Like many other gamers our regular weekly meeting has fallen foul of the snow. Not that we had the amounts seen in the North East and Scotland, but what we had, plus frost, made the drive over back roads more than a little foolish. The weather also put paid to a planned visit to the Recon show at Pudsey; not that I am going to feel the 'pinch' as far as painting and other wargaming activity is concerned; my painting table is still groaning under too much lead.
Some months back I mentioned that I was going to read Zoe Oldenburg's book on the Crusades, well I started, but I found it hard going, however, I did find the book below.
The Crusades have fascinated me since I studied them at university, the interplay of politics and religion through the medium of miltary campaigns generate all sorts of unlikely alliances and scenarios. As you can gather from the title, this book does not go into great detail on individual battles, but does give an idea of the background which framed the various campaigns. Having read this book over the last few weeks, I started wondering if a 'Diplomacy' type variant could be created for the Crusades. In addition to the 'national' players for the Latin states and their Moslem opponents, you could have the Papacy, Byzantium and Italian merchants; the uncertainty could provide plenty of entertainment. This period would also be suitable for a club campaign at various levels. The strategic would involve the national contingents, but there is also the possibility to game at 'skirmish' level, with individual knights and their retinues taking part in local raids. Not that crusading was limited to the Latin Kingdoms and the eastern Mediterranean. You could opt for the campaigns of the Teutonic Knights and their 'guests' against the peoples of Northern Europe (this is really well covered by Eric Christiansen in "The Northern Crusades"). Also you could try the campaigns to recover Spain from the Moors, or perhaps, the campaigns in southern France known as the Albigensian Crusade. The period also offers plenty of variety in troop types and army composition. There is also the opprotunity of using some figures 'out of period' to create the armies.