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Grander Strategies: EU IV And CK II Expansions

Two expansions out this month

I haven't checked in on Europa Universalis IV or Crusader Kings II for a while, but both games continue to expand in my absence. For Crusader Kings II, the Charlemagne expansion pushes back further into the early medieval period, with another hundred years added to the timeline and enough features to make the DLC equivalent in size to the gargantuan Old Gods expansion. EU IV's Art of War expansion might be even larger and is certainly the grandest piece of DLC for Europa Universalis to date. As the name suggests, the focus is on military campaigns, but every system in these games is linked, so it'll affect far more than the fracas. Videos below.

Charlemagne adds a tribal holding system, which is another form of the castle, city and temple systems in the base game. Rather than using money to upgrade tribal holdings, you'll need prestige, and interactions with vassals will be influenced in different ways. There's also a rejigging of De Jure kingdoms, which unfetters CK II from our current timeline even more. It will now be possible to create kingdoms that do not fit one of the pre-existing templates, which presumably means that my ambition to assume my true role within the game is one step closer.

As for Charlemagne himself, he begins locked into the sort of family rivalry that is often at the root of a great CK II narrative, but his personal story will have scripted branches that can either be followed, with deep story events ensuing, or ignored by players who decide to go off the beaten path. The Dynasty Chronicle is the other new feature that directly expands on the game's storytelling aspect. A catalogue of events, it will be passed from generation to generation, and becomes a complete history of your family and those who have wronged them.

There's far more, much of which can be seen in the video below. I'm dedicating my first campaign to preventing the formation of the Holy Roman Empire, so I can see an entirely new Europe. Again. It's out tomorrow.

As for Art of War, Paradox reckon it might be the largest expansion in the studio's history. Lots of new historical events, religious leagues and allied objectives that allow for more involvement during military campaigns. Subjects and vassals can now receive orders from the player, and in the late game, the 'Client State' technology will allow players to redraw the map in "a truly Napoleonic way".

Again, there's loads more, including a ludicrous number of new countries, provinces and events. Details in the video below.

The Art of War expansion is out on October 30th. One month, two major expansions. An early Christmas.

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Crusader Kings II

PC, Mac

Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne

Video Game

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Europa Universalis IV

PC, Mac

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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.