I don’t know if every male ever born wants to dominate the world, but ours do. Luke and Jacob were discussing it this morning, arguing the finer points of Medieval Total War 2. I’d been only vaguely aware of this game before, hearing the occasional shouts of “Yes, holy Kaiser, it will be done!” come out of the computer speakers. Apparently, the point of the game is to take over the known world during the Middle Ages. And you play a German king. (I could speculate on the reasons why, but I’ll let you do that on your own.) Anyway, Jacob has taken over the world and owns everything from France to Kiev. He was sharing his strategy with Luke. When Jake starts the game, he uses his army to take over a couple of countries. Then he taxes them, and not just normal levies. No. Jacob employs the heavy-handed dress-your-serfs-in-rags kind of taxes.
Luke was radically opposed to this kind of taxation. He believes in benevolent dictatorship. And Luke argued that it makes the citizens less likely to rebel. Jacob countered that by insisting that it takes the conquered peoples a long time to rebel because they’re so poor. And when they do begin to rebel, he just lowers the taxes. At which point, they adore him for listening to their needs. And he still gets lots of money because the taxes are much higher than what they were before he took over—but now they’re grateful to him to pay the exorbitant rates.
I asked Jacob what happens in the game now that he rules the world. He said that Timar the Lame and the Timarids were attacking him. So he’s sending his crack troops, the Imperial Knights to wipe them out. I asked him if the knights had a name. He told me, “The Forlorn Hope.” Apparently, these troops are condemned prisoners whom Jake gave a second chance for life if they’d fight for him. He said they’re amazing and wiped the Mongols off the map. Oh, right.
I asked him what other enemies he had in the game. He told me that the Pope was a problem because Jake had taken over the Papal states, and the Pope got angry. So the Pope excommunicated him. “But it’s okay,” Jake said, “because I assassinated him. Then I set up one of my own cardinals as Pope.” The new Pope says, “(Jake’s) piety is an inspiration to all peoples.” Hmm... Don’t worry, I’ll make sure this child does not major in Political Science or read Machiavelli’s The Prince. The world’s a much safer place if Jake’s an electrical engineer.