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The 10 worst kings and queens in PC games

One Off The List

Regicide is once again a topic at dinner, thanks to the release of Crusader Kings III. Your aunt passes you the gravy, and asks about council matters. Your mother comments on the rise in guillotine stocks. Your father, the king, chews his mutton with a rueful and distant glare, probably thinking about war. A cloaked advisor enters and hands you a note on parchment. “The ten worft kingf and queenf in gamef,” it reads. You cough politely, put it in your pocket for later, and continue pushing poisoned food around as if you are eating it.

Empress Rhagaea - Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

A screenshot from Mount & Blade II showing Empress Rhagaea. She is sitting on her throne, wearing a purple dress, and looks very smug.

Rhagaea is a ruthless swordqueen of the Southern Empire in this biggo RPG-strategy battle ‘em up, just one of the many rulers who zip up and down the countryside with masses of soldiers in tow. She is waging total war on the rest of Calradia because of an undying belief in feudal inheritance, the emblem of monarchical right to rule by virtue of blood. She gets points for awareness of the world’s injustices. “The plague and the labor of childbirth will take more lives than all the evils of man put together,” she says when you ask her about politics. But she loses those points because she thinks daddy makes her queen. Get out.

Kyros the Overlord - Tyranny

A screenshot from Tyranny showing three people kneeling and looking subjugated, whilst surrounded by an army of menacing skeletons

Kyros is a ruler so aloof they never actually appear in the flesh. They are like the Prime Minister in The Thick Of It, or the President in Veep. An unseen presence from which all power trickles down like a dribble of sticky Fanta. To whom does it trickle? Why, to frightening wizard goons like yourself, out to conquer distant lands. Meanwhile, your invisible despot enacts magical edicts that physically alter land, weather and life itself, suggesting that a person with enough unaccountable power is indistinguishable from a god. Which is why all gods must die. Don’t tell Kyros I said that.

Emperor Patrick Stewert - The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

A screenshot from Oblivion showing everyone's favourite grandad emperor Uriel Septim

Great spaceship captain, rubbish emperor. Uriel Septim VII dies 10 minutes into this RPG and leaves his kingdom in the precarious hands of a random prisoner he met while wandering the dungeons like a senile fool. Crusader Kings veterans will understand the hazardous state of his realm when they discover he only has a single remaining illegitimate heir to keep his dynasty alive, called Martin. Martin is played by Sean Bean.

Ulfric Stormcloak - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

A screenshot of Ulfric Stormcloak from Skyrim, a man with a fur cloak and a big face.

Say what you like about Paddy Stewart, at least he’s not a racist.

You - Long Live The Queen

A screenshot of the Queen in Long Live The Queen. She is a very young woman wearing a yellow and red gown and a nervous expression.

When political sim meets visual novel, we can be sure of only two things: terrible death and the colour pink. The queen in this game is a 14-year-old anime idiot child with no skills or knowledge whatsoever. It’s up to you to schedule classes to fill skill meters in accounting, demeanour, falconry, music and heaven knows what else a teenage moron might need when it comes to rebuffing the leery glares of dukes, or conquering foreign lands. Not that it matters. You will die. You will be drowned, strangled, arrowed in the belly. That's a queen's life, sorry.

Rachni Queen - Mass Effect trilogy

A screenshot of the Rachni Queen from Mass Effect, who looks kind of like a barnacle crossed with a spider scorpion.

An efficient monarch, perhaps, but not a pleasant one. She is the broodmummy of thousands of hive-minded creepy crawlies. Imagine the bugs of Starship Troopers, but shrimpier. Yes, she is the last bastion of an endangered species. Yes, she will help the player defeat the vicious Reapers if she is spared throughout the trilogy. Yes, she is distinguished from her ancestors by a desire to isolate and live in peace. But listen, she is a spider wasp. I don’t trust her.

Caesar - Fallout: New Vegas

A screenshot of Caesar from Fallout: New Vegas. He is a bald cosplayer with a thing for Ancient Rome

“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” said latter-day Bono, Jesus Christ. He was talking about this videogame, I believe. I think he meant: “Kill Caesar”. Pretty sure.

Everyone you inhabit - Crusader Kings II

A screenshot of the map in Crusader Kings II

Crusader Kings II has seen countless would-be potentates body-hopping through history like a bargain bucket Quantum Leap. I see you, selfish gene. Hopping from one disfigured 80-year-old with three mistresses into the vessel of his 9th-born scion, oozing out of that same body decades later at its inevitable moment of death, slinking out like dysentery, which is what you’ve died of this time. And still, the country is a mess. Look at this. What kind of immortal god-prince can’t stop their nation erupting into the chaos of yet another civil war? Your line ends here.

King Radovid - The Witcher series

A screenshot of Radovid from The Witcher 3. He is a bald man in his 30s who looks like he doesn't get enough sleep.

A larger-than-life, paranoia-driven leader who believes the witches are out to get him. He scoffs at chess and scowls at everyone. In keeping with our own world’s subset of flag-wavers who cling tightly to the fantasy of magic blood, Radovid is quite mad. It’s something history tends to do to kings.

You again - Reigns

A screenshot from Reigns showing that you have been injured in a hunting accident and are bleeding, oh no!

Reigns is a fun, short-haul political sim where you make decisions by flicking cards to the left or right. It’s a lot like Tinder. You swipe and swipe and then you die alone.

One Off The List from… the best dogs in games

Last month we took the 9 best dogs in PC games out for walkies. But one of these cuddly companions needed to go live on the farm. It’s… Roach.

A screenshot of Geralt riding a lovely horse (although I'm pretty sure the one in this screenshot isn't Roach because the horse in this screenshot is white and Roach is bay.

“I vote that we remove Roach from this list,” said dog policer Skabooga, “on the grounds that he is a cat.” It is a valid argument. We have all seen how easily he climbs the roof.

That’s it for now. Remember to comment with the King or Queen you want saved from the guillotine. Liberté, égalité, brutalité. I’ll see you next time, list goblins.

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About the Author
Brendan Caldwell avatar

Brendan Caldwell


Brendan likes all types of games. To him there is wisdom in Crusader Kings 2, valour in Dark Souls, and tragicomedy in Nidhogg.

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