And so it begins

Another doomed writing project? Hopefully not!

If you spend any amount of time with me talking about video games, it can become pretty clear that I have a love for strategy games and role-playing games. They’ve always been among my favourites, and its become even more solidified now. Starcraft, Mass Effect, the Final Fantasies, X-COM, Civilization, Knights of the Old Republic, all solid classics.

Civilization in particular gets a big nod from me. I started the series at Civ IV, but Civilization V is the game that really hooked me in. I sunk MANY hours into that game, loving every minute. It was this game that really unlocked a passion for history for me. The Colossus of Rhodes? The Warring States period of China? The Golden Age of Islam? The Ottomans? Boudicca of the Celts? Mansa Musa? I had NO IDEA about these things until reading up on them after coming into contact with them in-game. This, to me, is what helps solidify games as an art form to me, by opening your mind to what you might not have known, to teach you something both about the world around you and what you thought about it.

2012 was also a very good year for gaming in general, because not only was there the God & Kings expansion for Civ V, but there was also Crusader Kings 2. This game is lauded by the very smart people at Rock, Paper, Shotgun as well as Extra Creditz and rightly so. I’d highly recommend picking it up if you feel like getting your strategy on, but be warned that the learning curve is more wall than curve and the pace is slow. I’d recommend reading through the Let’s Play to get an idea of how the game plays and progresses.

So why bring this up? Well, I’ve been meaning to get back into writing something, and now seemed like the perfect time. I’ve read a few of the After Action Reports posted in the Paradox Studios forums, and found myself more drawn to the narrative driven ones than the pure game reports. While obviously not able to simulate everything, the game engine is remarkably powerful as a tool for storytelling. You are fundamentally playing a character more than you are a nation, and this being the High Medieval Period, strong and weak personalities defined the histories and destinies more than anything. The relationships between the characters will drive conflict and events, random happenings keep things from getting boring, and we can create any goal we want. Because at the end of the day, the only actual goal of the game is to keep your dynasty alive and landed.

And so, here we are. I plan to do some narratives of some playthroughs of CK2, I may take suggestions on courses of action, I may not. I plan to hew as closely as possible to the actual character I’m playing at any given time and will avoid anything too “gamey”. But the real fun is the fact that the game stops being historical as soon as you hit “unpause”.

Next, we shall do some introductions of the various powers and players of Medieval Europe! See you all shortly!