Crusader Kings 3 Tours and Tournaments review: More room for activities

Crusader Kings 3 Tours and Tournaments review: More room for activities
Images via Paradox

Written by 

Tarran Stockton

Published 

11th May 2023 16:00

How much content should an expansion add to an existing game? In the case of the Crusader Kings franchise, its DLC model is key to its continued success and quality, with frequent expansions piling new systems and features onto its already rich cauldron of role-playing opportunities. 

Without this model of content delivery, Paradox frankly wouldn't be able to continue supporting and adding to its titles in the manner that it does. However, in the case of Tours and Tournaments, while I enjoyed playing with the new features and seeing what would come as a result of my choices, I'm finding it hard to justify anyone paying more than half the price of the full game for it. 

GGRecon Verdict

Crusader Kings 3 Tours and Tournaments adds a lot of new flavour and role-playing opportunities for characters of all kinds, putting an increasing emphasis on the presence and social life of your ruler. 

A feast for crows

 

a screenshot of the Crusader Kings 3 Tours and Tournaments travel system
Click to enlarge

Crusader Kings 3 Tours and Tournaments is the second major expansion for the game, coming after Royal Court which was released at the beginning of 2022. This time around, the focus is on the pageantry and majesty of activities that the feudal nobility would enjoy, ranging from grand weddings to huge tournaments that bring together the upper crust of society across the kingdom. 

Most of the changes in Tours and Tournaments can all be found within the Activities menu on the right side of the game screen, where there's a mix of brand-new features and reworks of existing ones. There's also set to be a free update called Lance which adds even more stuff for free, some of which intersects with the new content in T&T. 

One of the most welcome changes in the expansion is the new travel system, which adds a sense of permanence and presence to your character that we haven't seen since the addition of the Royal Court. When taking part in activities that require you to leave your home county, you'll need to physically plan out your route and customise it, avoiding dangers and plotting a route that will ensure you arrive on time. 

Once you're set on your route, you can head off and watch your character travel along the map, responding to any events along the way. It adds a lot to the feeling of role-playing when you can get a tangible idea of where your character is, and the new focus on physically making it to an activity gives more weight to the danger of travelling long distances in Medieval times. 

While this system is a net positive overall and one of the more interesting parts of Tours and Tournaments, it does suffer from the fact that Crusader Kings doesn't seem to actually track your character's location. A few times I would be on my way across the kingdom, and an event would occur back home involving my character, which would immediately take me out of the illusion. This has been an issue since the game launched, but with the expansion putting more attention on your physical location than ever, the lack of consistency is more noticeable.

A Clash of Kings

 

an image of the Activities menu in Crusader Kings 3 Tours and Tournaments
Click to enlarge

Upon clicking the Activities button, the changes in Tours and Tournaments should be fairly apparent, as the menu is now split into two sections, letting you host an Activity or a Grand Activity. 

The normal activities are the same old feasts, hunts, and pilgrimages that have been in the game since launch, but you have more options this time when choosing them, opening you up to different role-playing opportunities, events, and choices depending on what you pick. For example, when choosing a feast, you can now select the complexity of the dishes and the number of courses, which in turn affects your prestige gain and how much the opinion of your vassals increases. 

A more general aspect of activities is your character's intent, letting you decide what it is you want to get out of your time. You can select this when setting up an activity, and it will determine the type of events that occur during the activity. For example, you can go into a feast looking to reduce stress or use it as a chance to befriend, seduce, or murder a target. 

Once again, this adds more flavour to the experience and lets you really key into your character's traits and stats to role-play more effectively during activities. It's worth noting though, in my experience so far, you'll use the Recreation intent - which reduces stress - far more than any other, which has the adverse of effect of making the stress metre a little pointless.

Making choices that go against my traits and give me stress don't have the weight they once did, now I know I can just host a cheap feast (or go to one hosted by a vassal) and put my intent on Recreation to watch all that stress melt away quickly. 

A storm of swords

 

an image of an event during a Grand Tour in Crusader Kings 3 Tours and Tournaments
Click to enlarge

A Grand Activity goes much further than any standard Activity, as these are the hugely extravagant events that cost a pretty penny, but come with even more bonuses and choices. You can choose between a Grand Tour, Grand Tournament, and a Grand Wedding. 

Grand Tours allow you to visit vassals across your kingdom, letting you use it as an opportunity to increase opinion, raise their taxes, or make them fear you. Grand Tournaments are huge events where you or your knights can compete in contests, earning prizes and fame, and special bonuses for your knights who have one of the new accolades. Tournaments also offer the opportunity to place bets on games, or sabotage events in your own favour. 

Finally, there are Grand Weddings, which puts more emphasis on the politics of marriage that Crusader Kings is famous for. You can only host one of these if you promise to when setting up a marriage, but it can be used to help you marry a member of your house above their station or as an opportunity to wipe out an entire rival family. 

One major downside I can see is that some of these longer activities like Grand Tours will become slogs after the first few, as it takes a lot of clicking through similar events to get to the end. There also needs to be more variety in the events that occur while they take place, or the freshness of the experience will quickly wear off.

Despite some shortcomings, Grand Activities add a lot to the experience of being a Medieval ruler and role-playing within the confines of that system. There are enough options within each particular activity, that no matter what your skill focus or title is, you'll have the opportunity to take part and reap the rewards in some way.

The Verdict

 

a screenshot of the locale screen at a Grand Tournament in Crusader Kings 3 Tours and Tournaments
Click to enlarge

While there are some expected quirks that come with trying to fit entire new systems into an already complex simulation, Crusader Kings 3 Tours and Tournaments crams all the new features and overhauls in seamlessly, adding more to the role-playing experience without taking anything away. While I'm not entirely convinced the content here is worth the asking price, and you may want to wait for a sale if you're expecting it to revolutionise the game, it's a much richer experience due to its existence.

4/5

Reviewed on PC. Review code provided by the publisher

Tarran is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon. He previously wrote reviews for his college newspaper before studying Media and Communication at university. His favourite genres include role-playing games, strategy games, and boomer shooters - along with anything indie. You can also find him in the pit at local hardcore shows.

Trending
Crusader Kings 3 Tours and Tournaments: Release date & gameplay
Crusader Kings 3 Royal Court console release date & everything included
Crusader Kings 3 Debug Mode: How To Enable Cheats
How To Raid In Crusader Kings 3