After work yesterday, I had a hankering to play some Crusader Kings 2. I set aside a couple hours in the evening, ordered some Indian food and cracked a beer, thinking I’d get to bed around midnight. By the time I closed the game and went to bed, I heard birds chirping.
This is not the first time I’ve played Crusader Kings 2 until the sun came up. There’s something mesmerizing about the game’s rhythms. No matter what, no matter how hard I try, I always end up playing it for at least six hour stretches. I’m not the only person I know who has this problem, either. A friend banned himself from playing Crusader Kings 2 entirely after neglecting work and sending me videos of his growing empire like some kind of dynastic Soundcloud rapper showing off his new beats.
Last night’s game was a good example of the way it sucks you in. I was playing a random French duke, and for the first hour or so, nothing too eventful happened. I got my wife pregnant, married off my heirs and pushed some claims I had on neighboring territories to add them to my own. As the character I was playing neared 50, I sped up the game, trying to just garner some wealth before I died. Then I got an invitation to join the game’s version of the Church of Satan, the Lucifer’s Own society. I was about to go to bed, but, damn, I really, really needed to see what that was about.
Kotaku Game Diary
Daily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.
From there it was a sprint to amass dark power by desecrating temples and rank up in the society. Religious societies like Lucifer’s Own were added in the Monks and Mystics DLC, and it was content that had never triggered in one of my games before. I wanted to see it all, especially because, well, Satan. As I got more powerful I started to add devil worshippers to my court, marrying them off and making them my advisors. I knew I had a limited amount of time, since characters in Crusader Kings 2 don’t live too long past 60, so when I had the chance I started trying to convert my heirs to Lucifer’s Own.
The son who was next in line for the dukedom wouldn’t join me, so I converted his brother. I died before I had a chance to assassinate my own son to install his satanic brother, and because I was so intent on making France the country of the devil I hadn’t realized that a few of my titles wouldn’t stay in my family after my death. As the new ruler’s younger brother was burned at the stake for being a witch, I geared up my armies for war to press the claims I had on the land around me. Then France joined like three holy wars, and then my new wife cheated on me and I had her imprisoned, and then I had a rebellion, and then, and then….
Just like actual history, the stories you make in Crusader Kings 2 don’t have a convenient stopping point. Life just keeps on going. While it makes the game wildly fun, it also makes it impossible to actually play without ruining my sleep schedule. I’m very tired today, hail Satan.