Crusader Kings II

Crusader Kings II

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Beargod Jan 9, 2013 @ 1:07am
Is this as hard as I think it is?
I have only spent an hour or two on CKII, going through the tutorials and what not, but this game seems seriously complicated.

How long does it take to make any sense?
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Showing 1-15 of 21 comments
This tutorial was what I watched to learn how to play
Starting as Dublin in Ireland is what I would recommend
Beargod Jan 9, 2013 @ 2:55am 
Thanks. This game looks super great, but it's friggin hard to figure out!
It is worth it... I found HOI II and III a little too difficult to get into.. I saw 5min of this video and I HAD to get it... after watching this and 3-4 hours of play... so worth it!
jerry.barrington Jan 9, 2013 @ 4:20am 
I love this game (I've played 500 hours in a little over 5 monhs...), but...

I really wish Paradox was better at interface design. The scroll bars are dreadful. I have to be slow clicking on anything, because if I move the mouse before the game fully acknowledges my click, it clicks somewhere else instead. Etc.

And we need a lot better option on getting information from the game. Finding potential spouses, finding people who can be invited to court, finding where my dynasty members are and if they're marriageable or need a tutor, more of the order of heirs to a title past the 1st 3, which technologies I might be able to spy on, etc. I have hacked together a Python script that reads my save files to produce a lot of this info, but in-game help would be better.
That would be good, Jerry. Also, better multiplayer support.
jerry.barrington Jan 9, 2013 @ 4:40am 
I haven't tried multiplayer at all, so I don't know. :/
Originally posted by Beargod:
How long does it take to make any sense?

I can't really give you a timeframe in hours, but I'd be pretty confident you'll have a good grasp of things by the time you're on your 3rd heir.

That's assuming a few things of course, here's my recommedation for quickly understanding the game:
1) Watch a Let's Play (preferably one that's broken up into topics/themes so you can jump around to what you need at the moment) in order to grasp the basics and watch someone do it. The in-game tutorial is basically worthless.

2) Start playing from the bottom up. An Earl will be a lot easier to play than a King, and you'll slowly and naturally be introduced to new game mechanics as your character becomes stronger. Try to start at the same place as the Let's Play to minimize differences. I agree with Eftwyrd, Ireland is a great place to start. You'll get to deal with a lot of game mechanics on a smaller scale, from multiple types of callus belli to culture differences with the odd Norwegian, without the AI steamrolling you.

3) I think the game does quite well with the mouse-over tooltips in the game, so read them carefully -- many options will be clearly explained in game. Check the wikis (especially) and forums for further clarification when needed, don't just ignore something you don't understand. There is no extraneous information in this game, everything is important.

4) Be prepared to learn by making mistakes. Lots of them. Personally, some of my favorite game moments came from trying to fix some face-palm-worthy mistake I made. If you are the type of player that prefers to tell a tightly-controlled narative through your gaming and can't accept anythign less than perfection, you better save often.

I know this is already long, but I'll leave you with a few things I wish I had learned earlier:
1) Know succession law backwards and forwards. You will probably have to learn a few new words, but almost everything I do later in game requires a thorough understanding of where people fall in the line of succession. You can test yourself by looking at a title's succession type and trying to figure out who the next three heirs in line are (you can check your answers if you hover your mouse over the sheild for the title).

2) Know Callus Belli types backwards and forwards. Nothing is more frustrating than spending a couple years at war expecting to win a title and ending up with an angry vassal instead. Luckily, peace conditions are spelled out fairly clearly when declaring war, just read carefully before clicking "send".

3) Use the "Characters" button to find people to bring to your court. You might be tempted to click on the ring icon to arrange a marriage, but you'll only get a handful of options. Instead, search the entire world with the criteria you desire for a lot of better opportunities (can take a long time, but worth it). This is essential not just for marriages but also replacing people in your council. Why use your courtier with a skill of 8 as marshal when you can snag someone who is unhappy with their liege and has a skill of 23? Even better if their liege is your enemy. My general rule of thumb is if they're within two "+" of accepting an invitation to my court, I can probably snag them with a bribe. Great way to force another country's heir into a matrilineal marriage, as he can't refuse once he's in your court.

4) Choose your wife based on her skills and characteristics, not title. It's much better to have a line of genius heirs to play for the next 400 years than a temporary ally or claim on a kingdom you'll never press. Personally, I always look for a fertile and lusty genius, but I enjoy spreading my dynasty through marriage and deceit. Also, become a master of eugenics in general and use your knowledge to shape your vassals and enemies for easy subjucation.

Hope that helps. We've all been where you are and can attest that the payoff is worth it. Many of us are also happy to answer questions as we also struggled with most aspects of the game -- so if the wikis or google doesn't help, feel free to ask here or on paradox's forums.
jerry.barrington Jan 9, 2013 @ 5:38pm 
Regarding "Characters", I try to every 2-3 game years search all the people with top ratings in all 5 attributes, to invite any I can to my court. As a result, all my councillors' main stats are now 21-29, with a few spare high-stat people hanging around (in case a councillor dies). That and choosing wives for stats has given me huge state stats, really helping my tech progress, espionage, fabricatng, etc.

Be warned that keeping a large court (mine typically has more than 100 people) will reduce the fertility of everybody in the court.
Originally posted by jerry.barrington:
Regarding "Characters", I try to every 2-3 game years search all the people with top ratings in all 5 attributes, to invite any I can to my court.

That's a great idea, I try to do the same myself. Especially when I can get good council members from rival counties/countries to defect -- don't even have to use them, worth a little gold sometimes just to keep him from using them.

Originally posted by jerry.barrington:
Be warned that keeping a large court (mine typically has more than 100 people) will reduce the fertility of everybody in the court.

Thanks, I didn't know that. Just goes to show that you're constanly learning about the mechanics of the game. Any other insights into court mechanics you could share that might not be obvious? It's an area I just assumed didn't have much depth (besides plots and breeding).

I do agree that the best overhaul they could do for this game is to have a better way to search and sort all the characters, it's by far where I spend most of my time in-game.
Beargod Jan 9, 2013 @ 9:14pm 
Wow, lots of good info, thanks all!

Jerry, where is that Python script? I happen to be a Python dev, so that might be a good way to learn the backend of the game.

Thanks again. I will give it a few more hours tonight... if I can resist DOTA 2 for a while.
jerry.barrington Jan 10, 2013 @ 5:57am 
I could share the script, but I don't have it posted anywhere. It's constantly evolving as I cobble together new things.

But honestly, it is very *ugly*. Understand, I learned to program in the 80's, and have only tinkered since then. I really never have gotten good out object orientation.
Josh Jan 12, 2013 @ 10:17am 
Originally posted by {S} Eftwyrd (Derek):
It is worth it... I found HOI II and III a little too difficult to get into.. I saw 5min of this video and I HAD to get it... after watching this and 3-4 hours of play... so worth it!

HOI3 confused the hell out of me and made my head hurt, CK2 is one of my favourite strategy games though and after watching a load of tutorial videos I don't have any problems with it :P

Quill18 did a long LP of it which might help
Korppi Jan 12, 2013 @ 10:40am 
Originally posted by jerry.barrington:
I really wish Paradox was better at interface design.

Unfortunately, while they are absolutely great in game design, they are bad in interface design. I think it has something to do with the balance of universe or such :D IMO it is still worth it to learn to live with the interface, otherwise you miss a great game.
Korppi Jan 12, 2013 @ 11:21am 
And here's my tips how to begin. I always use customized character (DLC) so forgive me if some are not valid when starting with default lord. This will run you through the first steps and give you a good start:

1. Pick the duke of Munster (from southern Ireland)
2. Right at the game start do the following:
a) Set your council to work:
* Chancellor to fabricate claim to Ossory
* Marshall to train troops in Thomond
* Steward to collect taxes in Thomond
* Spy master to study technology in Nikomedeia (in Byzantine empire)
* Court chaplain to improve relations in Rome
b) Set technology research to boost siege equipment, city taxes and religious relations
c) Change city tax law to maximum
d) Set your ambition to "get married"
3. Time to find yourself a soulmate. Open people browser (or whatever it is named, rightmost icon) and set filtering to "women" "not married" "adult" and search all characters. Click "age" column to sort by age and start scrolling through the sweet sixteens. You are searching for a girl who has "genius" trait, no sicknesses and preferrably at least 10 in all attributes. If you can find a nice catholic one, great, but if you set your eyes to some heathen sweetheart, just make sure they don't have "zealous" trait. When you find the woman of your dreams, right click on portrait, select the scroll and suggest marriage to you.
4. Click your portrait and check the vassals tab. Right click on both barons (with copper circle), open diplomacy and select revoke title, and their title. If they would answer "yes", then send it. If you want to live dangerously, you can also send with "maybe"... you can always start over if they start a war.
5. Go to intrigue tab. Use all your piety for action "invite holy man to court" and maybe 20 gold for "invite noble to court" and other 20 for "present debutante". Go to council tab and check if you can switch to better councillors. Fill in order: Steward -> Marshall -> Chancellor -> Spymaster -> Court chaplain. If you changed any, put them to work again as said in #2.
5. Now unpause the game. You should get messages about titles revoked and marriage approved. Select prestige reward as your wedding gift. When you get the message that you fulfilled the ambition, select new ambition "have a son".
6. Let time pass. Check if you can revoke other barons. When you have about 400 military, you can revoke even if they don't agree, you'll win. (Select military info and raise your troops from there). When you have successfully revoked both barons in Thomond, wait until you have about 600 military and then revoke the count of Ormond. He won't go quietly so you have to make war. Other way is to wait until you have 100 gold and hire a mercenary unit to do the fighting.
7. Once you have revoked Ormond, declare war to Desmond (wait again to have 600 military or use the same mercenary group... you can declare war when you have mercenary units) and claim it as your vassal.
8. At this point you should have a nice gold income from Thomond and you are in control of your duchy. Now it's time to wait for gold to pile up and your chancellor to fabricate claim to Ossory, which you will then conquer. You are on your way to the throne of Ireland.

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Date Posted: Jan 9, 2013 @ 1:07am
Posts: 21