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Nice: Crusader Kings has a medieval version of Tinder

Greetings, my lady — doth you be up?

A king kneels before his bride in a massive, soaring cathedral. Image: Paradox Interactive
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Crusader Kings 3, the medieval strategy and role-playing game, looks like it would be pretty chaste. But it’s actually a very horny game — so much so that the developers had to dial things back and make the characters less prone to seducing each other. But there are still lots of intrigue, romance, and affairs to uncover in Paradox’s dense game, including a random event where your character takes to Tinder.

There are no smartphones in Crusader Kings 3, so the game has found a different way to recreate the Tinder experience. For instance, I was playing a particularly horny High King who had fifteen children by three wives and a handful of lovers on the side. This apparently wasn’t enough for him, so my character hauled a pile of oil portraits out of the attic and looked at them to determine which lady he ought to date via a text event. This is actually one of the ways courtship used to work in certain parts of the world, so while the left/right swiping part might be slightly anachronistic, the whole scheme isn’t out of place in this world.

Crusader Kings 3 - an image of a lady who a medieval lord is courting. She urges the player to write back soon if they “exceed a height of six feet” Image: Paradox Interactive via Polygon

There are lots of little jokes sprinkled throughout the event, like ladies insisting that you only write them a poem if you happen to be over six feet tall. If you happen to fail your check, you actually end up sending the same poem to all three women via messenger pigeon, and when they talk to each other, they’ll figure out you didn’t even go through the trouble of switching up your game. Not only do they all reject you, but you’ll take a reputation loss — and in Crusader Kings 3, that’s a strategic mishap that could lead to someone pulling a coup, or refusing to come to your aid in a crucial war.

However, if you pass the check, you can get lots of lovers all at once. That’s a pretty huge bonus, because lovers will be on your side in a lot of political conflicts. Also, it means that your character will be bouncing from lady to lady, which could lead to a scandalous pregnancy or two.

Overall, it’s a fun little event, although it leads to success more reliably than actual Tinder does. I guess that’s one of the perks of being the High King of Ireland. The event is one of the many small quirks that add up to make Crusader Kings 3 feel more like The Sims than a rigorous military simulator. Although one ought to be careful, because spending too much time on collecting lovers via medieval Tinder can lead to venereal disease, divorce, and even religious excommunication. Perhaps it’s best to swipe left if you reach this event.

The next level of puzzles.

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