Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

What is Crusader Kings II [official site] missing? I’ve been playing again recently, drawn back in by The Reaper’s Due and its perfect simulation of the general snotty sickness of an English winter. I’d never have thought of disease as such an important addition, which is a bit silly really considering the historical impact of the Black Death, and the fact that entire military campaigns could be undone by infection and illness. Disease is important.

So too are religious societies and cults, and that’s what the next expansion, Monks and Mystics, will bring. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

An entirely objective ranking of the 50 best PC strategy games ever made, now brought up to date with the riches of the last two years. From intricate wargames to soothing peacegames, the broad expanse of the genre contains something for everyone, and we’ve gathered the best of the best. The vast majority are available to buy digitally, a few are free to download and play forever. They’re all brilliant.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alex Wiltshire)

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Crusader Kings 2 [official site].

Meet Domnall, Earl of Osraige. He s a pretty affable guy. He s friends with his neighbouring rulers, and all seems peaceful. But he s also ambitious and a just little crazy, and he s about to make a big mess of the Emerald Isle.

Domnall is one of the hundreds of characters across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa that Crusader Kings 2 is simulating here in the year 1066. Whether the player is interacting with them or not, they ll be vying with each other, allying, marrying, dying, giving birth, and generally doing all of the things that your ruler can do. Crusader Kings 2 is a game all about people. It s about marriages and dependencies, accordances and kinship. And at the heart of how it models all these dense and messy human complexities is a single value that governs the way its little computer aristocrats behave:

THE MECHANIC: Opinions … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

The Witcher 3 [official site] is the longest game I’ve played for years, or at least the longest game that I’ve actually come close to completing. There was a time when I’d be thrilled to hear about a new fifty or sixty hour epic adventure, very much subscribing to the policy the more the better , but now I’m more likely to flinch away from the screen when a game’s sprawl is revealed.

I’ve realised that my aversion to enormous games has been growing for a while, but the announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2 brought it into sharp focus. Do I really want> yet another massive open world game? I’m not sure that I do.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

It’s always a happy day when an update for a much-loved mod appears. The Game of Thrones total conversion for Crusader Kings II [official site] is such a blindingly obvious combination of worlds and mechanics that it simply had to exist. That the team working on it continue to do such a good job is fantastic. The latest update brings in support for the latest expansion to the base game, The Reaper’s Due, which adds all sorts of epidemic modelling and hideous disease-related deaths. So, yes, you can watch your least favourite characters suffer and squirm as they try to sweat or bleed out the bubonic plague.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

A new Europa Universalis IV [official site] expansion, named Rights of Man, is out today. This means that people who pay 15 can play with expanded diplomatic options as a Great Power. As is the traditional Paradox grand strategy way, a big update has launched alongside this expansion with fixes and additions for all.

Look, if I sound half-hearted, it’s because I’m reading the notes for a Crusader Kings II patch Paradox also released today, and that has the lot: cats, fraudulent mystics, and cannibals finding human heads in their beds. EU4 is a let-down on the japery front.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

When you start a new game of Dwarf Fortress, a world is generated. Not just a map, but a world, with its own legends, characters, factions and historical wars. It’s one of my favourite openings to any game and gets me far more hyped than any fancy cinematic intro.

Wouldn’t it be great if Crusader Kings II [official site] could do something similar, rather than sticking to actual historical beginnings? Thanks to a modder who goes by the name Yemmlie, it can. The CK2 Generator can create alternate histories, simulating the appearance and development of cultures, religions, languages, characters and all the rest. It defaults to the vanilla map but if you want a random world to play on as well, that’s supported.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

Bring out yer dead, we ve got a lovely wheelbarrow ready and waiting. Dynastic strategy and infanticide simulator, Crusader Kings II [official site], has received its latest add-on. The Reaper s Due brings a bunch of new events and mechanics for Europe s worst case of the sniffles. The Black Death will ravage the land and you ll be forced to either fight against it or hide away in your castle with your pet cat. As usual, there s also a free patch tweaking other issues, for all the peasants unable to find 7 in their coffers.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

Reigns [official site] is a game of decision-making and courtly governance that was described by Adam as Crusader Kings meets Tinder. You get presented with card after card of choices and have to swipe left or right (or in our case, click) in order to say yes or no to your courtiers requests. It s also out today. I ve just played 20 minutes of it. One of my kings was abandoned to rule over a kingdom of pigeons, another was slaughtered and thrown to the dogs by the merchant class, and another went mad, kicked a dog and started hearing the Devil. It s good to be the king.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Paradox and Adam may tell you that the next Crusader Kings II [official site] expansion is about diseases tearing through medieval Europe, but no. The Reaper’s Due is about cats. Lovely cats. Hunting dogs be damned, Reaper’s Due will let characters befriend a cat – which naturally brings bonuses. Then… maybe a few more cats. All of the cats. Lovely, lovely cats. Get carried away and you might get the ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ trait. And then something something black death bad omens angry mob blah blah but look, the point is: cats. Oh, and the expansion now has a release date: August 25th.

… [visit site to read more]

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