More Crusader Kings 2

I’ve been playing a lot of CK2.  If you spend all that time to climb the learning curve, you want to enjoy the benefits, right?  I’ve stopped and started a number of games because I keep learning things I shouldn’t have done.  Rather than give an after action report of each game, I’ll just discuss what I learned:

  • Characters with the Lustful status can’t keep it in their pants.  Anytime someone approaches him, he can’t refuse.  Courtiers, daughters-in-law, he can’t refuse.  And since he’s got a fertility bonus from Lustful… let’s just say you hope your son doesn’t figure it out.
  • If your Stewardship is too low, you can’t control a lot of counties, and that means granting more counties to people whose gratitude doesn’t last.  Make sure you have enough manpower to put down rebellions.
  • If your Diplomacy is too low, your Chancellor can’t forge claims and so the game takes forever to get up to speed if you start with just one county.
  • Using ambitions is a good way to get events stats up.
  • Remember that time tuberculosis / typhoid fever / smallpox came through the island and you had no idea who would be alive to be heir?  Yeah, that sucked.  Can’t really do much about acts of RNG though.
  • Read the fine print on claims.  For instance, be careful that you’re only carving out one county and not putting your young daughter on the throne of half of Wales, and she can’t vassalize to your because you’re both Duke/Duchess rank, and her counts rebel at being governed by a 9-year old, and you have conquer both of them for her.  Go clean your room!
  • Arranging marriages is tricky business.  You want your rulers to have spouses with high key stats.  You also want high stats in general because good genes means better kids.  On the other hand, it’s good to marry into some claims as well.  And you want to balance that with culture because it’s really tempting to use high stats courtiers as guardians, but before you know it the petty King of Tara and half the family is speaking Norwegian, half Irish, half Portuguese, and half Frankish with -20 Foreigner modifiers everywhere.  Eugenics is hard.

CK2, Day 1: Dublin

First thing I did was switch to Elective succession.  That pissed off my family to no end, but it pleased my vassals.  The wife wants to be made spymaster, but with that negative modifier, I’d rather she not have access to the castle dungeon, thank you very much.  I married my eldest son, Domnall, to a wife with pretty high stewardship, hoping it will rub off on him or their kids.

I got lucky and fabricated a claim on the county of Kildare pretty early.  The plan is, once my dad kicks the bucket and I inherit Leinster, I’ll take Kildare and create the Duchy of Meath.  Bing, bang, boom, my wife is a duchess.  Maybe that will make her happy.  However, the old man takes his time.  Meanwhile, I send my chancellor to fabricate a claim on Ossory so I can do the same for the Duchy of Leinster.

Meanwhile, as they years tick by, I notice a well fit bird in my court.  We’re talking huge diplomacy and martial stats.  Turns out she’s a lowborn girl but we hired her to be the kids’ tutor.  Well, I marry her to my youngest son, Donnchad, in case plan A goes wrong.  They already have a boy and girl while Domnall only has a girl.  Also, for lack of anything better to do with my money, we upgrade the walls of Dublin’s castle to level 2 in preparation for expanding the castle town.

Finally the old man passes on.  Rearrange the council here, shore up opinion there, tell the marshall to increase the levies.  Meanwhile, me dad’s new wife (septuagenarian marrying a twenty-year-old and popping out two kids, that dirty codger) takes a shine to me.  It’s the crown, I tells ya.  I save the game right before I send the messenger to Kildare.

Civ V

Since I spent so much time on them, I should probably list everything I “accomplished” over the past several weeks playing Civ V:

  • Video et Taceo (You can bet I went the Commerse track)
  • Blood and Iron
  • Star of the North
  • Veni, Vidi, Vici
  • Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka
  • Arabian Knights
  • Age of Empire
  • Give Peace a Chance
  • Empire of the East
  • A Woman’s Work
  • First of the Mohicans
  • Montezuma’s Revenge
  • A Magnificent Victory
  • Master of the Universe (Completed tonight.)
  • Charming. Really. (I usually play on Warlord when doing achievements.)
  • The Once and Future King
  • Do You Want to Super Size That (I usually play on Duel-size maps because it’s faster.)
  • Ruler of the Twelve Colonies (The South Pacific Map of the Paradise Found scenario is Huge.)
  • Gotta Catch ‘Em All
  • One to Rule Them All (I did this at the same time as Conquer the World.)
  • The Explorer (Imagine how many Duel-sized maps that took…)
  • The Appian Way
  • The Merchant King
  • Flying Fortress
  • Arab Trader
  • Gardens of Lake Texcoco (I don’t know if the game intentionally did this or the RNG shined on me, by I started with a lake 2 hexes away from my start location.)
  • Riddle of the Sphinx
  • People of the Longhouse (Hint: build the Longhouse, wait for you borders to expand, then destroy and produce/purchase the Longhouse again.)
  • Bollywood (Not hard, considering I usually use Tradition and only have 3-4 cities anyway.)
  • From Archaemennid to Safavid (Not hard on Settler…)
  • All Roads Lead to Rome (The legion built roads to city-states while my workers built improvements.)
  • Sun Tzu’s Art of War
  • Barbarian Warlord (I had almost run out of barbarian camps on my continent when I finally unlocked this.)
  • Barbary Pirate (Note: turn off Gods & Kings.  This one took a lot of patience and camping coastal barbarian camps.)
  • Tomb Raider (Did this by accident, actually.)
  • My Little Pony
  • Conquest of the World (Hint: take all of their cities.  Duel map, no city-states, built nothing but Hoplites, Catapults, and the odd Archers and Swordsmen.  Invaded and curb-stomped the enemy right before the deadline.)
  • The Golden Horde (As part of Rise of the Mongols scenario.)
  • Khan (This was actually a pretty fun scenario.  I think I had Keshiks with 390+ XP by the end.  Something like Accuracy III, Logistics, Range, Indirect Fire, Siege.  Who needs siege weapons?)
  • Khaaan!
  • Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition
  • Tea and Crumpets for Everyone (I thought this scenario was pretty boring.  It also didn’t end when I reached 1000 points.)
  • All Aboard the Orient Express
  • Au in the EU
  • Surviving the Marquesas
  • This isn’t Kansas (Keep heading southwest.)
  • Where’s the Biathlon
  • Zeupiter (Also by accident.  I don’t play aggressive, so I don’t prioritize this wonder.)
  • Bolt and Arrow (Another accident.)
  • Party in hattUSA (This scenario was fun.  I liked that you had to unlock wonders by means other than research.  I wouldn’t mind if there were more wonders like that.)
  • Wonderwall (Yeah, I played this one on Settler.)
  • Colonize This
  • Sticky Fingers (I haven’t been playing at that high difficulty.  Finally, on Prince, I got to the Renaissance without researching anything using Literacy.)
  • Whack a Mole (I finally realized that the computer always targets my capital and not my highest science city.)
  • Modern Major-General (I really liked this scenario too: the new tech tree, the way strategic resources work, the competition in various spheres of influence.)
  • The Last Crusade (Accident.)
  • Rastafari Messiah (Not hard, just takes a while.)
  • Quite Accomplished
  • Nobody expects…

That’s what happens when Mass Effect keeps crashing.  Anyway, now that I’m up to 46% of all achievements, maybe I can move onto something more productive.

Do the Best Professors Get the Worst Ratings?

In response to Nate Kornell’s blog post:

When you measure performance in the courses the professors taught (i.e., how intro students did in intro), the less experienced and less qualified professors produced the best performance. They also got the highest student evaluation scores. But more experienced and qualified professors’ students did best in follow-on courses (i.e., their intro students did best in advanced classes).

Bottom line? Student evaluations are of questionable value. 

These results are… surprising.  Well, not that surprising, since we know that students don’t always have the right idea of what constitutes learning, i.e., the difference between being able to finish a homework problem and, say, having the concepts organized in your mind to point that you could teach it to others.  But for student evaluations and long-term performance to be negatively correlated?  That implies the students’ cognitive ability to evaluate (Bloom’s Taxonomy tier 5/6) their own learning and/or the professor’s performance is critically flawed.

Now the blog post linked to wants to read something into this.  Actually, the authors of the original paper put out three possible explanations for these results:

  1. More experienced teachers are less likely to teach to the test, and instead draw on a broader curriculum and aim for deeper understanding.
  2. A student who has an easy time (which typically gets rated higher) may develop poor study habits or not see where they are lacking.
  3. Students who get a poor grade because of poor teaching will work harder to get a better grade in later classes to compensate.

But these are all conjecture, and I’m sure you can write your own explanation of why this occurs.  My personal hypothesis is that students evaluate a professor based on what they think they learned as opposed to what they actually did learn, with a tilt factor for how entertaining/interesting the professor makes class.  Whatever the actual reason, I’m now more suspicious of student evaluations.