Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam Review
Crusader Kings II is a complex Grand Strategy game, where Intrigue and Politics reach new heights and complexity. You have betrayals, civil war, back-stabbing, assassinations, and much, much more. At the same time you have to maintain your kingdom, fight your wars and stay on the good side of the church. Initially you only had an option of playing as either Orthodox and Catholic rulers. You could had played as a Count, Duke, King or Emperor of any “nation”, starting in any desired year during the Medieval Times. It is a game I praise highly, because never before was I forced to keep such a careful watch not only on my enemies, but also on my own Lords and even Family. Numerous events shape your character, his attributes, traits and relations with other Lords. You could be a loved and respected ruler (who dies from assassination), or a Cruel War-monger (who dies in a Civil War). Now comes the question, what does Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam add to Crusader Kings, and is it any good?
Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
Thanks to this expansions you now have a free hand to play as any Muslim lord. As such, if you ever wanted to counter all those pesky crusades you now have a chance. However, if you think playing a Muslim ruler is like playing a Catholic one, only with some added events, while everything essentially remains the same, you are only correct by a small fraction.
When I first sat down to a round of CKII: Sword of Islam I decided to jump the shark pool, and chose a small kingdom, made up of only two regions. First thing, I realized my ruler needed a wife, so I got him one. While I looked over my new Intrigue options I noticed my Prestige was falling so quickly I thought I just broke the game. Turns out, when you are a respected ruler, you need more than a single wife. The Prestige-o-meter plainly stated “You need four wives”, so a series of marriages was quickly arranged.
You might think this is a small, almost non-existent problem. You are deeply mistaken. Four wives produce four times as many children. Not only will each wife try to make sure that their son gets to be next on the throne, but also desire to be “Wife Number One”. Their children will have desires of their own, so you could wake up with having four times as much work as you normally had with any “Catholic” family. As far as I can tell, most attacks are not directed at you, but making sure your favorite heir makes it to the throne could be near impossible.
I made a sigh of relief as I returned to my other tasks, and I looked at the Events my ruler could organize. At current a Muslim ruler can only organize three events which are similar, in a way, to what Catholic Lords can do. One of them is a travel on the Hajj to Mecca, which is an important religious event for any Muslim. Within the game, it helps you become a far more respected ruler. Then there is the Ramadan which helps you improve your relations with different Lords, your family, your prisoners and decrease decadence. Finally there is also the “tournament” which also can decrease decadence, but otherwise works on the same principles as the Catholic tournament.
There are many other random events for the Muslim rulers, some related to their attributes, others not. I will not spoil the fun though, you will have to discover them for yourself!