Crusader Kings III: The Game I’m Not Clever Enough to Play

Crusader Kings III: The Game I’m Not Clever Enough to Play

Actually, let me rephrase the title: Crusader Kings III is the game that I’m not clever enough to play well.

It’s the game that I spent so many hours in the tutorial… which handed me my head by the end of it. Then, I spent hours watching videos to try to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

Why am I so fascinated and drawn to a game that I’m so terrible at playing? I don’t know. Even as I’m about to give up on it, I tell myself: Just try another ruler in another kingdom on an easy game and maybe it will be different this time.

The bright side of this: CK3 is part of the Xbox Game Pass. It’s a game I’ve wanted to try for a while, and decided that this month, it would be my Xbox game goal. I’m thankful for being able to try it on Game Pass, because as many hours as I’ve put into it now (I’ve lost track and Game Pass doesn’t record this), I’m still not sure if this game is for me or if I’ll eventually “get it.” The two hours try-it-out on Steam, which prices it at $50, is simply not enough to decide if this is a keeper (the tutorial lasts longer than 2 hours!!). So, this month, the Game Pass has certainly saved me some cash.

CK3 is an extremely overwhelmingly detailed tactical medieval strategy game where you play a ruler’s dynasty in the Middle Ages. In this global sandbox, there are no set goals – you decide what you want to achieve and how the story unfolds. The only real failure is if you end up losing all your titles (which I’ve done).

I guess the game says I didn’t do too terrible for my first try.

I later learned that many CK3 players use “console commands” (aka cheats) for their games, and having used no cheats, I understand the reasoning! Apparently there are folks out there who do know how to play well, or maybe I’ve just gotten bad starts – which is why I’m thinking about trying a third time as a different ruler.

As much as I may sound like I’m ragging negatively on this game, I’m absolutely not! The reason I’m having such a time with it is because of how absolutely huge the game is and how much can happen depending on every little factor – from your ruler’s personality, traits and skills – down to each individual vassal under your rule. I can’t begin to explain how MUCH there is to this game. Just when I think I have a grasp on one thing, something else creeps up and takes me by surprise.

It makes for excellent storytelling if nothing else.

For example, the second-to-the-last king from my first game was having a terrible time of it. When his father died, the kingdom split between himself and his brother – which I didn’t know was thing until that point. His brother was a powerful and ambitious warrior who then started waging war and chipping away at my king’s holdings.

In the middle of it all, some infatuated courtier tried to make some moves on him. One of the gifts she sent him was a cat.

I chose Meone.

Interestingly enough, this cat was a source of pleasure for my poor king throughout his waning years. Something about it was touching in the middle of all the horrible things going on in his life. That cat brought him happiness and even reduced his stress score!

In fact, though I didn’t screentshot them all, Meone interacted with the poor king far more than anyone else did in his late years. Something about this part of the story made the game worthwhile to have seen this… and those are the kind of things that drive me to keep trying.

Ugh. I guess I’ll roll up a third attempt after all.

5 responses to “Crusader Kings III: The Game I’m Not Clever Enough to Play”

  1. Crusader Kings III (and 2 before it) is also my favorite game that I am terrible at playing at! XD

    I don’t know what it is about it. I guess I like to see how far I can go with it as I inevitably screw up or my neighbors get too powerful (and greedy) for me to beat them up. Then if I feel like I go to the point of no return I just lose interest in the save and move on to another game.

    But yeah, the tutorial of this game even though is vastly superior to the one from its predecessor still felt like it led down to some paths that made the game more difficult than it should be. I felt that once I ignored the tutorial and started a normal game it played much better for me.

    The only advice I can give, from what I’ve read of your post and being a terrible player myself, is to try to change the inheritance laws as soon as possible. Just make sure all your council members are happy when you are about to do that. You can just gift them gold outright, try to throw in some tournament or some other social event that you can invite them to or if you don’t mind the consequences of it, using hooks on them.

    Hope your third attempt goes better and you end up enjoying the game! It can be an excellent game to create some crazy stories but the learning curve is definitely still pretty steep.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I learned about the inheritance laws after my first play. However, my second play, I went Irish again (since I was familiar with the location and thought it would be easiest). I might be wrong about this, but even though I was able to rank up my authority, when I looked to unlock the proper inheritance law, the tooltip said it wasn’t available to Irish. I know they’re also not available until further on in the timeline, so I’m not sure if that’s the thing or if some cultures just can’t embrace that kind of inheritance.

      Either way, I’m trying a different ruler to start with and playing in the more tribal age now. It’s quite different than the tutorial section. We’ll see how far I can get with it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, I think that is the part that got me in the tutorial, that I couldn’t change the inheritance laws!

        When I played without the tutorial I was able to figure out how to change it. Now I don’t remember if there was some kind of per-requisite before it, like getting more centralized power…. Sorry I can’t be more help, it is been a while since I played Crusader Kings III.


  2. CKIII was particularly brutal in my opinion. I haven’t spent nearly so many hours with it as I have CKII (but that is a very high bar), but I certainly found it – at launch at least – much easier to ‘lose’ than I did with CKII.

    Although to be fair, much of that could simply be famililarity with CKII more than any actual difficulty increase in CKIII.

    In any event, it’s an amazing game once start penetrating into its depths a bit. And you’re right on that its a fantastic emergent story generator. When a plot you’ve devised in real life actually manages to be executed in game? Oh man… Few feelings like it in the gaming world. đŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

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