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Subject: 2 newbies clash! rss

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Matthew Bortmes
United States
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Hey there one and all, this is a session report of my first game of Crusader Rex, playing against my friend Rick. I got the game for Christmas as my wife knows I am a lover of both History (the Crusader period in particular) and games, so she thought I'd love this, and I do! Finding the BGG section on this game after we played has helped me out immensely! Here's how the game went:

Rick and I essentially played our first game as we were learning the rules, so neither of us were as cutthroat competitive as we usually are. We only got through the first two years before Rick had to head for home, but I think we got the gist of how the game should be played and I'm looking forward to another, start to finish game!


Rick drew the Saracens and I was the Franks, we set up, and for the first couple of turns we were reading the rule book as we moved a few blocks here and there and didn't anything terribly exciting. Rick's inital Nomad draws were 2 Eygptians, a Kurd and a Turk. I deployed everything in its Home Seat.

I quickly understood by looking at the board that the Saracens start off in a much stronger position, so I played several Musters and gathered my forces at Jerusalem, Antioch and a smattering of the Coastal cities in the center of the Board: Acre, Tyre, Tripoli and Beirut.

Rick was even more cautious than me, and gathered his forces in Big Clusters at Egypt, Damascus and Aleppo, while sending out a few lone units a town or two away from his Capitals. Looking back, it's easy to see that this was exactly what he SHOULD NOT have been doing!

Eventually, I moved out a few units and attacked some of his isolated forces, managing to kill a few Emirs in the South and Center of the board, but found out that the Knight's Charge can be deadly to the Franks in the North when Bohemund and a Templar rolled 3 6's! Rick got agressive in the 4th and 5th turns and managed to kill off one of my Outremers in the South (Walter) along with my Northern Templar, but I got lucky and managed to get a Strength 1 Bohemund back to Antioch. We then moved our guys into Winter Quarters and the end of 1187 had the original cities still being held by thier starting owners, and I had lost only Walter (to the Draw Pile) and a Templar, while Rick had lost 3 Emirs and an Egyptian (to his Draw Pile)


With a much better grasp of how to play the game now, Rick got more agressive and I was hit with both good and bad luck in this year. Rick suckered me in the center of the board by moving out small groups to act as bait and when I bit on them and attacked, he moved in his main force around the 3rd Turn of the year. I managed to not lose any Blocks, but most of my forces in the Center were down to 1 or 2 steps.

I must have gone blind or something, because I called a Muster to Beirut for my chewed up Central forces, thinking it was the Victory City instead of Tripoli, and left Tripoli unoccupied! Rick moved right on in, and I smacked myself for my stupidity!

Meanwhile in the North and South I had a run of good luck in the form of some attrocious die-rolling by Rick and some lucky die-rolling by me.

In the South, Rick managed to take out Reynald, but when he tried to lay siege to Jerusalem, my Hospitaller and King Guy Knights Charged to great effect, taking out an Emir and an Egpytian. On the southern coast I had a pair of Templars in Ascalon attacked by a Strong Force out of Eygpt and both Templars were reduced to a single step while killing off another Emir. Though Rick was forced to Retreat from this fight, I quickly pulled these Templars back as they would not last through another round of fighting.

In the North, Rick put Antioch under siege, but I kept rolling well on the Siege Attrition rolls and didn't lose any steps, much to Rick's dismay!

In the last two turns of the year, first Rick nixed my chance to shift some forces around by playing a Mud card on the 5th Turn (when I played a 3!) and then I played the Winter Campaign Card in the 6th Turn to put Tripoli under siege.

I had some great luck with my Draws from the Block pile, getting 3 Crusaders out of my 4 draws! (We played that when Rick played the Mud card on Turn 5, there was no Draw-not sure if this correct) I had 2 English Crusaders drawn and 1 German, my 4th Draw was Walter again. Rick drew 3 Eyptians and a Kurd. I was getting VERY nervous about the size of the Army in Eygpt!

Unfortunately, just as 1189 started, Rick had to go. I'm really itching for another round of this great game, especially now that I kinda-sorta know what I'm doing!

Looking back, it's easy to see that the Saracen player starts off with a major advantage in forces and needs to be Extremely Aggressive right off the bat. Also he needs to use his Nomads as "cushions" for hits, as he can't afford to lose his Emirs as he'll never see them again.

I must say, I am EXTREMELY impressed with this game, I really enjoy all the built-in limiters that force a player to really consider how much force can/should be employed in attacks and will they be able to move their forces where they need them to be, not just for attacks/defense, but also just for quartering in the winter! A very well-thought out game in my opinion.

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