Crusader Kings 2: The Reaper’s Due is the expansion for the incredibly engrossing incest-and-murder simulator that is Crusader Kings 2.
The general aim behind this expansion was to… expand… thoroughly on the mechanic of illness within the game. Previously, characters can become ill somewhat randomly; they would gain the trait “Ill” and it might become worse, or get better – nothing you do really affects what happens.
Now, with the (perhaps slightly expensive price of $10) purchase of The Reaper’s Due, characters can contract a wide variety of illnesses, including developing specific symptoms with their own associated effects. Alongside this, you gain the ability to appoint a Court Physician, whose job it is to ensure the people within your realm don’t die horribly of food poisoning. However, when hunting for new Court Physicians, if you refuse one who is interested in the job, they just… die. They “disappear without trace”. It makes me feel like an arbitrary mad king; so… powerful: “Won’t someone rid me of this troublesome Doctor?”
This, of course, comes with an expansion of plague – this is the Middle Ages, there are epidemics aplenty; to bring the game even closer to historical accuracy, you can now catch a variety of serious ailments, including Black Death, Slow Fever, Dysentery and so many more.
The total amount of enjoyment and fun added by this expansion? It’s tricky to say; adding more content into a grand historical strategy game like this usually creates either more difficulty or more layers of depth within the game. The latter can generally be seen as superior to the former – mindless difficulty is almost always boring, whereas increased depth can usually be enjoyable.
The Reaper’s Due causes you to need to deal with making sure your characters don’t die horribly from a random affliction of cancer. There are a variety of events added to create further flavor, including the ability to dictate how your physician treats you. So, it certainly adds an additional layer of depth not originally present.
It is, however, rather frustrating that characters get a variety of illnesses and die more often. Sure, it’s historical and correct, but the increase in managing your family’s ailments can get a little tedious. Having more characters dying from ailments can feel pretty random at some points. Sure, it makes sense – people get sick and die! But, having your best kid (genius, with awesome military traits) die from a cough and then suddenly your wife has cancer and your physician is useless.
I’ve certainly laughed quite a lot at random deaths, but I’ve also become very irritated at losing people when it was inconvenient. Such is Crusader Kings 2, however…