Game of Checkers, Part 1: a tiny drama in CK2's Game of Thrones mod

Despite the fact that I contributed nothing to the war besides a few footprints, my liege, Jon Arryn, is quite impressed with my ability to rouse an army and make them walk for a few days without screwing it up. He awards me a title for my efforts: Keeper of the Swans. I don’t really know what that entails—presumably I have to look after some cranky birds—but it certainly is a title befitting a nobody like Ninedrick.


Still, it’s a title! Take that, Littlefinger! I've got a title! What have you got? I check on him, and it turns Littlefinger is sleeping with Jon Arryn’s wife, Lysa. And he’s in King’s Landing, researching its economy. Yeah. I think he’s probably better at this game than I am.


Back to work: I need to get my house and council in order, and try to convince my wife to have sex with me. With the war over, I finally, I have some time to—oh wait, Jon Arryn just died. Nothing fishy there. Littlefinger starts sleeping with Arryn’s wife, and Arryn suddenly dies of “natural causes.” Though, frankly, he was quite old. It might just be an innocent death.

Taking over for Jon Arryn as Lord Paramount of The Vale is someone named Andar, who is a baby. As an infant, he somehow already has a +10 opinion of me. Maybe I let him ride on one of my swans. Baby Andar gets right down to business, and his first act as Lord Infant is to press a claim on Midlor Point, Littlefinger’s home. Hooray! Even this baby can smell a rat. This baby is okay with me.


Eager to make Littlefinger miserable, I don’t even wait for the rest of the Valemen to show up: I raise my army and jump on his smaller force, pummeling it into porridge. My baby liege will like that, right?

Actually, no. Somehow, despite going to war with Baby Andar, Petyr Baelish becomes Castellan, which is basically the captain of Andar’s castle. How the hell does that work? I defeat Littlefinger’s army, and he gets the title and reward? Littlefinger does have a way with people, I’ll give him that.

Things quiet down for a bit, and the following year I hold a summer fair, because I don’t know what else to do with myself when I’m not fighting in a war that I don’t really know how to fight in. The peasants of Wycliffe are thrilled, and I get some fantastic news: my wife Dana is pregnant! I also get some troubling news, as Littlefinger has become Regent. Essentially, he cannot be removed from the Andar's council and he’ll be looking after Lord Baby personally. This seems like a terrible idea. What is that baby thinking?


My son, my heir, is finally born. I breathe a sigh of relief, and name him Neddrick, but before I can so much as bounce him on my knee I’m off to war again. It's the second war over the island of Littlesister: apparently the young lord Eldon, installed after the first war, is being removed. Hoping to impress my liege, I race onto the island, defeat the army, siege the castles, and throw little Lord Eldon into my prison.

How did Andar like that? How did he like me winning his war for him before he got two steps out of the Vale? It’s hard to say, because The Vale is suddenly crawling with soldiers. It's a revolt this time. Lord Penthar of Northweald is trying to overthrow Paramount Baby Andar. Great.

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.