The seven best beginner starts in Crusader Kings 3

The seven best beginner starts in Crusader Kings 3

Crusader Kings 3 is a deep and detailed game with a massive amount to learn. Even the most experienced players often discover new details they weren't privy to before a particularly shocking event, and that's a big part of the game's appeal.

But that appeal is a double-edged sword, and with that depth comes an incredibly steep learning for beginner players to tackle. While the tutorial does a much better job than in previous games, there's still a lot for new players to absorb. Adding to this complexity, the game takes place over roughly 1000 years, and contains thousands of potential choices for a starting point.

Thankfully, some starting cultures and rulers are better than others, and there are definitely some good beginner choices if you're looking to get into Crusader Kings 3, whether they're slower starts that let you get your legs under you, or military juggernauts that can prop you up until you know what you're doing. Here are some of the best to try out if you're new to the game.


Scotland's strength doesn't come from its high military strength or anything like that — instead, their desirability for a starting playthrough comes from the fact they're fairly remote and distanced from everyone else. King Malcolm of Scotland is the best place to start with a Scotland playthrough, though keep in mind that while there's territory to expand into, it's unlikely to be the most eventful playthrough, so you may want to move to someone else eventually. That said, you never can tell with Crusader Kings.


  • Distanced from most powerful potential enemies
  • Safe and quiet to learn the ropes
  • Good expansion options



The Norse culture is still a powerhouse in Crusader Kings 3, even if they've been toned down a lot from their highpoint in Crusader Kings 2. The fearsome bastion of the north of Europe is probably the strongest place to start a game, and those who want to try out a good starting playthrough should check out Jarl Björn Ironside of Uppland, starting in 867 AD.


  • Cultural unity in starting area
  • Plenty of expansion options
  • Strong military-based Traditions



Another strong military-based culture, the Castiallians don't have as strong a starting foothold as the Norse, but they make up for it with the sheer strength of their knights, including the legendary El Cid. Players wanting to try out these Spanish juggernauts would be wise to venture to the court of King Sancho of Castille, in 1066 AD.


  • Extremely strong military for the time period
  • Castille knights are impactful
  • El Cid


Byzantine Empire

This one's for the power-hungry who want to dive straight into controlling a powerful empire, right off the bat. Basileus Basileios puts you in charge of the mighty Byzantine Empire, and as you might expect, this comes with a ton of resources, soft diplomatic power, and considerable military heft as well. It does start at war with Sicily, but that can be wrapped up fairly quickly, and give you the chance to really blaze a trail in history.


  • Massive empire
  • Plenty of resources to exploit
  • A great jumping off point for further expansion



Another remote option, this time, it has the backing of being the location of the game's actual tutorial. Murchad Mac Donnchad Briain is the Petty King of Munster, and he makes another great option for those who want to dabble their toes into a more distanced option who has plenty going on to make an extended playthrough worthwhile. Ireland itself gives you plenty to be getting on with for a while, and you don't need to worry about the outside world too, and eventually uniting Ireland puts you in a strong standpoint for the rest of the game.


  • Isolated
  • Plenty within Ireland to conquer
  • Great starting kingdom (eventually)



Europe isn't the only place to play in Crusader Kings 3, and the South Asian rulers are some of the best choices to begin with, as they have strong technological advancements and a good range of resources to take advantage of too. Maharaja Bhoja of the Pratihara Kingdom is a great choice here, as Pratihara is the biggest and strongest nation around at this time, and it means you can throw your weight around a bit, and bully your neighbors.


  • Big nation
  • Good resources and technology
  • Good military



The key with Tuscany is to use it to realise the importance of matrilineal marriages, especially when playing Matilda Di Canossa. Marriage is of prime importance in any Crusader Kings game, and the focus towards ensuring matrilineal succession (where women inherit from women) is a great way to keep your eye on the ball. After all, if you don't barter matrilineally, your territory is likely to spill away in drips and drabs.


  • Good diplomacy
  • Focus on importance of marriages
  • Potentially strong empire later on