Crusader Kings 2 fights a land war in Asia next month

Crusader Kings 2: Jade Dragon

Crusader Kings 2 is a strange thing. At first glance, it’s a wildly complex grand strategy game in the vein of Europa Universalis, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find something not far divorced from The Sims; an ant-farm sandbox driven not by goals or win-states, but the personal dramas of a cast of thousands.

As with The Sims, Crusader Kings 2 just keeps on growing, constantly reinvigorated by expansions adding new layers of complexity to the simulation. The latest of these – Jade Dragon – offers you the chance to puppeteer your way through seven hundred years of Chinese political history, starting this November 16th.

As you can see in the feature breakdown above, Jade Dragon goes a long way to bulk up a large but largely unexamined part of Crusader Kings 2’s world. China is represented as a somewhat more monolithic, singular force than many of the other nations, with the Emperor having a dedicated information screen detailing his personal policies and preferences.

While predominantly free to trade and exchange boons with foreign nations, China will occasionally go through isolationist phases where it becomes almost entirely closed off to the outside world. Worst of all will be the (rare-sounding, thankfully) situations where China decides to expand outward, leaving only those in the Emperor’s favor unscathed.

Beyond that are the usual slew of upgrades coming in a free patch, so those who don’t buy in on the expansion should at least gain some of the perks from it. Among other things, the patch is making Tibet a fully fleshed out playable region, refining the Silk Road (unsurprisingly) and expanding the Casus Belli system a little to include Viking kidnappings as a cause to go to war.

At this rate, I don’t think Paradox will be satisfied until Crusader Kings 2 simulates the entire medieval world in painstaking detail. I’m hoping they don’t stop until they’re done. Jade Dragon will be released on November 16th, and is priced at £11/$15.


  1. Neutrino says:

    “I don’t think Paradox will be satisfied until Crusader Kings 2 simulates the entire medieval world in painstaking detail”

    …except for trade, logistics and battle tactics and entirely using dialog boxes.

    You didn’t finish your sentence.

    • Sakkura says:

      They do have trade routes. A little bit.

    • wackazoa says:

      Honestly that might be my biggest issue with Paradox sims, even beyond the crazy monetization. For all they include and do decently, there is so much they don’t include or do half assed. I get making games is hard, but I struggle to enjoy Pdox games for more than a few hours every couple of months because I start to get annoyed at what they don’t do.

  2. Imperialist says:

    This is cool…but i have to ask…why?
    I mean, CK2 was originally about…Crusaders. And Kings. And everything in between. Yeah, it made sense to have playable pagans, Muslims, and even the Golden Horde. But the expanse into India and China seems a bit…unfitting. They should simply make a new game that merges CK2’s gameplay with the global scope of EU4.
    But…its a poor complaint as they are still supporting CK2 as if it came out last year.

    • ChromeFarm says:

      They are not supporting it like it came out last year. They are releasing minor upgrades and charging half as much as the game itself again for them. Of course it’s a choice whether to update, but a lot of fans will feel like they’re missing out not having the last updates when they’re already 300 dollars invested in the series, and paradox preys on that mentality.

      EA does it with the sims and gets criticised as greedy, but paradox do the same thing and are applauded.

      • fegbarr says:

        I’m going to be one of those people applauding Paradox you don’t like.

        I really like the way they support their games, CK2 especially. Each DLC is coincided with an update to the base game which adds mechanics or tweaks existing ones and does do worthwhile things for people who haven’t got the paid content. I’ve certainly never felt pressured to buy any DLC and pick and choose what interests me from the offerings (generally in a Steam sale, too, when they’re dirt cheap six months down the line).

        Base CK2 is a complete game right now. Buy it and you have hundreds of hours’ worth of gameplay right there before you even begin to brush against needing the DLC.

        • Comrade Roe says:

          So would you say CK2 is better than EU4 in that sense? Because just without Common Sense and Art of War, the EU4 experience becomes stale after maybe a hundred hours. Quite a bit of entertainment there, but if one “round” can be days, it doesn’t mean much.

          • fegbarr says:

            I couldn’t say, to be honest, as I’ve never played EUIV.

            I did play CK2 to death on release and got through 2 or 3 campaigns (admittedly this was in the early days when the tutorial was crap and the first 20 hours or so was a write-off.) before I picked up any DLC. I’m not sure there’s any I’d call “essential”* even now, and some are actively quite poor.

            * That’s admittedly from my perspective of playing most of my games as Western European types, if that doesn’t interest you but being a different culture or religion does then it’ll cost you a few quid more off the bat.

          • ramshackabooba says:

            Common Sense is the outlier. Otherwise you could also play EU4 without any expansions and have hundreds of hours of fun playing different countries. I also like Paradox’s DLC system where the base game gets improved for free even if you don’t buy expansions.

    • Baines says:

      Years ago, Paradox released Sengoku, which was a simplified Crusader Kings set in Japan.

      Sengoku apparently sold rather poorly in Paradox’s view. (I and others argued that Sengoku was a pretty shallow game that desperately needed some expansions to flesh it out. But that doesn’t negate the lesson that Paradox learned.) Paradox realized that they simply made a ton more money releasing Western European-themed games (CK, EU, etc) than they’d make releasing titles set in other areas.

      Covering those areas as expansions to their Western European games presumably sells much better than releasing separate games. For example, people that would never buy an India-themed CK bought the India DLC for CK.

      So it was inevitable that, as long as CK2 kept receiving expansions, it would eventually include areas like China.

  3. carewolf says:

    I guess that is the only way they could include China without having the game banned in China for accurately depicting historical China.

  4. jeremyalexander says:

    That will be another 15 dollars on top of the 300 you’ve already spent on this game thanks to the shadiest company in gaming and the originators of both gaming as an experience bs and chopping single games up into separate DLC to suck more money out of us. Yet these scumbags continue to get a pass from the suckers that giving them their money and yet turn around and get mad, and rightfully so, at companies like EA and Ubisoft whose constantly derided policies don’t try to do a fraction of what Paradox has been doing for years. At full price, owning Stellaris, EU4, and CK2 with all the DLC would cost the same as a very good gaming PC. That’s dumb and so are the people that keep fueling their greed.

    • Michael Anson says:

      This is called “supporting the game after release.” Every bit of DLC for CK2 was produced AFTER the game was released, in a constant development schedule. This includes constant free updates and upgrades to the base game (emphasis on “free”).

      In short, Paradox has earned the right to charge for every bit of DLC, and claiming otherwise shows either extreme shortsightedness or a complete disrespect to the efforts of developers to keep a game fresh and interesting.

    • Drakesden says:

      First, making a fantastic game isn’t shady. I’ve put hundreds of hours of enjoyment into it, probably more than any other single game I’ve ever owned.

      Also, I got it and most of the DLC on special, and I’ve passed on DLC I’m not interested in. I probably will pass on this DLC, since my interest is in Europe. I bet the vast majority of players buy the DLC that speaks to them, and that’s great.

      Paradox is not doing loot boxes or microtransactions. There are a LOT Of shadier companies out there.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      shadiest company in gaming

      Just gonna leave this here…