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Crusader Kings II Do you like to play Crusader Kings? Looking for help, tips or strategies?

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Old Oct 29th 2014, 05:29 PM
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Default The Crusades

The Crusades

The First Crusade for Jerusalem seems to launch sometime between 1095 and 1105 every single game I've played (1066 start). In 90% of those games, it falls to a counter-Jihad within five years afterwards no matter who won it. If the 1st Crusade fails, or if Jerusalem falls again, the Pope will continue to call Crusades for Jerusalem for the rest of the game (I've seen 7 of them in one game). If Jerusalem is successfully taken and held by a Christian power, then other Crusades may be subsequently called.

From what I've seen, the Crusade for [Muslim] Andalusia is the most common one after Jerusalem, while the Crusade for [Pagan] Lithuania is next in frequency. Other than those three, I've seen a few other crusades pop up - Portugal, Finland and even Italy (when the whole HRE went Fraticelli). Anyone seen any others show up in the game?

In my experience, the Crusade for Andalusia seems to be the easiest to win, the easiest to hold and the richest one to win. I've won it several times and have never yet faced a single jihad or holy war counter-attack after winning it. Better still, it makes a great launching pad for further expansion into Morocco and North Africa. It also reverts religion and culture fairly quickly - I've seen all of Andalusia turn Christian usually within 25 years and fully English (or Irish) within 60 or 70 years after conquest.

The Crusades against the various Baltic pagans tend to be the toughest to win as the Pagans appear to get some kind of battle-bonus against Christian/Crusader troops because I've lost a couple of battles on even ground where I had 25% numeric superiority! I've never had that happen in the game. On even ground, the larger army should win (assuming halfway decent army commanders). Morale penalties, river-crossings, hills/mountains can certainly swing that calculation, but I'm talking even ground with no ground penalties or advantages. To make these pagan crusades even worse, in 2 out of 3 cases, I've been at 90% plus warscore (and those were hard-fought battles) and that's when the pagan ruler turns Christian to cancel the whole Crusade.

So, any thoughts on the Crusades? What ones have you seen? Which ones do you like to win? And what do you do with them if you do win them?
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Old Oct 29th 2014, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: The Crusades

As for the First Crusade for Jerusalem, I've come to the conclusion that winning it is a fool's game - unless you are ready, willing and able to follow up with 35,000+ troops to defend it 3 to 5 years later when the jihad comes to take it back. That being said, the 5000 prestige and 2000 piety points for winning it does make the venture worth while even if just gets jihaded back to Muslim control five years later.

And I have never yet seen a Christian AI kingdom win Jerusalem and hold it for longer than 10 to 15 years max - it always reverts back to the Muslims - either by jihad or normal claims on lost territories. As I noted above, the secret is the ability to bring 35,000+ troops to Jerusalem every time jihad is declared, and the AI tends to fail at that miserably.

But I tend to prefer playing the game in the British Isles or Scandanavia (or Spain), so that means I really don't like winning Jerusalem because it is a pain in the ass being so far away. So I've tried a few different things in order to deal with winning Jerusalem (because I can't resist the prestige/piety bonus!).

So what do you do with Jerusalem if you win it?

1. One game I was playing Ireland and I won the First Crusade for Jerusalem - barely - and only because the King of England (who should have won it) died during the battle. There was no way I was going to be able to hold it afterwards, so I just gave the crown to the HRE. I didn't want to give it to England because they were my neighbor! This isn't a bad solution because I got the important things I wanted from the Crusade - the crusader 'tag' for my king and heir plus the big prestige/piety bonus for winning it. After that, I really didn't want the kingdom Jerusalem. I wonder if I could give it to the pope?

2. I have tried to give the whole Kingdom of Jerusalem to the Knights Templars. This seems to produce a result that seems a bit 'gamey'. Basically, the Templars get all the land and titles in Jersusalem except the crown itself. I'm guessing the Grandmaster is hardcoded to not be able to hold the kingdom crown. So the crown stays with my ruler (King or Emperor of Britain for example). I get the prestige from holding the Crown of Jerusalem, I can set the crown laws in Jerusalem and it inherits normally along with the rest of my estate to my heirs. The Grandmaster of Templars does NOT show up in my vassal listing. Jerusalem shows up as "Knights Templars" on the game map and the Muslims can declare war on the Templars and I don't even hear about it. So basically, Jerusalem belongs entirely to the Templars except the crown itself which belongs to me - even when the Templars subsequently lose the land back to the Muslims ten years down the road. So when the pope calls another Crusade for Jerusalem to take it back, no matter who wins the Crusade itself, I get the actual prize since I'm the de jure King of Jerusalem and all titles come back to me (again). One can repeat this process over and over since the Knights Templars are no better at defending Jerusalem than any other AI kingdom and therefore they lose it soon enough.

3. In another game, I gave out all the baronies in the kingdom of Jerusalem to the Templars and Hospitaliers (2 or 3 baronies each), and all the counties/duchies to my regular feudal vassals. I thought this would be a good plan to strengthen both the Hospitaliers and the Templars and integrate them into the defense of the kingdom. Well, no sooner did I 'unpause' the simulator after giving out all the titles, two dukes and two counts immediately declared four separate wars to revoke baronies belonging to the Hospitaliers and/or Templars. My feudal vassals were relentless in making sure that all Knight Order holdings were eliminated from the kingdom as soon as possible.

4. Since my attempt to give the Templars and Hospitaliers baronies didn't work, next time I tried to give them whole counties instead. Same result - my dukes would ally together to revoke them, exactly like the baronies.

5. Revolts. After you win a crusade, you can pretty much guarentee that the next 20 years is going to feature lots of those stupid little peasant uprisings in all the newly conquered territory. And given the penalties against the newly conquered holdings, the new territory usually can't raise enough levy troops to deal with a single peasant uprising, let alone two of them at the same time. Of course, you could just drop a 'retinue' of troops and park them there and that makes it easy, but I find retinues to be very gamey (makes everything way too easy) and so I don't use that DLC (Legacy of Rome) for that reason. I've actually raised 3000 levy troops from my home demense (no vassal troops, so no time penalty) and parked it in Jerusalem and left it there for 20 freakin' years just to deal with non-stop peasant uprisings. That cost about 8 gold per month for the whole twenty years (call it 2000 gold if you include the cost of shipping to Jerusalem). Is that worth it? I wonder what my revenues from that Kingdom were ...

So, anyone got any good ideas about what do with the Crusades?
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Old Oct 30th 2014, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: The Crusades

Perhaps one of the strangest things I ever saw was the King of Croatia win the crusade for Jerusalem and manage to keep the kingdom for around a 100 years. They only lost the kingdom when, oddly enough, the sultan of Egypt launched an invasion of Croatia. The Croatians managed to loose their homeland and Jerusalem not long after.

That said, the only circumstance in which I see the AI hold onto Jerusalem after a crusade is if one of the major powers (France or HRE) win the crusade. The Holy Roman Empire in particular seems to have enough military might behind it to fight off the Muslims.

As for the other crusades, the most popular one is the reconquest of Spain. Most annoyingly about that one is that frequently I see England or the HRE win that crusade so there ends up being this annoying German or English mini-empire in Southern Spain. I have also seen a crusade for Sicily and a crusade for Tunisia before though too.

Since I play the Byzantines most often I actually find the Crusades to be extremely annoying. My goal is frequently to recreate the Eastern Roman Empire at its fullest extent and a successful crusade gets in the way of me controlling Jerusalem. frequently my overriding goal is to take Jerusalem before the crusade. During a crusade I am frequently a traitor to Christendom because I start trying to cause as much intrigue and trouble as possible in order to sabotage the Catholic efforts
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