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.
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.
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'.
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.
Last edited Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:34 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
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.
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.
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...
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