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Kingdom of Heaven: The Crusader States 1097-1291» Forums » Sessions

Subject: The fatal decision... rss

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Gerit Driessen
Netherlands
Mierlo
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A little while back Arjan and I played our first scenario of Kingdom Heaven; Deus lo Vult! We used Vassal for which Joel made a beautiful module. Fate had it that Arjan would play for the Muslim side, having Kerbogha as his principal leader, and I would invade the Holy Land with Toulouse and his crusaders.

A.D. 1097
The crusading army loses 4 steps crossing Asia Minor. This will be the first attrition losses of lots more to come… Toulouse attacks the Seljuk emir in Herakleia, who was of course annihilated. If the small Seljuk detachment cannot escape it is almost certain to suffer this outcome.
The Crusading army is held up by heavy rain, and attrition is killing. Meanwhile Kerbogha with a modest force marches from Mosul to Aleppo.
I decide that we should go for Antioch and so Toulouse advances to that city. He tries to whoo the city into surrender but to no avail. There will be a siege!
The crusaders build siege towers, only to see them burned down by the defenders of Antioch. Ladders and mantles bring down the RF of Antioch, and after that the moat is filled in. We have the luck of visiting pilgrims that boost the morale of our men. Still the RF is above 3, the minimum for an assault, in my estimation.
Another good card intercepts supplies for the besieged and now the assault is made: we take Antioch!

A.D. 1098
Bohemond and three units stay in Antioch while the main force marches to Latakia, to pick up Tatitios and his lone Byzantene unit before stopping in Tortosa. Kerbogha is faced with a Shi-ite uprising. This means that the units from Aleppo and Damascus return to their own provinces. Bad news for Arjan because these units are of little use now (as long as I stay out of Aleppo and Damascus). Too bad for me too, because I had the plan of taking Damascus, as it was poorly defended. Now the city has damascene troops and it is not so tempting a target anymore.
Plan B is to head for Tyre. Again a call for surrender is made, and again it fails. Toulouse wastes no time and marches on, to Acre. The siege starts with a RF of 6 and we are not able to blockade the city. This seems good news for the Muslims but unbeknown to Arjan is that this is just a diversion.
At first opportunity the crusaders leave Acre and head for their main goal: Jerusalem. The defenders are on the verge to surrender, but decide to fight at the very last moment (I missed the roll only just!). We start the siege with a RF of 5, and a succeeded blockade. A storming ram decreases the RF to 3. However, Kerbogha is building up an army reaching considerable strength and he closes in on us. We have to achieve victory fast and be safe behind Jerusalem’s walls.
Some crusaders catch a Muslim supply party, decreasing the RF to 2. Pressed by Kerbogha, who’s army is now strong enough to gain the upper hand in an open battle, Toulouse commands the assault. It is a failure, and the RF is back to 3. We have taken some steps of the defenders strength and this will be decisive in a repeated assault.
The second assault brings the expected success and Jerusalem is ours! Not too soon because our army is now down to 21, while Kerbogha has assembled an army of 30 SP’s. Nothing mnore can be done this turn; both me and Arjan have to discard cards that cannot be used. Out of options, the crusaders, having the advantage of the walls of Jerusalem, can only hope for a good hand in 1099. The same goes for Kerbogha, that needs a 3 OP’s card to activate.

A.D. 1099
The first round brings good news, as new crusaders have arrived. We really need tose replacements. It is with these new troops that I make a fatal error: instead of placing them in Jerusalem, I add them to Bohemond’s force in Antioch. As the crusaders have to leave one leader in every city they capture, and Bohemond is the *only* leader in Antioch, I could have just as well fed my fresh troops to the cat. – they’re useless.
This is a blow to the crusade, because Toulouse’s army in Jerusalem is not really up to the task of attacking Kerbogha, having to leave an occupying force in Jerusalem and all.
But all is not lost. We have captured two important cities yielding 5 VP’s each, and we have the 2 VP’s on Cyprus. My cards are fine for defending a city, but I lack any siege card. And now I see that Arjan discards a card. I’m sure he has a bad hand for activating Kerbogha and no real plan.
Judging that the time is right to consolidate, I make a peace offer. Arjan accepts and our first confrontation in the Holy Land ends in a draw.

Perhaps I should have tried to take another city for that last VP, but I was – of course – not sure that Kerbogha could not be activated, and I really had a bad hand of cards for any siege. Still, I could have been lucky. Arjan did not try to shadow me and perhaps he could have made my crusading army suffer a lot more from attrition. I’m sure he will try that next time.

All in all it was a short but entertaining experience. I think the rules are a lot easier when putting them into practice, than you would think reading them at first. We had to look up this and that of course, but I think that is normal for a first game.

I have no problem to get stuck with ‘dead’ cards, though it is annoying when you have such a fantastic campaign planned and you lack the recourses to execute it – welcome to medieval warfare… It just means you’re out of options and have to bide your time. This, and the fact that a tiny garrison in a walled city (or castle) can keep a whole army busy feels very true to what was actually going on historically. Great game!!



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Steve Herron
United States
Johnson City
Tennessee
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Never play block wargames with a dentist, they have those little mirrors to peek behind the block.
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Quote:
It is with these new troops that I make a fatal error: instead of placing them in Jerusalem, I add them to Bohemond’s force in Antioch. As the crusaders have to leave one leader in every city they capture, and Bohemond is the *only* leader in Antioch, I could have just as well fed my fresh troops to the cat. – they’re useless.


One good thing about Onward, Christian Soldiers is one can reassign troops where two leaders are stacked at the start of the turn. I don't guess KoH has this then.
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Chris Valk
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You can assign troops however you like within leaders' command ratings. What happened to Gerit had to do with a scenario-specific rule; if he had had two leaders in Antioch, one of them could have moved out with the troops. In fact, you can reassign troops at any point in the action round (drop some off, pick some up, juggle them around, send them out for falafel, etc, etc).

sherron wrote:
Quote:
It is with these new troops that I make a fatal error: instead of placing them in Jerusalem, I add them to Bohemond’s force in Antioch. As the crusaders have to leave one leader in every city they capture, and Bohemond is the *only* leader in Antioch, I could have just as well fed my fresh troops to the cat. – they’re useless.


One good thing about Onward, Christian Soldiers is one can reassign troops where two leaders are stacked at the start of the turn. I don't guess KoH has this then.
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Gerit Driessen
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Mierlo
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Chris is right. If I only had left two leaders behind in Antioch... devil
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Arjan Schuurmans
Netherlands
Heeswijk
Noord Brabant
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I could activitate the muslim leader Kerbogha only once. I would respond to any expedition of the christian force out of Jeruzalem. Whether it would be attacking Jeruzalem or the expeditionary force would have depended on the size of this force.

The outcome would be unknown, but Thank goodness Geert was satisfied with Jeruzalem.

My first impression of the game is positive, something i did not expect at first. Reading the rules and all the details in it is somewhat mind torturing. Playing through the first scenario surely helped.

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Scott de Brestian
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Mt. Pleasant
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Nice AAR, Geert! Glad you enjoyed it!
 
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Paul Leigh
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Thanks for that report.

I just played as the crusader and managed only 5 VP !!!!

I look forward to going again and not making the same mistakes. It was a learning game for us, but I saw enough in this game to make me eager to get back at it.
 
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