From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
It’s the year 1121AD and England lies under the sword and the spear and the iron fist of the Dane. There are a few holdouts in the Welsh hills but otherwise the whole country is solidly part of the Danelaw. Oh no!
Anyway, over here in Ireland it’s relatively peaceful under the rule of… me. Well, my character – or my character’s grandson at least.
It’s Crusader Kings III and I have successfully united Ireland under my glorious reign and even installed my nephew as King of Jerusalem following a successful Crusade. Although while I was on that Crusade a hostile faction back home forced me to give back some the ancient privileges to my vassals… which they now use to levy troops and fight one another. Honestly, there’s no pleasing some people.
I am 10 hours into the game at the time of writing this review, and I see many hundreds of hours more in my future.
Crusader Kings III is basically a sandbox game, except the sandbox is Europe, northern Africa, India, and most of Asia, starting in the year 876. You choose a noble of the time and play as that character, making all their decisions, such as who to marry their daughter off to, and what to do if you catch the local bishop having an affair with your sister.
At its core this is a dynastic management game. Nations and empires may rise and fall, but the family continues – or doesn’t. If you family falls and your empire remains, the game is over for you. For now I’m crossing my fingers for another son and trying to form a stronger alliance with the King of Scotland.
In some ways Crusader Kings III is a difficult game to review. The play experience speaks for itself, and there are times where you might pause the game and spend 30 minutes clicking through menus agonising over decisions concerning just who is the most eligible Countess in Europe right now, or whether you should give that plum Council position to your powerful Vassal who wants it but would clearly suck at the job.
Like Animal Crossing (no, really!) it’s a game of relationship management. Like Civilization it’s about building and expanding. Like Total War it’s about building your army to win battles. Crusader Kings III is all of these things and none of them.
So I’ll say this: if you enjoy strategy games, this game is for you. If you enjoy history you’ll doubtless enjoy this game too.
Now if you’ll excuse my I’m off to see how long it will take to form a five nation alliance and move the Danes out of England…