A place in Heaven

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
Author and references

Introducing a title like Crusader Kings II is always a strange task, as the game developed by Paradox is now perfectly known by fans who have gutted every single aspect of it. Yet, despite its success, Crusader Kings II is not one of the "big names" of the industry: this is in fact the well-known fate reserved for every niche video game. Even if, as in this case, it is something that has now become the emblem of an entire genre, of those so-called "grand strategies" of which the Swedish team is now an absolute master. More than a year and a half after the release of Crusader Kings II, Paradox has released the new expansion Sons of Abraham, thus increasing the count of major updates made to the base version of the game to five. As usual, after due confession (given the theme) we set off to try the new contents offered, centered as suggested by the name on the Abrahamic religions and their influence within the society of the Middle Ages.

Christians, Muslims or Jews? Let's choose our faith in Crusader Kings II with Sons of Abraham!

The importance of the papacy

Although the novelties of Sons of Abraham concern three different religions, its main characteristics reflect those of the same Crusader Kings II, based mainly on the European continent and neighboring territories.

It is therefore the Christian religion that enjoys the greatest novelties, thanks primarily to the introduction of the College of Cardinals, which can now elect the Pope from its members. Such a situation opens the door to new options for sovereigns, especially those willing to leverage the pope and his followers to achieve their goals. The simplest way is, of course, to ensure that a trusted man is able to enter the College, to then become the new successor of Peter, thus obtaining a preferential route towards the Holy See to obtain favors and concessions of all kinds. If becoming Pope is not exactly easy, the Middle Ages teaches us that there are also different ways to take advantage of one's religiosity, real or fake it may be. In fact, among the elements of Sons of Abraham we also find the possibility of making pilgrimages to sacred places, perhaps a little underestimated in their effects and consequently not always convenient, while jumping from pole to branch it can be useful to pack and send a relative to the within a monastic order, thus resorting to a more peaceful method of removing it from power games than physical elimination or incarceration. The Pope and the various Orders therefore acquire a renewed importance in the geopolitical evolution of the territories, giving the complacent player the option of counting on their support in cases of need, thus resorting to religion to obtain economic and other favors. In this regard, the possibility of exploiting religion also to find an otherwise non-existent casus belli, to invade one's neighbors should not be underestimated.

Children of Abraham

As we said, the religions involved in this expansion are 3: in addition to Christianity, we also find Islam and Judaism. In the first case, the historical context puts us in front of the contrast between Mutazilism and Asharism, two faces of the Muslim confession linked to two very distinct philosophies: the first more rational, the second more spiritual.

Once you have chosen who to stay with, the player will therefore have to face a situation of conflict within the same religion, which naturally contributes to a certain tumultuousness in the management of relations with one's neighborhood. However, it is an excellent diversion, as is the challenge proposed by the population of Khazaria and by the kingdom that is located on the shores of the Caspian Sea, from which to start groped to recreate the Kingdom of Israel. Given that the starting territory is particularly small, it is a difficult goal, for this reason recommended for the most experienced among Crusader Kings II players. Along with the major news regarding the three religions we talked about, there are also a series of events naturally inspired by the relationship between man and divinity: they will not be great news, but they contribute to add a bit of variety to the game. Nothing to note from a technical point of view, considering that both the graphics and the music remain practically the same even in Sons of Abraham: nothing that we did not expect already, from an expansion of Crusader Kings II.

Have you lost count?

With the number of Crusader Kings II expansions and DLCs released by Paradox, it's easy to get lost in the additional content that has come since the game's release. For convenience, here is a summary of all the major expansions, with their release dates:

  • Sword of Islam - giugno 2012
  • Legacy of Rome - October 2012
  • The Republic - gennaio 2013
  • The Old Gods - maggio 2013
  • Sons of Abraham - November 2013
Halfway between expansion and DLC we find Sunset Invasion, dedicated to a phantom invasion of Europe by the Aztecs.


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Your vote

Sons of Abraham is Paradox's answer to Crusader Kings II fans who asked to give greater importance to an aspect like that linked to religion, in the Middle Ages particularly influential for peoples and sovereigns. Making a thematic comparison, we must however say that the innovations introduced by the developers do not equal those of The Old Gods, wider and more rooted within the game mechanics. If you're a huge Crusader Kings II fan, chances are you won't want to do without Sons of Abraham anyway; if you are not, this will certainly not be the opportunity that will push you to become one.


  • Greater interaction with the papacy
  • Additional challenges and situations
  • New paths for our strategies
  • No deep news
  • It always requires a lot of patience
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