Had Patch and Mark over yesterday for another round of Onward Christian Soldiers. We definitely have a much better handle on the rules now. Got about as far through this time as last, but yesterday was a short day, since Mark had another engagement that called him away, we were really going much faster. Things are definitely looking interesting enough that we’ve written down where we are and will be continuing the same game next time.

For this game, I took the Muslims, while Patch and Mark split the Crusader factions. Their general plan was to march south with the North and South Franks, while the Germans and Normans stay behind to clean up the North. I’ve been benefiting from having a better understanding of how troop assignment works to gather my armies into forces that stand some sort of chance against a crusader army. Sadly, even my best leaders just aren’t very good, and most of them don’t have a chance against the better Crusader leaders.

An interesting dynamic of the First Crusade game, is that the Muslim leaders are generally cheap to activate, which means they get lots of activations in a compared to the Crusaders. On the other hand, they generally can’t do as much during an activation, and there’s only three leaders who can even possibly get a good formation in battle, which is about as bad against the incompetent Crusader leaders as against the good ones.

I have been abusing some good die rolls, and gotten myself into trouble. The North Franks sent Robert of Normandy down the coast past Tripoli, presumably to seize a base to take Jerusalem from (which is the only thing in the south that’s truly defended). I managed to surround him with a couple armies and cause some losses. Then, Adhemar (of the South Franks) trapped Duqaq (my better leader, who had moved against Robert from the north) between him and Robert. It’s going to be… interesting to see if I can get myself out of that. But while the size of my army is dwindling, I haven’t suffered any outright defeats(!), which is keeping me from having too big a disaster (yet).

Meanwhile, Both Antioch and Aleppo are under siege. Aleppo is a bit more worrisome, as one of my better leaders is trapped in there. Kerbogha, my best leader is set to arrive this turn with a large army. There’s a lot I’d like him to do…. Namely rescue Ridwan in Aleppo, break the siege of Antioch, and rescue Duqaq from the armies surrounding him, but he’ll probably only have a shot at one of them.