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    (Original post by Jace Falco)
    :clap2:

    For those interested: you can stream the Bastion soundtrack for free, or buy it for download or on CD, here.

    (Original post by Xamanus)
    Is this a nerds thread?
    Well, it is a gaming thread, and you know what they say!
    Bare nerds in da game now!
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    Kotaku have written a review of Crusader Kings II, by the way

    (Original post by LtCommanderData)
    :wavey:
    (Original post by Phalanges)
    :wavey:
    (Original post by Jace Falco)
    :wavey:

    http://kotaku.com/5886773/crusader-k...-kotaku-review
    Spoiler:
    Show
    I was playing as the King of England. I ruled for over thirty years, sometimes a tyrant, other times a hero. When I died, I could keep playing, because I was now controlling his son. Who, it turns out, not only had a lisp, but was gay, whose arranged wife hated him and wanted him dead, whose brothers instantly declared war and whose holdings were soon being picked over by Frenchmen.

    That would be fairly entertaining if it was a scripted occurrence. Or the result of dramatic writing. What makes Crusader Kings II so amazing is that it's not.
    For years now, Paradox has been toiling away on its grand strategy games, releasing a number of series that, while differing slightly in focus and in historical setting, are all generally about the same thing: taking total control of a people or nation. From continental invasions to building a market in some backwood village, you control everything that goes on in your lands.

    Crusader Kings II is no different in this regard. Anyone who's played a Paradox game of this ilk before will be right at home with things like its interface, battles and movement. What may not be familiar is the way the game has you managing not just places, but people as well.

    WHAT I LIKED

    Getting There. There's never been any question there are some incredibly detailed and flexible mechanics running Paradox's grand strategy games. The problem has always been in the terrible way those mechanics are presented to the player. While CKII is still far from perfect in this regard, most of the really important stuff can actually be accessed and understood using the game's own tutorials, a first for these kind of games (normally you need community-driven FAQs to help you get your head around things).

    People Power. Despite the fact I had a Kingdom to rule, I found myself spending most of my time worrying about the King's court instead. Through its emphasis on dealing with individual inhabitants of the game, CKII lets you conduct diplomacy, arrange marriages, educate kids, plot assassinations, bully vassals, piss off the Pope, claim other people's land and hook your 2 year-old son up with the 51 year-old Queen Mother of Norway. You can even award someone the title "Keeper of the Swans". It can be exhausting, but it also gives the game a very personal feeling. Sure, you're spending time looking down on Europe like a God, but you spend more time knee-deep in real, human politics, a rarity for a video game.

    Randomly Generated. You can start the game from pre-defined moments in history between the 11th and 15 centuries, and when you do, the people and places of Europe are locked in. Everything that happens after that first click, though, changes every time you play. A son who loved you dearly and supported you as Chancellor in one game could literally stab you in the back in another, meaning even repeating the same game as the same ruler in the same place twice never gives you the same game. It's a blast seeing the politics of a Kingdom unfurl anew every time I start a new game.


    Grand Scope. This emphasis on personal relationships bleeds over into the larger strategy of the game, and enriches the whole experience like few other games of this type can manage. You become invested in the relationships you're forging, and because they're often extensions of diplomacy, you become inordinately passionate about their outcomes. I mean, on one hand, all you're doing is sliding numbers around and adjusting values, but good god, when those numbers are represented as catty Spanish princesses trying to kill my wife while I'm off subduing Belgians, it just sucks you right in.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

    What? As I said above, the game's UI is... better than usual, sure, but there's still plenty of room for improvement. Paradox really needs to get some help in the field of "put buttons and commands people need to play the game where people actually need them".

    Huh? Paradox also needs help in the field of "OK, so our systems are complex, so let's make our tutorials thorough and easy to understand". Because they're not, which is a shame, because that's going to put off a lot of people who, with the right hand-holding, could really get into this game.

    THE FINAL WORD

    I can finally, after years of only talking about these games with people who play military strategy board games in their spare time, recommend a Paradox grand strategy game to more "casual" (warning: relative term!) gamers. Crusader Kings II still has serious issues with accessibility, but once these are overcome - and they are worth overcoming - you'll find one of the most challenging, entertaining and rewarding strategy games you've ever played.
    In my own game, in around 20 years Gospatrick's eldest son has grown up, become Earl of Cumberland properly...then subsequently went immediately towards getting his chancellor to fabricate claims to the county of Dunbar (which currently belongs to Gospatrick, but would be inherited by one of Gospatrick's younger sons when he dies). His eldest daughter married the prince of Scotland. His second-eldest son died aged 8 (). His third-eldest son then stood to inherit the county of Dunbar, and Gospatrick's wife (who's the resident spymaster) discovered that the Earl of Cumberland's wife (who's their spymaster) was plotting to kill the third-eldest son - Gospatrick tried to have her imprisoned but she fled to England or Wales or somewhere (I forget exactly), where she died a couple of years later. King of England died, and the new king immediately offered to marry Gospatrick's second-eldest daughter. As soon as the third-eldest son came of age and became earl of Dunbar, Gospatrick then declared war against the king of Scotland to fight for the independence of Lothian, and he succeeded :king1: So now Gospatrick is leader of an independent nation, his two daughters are queens (or queen consorts, I haven't checked) of Scotland and England, and his eldest son seems intent on killing his younger brothers so he can maintain control of Dunbar when he becomes duke of Lothian :lol:

    The rest of Scotland is still fairly divided - Argyll was taken by Scotland from the Duchy of the Isles, both Carrick and Galloway in the south-west have tried (but failed) to become independent from the Duchy of the Isles, while Caithness, the Orkneys and Shetlands are all held by the Duchy of the Orkneys. Gospatrick has a claim to Carrick and two of his vassals have claims to Galloway, but I can't be bothered going to war right now. "South of the border", Norfolk is an independent state, and Lancaster (which actually seems to make up a pretty sizeable chunk of western England) is currently independent as it fights a civil war against England to fight for laws that allow it a better opportunity to govern itself. Ireland's now in about seven states from the twelve that started, and Wales is divided between three groups. So, the British Isles are in a complete state of chaos (and I probably wouldn't have won my own independence, but I saw an opportunity when Scotland went to war with the Orkneys taking their troops way up north so I invaded the south while they were busy with another war)


    I think I've sort of got a grasp of things now, though I think getting my head around all the different inheritance laws and stuff will still take some getting used to. So I'm kind of torn about whether to continue with this game or to start anew and take the new start far more seriously.
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    (Original post by Dalimyr)
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    I caved and got it.

    I think I will enjoy it once I start to understand it a little bit better. I started off trying out the tutorials, but they were so stodgy that I just gave up and decided to jump right in and learn by doing. I reasoned that, since there were obvious similarities to Total War, I could probably figure out a fair bit of it myself.

    I picked the Duchy of Dyfed (West Wales), because it's probably my favourite place in the world. The 56 year-old Duke of Dyfed is, incidentally, an absolute arse - slothful, gluttonous and cruel. Straight away, I was completely baffled by what to do. I fiddled around with some basic diplomacy, such as getting my heir (my 55 year-old half brother) not to hate me. I didn't much like him, so I decided to get married, in order to get a proper heir in the works, and continue our horrible dynasty. Thus minded, I married a 21 year-old princess of Hungary. Just because.

    So, then I was stuck for what to do again, and read through my alerts. Apparently, I had outstanding ducal claims on nearby Glamorgan and Gwent, and so I decided to pursue these claims. I declared war on the Earl of Glamorgan, raised an army and sent them to battle, where they were promptly trounced by a far larger force. Thus humiliated, I decided to quit the game and come back when I was more patient and prepared to go through the tutorials properly.
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    This sounds like the game 'A Game of Thrones' should have been.
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    If I survive the rest of this term, and have access to my computer over Easter, I'm going to get that game at the end of term. Maybe it'll be a little cheaper by then, too...
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    (Original post by Jace Falco)
    I think I will enjoy it once I start to understand it a little bit better.
    Yeah, it's a bit hard to get into at first, but it is enjoyable once you understand it
    I started off trying out the tutorials, but they were so stodgy that I just gave up and decided to jump right in and learn by doing.
    If you go back to the tutorials (or for anyone else who ends up getting the game), the ones about the military and war are a bit screwed up. With one tutorial I had to restart it five times so I could continue past a certain point (I'd raised my army, got some ships and I had to split my army up and move some of them onto the ships and take them to the other side of the country...except after splitting the army it seemed to skip a step and I was unable to do anything at all because it automatically paused the game, I couldn't unpause it and I needed it to be unpaused so my troops could be moved onto the ships).

    I picked the Duchy of Dyfed (West Wales), because it's probably my favourite place in the world. The 56 year-old Duke of Dyfed is, incidentally, an absolute arse - slothful, gluttonous and cruel. Straight away, I was completely baffled by what to do. I fiddled around with some basic diplomacy, such as getting my heir (my 55 year-old half brother) not to hate me. I didn't much like him, so I decided to get married, in order to get a proper heir in the works, and continue our horrible dynasty. Thus minded, I married a 21 year-old princess of Hungary. Just because.
    One thing I learned the hard way in Europa Universalis III: Having a divided empire makes you rather vulnerable to attack. In my very first game of EU3 I didn't realise it was intended to be REALLY slow-paced so I treated it much like Total War, conquering Iceland, Norway and Denmark in one fell swoop then swiftly followed that up by taking part of Portugal and most of northern Africa...only to have England declare war on me. Their naval superiority prevented me from getting troops back from Africa to Scotland; they essentially barricaded my main force of troops in Portugal so Scotland and Scandinavia were at the mercy of the English forces, while down in Africa I ended up having peasants revolting a lot because of culture clashes and stuff (and because of the English harassing my ships I couldn't get my troops back out of Portugal and into Africa to stop that). Were you to to be in control of territories in Wales and Hungary, that might make things a little challenging for you down the line :p:
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    (Original post by Dalimyr)
    One thing I learned the hard way in Europa Universalis III: Having a divided empire makes you rather vulnerable to attack. In my very first game of EU3 I didn't realise it was intended to be REALLY slow-paced so I treated it much like Total War, conquering Iceland, Norway and Denmark in one fell swoop then swiftly followed that up by taking part of Portugal and most of northern Africa...only to have England declare war on me. Their naval superiority prevented me from getting troops back from Africa to Scotland; they essentially barricaded my main force of troops in Portugal so Scotland and Scandinavia were at the mercy of the English forces, while down in Africa I ended up having peasants revolting a lot because of culture clashes and stuff (and because of the English harassing my ships I couldn't get my troops back out of Portugal and into Africa to stop that). Were you to to be in control of territories in Wales and Hungary, that might make things a little challenging for you down the line :p:
    I wasn't actually in control of anything in Hungary. Potentially, I could have started laying claims a generation or two down the line, but it was her cousin who was actually the king.
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    (Original post by Dalimyr)
    x
    My situation is this:

    I'm Bleddyn, the Duke of Gwynedd, which includes the County of Powys. My eldest son and heir, Cadwgan, is an arse. My second son, Hunydd, is much more capable, and also heir to Powys - meaning that when I die, the Duchy is split up. My spymaster has just uncovered a plot by Hunydd to kill Cadwgan, and therefore become the main heir, which I think would also mean that he would inherit the whole Duchy, and keep it united. As I've said, Cadwgan is an arse, and Hunydd would make a much more capable ruler. Is it bad of me just to sit back and let the plot unfold?
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    (Original post by Jace Falco)
    My situation is this:

    I'm Bleddyn, the Duke of Gwynedd, which includes the County of Powys. My eldest son and heir, Cadwgan, is an arse. My second son, Hunydd, is much more capable, and also heir to Powys - meaning that when I die, the Duchy is split up. My spymaster has just uncovered a plot by Hunydd to kill Cadwgan, and therefore become the main heir, which I think would also mean that he would inherit the whole Duchy, and keep it united. As I've said, Cadwgan is an arse, and Hunydd would make a much more capable ruler. Is it bad of me just to sit back and let the plot unfold?
    :rofl: If he's that incompetent then personally I'd say stuff him :evil: Questionable, though, whether you want to let the plot unfold or even get involved yourself. If Hunydd has high intrigue and all that then let him do it, but if he's not much good then there's a higher risk that he'd be caught and be branded with the 'kinslayer' trait which understandably has a rather massive negative impact on him. If your own intrigue is higher, have your spymaster build spy network in whatever county Cadwgan is currently residing in (to give you a boost to assassination attempts in that county) and see whether it'd be worth trying to off him yourself. Hopefully Cadwgan's intrigue is low and you'll have a good chance of success with lower chance of being caught.
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    (Original post by cambo211)
    This sounds like the game 'A Game of Thrones' should have been.
    Just what I was thinking. Have you seen the GoT ARPG that same crappy company are coming out with? HBO should take away their license and give it to a dev that can do the series justice!
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    (Original post by Dalimyr)
    :rofl: If he's that incompetent then personally I'd say stuff him :evil: Questionable, though, whether you want to let the plot unfold or even get involved yourself. If Hunydd has high intrigue and all that then let him do it, but if he's not much good then there's a higher risk that he'd be caught and be branded with the 'kinslayer' trait which understandably has a rather massive negative impact on him. If your own intrigue is higher, have your spymaster build spy network in whatever county Cadwgan is currently residing in (to give you a boost to assassination attempts in that county) and see whether it'd be worth trying to off him yourself. Hopefully Cadwgan's intrigue is low and you'll have a good chance of success with lower chance of being caught.
    Ultimately, I did end up offing him myself Unfortunately, I hadn't realised that Cadwgan had a son (despite never having been married), and then Hunydd died, so I very rapidly had to transfer my attentions to young Llywellyn!

    I'm now on the fourth generation of Welsh rulers (they were Kings by the second generation), and I was having a fine time managing my own little six-county world, utterly ignoring world politics when BAM! An English Earl made a claim on the county of Powys, rode in with six thousand troops and annihilated all resistance. Since there is no chance I'm getting that back until someone comes to invade England again and distracts their army, I've contented myself with carving out chunks of Ireland - which is stupidly easy, because they've all been too busy fighting amongst themselves to form any kind of alliance or unity. I don't think you can set up a kingdom when you already have one, but if you can, I soon will.

    Another quality this game brings out in me is the desire for vengeance. A few years ago, the King of France cheated on my sister. With my wife. Now, I'm not stupid. I know that the United Kingdom of Great Wales and All of Ireland is no match for France. But he will die, and he will not see it coming.
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    Ack, must stop coming in here and reading about this cursed game! If only I didn't have work to do... :sad:
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    I hate you all so much for make me want this.
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    (Original post by Phalanges)
    Ack, must stop coming in here and reading about this cursed game! If only I didn't have work to do... :sad:
    (Original post by cambo211)
    I hate you all so much for make me want this.
    Next time I'm going to play a pagan faction so I can see things from the non-Catholic side :wizard:
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    (Original post by Jace Falco)
    Next time I'm going to play a pagan faction so I can see things from the non-Catholic side :wizard:
    :no: You can't play as pagans, muslims, theocracies or republics (and I might be missing some other things there)
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    Just noticed i have £18 on my amazon account.

    Game is £23 on amazon.

    I can totally afford a fiver.

    Winning.
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    There's a tradition within European royal families of vigorous inbreeding, to keep the bloodline 'pure'. I decided to try my best to avoid that, and so my current king is more Ethiopian than he is Welsh

    (Original post by Dalimyr)
    :no: You can't play as pagans, muslims, theocracies or republics (and I might be missing some other things there)
    Aww, shame.

    Anyway, I mentioned earlier that the King of France crossed me.



    Do not cross me.
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    (Original post by Dalimyr)
    :no: You can't play as pagans, muslims, theocracies or republics (and I might be missing some other things there)
    That sucks, are there future mods or official DLCs that will address this?
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    Are there any AoE players here?
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    (Original post by Some random guy)
    That sucks, are there future mods or official DLCs that will address this?
    Doubtful. It is called "Crusader Kings" after all so I suppose it wants to try and force you to play Christian forces that take part in the crusades.

    However, I did find this on the Penny Arcade forums:
    You can, sort of, play as a mongol. There is a chance that they will convert to Christianity at some point. If that doesn't happen you can choose a start date when the Golden Horde controls most of Russia. They have christian vassals with an option to adopt their liege's culture and periodically the Khan will demand that you convert to his religion. If you say yes you can continue playing as the character even if they are not christian.

    The same tactic allows for playable muslims as well.
    Playing a game through to the point where a muslim nation adopts Christianity, then taking control of them and trying to force them to re-adopt Islam seems rather extreme and not particularly practical, as the unrest that'd likely cause would probably mean you'd have a lot of revolts to deal with. There are instances where a leader of a region is of one faith and the territory he rules is another faith, and if the leader (i.e. the guy who'd be your player character) is Christian then you can play as them...if your heir is a pagan/muslim/whatever then voila, you're playing as a pagan/muslim/whatever once your initial leader dies

    Looking around, in 1066:
    Jämtland and Trøndelag (in Sweden/Norway) are both Norse regions led by Catholic Christians.
    Lübeck (Germany) is a Romuva region led by a Catholic Christian.
    Zaozerye (Russia) is a Suomenusko region led by an Orthodox Christian.
    Tortosa (Syria) is a Sunni region led by an Orthodox Christian (but the county is part of the Byzantine Empire who at this point in time are still in a position of real power, so breaking free and not having the emperor insist you switch to Orthodox Christianity may not be particularly easy)

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