|Crusaders advance to contest control of the flocks of pigs we used as objectives in Feasting & Pillaging|
Thomas usually plays the Levantine Crusaders with a healthy dose of fanatic pilgrims. I had faced him once before, when I was playing Scots and he was just learning the rules. I'd barely come away with a victory, so was really worried how this game would turn out with him being much more experienced. In my opinion, the Crusader board is the strongest in the Age of Crusades book. Thomas changed it up, though, and decided he wanted to try the Baltic Crusader version of the list. We consulted the book and went over the differences. He said he was cool with them, and picked out his six points for a very different looking army than I'd been dreading playing.
| The Crusaders and Moors deploy somewhere in the Iberian peninsula, fighting their timeless war|
I was first player again, so placed my obligatory large, gentle hill in the center left of the board in Thomas' area (since it had to be a Short distance away from the objective markers). He countered with a piece of terrain on his left towards his baseline. I placed the final piece, one of my new rocky ground pieces, in my center a Short distance from the center objective. I then began my deployment by occupying that rocky ground with my Levy archers. I placed a warrior spearman unit opposite each of the other two objectives, rationalizing that it was an infantryman's game to move the objective markers off the table. As I had placed half of my troops, it was his turn to deploy his army.
| The Baltic Crusader's left of levy bow and center of 8 dismounted knights (foot hearthguard)|
Feasting & Pillaging starts each army off a Short distance from their baseline. On my opening turn, I moved my spearmen and levy forward with Maneuver actions, then moved the Levy again with a Saga dice. I wanted them to be in position in the rocky ground, able to fire on any Baltic Crusader who tried to take the flock of pigs in the center! My cavalry edged forward slightly. I measured to ensure that his mounted sergeants would be outside of their charge range. With all the deadly melee abilities on the Crusader board, it was key that I dictate melees. They have quite a few abilities that give them handfuls of attack dice, I'd learned.
| The Crusader foot sergeants were the Moorish cavalry's first victims, killed to a man on Turn 2|
| "Eh, you! Hands off my bacon!" shout the Crusader archers as they pincushion the spearmen|
I think Thomas was a bit shocked how quickly his unit evaporated. He got revenge, though, with his Levy archers. They advanced and shot twice at my spearmen on the far right, killing three of their eight. The foot knights closed in on and seized the flock of pigs in the center, intent on bringing home the bacon for their Baltic brethren. That caught Majik's eye. On the next turn, the foot knights faced a flurry of missiles. The levy archers fired at them, and both units of cavalry galloped forward and hurled javelins at them. My attack rolls were above average, and Thomas' saving rolls were terrible. After the last missile had been shot or hurled, and both of my cavalry units had withdrawn, only one foot knight stood, trying to hustle the pigs back towards their lines.
| The foot knights are eager to bring home the bacon for their Baltic brethren|
This left me with only one cavalry unit to take on the 12-man crossbowmen unit, though. A shortage of Uncommon dice had left me unable to queue up Perseverance, so there would be no pulling back my cavalry at the end of my turn, this time! Majik nodded to his bannerman, who waved the standard of Cordoba to signal the riders to attack. They galloped forward, hurled their javelins, transfixing some of the crossbowmen. They then charged in with Torrent of Iron. I played Wholehearted to gain additional attack dice from their fatigue, and we managed to eliminate the entire unit. I was worried that with bad rolls, we'd be sitting ducks if the crossbowmen were still around to shoot back next turn.
| Midpoint of the game, Crusader crossbowmen first from the hill while one lone foot knight remains|
| After his successful charge, the Crusader warlord about to be charged by the Moorish cavalry|
After this, we agreed to call the game. I was in possession of one flock of pigs and was ready to seize the other two. Yes, yes, I know...Moors are Muslim, but these were kosher pigs! Thomas was impressed with the deadliness of the Moors hit and run tactics. I reminded him that it was the first time he'd played the Baltic crusader list, so essentially, he was playing against them with a new army. He reflected that he enjoys the Levantine list much more, and thinks it is much more lethal. I agreed.
| With the enemy heavy units dead, Moorish spearmen are free to round up the pigs|