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Subject: How well do you know the First Crusade? rss

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Crispin Moakler
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I'm making a game (KS, 2nd quarter this year) which will be based on the crusades and use a real map of the area.

We ran our first playtest the other day with some board/war/roleplaying game friends of mine and the results were interesting, leading me to ask this question of them and of you;


Do you know what the objective of the first crusade was?


To my horror, none of them knew. This became apparent when their army investigated various attack paths before deciding to storm Damascus.

This would actually have been a great strategic move by the First Crusade, but only if they'd been prepared to ignore their reason for Crusading in the first place.

I'd really like to know how many people know this;

The First Crusade's objective was...













Spacing for dramatic effect...












To capture Jerusalem!




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Chris Stanton
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That and giving a bunch of heavily armed gentlemen with too much time on their hands something to do. A sort of medieval national service if you will.
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Ryan
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I would have answered the primary goal was to take Jerusalem.
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marc lecours
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i didn't know. I just checked wikipedia. It seems really complex.

1. Gregory VII renewed the vigor in the western church only a decade before. So there was a huge surge in religious fervor throughout western Europe.
2. The Eastern orthodox church and western catholic church had only recently been apart (schism 40 years before). I did not know that.
3. The Byzantine empire was under threat of conquest by the Seljuq turks. The Byzantine emperor asked the pope and west for help.

So the aims seem to be save Constantinople from conquest, put non catholic christians under pope's rule, retake Jerusalem, free middle east christians from islamic rule, and do some looting and pillaging.
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James Arias
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I always liked Stephen Lawhead's portrayal of the Crusades (Iron Lance, etc.). Complex mix of good and bad motivations, which IMO is probably closer to the truth big picture wise. But strictly on military objective (affected by all that other stuff), sure capture Jerusalem.

I'm also interested in understandingvthe equipment & tactics better, since I've also been reading a series about the Mongol invasions.
 
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Aaron Brogdon
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We'll, I thoroughly enjoyed the Extra Credits series on the first crusade.

 
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Steven McKinney
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The Battle on the Ice, ending in a major defeat in the Northern Crusades.
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You have to secure your supply line before attacking Jerusalem. How many crusader states were created after the First Crusades?
 
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K S
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My knowledge of the Crusades:

"I dunno, something about Europeans invading the Middle East? There were a bunch of them."

I generally think boardgames should state their goal, rather than expecting players to "just know".
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CrispinTheGoblinKing wrote:
I'm making a game (KS, 2nd quarter this year) which will be based on the crusades and use a real map of the area.

We ran our first playtest the other day with some board/war/roleplaying game friends of mine and the results were interesting, leading me to ask this question of them and of you;


Do you know what the objective of the first crusade was?


I'd really like to know how many people know this;

The First Crusade's objective was...

To capture Jerusalem!


This is an extremely shallow view of the first crusade. While taking Jerusalem was certainly the populist objective, it is not the first objective (which was to repel the Seljuk Turks) nor the major strategic goal (which was to bring the western and eastern churches closer together). By the time you reach any actual siege of Jerusalem, there are so many factions involves it's hard to determine a true single objective and impossible to treat it as a unified force.

But sure, you could also make fun of your players for not having the same grasp of pseudohistory you do.

ETA: Your other "research" also worries me; while the cannibalism of dead soldiers is well-attested there's little evidence for "hunting down muslims and killing them to [eat]" (in particular, there's no accounts from any Muslim sources).

In both mistakes you've settled into a very modern "clash of cultures" view of the crusades, ignoring the many aspects driven by material or political necessity and the differences between our view of the world and the crusaders'.
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Jimmy Smith
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Dude. I was THERE.
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Carlo Patek
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jmsmith2434 wrote:
Dude. I was THERE.


Thank you for your service.
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John Smith
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I thought it was to capture Jerusalem but I was not sure. I know very little about the crusades. I have a couple of simple books to read on the subject but they are currently gathering dust. I'm hoping wargames will give me a nudge to learn a little more history.

One that surprised me is that my friend, who likes war movies such as Saving Private Ryan, didn't know in which war the first atomic bombs were used.

I'm no history bufff but I imagined most folks with a little interest in WW2 would know that.

Not that it matters anyway.
 
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DB
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Not as well as the last one. For example: In the Latin alphabet, 'Jehovah' begins with an 'I.'
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Ryan
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dpbush wrote:
Not as well as the last one. For example: In the Latin alphabet, 'Jehovah' begins with an 'I.'


I learned that from Dr. Jones Sr.
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Carel Teijgeler
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See here for inspiration.

I like History, so I know about it.

A little back story as introduction to your game might be helpful.

Offer other paths to victory (taking Damascus in stead of Jerusalem)
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Nate
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Ebyl wrote:
dpbush wrote:
Not as well as the last one. For example: In the Latin alphabet, 'Jehovah' begins with an 'I.'


I learned that from Dr. Jones Sr.


Right. Hence why he said the last crusade...
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Liam
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Moved from General Gaming to Board Game Design.
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secoAce -
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To re-focus the question back to your game and why you’re surprised (to your horror) that player testers did not do as you expected them to do, is there anything in your game that directs the players to this goal? Anything that tells players the objective of the game that they should follow? Or instructions of what they are expected to do?

If not, you are expecting pre-requisite knowledge from players? Are you assuming players from all over the world and different cultural backgrounds to have the same historical knowledge and from the same perspective that you have been been taught?

And even if players have the historical understanding that you have designed for the game, perhaps if you include a brief historical summary supplement with the game, you are expecting players will follow the same historical course? Without any other in-game instruction of what they have to do, there is no freedom in the game for players to follow whatever objective they want? Or is there nothing designed in the game to account for the different objectives players decide to do?

That's why you playtest--to find out what's working and not working. The fact that you're seeing play testers are not doing what you expected them to do should indicate to you that you need to provide more information either within the game or before the game that directs players to how you want them to play.
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Ryan
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YellowJack wrote:
Ebyl wrote:
dpbush wrote:
Not as well as the last one. For example: In the Latin alphabet, 'Jehovah' begins with an 'I.'


I learned that from Dr. Jones Sr.


Right. Hence why he said the last crusade...


I know why you said it... That's why I replied as I did...
 
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Michael
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CrispinTheGoblinKing wrote:
I'm making a game (KS, 2nd quarter this year) which will be based on the crusades and use a real map of the area.

We ran our first playtest the other day with some board/war/roleplaying game friends of mine and the results were interesting, leading me to ask this question of them and of you;


Do you know what the objective of the first crusade was?


To my horror, none of them knew. This became apparent when their army investigated various attack paths before deciding to storm Damascus.

This would actually have been a great strategic move by the First Crusade, but only if they'd been prepared to ignore their reason for Crusading in the first place.


If you haven't read it yet, this offers an interesting perspective:

Maalouf, Amin. The Crusades Through Arab Eyes. New York: Schocken, 1984. https://www.amazon.com/Crusades-Through-Arab-Eyes-Essentials...
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Crispin Moakler
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I'd like to thank everyone for their replies, I'll respond more fully tomorrow.
I just got back from another playtest session which was interesting.

For reasons I'll go into later I introduced 'Objective cards' which are essentially missions/quests with bonus VPs attached.
These worked well up to a point and achieved their intended objective - encouraging things which resembled the historic process.

One quick comment I will make - the path to victory is VP based and Damascus scores more in some ways than Jerusalem.


My current bedtime reading is an analysis of crusading warfare by a Cambridge professor - It's a great book but I do wish he wouldn't presume that anyone reading his work was fluent in both French and Latin.
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Michael Korson
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Your game theme sounds really intriguing!

One thought (without knowing anything about your game mechanics) to solve your problem would be to make taking and holding Jerusalem some sort of pre-requisite for winning the game - or ending it as the case may be.

On the otherhand though, I wouldn't sweat it to much that players may choose to make different choices/paths within your game to what historically happened. Honestly, a lot of the fun of these type of historical-setting games is to explore how events might have unfolded differently. Axis & Allies (a WW2 wargame) is a good example of that. Sure the objectives remain the same (defeat of the Axis powers) but the strategy can be totally different - the Japanese may opt not to attack the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and the U.S may choose to pursue a 'Japan-first' policy. All just part of the fun...
 
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D M
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I know its cause, and I think that it was the most successful one (it may have been a different one, but what matters is that it was an early one) leading to heightened expectations and great problems for the rest...and there your game mechanics/marketing/something may find a hook
 
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Germany
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Mosker wrote:
I know its cause, and I think that it was the most successful one (it may have been a different one, but what matters is that it was an early one)

I think I've got to give the best success rate to the latter crusades. Jerusalem was out of European control for 400 years, but Christianity in Mecklenburg, Finland, etc., are still going strong.
 
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Derek H
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Kajo wrote:
jmsmith2434 wrote:
Dude. I was THERE.

Thank you for your service.

Yeah, and he is still trying to claim on his military pension. shake
 
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