Anyway, I figured out how to take screen caps, so here's the story with pics.
The world. This was mostly to show you what the world looks like right now. I'm green, France is dark blue, pink (only one provine) is the argonese, bright yellow is spain (they are in trouble), orange is ahlomens (or something like that... arabic), dark yellow is the egyptians, powder blue is the russians, dark black (only one province visible to my north border west of a russian province) is the Holy Roman Empire/Germans, purple is the byzantine empire, the white spot in the italian boot is the pope (he usually owns the papal states, which he still does, and rome, which I own). The grey in the spanish area is rebels (no leader or rebellious uprising controlled areas). The dark grey islands south of the boot is sicily. The 'transparent/light' black is area I can't see (things like border forts and ships and mercenaries and priests, etc... give me the ability to see into foreign lands).
I eventually own the whole sea, so you will see that the french own the north, the egyptians are aggressively taking the east and southeast from the russians, and the almohens have the south and west. I'm stuck in the middle (bogus). France is a heavy ally. The Egyptians and I are at war with one another, and the pope will every once-in-a-while try to take tuscany or rome from me, eliminating my opportunities of crusading.
Anywho, more info:
My prince and heir. Very good shape if you look at his stats (loyalty is obvious, piety is obvious, dread is good and bad... some fear is good when leading, but too much can cause even his troops to cower from him, command is measured on the field of battle, and he does well, and acumen is how he handles the books which makes a difference when he's king or in charge of a land).His vices & virtues show he's doing alright, but that adultery may hurt if the pope sends in inquisitors...
My Doge (King)... I like to call him Daniel Marino
The younger prince. He's a decent army leader, but I use him in the frontlines because he is a pervert.
Remember how I said the Doge's uncle is who I really wanted to be king? Here is Lord Macchiavelli who I made king of rome. Incredible Command and Acumen on him. Still considering assassinating everyone till I get to him... His V&V are also immaculate.
Something I found humorous. The Pope has low piety. Looking at his V&V we can see how often he likes to attack me and loses, as he is always running from the field that he has a reputation for it.
My current king produces a lot of girls. At least I have 3 heirs...
On to the action. To try and get the Russians allied with me, I sent a princess to marry a prince, and then they fell under attack from the Egyptians in Khazar. The egyptians laid siege to the castle there, so I decided that would be a good way to get in the good graces of Russian. Since I had a large Merc army that was bringing down my gold I sent them all in to soften things up. My first attack into an arabic nation. They had many more troops, but my mercs are veterans of many battles.
It was a SLAUGHTER... but not the way I had hoped. Arabic troops are much faster and stronger armed. I lost one of my largest army in a single battle. The egyptians took advantage of the situation and sent two large armies and took Kiev from me. Crimea and Moldavia have good sized armies, so I can keep them at bay until I start up another big army. Since I own the sea (well the Med at the moment), I conjure up another Merc army, but the Egyptians take Crimea in the process (I don't dare fight them with lower numbers, so I fled to the castle for a turn). They take the land, but next turn My army arrives. I was able to nab it back, and if you look to the east of the Black sea, you'll notice the grey land. The Turk's returned with a secret heir in the middle of the egyptians lands. I'm free for now.
Of course, now is when me Doge dies of illness. The King is dead! Long live Doge Enrico (V&V).
The spanish start sending out ships, so I attack and destroy them all within one year, causing an excom warning from the pope.
Now comes the time when Rome has finished building a cathedral and I can start withering down France from behind their backs with my new type of troop... more like an emissary, though... The Inquisitors. Those french... all dirty heretics and they WILL answer to the lord for their crimes!
I need to rank up my inquisitors, so I send them to the Sicilians first.
While the Catholics get the crusades, the arabics get a jihad. The Catholics have to get permission from the Pope to crusade and can only crusade against non-catholic nations (including orthodox). A Jihad must be for a land once held by the country, even if it was for only one turn... like... say... Crimea. While I'm worrying about this, I start sending my Inquisitors over to the Spanish, who are already in deep shit, and give them the 'ol "FU" by putting their generals and heirs up to trial for heresay.
Now about that Jihad... I don't have an army that can handle it... in fact, I'm really spread thin right now. I can concentrate on one army to take on the Jihad, but I need to get Kiev back, or at least keep the egyptian forces in Kiev busy so they don't attack me along with the Jihad. Easiest way to do that is Crusade against Kiev... but the Pope is still pissed at me... Either my King or the Pope needs to die and I don't have time to wait. My best assassin has a piss poor chance (14%), but I need a miracle. How ironic is it that my 'miracle' is the death of the pope by my assassins hands??
So the crusade is on its way, and the Byzzies think now is their chance and they sieze Moldavia with a VERY large force. Seeing that my Crusade is sitting in Carpathia, I retreat to the castle so that the Crusade can chase out the Byzzies and hopefully still have Juice to take on the Egyptians in Kiev.
The last move I had was when the Byzzie army in COnstantinople tried to take Greece from me. I was able to fight them off.
So that's where I am at the moment. In a standoff between two nations hoping that France doesn't realize taht if they invade now, I'm pretty much screwed. I need to create a good 3-6 EXTREMELY large armies. A few more crusades (like one to Constantinople) will help my efforts if the Pope would stop trying to take Tuscany or Rome from me and getting pissed off when I kick his ass...
If you look at the last pic you can see that I have ships throughout every sea (which is why I can see the north cost and the UK and finland, etc... oh, btw - red is Britian, but they are under major attack from France who is about to eliminate them), so my trade has granted me huge amounts of money. I have the cash needed... just need to have the time. Hopefully Doge Enrico's reign is as good as his fathers...
BTW - Anyone know a good, free (as in beer) app that batch converts TGA's to a more readable format like jpg (the screen caps for the game are TGA's, so I found a program to convert it, but its only a 30 day trial).