This is a fun game don't get me wrong, but it does come down to a bit of a simulated soap opera, picking the future of you're family members is fun, as well as killing off you're wife when she doesn't give you a good heir is amusing in this game.
Plagues are bad, as well as storms, bad crops, bad omens, and brigands that wander the land. Wars are down right population draining, and actually every time I play this, I try to focus on creating a nice nation state, but the A.I loves to declare war on me. I think the game can be played multi-player, but I haven't toyed with it.
You can raise armies, and build upgrades, but the upgrades usually work in the background engine of the game, so you don't always see the results.
Lots of countries and time periods to play, very fun game actually overall.