What's the best "dynasty simulator"?
September 17, 2009 12:39 PM   Subscribe

I love the Medieval and Rome Total War series of PC games. But what I most love about them is the "dynasty simulator" aspect. Are there other games like this?

While I love these games for blending real time tactical battles with the turn based strategic overworld, I'm pretty much over the RTS genre. Are there any turn based strategy games which have the same "dynasty simulator" feel to them?

I own Heroes 3 and 5, and Galactic Civilizations 2, but neither of those has quite the same focus. I like the idea of building up a line of successive rulers, expanding the kingdom through court intrigue, marrying off the ugly daughter, etc. I don't know if such a game exists, but it should.
posted by T.D. Strange to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Have you checked out Koei's games like Romance of the 3 Kingdoms or Nobunaga's Ambition? A lot of the strategic gameplay in their games surrounds keeping your rulers, their children, and retainers happy.

I haven't played any of the most recent ones, but I gather they are still along the same track. RTK 11 seems to have gotten decent reviews.
posted by malphigian at 12:47 PM on September 17, 2009

Best answer: The last word in dynasty simulators is Crusader Kings, which tries to take a Sims approach to hundreds of years of European history, keeping track of thousands of barons, heirs, titles, vassals, strategic marriages and stuff like that. It even lets you choose things like whether you are going by primogeniture.

I found it totally impenetrable as a game but really interesting to play around with.
posted by Kirklander at 1:01 PM on September 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

Knights of Honor, Spore, Civ IV, Empire Total War, Europa Universalis. I haven't tried Spore myself. Knights of Honor and Civ IV aren't as elaborate as the Total War franchise. I felt that Europa Universalis games are a little too elaborate. I also haven't gotten around to Empire Total War yet, but I bet it's sexy.
posted by motsque at 1:07 PM on September 17, 2009

Another kind of dynasty: EA's NFL Head Coach. Play multiple seasons, mentor your assistant coaches, etc., etc. To quote a review, it's a mix of RPG and football RTS. If you're a football fan, it might be worth a try.
posted by box at 1:09 PM on September 17, 2009

Seconding Crusader Kings. I think it's exactly what you're looking for, right down to choices like how to raise your kids and what to do when your wife has an affair, although there's really no tactical element to it at all. You can fiddle a little with force composition somehow, but it's mostly just sending your guys in and waiting for combat to resolve (and hoping your kickass duke doesn't die). It's sort of wonky like all Paradox games tend to be, but if you get the expansion pack, Deus Volt, that clears up at least a few of the problems.

I found it really enjoyable overall, if a little overwhelming if you're a king with dozens of vassals.
posted by Copronymus at 1:19 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I came in here to suggest Crusader Kings, and it's been done twice, but I'll do it anyway. If you want to marry off daughters, it's the best game around.

In general, if you like treating women like property, you're in luck. The game strongly encourages you to look through a listing of all the unmarried women, looking for 16 year olds with strong stats. It's creepy, but fun.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:22 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Third Crusader Kings. It is exactly what you're looking for.
posted by Justinian at 1:22 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

AS an FYI: I regularly scan the sites HOTUD.ORG and Abandonia for temporary simulation/strategy fixes...

Lots of good stuff there - (original ROT3K, MOO, Crusade over Europe, Fantasy General, Panzer General, Star Control 1, 2, & 3 and many many more...)
posted by Nanukthedog at 1:48 PM on September 17, 2009

Response by poster: Awesome, I'll be checking out Crusader Kings tonight.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:05 PM on September 17, 2009

Yeah, if you get it you might go in for a penny, in for a pound and pick up the Deus Volt expansion suggested above. It adds a lot of fun events on the human side, like people in your court deciding they hate each other's guts, and I think it smoothes out some gameplay problems from the original release.

I would always get as far as launching invasions of the Middle East or even the Vatican. I would grab a couple of territories and then the vassals back home would riot because they resented the sacrifice of calling up all those troops and taking a hit in the pocketbook.

Let me know how you like it. It's not so much that it is hard to figure out, but that unlike Civilization, Master of Orion or other games with clear beginnings, middles and endings and equal chances for every player to win, it's so much like reality that events can seem random and messy.

And I was never able to pull off a strategic marriage...it felt like you would have to have a chancery full of royal advisors to go through the hundreds of available brides and pull it off, but maybe there are hints online for how to do it. I could never keep track of all the royal families.
posted by Kirklander at 10:07 AM on September 18, 2009

Spore definitely doesn't fit with the other games mentioned here. It is large in scope, but the gameplay is actually more like playing with a toy instead of building an empire.
posted by kenliu at 3:51 PM on September 18, 2009

« Older Should I even bother watching BSG?   |   Looking to order not more than $100 worth of... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.