Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
20 Posts

Crusader Rex» Forums » General

Subject: Conservative Saracen strategy still strong rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Steve Bernhardt
United States
saratoga springs
Utah
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A modified "creep" strategy that broke the original rules is still very strong. Saracens go for Tripoli, creep into the forts in the middle of the board and try to take Tyre. A defensive line south of Damascus on narrow roads and a huge force in Egypt. A big army west of Damascus on major roads that can use interior lines to contain threats from Antioch or from Jerusalem. If lucky, the Saracens can take Antioch as well, but that is harder sometimes.

If the Crusaders mass their armies early, it is easy to creep into the holes they left, harrying away if attacked. If the Crusaders try to hold their ground and delay the Saracens, the Saracens attack aggressively to dilute the draw pool. Half measures by the Crusaders might result in a loss of an army, which loses almost immediately.

Once Tripoli is taken, the onus on taking a city back is on the Crusaders; who have a major part of their strength unavailable until the final three turns.

The more conservatively the Saracens play, the less chance the Crusaders have. I'm almost wondering if the Saracens should have to take 5 cities to win, the Crusaders 4, with a draw happening if the Saracens only have 4.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron Draker
United States
McLean
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with you and have seen the Saracen's effectively delay the Franks in the late game with harrying.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Bernhardt
United States
saratoga springs
Utah
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I should note we are playing with the 1.3 rules.

Some other thoughts: Saracen reinforcements are free to deploy, while the Crusaders have to pay to get theirs. This further reduces the time the Crusaders have to grab territory. Additionally, if Antioch has been taken and strongly held, the Germans will be walking into a meatgrinder. With a conservative strategy, the Saracens will have split the board, which means expensive sea moves might be necessary at times.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Moody
United States
Edmond
Oklahoma
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Another major advantage that gets gamey is that the Saracen pool is emptied pretty quickly, so I would throw those expendibles at the enemy as he was building up an offensive (or in one case, throwing them at the English just as they landed)...it reduces the Franks/Crusaders enough to slow down or halt an offensive, and plop plop plop plop the Saracen gets them all back in their vulnerable-for-a-brief moment defensive location at full strength.

Throw the Egyptians at Acre or Jerusalem, throw the Kurds at Tiberius, throw the Turks at Antioch and as long as you're not having to do any one of these more than once per turn my experience was to get them back without cost or worry.

This "conservative" strategy is what I did, initially focusing on kills to dilute the Franks' draw pool and delay the Crusaders, and then taking Antioch and Tripoli afterwards (third and fourth years, respectively). Then, turtle (and use the suicide attacks mentioned above) for the last several years and it's over. If you can, have your expendibles defending in the forward castles/road junctions so that when/if the Franks mount a counteroffensive, you will get the expendible units back right away.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Bernhardt
United States
saratoga springs
Utah
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow, that is pretty gamey. I didn't go for suicide attacks, but did make sure that the odd guy I lost holding back the Crusaders was not an Emir.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Moody
United States
Edmond
Oklahoma
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Of many house rules we're considering:

1) keep off-map Crusader build-up hidden from the Saracen. He can still see how many blocks are gathering but not which nationalities, until a nationality is assembled at which time it must be immediately placed in the "landing" boxes.

2) consider giving the Germans an alternate arrival site, but not without a hefty cost or strength penalty

3) find a way to prohibit "bump and runs" -- i.e. halting a siege after one combat round in order to run into the enemy's backfield in the next activation

4) delay the near-immediate return of the expendibles from the Saracen force pool in order to limit the ease of the mass suicide attacks that can begin mid-game

5) make the effects of winter not so drastic (especially on sieges) by allowing a player to use a non-wintering event card as a wintering card instead, if he so desires

None of these address some of the history concerns raised elesewhere, but it should favor the Franks and remove some clearly gamey behavior (which, as it is a game, I don't hesitate to use if the rules allow me).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicholas Jost
United States
GIlroy
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
We've had the same problem. With the intial first four draws the Saceren gets they can empty the pool and just throw waste units at a depleted Crusader. We've played 9 games in the last week and the Crusaders (with various players switching sides) have won only 3. Some things that have hurt:
1.) Slow draw.
2.) Harrying...harrying...harrying...a whimpy play but extremely effective. Use A's to move forward follow with B's. Fall back on the B's. Fill gaps that are open. Only engage with Saladin.
3.) Charges whiping out whole Crusader forces. On invasion in Egypt was whiped out *to the man* in charges. It would be nice if a charge *capped* at half of your original steps (free one-step charges).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin
United States
Creve Coeur
MO
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
With the intial first four draws the Saceren gets they can empty the pool and just throw waste units at a depleted Crusader.


in my games the saracens have seemed strong, but i've only found the saracens empty their draw pool LATE in the game. are you saying that this happens early for you? i'm not sure how it could.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicholas Jost
United States
GIlroy
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It can happen mid-game if the Sac's harry often and conserve thier forces. Then they just start an endless barrage. It would be ok if the Sac's didn't have quite as many A's.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Dolan
United States
Highland Lakes
New Jersey
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think you guys are underestimating the Crusaders ability to hurt the Saracens. You talk about Harrying as if it is the be all and end all for the Saracens. The Franks can Harry as well. This can cause the Saracen problems in the first year by delaying their advances using Harrying.

The Saracens aren't going to be strong everywhere and early on the Franks can hit them where they are weak. If they do manage to get a Victory City in the first couple of years things can get ugly for the Muslims.

If the Franks play their cards right the last three turns will be them hammering the Saracens back from the coast and threatening a couple of Victory Cities.

The conservative Saracen player runs the risk of not getting what he needs before the Europeans begin to arrive. if the Frank manages to hold a city against a big siege attempt and weakens a big Saracen army badly it can cause the Saracen major problems.

I think a lot of the early hype is that the Saracen has a big edge but I've played the Franks more than the Muslims and I have beaten players using the conservative approach by using some of the ideas I've stated here. Each game is different due to the starting Saracen forces and the initial Frank reactions.

Once the Crusaders get one group the game is about even. The second group tips the scales to the Crusader side and the third is the beginning of the Crusader's HAPPY TIME.

I think it's easier to play the Saracens due to the fact they are strong early on and a lot of gamers don't have the mindset to withstand the onslaught and mount a successful counterattack. They make mistakes and waste units or lose them needlessly early on and can't get their mind around the switching of the attacker/defender roles that occur later in the game. By the time the Crusaders get strong enough to atack they've already failed their personnal morale check and are just playing out the string.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron Draker
United States
McLean
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sorry to say I disagree with you Dan. Against equally competent players the Saracens will almost always win except when their luck is very poor and the Crusaders' is very good (both in dice and card draw).

The readout from the recent Prezcon tournament shows the Saracens still have a huge advantage, even when they need to take 5 victory cities. I would be happy to play you sometime and test your strategy. Are you in range of the Columbus BPA block party? Or we can hope the F2F version of Crusader will be online soon.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicholas Jost
United States
GIlroy
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
We continued to play this evening (myself as the Saceren's). I lost *only* because I set a personal goal of trying to win by the third turn. This forced me to overextend myself. I'd like to propose that harrying also have some sort of negative impact. I feel almost as bad about harrying when I use the Turcapoles as speed bumps.

With the new four block draws the Sacerens can be stronger everywhere. They can easily reverse the starting winning Crusader position. In the game last night I took Antioch on round one and could have held it indefinately if I hadn't pushed towards the aforementioned goal.

In my previous games I took advantage of striking my opponent with A's at places where I knew the Turcapoles weren't hiding (which is very easy in the opening game). The A's would harry if my opponent met me in the field. If he fell back I'd siege and move in my B3's (usually via musters since I now controlled the town).

Defense is complicated by the fact that you *can* muster to attack (effectively) but *can't* muster to counter attack. The Sacerens can present a wide front with thier block superiority and condense the front to sack a city of thier choosing if thier opponent isn't ballsy. If he is he gets pinged for a step or two *every turn*. Since the Crusaders are going to make a mistake somewhere or get a bad charge roll they're doomed. They can't recover fast enough because thier reinforcements are pinned. And God forbid he masses an effective counter-force (harry with the B3's as *defenders* in the town and flee)!

I will agree that the Crusaders make a potent late game force if they can get two crusading forces in. The problem is the odds and the timer are stacked against them. As a Saceren I'm not really trying to take territory so much (it doesn't score me any points [1]) as I am getting ready to sack Antioch or Tripoli and bleeding the Crusader's blocks.

[1] This I think is a problem. So many battles are so trivial that the Saceren has no reason to stay around and fight them. I could burn all of North-Eastern Palastine to the ground and it wouldn't matter one whit. So what's a green block to do? Why run away, harry, and come back once you mass in the Damascus holding tank.

PS-> Has anyone taken Damascus? Egypt doesn't appear to be that hard (and I'm begining to think it's critical to the Crusaders) but Damascus seems impossible.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin
United States
Creve Coeur
MO
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
With the new four block draws the Sacerens can be stronger everywhere.


in the old rules, the saracens drew 6 nomads at the beginning of the game. now they draw 4, a reduction of 33%. they still only draw one block per turn after that, just like the franks. your statement seems to imply that the 4 block draw is "new and improved", but it is infact a nerf.

Quote:
Has anyone taken Damascus? Egypt doesn't appear to be that hard (and I'm begining to think it's critical to the Crusaders) but Damascus seems impossible.


this could be due to the fact that i have only played against one opponent, but in every game egypt has been untouchable. i would say moreso than damascus, because at the end game the saracens have to spread out if they are to effectively hold a victory condition. the south of the map sees very little action in my games, just posturing.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Dolan
United States
Highland Lakes
New Jersey
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ron, that's the beauty of gaming ther eare always disagreements about games and the best way to resolve them is by playing them.

The Saracen draw was indeed reduced from it's previous number of 6. This weakens the Saracens a bit and they might be spread out a bit at the start.

The Saracen advantage at Prezcon is by no means a definitive statement on the balance. How many games were there ... 15? The Saracens won 10 and the Crusaders 5. That's using an untested balance system as well.

I think the problem lies in the fact that the Crusader player has to weather an early storm and a lot of gamers aren't able to do that. They get discouraged if they get hit hard early.

The Crusader can now permanently kill Saracen blocks that he previously wasn't able to. This is a big advantage for the Crusaders. I keep hearing how the Franks can't kill Saracens and I wonder about the Frank players strategy when in combat. The Frank can't just sit in castles and let the Muslim dictate the course of the game he has to use his blocks to attack when he has a chance to decimate Saracen forces.

Every Saracen killed early on is one less that will be around to stop him later. Fight the Saracen in places he doesn't want to fight for. At the end of a year try cutting his path back to his cities where he plans on wintering. If you ever get the Mud card you should use it to put a major screwing on him if possible. Don't use it as the first card of a year. Use it as the last. Stop him from getting back to his cities.

You have to be active as the Frank. You might lose but it's by no means as grim as you make it out to be.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well I'm now 0 for two as the Saracens, once with the old rules and once with the new.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron Draker
United States
McLean
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well Dan, I still would like to test your strategy and thinking. I've probably played 50 games of CR, many against BPA/Prezcon champions of Columbia block games, and the Franks haven't won any of the past dozen games no matter who plays them. Maybe we are playing the Franks wrong, but we have tried many different strategies and the only thing that has varied is how badly the Franks lose.

I will say the 1.3 changes help the Franks, but not enough. Don't get me wrong, it's still a fun game to play, and maybe you can teach me where I'm wrong on how to play the Franks.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicholas Jost
United States
GIlroy
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Phlegm wrote:
The Crusader can now permanently kill Saracen blocks that he previously wasn't able to. This is a big advantage for the Crusaders. I keep hearing how the Franks can't kill Saracens and I wonder about the Frank players strategy when in combat. The Frank can't just sit in castles and let the Muslim dictate the course of the game he has to use his blocks to attack when he has a chance to decimate Saracen forces.


First, I misread the 1.0 rules I thought there were no draws. Bad me. I only caught the four draws because of the bright red in 1.3.

While I agree with the above how do you kill them? We all agree, I think, that the Crusaders *can* become a potent late game force. The problem is they have to survive. In the existing set-up they can't do that. They start with less total blocks than the Saracen and a slower movemnt. The Saracen also gets a special ability that effectively hands them more "tempo".

In the opening board as Crusader I always move my two Turcapoles west (if I have the movement). I try to consoldate the southern singles (a templar and...oh I forget the other one) in Ascalon. This delays for the first turn. After that things go rapidly downhill.

Harrying only has good choices associated with it:
1.) I'm outmatched so swat at them
2.) I'm not so stay around

Charging has a great choice (potential double enemy damage) with a penalty that can cripple the Crusaders (the Crusaders are far short in total steps). They can't keep up a war of attrition so playing charges actually *helps* the Saracens. I won last night as the Crusaders because my opponent did the same thing I did the night before with them. He abandoned caution and threw himself at Antioch (and unlike me did it without Saladin). This cost him the game since I was able to cut off a force of six emir's. It was a stupid move and it only happened because he was frustrated and probably tired from a long day of work.

That being said here are some things that I think help the Crusaders:
1.) Never charge until the Crusader forces arrive.
2.) Never hide in a castle unless you can bring a larger relief force to bear than the Saracens. This will almost only ever happen in Jerusalem.
3.) When you meet the enemy in the field run if you think you will lose any blocks. Do not stay and fight until you have the Crusaders.
4.) Try to keep all of your starting victory cities so that you force the Saracen's to attack and have the tied "B" advantage in the field.
5.) If you're forced to fight (for example to hold victory cities) and have Crusaders on the board charge aggressively with the B3 Outreimers that have been depleted to 1 or 2 steps. Your hope is to bring them back over the course of the next few turns at full strength. Use four step Outreimers the same way. Its better to recycle them than to heal them.

I'm considering moving the Beruit turcapole south early to chase up attacker approach routes to prevent retreats. I'm not sure how that will work since it will leave middle Palastine very exposed. However due to block advantage and road construction I think this is only possible around Jerusalem.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Johns
United States
Unspecified
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
nickjost wrote:
We've had the same problem. With the intial first four draws the Saceren gets they can empty the pool and just throw waste units at a depleted Crusader. We've played 9 games in the last week and the Crusaders (with various players switching sides) have won only 3. Some things that have hurt:
1.) Slow draw.
2.) Harrying...harrying...harrying...a whimpy play but extremely effective. Use A's to move forward follow with B's. Fall back on the B's. Fill gaps that are open. Only engage with Saladin.
3.) Charges whiping out whole Crusader forces. On invasion in Egypt was whiped out *to the man* in charges. It would be nice if a charge *capped* at half of your original steps (free one-step charges).


I have only played once, but isn't most of what is said above historical??? This was the frustration that the Crusaders felt with the Saracens. They "never stood and fought" unless the odds were in their favor. I mean the fact that harrying is "wimpy", yet so effective could come right out of the Crusader quote book! Also, the charge should not always be used, it works sometimes.

We played with the add-on that the Crusaders keep the reinforcements in groups off-map without the knowledge of the Saracen.

I also thought of add-on stating that (unless only having two blocks) one time per year, the Crusader can put his draw aside and randomly draw another one afterwards putting the first one back. Just a thought.

Our game was close, so still not sure of the game balance.

Jason
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin McF
United States
Missoula
Montana
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm interested in this game and have been reading the articles. Is the most current set of rules 1.3 or is there a new set?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Niko Ruf
Germany
Schönaich
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You can download the current rules set from the Columbi Games webpage. AFAIK, it is version 1.4.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.