Antioch 1098 [Infidel]

Here is a brief summary of the Battle of Antioch.

A full summary of 51 pictures is available here:

The Battle of Antioch inspires images of a grand Crusade to rescue Jerusalem from the hands of the Infidels. The Siege took place during the First Crusade in 1097 and 1098. The first siege, by the Crusaders against the Muslim city, lasted from October 21, 1097, to June 2, 1098. The second siege, against the crusaders who had occupied it, lasted from June 7 to June 28, 1098.

The insanity that surrounds the Crusades of  starvation, the privations of the armies, visions of the Bishops and Monks of Holy Lances, and trials by Fire to prove a point highlight the terrible waste of life given in the name of Religion. As an exploring Christian it makes my stomach churn to see, read and imagine the experiences.  All of that is bad enough then we have the actual battles.
In this recreation the Turks had several divisions of troops lead by various parties. Each with their own agenda. Politics played a part in the ‘timing of arrival’.  We however rely on the roll of a die to determine the arrival of forces.

Crusaders advance on the leaderless Turks. The battle starts with Hugh of Vermandois men advancing out from the impressive walls of Antioch.

The Turks race to bring units on. Going for it all on their 2nd activation they bring on the units for Area E, ‘behind’ the Crusaders. Suliman in this battle is not a recalcitrant, but engages heartily. In the actual battle the bugger held back as far as historians can figure.

By bottle up the bridge, the Turks buy time.

Slowly they are forced back. But by now all their (turk) forces are on the field. All the HC and MC begin to engage.

The Infantry heavy units wait orders, and the Cavalry rush to engage the enemy.
We had a tough time getting any units involved that were foot on the Turk side.

The entire battle Charles and I both thought the other was winning. A representative factor of how well balanced and tight this scenario is.  We also messed up some rules from being rusty on this system.

The combat mechanics that are used do a wonderful job of re creating the different capabilities of the two very different styles of combat.  Heavily armed men in formation versus lighter more mobile Horse Archers and some Heavy Cavalry.  The foot troops were more closely aligned in capability but the Infidels lacked discipline and rigor.

The hit and run capabilities are so well modelled here and you can see the influence of GBoH as this is a more refined method of implementation.  Do we lose a little flavor?  I dont think so, by this period in history riders had stirrups, and more control of their beasts.  So the ability to maneuver was higher.  Whereas the Numdian style horse from 1,000 years prior were less adept.

Remember your Free Activation rules – A key part of the game sequence and easily messed up when you are chomping at the bit to have your activation.

This image above is actually near game end.  The Turks had focussed solely on bringing all the Cavalry to bear and trying to contain the Crusades Army maneuver.  We dont want random knights running around.  The buggers do enough Damage as is! You can see the 2 sets of Light Archer Horse, screening.  One unit was a combination of Archers and Medium Cav.

So we could ride in, fire arrows at the Men at Arms and Pike, wheel about in dramatic fashion and high tail it out.  Then allow the Medium Cavalry from the same formation to attack any disordered units….. Well that is if the bloody arrows hit anyone.

From the picture below about mid game I had only 2 units retired to Antioch and about 4 had fled the field.  At this point then the Crusaders were only half way to their failure or Flight Point level….whereas the Turks were losing 2-4 flight points an activation.

Being passive or conservative as the Turks WILL not win the battle. It is too easy for the Crusaders to kill one unit an activation. FP level for fail is 35.  We kept forgetting to roll for FP check at EACH FREE ACTIVATION …UGH.

ALWAYS go for those continuations as time runs out. Pay the price in Free activations if you can survive the FP roll.

I had 22 FPs out of 35.  Charles had 8 + 6 retirements of 20 at this point below.  The dam Crusaders are tough.  Even with these massive rear attacks I barley nudged them….rolling 0 and 1 does not help.

By games end, I could see that with the Crusader army fully on the map, I needed to either ramp it up or concede, I was within 2 turns of  failing I am sure.  So I went all out with continuation attempts to keep control of the activations.  Charles unluckily tried to seize several times….giving me a Free Activation and reseting the Continuation count each time.  When he did this I was intent upon using archers to disrupt his formations to reduce effectiveness and create opportunities for rear attacks.

( GAME NOTE: the current  active player keeps activating formations until he fails a roll against his leaders rating +1 for each cumulative activation.  So in theory, If I rolled 0, I could get upto  5 or 6 back to back activations with a 4 rated leader.  This of course did not happen but I was obtaining extra activations due to Charles intercession with Seizure attempts)

A very close fight, if played right. Surprisingly fun. Learning to maximize the strengths of the Turks is key. It’s the first time playing Infidel I felt that I used them correctly.

Crusaders have to manage the troops well, get onto the field and watch their rear. Then set about cornering the Turks removing the Archer/Cavalry threat and then if needed defeat the Turk foot in detail

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