Been a busy weekend.

Saturday was the Midsummer Art Festival at the Triton Museum. We did our usual thing and got out the pavilion and panels and set up a nice display. Friday had been a really hot day, and we were worried about the Art Fest being pretty punishing, but the temperature stayed reasonable, and there were some pretty good stretches where clouds got in the way of the sun, which helped a lot. In fact, it even rained for about 30 seconds at one point.

Sadly, it was a smaller show than the usual one, only one day, and with a smaller crowd. Sadly, this means that we only sold one piece (the last limited print of World Domination), but it was a pleasant day, and we’re happy to help support the museum.

Yesterday was both my birthday and monthly wargaming. Sadly, the need to do it on Sunday gave us a hard 5 PM time limit, as some people have a long trip home from here. But we got far enough through the First Crusade game from last time to be able to call it at the end of the day.

The main experience for me during this half of the game was a series of bad chit pulls. I had a hard time getting any of the higher-numbered chits, which made it all too easy to ignore some of my leaders.

The first few turns went fairly well. By the time the summer of 1098 was over the North Syrians had been completely destroyed, with all their cities taken and their commanders taken with them, leaving them with three 1-1 leaders and no army. He started gifting himself cities from the South Syrians so that they could conduct the defense of a couple sites the S. Syrians wouldn’t get around to, and try to raise a new army.

Meanwhile, the thrust south was going too slowly. Raymond finished taking Hamah, and Bohemond got down to Homs and took it by assault. However, at that point the Fatamids realized that the Crusaders didn’t care who all these cities belonged to, and sent their army and navy up to garrison Acre. By that point, winter was coming on, and Raymond tryed staging himself down towards the coast south of Acre, but the weather was too bad, and he ended up stranded south of Tiberias.

Meanwhile, the situation up north was getting desperate. Kerbogha seems to be cursed. In actual history, he failed to meaningfully intervene in the Crusades, and in the game, despite a good campaign rating and a large army, he tends to do poorly. In this game he got beat up in most any battle he had, but he kept managing to make good most of his losses, so his army was staying in the 40 range, while the Germans were slowly dwindling. Added to this was some really poor German chit draws that saw them barely moving while the Mosul Turks started cutting off lines of communication to outside supplies and the fact that the bulk of Crusading forces were getting further away. My hope was to keep dancing around and trade cities back and forth with the Turks and hope to have the right ones left at the end of the game.

This worked well at first, but it probably took me too long to unify my armies so I had a better chance of keeping Kerbogha honest. And in the spring of 1099, disaster struck the German army.

I hadn’t properly read the Crusader victory conditions when we had to choose cities after the fall of Antioch, and only remembered that picking Jerusalem was important, but forgot why. So, each of us ended up with one faction that picked Jerusalem and one that didn’t, and those two that didn’t lost 20% of their force to the two that did. This transferred forces from the Germans and North Franks to the South Franks and Sicilian Normans (who really needed it, the Norman army was down to about 5 ASP). However, the shrinking of the recently unified German army made it much harder to contemplate standing up to Kerbogha. A misstep by me allowed him to trap the Germans in Samosata. I got him with a surprise attack out of the gate when arrived, and did some damage, but then I went back into the city. The resulting siege and assaults on a SDR 2 city wiped out the German army, and reduced their possessions to Tarsus, back in Anatolia.

Meanwhile, the South Franks and the Sicilian Normans had reached Palestine, but had no real options. The important cities were too well defended to assault, and the armies were too small to besiege them. The continual recruitment of the South Syrians had finally been paying off this session, and a well timed desertion card had drained the life back out of Raymond’s army after receiving the troops flocking to the armies that were after the holy city of Jerusalem.

We ended up calling the game at the end of June to Mid-July 1099. Things weren’t going to get any better. I was in the cellar with an average score of -3 (-1 for the South Franks who had Hamah and -5 for the Germans who no longer had anything), Jason had an average of 5 (11 for the North Franks who had Antioch, -1 for the Sicilian Normans who had Homs), Mark tied first with an average of 10 (0 for the North Syrians, 20 for the South Syrians who still held Damascus and Jerusalem), and 10 for Patch (who had Aleppo and Edessa). We figured Patch as the winner, as the Mosul Turks were sure to take more of their victory cities in the next few turns.

Beyond that, my birthday was quiet. Baron fixed a good dinner, and later brought back a very nice three-layer cake with a raspberry topping from a fancy desert shop. My parents got me a copy of The Magnificent Century, book two of a history of the Plantagenets that I’ve been wanting to get all of (I already have book one).