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Crusader Rex» Forums » General

Subject: CAGE MATCH: Hammer of the Scots vs. Crusader Rex rss

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Pierce Ostrander
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Both games:
- are relatively simple, fun war games
- Play quickly and are theme-rich
- provide continuous engagement of both players
- present a constant stream of important decisions.
- handle “fog of war” and unit step reduction extremely well – hey, their block games!

Crusader advantage:
- Shorter game length

- cleaner rules set (1.3!)

Hammer’s rules have lots of exceptions… and exceptions to exceptions. The end-of-year phase is a bit more involved and there are just more rules necessary to handle a slightly more complex simulation. CR’s rules are a bit simple and more consistent.

- less random

There is a LOT of randomness in both games (heck.. their war games!). In HotS, I find it necessary to use a house rule to mitigate widely disparate card deals - which to me has the potential of being the worst offender. I do not feel the same need with CR… one reason is the card distribution is less variable and you draw 6 cards instead of 5.

Hammer advantage:

- Better “fog of war”

In Hammer both sides do a nearly total “reset” of their force pools at the end of each year. As a result, you have much less certainty of what enemy forces you will be facing from year to year: until you actually engage in battle. CR has a draw pool, but there is no equivalent “total reset” like in Hammer. In this respect, Hammer is the “king” of making use of this, one of the best feature of block games.

Why you need to own both:

- The way HotS handles the Nobles; they never die… they just changes sides, and the fact that victory is dependent on who controls the most of them is a fabulously well-executed theme link and makes the game highly distinctive.

- CR introduces sieges and storming of castles… along with Harrying and Knights Charges. The way the Crusaders enter the game… the unique timing mechanism is also excellent.

Both are great games but IMHO … CR is better!

What do you think?
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Dane Peacock
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Excellent analysis. I do not feel that house rules are needed for the card deals in HotS, but besides that, I agree with everything else about this evaluation.
 
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Alan Kaiser
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I'd agree. I haven't yet played Crusader Rex face to face but I've gone over the rules pretty throughly and played around with the game solitaire a few times. I like CR better but not by much. Both are great games. One thing for me is I like the theme in CR better.

I'd add something to your section on what's similar to both games. They are both well balanced asymetrical games. In each game, each side plays very differently and has very different strengths and weaknesses. This is one of the things I love about these games (and Wizard Kings to a certain extent as well)! You have to approach the game very differently depending on which side you play. I'd say that the Scots are more similar to the Franks while the English are similar to the Saracens. Both the Franks and the Scots are at an initial disadvantage. They have to be very careful and hold off with offensive actions to conserve their forces until the right moment. At least in CR the Franks know the cavalry is coming if they can hold out long enough. The English and the Saracens both have some good units to throw around and can dominate the battlefield if the opponent lets them get into a battle. I find this also makes for a great way to start off newbies as well since it's generally more fun to play the English or Saracens.
 
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Pierce Ostrander
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Quote:
They are both well balanced asymetrical games. In each game, each side plays very differently and has very different strengths and weaknesses.


Yes... and in addition the "play-to-theme" link in both games is outstanding. Last night, I was playing the English in the Braveheart scenario of HoTS and I was impressed by what happened on the board when I my 4 block feudal levy consisted mostly (and in one case entirely) of English knights and archers.

The rules say that knights and archers return to England at the end of the year, so, when you draw them you are encouraged to "go marauding" into Scotland. When you move them up to the front, there is no downside to starting battles; you are going to loose them at the end of the year anyway (they return to the replacement pool). Unless they are the Hobelars (which are lost permanently when defeated in battle) you have wasted you move points unless you lose them in battle!

Thus, anytime the knights or archers enter England... they will engage Scots... as much as possible. This just seems thematically right to me. Knights don't go all that way to hold ground or to be passive... the are "thirsty for Scottish blood" arrrrg!

This is just one example... both games do this in various ways, which is typical for war games, but not so much for Euros. CR and HoTS are just to outstanding examples of how war games do this so well...
 
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Steve Bernhardt
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I disagree with one point in particular; I think the "reset" feature in HotS detracts from the fog of war as compared to CR. I find it much easier to keep track of who is where in HotS than in CR because of the redeployments, etc. I always know where the nobles are after winter in HotS, finding Saladin can be much harder...

This is fundamentally why I like CR more than HotS, the fog of war is more meaningful.
 
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