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


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.

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