Game of Checkers Part 10: a tiny drama in CK2's Game of Thrones mod


Last year I played a multi-generational game of grand strategy Crusader Kings 2 using the A Game of Thrones mod, which transforms the historical medieval setting of CK2 into the continent of Westeros from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels (and the HBO series). My goal was to play as the most minor of lords and experience the conflict and drama of Westeros from the ground floor. Game of Checkers will run on Sundays for ten weeks.

A Chance for Bygones

I'm in the fifth generation of my dynasty, and probably long overdue for taking a good hard look at things. What have I accomplished, and what has it cost me? Beginning with just Wycliffe, I've eventually taken over the other holdings in The Fingers: Midlor Point (originally owned by Littlefinger), Sunset Keep, and two islands, Pebble and The Paps, the latter of which I held only briefly before it was reclaimed by The Reach.


As accomplishments go, it's practically nothing. None of my holdings are much to brag about in terms of wealth or strategic value. The greater wars I participated in landed Ninedrick in jail and cost Neddrick his life. Making enemies of the Baelish clan resulted in Lady Daisy's execution. After The Reach took The Paps, wars raged on for decades without the island ever changing hands. The personal conflicts between my family members resulted in more wars, banishments, and marriages to far-flung wildlings.

What's more, my original goal with this dynasty was to see how the conflicts of Westeros looked from the ground floor, and while my collection of insignificant lords was certainly on the lowest rung of the ladder, I've forgotten that the ladder itself is standing on something. The people of The Fingers are the ones actually on the ground floor, and the only time I've paid them much attention was when I forced them to serve and die as soldiers in these largely pointless wars.


I've decided to do things a bit differently for the remainder of Nobbrick's life. I'm done with wars, for one. There are two happening right now: The Riverlands has declared independence from the Iron Throne, and The Vale is engaged in some infighting as well, meaning the entire continent is covered with marching soldiers. I'm just going to stay out of it. When my liege goes to battle, he's of course still taking some soldiers from my holdings, but I'm not raising my own levies to march along with them. I'm just going to sit it out.

Even when another war begins over The Paps, I don't join in. I don't want The Paps back. It's simply not worth it. Too many have died over that tiny island already. I've found the only kind of war I'm interested in:


Plots, as always, spring up. I'm made aware of a familiar one: my legitimacy is being questioned again. This time it's Lord Harrold of Dalston Keep, who turns out to be the son of Neejerk, my uncle, who once resided at The Paps. Normally, I'd do whatever I could to end such a plot: send bribes, start wars, make arrests, banish people.

Instead, I ignore it. I ignore other plots as well: my two sons are engaged in several against each other. They're adults, I figure, and they can work out their problems without my intervention.

I try to focus on my subjects instead. I hold feasts and summer fairs, I host tournaments and great hunts. I improve my holdings little by little, adding stables and farmer’s markets to Wycliffe. As the years pass wars rage here and there. Massive wars for the Iron Throne, and minor wars for this province or that. Plots against me remain in place for years, growing in power. I keep to my business.


The first PC game Chris owned was Choplifter in 1982, and since then our staff writer has played at least three other games. He has a love/hate relationship with Early Access survival games and an odd fascination with the lives of NPCs.
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