Video Games

A Historical Lesson: Exploring What-if Scenarios with Medieval II: Total War

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image courtesy of The Creative Assembly

It?s a little boring to explore history. Who gives a hoot about what had happened already, right? However, it is strangely fascinating, even romantic, to explore what happened during a time when the rudiments of law and borders were still being developed. Knights and damsels in distress and blood-related kings fighting to expand the borders of their territory and embarking on a grand campaign to establish an empire…this all seems too interesting to just ignore. Fortunately, The Creative Assembly made it a whole lot more interesting.

Seriously, Medieval II: Total War is a game that can be used as a means of teaching history, if used within reason. The game is a representation of the Middle Ages, a time when humanity was just defining their respective nation?s history. Borders were already drawn, yes, but these are rudimentary at best, and is easily redrawn in the event a nation expands or shrinks. The leaders of the kingdoms knew each other, or at best, were related to one another through blood or through marriage to another kingdom?s princess. Medieval II puts you in a commanding role as you lead a nation to prominence.

There are a lot of possible scenarios in the game, especially if you?re playing one faction or the other. Initially you start out with England, France, Venice, Sicily, Milan, and the Holy Roman Empire. However, when you finish a campaign, other factions are unlocked, including Islamic nations like the Turks, Egypt, and the Moors.

So, here are some possible playthroughs for you to consider:

What ifScotland ruled the Free World?

image courtesy of wiki.totalwar.com

image courtesy of wiki.totalwar.com

One of the many possible play-throughs involves a Scottish invasion of Britain. Historically, Scotland and Britain united under one throne, that is, the throne of England. However, in the game, it is quite possible for you to stage a successful invasion of William the Conqueror?s fledgling capital, after his recent defeat of the Saxon king Harold Godwinson. This is quite easy to do once you?ve conquered both Caernarvon and Nottingham. The English capital of London is quite easy to reach afterwards.

It is entertaining to see the Scottish rule over other lands, some parts of Europe, and embark on a grand campaign to secure the Pope?s favor further by joining the Crusades. One of the most amusing moments of the game is to see a different flag flying over Jerusalem, once conquered by the Fatimid dynasty of Egypt during their own expansion.

 

What ifPortugal conquered the Iberian Peninsula?

image courtesy of wiki.totalwar.com

image courtesy of wiki.totalwar.com

Portugal was considered a weak kingdom, weakened by in-fighting, and only having experienced birth as a full-fledged kingdom in the game. Alfonso Henrique el Valiente must also contend with the ruling Spanish king Alfonso VI, and his vast territory wrestled from the invading Moors of Africa. The Moors, as well, is another factor to watch out for, as they are hungry to regain the territories they have lost.

A good strategy here would be to secure a hold of some territories first, to expand the region of influence that Portugal has. Start by conquering Leon or Toledo, whichever town is nearest to you. It would be wise to send an emissary to the Moors too, to secure the lower region of Spain and to prevent any general or family member from escaping into Africa or securing territory there. Afterwards, conquer the last bastion of Spanish rule to effectively start your own expansion campaign.

With a little luck, you may even see Portugal laying claim and establishing a mini empire over the rest of the Iberian peninsula, and maybe even the African continent.

 

What ifEgypt controlled the Mediterranean and discovered the New World?

image courtesy of wiki.totalwar.com

image courtesy of wiki.totalwar.com

Egypt is a fairly strong faction in this game, although it may have trouble once it starts its own expansion. Jerusalem is a nice target, and one of the requirements of winning the game is to hold the historical seat of Christianity. Once you do conquer it, however, prepare to face the wrath of the unified Christian kingdoms as the Pope calls for a crusade against you.

However, this is also an opportunity for your captains to be turned into generals after enough gallantry in battle earns them a promotion. Controlling Jerusalem also allows you to stage a campaign of conquering the Mediterranean, with a possibility of even conquering Rome itself. If you play your cards right, the Egyptians may even survive long enough to be able to build ships and go sailing into the New World itself. Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a delightful staging point for this.

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