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.