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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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Clash at El Jut, 1099

The Age of Chivalry, Cross & Crescent, 28mm

This was a strange day. I’d no intention of being in Orkney. I planned to go up at the weekend, but I checked the forecast and saw a major storm was brewing. So, I jumped in the car and headed north, one step ahead of the tempest. It was a tempest too – 100 mph winds. In fact the gale might have subsided a bit, but its still blowing hard outside. Anyway, while I’m away the guys have been using my attic wargaming lair on Tuesdays, and this week they were off on Crusade.In fact my ferry was an hour late getting in, so I missed half the game by the time I arrived. It all revolved around a ruined hilltop strongpoint, and a choke point valley between it and the sea. This was the backdrop for a Cross and Crescent game, laid on by Alan, and using his figures.I hadn’t seen Cross and Crescent before – all I knew about it was that it was based on Saga. In fact it appears to be Saga, only rewritten, with a few tweaks to suit the Middle East. Alan’s clash pitted a Saracen force against a Crusading one, and began with an almighty cavalry clash in the valley. The Crusading infantry had already occupied the ruined stronghold, and while the cavalry did their thing down below, the Saracen infantry scaled the heights, ready to assault the place.The cavalry battle was extremely bloody, largely because both sides rolled extremely well on their “to hit” dice. By the end of the carnage both sides just had a couple of bloodied and bruised units left, all of just one, two or three figures, but overall it was the Crusaders who came out on top.The remains of the Saracen cavalry – essentially just their warlord Abdul al Sufi and a couple of bodyguards – set off up the hill to join the assault by the Saracen infantry, while the Crusader’s warlord – Geoffrey de Bouillabaisse – set off in pursuit. On the hill the Crusading defenders had two units of spearmen and one of crossbows. The clash of spears was frightful, but this time the Saracens came off best, reducing one Crusader unit to one man, and the other to three figures. The crossbowmen tried to stem the tide of battle, but they too lost heavily, and were forced to pull back.For their part the Saracens lost half their strength – twelve figures. However, behind them was a unit of levy archers, who then moved forward to clear out the last of the defenders. The crossbowmen  stood firm, and shot several archers as they advanced. In the clash that followed the better quality Crusaders won the melee, and the archers fled.By then the Saracen commander had appeared, and he joined the fray alongside his own spearmen. This though, was too late to make a difference. Instead he found himself isolated, and charged from behind by Duke Geoffrey. Al Sufi was cut down, and what remained of his small army fled into the hills. The game was short, bloody and highly enjoyable. While I didn’t take as much part in it as I’d have liked, I’m now sorely tempted to raise my own small force for this – possibly some fanatical white-clad Templars, or a Turcoman warband. Medieval wargaming isn’t really my thing, but Alan likes it, and so it would be good to have a few figures to pit against him.


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