Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
Please note I will not explain the rules but just give my view on the game as such.
The topic is a really great and original in a way that it is not WW II, Napoleonic or ACW.
I saw a programme the other day on the great crusades and immediately I got to play CR to do it all over again. The theme carries you away in a way that it does not become just get control over at least 4 cities, no, the emotion goes beyond that and strategic choices becomes influenced by emotions! Franks:Hang on to Jerusalem to the bitter end!' or Saracens: 'Storm Jerusalem, no matter what cost!'
(wheather it is smart is an other story, your emotion will decide !)
I had no issues here. I am familiar with other block games and in an odd case something is not explicitly mentioned it is quite intuitive what to do anyhow.
Very good. Wood, dice board and stickers are all great. I am always afraid of mutant blocks (as I had with Gettysburg: badges of courage and Napoleon). All blocks were fine and they are just a brilliant size.
The objectives are the same for the opposing parties: control at least four of the big cities. The first time I had no clue what to do as the frank player. Being the Saracen it was a bit easier. After some plays you will get a feel for both sides and although the objective is the same, their strategies are different.
I love the hit and run ability for the Saracen and the Knights charge of the Franks. These little twists have not only a great impact on the tactics but combined with Mustering, Harrying, Sallying and Siege give the game it’s intense flavour other than pushing blocks and battle.
A lot of complaints have been posted regarding the balance. I do not know older version of the games as I have the latest but I do not have an issue. Yes the Franks have a hard time but on the other hand are challenging and interesting to play. Where to strike and when to strike is more important for the Frank player as a mistake can be more deadly for him than for the Saracen player. I personally feel there is not a balance issue as such.
What is to dislike?
Hmmm….I like block games and Columbia but I am critical as well. Honestly the only thing I can mention was my initial disappointment regarding the event cards.
Initially I thought there were too few and hoped there were some additional tricks and treats possible with the cards.
After playing a many times I actually don’t miss the event cards as this would make it too much a different game then. Compared to HotS there is more freedom of choice and movement and this is where CR shines so in the end it does not require any more event cards. The manoeuvring is the event in itself! Best comparison is with Napoleon but I love the options of Mustering, spend one action to get all units within range to that particular city!
Is CR better than HotS?
Although I like the freedom of manoeuvring more than HtoS, this last is a different game that uses similar mechanics. The objectives are different in HotS as are the strategies. HotS is more asymmetric and that is where this game shines.
In my opinion they are as fantastic in their own right and I would not hesitate to recommend both games. Choosing between the two is for me not an option.
For me, CR is one of the better war games out there in the non-simulation genre. It is easily gasped and played with a fantastic replay value. Apart from the great theme, the following things make CR for me a game that makes a difference compared to other games and make it really shine bright:
-Freedom of manoeuvre
-Mustering /Harrying / Sallying / Knights charge / Hit & Run
So in the end I can recommend this game to anyone, war gamer and non-war gamer alike. it's good....it's very good.....I even think a pacifist would appreciate what is done here. It is a classic in the line of the HotS that should find a home with any serious gamer. Seriously recommended!
- Last edited Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:36 am (Total Number of Edits: 4)
- Posted Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:44 pm
I've been trying to decide between CR and HotS, but having read your article, I think I'm now going to have to buy both!
Thanks for a great review.
I have recently received my copy of Crusader Rex and I agree with you on every point of your review! Thank you for a great read!
And: Yes, one should definitely own Crusader Rex and Hammer Of The Scots.
Good review. What once looked like boring block games now have me interested. I'm all about hidden movement etc. Now which local friend has a block game???
Unfortunately (for your wallet, that is), the only satisfying solution is to buy both HotS and CR and also vote for Wars of the Roses on the Columbia Gameplan.