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Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods Review (PC)

I recently reviewed March of the Eagles saying that is was Crusader Kings II with MOAR WAR, but you might end up missing the in-depth politics that Crusader Kings II has. If you agreed with me, then I have the perfect solution for you.

Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods expansion adds Vikings to your game, and an earlier possible start date of 867. Unlike with The Republic expansion, The Old Gods doesn’t significantly change the way you need to think in the game. What it does do however is adds a load of new features that see you take a slightly different style to gameplay.

PillagingVikings being Vikings (or simply referred to as the Norse in the game), they enjoy two things above anything else, looting and taking Concubines. Both of which you can now do with The Old Gods expansion. Once you have raised an army in your region there’s a wee toggle to turn them into looters. Send them off to any neighbour or coastal province of a different religion and they begin pillaging the available loot. The new morale system allows you to loot away for awhile as any armies raised by your enemy will need to wait until their morale is full before attacking you. You can also play this further to your advantage by pouncing on freshly raised troops for easy victories. Norse troops do not get the same penalty for landing from ships into battle, and it takes them only four days to go between ships and any neighbouring land, making it sometimes quicker to jump on the boats that to simply march to the province next door.

As for Concubines, well they help you produce a fair few extra offspring to keep your legacy going. A child of a Concubine will be an heir until your wife has a child, and their penalty is much lower than that of a bastard child. You need to be on your toes though if you have a few Concubines as they will most likely want to kill off heirs until their child is front of the queue! The starting date being earlier, and probably due to the lifestyle of the Norse, people tend to die a lot younger. So don’t expect many long reigns as your character.

The technology system has been overhauled for this expansion. Now you have more direct control over how your technology advances. You will slowly gain technology points alongside a slower standard progression. Once you have enough points you can choose to spend them to reach the next level in a particular area. Sending your spymaster off to research technology in the far east will help, and you can get random events that will add a load of research points into one of the three categories. Using all your diplomats to research technology stacks and can pay off massive dividends if you can spare them for it.

King of NorwayThe expansion is full of other tweaks and changes, such as: a nice wooden look to the interface that would make you think of Viking longships; a bunch of new traits including Berserker; new intrigue events such as the Blot, where you make animal and then human sacrifice, allowing you to offer anyone you have in your prison cells as payment to the gods (a quick and easy way to deal with that last bunch of revolters). Perhaps the most important of the minor additions is the new ambition available to Norsemen, to become King of Norway. Any of you who have played Crusader Kings know that it is not always easy to become King of anywhere, but Norway in 867 is very disjointed. There is only one ruler who holds more than two provinces. Until someone is pronounced as King then all the Norsemen can call war on each other for the Subjucation of Norway, but have a limited number of uses of the Casius until they activate the ambition to become King. Pull it off and you land yourself with a nice 1000 prestige points on top of the 400 you will already get for creating the Kingdom. And once you have enough power, the other Norsemen will be fairly easily convinced to follow you.

overviewOne major issue for the Pagans is their lack of faith power. They will be easily converted by the cunning missionaries of the Abrahamic religions. To prevent this however you can reform your religion and provide a proper Church hierarchy, scripture and rituals. Each religion now has five Holy sites, and controlling three of these will allow you to reform the religion. Doing so as a Norse Pagan will then allow you to become the religious head, or the Fylkir, along side being a secular ruler. You will also then gain the ability to call Holy wars, both in the form of Crusades and religious wars against Infidels.

The Old Gods is a refreshing addition to Crusader Kings II. The previous expansion that we looked at, The Republic, took the gameplay too far away from it’s roots. The Old Gods however delivers the same classic Crusader Kings II gameplay mechanic, with added fun in the form of looting and concubines, and added challenge in the form of uniting Norway and reforming the Norse Pagan religion. Now, off to besiege that final Holy site. What? Not another bloody rebellion…

5 ships returned with loot out of 5

Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods Review (PC), 3.4 out of 5 based on 8 ratings

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