excellent Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge game engine. Go have a read, Fishbreath has done an excellent job!
So Crusader Kings 2 is out (or is inside a few hours) and if I had the time I would love to be playing it as I loved the demo. I have tried to enjoy Paradox games in the past and while I found HoI3 approachable I’ve not really jelled with any other game. Except CK2.
There’s something wonderfully personal and intimate about managing a single dynasty and engaging in the petty squabbles of courtly life. I’m not one to take on playing a huge kingdom and blasting my way through wars and relations, I love getting close and intimate with my own family (er… that didn’t come out right) and watching all the courtiers and vassals closely.
But what’s great about CK2 is that there are a variety of ways to play. Friends from BrokenForum.com demonstrate this well: Aeon221 plays an extremely bloodthirsty game, CSL, on the other hand, loves to play a more ‘courtly’ game, like me. Then there are those who play like the guy behind the ParadoxianLP streams, who whizzes at speed through CK in a way I find slightly dizzying!
All of this makes for a great read for you and me but these amusing tales don’t take away from the problem that many Paradox games have: It’s easy enough to know how to click the buttons and even the systems are easy enough to understand, but it’s really hard to understand the way to actually go about playing the game. Playing a Paradox game is for many what looking at a car engine is to me. I know, roughly, what all the bits do, but I have no idea what on earth I could tweak to make the engine stop rattling. And how do I know if the car is running well? And what on earth would I do if it wasn’t? Yes, I could read a description of all the car bits, but how would that help me diagnose the problems? And what minor tweaks would I apply to rectify little concerns?
Damn. I really stretched that metaphor.
So, I thought I would write up a few tips for any starting CK2 player based on some ideas I’ve had playing the demo, playing CK and playing other, similar games. This is by no means a really good guide to CK2 – I hope we’ll see some awesome guides in due course (for example, the Hearts of Iron 3 strategy guide was really great), but perhaps this will help a few people. Hell – I’m not even sure my advice is entirely correct.
These thoughts presume that you’re playing a small holding – I suggest the King of Scotland or the ruler of the larger Welsh (click on Powys county) or Irish lands (click on the Thomond county). They assume you’re starting with some simple goals such as unifying Scotland, Wales or Ireland. If you can play through those goals well, even if you lose the game later on, you should be on your way to ‘getting’ it.
So, without further ado, some random thoughts and ideas in rough chronological order of “things to do and think about”:
- Examine your ruler. What are their strengths and weaknesses? If they have some horrid weaknesses, it’s going to affect the relationships with your vassals and family.
- Examine the ruler’s family. Who is the heir? How many kids? Is the ruler married? How many siblings? Are they weak or strong? Do the family get along or do they hate each other? Who is unmarried?
- Next, the vassals, look at the counties and then the holdings in the counties. Who controls them? Do they like you or not? Are they married? Do they have kids you could offer to educate for some favour?
- Check your council – do they all love you? Can you replace the ones that do not (careful with those who have power)?
- Check vassals and courtiers in provinces or areas you want to capture. Do any of them have claims on territory you want. Can you invite them to come and be your vassal and then press their claim for them?
- Determine your goals: if you’re unifying a small nation examine the other holdings: Who are their heirs? Could you marry your heir to a daughter and then assassinate everyone else until your heir inherits? If you can’t work out a way to get your family in there, plan to use your steward to fabricate claims.
- Do you have quality courtiers? If not, and you have a surfeit of single women, arrange matrilineal marriages for them so their husbands will join your court and be available for useful work (or to be ennobled once you gain lands!).
- Do you have too many sons? Can you give some of them bishoprics to take them out of contention for attempts to take power and messing up your lands?
- Do you have vassals you would prefer to get rid of? Eg, ones who very much hate you and are unlikely to be won over by hunts and feasts (which is worth trying). Perhaps it’s time to save some money and, in due course, work out a way of getting them arrested or causing them to rise (and then crushing them with mercenaries and taking their stuff).
- If you have daughters, can you marry them off to important nearby land-holders who will become allies? For example, a neighbouring King or Duke you could call upon in an emergency?
- Can you use your council members to try and destabilize a neighbour? Especially if that neighbour is part of a De Jure duchy you might control. When the rebels rise, put them down and ask for the neighbour to become your vassal! One just did for me in Ireland!
- You can invite title claims to your court so you can press their claim:
Click on a title on, say, a noble’s list of titles, go to claimants. On the portrait, there’ll be a green thumbs up or a red thumbs down. The ones with green thumbs up can be invited to your court via the diplomacy screen. You’ll get a casus belli on their claims.
- You can right click on a province’s holdings to get three menu items. You can then right click again to get even more options!
Anyway. Some random tips on how to approach the game. I'm sure someone else will produce a lot more and in a lot more detail soon.
There’s a new version of Dwarf Fortress out, and, as always, you can get it from the Bay12 site. The change log is extensive and I haven’t had a look at the new client yet to explore all the implications. Go enjoy!
- cities in adventure mode that have various buildings, dungeons, items, livestock, etc.
- protect your community from secret vampire dwarves or hunt them as an adventurer
- defend your fort during the full moon or risk a werewolf infestation — hunt/be hunted as an adventurer
- face armies of the dead in dwarf mode or visit their necromancers’ towers and learn their secrets as an adventurer
- evil regions where the dead and pieces of the dead can come alive, with evil mists and rain
- tombs built in world gen which can be visited in adv mode, either beneath towns or out in the wilds — beware the dead!
- revamped justice/witness/death notification system in dwarf mode
- immigrants to your fortress will now be historical figures whenever possible, which means more family relationships and history for each one
- dropped items/bodies tracked between plays in the wilderness anywhere in the world
- more battlefield information tracked/war dead raisable in world gen
- all sponsorship animals and their giant/man versions are in the game now
- various new abilities for creatures (see file_changes.txt for list and syntax)
- adventurers can use creature abilities/learned powers and they can be tested from the arena
- new site travel map to make navigating towns easier
- reading/swimming/observer (for traps) relevant in adv mode now
- established historical figures can lead bandits
- rivers block movement in adv mode travel
- eating/drinking required in adv mode
- ingested syndromes are now possible
- ability to make campfire (from ‘g’) and warm items at campfire/fire/magma (from ‘I’) in adv mode
- traps work in adv mode, once spotted they can be ignored
- gems now have different cuts
- necromancers can write books about various topics (all books are in their towers as it stands)
- moon phase indicator in fort
- alphanumeric world gen seeds and some more world gen params (see file_changes.txt)
- the legends xml has a lot of new info for historical figures
Major bug fixes
- buffer overload from aborted world gen fixed
- fixed cave-in-on-embark issue with hidden underground structure, and a few others
Other bug fixes/tweaks
- designations over z levels all at once now possible
- unit screen divided into four sections
- rivers/pools have ramps now
- able to trade portions of stacks in both modes
- messed with adv mode currency trading and made items teleport to you
- tweaked how fire damage works
- made vision work through floor grates and bars properly
- fixed some road/bridge problems
- crystal glass items possible again
- tweaked adventure mode swimming and alt-movement readout (use alt-movement to get into a river you want to cross)
- skeletons/zombies replaced by animation effect
- demons masquerading as gods will try a little harder
- restricted mandates so they’ll be more reasonable
- stopped blank map from being exported when you back out of detailed map export
Angie Gallant, her of the weird and funny Hatoful Boyfriend lets play has started another lets play for the game Matches & Matrimony, which is a dating game featuring Jane Austen protagonists! The lets play is a hoot and you can check the game out for yourself here.
With Shikoku pacified, Motonari turned his attention to fulfilling the Shogun’s wishes and weakening the Takeda. Takamoto reamined in Awa only long enough to repair battle-damage to the castle and recruit a small garrison to remind the population of their duty to the Daimyo.
As soon as he was ready, Takamoto’s army boarded ships and sailed east.
As he had advanced in years, Motonari had evidently discovered that his wife had also advanced in years, for his womanising ways had now reached the point that his frequent distractions now slowed his army on the march.
Although Motonari did not want to sully his own honour by embarking upon a war against a clan with whom he had long enjoyed a positive trading relationship, he was nevertheless hopeful that he might be able to acquire the two provinces currently controlled by the Ouchi. To this end, he took the bulk of his army out of Hamada castle in Iwami, and had them hide in forests near the road. He hoped that the traders would inform the Ouchi of the minimal defences in Hamada castle, and that the Ouchi would seize the opportunity to attack.
Signs that conflict in central Honshu were leading to the consolidation of power by certain, unknown Daimyo were further heightened by news that the Hojo clan had been destroyed. Read more…
The potential for conflict with the Ouchi weighed on Motonari’s mind. He began searching for alternative allies. The Shoni, who were allied to the Ouchi, and who had a daughter married into the Mori clan, could not be persuaded to formalise their strong relationship with the Mori into an alliance.
Unable to reach the fortifications in Izumo before winter set in, Takamoto decided to wait at the border, rather than risk starving his men by forcing them to forage in enemy territory. While he waited, the Amako sent emissaries frantically begging for peace.
They were not willing to pay the price the Mori demanded, however, and so the war dragged on. Read more…
In Winter, a Mori trade ship finally established a cotton trade with the Korean Kingdom. Despite the small scale of trade in its beginnings, it still brought in an extra 2-300 koku per season.
As Takamoto followed the Amako force from Iwami to Aki, he was met near the border by a small detachment.
The period between winter 1545 and summer 1546 is not well represented in Mori records. It is thought that documents were lost in transit between Iwami and Aki, Iwami being subject to Amako raiding during this period.
What is known is that the small Amako raiding part travelled south to continue their raiding into the Mori’s home province of Aki. Motonari and his councillors elected to ignore the raiders, and sent his son, Takamoto, east with the bulk of the army that had conquered Iwami. Motonari and the Mori senior retainers had apparently suspected that the Amako armies were thoroughly depleted, and hoped that Takamoto would be able to conquer Izumo with ease.
They were surprised when Takamoto encountered an Amako force, somwhat larger than his own marching west to meet him.