The next iteration of Crusader Kings is released tomorrow. I’ve been the playing the series since the beginning. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a strategic war game, focused on character personalities, based on the European feudal system. You play as a landed ruler, maintain your domain, keep your vassals under your thumb, exert your rights against your liege, maybe expand your lands, arrange for the educations and marriages of your children, and then pass it on to your heir. For as many generations as you can manage.
The CK games are very replayable; I’ve played CK2 for thousands of hours. You start the game with one of the many historically inspired characters at one of the start dates (the default is 1066). Each character is in a different situation, and because events play out differently each time you run the game, even the same character can be fun to replay. The game is also easy to mod (the simplest just require a text editor) and Steam and the developer’s forum have plenty to choose from…
Crusader Kings III is supposed to increase the focus even more on the characters. They’ve greatly expanded the ways individuals and families can develop and interact. It looks like there’ll be a lot more personality. I’ll let you know what I think of it once I get some play time.
To balance out the gushing (really, it’s probably my favorite game), Paradox games have a wicked habit of being rather buggy on Day One. They’re typically patched within a week or two. Mods and the cheat console can repair a lot, if you’re so inclined. Beyond bug fixes, they put out free updates regularly, usually matched with an optional for-money expansion.
For those interested in the series in general, Crusader Kings II (base game without the expansions) is free to play on Steam. If you’re up to installing mods, I highly recommend either HIP or CK2Plus. There’s also a GoT mod for those who like that setting.