How Should I Learn How To Play Crusader Kings II?
September 20, 2014 9:32 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out how to play "Crusader Kings II", please.

I'm looking for written beginner guides, video series, published hard copy books...whatever the best resources are for learning how to play this damn game. The stuff I've read about it (here on mefi, among other places) makes it sound like pure addictive gameplay, but I'm finding the learning curve tough to climb. I can find a lot of material out there, but I'm having a hard time knowing how to sort the wheat from the chaff.
posted by Ipsifendus to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Arumba is a prolific Youtuber who is very good at the game and has made a tuorial series about it.
posted by NMcCoy at 10:09 PM on September 20, 2014

The CKII wiki has a pretty good Beginner's Guide, which manages to be pretty comprehensive without getting bogged down in the kind of details that make the in-game tutorial kind of tedious and irrelevant. Quill18's Let's Plays are also renowned, and for good reason.

I found, though, that the best way to learn how to play was to just jump into it--pick a character. The classic recommendation is the Earl of Munster, who is independent but relatively small at the 1066 start, but I found it was a little easier to get into as king of a medium-sized country (excluding England and Norway, which start in the middle of wars--Sweden, Scotland, and Denmark are good, relatively peaceful choices, France or one of the Iberian peninsula kingdoms are good if you want a little more conflict a little earlier on.) Remember that while the game is really complex and it's difficult to optimize for everything, it has a fairly high tolerance for failure; you can still scrape by even if you make some bad choices here and there.
posted by kagredon at 10:10 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

This Let's Play was my introduction to the game. The first few parts introduce the interface and some of the rules before the actual play begins. It didn't make me an expert (I still Google lots of stuff), but it did make the game much less overwhelming early on.

Some recommendations that go well with any guide or video you might find:
  • Hover your mouse over everything because the tooltips are genuinely informative.
  • CKII has a score, but it's more fun to play it like SimCity than Civilization. Set your own goals. Don't try to take over the world (at least, not at first), just start small. Early goals will be basic things like "don't have a succession crisis," "lead a successful plot," or "conquer a neighboring count."
  • It's okay to save your game, try crazy stuff, and reload. Things like changing laws are difficult to reverse, so it helps to see what something does without feeling like you've got to commit to a mistake.
On preview, what kagredon said. Just play and make mistakes. It'll be fine.
posted by ddbeck at 10:26 PM on September 20, 2014

First, the average player ends up spending 100 hours playing ck2 so, make sure you are up for it.

I started with he in game tutorial then tried the Ireland walk though on the wiki. Ireland has a reputation as Noob Island.
posted by shothotbot at 6:11 AM on September 21, 2014

Nthing the LP and wiki suggestions are good. The wiki has walkthroughs for several different early games, including Ireland (aka Tutorial Island).

Rustic Etruscan posted a FPP in the blue almost exactly a year ago, and I put up a bunch of long comments about strategy/tactics and mods. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how much of that information is out of date, so take it with a grain of salt. I do know that several of the mods (Project Balance, SWMH, NBRT) merged into the Historical Immersion Project (HIP), but that's such a complete overhaul of mechanics that I wouldn't suggest it to a new player. Also, I haven't played more than an hour or two since maybe April (I got deep into Rome II and their DeI overhaul), and vanilla since probably early this year, so I have only a general idea of what's changed. I know there's a Charlemagne DLC coming soon, which means another big gameplay patch that would make my knowledge even more out of date. Search Arumba's LPs for patch/DLC videos, because those are more likely to explain any differences in gameplay between versions and since he's an admitted min-max player, he'll point out exploits or just good play styles that will make the game easier.

Good luck! I sunk hundreds of hours into the game over the course of a year and a half. You'll have dreams about your games at some point, I guarantee it.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:26 AM on September 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

People play over at mefightclub. Questions, and sharing of maps/stories, there are definitely welcome.
posted by gregjones at 12:57 PM on September 22, 2014

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