I really need to catch up on WoW stuff now. But yesterday was another round of gaming at my place. As we had decided last time Patch, Mark and I tried out Onward Christian Soldiers in the multiplayer 1st Crusade scenario.

It comes with a “Quick Start” booklet that I handed copies of to everyone last time. They do help, some of our rules questions were answered by Patch looking them up in his copy, instead of my in the main rulebook. We only got four turns done, but were starting to get the hang of things, and some idea of what we’re doing. The current plan is to try it again next month, or back to Soldier Kings (which is much simpler) if we actually can snag someone else for the get-together.

While I don’t think there’s anything completely new in the game, the package is not one I’m used to. You can move as far as you want, but the further you go, the more attrition you suffer. Considering the Crusaders have no ability to get reinforcements, this is a big problem. Some attrition can be reduced by spending resources, but you need to have a city in the region to get those resources from. Figuring out what is a good way to take a city, and what is a poor way is something we’re still figuring out.

The two main Crusader factions (Northern and Southern Franks) were cursed with drawing low activation numbers all game, which meant they could barely move their armies around. Despite this, most of Mark’s Northern Franks ended the day under the walls of Antioch, trying to take the city. My Southern Franks had ended up at Edessa, not quite getting in the poorly-defended city before we ran out of time.

My other faction, the Germans, had been much more active, and skirmished their way to Aleppo. The untimely appearance of Patch’s large Mosul Turk army under Kerbogha may have been the end of them in another turn, but they had fought off several smaller attacks quite well. I hadn’t even looked at the charts before the game, but now I’m learning not to be scared of the less capable Muslim leaders, the combat system is pretty punishing on them.

Post-game notes; found a couple interesting things on BGG:

At the last second, they decided to cut down on the number of “Draw Event Card”s in the activation deck, and have each side draw one. Sadly, this isn’t in the rules or on the cards… -_-;;

I still can’t find the rule, but we should have each had an Event Card. Ah, there it is, at the end of the intro section on Event Cards, but not mentioned in the scenario setup.

And more:

Armenian bribery is during movement, there’s a couple passing mentions to the Diplomacy phase, because it was done there in early drafts.

Ravaging Finishes your activation, the Quick-start rules erroneously say you can Continue.

Independent factions can undertake their own actions against a city that’s already under siege. (Anyone can Assault, only one Siege can be on-going.)

I also need to re-examine Stops, Finishing and Continuing. I *think* you may need to roll to Continue when you arrive at a city before you do anything like start a Siege or Assault. That would tend to slow down the Crusaders even more… so I’m not sure there. Of course, with all those low-Campaign leaders, it might hurt the Moslems even more once you hit the middle game.