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Crusader Kings II Do you like to play Crusader Kings? Looking for help, tips or strategies?

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Old Oct 7th 2014, 06:00 PM
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Default Interesting Game Starts?

I've tried starting as the Eorl of Dublin instead of Munster, but that's pretty much just the same Irish starter campaign with identical challenges.

I've also tried starting as the Capet King of France in the 1066 start. Oh boy that's a challenge and a half. Start as a 14yo in regency, very weak, no money, no prestige, no army, plus several very strong and ambitious vassal dukes, enmity with England and the HRE is hungry for its 'de jure' territory in Flanders. A major vassal rebellion and war with HRE all roll out in the first couple of days after clicking "unpause". That sure was a quick game.

By far and away the easiest start I've played has to be the William the Conqueror (December 1066 start). You begin right after William has conquered England. If you just want to play a kingdom without all the work to create it, this is a perfect scenario. There are some challenges at the beginning (nasty vassal problems), but once you get England under control, you've got a nice big and fairly stable kingdom without any serious local invasion threats. Establishing the Empire of Britannia is fairly easy since England is bigger/stronger than Scotland, Ireland or Wales. As King of England, you are well placed to win crusades too.

Anyone got any suggestions for interesting/fun start characters?
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Old Oct 7th 2014, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Game Starts?

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
I've tried starting as the Eorl of Dublin instead of Munster, but that's pretty much just the same Irish starter campaign with identical challenges.

I've also tried starting as the Capet King of France in the 1066 start. Oh boy that's a challenge and a half. Start as a 14yo in regency, very weak, no money, no prestige, no army, plus several very strong and ambitious vassal dukes, enmity with England and the HRE is hungry for its 'de jure' territory in Flanders. A major vassal rebellion and war with HRE all roll out in the first couple of days after clicking "unpause". That sure was a quick game.
I hear that starting with Castile in 1066 is supposed to be interesting. It puts you in a relatively strong position to eventually create Spain and you get to decide how to deal with the Muslims in the south.
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Old Oct 7th 2014, 06:20 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Game Starts?

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I hear that starting with Castile in 1066 is supposed to be interesting. It puts you in a relatively strong position to eventually create Spain and you get to decide how to deal with the Muslims in the south.
Yes, certainly. The Kings of Leon, Navarre, Castille and Aragon (and Portugal?) are all brothers in the 1066 start with no wives or children. One or the other of these brothers usually dies in battle soon enough and that starts the recombination process.

Oddly enough, the Spaniards in the games I've played never seem to conquer southern Spain themselves - it pretty much stays Muslim until the pope calls a crusade for it. If I unified Castille with the other kingdoms, I'd consider a no-brainer to do the holy war thing in southern spain.

So yes, Spain would certainly be interesting. Actually, I've been looking at that little Kingdom of Galica up in the northwest corner of Spain - they are Celts. That might be fun/interesting/challenging as well.
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Old Oct 7th 2014, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Game Starts?

I'm also interested in the de Hauteville start in southern Italy (historical Kingdom of the Two Sicilies). It should be a real tough challenge because it has not just several varieties of Muslims nearby, but also inherent conflict with HRE, Byzantium and the Pope all due to geography.

I haven't even looked at this start yet because it seems like it would be very challenging and I want to build up my skills before taking that on. Right now I'm still working with my Norman-British Empire (Duke William at Samford start) and playing that through to the end. We're in the 13th century and still going strong - though I'm not sure what to do about the HRE - we've fought two massive slaughterfest wars already (50,000 troops on each side, seven years for each war) in order to exchange one tiny little piece of land.
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Old Oct 8th 2014, 11:52 AM
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Default Re: Interesting Game Starts?

Isaac Komnenos, Duke of Antioch (and brother of Alexios) is a pretty interesting (although difficult) place to start. His brother is interesting too. Basic goal is recreate the Komnenoid restoration.

The De Hautevilles are actually pretty easy. I recommend them along with Ireland if you want to learn the game. It's pretty fun to create the kingdom of Sicily and then go crusading.
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Old Oct 8th 2014, 07:56 PM
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Isaac Komnenos, Duke of Antioch (and brother of Alexios) is a pretty interesting (although difficult) place to start. His brother is interesting too. Basic goal is recreate the Komnenoid restoration.
Is this for 1066 start or what?

I definitely plan to try a Byzantine game, but that's a world I'm rather less historically familiar with than western Europe. I hate heretics and schisms and Byzantium was famously full of both!

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The De Hautevilles are actually pretty easy. I recommend them along with Ireland if you want to learn the game. It's pretty fun to create the kingdom of Sicily and then go crusading.
Really? That surprises me, but that's okay. I do intend on playing them, probably next after I finish my Normandy-England game.
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Old Oct 12th 2014, 11:08 AM
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The De Hautevilles are actually pretty easy. I recommend them along with Ireland if you want to learn the game. It's pretty fun to create the kingdom of Sicily and then go crusading.
Internet opinion seems to be split on this. Some people agree with you - many others say this is one of the hardest. Gaining Kingdom of Sicily might be fairly easy/straight forward, but can you survive beyond that?

In every game I've played so far (all British Isle starts), the whole de Hauteville empire ends up totally owned by BE or HRE before the year 1200. HRE seems to like to wait until Kingdom of Sicily has taken over North Africa before swallowing it whole.
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Old Oct 12th 2014, 11:16 AM
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Default Re: Interesting Game Starts?

Btw, I also would love to do the Count of Aargau start. That seems like the ultimate game challenge.

For anyone unfamiliar, that would be the lowly and obscure Count Werner von Habsburg...

Game goals would include becoming hereditary emperor of HRE - plus kingdom of Spain as well.

I'd also like to figure out how to play the Capet-kid of France that I mentioned above. That seems like a really serious challenge.
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Old Oct 13th 2014, 09:55 AM
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Btw, I also would love to do the Count of Aargau start. That seems like the ultimate game challenge.

For anyone unfamiliar, that would be the lowly and obscure Count Werner von Habsburg...
Yesterday morning I thought I'd take a look at this start just for curiosity....

I played through the first generation and it was the most fun and interesting start I've had yet in this game. Lets just say that starting as a one-holding Count inside the HRE is a very different game than starting as an independent duke or king.

Werner von Habsburg starts off as a Tough Soldier (14) and otherwise shitty stats, with a tiny family (Werner, wife and two small children). And amongst my beginning councillors, other than a strong marshal, none had a stat above 12. So, all in all, a not very promising start. Game itself says this start is rather high difficulty.

Anyway, I decided to start off as a good loyal vassal for the Emperor, since I wanted to climb, I figured I should have friends in high places. So I avoided all the factions and a the beginning of the game I sent my [shitty] Chancellor to Julich to boost the Emperor's opinion of me and left him there until I got a big opinion boost (+60), then I moved him to a neighboring county to try to fabricate a claim.

Everything was pretty quiet for the first few years. Then a revolt in the HRE broke out and that was a 'career-moment' for Count Werner because the Emperor needed new Councillors and Werner got appointed as Steward (surprisingly) and most importantly, once Werner was on the Emperor's Council, the Emperor started to use Werner as a general.

From that point on, the HRE was in almost non-stop war mode, one war after the other (rather common state of affairs). The upshot is that Count Werner was getting massive experience as a warrior - within four years Werner was upgraded to Brilliant Strategist, with Organizer and Flat Terrain master plus gaining the Bravery trait (martial stat of 21). Emperor promoted Werner from Steward to Marshal of the HRE.

While all this was going on, I got a rather odd adventure sequence involving some 'robbers in the local forest'. I was a long sequence of pop-up choices. Ultimately, Count Werner ends up disguising himself as a peasant and infiltrating the robber band in the forest and arresting the leader. Apparently, if you do this adventure 'correctly' you end up with the leader joining your court - the leader's name is Robin and his wife is Marion. They both have the most awesome stats, settle down and start pumping out babies - six of them, of which two were strong boys, one attractive girl and one quick girl. I immediately made Robin my Marshal ("22" stat). Anyway, I'd never seen that adventure sequence before.

And it was at that point, in a lul between some wars, that the Emperor created the Duchy of Upper Burgundy and awarded it to Count Werner.

The Duchy of Upper Burgundy is a huge Duchy of six counties, with all six counties owned by different people. So now Werner was a Duke, but still owning just one county.

It took 14 years, but my "12" stat Chancellor finally got a claim on Neuchatel next door to my starting county of Aargau, so I was able to add that county to my demesne. I added a third county when one of my ornery and ambitious Counts got a bit too uppity and revolted.

By this time, number one son Otto just turned 16 and was a top-notch warrior as well thanks to training with dad's battlefield promotions. So I look for a suitable wife for him. No heiresses available unfortunately, and no geniuses. So I took a marriage with the 5th daughter of the Duke of Burgundy (my next-door neighbor) because she had good stats and that was a good alliance. Well, surprise surprise, I don't know what happened to her two older brothers or her two older and married sisters, but 5th daughter managed to inherit the Duchy of Burgundy - and since she was married to Werner's son, Werner's 6yo Habsburg grandson is in line to inherit both Duchies. I chalked this one up to the infamous Habsburg marriage luck.

Duke Werner was by this time a very respectable fellow, holding two duchies, four counties and an Imperial councillor. Damn gavelkind inheritance laws are annoying to work around and I can't change it.

Anyway, Duke Werner died in 1087 at age 62. A rather impressive start I think for the von Habsburg dynasty. Surprised the heck out of me with this start - this was just a short reconnaissance - I was just expecting to play it for an hour and then quit - just for curiosity. But I got so successful and into it, I now want to continue this game. It is very challenging working from the inside of the HRE rather than being independent. My near-term goal is to create the Kingdom of Burgundy. After that, the HRE just has to become a hereditary possession of the House of Habsburg.
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Old Oct 16th 2014, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Game Starts?

Well, that Habsburg game start was just too good and too lucky. I ended up King of Burgundy and Holy Roman Emperor way too quick and easily (by 1121).

Anyway, I was curious, so I restarted the same game start. Totally different result. In one case, the HRE went heretic right away and forced conversions - so there was five HRE rebellion wars plus four foreign holy wars against the HRE - I became landless when France took Upper Burgundy in a holy war, five years into the game.

Otherwise, it all depends on the start character. If you have good stats, you get noticed by the emperor, invited to council and soon rewarded with the duchy of Upper Burgundy. If you don't have good stats, you become a one-county ruler inside a duchy and it is hard to break out of that unless you get lucky with a marriage.

It can of course be done, but with average/weak starting character and typically lame starting councillors, it could take a couple of generations or more to gain the duchy. Without a duchy, the game just isn't very playable.

Anyway, I restarted several times and it was only the first game that I got a good starting character and earned a duchy. Every other start left me locked inside a vassal duchy all too soon.

I do plan to play one of these 'average' starts to see if I can break out of the one-county inside a vassal duchy problem. I suspect it would be a slow process with a spymaster or chancellor with a starting score of 10. It could take a full generation just to get the skilled councillors needed. Anyway, that's seems like a fun challenge.
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