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Chris Walkley
United Kingdom
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Outremer is a hex and counter skirmish wargame set during the Crusades. It is part of the same series as Cry Havoc and Siege.

The box includes two map sheets and a vast quantity of counters representing the crusaders and their foes.

Each character has up to four counters representing it. Two if on foot, four if mounted. These show the following: Healthy stats/stunned, wounded stats/dead, healthy mounted character/standing horse, wounded mounted character/dead horse. The counters replace each other and are flipped as appropriate during the game (e.g. healthy counters are replaced by wounded counters and a character who dismounts has his dismounted counter placed next to the standing horse counter).

All the mechanics are straight forward hex and counter ones which shouldn't be hard for anyone to grasp. Players alternate turns and combats are based upon attack/defence ratios, modified for various terrain. The joy of this game comes from the attractiveness of the counters and maps, the variety of potential scenarios and the fact that it handles small skirmishes and large battles equally well.

The Outremer set comes with additional campaign rules. These need a bit of fleshing out in parts but are great fun. Essentially, one player leads a group of Crusaders through the Holy Land. There are several encounter tables which lead to a variety of scenarios, and the player has to constantly pay for the upkeep of his band. This is an excellent way to play the game.

Best of all, it can be combined with other games in the series for even more variety and fun.

My one slight gripe is that the combat advantage modifiers are a bit simple and occasionally make little sense. But this can be resolved with a bit of logical thought. Also, the 1:1 column in the combat results table favours the defender greatly. Now I'm no mathematician, but I'm pretty sure 1:1 is even odds! This can be easily corrected by using the tables from the Dark Blades fantasy set. Perhaps this isn't the greatest thing to say about a game, so I should add that it is still perfectly playable without this.
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