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The Neighs Have It: Crusader Kings II - The Horse Lords

Nomads, clans, hordes

Paradox are preparing to inject some of that "Khan-do" spirit into Crusader Kings II [official site]. The eighth major expansion for the grand strategy masterpiece was announced a couple of days ago. I didn't report on it at the time because Paradox had dropped me in the middle of an altogether different war and I was somewhat distracted (full coverage of that on Monday).

The Horse Lords deserves my attention though. If the new nomadic and horde mustering mechanics are effective, it could be as impressive an addition as The Old Gods. Trailer and full details below.

Cover image for YouTube video

As well as feeding my desire to live a nomadic life (the migratory post-Rome strategy of At The Gates is also tickling my fancy), The Horse Lords looks to improve trade considerations. While the timeframe of the game hasn't expanded this time around, the map is pushing further into the Central Asian plains.

I'm still half-convinced that Crusader Kings II will eventually cover the whole globe and extend its tendrils into antiquity. It may have to gain sentience first, growing without the aid of human developers, but do not discount the possibility that Europa Universalis: Rome II is nested somewhere within the future of Crusader Kings' past. Either that or the great migration to China has begun.

Nomadic rule: Distinct from the tribal governments already in game, nomads need lots of space and resist the trappings of settlement
Clan politics: Rule a clan within a nomadic tribe, split clans that get too large, fight for dominance, and proclaim feuds and blood oaths
Muster Hordes: Raise vast armies of horsemen and archers, mobilizing your entire population to ride forth and conquer
Silk Road: This rich trade network can bring great wealth to whomever controls the cities along the route – but it’s especially ripe for pillaging.
Larger Map: The Central Asian plains have been expanded
Tributaries: New diplomatic relationship for nomad states forces defeated enemies to keep the Khan’s coffers filled.
Forts: build temporary fortifications to hold a province under your sway for just long enough for you to finish the war.
Horse Lords is the eighth major expansion to Crusader Kings II and will be coming to major digital retailers very soon. In the meantime, prepare to meet the Great Khan on the field of battle; your stone walls won’t help you.

One level of Crusader Kings II campaigning is all about control of land, not just through war and conquering, but through dividing to control. The ability to mobilise and trot across the map changes the fundamental aims and tensions of the game. I haven't been as excited about an expansion since the pagans arrived.

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About the Author

Adam Smith

Former Deputy Editor

Adam wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2011-2018, rising through the ranks to become its Deputy Editor. He now works at Larian Studios on Baldur's Gate 3.