24

Schooled

October 12, 2020 by Tim

Edit: By the way, if you wouldn’t mind taking a few seconds to click a link, I’d love your help cheesing a local newspaper poll to help my cousin win Athlete of the Week. It would be a big morale boost for her in an otherwise really crummy school year, so if you could head here and vote for Julia Holland, it would be appreciated!


I have never played a Crusader Kings game before, but I heard some intriguing things about the series, and saw the latest installment was on GamePass and… wow. It is a lot.

It feels like a history test I completely forgot to study for. There is an overwhelming amount of information to digest, but once you start digging through it, also a thoroughly interesting and unique strategy game. The sort of game you feel like you could play 100 hours of, and still not have a complete mastery over every system.

Even keeping track of who owes fealty to what hierarchy in which castle and who is married to who and will inherit what from where within a small portion of Ireland makes the mind reel, and then you scroll out and see this massive world at play. It’s fascinating because it’s clearly grounded in reality to a great degree (the countries, the way land, titles, succession, etc seem to work), but it also lets you play with history however you want.

In my nascent dabblings with the game, I’ve defaulted to the lowest common denominator as a way of conquering land: military might. I simply besiege my neighbors until they fold. If I’m feeling crafty, one of my council members spends a couple of years crafting a bullshit paper trail to allow me to make a contrived claim-by-rights to a certain section of land. My great great grandfather’s gardener’s dog once shat there, etc, and I hold that up as a justification for invading. Because, y’know, I’m the rightful heir.

And while this playstyle works, in a fashion, it feels like the equivalent of a caveman banging rocks together to make fire, while standing next to a top-of-the-line induction cooktop. Crusader Kings presents so many interesting way to scheme and plot and kill and marry and fuck your way to power, all of which require a much deeper understanding of the game’s mechanics as well as the desire to sit down and make sense of all of the density of overlapping effects of each action.

It’s the sort of strategy game that no tutorial can accurately lay bare for you, and so instead it seems you have to just jump into the deep end and maybe drown a few times in the pursuit of becoming a better swimmer. It’s daunting, for sure, but it also looks suspiciously like the kind of experience that’s worth the learning curve.

Plus there aren’t many games where you can foil your son’s plot to murder you, plot to have him murdered, marry his widow and father a brother for your own grandchild who you will then get to play as once you’ve kicked the bucket. So there’s that.


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jere
jere
1 year ago

I love Paradox Games, but they really can be a lot. My usual style of learning them goes something like this: 1) Ask a friend who has 500h+ to give me a “short” introduction, which means 1.5h of going through all UI options one by one. This feels like some course I should get university credits for tbh. 2) Play one or two games “with” them, aka have me play the most powerful nation while they play some tiny country far away. I then ask them about every single decision I make, but still mess things up pretty hard. 3)… Read more »

edin
edin
1 year ago

OMG, a Paradox game is in ctrlaltdel. Guys, we might have gone mainstream. I repeat, we might have gone mainstream. This feel weird 😀

BPC
BPC
1 year ago
Reply to  edin

Uhhhh pretty sure Crusader Kings 3 is waaaay more mainstream than CAD

Paul
Paul
1 year ago

Paradox are one of my favourite devs, despite the extortionate DLC they have for every game. But Stellaris, Hearts of Iron IV, Cities Skylines and Crusader Kings are among my favourite all-time games. All of their games are apparently designed to consume about a week’s worth of play without touching the endgame.

And I love it.

Gco
Gco
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul

“extortionate DLC ”

Amen to that. I usually play vanilla and then go for the DLC packs when they get on sale on steam, but the waiting hurts.

FM-96
FM-96
1 year ago
Reply to  Gco

A few of their games have been in a Humbe Bundle recently; it really pays to keep an eye out there.

For example, I got Europa Universalis IV and about half of its DLCs for less money than the base game alone usually costs on Steam.

Devil_Arcana
Devil_Arcana
1 year ago
Reply to  Gco

What do you mean $250+ for all the DLC of that 10 year old game (CK2)? That is why people pirate games…

Felix
Felix
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

I think bringing up the car comparison does the discussion a disservice. No value gets lost for someone else when you copy a game if it otherwise wouldn’t have incentivized you to pay for it. This is a notoriously hard topic with arguments to be made for both sides. I think pirating is “ok” if you simply don’t have money to spend on games and you might not even know how a game plays. I used to pirate when I did not have a stable income. I now bought pretty much most of the games I used to play pirated… Read more »

Gco
Gco
1 year ago
Reply to  Felix

“no value gets lost for someone else when you copy a game”

Except the time invested by the developers and what they paid to third-parties (music, marketing and so on).

In fact, it’s notorious that if you write a book, release it for sale as an immaterial pdf and someone copies it and distributes it on the net, then no value gets lost to you, right?

leduk
leduk
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

or they just cant pay because they have no money? yeah I know people should stop being poor but hey that does not look that easy

Merendel
Merendel
1 year ago
Reply to  Devil_Arcana

Paradox games go on sale quite regularly. Every steam sale and usually a couple random times throughout the year you’ll see them pop up in a bundle for 75% or more off. Heck usualy a couple times a year they go up on humble where $30 or so will get you the base game (ck2)and all the expansions minus the cosmetic only DLC. Theres really no reason to pay 250+ unless your really inpatient and want it all now AND want all the cosmetic and song packs. On steam the royal bundle (all the expansions) regular price is $164. It… Read more »

Paul
Paul
1 year ago
Reply to  Merendel

This. I picked up several HoI expansions online for peanuts. If you’re willing to wait around a little while they all come down in price or you nab them in a seasonal Steam sale.

Paradox regularly have sales of their own, too.

Bwauder
Bwauder
1 year ago

That last paragraph makes it sound more like Alabama Kings, or maybe Tasmanian Kings (depends where you call home 🙂 ).
My play time is in limited little bits, so a heavy civ builder, no matter how good it is, rarely makes it to the playlist. It sounds great & have fun, but for me I forget too many rules/strategies between sessions.

foducool
foducool
1 year ago

*insert Pepe Silvia meme*

HelloWorld
HelloWorld
1 year ago

I lost a bet I had due to needing Pythagoras theorem for a game. Can’t remember the game, but do remember the £10 I lost

Lily
Lily
1 year ago

CK3 definitely takes a lot of time to master, however it is a lot of fun even when everything is falling apart and going wrong, as long as you are able to accept it. All you have to is have some family heir survive with a single piece of land, and you can continue, so you can recover from a great deal of problems. The game can be overwhelming if you are a perfectionist though, since it is hard to master everything until you have a lot of experience.

Kilteer
Kilteer
1 year ago
Reply to  Lily

It is amazing what can happen in the span of a generation or less. At one point, I had a kingdom that was spanning most of Asia (bordered Byzantine Empire and Northern China), then my queen died… Her Heir had a 7 year reign before he was killed by his younger brother, at which point my kingdom stopped at the Baltic Sea (eastern shore) and didn’t get as far East as India. 100 years later, and I have even more territory than I had in the past and am an emperor. Recently, due to several murder plots, I transitioned from… Read more »

James Rye
James Rye
1 year ago

I find it very interesting how much you can learn from a videogame (obviously also wrong stuff), especially about history people keep more memories about events due playing a videogame than (not) listening to the teacher in school.

Tim
Tim
1 year ago

Did you actually call your old history teacher just to apologize?

Merendel
Merendel
1 year ago

The family feud you described is rather mundane for a CK game. Then agian some of the twisted shit you can get away with in CK could get one banned if they described the events on the wrong forums. Havent played 3 yet due to lack of time but in 2 with the right religions and sucession laws you could end up with a family vine(not tree) decorated with loops that make your head hurt and your stomach churn.

Hunter
Hunter
1 year ago
Reply to  Merendel

Gotta protect the family wreath

Sianist
Sianist
1 year ago
Reply to  Merendel

you can do that in CK3 as well, with a lot less hoops to jump through even …

But yeah, you can easily make a Family vine that would make Habsburg blink twice and concede defeat

Mick
Mick
1 year ago
Reply to  Sianist

*Ptolemeic Dynasty Intensifies*

Gco
Gco
1 year ago

“The sort of game you feel like you could play 100 hours of, and still not have a complete mastery over every system.” 100? Pffft, try 1000. Besides, once you think you have mastered the game, you find out that if you get a different religion and go pagan, thinsg change drastically. Then you think you are set and there it goes: an add-on comes up which is never cosmetic, but usually adds whole new layers or even whole new paths (republics and their election system, muslim kingdoms and their own rules, the church…). Then, you think you have mastered… Read more »

Pulse
Pulse
1 year ago
Reply to  Gco

one of the things that makes me want to play it. now if there was an endless mode id be kicking a few games down the play order.

Sianist
Sianist
1 year ago
Reply to  Pulse

there is an option for having no end-date

Gco
Gco
1 year ago
Reply to  Pulse

I was saying all of the above as a positive thing…

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Except I learned more from video games than school in a lot of subjects.

Gco
Gco
1 year ago

Btw, if you like CKIII, you might be interested in reading this take on the game: https://acoup.blog/2020/09/11/miscellanea-my-thoughts-on-crusader-kings-iii/

(plus, a load more of stuff in that blog, like the analysis on the siege of minas tirith or the defence of Helm’s deep)

FITCamaro
FITCamaro
1 year ago

“Plus there aren’t many games where you can foil your son’s plot to murder you, plot to have him murdered, marry his widow and father a brother for your own grandchild who you will then get to play as once you’ve kicked the bucket. So there’s that.”

That’s some Oedipus level shit right there.

Diogo Salazar
Diogo Salazar
1 year ago

Your description of how to learn the game is an accurate one. Also, does the game suggest new players to start in Tutorial Island, sorry, I meant Ireland, or did you decide that by yourself?

Deborah L. Davitt
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

Ireland isn’t a great place to start, in my opinion. I rather liked proto-Russia, playing a Rus Jarl newly arrived from Scandinavia and totally imposing his culture on the native Slavs.

Also, there is a *gargantuan* GoT mod for this game. I don’t even like GoT, and I love that mod to bits.

Troyen
Troyen
1 year ago
Reply to  Diogo Salazar

Having also just picked up CK3, the tutorial does put you in Ireland (albeit with a few buffs and differences from the actual Ireland 1061 bookmark). It covers basic economics, diplomacy, and warfare. But it doesn’t really go much into Intrigue or Faith (I didn’t know I could convert to a local faith until 12 hours in, which made the Jarl Hæsteinn bookmark waaay harder than it was rated). And I can kinda understand why, it would be a longer tutorial than it already is. I’ve played a lot of 4x strategy like Civ and Stellaris, but CK3 is three… Read more »

Jacob
1 year ago

I particularly like the Youtuber “Spiffing Brit” for his takes on breaking games. Here is his most recent addition to CK3, “Divorce Simulator” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=289TqIqDLJQ

There is a litany of CK2 videos on his feed as well.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRHXUZ0BxbkU2MYZgsuFgkQ

Bakhtosh
Bakhtosh
1 year ago

Voted.

silent_death
silent_death
1 year ago

I’d love to vote for her but I can’t, it says the site is blocked for security reasons — either the site went down or it doesn’t like foreign voters.

Jeffreyac
Jeffreyac
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

Mine went through, and at time of voting, she was in the lead… 🙂

Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  silent_death

Good thing I came back to check the comments, I totally missed the voting part. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

Buffyfan
Buffyfan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacob

She’s currently sitting at 40%. I think the good uncle bump is going to make this a runaway 🙂

Reso
Reso
9 months ago
Reply to  Buffyfan

Yup! i searched for the results and she was reported to have “ran away with the vote” with over 3000 votes.

Hah.

Leon
Leon
1 year ago

What goes around comes around……….

Maeve Clymer
Maeve Clymer
1 year ago

I had no idea you were from the same area I grew up in as a kid! I love your comics a bunch, you’re one of my favorite artists! So learning that has only added to it. ~<3

Karrde
Karrde
1 year ago

I’ve been reading your stuff for enough years, least I can do is click a link.

Deborah L. Davitt
1 year ago

In a month, we get you into Stellaris. (Before they change the UI. . . again . . . maybe.) Sometime after starting with your xenophile empire and being smooshed and then trying your miliataristic fanatic xenophobes and being smooshed, and as you’re trying to survey black holes, you’re going to get a weird message. You won’t know what to make of it.

And then we’ll tell you to wait for the Worm.

Daniel LLoyd
Daniel LLoyd
1 year ago

What was will be.

BakaGrappler
BakaGrappler
1 year ago

What is was. What was will be.

Pulse
Pulse
1 year ago

recently saw that CK2 is free on steam, grabbed it since id been wanting to try it out. looked at the dlcs, gave alittle twitch at the total cost. take me three years go save up enough for all those and likely id only want a few too but no idea which. least ive only heard and seen good things so i dont think itll be a bad spend when i do get to it.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Pulse

I would skip CK2 and go straight to CK3. Vanilla CK3 is better than CK2 with all the dlc.

Sianist
Sianist
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

I’d say that that Ck3 have ’bout the best 75% of ck2 DLC’s, baked in at release, give or take

Pulse
Pulse
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

sadly i has no money to spare, it is on the wishlist though

Atomic
1 year ago

If you’re looking for people for multiplayer you can have your picks from the comment section starting with this one lol

thetruerift
thetruerift
1 year ago

Grand Strategy games are all amazing. I have a deep love/lust for Stellaris.

Valdars
Valdars
1 year ago

Never played it but i will always love this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e7R56a5Ivw

Scortch
Scortch
1 year ago

I listen to a podcast, and they discuss games they’ve been playing at the end of it. And one of them described the game exactly like this. He said it’s only one of those games where you really start to get good after easily 30 hours or so.

Bob
Bob
1 year ago

Once you go down the road of Paradox games, you’re changed as a gamer and a person. You don’t know it stepping in, but the path you follow only has one end: domination of Europe. Also, the world a couple times. The Galaxy. Did I mention Cities?

anyways, 10/10 do recommend.

t209
t209
1 year ago

Well, there are issues with history test–even internationally since it didn’t help that pop culture do influence education whether you intend it or not.
Like assuming that Feudalism being top-down ignoring its complexity based on regions (like HRE’s elective monarchy, Byzantine’s absolute monarchy yet commoners like Justin and Basil I becoming Emperors, and the Italian City-States), King’s power being absolute (even “Absolute Monarchy” needs an army, nobility’s support, and bureaucracy), or pre-nation-states can work more like alliances than actual nation (like liege might switch side or need money to join you).
Mostly it’s college-tier, or specialty documentaries on Youtube.

Peter
Peter
1 year ago

I played a lot of CK2 (haven’t touched CK3 yet). It’s one of my favorite titles. The goal is not to have as much land at possible, but to get as much prestige for your dynasty as possible. Having land helps, but you can get titles in many different ways. Marry your daughters matrilineal so the offspring keeps your family name. Marry them to the second or third in line of succession (the heir won’t marry matrilineal) then plot to kill the heir. Then just wait 20-50 years and suddenly your dynasty gets all kind of titles all over Europe.… Read more »

Devil_Arcana
Devil_Arcana
1 year ago

I only recently heard about the shenanigans you can get up to in #2 only to find a fresh sequel. Yeah, I kinda want to see how inbred you can make your family lineage before the game finally calls me a sick fvcker…

zozo
zozo
1 year ago

play crusader king 2 that game is amazing. You can blind and castrate your enemies….

Jon
Jon
1 year ago

If you want to vote, but can’t because you are outside the US, just put the link through google translate and you’re good 😉

larry putnam
larry putnam
1 year ago

This reminds me of the question of Why math, I hate math, In school I hateded math, still don’t like it. Then in 1976 I found D and D and math, came back, I learned fast why I needed it, I played and DM games oh yes math and more Math, but love of the game and all that does work to teach.

Diego
Diego
1 year ago

Every subject improves byt having engaging teachers but I think history is the one that improves from boring to amazing with the right teacher.

F. George Dunham, III
F. George Dunham, III
1 year ago

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Playing games to foil murders. I don’t have a son but most of my employees want to murder me.

leduk
leduk
1 year ago

tbh I dont see why school should only teach “usefull” things 🙂

leduk
leduk
1 year ago

cant vote for that exact reason:
http://www.patriotledger.com – Access Denied
Error code 16

This request was blocked by the security rules
2020-10-13 18:01:05 UTC

Your IPXXXXXXXXX
|Proxy IPXXXXXXXXXX(ID 101176-100)
Origin Server IPN/A

Incident ID: 1176000160077685653-117460277516567559
Please Note: We are temporarily unavailable to users from certain countries while we upgrade our site to implement new methods for data processing as required by applicable laws.

leduk
leduk
1 year ago
Reply to  leduk

it’s ok ip anonymised

Digi
Digi
1 year ago

Pft! We know that is false because you had long hair back then. 😀 😛

DataSchmuck
DataSchmuck
1 year ago

I thought that was Ethan in the first panel!

James Not-A-Zombie Jameson
James Not-A-Zombie Jameson
11 months ago

It really says something about how much Tim’s art has improved that, even divorced from his words, young Tim looks like such a douche.

Lynx
Lynx
11 months ago

I’m just blown away by the detail put into the World History book in your comic. I had that textbook 15 years ago. So either you had the same book and looked up a sample online to copy against, or your kid is old enough to have that book which is shocking that thing is still what we use today.

imessageapp
7 months ago

I think bringing up the car comparison does the discussion a disservice. No value gets lost for someone else when you copy a game if it otherwise wouldn’t have incentivized you to pay for it.