Crusader Kings 2 player records 700-year NPC game to find who gets “most kills” and “most children”

Guess which batch of murderers got the most kills?

Royal incompetence simulator Crusader Kings 2 is one of the best games ever. Over hundreds of years, sultans and kings create new empires and murder their families. Today a data science man gets in touch to say he recorded a 700-year game in ‘observation’ mode, pulled out all the data like a big reel of cassette tape, shoved it through some kind of magical process I won’t pretend to understand, and came up with statistics on several rulers. This also resulted in detailed “networks” of kills and marriages. The important thing is: this lets us see who had the most babies.

James Nagle is a data scientist. He’s previously mapped relationships between figureheads of the Easter Rising in Ireland using documents from the National Archive. This time, he dived into CK II, writing a script to pull out all personal data about the thousands of in-game characters – births, deaths, marital status, etc. Basically it was like doing a giant census for 691 years in a row. He’s since done a write-up of his project and produced various visualisations of the data.

There’s a lot there I’m not capable of grasping (infographics mean nothing to me if there’s not a wee silhouette man standing next to something big). But they’ll no doubt be of interest to the more computer sciencey among you. The interesting part for me comes in the form of “character statistics”. Here we get to see who (in an NPC-only game) comes out on top with the most kills and children. No prizes for guessing the top murderers but here they are, according to Nagle’s trawling.

While building out the kill networks I also looked at the top killers in the game. Jochi Jochid, the Emperor of the Mongol Empire was responsible for the deaths of 36 people, most of them dying in his prison. Not to be outdone his son and successor Bilge finished off another 42!

And here’s the most fertile characters:

Uways Abbasid was bringing up 17 children who had an rfat value meaning he wasn’t their father. On the other hand Abdul-Razzaq Hasan had 22 children with married women and the children were being brought up as belonging to the husband. Amaneus de Carcassonne had 19 children, either with unmarried women or with women who were married but the affair was discovered. In total Muhammad Aleppo was the father of 44 children with 34 mothers and Angilbert Bouvinid had 41 children with 35 different mothers. It must be hard to remember all those birthdays!

These numbers may seem small when you think of the game from the God-like perspective of the player, who persists through multiple kings and regents. But in the mayfly lives of these tiny fictional people, 44 children is an obscene amount of young ‘uns. And can you boast responsibility for the deaths of 42 of your enemies? I thought not. So, show some respect to the Jochid Khanate.


  1. RuySan says:

    Please, can we stop using “Data Scientist” and return to “Statistician”.

    “Data Scientist” is only a bit less annoying than “Guru”.

    • BaaBaa says:

      My understanding is that a data scientist deals with code and algorithms (databases, machine learning, etc) more than a statistician. So it’s stats + computer science, whereas you can do statistics without knowing how to code.

      • RuySan says:

        Maybe that’s was the original meaning, but like most overused jargon, it completely lost its meaning. Nowadays anyone dabbling in statistics claims to be a data scientist.

        • napoleonic says:

          As a practising statistician, I tell people “I do maths for big companies”.

        • yonderTheGreat says:

          I prefer to enforce the original definition. Acknowledging the change simply empowers those who use it incorrectly. It’s like the gluten-free movement. When someone says “I can’t eat gluten” and I respond with “Oh, you have Celiac Disease?” and then they give me a blank stare. A few weeks ago I had a ‘discussion’ with someone arguing that Serena William had won 23 Grand Slam Titles. Anyone who knows anything about sports knows this is a falsehood. She’s won 23 Majors. A Grand Slam means winning all four Majors in one year.

          So… stand by the original and true definition unless the changes makes things BETTER.

          Also… I seriously want this guys magical program. I love making AAR’s and family trees and stuff.

      • Fluffy says:

        Data Scientists and Statisticians both deal with code, algorithms, and math – depending on their job requirements and ability.

        The main difference is interpretation.

        A statistician will want to know how and why the data give a particular result. He/she will try to estimate the underlying model, test for its robustness and properties, and then – if possible – make some careful inferences about the data.

        A Data Scientist wants actionable results. He/she typically cares much less about the black box that crunches the data, as long as the result that comes out on the other end is something that is useful.

        Full disclosure; I’m a statistician (which basically means I work with data, but I do so at a university instead of a corporation).

    • cardigait says:

      Cartesian Evangelist, soon.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Trouble is, the job adverts want ‘data scientists’ not ‘statisticians’, so you have to call yourself that.

    • Quarabi says:

      If you want to be pedantic with titles, I would call him a topologist rather then a statistician. For his graph and network analysis …

    • Premium User Badge

      colinmarc says:

      If you think “data scientist” is a useless term, wait until you hear about “data engineers.”

  2. Blackcompany says:

    “Royal Incompetence Simulator” might be the best genre nickname RPS has conjured yet…

    • ThePuzzler says:

      I miss playing Royal Incompetence Simulator. I’m too… competent. Last time I played CK2 I conquered the entire map by 1148. (Admittedly, starting as Charlemagne, which makes it easier.)

      • Premium User Badge

        fegbarr says:

        I’ve never been able to bring myself to start as a king, I prefer to just be a one-title Count or Earl and spend generations plotting and scheming just to get up to Duke level. Really giving yourself over to a dynastic grudge with the petty little counts next door helps too.

        Then one day, if you finally make it to the top and get your own kingdom, it’s all the funnier when five minutes later your hideous hunchbacked gay daughter inherits and the whole lot suddenly falls apart again.

        • wombat191 says:

          yeah it’s not as fun when you start at king level or higher. I always tend to start really low on the ladder although playing as a merchant republic was fun, coming a vassal of the Pope to head off issues.

          “My daddy is the Pope and if you pick on me he will both excommunicate you and declare a crusade on your ass”

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>