The Last Emperors ...
My final ancient/medieval outing for April was a rare opportunity to join the Jockey's crowd for a multiplayer game set in the last age of Crusading.
As JB's preamble put it 1453: Constantinople has fallen. Now the Sultan turns his eye to the Peloponnese, where the last Byzantine princelings and the final generation of Frankish lords cling to power behind great fortresses such as the Acrocorinth and Mistra while the Pope, the greatest erotic poet of the age, attempts to rally support for a new crusade.
I joined a smaller but more tightly motivated Ottoman team upstairs in Constantinople (or Istanbul as many Turks were already calling it) while the many Christian petty princes and would be Emperors pored over the big map on the common area.
(The Last Emperors ... political/deployment at start)
You can get an impression of this from the genral map at the start of the game ... a little green toe-hold at the top of the board (our Ottoman jumping off point for the campaign) and the rest of it covered in a near incoherent patchwork of colour coded factions and families. Could we conquer Greece before they could unite and throw us back ...
Given our massive stack of resources, could they confront us at all?
Well, the answer to that would be found upstairs in beyond our sublime porte, where there was an Empire to run which would continually sap resources from our Greek enterprise.
We began the game with a convincing blitzkrieg through Northern Greece, installing unpleasant governors (according to how compliant had been the province) and subsequently shipping in good moslem settlers ... but problems built up and we could not sustain the aggression of that first season at war.
(The Last Emperors ... game end)
The Christians had been able to launch a Crusade, the seas were running with pirates, and I was killed in a great (land) battle at Lepanto. We had achieved our initial objectives ... taken Athens, established a puppet Duke, pushed the Venetians out of Eastern waters, but it would take a new campaign to unlock the Peloponnese.
The game freely mixed role play with boardgame and Committee game and enjoyed a quick and dirty buckets of dice battle resolution. It smoothly ran through a number of seasons over a working lunch and afternoon. There was a neat spying sub-game in operation which has inspired a lot of follow up traffic (and which I can see porting nicely into Wars of the Roses scenarios) ...
No toy soldiers were harmed or endangered in this map-based game. Nevertheless, it was nice to be able to play a Medieval/Renaissance game at the operational level for a change - and I think it brought attention to this quirky twilight period of Western history ...
DBA Northern Cup at Triples next!