Another Fine Mesoamerica: CKII Sunset Invasion DLC

Aztec invasions of late 13th century Europe have no place in otherwise believable historical strategy games, particularly not when they threaten to shatter the united realms of slothful hunchback Cormac Whittlestump, ruler of the mighty Empire of Britannia. Crusader Kings II’s Sunset Invasion DLC insists on the madness of an Aztec invasion – bringing armies, disease and human sacrifice – and it’s the first significant slab of content that I haven’t immediately installed. I’m not opposed to its existence but I doubt I’d spend much time with it. Any takers?

I’ll probably play a campaign with this second invading threat at some point but right now I’m actually thankful that Paradox don’t seem to have added features that are independent of the invasion. If they did that, I’d have to shell out £3.99 because I’d feel like I was missing out, even though I’m perfectly content with what I have.

For clarity’s sake, ‘what I have’ is far from the Empire of Britannia. I’m currently running a game that started on the Isle of Man and has progressed to a fragmented Scotland. I am a frightened six year old surrounded by furious men.

The Sunset Invasion DLC is available now.


  1. Zakski says:

    I started off as the d’hautvilles and end up being ruled over by the caliph of egypt

  2. RobinOttens says:

    I thought we brought the diseases over there because we Europeans carried a bunch of bacteria and things because we lived among our livestock in a way they didn’t. I don’t think that would work the other way around? They’d invade Europe and die of our diseases, as they did back then. And I think it’s a bit unfair to pick out one particular civilization among the dozens that lived in that central America area and say they all did the human sacrifice thing. And it’s nonsense that the Aztecs would come to Europe. That didn’t happen! Bah! Stupid DLC! Humbug!

    I probably don’t know what I’m talking about. This game still sits intimidating me on my steam list… I started the tutorial and then ran away and hid.

    • Ian says:

      I’d need to double check but I think, I THINK, this one isn’t meant to be a historically accurate “What If?” scenario so much as something that those crazy bastards have made because they thought it could be fun.

      Get back and try the game though. You haven’t gamed until you’ve pondered whether there’s any good reason to spare your own infant relatives so you can become Duke of some backwater.

      • RobinOttens says:

        I intend to play it, as soon as I get through the rest of my ever-growing stack of unplayed games.

        Also, it’s probably just my paranoid mind, but is there something of a trend going on of creating self-serious, silly nonsense DLC like this? See also the three zombie expansions for red dead, yakuza, sleeping dogs and the alternate universe thing ACIII is getting.

    • Meusli says:

      We gave them all sorts of nasty diseases and in return they gave us a new strain of virulent syphilis.

    • Tei says:

      The thing with europe is that whe share a lot of things with asia, mostly technology and plages. America was not allowed to suffer these sickness, so his natural defenses where not ready. ..neither his technology.

      • Ateius says:

        Technology, plagues, AND hordes of unstoppable nomad killing machines. Share and share alike!

    • wrcromartie says:

      You got that right (as did another poster above). This is way ahistoric, but a fun idea of ‘turning the tables’ on those mean Euros.

      The main reasons we think Americans get the short end of the pathogen stick, and thus should’ve always been on the losing end of the germ war (poorly paraphrasing the book Guns, Germs & Steel for those who are interested):

      *Europeans / Asian / Africans have been trading diseases & building immunity to a vast array of diseases for thousands of years.

      *Europeans / Asian / Africans have access to a much larger variety of flora/fauna as compared to Americans, and thus due to their close contact with more animals, more strains of disease are introduced

      *Europeans / Asian / Africans have an immense pool of genetic material that is constantly being jumbled up & becoming more & more dynamic. This is due to a preponderance of cultures that are able to trade & mix bloodlines. In contrast, the American gene pool is much more limited, as scientists today believe that their ancestors basically came over in 1-3 mass migrations. So in the Americas they have say 3 genotype prototypes to build off, while there were thousands in Europe/Asia/Africa. Genetic variability is a good thing when it comes to diseases, as the more diverse your population, the higher chances some of your population is resistant to a given disease. As a result of the lack of developed immunity (due to historic exposure) + the lack of genetic variability (which might provide random immunity), we think that the mortality rate for smallpox in the Americas was 80-95% while it was ~10-25% in Europe.

    • Micromagos says:

      Well having played it and read most the forum opinions I can say the DLC previews makes the aztecs sound a lot more overblown than they are. Think less horde sweeping across Europe and more an expedition establishing a small nation. They “usually” don’t make it past France and tend to get wiped out later by crusades or the mongols. Make of it what you will but so far they seem to be more of a minor event. Comparatively the Golden Horde invasion is much much MUCH more of a threat.

  3. slerbal says:

    My multiplayer CK2 group picked this up immediately. While we won’t use it every game I’m really pleased they released it. Maybe it is not historically accurate, but it is a great “what if?” scenario. I also think that Paradox did the right thing not adding any new core features to this DLC so that it really is optional.

    Anyway I can’t wait to try it!

    • DerNebel says:

      This is my take on it as well. It clearly isn’t meant to be a fully fledged expansion to the game, it’s actually more like a really big scenario pack. Completely optional and, in this case, really silly.

  4. bill says:

    That’s a new one, as far as alternate histories go. But it sounds kind of interesting… makes a change from the “Nazi’s won WW2” ones.

    A game set in a modern Aztec-based Europe would be rather interesting.

    • sinister agent says:

      Anything set in a world where the New World wasn’t wiped out would be an interesting alternative history, as far as I’m concerned. Much more so than “everywhere is 1930s Germany”, as though Nazism would have remained static forever if it had taken over all of Europe.

      • mouton says:

        It would have collapsed anyway, even if they won. Occupying a hostile sub-continent is unsustainable.

  5. Sarigs says:

    I really need to try CKII again, I picked it up in the steam summer sale but I can’t seem to get on with it.

    I managed to run a single game for a long time (believe it was about 100 odd years or so) going from half of Iceland to a swath of Sweden by some odd inheritance quirk before more or less giving up.

    I genuinely have a hard time telling if my actions have much impact beyond marrying people off. I feel like I’m missing something as I really REALLY want to like the game.

    • DonJefe says:

      Give it another go. CKII is the game of the year in my opinion.

    • iniudan says:

      Give it an other go, starting with Iceland, might not have helped understanding the game, has it is a bit isolated. For first game, a duke or somewhere in Ireland are usually best choice to learn the mechanic.

    • iucounu says:

      Following along with this walkthrough – link to – is a great way to learn the game, I found – having been baffled by it initially myself.

  6. Richie Shoemaker says:

    Nonsensical counterfactuals are all the rage, what with this and a new Red Dawn about to hit the screens.

    (For the record I love nonsensical counterfactuals, although only when the audience is able to discern them as such.)

  7. DonJefe says:

    I have to agree. The Sunset Invasion DLC seems somewhat daft. I like Paradox games for their attempts at historical accuracy and this seems very uncharacteristic for them.

  8. Malibu Stacey says:

    You forgot to mention potatoes.

  9. Zealuu says:

    I am the only one who has had serious trouble getting into CK2 again after the (in my opinion) disastrous 1.08 patch?

    The game was amazing just after SoI, and while I welcomed the expanding on what you could do as the Byzantine Empire with LoR, I’m not at all enamoured to the faction system, the retinue system or even the changes to how rebellions work. Every component of the game – from being a vassal to a small or large ruler – became less fun and more of a hassle overnight, mostly for no good reason.

    Experiments in ahistorical what if-scenarios are fine by me, though. Even if the idea of a Mesoamerican civilization crossing the Atlantic and then not immediately succumbing to an epidemic of endemic, European diseases stemming from our infatuation with animal husbandry feels more outright silly than just implausible.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Roll back to patch 1.07 or whatever number suits you the best? I’ve done so a few times when a patch broke something.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I am the only one who has had serious trouble getting into CK2 again after the (in my opinion) disastrous 1.08 patch?

      The game was amazing just after SoI, and while I welcomed the expanding on what you could do as the Byzantine Empire with LoR, I’m not at all enamoured to the faction system, the retinue system or even the changes to how rebellions work. Every component of the game – from being a vassal to a small or large ruler – became less fun and more of a hassle overnight, mostly for no good reason.

      Yeah 1.07 is what introduced all the stuff you complain about not 1.08. As in the patch released along with the Legacy of Rome expansion.
      1.08 fixed a lot of the issues people raised with those things. There was also a 1.07b which fixed a lot of stuff but the game is in a lot better shape in 1.08 than it was previously. Hell if the Sunset Invasion DLC didn’t exist it would most likely be named 1.07c (the new features of 1.08 are simply the Aztec Invasions, everything else is a bug fix).

  10. greg_ritter says:

    Honestly, this Aztec business is rather silly. It’s completely unbelievable and not interesting.
    In my opinion, the invasion force need to be somehow believable. I think, Atlantis might suffise. It just didn’t drown and so you have a comletely new nation overseas, that can expand to the Europe.

  11. danimalkingdom says:

    A Mayan in Winter.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I also don’t think that I will play with this every time. But I want to play it at least once, just to see if there is a way to get the Empire title – so that I can become the Aztec Emperor.

  13. sophof says:

    I’m still running my first game (and another in parallel) that is absolutely great. I started as the king of schotland, almost immediately got reduced to one county, losing the kingdom (and almost the game) and hundreds of years later I am now emperor of brittain and France, while gay, hunchbacked and stupid while the mongol horde is entering western europe. Loving it :)

  14. revan says:

    I’m holding off as well. Why would I allow some pesky Aztecs to mess with my mighty Irish Empire, consisting of Kingdom of Ireland and the lebensraum where England and Scotland used to be. Wales – Gwynedd somehow still endures. I’m rectifying that right now.

  15. PacketOfCrisps says:

    I don’t know a great deal about Chinese history but surely an invasion by them would be much more believable. I thought the Chinese were supposed to be really powerful with their massive turtle ships, etc. Am I in the wrong time period? Hell, I would even take an African invasion of Europe as it is a great deal more realistic than a seaborne invasion by the Aztecs. I know that realism is clearly not the focus of this DLC but that doesn’t mean you have to go tote extremes. What’s next, an invasion by Squid Men who live in the depths of the ocean?

    • I am Grand says:

      Someone suggested Atlantis.

    • Supahewok says:

      Um, if you’re not bound by realism, why WOULDN’T you go to extremes? Isn’t that the point?

    • Arglebargle says:

      An invasion by Admiral Ho’s fleet would be a mere extrapolation as opposed to ‘magic wand’ Aztec fantasy invasions. Historically, it would be at the end of the time period for Crusader Kings II, so not as momentous.

      Not interested in the Aztec dlc at all. An invasion of elves would be only slightly less far fetched.

      Maybe it should have been an assault by a legion of Orkboyz?

    • MacTheGeek says:

      What’s next, an invasion by Squid Men who live in the depths of the ocean?

      You invoke the Deep Ones at your own peril.

    • MyKidzGottaEat says:

      Crap, We might even see some from freakish, completely unrealistic scenarios where the Italian’s are able to unify the entire peninsula in 1200 AD, Holy Roman Emperor’s marry lowbornFinnish pagans afflicted with drawfism for their genius and traits, and where the Fatamid’s conquer Iceland.

      The above are all perfectly possible goals to achieve in CK2. All three strike me as about as likely as an Aztec Invasion of Europe.

  16. MyKidzGottaEat says:

    I have to admit that I find the outcry about this to be a bit odd. While an Aztec invasion of Europe is historically implausible, I’d say the feature in Legacy Of Rome that allows you to mend the great schism, and have the catholic faith become a heresy, is every bit as historically implausible as an Aztec invasion of Europe. Yet most other Paradox fans-myself included-seemed to welcome the feature to mend the schism.

    Similarly, Irish counts seem to be a starting spot for a lot of players new to CK2, and it is possible for an Irish count to eventually rise up and control the entire British Isles. Irish control over the British Islands, which is perfectly feasible in CK2, also strikes me as about as historically likely as an Aztec invasion of Europe. This doesn’t even touch on the possibilities enabled by the ruler designer, which can give you a Shi’a Muslim king of France.

    Honestly, they could add dragons to CK2 and it would only be slightly less realistic than it already is.