Crusader Kings 2: Ironman Francia

After the last glorious campaign, I started another campaign but this time on ironman mode! Yes, no save scumming. No take-back. Every decision is final.

Since this is my first foray into ironman mode, I decided to play an Irish count again as I'm most familiar with that setting.

Ok, results first:

Crusader Kings ironman 5

Crusader Kings ironman 6

Crusader Kings ironman 7

16 rulers in total, including 2 female rulers. A score of 83k, much lower than my previous 2 campaigns :( Still, I consider this to be a good achievement given that it was on ironman mode and the immense difficulty posed by the Wigeriche dynasty (elaborated below).

I started using Elective Monarchy as soon as I formed a duchy. Yes, that meant that at one point, there were only female family members available as successors and therefore they suffered negative opinion penalty with vassals.

It was in this game I realised one major disadvantage of Elective Monarchy: slow expansion. It was difficult to expand wildly via inheritance (a common strategy when using Primogeniture). I couldn't wage holy wars against the southern Muslim realms, for some reasons. It was painfully slow expanding via fabrication. Perhaps I should have tried to fabricate claims on more than 1 county and wage war to claim these at once (rather than waiting out the 10 year truce). Hmmm.

Crusader Kings ironman 1

Crusader Kings ironman 2

Crusader Kings ironman 3

Crusader Kings ironman 4

Francia was (once again) split into its 3-kingdom components: France, Brittany and Aquitane. HRE managed to get a slice of Aquitaine. At one point (and the only time it happened in this campaign), I was allied with HRE and so I seized the chance to press a kinsman claim to the Kingdom of France.

However, huge headache came after that triumph: there was -30 opinion penalty with the vassals of the new land due to 'foreign conqueror'. Gah. It took me ages, and gold, to convert them to Irish via assignment of their heirs to Irish guardians. Note that I did convert population of some French counties to Irish but certainly not as widely as the Germans (by HRE).

My plan was to slowly fabricate my way through Britanny and Aquitaine and thereby creating the Empire of Francia. The huge problem was HRE, specifically the Wigeriche dynasty.

As seen above, Wigeriche controlled HRE, Byzantine Empire, England and Andalusia. They totally surrounded me! Somehow an HRE emperor managed to marry the Byzantine's empress and thereby sealing their allied relationship forever. Fortunately, they didn't unite but still, the situation was sufficiently dangerous. Note that, as a first for me in CK 2, Byzantine was of Catholic faith!

To further compound the danger, HRE managed to press a claim to England, conquered it and destroyed the title! They also joined the crusade (they ignored the first few for Jerusalem though) for Andalusia but strangely, not only did HRE retain the kingdom title but it was awarded to a kinsman, thereby creating a powerful king as a vassal.

That turned out to be a mistake for HRE. Years later, there was a faction for independence. Around the same time, HRE attacked me to claim a county. Byzantine was my ally via marriage tie and shockingly they sided with me despite their dynastic connection with HRE. That was very fortunate indeed because they helped me turn around a -40+ war score to a victory.

It was during this war that I noticed the difference in quality of armies. Somehow, HRE's army beat mine even when mine was slightly larger and neither army was in defensive terrain. Gosh, I was shocked and disheartened.

Fortunately, Andalusia and a duchy in Italy managed to win the independence war but the Andalusian king was still of the same dynastic family as HRE and Byzantine. Later, the Muslim realm successfully conquered Andalusia via jihad. I stupidly joined the crusade in reclaiming it because it was returned to a Wigeriche. Arrggghhh!

Fortunately, HRE was almost always busy with something else and so that gave me opportunity to press a kinsman claim over the formerly-HRE duchy in Italy and to go forward my claim to take over Aquitaine. Unfortunately, HRE had similiar idea and it was a race to see who got the most of Aquitaine.

Due to judicious timing, I managed to create the Kingdom of Aquitaine. Yay! I needed one more county to create the Empire of Francia but only HRE-held counties were available. Gahhhhh! The chance came when there was a major revolt in HRE. I called up my allies and managed to wrest a county from HRE. It took a while and careful tactical moves to gain victory :)

Oh, before that, I helped to press a kinsman's claim to Kingdom of Leon (now Kingdom of Galicia) and helped propped up his rule since he didn't have any land in that kingdom @@. Also, a duke vassal managed to press and won some land in Russia. It was short of miracle that he managed to hold on to them until end of the game, given those were bordering the Mongol Empire.

Once I created Empire of Francia, all I hoped for was be left alone by HRE until end of game and that did happen. Phew!

Clear, the MVP dynasty was Wigeriche. Such a powerful family!
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