Me, Patch and Mark got together for monthly wargaming today. We continued our earlier game of Onward Christian Soldiers. We’re near the end now, and when we continue, we’re going to need a second game to play afterwards.

When last we left our heroes, the Crusaders were besieging Aleppo and Antioch, and Kerbogha was was set to come on board and start causing trouble.

I figured (rightly) the situation with Duqaq was more immediate, so Kerbogha set out to rescue him from the armies that had surrounded him, and leave Aleppo to it’s own devices for a bit.

In the actual First Crusade, Kerbogha arrived at the seige of Antioch just after the Cruaders took it, failed in an attack on the Crusaders in the city, had his alliance break up, and retired from the war without really doing anything else. His poor luck seems to be following him in the game.

He’s a good leader, and he’s got a gigantic army by the standards of the game. He has suffered from poor attrition rolls, and has been very timid in battle against these barbaric invaders. In about four straight battles he rolled “cautious” for his tactics (which is good for most First Crusade Muslim leaders, but is his poorest choice, and should only happen 1/3 of the time). He failed to break through to Duqaq, who got his army cut to ribbons by the continual harrying of the Crusader armies around him, and got captured, putting one of my best leaders out of action.

Kerbogha pulled out and headed to Aleppo to break the siege there. Meanwhile, Antioch fell to the Crusader forces there, freeing up one of the more powerful armies.

Aleppo turned into a disaster. I had a good leader and army trapped there, and the Crusader assaults on the walls were getting closer to succeeding. By the time it was done, I had wrecked a couple of armies trying to break the siege (and got another one trapped and lost Balduk, a not-quite incompetent leader), and Kerbogha’s army was dangerously depleted. Aleppo fell, and Ridwan was captured, taking out another of my good leaders. Winter brought an end to the campaigning as the Crusaders started to head south again. Soqman, another of my second-string leaders managed to ambush and halt the march south.

In any battle you roll two dice for every leader involved. On a 2 or 12 they are eliminated or captured. Mark and Patch had been playing with fate, rolling lots of 3s and 11s all day. Finally, it happened and I captured his leader. And then I rolled a 12 and Soqman was captured in turn.

In all, I’ve had five leaders captured. There’s automatic replacements for all but one of them, but they aren’t very good. Meanwhile the Crusaders are getting dangerously depleted, with some factions with a bare handful of men left. But my poor leaders have trouble fighting anyone, no matter what the odds. The game doesn’t have far to go (about four turns), and if Kerbogha can keep from getting himself killed, we figure I’ll win. But we’re uncertain on how the victory points will pan out, so we’re going to have to finish it off to really know.