Game of Checkers, Part 7: 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.

Island Hopping

Rosie has died, and once again I'm playing the game as a little girl, Rosie's daughter, Daisy. Of course, my most pressing task is to find a future husband.

I propose to Pearse Waters, who just happens to be the son of the (current, most likely temporary) King of the Iron Throne, Michael Waters. It's a matrilineal arrangement, naturally, so any kids we have will be of my dynasty and not his. I also try to take care of my younger brother, Neejerk, in anticipation of him getting cranky or even stabby if I ever have children. I bestow upon him my smallest holding, the island called The Paps. Why not? Despite being the cause of most of the recent drama, it's a tiny island with 72 soldiers on it. As my vassal he'll probably vote for himself as heir, thanks to the elective succession I had to resort to a couple generations ago, but I’ll still have my vote against his.


As Lady of the Fingers, it’s also up to me to arrange marriages for anyone who needs one, such as my recently widowed father, Moryn Blackbar. Naturally, I look up Daenerys Stormborn, one of the few characters from the books who is still alive. I’ve been dying to have her in my court pretty much since I started playing, so I arrange their marriage. I know she’s 61 and my dad is much younger, but she’s still Daenerys and she's still cool and I want her stalking through my little castle, coldly demanding to know where her dragons are.

Unfortunately, Margery Tyrell dies at age 65, and my dad, who is Margery's son, leaves for the Reach, having inherited some holdings there. He takes Daenerys with him, naturally. Just when she got here! Ah, well. At least she’ll be living in a proper city instead of my cruddy little castle.

Daisy, now age 15, marries her child groom, Pearse Waters, age 14, and immediately becomes pregnant. She gives birth to a son, Nobbrick, and I nominate him as my heir. Neejerk gets on board with the program, surprisingly, and votes for Nobbrick as well, marking the first time a family member has ever done anything pleasantly in line with my wishes.


The current war for The Iron Throne spills over into The Vale, but we win a quick victory and march into the Riverlands led by my liege, Gilwood. Then, Gilwood dies. My new liege and Lord Paramount of The Vale is named Penthar Hersey. By this point things have gotten so convoluted that even after spending a few minutes clicking around in Hersey's family tree I still have no real idea why he’s the heir to The Vale.

Something else I don't quite understand: Hersey has no liege of his own. I’m not sure why or how, but Hersey is not beholden to the Iron Throne. At some point during this latest war, The Vale has claimed independence. Since we're not fighting on behalf of The Iron Throne anymore, we have no real business being out here in the Riverlands. I can’t safely disband my soldiers, however, because I’m in enemy territory. I have to manually march my army all the way back home or only a fraction of them will make it safely through hostile country.

This isn’t really a problem, until it very suddenly is. As my army tromps slowly east, Lord Paramount Mathis of The Reach suddenly comes up with a claim on The Paps, and ships full of his soldiers arrive and begin sacking it. With my army half a continent away, and with barely any soldiers of their own, The Paps falls almost instantly. Neejerk, kicked out of his castle, goes to live in Dalston Keep with his wife.

Just like that, Lord Paramount Mathis has taken The Paps.


Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

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.