I started playing Crusader Kings 2 yesterday...on a whim. Its a game where you play as a dynasty and start as some duke, count, or other official and work your way up through war and intrigue to being head of your own kingdom, then expanding etc. This game is fun because its quite difficult and complex and also because it lets you really humanize your family in the game.
Anyway, this is the tragedy of Harold's family of the kingdom of the Danes:
I started out by playing as Prince Harold, the bastard son of the king of the Danes. Starting with 2 different duchy's (provinces and about 5 towns) I slowly began to develop and expand my economic and military capacity. A few years later I started an intrigue of fake claim to this independent principality and when the prince balked, I mobilized my army and forced him to cede his territory. Horrah! I thought... Im getting the hang of this game quick. (this is where things start to go downhill)
I became slightly pissed off that my younger brother in the game who only sat at court was all of a sudden chosen to be heir in the line of succession. Here I was expanding the territory and resources of the kingdom and being the oldest son (even as a bastard)..... but some 20 year old court intriguer gets it. So as a result of my declining fortune, I decide to start pushing things. I declared war again Pomerania. The church was stoked, cause they were considered a bunch of heathens so they gave me the green light. Two years later, I am still embroiled in this costly conflict that has only resulted in my vassals being pissed off at me for mobilizing all of their population for years. So I cut my losses and sued for peace. My kingdom was a mess so I spent a while just getting back to where I was.
Soon after, the king dies, and my stupid ass brother becomes king. Many of the nobles weren't happy cause this guy had no laurels at all and was young to boot (with no heir). What I should have done was instantly declare myself... but instead I waited to grow my army and capacity for a war. This was a huge error in judgement.. as the nobles were bought off within 2 or 3 years and by the time I declared war, only one other noble supported me. We were CRUSHED. My character was imprisoned in the tower and repeated calls of mercy by his wife were ignored. His 5 year old son becomes heir (only had a son and daughter at this time.) and within a year the father is dead of some disease (or torture) resulting from his prison.
The 6 year old son then takes over and is groomed from his mother to take revenge and to take his rightful place as king of Denmark. I bided my time and tried to learn lessons from the last error. The king went off to war with England (under control of the Normans) over some territories in Norway and their long disasterous war took 5 or 6 years. Meanwhile several of the nobles rebelled and an invading English protectorate actually invaded the kingdom. Here is my opening I thought. I mustered all my levies and then mobilized 2 mercenary companies to allow me to compete. One of the nobles (the same family as the last one who supported me) also rose up with me. We beat another claimant to the throne and then set siege to the capital city. I thought that victory was within my grasp. Then I noticed that the war with England had ended and the Danes sued for peace. Their returning army showed up and fought me in a pitched battle. I retreated and then while re-organizing my troops the mercenaries switched sides... and my whole army was slaughtered. I quit before I saw what happened to my ruling family... but I guarantee you it would be rough.
anyway, despite being really hard... this game is really fun and you should try it.