Introduction: Advantages and Disadvantages
- Large personal levy: With only 2 counties, The king of Leon has an impressive 2800 men under his personal command. Leon also gains additional 600 from vassals.
- Claims and land: As the middle of three brothers, King Alphonso VI is first heir to the Kingdom of Castile and second heir to the Kingdom of Galicia. His cousin is also king of Navarra. Finally, the many Muslim states can be attacked in holy wars for large amounts of land. He is also second heir to the County of Zamora, his sister owns it.
- Your sister Countess Urraca of Zamora. Note her heir is your older brother Sancho II
- Decent leader: although King Alphonso IV is not a fighter or diplomat, he is an elusive shadow and has roughly 20 in intrigue. This makes plots against vassals or brothers much easier.
- Unmarried: Like all the brothers, Alphonso is unmarried. This means you can pick his wife and make alliances. He is also young at 26 years old.
- Weak vassals: With no dukes or powerful counts to worry about, it will be a long time until Leon has to worry about internal revolt unless a faction forms.
- Family: besides your two brothers and any children they may have, you have several cousins of your dynasty, about half of them with land. Your cousins are backup heirs in case both brothers die childless and you also grow old and childless. You also have several uncles and aunts, but they are either illegitimate or of a different dynasty. Your cousin the king of Navarre also has many children and siblings, some of which are illegitimate.
- Picture: Your elder brother Sancho, and below him your younger brother Garcia.
- Economic struggles: Leon starts out with little money and the large personal levies cost a lot of money. Consider pushing forward a small feudal tax as soon as possible.
- Powerful neighbors: Although Leon is equally matched with Castile and slightly more powerful than Galicia, it cannot attack one without taking losses and being too weak to defend itself against the other. Also, the Muslims of Hispana will band together so early holy wars are difficult.
- Brothers: Both have a claim on you and are waiting for you to slip up. Be wary of them and try to ensure their land goes to you. One may defeat you and the third may defeat him, you are still rotting in a prison with no land, so that doesn't help you. Sancho II of Castile also has a lot of martial and can pull a lot of troops, but he is vulnerable while leading his army.
- Terrible Succession Laws: The cursed Gavelkind is the Leonese Succession. Change it as soon as possible.
Picture: You as King Alphonso VI of Leon, note your elder brother Sancho is your heir.
Unifying the Big Three
The most important part of surviving as Leon is to immediately unify the Catholic Kingdoms of Galicia, Leon, and Castile. Without them the Muslim emirates and counties will unite until they have most or all of Southern Spain and you are stuck with 1/3 of Northern Spain. The problem is your brothers, you need to quickly act to get their land in your hands. Best case scenario, Sancho II of Castile dies from being killed in a holy war or sickness, and you inherit his land. Then, your other brother happens to catch smallpox or die of other natural causes and you become King of Galicia, Leon, and Castile within a few short years. However, best case scenario does not always happen so its best to prepare for the worst. Although it may seem tempting to get the easy assassination of your brother Garcia II, his land will go to Sancho, and Sancho will use the combined power of both kingdoms to defeat you. Keep Galicia alive until he has children or your elder brother dies. Sancho tends to declare holy wars on Muslims he cannot beat, and as a skilled commander he usually leads his troops personally. Leading troops personally can be dangerous, so do not be surprised if he is maimed, wounded, missing limbs, incapable or just flat out dead. If Castile is fighting a holy war, it may be time to fight Galicia through your claim. Make sure Castile is distracted if you are going to declare war on Galicia. If they are not, the second you become king of Galicia dear old brother will use his claim and take both your kingdoms. Being fresh out of troops from conquering Galicia, Castile will have an easy victory. Play the odds at the right moment to gain the crowns. It doesn't matter which you get first, and a full strength Leon and Galicia can overpower Castile. Castile is the most powerful kingdom of the three, with Leon second and Galicia third. Be careful of declaring war on your brothers, try to use intrigue or inheritance to unify the three kingdoms. There is no one way to do this, as there are too many variables to that could happen. A quick summary is: use intrigue and plots to gain one of the kingdoms, and use the combined power of the two to overpower the third, either through inheritance, intrigue, or war.
Now that you have the big three, you can sit back, relax, and have a baby or ten. Right? Wrong! You must continue to press your advantage on Hispana. You may have some claims on your cousin, who is king of Navarra, but it usually isn't worth it to waste your troops on him. The small kingdoms of Barcelona and Aragon are the only other Catholic Kingdoms after you and your cousin. Neither are particularly useful allies, but it may be worth allying with them to protect them from Muslim aggression. Without them, you lose all your buffer from aggression except for your cousin, who is no match for more than one emirate. Considering they come in groups of at least two, this is a major problem. You need to declare a holy war on the Aftasid emirate for some land, and as soon as you are able to be sure to attack the Dhunnunid Emirate for more land. You will need at least two holy wars for a buffer against the Muslims. Be wary of declaring 2 holy wars after each other, as threat level is greatly increased with even one holy war. Of the two, definitely target Aftasid first,they are more powerful and are more likely to attack you. Once two holy wars have been declared and you now have 8 more counties and 2 duchies in your possession, you can start to relax. After creating the buffer zone, begin to focus on domestic affairs: choosing an heir, pleasing vassals, changing the succession laws, regular laws, etc.
Picture: your cousin, King of Navarra, one of three other Catholic kingdoms besides you.