I have never really got into strategy games, and certainly even alienated if you throw some history at it. One example of said type of games is Crusader Kings II, which at first sight seems to have unending content, let alone the expansions and DLCs the game is getting. Despite of whether the deep mechanics of the game attract or scare away different type of gamers, Paradox Interactive is keen on releasing downloadable content, adding even more features and complexity to Crusader Kings II.
The third DLC so far for Crusader Kings II, called The Republic DLC brings on more rebellions, plots, intrigues and even more strategies to think of, and more familiar conflicts over yet other type of holdings, Trade Posts. This kind of holding, as well as Cities, Castles and Bishoprics. Trade posts, being a holding are vulnerable against rival plots, and at the same time are limited by your Provinces. Trade posts do not grant you levies (army) of any kind, but do make for some little extra income, to pay the bills; provided a near coast is available for you to build on. Trade Posts are exclusive to the new playable Republics, whether you are playing them, or playing against them in the role of a regular Feudal Lord.
We get to play as Patricians, involved in the messy times of the medieval conflicts between the various merchant republics. The Hanseatic League, Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Gotland are now fully playable. Doges are selectable to play as since the beginning, or any of their respective vassals.; although Patricians have the benefits of declaring Embargo wars, plotting to seize the Republican adversary’s trade posts. Playing as a Patrician, you will also probably be interested in becoming a Doge, in case you choose not to play as one from the beginning, since then you will possess more power, and power is, alongside with gold, what matters in The Republic. The first merchant republic I played as is Venice, and I started as the Doge, though with an advanced age, since it’d be a clear advantage to play as a young Doge, and then make use of the benefits that carries. First thing to do in such cases would be to arrange a marriage and ensure to have a decent Heir, to continue the game when the Doge inevitably dies.
Trade posts can be built in any province but the further to your own lands, the more it will cost to build them. They are the same time can be placed strategically in order to form Trade Zones, and then generate even a more important flow of resources right to your pocket, and then be able to focus on the usual diplomacy matters characteristic to Crusader Kings II, say from arranging a marriage between your siblings and a Feudal Lord’s heirs to ensure a quality offspring, or even to send gifts to your Spymaster, so you build up his opinion about you hence giving you more possibilities concerning intrigue, like that of plotting against potential betrayers even inside your own family.
Doge elections is another new feature that comes with the Republic. Investing in the campaign fund might be a worthwhile decision to gain respect. When the current Doge stops breathing, the most notable candidate will be elected as the new Doge. Often, different Patricians are willing to make their campaign as well, so players must make their moves neatly in order to overcome the aspiring opponents.
Playing as a merchant republic is no easy thing, greediness arises from both enemy republics and those you have put your trust on. While playing as the Serene Doge of Genoa, my Spymaster discovered my own Steward was attempting a plot against me. My own Council members, just outrageous! Decided to take prudent measures, I found myself in the possibility of either Imprison my treacherous Steward, or send to assassinate him. Both options have a chance of failure, therefore giving me negative statuses and granting me with dishonoring titles such as Tyrant or Coward, but in case of a bull’s eye, the plot would turno ut smooth and I would be left without retaliation. I have to hand it to the game, since it succeeds in making me feel as a legitimate leader.
Certain balance between your Troops and your Republic holdings must be mantained, and none must be completely focused on in order to prevail over time. Neither producing a great deal of levies to wage a war nor mindlessly building Trade Posts and creating Trade Zones will lead you anywhere, maybe solely to ultimate failure.
Graphics are not near as today’s jaw dropping titles’, but do deliver the much needed visuals to pair with the strategy gameplay, alongside with motivating and immersive soundtracks. Just as the main game, The Republic is not that much demanding, and will run smooth even on now aging set-ups.
I can safely say that if you enjoyed playing Crusader Kings II, The Republic DLC will not disappoint, but instead add some spice to the core mechanics of the game, and bring on more exciting content to spend your valuable time on.