Tag Archives: Strategy

Crusader Kings 3: How to Play Tall Guide and Tips

Most players start Crusader Kings 3 with a big ol’ bucket of paint and try to completely cover the map in the colour of their nation as fast as possible. Due to the need to expand, it is often times very easy to overlook or even ignore the idea of taking a break to develop your Holdings.

An interesting playstyle from previous Paradox games is the idea of playing “Tall” instead of “Wide”. The overall gist is that you dedicate all of your efforts in building up a small number of Counties/Duchies to create a highly advanced core province that provides a ton of money and levies. The process to this involves strategically constructing buildings, improving development, maintaining land upon succession, and rapidly researching technology.

This guide today will go over some of the most important tips and tricks to playing Tall in Crusader Kings 3. See our other Crusader Kings 3 Guides for more information on how to get started if you are a new player.

1. Prioritize Gold and Development Buildings

Prioritizing gold at the start of the game helps speed up how fast you can construct buildings in your Counties. Generally you want to aim for the largest gold amount and work your way down the list of available buildings. Some are locked to certain terrain types (e.g. you won’t have farms in a mountainous terrain), but there will definitely be a few that offer some gold boost.

Increasing development is also crucial to playing Tall due to its impact on both income and on research speed. One of the ways to stay ahead of your enemies is to advance research fast enough to outpace their income and levy growth. The boosts you receive from development may not seem like much at the start of the game, but once you unlock higher levels of development you will begin to see your income rise substantially.

Another bonus to keep an eye out for is the decrease in construction cost and construction time. Since you are heavily investing into more buildings, having a reduction in time and cost can go a long way to speeding up growth.

2. Select a Core Duchy with many Holdings

The entire idea of playing Tall is to focus only on a few Counties at a time. One of the easiest options to accomplish this is to focus entirely on one Duchy at the start of the game. Typically each Duchy will have at least 2-3 Counties that will usually take up all of your gold.

Each Duchy gives you a spot for a special building that provides substantial bonuses. One of the buildings that is recommended is the one that increases holding tax by 10% in only that Duchy. Improving all the Counties in that one Duchy with the bonus will optimize your gold gain.

There is an argument for hanging onto Duchy Capital Counties instead of being all centered into one Duchy. Doing this and building all of the special buildings with Realm-Wide bonuses to your army can increase your fighting power by a ton – but also makes it less efficient with increasing gold gain. Overall, focusing on one single Duchy becomes more efficient with the Tall playstyle and allows you to expand faster.

Final thing to note is that you should choose a starting character that has lands with a large number of holding spots. This ultimately determines your long term growth cap and how much space you have to expand in before needing to capture another County. Increasing the density of holdings will make your Tall gameplay go a lot smoother.

3. Improve Development with Steward

Although stewards can be used to increase your gold income, they are much better used in improving development. I usually just stick my steward onto my capital County and let them continuously increase my development. It is a very slow process and there typically isn’t too much of a reason to switch them off.

Like mentioned above, improving Development is more beneficial due to the increase in research speed. Development’s effect on income is not nearly as good as directly receiving gold using your Steward, but the end goal is to out-tech your opponents.

4. Focus Education on Stewardship or Learning

Stewardship and Learning are the absolute most essential stats to aim for when you are playing Tall in Crusader Kings 3. Stewardship and Stewardship Lifestyle Traits increase your gold income by a ton and is very much needed to sustain your construction. Learning is needed to increase your research speed – which in turn will improve your income and further development.

Both are essential, but the early game should be focused on Stewardship. Depending on your starting character, you may or may not be the Cultural Head. If you are not the cultural head, the Learning and research focus will not be as useful as the extra gold.

Once you are the Cultural Head and have a income of at least 9-10 gold, it may be a good time to consider switching to a Learning focus for educating your Children.

An alternative method is to merely choose an Education Focus that suits your child the best. Choose the higher of the two stats and also take into account the childhood trait as well. Compatible traits will improve the final quality of education that the child receives.

5. Secure a good Steward

A good Steward can speed up your Development growth and can also greatly increase your gold gain if needed. Securing a good one can sometimes be a little bit more complicated. Hitting “C” and trying to find a Steward can be difficult – especially since the ones with highest Stewardship may not have an interest in joining your Court.

One of the easiest methods is to constantly monitor the Court tab for new visitors. If you are a Duke, you should begin to have a few visitors trickling in that have decent Stewardship stats. However, this does take a bit more time and there is no promise of actually obtaining a good Steward.

The other method is to marry one of your daughters to the potential Steward that you found on the character finder. Playing Tall typically means that you will not be doing much expanding for much of the early game. Securing alliances for power and war-time allies is less important in this situation. Instead, marrying for a good Steward has a direct impact on how fast your realm develops and should be the optimal choice.

6. Avoid more than 2-3 Heirs

Playing Tall means that you will not be focusing on expanding your realm as much as playing Wide. A result of this is that you end up with fewer new Counties and Duchies that can be granted to your other children.

With that in mind, succession planning becomes much, much more difficult to handle. You will want at most 3 children who are in line to inherit. Any less and you run the risk of your heir dying and ending the game, but any more than 3 will result in definite issues with losing your valuable core counties.

Most common way to avoid this is to divorce and re-marry to an older stat-based character once you have your 3 possible heirs. Alternatively, you can also seek out the Celibate trait to reduce fertility. However, this method carries more risk and you should usually go with the divorce method.

Once you have only 2-3 heirs, you can either manage your succession as per our Succession and Inheritance Guide or just disinherit them once you are close to dying. The prestige cost is relatively easy to sustain since you will only have to use that function 1-2 times.

7. Forbid Heir from becoming a Knight

Fewer children means you have to be extremely careful about keeping your heir alive. The most common way that your characters die is in battle if they show up as a Knight. Even if your heir has 5 Prowess and is unlikely to be sent off, still go through the process of Forbidding them from becoming a Knight.

Likewise, it may be tempting to let your Heir be a Knight if they have 20 Prowess, but the risk is definitely still there – especially if you end up fighting a losing battle. Keeping your heir alive is the most important objective.

8. Marry for high Stewardship and set to “Manage Domain”

Whenever you marry, your spouse shows up on your Council and gives you a bonus to your stats based on theirs. Marrying someone with very high Stewardship and setting them to “Manage Domain” can add fairly large amount of Stewardship to your existing character. Higher stewardship increases your regular gold income and also allows you to hold onto more domains.

Keep in mind that domains also include the number of castles you can hold (and temples if your religion allows). Even if you are playing Tall, a higher domain limit means you can directly hold onto even more castles/temples. More holdings means more taxes and faster growth.

9. Ask for Gold from Head of Faith

Like mentioned in our Beginner Tips, asking the Pope for Gold is one of the easiest early game money making methods. All you need is 250 piety and a decent opinion from the Pope and you will receive a healthy sum of gold (usually between 125-250ish).

The downside to this is that you do end up losing quite a bit of piety. However, playing Tall means that you really don’t need a lot of it since you won’t be waging many Holy Wars. Gold is infinitely more valuable to you in the early game and you should always ask for Gold whenever the option comes up.

10. Defend against Raids

This seems like a no-brainer, but you actually need to pay attention to your holdings if you are in an area that has raiders. The game does not pause nor slow down when you are getting raided and the results can be devastating.

Once your holding has been sieged down and looted, you get hit with a fat 50% reduction in income for several years AND a decrease in control. For someone playing Tall, losing even 1-2 holdings can be enough to cripple your growth for the next decade.

Always make sure to monitor your holdings when you set the game to higher speeds to make sure that you can raise your army in time to defend your land.

Another tip is to increase the fort level of your holding to give yourself more time. If you already constructed all of the gold buildings, it is a good idea to invest in the building that increases Fort level and provides increased garrison. Higher garrison count means the raiders need a much larger group to even begin the siege timer. Once you have started rapidly researching, the increase in garrison from these buildings can sometimes be enough to fend off the raiders altogether.

Protecting your assets is a much, much more important part of the game when you are playing Tall and should always be in the back of your mind.

11. Do not invest in Feudal Vassal Holdings

It is a complete waste of money and you won’t see any return on it. It takes several hundred gold for you to construct a building for your vassal – but the end result is they might pay you 0.1 more taxes (at 25% tax rate) if you are lucky. It would take you a ton more time to see any sort of return on this compared to if you saved up the money for your own holdings instead.

If you find that you are maxed out, then start working on another County to include in your core. There will always be better ways to spend your gold than to improve your feudal vassal holdings.

However, temple holdings can actually be a fairly decent investment if you have extra money. If you are in a Theocracy, the tax rate is approximately 50% for your Bishop as long as they have a good opinion of you. More on this will be discussed below.

12. Build Temples and Increase Bishop Opinion

Like mentioned above, Bishops give you 100% of levies and 50% of gold if their opinion of you is good. Temples have a higher max gold income than Castles and will not count towards your total Holding limit since they are held by the clergy.

With Castles you always run the risk of losing it to another child due to succession and will provide less gold at max. However, Temples will give you consistent income throughout the game and the Bishop can also improve the Temple on their own. As a long term strategy, building temples will pay off more and have less risk than creating Castle vassals.


Playing Tall in Crusader Kings 3 is a very satisfying experience once you are able to get it to work. The early game can be a little rough, but you will end up snowballing much harder once you have constructed a few buildings.

Thank you all for reading and I hope that this guide has been of some help for you!

See our other Crusader Kings 3 guides here for more information on how to start playing the game:

Crusader Kings 3 Beginner Tips

Crusader Kings 3 Succession and Inheritance Guide

Crusader Kings 3 Prestige and Piety Guide

Crusader Kings 3 Top 10 Tips for Starting as a Count

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Crusader Kings 3 Succession and Inheritance Tips

Now that you have built your kingdom/empire, how do you ensure it stays together? In Crusader Kings 2, the default would be to change succession to Primogeniture and raise a good heir. Unfortunately we don’t have that luxury in Crusader Kings 3. The Innovation necessary to set that succession law doesn’t even appear until 1200AD and you still need to advance your culture far enough to unlock it.

This guide will go over some basic tips of how to manage your titles upon you current character’s death. Much of it can be difficult to understand at first, but it becomes much more clear once you get the hang of it.

This guide pertains to Partition and Confederate Partition Succession Laws

See our Piety and Prestige Guide here, our Beginner Tips guide here, and our Top 10 Tips for Starting as a Count here.

1. Check the “Title Loss on Succession” tab for heirs you still need to land

This section will essentially be your “homepage” for all things succession related. It will tell you which heirs do not currently have enough land and will begin taking your current Counties away from your primary heir. The worst thing that can happen is to see your entire list of counties going to your random heirs instead of your primary – leaving you with extremely weak military and financial capabilities. Constantly check back to this page to see where your succession is at.

2. Each heir requires a Duchy and a County (typically)

For any ruler that is a Duke or above, the general rule of thumb is that each possible heir will need a duchy and a county to be satisfied. There are exceptions to this rule, but keep this in mind when you are landing your children. The reasoning behind this is that in Partition and Confederate Partition Law, each child receives an “equal” amount of land. If you are Duke or above, you will have a Duchy title that is passed to your eldest son (or child if you have equal laws). Your other children will also want the same to be “equal” and will require a Duchy as well to stay happy.

For Kings and above, you typically will only have one Kingdom to give to your primary heir. The other children will usually still be satisfied with a duchy and county if you land them prior to dying. The more counties and duchies you have, the more lands the children will require to stay satisfied.

In my runs, I typically start off with this general rule of thumb and add more lands as I go to satisfy the other heirs. This method ensures that my primary heir receives the best counties at the heart of the lands that I have spent time and gold developing.

3. Grant newly conquered lands to other heirs

Constantly check back to the “Title Loss on Succession” tab every time you obtain more counties and duchies to pass some titles off. If you are very successful in conquering lands, you will usually end up above the holdings limit and the duchy limit. My default is to just work my way down this list of heirs and grant a duchy and a county to each one until they are no longer there.

These lands will typically be much worse off compared to your original holdings since they are usually a different culture, lower development level, and lower control. Instead of reserving these ones for your primary heir, give them to your other children to satisfy their land requirements.

Giving these lands to your children rather than your vassals also has benefits of keeping the lands within the family. They are easier to call upon in wars and typically have a higher opinion of you.

4. Splintering the realm is not always a bad thing

If you aren’t able to create a Kingdom by the time you finish your first character, you will end up with a splintered realm due to other children being the same rank as your primary heir. This in itself is not a bad thing since the new realms are usually much weaker than the one your primary heir inherits. Your new character also has claims on the old lands that you had and can start a war to get them back.

It is usually a good idea to immediately declare war on your siblings right after you start the new character since their counties are typically weaker at the start. In most of my games, I haven’t encountered many difficulties with this method of gaining land back. However, it is a bit of a pain having to do this each time and it eats up valuable time that could be spent conquering new lands.

Worst case scenario, your splintered realm remains splintered and you now have another independent Duke in your Dynasty. This actually adds more Dynasty prestige according to the current calculations – allowing you to obtain powerful Dynasty perks faster.

5. Counties are the most important titles

If all you have is your single capital County, you likely won’t be able to defend your entire Kingdom/Empire. With how Levies and Taxes work, your Counties are the absolute most important titles in Crusader Kings 3. Your vassals may be able to provide you with these resources, but things can quickly go sideways once they start joining factions. The Faction Strength is based off of a percentage of your own strength and it is infinitely harder to maintain control when you only have 2-3 thousand men at your command.

Prioritize 2-3 highly valuable counties (in addition to the capital) to be passed down to every single character you play. Give away as much as you need to in order to satisfy your other heirs before you die so that these core Counties remain in your direct command.

This will make your life a ton easier when putting down rebels and fighting your other siblings for control. The larger you expand, the more careful you have to be in ensuring that you stay in command of your powerful base of operations.

6. Partition is better than Confederate Partition at preventing realm splintering

In Confederate Partition, if your child has enough land then they will automatically create a higher tier title to match yours. For example, one of my sons can have the Duchy of Brittany and enough lands to create the Kingdom of Brittany. Upon my death he will automatically create that Kingdom and split off from the Kingdom of France under Confederate Partition. In Partition, this would not happen since titles are not automatically created.

Going with Partition instead is almost exactly the same succession law except for not creating new titles. If you are at a Kingdom level, then it is worth considering changing the law to avoid having another Kingdom to deal with. Like mentioned in Tip #4, it isn’t always a bad thing but it can get tiresome having to constantly fight after each inheritance.

The downside to this is if you do not have enough Gold to create a Duchy title and you are only a Duke, your heir will take the County and remain a vassal. This can be a big problem since you can’t just go to war with them as in Tip #4, and you end up losing that County for good. Make sure to avoid this by either rushing to the Kingdom stage or by managing your Gold properly to ensure titles are granted appropriately before your death.

7. Send your other sons to War as Knights

Unethical and very disturbing, but you can get rid of your other unwanted heirs by “Forcing” the Knight status and sending a small group of them to fight a much larger enemy. Crusader Kings 3 is ruthless at killing off Knights with poor Prowess and your sons are no different. You also don’t get any penalties from this method other than increasing stress due to your children dying.

The biggest downside to this method is that you are placing all of your eggs in one basket. If your primary heir dies, it is game over for you. If you ever want to consider doing this, then make sure to “Forbid” your primary heir from being a Knight.

8. Avoid Disinheriting, Murdering or Imprisoning your other heirs

The penalty for Disinheriting is far too high for this to be a manageable method of controlling succession. You lose a ton of prestige each time you do it and if you have 5-6 viable heirs you will be in a huge amount of prestige trouble.

If you have the sadistic trait, the intrigue option of “Murder” then becomes available to use on your children. However, if you get found out then the Kinslayer penalty for most cultures can be fairly harsh. Repeat this process for another 4-5 other children and it quickly becomes an issue. Like mentioned above in Tip #7, having your children die is a very risky choice since it can quickly result in a game over if your primary heir dies.

Imprisoning and executing is another method to remove heirs from your dynasty. This incurs a huge amount of tyranny to accomplish for anything more than 1-2 heirs. Like above, this runs into issues of being a Kinslayer and increases the potential risk of a game over.

9. Grant Titles to the heir of your heir

If there are no other ways to resolve your current succession issues, granting titles to the heir of your heir enables you to use those Counties at a later point in the game. You can’t grant everything to your son due to the succession law, but it still works for your grandson. One other benefit to this is if your grandson dies, typically the titles transfer back to either you or your heir according to their succession law.

Keep in mind that this method is typically a last-resort since the Counties you are granting are far more useful if they are directly controlled by you. Only do this if you know your character is about to die and no other tip on this list is going to work.

10. Make sure your son’s marriage type is NOT matrilineal

This is a little bit off-topic, but it should still be mentioned in case any new players are reading this. All of the marriages you arrange for your sons should NOT have the matrilineal option ticked since that means any of their children will be of a different dynasty. It is usually safest to arrange for a marriage even when they are children to secure alliances and to ensure that the children still belong to your dynasty. Once they are adults they can marry other people on their own unless you restrict their marriage freedom.


Succession laws are vastly different in Crusader Kings 3 than they are in Crusader Kings 2. It is one of the biggest adjustments to make, but once you get used to it the story of your characters become much more interesting. I hope that this guide has helped you with organizing your realm and ensuring your lands stay strong!

Thank you all for reading and happy conquering 🙂

See our Piety and Prestige Guide here, our Beginner Tips guide here, and our Top 10 Tips for Starting as a Count here.

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Software Inc Top 10 Tips for Beginners

Software Inc is a business management simulation game that revolves around the idea of building a successful software corporation. It is a fantastic tycoon game that incorporates many features that bring out the best of the genre. There are constant updates continuously coming out that add further depth to the game, and this set of tips is meant to help beginners get started.

Tip #1: Start on Easy with NO LOANS

It is natural as gamers to immediately want to jump to medium or above difficulty settings, but do that in this game and you will most likely start with a terrible impression. Starting on easy does two major things that I am aware of: it gives your starting character higher starting stats and makes cash flow faster into your bank. Additionally, starting with no loans gives you much more time to get your first product out since your starting guy does not have a salary. This sets the game up to be a little bit more forgiving for your first playthrough.

Tip #2: Increase your starting Programmer and Designer skills

Adjust the beginning slider so that designing and programming is at a higher ratio than the other few options. When beginning the game, it is recommended to start off with a smaller product suitable for a one-man team. Having a solid designing and programming skill helps you get the product out faster and increases the overall quality of your work.

Leadership, Marketing, and Artist are all very important, but at the beginning, it is all about survival. These other skills can be easily developed later on and can be complemented by staff you hire while you’re still learning. Let’s break down why:


  • Not too much to say here, this really only comes into play when you have a team and your character is designated as the leader. Team leads essentially just have meetings with their group and that increases everyone’s efficiency. Later on when you have the opportunity to get leaders trained with the HR Function, leaders become more important in automating the simple human resource tasks for you. As for the beginning, don’t worry about it too much.


  • Some people might argue that having a high marketing stat to begin with would benefit your first product, but I disagree. The amount of quality you lose by adjusting this to a higher value is not providing you with a better start at all. Marketing takes money to do well and that is capital you do not have at the beginning. Focus on this for later on products when it isn’t a do or die situation.


  • Depending on your product, you may actually need to adjust this one as well. However, if you decide to go with the simple products that do not use graphical interfaces, programming and designing are the core. If you decide to go ham on your first product and add in all the graphical designs, then increase this stat to just below the designer and programmer stat.

Tip #3: Set your specialization to 2D or Audio

There are many, many possible products you can choose to get started with, but I have found through dozens of playthroughs and testing that choosing the 2D Editor or Audio Tool to begin with makes it a lot easier to progress in the game.

There are three major reasons for this:

  • These two products require the least diverse specialization at the start of the game (only need the 2D or Audio specialization to effectively make either product)
  • It is usually easier to create a higher quality product with just one person
  • Marketing is not necessary to ensure this first product succeeds
  • These three reasons are essentially linked in the sense that a one-man team will not have the proper specializations at the start of the game to cover complicated products like Operating Systems, and this resulting lower quality product is not going to *succeed without excessive marketing. These issues are resolved by starting with the 2D Editor and Audio Tool options.

Tip #4: Ride Solo

At the start you really do not have enough capital to spend on another programmer or developer. Hiring more employees would essentially bankrupt you before you get halfway through the Alpha stage. Your starting developer (if starting on Easy) should have the capabilities to finish a Good or even Great quality product on their own provided they are given enough time.

This is where the significance of this tip comes in:

With no additional staff, your only cost would be your rent and your utilities. This should be around $700 at the beginning, which should last you for much longer than you need to develop a simple 2D Editor or Audio Tool. As compared to the ~$2000 for just one more additional rookie developer, going solo is a no-brainer.

Tip #5: Expand SLOWLY

Regardless of how your first product sale goes, it is a good idea to get into the habit of expanding slowly. I’ve had so many games end prematurely because I expanded fast right after a decent first sale, and ended up making much less on subsequent products. Look into what product that you would like to “main” and hire programmers/designers/artists with those specialties.

On Easy, it isn’t too hard to maintain a good cash flow, but higher difficulties make it hard to sustain higher salaries effectively. Get into the good practice of tightly controlling all your expenses including servers, staff, heating, rent, and salaries.

Tip #6: Get a dedicated Marketing Team

Managing multiple production lines can get confusing late game, and having a dedicated Marketing team to refer all marketing tasks to makes it easier. You can start with just 1-2 marketers at the beginning attached to your core team, but once you want to get your brand name out there, you should set the team up on its own. Usually, a team of 1 Lead and 9-10 Marketers is enough for you to get your marketing to Prominent pretty easily.

Additionally, the Marketing team can also be given marketing contracts to fulfill – essentially paying for themselves. There will be a daily marketing amount that your team has to fulfill, but I have found that as long as you fulfill around 70% of it your client will remain happy. One consideration for this is that you could be marketing for a competitor’s product and that may affect your own sales, but realistically if your product is good enough this won’t matter too much. You could just take contracts for other types of products as well if you are worried.

Tip #7: Utilize the Project function

Once you have a decent cash cushion, it may be beneficial for you to set up an additional team that is managed through the automatic Project function. In my previous post, I went over how the project management function in this game can essentially set you up for passive income. It is especially useful if you set up your project for something straightforward and with little variance like 2D Editors or Audio Tools. This lets you hire exclusively for the product and the end result is a higher quality sale.

Going back to the previous point, having a dedicated Marketing team also means you can set up multiple projects and have all of their marketing needs met by a single team. I have played numerous games where the marketing level for my Audio Tools and 2D Editors reached Widespread with little effort on my part.

Tip #8: Start your own Server

Gotta love passive income. Hosting contracts can be a very lucrative way to sustain your operations and entering into distribution deals with other companies can give you a hefty sum each month. Additionally, you would end up paying someone else to host your games if you decide to not do it yourself.

1. Buy 3-4 servers and link them. (Can do this by right-clicking one server, selecting “select all in room”, then select the “link” function) 2. Hire a receptionist and set up the reception (this lets contracts show up on the “Contracts” tab) 3. Accept any Hosting deals above ~0.35/mb to maximize profits. 4. Go to the “Distribution” tab and click “Open Online Distribution Platform” 5. Go to the companies tab and find one with a decent number of fans and medium company worth. (Do not go for the higher end companies yet!!) 6. Offer to sell their products on your online distribution platform. Note: Not going for the larger companies right now is a good idea because they tend to give you a smaller cut and your servers may not be able to sustain their usage. However, it is a good idea to get started as soon as you can since you can re-negotiate your cut each month. Having a longer relationship gives you a better chance to ask for a larger cut. Becoming the sole online distributor also allows you to constantly negotiate for larger and larger cuts as well.

Tip #9: Train new Programmers in a Support Team

A great way to get a solid, well-trained team of programmers is to first set them up as a Support team. What you need to do is hire a bunch of low salary programmers and a lead that have “Amazing” or “Great” compatibility or higher. Next, assign them all of the support tasks for all of your products and see if they can cope with the workload. If you can, then you can get another amazing source of passive income. Get those contracts and start seeing this team pay for itself!!

Over time you will see your support team gain specialization based off of the products they are supporting as well as an increase in their overall programming skill. When you are developing a new product, you can assign them to the programming phase to help increase quality. It just comes down to how much work they have and if they are able to keep up with their support workload.

Tip #10: Send people to training

Training your idle employees!! It may be a little micro-managing, but it certainly helps to cover all of your specializations over time. Another option is to first train all of your Leads with the “HR” skill so that they can do it for you. One option I found that worked well was setting the number of employees gone at once to 2, then setting the number of months to 3, and then setting the time delay to 0. When you have a full team, this setting lets you have enough members to get the product moving while still having some people gone for training.

If your style of play is just one team that covers all specializations, you may want to consider upping the number of employees to around 3-4 employees at once and moving the number of months up to 6. This will considerably slow down product development, but it will give you a better-trained team faster. This method is usually for late game when you have a cash cushion.


Software Inc is an absolutely fantastic game once you really get into it. Use these tips as a way to get started and figure out your own way to enjoy this masterpiece. Keep in mind that this game is still in Alpha though, there will be updates that change the way this game should be played.

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Crusader Kings 3 Beginner Tips

Crusader Kings 3 (CK3) is a medieval strategy and management game that places you in charge of guiding an entire dynasty through hundreds of years. It is the long-awaited sequel to Crusader Kings 2, and it does not disappoint.

Any new players interested in starting with Crusader Kings 3 will likely meet a fairly sharp learning curve initially. Even if you have played Crusader Kings 2, there are still quite a few subtle differences that can stump you in your first few rounds. This list of beginner tips will hopefully help with getting you started in Crusader Kings 3!

See our Piety and Prestige Guide here, our Succession and Inheritance Tips here, and our Top 10 Tips for Starting as a Count here.

1. Fabricate Claims using the Bishop (or other religious leader)

This is one of the biggest changes since Crusader Kings 2. Instead of the Chancellor, it is now the religious leader that is used to fabricate claims. Another change is that it is no longer a randomized chance that rolls every year – there is simply a progress bar that fills up for the claim to occur.

The speed of progress and whether or not you receive a duchy claim instead of county claim is dependent on the skill of the bishop. Typically it can take around 1-2 years for the county claim to go through and it costs around 70-100 gold to claim. Please also keep in mind that you cannot be negative in gold to start a war so have some saved up in advance.

2. Learn the basic hotkeys

There is a LOT of clicking that goes into Crusader Kings 3. It is definitely worth learning the basic hot keys for bringing up menus if you plan to play for any longer than a couple of hours. Here are the simple ones that I like to use:

  • F1: Character Screen
  • F2: Realm
  • F3: Military
  • F4: Council
  • F5: Court
  • F6: Intrigue
  • F7: Factions
  • F8: Decisions
  • 1-5: Game speed (5 is extremely fast, be warned)
  • Space: Pause and Play
  • E: Regular Realm map toggle
  • T: Cultural Map
  • R: Religious Map
  • U, I, O: Duchy, Kingdomg, Empire Titles (shows them regardless of whether or not they’re formed)
  • W, A, S, D: Map Movement
  • B: Go back to previous menu

There may be other hotkeys people use, but these are the ones I’ve run into so far that I consistently use all the time. The escape key is just the usual button for exiting out of tabs. However, if you are trying to get rid of only the “Issues” menu then hit Tab instead since the Escape key will exit out of everything else first.

3. Increase County Control using your Marshall as soon as possible

Control makes a huge difference in how much levy and taxes you receive from a county. Anything below 50 Control will be a huge hit to what you can receive. It is usually worth sending your Marshall in to return Control back to 100 as soon as you are out of a war. This is actually one of the mechanisms that Paradox included to prevent snowballing since it’ll increase how long it takes for you to reap the benefits of new counties.

One caveat to this is if you are expecting someone to initiate another war with you in a short period of time or if you have a really great claim on someone who is momentarily weak. In this case, keep your Marshall on the “Organize Levies” tab for the extra Levy Size and Reinforcement Rate. However, during peace time increasing Control is much more important than increasing levies or improving commanders.

4. Christian Rulers can ask the Pope for Gold – use this ability early game

You can easily get anywhere between 125 to 200 or so gold as a Christian ruler in exchange for 250 Piety and a temporary decrease in relationship with the Pope. To qualify, it is best to have a good opinion score, some virtue traits, and as few sins as possible. There generally isn’t a good reason to not take the gold especially in the early stages of the game.

If you start off as a Duke or King, gold problems will likely still be at the front of your mind. Piety is a resource that does play a big role in being able to wage Holy Wars, but gold can usually take you a lot further. You need gold to pay for starting up your Men-at-Arms Regiments and to hire Knights with high Prowess. Without this fighting ability, it is hard to wage wars in the first place. Take the gold and think about Piety later.

Once you hit the part of the game where you are interested in reforming religions or embarking on Holy Wars, check out our Prestige and Piety guide here for how to obtain Piety.

5. Hover over information for a few seconds before moving to the tooltip

Once you wait around 3 seconds or so, the information bubble changes borders and sticks around for you to move your mouse onto it. For example, if I want to check my Monthly Income breakdown, I would hover over the tab so that the information bubble pops up, wait for around 3 seconds for the border to change, then move my mouse onto the bubble itself. Hopefully this helps with preventing any mild annoyances about getting the information bubble to stick around.

Alternatively, you can go into the “Game” section of the settings and change the Tooltips to Action lock or Mouse Tendency. This will give you a bit more freedom in choosing what you prefer. I personally stuck with the original method since I hate having to click again and again for the tooltips.

6. Forbid Sons with low Prowess from being Knights

Found this out the hard way when 3/4 of my sons died in the same battle. If they don’t have high prowess then they are much, much more likely to be killed in battle. Keep in mind that Martial and Prowess are two completely different values that represent different things. Martial is the main value you usually see that represents their ability to command troops – it is also the value you use to select for a good Marshall. Prowess is the ability to actually fight, you can see a person’s prowess when you look to the right of the main stats and see the hand grasping a sword.

To forbid a person from being a knight, hit “F3” to bring up the Military Menu, click on the Knights menu, scroll to your sons and select “Forbid”. In some cases, you might even want to keep your heir safe and forbid them even if they have a high prowess score. Things can randomly happen in battle and sometimes avoiding the risk altogether can be better for your dynasty.

One other thing to keep in mind is that some characters have the “Brave” trait. This trait increases the character’s chance of dying in battle by 100% while offering a few bonuses to combat ability. It is great that some characters are monsters and can carry a fight, but don’t let that character be your only heir (unless that is what you are role-playing). Keep an eye out for this trait specifically just in case!

7. You can increase Men-at-Arms regiment sizes directly

Simply click on the regiment portrait to bring up the menu and hit “Increase Size to ____”. This gives you more variety in which Men-at-Arms types you want to bring into battle with you. The overall cost would still be the same since the size upgrade is the same as the initial buy cost, but you get to hire different types of regiments as a result.

8. Diversify your Men-at-Arms Regiments

Unless you did some extra work in scouting out your enemy’s troops when they fought in other wars, it is difficult to determine which regiments they will be bringing to the fight. The “counter” mechanism can limit your opponent fighting efficiency by up to 90% if it is a direct counter. For example, instead of your Armored Footmen dealing 32 Damage, it’ll only deal around 3 if the opponent brings a unit of Skirmishers to the fight.

Diversifying your regiments gives you a much better chance at negating your opponents and having at least some of your regiments do full damage. This might not always apply depending on cultural troop availability and terrain, but if you are all over the map then this gives you the most flexibility. If you follow tip #7 as well, then you should have no issues with adapting your army to the enemy you are expecting to fight.

9. Bring Mangonels or Onagers if you are sieging

They are cheap compared to other regiments and the decrease in overall time required to siege down a castle is definitely worth it. Instead of the default 1.0 progress per day, you now have 1.6 with Mangonels (1.3 with Onagers). This is a boost of 50% – meaning instead of 3 months to siege down a city, you now have to only wait for 2. If you are fighting any other kingdom or even duchy, the time you save can literally be the difference between victory and defeat.

If you are worried about cost – don’t be! The total for a Mangonel is 0.32/month when raised while a regiment of skirmishers is 0.44/month. For the benefit that it brings for sieges, this should be at least the third regiment you pick up.

The big downside to this is that they have no bonuses to fighting power during regular field battles. The opportunity cost lost here is that you could have afforded another unit of bowmen or skirmishers that might have been handy if it was a close battle. Buying this regiment third would be a good balance between improving your fighting ability and your siege ability.

10. Choose the right Commander

A good commander can influence a battle a ton and even win you fights where your army is objectively weaker. Having a higher tactical score is one thing, but many good commanders also have traits that give bonuses in certain terrain types or to increase damage altogether. Selecting the right commander means you sometimes have to override what the automatic selection is and carefully look through the traits of who you have available.

To change commanders, highlight your army and hit the “Select new Commander” button in the very lower left corner of your screen. Sometimes this button will be greyed out if you are either in battle, or were recently defeated and the army is still retreating. It is usually a good idea to hit that button right when you raise army just to be sure there aren’t any better choices for commanders.

11. Be mindful of River Crossings and Boat Landings

You get a fairly large debuff whenever you are trying to attack someone across a river. It is a much more defensible position and can easily give the weaker army enough of a bonus to win the battle. Taking the long way around might be less time efficient, but it avoids getting you into sticky situations. This is also one of the areas I started paying a lot more attention to than I did in Crusader Kings 2 since I saw many of my armies get wiped by the mechanic.

Likewise, any army that just got off the boat will have a debuff that makes them much less effective. If you are defending against an invading army, stopping them right at the shore is usually one of the best tactics to maximize your winning opportunity.

12. Read through all the Lifestyle Perks

Some of the bonuses from these perks go beyond just being percentage based increases to character ability. For example, the Diplomat Tree has a perk called “Forced Vassalage” that unlocks the “Forced Vassalization” Casus Belli. It is a great way to start wars straightforwardly instead of having to either wait for fabrication or going through the whole process of finding and landing a claimant.

It is also worth reading the tooltips for these new abilities since they can give you a much better idea of what character you could be building into. Using the same example, the “Forced Vassalization” Casus Belli is initially restricted to only being valid on Rulers that have no more than 3 Counties in their realm. However, it can be further improved based on the cultural innovations you pursue. Once you have innovations like “Divine Right” and “Rightful Ownership”, it can increase the vassal realm size by 2 each. Knowing this, you can now tailor your cultural innovations to these specific ones if you are the cultural head.

Reading through the tooltips for all of the perks can be tedious, but it will give you a ton more role-play value and give you greater customization of how you want to play the game.

13. Start with Petty King Murchad in 1066 to explore mechanisms

This is a really common tip but it is one worth repeating. It is considered to be one of the best starting situations for learning since it gives you a really great opportunity to explore the various ways to expand your territory and provides you with advantages over all of your immediate enemies.

You start the game with one County for yourself and one for your vassal while everybody else in Ireland starts with just one. Already this is enough for you to win the De Jure war that you begin with. From there, you can experiment with the “Fabricate” function or learn how to obtain claims through marriage or landing claimants. It is also a situation that forces you to be good with your money since you really have to save up for the men that you want to buy.

Once you have unified Ireland into a Kingdom, you can then experiment with larger-scale intrigue and claiming systems like marrying off your son to one of the lesser noblewomen that still have a claim to England. You will usually encounter issues like rejections due to Patrilineal Marriage concerns which give you a realistic taste of what the rest of the game could be like.

14. Adapt to your character traits

Unlike Crusader King 2, Crusader Kings 3 has a much higher importance placed on traits and how they affect character interactions. Playing every single chractert you use as a Warrior will inevitably lead to your demise. Look at the traits, perks, and stats that your character has and determine which lifestyle would best suit their abilities. From there, read through the possible perks and explore the new mechanisms they unlock. This way you can fully experience the full extent of features the game has to offer.

I initially started with purely going the same strategist/commander character playstyle, but once you being dabbling in other treas like stewardship and diplomacy you begin to realize there are a ton of other options out there. A stewardship focused King can literally generate enough income to max out a stack of men-at-arms and still have some to spare for Mercenaries. Slap on a good commander in your court and you’re set to conquer the world.

My point here is that Crusader Kings 3 opens up a ton of replay and role-play value. Even if you just want to paint the world in the colour of your Empire, there are many different ways for you to do so. I hope that this tip gets you exploring into the diversity that exists in the game.


Crusader Kings 3 definitely lived up to the hype for me and I hope that this list of beginner tips will help you enjoy the game in the same way. There are ton more features in this game and I will do my best to cover them for you. Please comment below if there are any specific questions you have or if you have any other tips that you want included in the guide!

Thank you all for reading and I hope you have a great time conquering 🙂

See our Piety and Prestige Guide here, our Succession and Inheritance Tips here, and our Top 10 Tips for Starting as a Count here.

Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook for consistent updates on my guides and reviews!

Conqueror’s Blade Top 10 Strategy Tips for Beginners

Conqueror’s Blade is a PVP-focused MMORPG where you control a Hero with a small army and work together with your team to defeat the opposing enemy. More information can be found on their website here and through our review here.

Conqueror’s Blade is a team-based game that requires you to work with your squad to succeed. Personal skill is important to winning fights, but using strategies and supporting one another will win the game. This guide will go over the basics of the strategic components to the game and provide tips on how to incorpoate them into your own gameplay.

1. Push from multiple directions

Teams that group up all together are much easier to defend against. It is infinitely easier to just stack pikes and shields on only one entrance and watch your opponent struggle to advance. As the attacker, you will end up having a much harder time breaking through and getting to the point.

Attacking from multiple directions forces the enemy to divert forces away and give up certain defensive angles. Creating the threat of flanks adds pressure for the defender to move units to less strong positions. If no flanking movements are being done, the enemy ranged units are also free focus entirely on harassing any advances your team makes. This point is especially true on certain siege maps where there are positions for ranged units that cannot be reached from outside the wall.

Keep in mind that this is just a general guideline for when the defence already has units in position. There are certain situations where it will be better for everyone to just rush inside regardless of direction.

2. Watch the top of buildings and battlements for ranged units

Keep your eyes peeled for ranged units placed on top of any type of building. These units generally will have a much more open angle to attack your troops. If left unchecked, they can end up focus firing and eliminating high value exposed targets such as pikes or your own ranged units. On the defender’s side, this can often be enough to stall a push or weaken them enough for your melee teammates to clean up. On the attacker’s side, the high vantage point can be enough to take down defensive ranged units that are placed in position to watch the entrances. This will help your push especially if they bring Pavisse or Janissaries that can stun troop advances.

The priority in these instances is to use your own ranged units or artillery to either clear them out or force them to relocate to another location. Constantly scanning for these threats will enable you to deal with them before any major damage is done to your own team.

3. Protect your shieldwalls from CC

This tip does not apply to all classes, since it will not always be possible for you to stop your opponents from breaking the block on your shields. But whenever possible, do not leave your shieldwall alone. Many classes have ults that throw down units and your unit is essentially dead the moment a large opening is made. Having a knockdown or concussing ability handy allows you to interrupt your opponent’s abilities.

Even if you do not have an interrupt-style ability, staying around the unit helps reduce the total damage that can be done to them. Having your hero in the fight prevents enemy units from taking advantage of the opening and helps improve your unit’s chances of recovering.

4. Use Focus Fire on exposed units

Most ranged units have some sort of Focus Fire ability that can target specific areas or directions. If you are using a ranged unit, be aware of potential opportunities to pick off enemy ranged units or exposed pikes/swords. Most shield units will take minimal damage from you, but focus firing specific areas will work wonders in eliminating your opponent’s damage capacity.

For muskets, the volley function can be used to pick up quick hero kills since it forces your unit to sync up attacks – leading to burst that can be enough to take down a hero. These units have no problem against shields, but should still be used to eliminate higher armour troops such as Imperial Pike Guards.

Also be mindful that many bow units can end up hitting buildings if they are in the way. The units will continuously fire regardless and end up wasting ammo. Whenever you use Focus Fire, just stick around for another second or two just to make sure they are actually able to hit the enemy.

5. Never Charge braced pikes head-on

Sword and shield units will melt against braced pikes due to their lack of range. Do not underestimate the damage that it will do and do not assume your sword and shield units will even get close enough to deal damage.

This tip really sounds like a given, but I have seen enough players do this to warrant its place in this guide. Whenever possible, try to either go around and flank or use your hero to create an opening that the charge can be forced through. Head on attacks without any CC or throwdown will result in a waste of units. You are better off saving them until the right opportunity arrives.

6. Use trebuchets to stop reinforcements

Once your team has pushed onto a point or objective, a well-placed trebuchet can stop any reinforcements from coming from a certain chokepoint. They do not always have to just be used on exposed units.

One way to use it would be to pre-emptively trebuchet a doorway that leads to the enemy supply point when you see their units coming on the mini-map. If you sync up the time delay just right, the enemy movement will result in either several unit kills or a forced retreat by the enemy hero.

7. Capture enemy supply points to open angles of attack

This relates back to point #1 about attacking from more than one angle. If you are able to capture an enemy supply point inside of their city, you can use it to change troops to a “charge” unit and flank against the enemy shieldwall or ranged units. When this is done alongside several teammates, it can be enough to force the enemy to back off of their defensive positions – allowing the main force to push onto point.

The goal behind this tip is to disrupt the existing formations your enemies have in place. The end result should be that your other teammates won’t have to deal with multiple Fortebraccios and shieldwalls right on the entrance.

8. Coordinate pushes with your teammates

Whenever I use the term “push”, it almost always means as a group. Entering in with all of your units at the same time (from multiple directions) overwhelms the defense. They will have a much harder time eliminating units and will give your team a chance to set up a defensive position on the point.

It can be extremely frustrating to not have your teammates push with you, but absolutely avoid pushing by yourself onto a defended point. You will likely end up wasting your unit and accomplish nothing. As bad as it sounds, you are better off communicating with your teammates and confirming when everyone should be pushing – it can be as simple as a “push at 3 minutes” message.

One other thing to keep in mind is that there needs to be a good composition of units that are pushing. There needs to at least be one unit of shields for the push to be successful. No shields will make it extremely difficult to hold the point due to the lack of protection from ranged units.

9. Push before the last minute

If you are pushing in the last minute, chances are you have already lost. It takes around 15-20 seconds to capture a point uninterrupted, and the enemy heroes will almost always suicide on the point to delay your team.

General rule of thumb is to coordinate a push at the last 3 minutes mark to account for the time it takes for the fight and to set up a perimeter that prevents enemy hero access. This is definitely not a rule that should be blindly followed, but just keep the time urgency in mind once the game reaches this point.

10. Learn to effectively trade Leadership

Total kill count does not mean as much as total leadership eliminated – killing a unit of Fortebraccios is much more useful than killing 3 units of serfs. Depleting your opponent’s leadership while retaining your own will slowly tip the balance of the game in your favour.

Everyone only has around 700 leadership to bring to battles (some people have more due to bonuses from armour). In general, higher leadership means a unit is more useful to use. Eliminating a higher leadership unit with your own low leadership unit would usually be a net gain for your team. For example, if your Ironcap Swordsmen was able to flank a Condo unit and eliminate 3/4 of them, you would have effectively put your team ahead.

This does not mean you should suicide your units just to gain net leadership – team composition is still extremely important. This is just another decision-making tool that you can use to make better strategic choices.


Thank you all for reading and I hope that this guide has helped some of the beginners become more accustomed to the strategic aspect of the game.

If you are new to the game, check out our Top 12 Beginner Tips here and our Best Starter Units guide here! 🙂