Crusader Kings 2: Republic DLC Review

When I heard of the Republic DLC for Crusader Kings 2 I went back to the days of the Guild 2. Starting as a lowly peasant and moving your way up to a ranking official or even noble. From Zero to a Master Merchant (or thief). I like playing as a merchant, because of the freedom of choice I have when it comes to earning money and then using it. Another game which made me fit the DLC to its setting was Patrician 2. Basing yourself in one home port and then traveling between ports, buying, selling and opening up all manner manufacturers. To what end? Wealth. Huge, unimaginable wealth. This rule repeats itself in the Republic DLC. You have one aim, become as obscenely wealthy as possible, and stay that way. Is that easy? You would think so, since you would be playing a Merchant. It’s not, far from it, it can be a small nightmare. Allow me to tell you why.

Crusader Kings 2

Become the President of a Republic. Wear the nicest hat!

Crusader Kinger 2: The Republic DLC – What is it all about?

In the Republic you act as the Head of one of the Merchant Houses present in one of the many Republics in the game. Initially you have a choice of three different Italian Republics, as well as the Swedish Gottland Republic. What immediately intrigued me is the lack of land. All the Republics, in general, have one or at most three provinces at the start. Venice and Gottland start as small islands near the coast. In each of these Republics are five prominent Merchant Houses. From these each of the Heads of the House desires to become the “President” of the Republic, who acts as the representative of the small “City-States”. The election of the “President” is based on a popular vote, and whether your House Head is chosen depends on his Prestige, Age and Campaign Funding. While being the “President” has its benefits there are a lot of problems on your hands, namely, all the other Republics.

Each Republic behaves like a Store Chain. If you were Walmart you would not want Tesco taking your turf, so you would look for ways to kick them out. There are a number of ways for a Republic to get rid of your influence (et vice versa). One of the most gruesome methods is persuading another nation to declare an Embargo against your Republic. What this does, if you lose, is effectively destroy all your Trade Ports situated within said nation. So if you had ten Ports within the Byzantine Empire (that’s at least a cost of 1,500 coins without any upgrades) you would lose all of them in an instant, and for a certain time you would be unable to build any new ones. As the President your job is to pummel down any ruler that thinks of getting rid of your (or other family’s from your republic) Trade Ports. Without a competent President you could find yourself losing all of your Ports to enemy hostilities, thus losing money and income. Without these ports you have no way to generate income, not counting your Mansion.

Crusader Kings 2

Your Mansion, unlike a City, Castle or Church-City, does not have many levels of upgrades. The Mansion itself has only four levels, while each of the other upgrades has only three. On top of that your Mansion’s expansion is not tied down to your Technological Level. You can upgrade it fully as long as you have the money and time to do so.

The Mansion is a land without a land. Your Mansion is located either at the Republic’s only province (like Venice) or at a family controlled City (or province). While a Mansion does not act as a Castle it can provide you with troops, some income and a lot of other benefits, as long as it is upgraded. This is something ordinary Nobles in the game do not have. As such, you could have Venice, with just one Province and five Merchant Families capable of raising armies with thousands of troops at a whim. Before that can happen you need to upgrade your Mansion, and that is an extremely expensive thing to do. Each of the Mansion upgrades costs and arm and a leg, and while they are worth it focusing on your Mansion alone is not a good idea, as you have to expand your Ports, and conquer coastal cities.

Unlike any Noble you meet in the game, Republics strive off Cities at the sea shore. The benefits of the city itself is one thing, but a far greater benefit is that of local Trade Port Expansion. You see, Trade Ports costs more money, the further away they are from a Republic’s city or province. So instead of waging an all out war for titles, to be a Count, Duke or King, you will instead steal single Cities and thus form a base for all local Trade Port Expansion. Which family controls the city is not important, as long as your Republic controls it.

You might wonder whether you can still play on the grander political arena, against Emperors, Kings, Dukes and Counts. The simple answer is, “Yes.”. Just like playing any lesser or greater Noble you can fabricate claims, and conquer provinces for you/your Republic. While such bold actions might anger other Nobles (as they always do) you have a powerful economic base to operate off. It is no simple task, as all of the Republics are surrounded by very powerful opponents. During my recent playthrough where I played as a Venetian Merchant Family I had to invest a lot of coin to secure another Family a Dukedom from Hungary. All the while remembering that the next-door Byzantine Empire was an even greater and violent threat, as they had a Republic of their own, and they managed to destroy all of our ports once before. Whether your ambitions are grander, or focused around making money, you will be faced by many challenges.

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About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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