This is a description of a solitaire playing of the 3rd Crusade scenario. For those who are unfamiliar with the game, it uses a preplotted, simultaneous movement system. The Crusades wasn't meant to be played solitaire but the only person I know who was willing to play the game with me was me. I've decided to put the focus of this session report on King Richard and events in his vicinity. Events that occur farther away from the English king are dealt with in a less detailed way. Richard enters the game on the second game-turn:
Game-turn 2 (I May 1191):
Richard Coeur-de-Lion arrives at Cyprus and debarks his 3200 man army.
Game-turn 3 (II May 1191):
Richard moves to within sight of Famagusta, and ponders how best to capture the city.
Game-turn 4 (I June 1191):
Richard decides to assault Famagusta rather than waste time on a prolonged siege. The weakly defended city quickly falls. The reign of the Cypriot ruler, Isaac Comnenus, has come to an end.
Game-turn 5 (II June 1191):
Richard orders Hubert-Walter (Bishop of Salisbury) and Andrew of Chauvigny to garrison Famagusta with their 400 men, then he sets sail for the Holy Land with 2800 men. A couple of weeks later Richard finds himself in the coastal city of Sidon.
Game-turn 6 (I July 1191):
In Sidon, Richard learns that Al-Marqab Castle (hex 1811) and the city of Tortosa (hex 1812) have recently fallen to the Saracens. He also receives word that Tyre, defended by Conrad of Monferrat, Hugh III (Duc de Burgundy), and Balian of Ibelin, is under siege by Saladin. A little farther south the Saracen occupied city of Acre is under siege by Guy of Lusignan (King of Jerusalem). Richard heads south to relieve Tyre but progress is slow due to the threat posed by Al-Afdal's presence at nearby Beaufort Castle.
As Richard makes his way south, Philip II Augustus (King of France) informs (as a result of a random event) King Guy that he doesn't feel like sticking around any longer to help out with the siege of Acre. Philip strikes off on the return journey to Europe, taking 2200 men with him.
Game-turn 7 (II July 1191):
In late July Richard reaches the northern outskirts of Tyre. Simultaneously, a large naval battle is occuring just to the west. The Saracen fleet wins the fairly bloodless affair and force the scattered Crusader navy to retreat to Famagusta and Tripoli (hex 1814).
Next occurs a land battle that is anything but bloodless. Saladin, with his 7000 strong army, finds himself under attack, incredibly, from three directions. Richard, with 2800 troops, launchs a Coordinated Charge from the north, while 1000 city defenders sortie from Tyre. To make matters worse, 8800 reinforcements from King Guy's army slam into the south flank of Saladin's troops. The Saracens hold out against the three-pronged onslaught for a while, but in a rare poor decision the great leader counters with a Frontal Charge against Richard that turns into a disaster. When the fighting ends the Saracens have lost 2200 men. Saladin himself is mortally wounded near the end of the sorry debacle and dies just a few hours later. The 4800 Saracen survivors manage to escape to the northeast, and finish their retreat in Sidon where they will lick their wounds for a few weeks.
Crusader casualties in the battle totalled 800 men. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, Simon de Montfort and William of Preaux perished in the battle, causing their 600 now leaderless troops to head back to England. So, all told, the Crusaders have 1400 men fewer than they had before the battle.
Meanwhile, Guy's army besieging Acre, now severely undersized after sending so many troops to relieve the siege of Tyre, loses over half of it's remaining strength to siege attrition and now numbers a mere 800 men. The city defenders, under the command of Kara-Kush, have been reduced to 1200 men by the now three month long siege.
Game-turn 8 (I August 1191):
Richard, now in command of 8800 men, rushes to the aid of King Guy. By the time the English king arrives the besiegers have lost another 1000 men to siege attrition. The handwriting is on the wall for Kara-Kush however, as only 600 of his men remain to defend Acre.
Richard and Guy learn from a messenger that The Krak de Chevalliers (hex 2113) has recently fallen to Izz Ad-Din.
Game-turn 9 (II August 1191):
The two sides agree to a truce.
Game-turn 10 (I September 1191):
The truce continues.
Game-turn 11 (II September 1191):
During the second half of September the truce ends and King Guy resumes the siege of Acre. A few days later the Saracen garrison is eliminated by siege attrition. The Crusaders do not fare much better, with another 1000 casualties incurred due to siege attrition. In fact, King Guy's retinue is completely eliminated, along with that of Philip de Dreux (Bishop of Beauvais). Only 400 Crusaders, under the command of Erard (Comte de Brienne), are still around to enjoy the victory.
Meanwhile, an impatient Richard, in command of 8000 men, marches down the coast toward Caesarea. Richard's long-term plan is to capture the coastal cities of Caesarea, Arsuf, and Jaffa, before turning East to strike toward Jerusalem.
While the English king is moving south, Al-Aziz, with a force 3400 strong, is moving north along the coast toward Caesarea. Unfortunately for the Saracens the two armies meet outside the city gates. The resulting battle sees 1400 Saracen casualties. Crusader losses are only 400, but Raymond de Turenne is killed which results in his 200 man retinue's decision to abscond from the game.
Richard's army now numbers 7400. Al-Aziz's 2000 men retreat to Jaffa (hex 1523) to recuperate.
Further north Saphadin's 4800 strong army marches toward Tripoli (hex 1814).
Game-turn 12 (I October 1191):
Richard leaves Jolin (Comte de Sees) and Erard (Comte de Brienne), with their 600 men, in Caesarea and heads down to Jaffa with 6800 troops.
Another indecisive naval battle is fought, this time off the coast near Jaffa. The Crusader fleet again retreats.
Saphadin captures Tripoli (hex 1814). Bohemond IV (Governor of Tripoli) wonders why nobody came to help.
Game-turn 13 (II October 1191):
Imad (2800 men) leaves Jerusalem and travels to Ascalon. 200 men are lost to march attrition but a force of 1000 men awaits in Ascalon, so Imad ends the turn with an army that numbers 3600.
Al-Afdal (600 men) moves to a position between Nablus and Caesarea.
In the far north Antioch (hex 1908) is besiged by Al-Mansur (1800 men), while Izz Ad-Din (2000 men) puts down a revolt (one of the random events that can affect the Saracens) in Hamah (hex 2111).
Saphadin (4400 men) moves south to Beirut (hex 1716).
The Second Naval Battle of Jaffa results in another Crusader retreat.
Richard's siege of Jaffa results in 600 Saracen casualties and inconsequential Crusader losses.
(It should be noted that I was inconsistent in my use of "Crusader Control" counters. For example, I believe that both Haifa and Arsuf should have such counters at this point in the game.)
Game-turn 14 (November 1191):
November is a rain turn.
Imad (3600 men) moves from Ascalon to Ramlah (using 3 movement points, the maximum allowed to the Saracens in a rain turn).
Al-Afdal (600 men) gets cold feet and moves back to Nablus.
Saphadin takes 4000 men south to Sidon.
The Third Naval Battle of Jaffa results, finally, in a Crusader naval victory. The Egyptian fleets "retreat" north to Sidon.
In the ongoing siege of Jaffa, Al-Aziz loses another 200 men.
Far to the north Al-Mansur captures Antioch (hex 1908), resulting in the elimination of Bohemond III (Prince of Antioch).
Game-turn 15 (December 1191):
December is a winter turn.
[Note: Here I realized a mistake that I made on the previous turn. Rule 12.61 calls for a random chance, beginning in November, of the Crusader fleets being removed from the game until the following spring, but I completely forgot about the rule. To be precise, there should have been a 50% chance of each Crusader fleet unit being removed. This would have undoubtedly affected the outcome of the naval battle at Jaffa. Rather than "go back in time" and redo the previous turn I decided to just stick with the original results. I figured the outcome of that battle probably wasn't going to affect the outcome of the game as a whole anyway. I also hated to deny the poor Crusaders their only naval victory of the game.]
The December die rolls for Crusader fleet removal result in six fleets being removed from the game.
Most of the land units in the game spend this turn wintering in the city which they occupied at the beginning of the turn.
Richard, however, continues to lay siege to Jaffa. The difficulty of maintaining a siege during winter results in the loss of 600 Crusaders. Al-Aziz loses 400 men.
Game-turn 16 (January 1192):
January is a winter turn.
Three more Crusader fleet units are removed from the game due to rule 12.61.
Richard comes to his senses and moves north to Arsuf, though the winter march results in 200 losses to attrition.
Game-turn 17 (February 1192):
February is a winter turn.
Izz Ad-Din (2000 men) leaves Hamah and begins journeying north to Edessa where another local revolt has broken out. 20% of Izz Ad-Din's troops are lost to march attrition. Al-Mansur and 1200 men also head for Edessa and 200 men are lost to attrition.
Game-turn 18 (I March 1192):
I March is a rain turn.
Izz Ad-Din and Al-Mansur continue their trek to Edessa, though somewhat slowly and damply.
Imad brings his army of 3600 men from Ramlah to Jaffa.
Richard's 6000 men move from Arsuf to Jaffa.
Saphadin moves from Sidon to Beaufort Castle, and now commands 4200 troops.
Richard digs in (Defend in Place, in game terms) just outside Jaffa. Imad launches a Frontal Assault. Richard loses 1200 men and retreats to Arsuf. Saracen losses are only 400.
Imad enters Jaffa to a hero's welcome.
Game-turn 19 (II March 1192):
The nine Crusader fleets that left the game due to Rule 12.61 make their reappearance (at Famagusta).
Saphadin, aiming to complete unfinished business, marches to Tyre with his 4200 troops.
Imad, with 4000 men, pursues Richard to Arsuf.
Al-Afdal, with 600 men, moves from Nablus to Tiberius.
Iz Ad-Din arrives at Edessa.
Game-turn 20 (I April 1192):
Al-Mansur arrives at Edessa.
Saphadin besieges Tyre while Imad does the same to Richard at Arsuf. Casualties are light at both cities.
Game-turn 21 (II April 1192):
The revolt in Edessa is suppressed.
The two sides agree to a truce.
Game-turn 22 (I May 1192):
The truce ends and Saphadin continues the siege of Tyre, but Imad pulls back to Jaffa.
Conrad's defenders at Tyre suffer 50% casualties due to siege attrition and now have only 800 men.
Game-turn 23 (II May 1192):
Richard abandons Arsuf and moves north with 4600 men. He realizes that regaining control of Jerusalem is now virtually impossible. At this point the best that can be hoped for is to keep the cities of Tyre and Acre in Christian hands. Richard marchs past Acre, and soon finds himself, just as was the case the previous July, facing a Saracen army just outside Tyre. This time, however, the Saracens are commanded by Saphadin instead of Saladin.
Richard's Coordinated Charge wins the day against Saphadin's Orderly Withdrawal, but it is a Pyhrric victory of the worst sort. Near the end of the battle Richard receives a greivous wound and soon breathes his last. For the surviving Crusaders, now deflated by the death of their greatest leader, there is no longer any doubt. The war is effectively over.
Saracen victory points after turn 23: 26
Crusader victory points after turn 23: 8
Thanks Clinton for that wonderful AAR. The Crusades one of my favorites when it came out but alas has not been played in eon's.
Your AAR has me wanting to get it back out for a spin again. There maybe newer & better(?) treatments of the Crusades but this one still has that certain charm to it