Humble Bundle September 2022: Is Crusader Kings III worth it?

Crusader Kings III

In Humble Bundle’s September Choice, you can get Crusader Kings III. The game’s regular price is 49.99 €. So it’s a nice deal if you want to get Crusader Kings III because it’s never been that cheap. However, this is only the base game. So far, there is one expansion, the Royal Court, which is 29.99 € as well as two DLCs for 6.99 € each. Another DLC will be released on September 8. This will be accompanied by a free update as well.

I already had a lot of fun playing the game before the expansion and the DLCs came out. So I do think it’s still a good deal if you want to get CK3 but don’t want to or can’t buy any of the DLC. The game also has a lot of mods available in the Steam Workshop including UI changes as well as overhauls of the whole game (how about playing as a vampire, for example?).

“Love, fight, scheme, and claim greatness. Determine your noble house’s legacy in the sprawling grand strategy of Crusader Kings III. Death is only the beginning as you guide your dynasty’s bloodline in the rich and larger-than-life simulation of the Middle Ages.” (Description of Crusader Kings III on the official Steam page)

I have more than 300 hours played in CK3 and it is one of my favourite games! But I never wrote a first impression review, because Rakuno already had one published back in 2020 and I would have said exactly the same. Feel free to hop over there and read that blog post as well if you want to get a feeling for Crusader Kings III. And since I wouldn’t say anything different, I am not going to repeat what he wrote about the game here. Instead, I will tell you about my experience with the game and share a few short stories I have experienced.

Let’s start with this: Have you ever played The Sims? That is my basic approach to CK3… with a bit more war… and a certain desire for power. Even though I have more than 300 hours played, don’t ask me about strategies or how best to gain more power, wealth or influence. Because I really do focus more on the story of my characters than on strategy. It’s just more fun to focus on the drama! There are no victory conditions in the game. It is all about what you want to achieve! But I can tell you, gaining the title of King or even Emperor sure feels like a victory if you’ve worked on the title for years or even generations.

Crusader Kings III King of Denmark
Playing as King of Denmark

I also mostly play with the German client to decrease the cognitive load on my brain (all the different terms…). So, my vocabulary here will probably be wrong. The German translation is okay, but there are a lot of grammatical errors, etc. I assume this comes from inserting placeholders which is a lot easier in English because of the way German grammar works (der, des, den,…). But in case you want to play with the German client (and other languages as well, I’d imagine), expect it to be weird sometimes. It’s all still easy to understand. It’s just… weird. And every German teacher probably cringes when looking at the game.

But now on to three stories I’ve experienced: I once had a main wife and chose three “side” wives (which is allowed with some religions and even important in order to not lose prestige with your people!). One of these was also the best person available to make her my court physician. When my main wife got pregnant, I realized that this had been a mistake! A few months later, I was the proud father of a little daughter. Unfortunately, my wife had died during childbirth. I eyed my doctor/side wife suspiciously… could she have been…? And the next thing I saw was that she wasn’t my side wife anymore, but my main wife now! I don’t know how the game chooses this, as the first side wife I married was still a side wife and not the main one. The oldest one wasn’t my main wife either. But the doctor had been the one that had the best opinion of me. Maybe that’s why. I changed this and put my oldest side wife as my main wife because she had better stats to help me out in the council, but I couldn’t stop fearing for her safety…

Crusader Kings III Incompetent Physician
This was an incompetent physician, unfortunately…

Playing as the Duke of Bohemia, I created the title for King of Bohemia. Unfortunately, my children weren’t heirs. Instead, the rule was that the heir is always the oldest member of the house. All my brothers were knights, so that part was easy enough. I forced them to fight in wars which led to untimely deaths (and it’s much more efficient than trying to have them all assassinated). Boohoo… lots of weeping and all that. I was one step closer, but still not there yet. Now, my nephew, my oldest brother’s son, was heir. I did not ask him to fight in a war, though. Instead, I only condemned him for sleeping with my niece (whom I loved dearly because she was the best in her job that I’d ever found and she’d managed to reduce the years of treaty with neighbouring rulers for me which led me to expand faster by declaring war again sooner!). He got to stay alive, though, and I didn’t even imprison him. There was a simple reason for this decision: He was married to my daughter. So, when he would get to be king, my daughter would be queen! And no, none of their children had more than ten toes or ten fingers. Marrying your cousin isn’t bad at all… the game does warn you, though, when you’re marrying off relatives to each other as there is a chance of children being inbred. There is no in-game advantage of having the queen be your daughter or anything, by the way. It was just my own pride of knowing that at least from the background, a part of my direct line was going to rule the country one day. If your ruling character dies, you can continue playing as your heir!

Crusader Kings III Hans Grand
A stranger in my chambers

On another playthrough, I was part of the Holy Roman Empire. I never particularly cared about the succession line there. I only saw that I was supposedly third. Oh well. Close, but not close enough. Then I was fourth in line. Then third again… then at one point second… then first. Without me meddling even! I was certain that I would die before the emporer as I had been quite old already and then somebody else who was behind me would get that spot. I actually completely forgot about it when all of a sudden, I got the notification that the emperor had died – and my crown looked suspiciously bigger than it had a minute before! So, I was now the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. With my character’s age, I had to figure out how to get one of my successors to follow me onto the throne. It’s comfortable up there! Do these people even know that I have no idea what I’m doing? Because I think I actually got voted into that position… As I said, I never paid attention to the succession line and how it was decided. I only read about which spot I was in!

Crusader Kings III Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire

So there are just three short story snippets. There’ve been so many more stories and so many more funny moments. But there’s also been lots and lots of hours of work scheming to get my neighbour rulers to like me enough, so that they’d voluntarily become my vassals. Or leading wars against them if they didn’t – of course, after I forged some documents giving me a claim to their lands, so that I could expand properly.

So if you ask me: Is the game worth it? Then I’d say: Yes, definitely, if you like strategy, intrigue and drama.

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