Gameplay improvement suggestions for a patch / expansion ideas
I'll give my ideas first, I'd actually even pay for it as DLC:
1. More filters on searching characters. Should be able to search for the traits, like only showing genius or whatever, etc. Also allow locking a sort criteria, 3 locks would be about right, so you can sub-sort -- so you could lock a sort according to rank for example, then sort that list again by genius trait, then age, etc. etc. If I recall this was actually in the first CK, a ledger page where you could at least get a list of characters by trait group (like all genius).
Bottom line.. improve the filtering and sorting so players can find what they're looking for and see all the available gameplay options. Would be fun. Also, there should be some kind of bonus to same culture and some kind of extra cost for long distance arranged marriages. Playing as Jerusalem, it's not quite historical how easy it is to just drag a Rurokovich dynasty Russian down to the middle east.
AI could also use improvements on how they decide marriages. It really should go like this: preference on same culture, then distance away, and only going outside those parameters if it's a really good bride / groom but there should be a gold cost involved.
2. Dowries, and add a filter search to that. Historically, far as I know all the daughters being married off had a cash dowry. In game, the AI should raise offered dowry if the older the unmarried daughter gets. Dowry size should factor into the marriage proposal decision. If a player is desperate for cash, that harelip clubfooted weak bride may be more attractive.
Also there should be more consequence to not getting offspring married off. Have the npc's scheming and intrigue increase the longer they're put off.
3. Life peerages. I'm not sure on when these showed up historically, but it would just be nice to be able to grant a title as a life peerage with the liege locked in as heir.
4. Some control over your offspring's court. You should be able to grant an heir a landed title and still have the decision on who they marry, and who their children marry (the next heir generation). They could still arrange marriage as they do now, but have a popup window come up like with educate child, the player could hit "I can find better" and then go arrange a marriage.
Expansion pack ideas:
1. Expansion to make the muslim dynasties playable, also the venetian and other republics, and make the pope playable with a whole bunch of papal fun added in. That would be a nice expansion.
2. The way the game is now, it's a bit offensive if a player is muslim. Think about it. Not only can you not play any muslim countries, but right there in the historical start descriptions Saladin is called "the great infidel." This isn't really necessary, some objectivity would be better. Historically, the moors in spain were more advanced and tolerant than the Christians. There's no reason for this game to be so one-sided, as a wargame the "other side" is just as interesting to play.
Incidentially, if there is a muslim expansion, didn't the caliphs and whatnot have multiple wives? Harems? That could be an interesting gameplay advantage.
Of all these ideas, the first one is most important to me, just getting some more filter and sort abilities on that character screen.