My King, the time has come. Your day is now. Are you ready to make your mark on History?
Free League Publishing and Paradox Interactive are proud to present Crusader Kings - The Board Game, based on the acclaimed grand strategy computer game. In this game, 3-5 players lead the historical dynasties of medieval Europe to triumph - or downfall.
You are a Crusader King, striving for wealth and power across the continent. Across generations. Reshape the history of medieval Europe in your own image - if only that dimwitted son of yours set to inherit the throne doesn't spoil your grand plans...
Crusader Kings - The Board Game captures the essence of the Crusader Kings experience, in a physical tabletop format. This is a strategy game at heart, but with a special focus on characters, intrigue, and juicy medieval drama. It’s a big, beautiful game centered on a map of medieval Europe, using cards for actions, characters and events and dozens of well-crafted plastic miniatures to represent knights, armies, castles, and more.
To win, you will need to groom your family, build mighty castles, develop your dominion, be shrewd in the realm of diplomacy and intrigue, and use your vassals wisely to grow your wealth and military power. You must survive invasions, plots, plagues, crusades to the Holy Land - and marriage! Or at least have children or siblings standing by to take over the throne if your regent dies. Failure to raise a suitable heir can mean the end of your dynasty.
Join us today and become a true Crusader King!
Crusader Kings - The Board Game boils down the unique strategy/RPG combination of Crusader Kings to an intense tabletop experience of 2-3 hours. The game rests on four core pillars:
- Character Focus. The game brings characters and dynasties to the forefront, using traits and events to develop the characters and the story.
- Grand Strategy. Crusader Kings is a grand strategy game at heart, and so is the board game. To win, you will need to plan decades ahead and outwit your opponents.
- Emergent Storytelling. Like the computer game, the board game has an events system (using cards) that interacts with the game mechanics to create unexpected and memorable story twists.
- Steeped in History. The board game is based on historical characters and events of the Middle Ages, letting you relive - and change - the course of actual history.
The Standard Edition of the game contains 70 beautifully crafted plastic miniatures of approximately 30 mm height, of knights, footsoldiers (both in five different designs, one for each major culture in the game), and mighty castles. All miniatures are sculpted by the talented artist Anton Angheluta, founder and leader of Atelier Angheluta.
The Royal Edition contains at least four additional figures, two each of Navy ships and the Spymaster councilor. The Royal Edition will be expanded with more unique miniatures if we exceed our base funding goal. These bonus miniatures do not change gameplay, but they enhance the game by visualizing councilors and inventions.
EDIT: An additional ten (10) miniature designs have now been unlocked as stretch goals, meaning that the Royal Edition of the game will contain at least 94 miniatures in total. Read more under Stretchgoals below.
Crusader Kings - The Board Game was announced at the PDXCON event in Stockholm on May 19, 2018. After the announcement, we opened five tables with complete Beta prototypes to play. Here’s what the players had to say after trying the game out! (Note that the miniatures used in these demo games are not the actual designs.)
Members of the press also had the opportunity to try the game out at PDXCON, and here's what they thought:
"It’s an appealing premise: all of Crusader Kings’ drama and intrigue in the length of time it takes me to get through a couple of years of the PC game. The real hook, though, is the social layer, with everyone looming over a map, making pacts and plotting in whispers. Crusader Kings The Board Game does what Crusader Kings 2 just simulates." - RockPaperShotgun (link to full story)
"It’s very much the kind of story engine that fans of Crusader Kings on PC will enjoy. In just a handful of plays of the game I’d seen the kinds of stories that you play dozens of hours of the PC game for. I saw a king of England assassinated and married off three awful daughters to make room for a useful heir in my crowded house. Another player repeatedly sent off his Imbecile son to die in the crusades, only to see the son flourish and succeed time and time again. Overall, Crusader Kings felt like a game that was true to the PC legacy while shedding the more onerous simulation of a grand strategy experience for a sleeker form." - PC Gamer (link to full story)
”It does do a fantastic job of capturing the CK spirit.” - Bleeding Cool (link to full story)
YouTube board games reviewers ConraDargo and Undead Viking have both made in-depth gameplay preview of Crusader Kings - the Board Game. Check them out below!
(Note that the miniatures used in the previews are not the actual designs. Also, the game map in the final game will be larger, and there will be graphic improvements of the map and the game components overall.)
ConraDargo's preview is in Swedish, but here are a few quotes from the review:
"Both myself and everyone I have played this with now have been very positively surprised by the game - both by how it functions and of what happens at the table when you play it."
"There is a lot of character development and story telling - it's like having an episode of Game of Thrones happening at the table".
"The game seems very well balanced and it is a lot of fun to play."
Undead Viking's Video Preview:
"If you are not someone who shies away from a contentious game, and if you dig the middle ages, then this is something that I think you are really, really going to love."
In Crusader Kings - The Board Game, you assume the role of a major historical dynasty of Medieval Europe. Which dynasties are available depends on the scenario being played.
The dynasties struggle for control of the provinces on the game board. This province control is indicated by the detailed knight figures that come with the game. In order to be successful, you need to manage the traits of your royal family, find the right spouse to marry, get rid of unwanted heirs to your throne, develop your domain, make and break alliances with other players, plot, invade and crusade, all the while experiencing events of the life of a medieval ruler.
Check out the Kickstarter trailer for a rundown of how the game works. You can also download a BETA PDF of the complete rules here. Please note that final balancing, proofing, and graphic design still remains to be done.
Crusader Kings - The Board Game is filled to the brim with quality components. Below, the contents of the Standard Edition of the game are summarized. The Royal Edition contains additional plastic miniatures.
As we have surpassed our base funding goal thanks to your support, we will be able to expand the games with stretch goals. These are the ones we have lined up so far:
If we reach this stretch goal, we will design an optional rules addition that will allow you to grant your King’s siblings and children the title of Duke or Duchess of specific territories on the game map, turning them into duchies. This strengthens the territory, but comes at both cost and risk - if the duchy is invaded, your Duke or Duchess might be killed!
This rules addition (included in both Standard and Royal Editions) increases the complexity (and therefore playtime) of the game somewhat, and it’s therefore a fully optional rules additions for players who enjoy a little more “crunch.”
The Longbow invention - UNLOCKED
The Steward councilor - UNLOCKED!
The Chancellor councilor - UNLOCKED
The Court Physician councilor - UNLOCKED!
The Marshal councilor - UNLOCKED!
The Library invention - UNLOCKED!
The Archbishop councilor - UNLOCKED!
The Bank invention - UNLOCKED!
The Plate Armor invention - UNLOCKED!
The Royal Guard invention - UNLOCKED!
Your wish is our command! Many backers have asked for giving the 24 extra plastic miniatures included in the Royal Edition more to do than only visualize your inventions and councilors. If we reach this stretch goal, we will do exactly that - we will expand the Royal Edition of the game with an optional rules addition that will let you send councilors on missions on the map and use your inventions where they are most needed.
The core mechanic of the game uses Actions, Events, and Traits.
Actions: In each turn of the game, each player secretly chooses two Action Cards that determine which two Actions the player will perform during the turn. Actions include Marry, Build, Develop, Plot, Overthrow, Raise Levies, Invade, Tax, and Crusade. Careful planning and predicting your rivals are essential!
Events: Each Action Card also triggers an event, something unexpected that happens to the player himself or another player. The game contains many different events, ranging from childbirth and bloody murder to peasant revolts and plague outbreaks. As the players control the Action Cards, they also control which events are triggered in the game. This can be a tricky balance!
Traits: For most actions, a trait check is needed to succeed. Each Dynasty has a number of traits, represented by trait tokens placed in a trait bag. Traits can be either positive (green token) or negative (red token), and when making a trait check, you pull a random trait token from your trait bag - drawing a green token means success. By paying Gold, you can draw more trait tokens, increasing your chance to succeed. For certain actions, even a specified negative trait can mean success - these are called critical traits.
Heirs: When your regent has children, each child is given a random trait (or a specific trait, if indicated by an event). When the regent dies and a child inherits the crown, the heir’s Character Card is moved to the regent position, and the heir’s trait token is placed into the trait bag, affecting your chances to succeed at actions. You need to make sure your regent marries the right spouse and that the right children inherit the throne! You could always send that Slothful eldest son of yours to the Crusade and hope he doesn’t make it back...
Crusade: As it becomes a game with the name Crusader Kings, you must also contribute to the crusade to the Holy Land. This is dangerous and can cost the life of your regent or a son, but it gives you favor with the Pope, and if the crusade reaches Jerusalem, the player who contributed the most to it is awarded extra Victory Points.
Note: The art on the Character Cards shown above - and in the trailer - is not final. The region names on the game map shown in the trailer are also not final.
It's been essential to us during the entire design process to create a boardgame that's true to the essence of the Crusader Kings experience. To ensure this, we have had several playtest sessions with key individuals from the Crusader Kings team at Paradox Interactive, including Game Director Henrik Fåhraeus, designer of both the original Crusader Kings and Crusader Kings 2. Here's what he had so say about the board game:
We will be charging shipping after the Kickstarter concludes, based on the actual costs incurred to ship. We will collect this via our pledge manager after the campaign ends. This is so we can be fair to all our backers as shipping is rarely one size fits all.
We will ship your rewards at our cost to our international hubs in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. From there, the games are shipped to you. Following is a list of rough estimates for shipping a standard game package (approximately 3 kilograms of weight). Keep in mind these are just estimates, and costs may rise based on weight increases from unlocked stretch goals.
United Kingdom:$8-$10 to most cities
- Germany: $10-$15 to most cities
- Sweden $10-$12 to all cities
- Rest of the EU: $15-$20 to most countries
Rest of Europe: $30-$40 to most countries
USA: $15-$20 to most states
- Canada: $20-$25 to most cities
- Australia: $20-$25 to most cities
- Rest of the World: $50-$60 to most countries
Unfortunately, import laws and customs in some specific countries have made it impossible for us to ship games to them. We do not ship to: Belarus, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.
Want more than one copy of the game? No problem! You will be able to add multiply copies of the game as addons in the Pledge Manager after the Kickstarter ends. Note that this will increase the shipping cost however (but it will still be less than making separate pledges/shipments).
If you want your extra copies to contribute to unlocking strech goals, you can increase your pledge manually right now, using the Manage My Pledge function. The Standard Edition costs 599 SEK and the Royal Editions costs 799 SEK. These funds will show up as credit for you in the Pledge Manager.
We love our retailers and invite you to be a part of this Kickstarter! Please choose our RETAILER pledge for a minimum of five copies of Crusader Kings - The Board Game. As a retailer backer, you will get access to all news and updates regarding this Kickstarter.
The 399 SEK pledge is a deposit, and we will contact you individually after the Kickstarter ends to finalize your order. We practice industry standard price reductions for distributors and retailers. You will pay the final balance only when we are ready to ship.
If you have questions regarding price levels and shipping arrangements, please email to email@example.com.
The Crusader Kings board game team is led by Tomas Härenstam, one of the founders of Free League Publishing, lead designer of the award-winning tabletop roleplaying game Mutant: Year Zero, and brand manager for the Crusader Kings 2 PC game at Paradox Interactive from 2015 to 2017.
Also on the design team is the special consultant Jon Manker of Ion Game Design, board game designer with decades of experience and creator of BIOS:Megafauna 2 and the recently kickstarted Expedition Zetta. Additional members of the design team are Nils Karlén, editor and game writer at Free League Publishing, and design consultants Mattias Falck and Martin Takaichi.
Graphic design is done by Free League lead Art Director Christian Granath. The plastic miniatures are designed by artist Anton Angheluta, founder and leader of Atelier Angheluta. The skilled illustrator Ola Larsson has painted the cover art, and Johanna Pettersson will make the character art (not yet completed).
Free League Publishing is the international arm of Swedish game and book publisher Fria Ligan AB. Since 2011, we have produced a range of pen and paper RPGs, and have won several awards in the process.
Our first international game Mutant: Year Zero was awarded a Silver ENnie for Best Rules at Gencon 2015, and the Tales from the Loop RPG won no less than five Gold ENnies at Gencon 2017 - including Best Game and Product of the Year.
We have run more than 15 several successful crowdfundings for roleplaying games and artbooks, four of which raised over 300,000 USD each. Free League Publishing has a strong reputation when it comes to quality games, great art and graphic design and good community work.
Crusader Kings - The Board Game is the first large-scale board game produced by Free League Publishing, but we have produced a range of tabletop roleplaying games (including many boxed ones) and the character-focused and narrative aspects of Crusader Kings make it a perfect gateway game for us. Jon Manker and the rest of the team from Ion Game Design provide additional solid experience from the board game field.
Our international distribution and shipping is handled by the experienced company GamesQuest in the UK. We also have a distribution partnership with Modiphius Entertainment, publisher of the Siege of the Citadel miniatures board game.
Risks and challenges
When you pledge on Kickstarter you put your trust in a project before it is completed and you contribute, with this trust, to making Crusader Kings - The Board Game a reality. We value that kind of trust and we value the model of Kickstarter too. It is built on trust and Free League Publishing will honor that model and prove our trustworthiness in delivering Crusader Kings - The Board Game, as we have with the 15 crowdfunding campaigns we have completed over the past five years.
Having said that, here are a few thoughts on the game and on production issues.
*The game has been in intense development for over a year, iterated through many playtesting sessions. The general impression from almost every play tester, including testers from the Crusader Kings 2 team at Paradox Interactive, has been very positive, both on the game mechanics, the style and tone, and the quality at which the game will be produced. The gameplay is well tested, and further balancing will occur in the months remaining to final production.
*We have have ordered prototypes from several different manufacturers from China and have taken advice from Ion Game Design and other game developers. We feel very confident that the manufacturer we finally choose will deliver an excellent product.
*Free League Publishing is run by very experienced staff. We have a clear understanding about responsibility, quality and professionalism. We feel confident that we will be able to tackle any bumps on the production road and we will keep you updated about the process along the way. We take pride in having a close relationship with our backers.
*For the shipping part, we have a partnership with Gamesquest and Modiphius Entertainment, who have a well-established global distribution network.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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