'Crusader Kings III' is the Best Medieval Intrigue Simulator

All the schemes and backstabbing of 'Game of Thrones' with none of the dragons.
Screenshot from the launch video of Crusader Kings III, A queen wearing blue and holding a book is flanked by a king wearing yellow and a shadowy character wearing a purple hood.
Image courtesy of Paradox Interactive

Grand strategy games come in many shapes and sizes, from games that focus on the movement of armies in ancient settings to games that have you expanding a civilization across galaxies. The Crusader Kings franchise finds its niche in the tangled web of interpersonal relationships that drove medieval politics and conflict, and Crusader Kings III is no exception. Gita Jackson and Rob Zacny have been playing the game and share their wildest stories and overall impressions of Paradox Interactive’s latest on this episode of Waypoint Radio. You can listen to the full episode and read an excerpt below.


Rob: Prestige is a really important currency, it's what allows you to create new kingdom titles, it's what allows you to do a lot of the bureaucratic feudal stuff to reshape what your realm looks like. I ended up burning through all of [my stockpile] just disinheriting people because in the middle of all these wars my heir had been killed.

Gita: Oh fuck. Were they leading an army?

Rob: Yeah.

Gita: You really got to check on that, you gotta forbid heirs to be knights.

Rob: I don't think he was leading an army, but I think he was serving with the king. I think he was one of the knights in the retinue or something, but he just died in the fighting. Died pretty nastily too, first I got the “oh he's maimed and wounded and one-armed,” it was not good. I clicked on his portrait and he's all kinds of fucked up. And then he just died. But he died right after having a wave of children with his wife.

Gita: Sometimes it do be like that.

Rob: Meanwhile, he was my only heir, I had this thing entirely setup where he was going to be the sole heir and he was gonna get all of it, he was going to get everything. And now –

Austin: Now your grandkids come calling.

Rob: – this random two year old who was being raised by a woman who hated me was now my heir.

Gita: Oh god.

Austin: The dream!

Rob: And so I was like, “I might need a new heir.” So I looked through my options, and I found this, in Crusader Kings terms I guess she'd be described as a “smoking hot sex machine.” 



Rob: But she had the “lustful” trait, she had the “beautiful” trait, and also she had intrigue through the roof.

Austin: Hell Yeah

Rob: I think it was 20, it was just some insane intrigue score.

Austin: And that's before spousing up and getting a spouse bonus on your intrigue score, right?

Rob: Yeah. Reader, I married her. Had a kid and immediately started plotting against my now regretfully departed son's family.

Austin: Oh my god.

Rob: And just began revoking titles, finding excuses to disinherit. And really quickly it was ugly. My king was a real bastard, but by the end of it I disinherited that entire line of the family.

Austin: But they're still around!

Gita: Yeah, they're gonna come kill you later.

Rob: Yeah.

Austin: But with what?

Gita: Is that a “later” problem for you?

Austin: They can't stab you in the back if own all the knives!

This transcript was edited for length and clarity. Discussed: Crusader Kings III 0:41, Iron Harvest 59:51, Moon 1:06:12, Captain Tsubasa 1:31:16, Control: AWE 1:44:02, News + Emails 1:51:30

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