Regency If You Like It: Crusader Kings II Demo

This map is covered in glory. Also bastards.

Perhaps you’ve already discovered the 20 years of playable history that congeal together to form the Crusader Kings II demo? It appears to have marched onto the internet during the weekend, a time when I am traditionally to be found scrutinising medieval maps of Europe. This weekend I decided to be trapped in a cabin in the middle of the woods during a night of heavy snow instead, so I hadn’t spotted the demo until now. Download it here.

A choice of four leaders and twenty years of history to play with should be enough to tide you over until the game comes out on Valentine’s Day, at which point you can take a laptop to a fancy restaurant and conquer Scandinavia together by candlelight.

You can read about my experiences with the beta here.


  1. pakoito says:

    >if you click the play button on the startup screen in the demo, and then immediately afterwards click on the place you want to start, you can glitch it into starting with any character

    Seen in the forums.

    • bglamb says:


      Anyway, i’ve been waiting to play this for a long time, after hearing RPS go on and on about it.

      (Top punning btw Mr Smith)

    • Duckee says:

      People have also managed to circumvent the 20 year limit. The downfall really is the lack of saving. See the Paradox forums.

    • pakoito says:

      Can you link it in the forum thread or something?

    • Duckee says:

      Changing the years in the bookmark.txt and define.txt file to something like 900 should do it. I have not tested yet myself though. Bear in mind that some dynasties might not exist when you change this.

    • Megadyptes says:

      Some? More like most the map is empty.

    • Duckee says:

      True.. you cannot play as so many characters but the game will generate nobles once you start the game.

  2. NathanH says:

    I played a bit as the king of Poland, and Warsaw that I liked it.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I played a bit as the Duke of Bohemia and I was constantly Pragued by my family members plotting against me.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      I played as the Emperor of Byzantium but was Thraced off the throne.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I heard tell that the Byzantine Empire was quite Bosporus in this period? Confirm or deny?

    • Premium User Badge

      Maltose says:

      I was playing as the Duke of Varmland. Game seems pretty swede.

    • Malkara says:

      Gave the King of France a shot, it was Berry difficult.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Norway in hell did I see those coming.

  3. MuscleHorse says:

    Although I’m routinely rubbish at grand strategy games such as I still really enjoy them. Been waiting for this for a while, hope it doesn’t disappoint.

  4. Jova says:

    I’ve fallen in love with this game!

    I have not played a Paradox game before but this game had me very interested with all the focus on characters instead of nations. And after having played the demo during the weekend I’ve pre-ordered it.

    I so love that it’s about personalities and relationships. I can see why and why not someone likes or dislikes my character.

    I am going to have alot of fun with this one. Can’t wait until valentine’s day when it’s released. Oh my wife will not be happy. xD

    • NathanH says:

      Well, if she is not happy, then you always have a Plot available…

      Actually they may need to fix the “continuous wife-murder for money or prestige” plot exploit…

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      It worked for Henry…

    • ffordesoon says:

      That raises an interesting point:

      If it’s an “exploit” that worked in real life, is it still an exploit?

  5. RogB says:

    does it have a tutorial?

    ive got the first one but its complete lack of any form of tutorial left me utterly bewildered and i ran away.

    • MrThingy says:

      Yes, there’s an in-game tutorial in the demo, but it’s very basic and doesn’t really explain things like de-jure counties or direct vassals/baronies properly. I’d be more inclined to watch some of the “Let’s Play Crusader Kings 2” vids on Youtube to get a feel for how the beta testers have been playing (and explaining) the game as they go.

    • Jova says:

      The tutorial helps alot just learning game mechanics.

      I too had tried CK1 and was just lost and didn’t even know where to begin and what I can do.

      The tutorial in CK2 is basic but it helps.

    • frenz0rz says:


      Sounds like a normal Paradox-strategy tutorial then. For once I wish one of their games would come with an in-depth, well made tutorial. EU3 is on its 4th expansion – or 5th even? – and the tutorial is still absolutely dire. I’ve been trying to get a couple of friends into the game and they’re utterly lost. Admittedly they’ve both leapt straight into Divine Wind, but its not as if they have a choice; if you buy the full Chronicles on Steam you have no option but to play the game with every expansion enabled.

      Thereby also rendering your previous saves unplayable. Wish I’d known that before installing the damn thing.

    • djim says:

      They said that the game will include a detailed tutorial a-la Victoria 2, where there are several chapters and they explain things in detail. The hints in the demo are not the tutorial.

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      The beta I’ve played has the biggest set of tutorials I can remember seeing in a Paradox game.

    • RogB says:

      thanks chaps, i’ll brave it as it is. Downloading now!

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Don’t listen to Mr. Thingy the full tutorial is in the demo, and it explains de jure duchies and such extremely well. There are three tiers of tutoriald, from basic to advanced, with twenty or so tutorials in each tier.

    • RogB says:

      @thebigJ_A yep i was very pleased to see the 3 tabs of tutorials. some are merely one popup but its giving me a decent idea about how to play it. I might give the first one a go now!

      unrelated: music is very nice!

    • MrThingy says:

      Alternatively, you can ignore the rude chap and just read the manual, courtesy of Paradox:

      link to

    • exenter says:


      EU3 is a very simple game compared to CK2 or HOI3. You really don’t need an in-depth tutorial in that game.

  6. MrThingy says:

    I can’t wait to get this game. Been watching the LPs (live videos from beta testers) and now have been getting into the demo. Played a few games as Mathilda of Tuscany.

    Really enjoyable, beautiful map, lots of strategy potential and as much as I love EU3, I think this game is likely to be more accessible to the ‘masses’. Though I know most Paradox fans pride themselves on avoiding the ‘masses’ … ;-P

  7. Jnx says:

    I’ve been playing this demo since they released it and am totally addicted. Each play is like a Martin book. Best game ever. (I never tried the first one.)

  8. BloatedGuppy says:

    I’m pretty curious about this game. As someone who almost preferred the turn-based grand strategy of Medieval 2 to the (eventually somewhat tiresome) RTS battles, this sounds like it might be right up my alley.

  9. Vandalbarg says:

    Amazed at the quality of the demo. I mean, for an out the box pre release game from Paradox of all people it’s remarkably bug free. After mucking about as the Duke of Bohemia I used that bug to play as the Duke of Munster. It was utterly fantastic. I won’t bore you all with the details but I felt so attached to my little dynasty by the end of it I was saddened I couldn’t continue playing them when it’s actually out.

    Oh, also I’m pleasantly surprised by the combat. It feels much better than EU3.

    Main downside is the rather limited number of plots.

    First day purchase for me.

  10. Elmokki says:

    I’m very surprised. Paradox’s self-developed game releases and demos have since err… ever (I didn’t buy Europa Universalis 2 back on release, but since then I suppose) been full of horrible bugs and most of the games have had horrible gameplay flaws which’ve caused them to be fairly dissapointing games until an expansion or two (Europa Universalis 3 took what, 3 expansions to become good? Original Victoria required an expansion too and original Crusader Kings was just flawed – though it changed developers mid-development so I can probably partially forgive it)

    Now, CK2 demo surprised me completely. There seems to be plenty to do even during peace time as opposed to most Paradox games including the original Crusader Kings. It’s also very noteworthy that in original Crusader Kings it felt like you controlled a pile (your court) of mindless robots. Now the mindless robots aren’t mindless, they are generally trying to plot to kill you or someone close to you. It’s hillarious really. I’ve played three 20-year demo games and each one of them was a story at least somewhat worthy of telling – though I do anticipate some of the things that happened to become more plain as the game is played more.

    This might be the first Paradox release in ages I’m going to preorder.

  11. Nameless1 says:

    I’m still waiting for it to show on steam. Do they want my money?

    • Carra says:

      Valve sure does.

    • Jnx says:

      I read that it’ll arrive on steam this week. So no worries there.

    • Malkara says:

      They’ve assured us it’ll be available on Steam before release- and all copies except for GamersGate should be Steamworks. It was originally going to be 100% steamworks, but fans threw a fit that they’d have to use steam. :P

    • Nameless1 says:

      Awesome, thanks for the clarification.

  12. Chandos says:

    I must be the only person disappointed with the demo. Not that it’s bad or anything. It’s just that my laptop and intel GMA video card can’t really handle it. Which is deeply saddening. I don’t have the minimum specs for a Paradox strategy game… how bad is that?

    Or how difficult would it have been to have the same gameplay without a 3D map (which looks like 2D anyhow when you’re zoomed in)? :(

    I feel like I’ve been dumped by Paradox.

    • Vandalbarg says:

      Tried updating your video drivers? What’s your rig like? If the processor is ok you could just buy more RAM. It’s only about 500 bux for laptop with an i5 processor with 4gbs of ram nowadays, so it’s no where near as expensive as it was to have a decent machine.

    • Chandos says:

      I’ve got 4gigs of RAM on Pentium T4500 processor. Graphics is intel GMA 4500M and drivers are up to date. Victoria 2 runs fine, but Sengoku and CK2 demos are both running super slow. Like every click registers 2-3 seconds later.

    • Vandalbarg says:

      Strange, sounds like you’ve got a better machine than me yet mine runs fine.

      Possibly just outdated video drivers. Dunno though, sorry.