$10.00

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User Rating Comment Status
Elijah Lau
Singapore
Singapore
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10
Nov 2006*
Has the same simple form of the HotS ruleset. Like HotS, the system is simple but challenging for both sides. Components, i.e., the map, is a bit sucky, especially after seeing the magnificient homemade effort on BGG, but this is a very small issue.

I would have been happier if the game had been tweaked minimally. We're already at Rules v1.4 and I hope it's the last one. I don't think this game was unbalanced right from the start. Playing either the Franks or the Saracens, you just have to take into account their peculiar strategic situation and act accordingly. It should not be a case of playing the Franks, ignoring the reality, playing things your way, and then whining about how imbalanced the game is. Anyone who has played the Saracens would be well aware that their position has certain weaknesses, which can be and should be exploited by a good Frankish player.
2006-11-08*
Owned
Brian B
United States
Leawood
Kansas
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10
Nov 2009*
It's a period of history I like to read about and paint miniatures for. It's a unique design and a small wargame that feels like a very broad campaign. It plays big. It's a beautiful point to point map that allows swift movement, temptations and traps. It's a map I've studied for hours. It's card driven and moves are precious. It has dramatic 'down to the last man' sieges but it's also a game of maneuver. The Franks have power, the Saracens have speed. It looks beautiful and offers enough choices to burn your brain. As a bonus, after most turns there's the thrill of rolling dice in combat. I'm no expert, but so far my games have been close, exciting, and memorable. I'm rating this game a 10. Jerry Taylor is my favorite designer and needs to make more games like this! A lot of intelligent thought went into this design.

Note: If you play it once and expect it to be like Hammer of the Scots, you need to play it again. It offers three fronts instead of one and the width of the map combined with the low number of units creates more maneuver. This game gives the player more options, and that makes it harder to 'get'.
2007-07-03*
Owned
For Trade
Ben Long
United States
Missouri
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10
Sep 2007*
In the spirit of Hammer of the Scots, this is a fast and fun wargame (sometimes a rare occurence).
2007-09-10*
Owned
Marc Edmondson
United States
Missouri
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10
Sep 2007*
My #18.
2007-09-11*
Owned
Matthew Looby
United States
Wadhams
New York
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10
Mar 2011
The 2nd ed. is better than the 1st. GO GET IT!

I really enjoy this game. This game plays much differently
than R3 or HOTS. Play is fast once you get the mechanics down. There are some cool problems to solve on both sides.
2013-03-27
Owned
Want To Play
graeme tate
United Kingdom
Wallingford
Oxfordshire
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10
Nov 2013
This edition of Crusader Rex has honed an already good game into an excellent one. I own most of the Columbia games range and this comes to the table more than any other. It has the perfect mix of tough decisions and fun. Is much deeper that Columbia's latest offering Julius Caesar and as a result is infinitely more rewarding. For those who have the original? The second edition is still worth the money. Better Maps, unit tweaks, card changes and streamlined rules. The second edition is head and shoulders above the original and most important of all the play balance is now spot on.
Enjoy :-)
2013-11-08
Owned
Chris R.
United States
Unspecified
Missouri
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9.575
May 2007*
Great game! The only other Crusades game I can think of is "Onward, Christian Soldiers," although I bet the rules are five or ten times longer. In my opinion, the thing that probably makes it better than "Hammer of the Scots" is that it seems that the game is always close near the end. The Franks have to be very defensive in the beginning while the Saracens have to be very aggressive. The Franks must protect one additional city at the start of the game with essentially weaker forces. In my first game, I thought I was going to win the battles I lost and lose the battles I won. I remember in that game my Saracens attacked Jerusalem with double the force and half my force was gone before I even got to roll the dice! I like the fact that Tripoli and the non-objective city of Tyre both have a special peninsula defensive property. The Saracens also generally have a better movement rate and typically attack earlier in the combat round. It seems that the game is often determined by when the Franks decide to use their knight's charge ability. I've found that the knight's charge can be rather ineffective with anything other than the B3s and Richard the Lionhearted who is a B4.
2007-05-04*
Owned
A El-Nowehy
Canada
Markham
Ontario
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9.3
Jan 2007*
So tense that it hurts!
2007-01-18*
Owned
George Falconer
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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9.3
Feb 2014
This one can be a real brain buster, and a dice chucker This and Rommel in the Desert are my favorites of the Columbia titles.

2010-09-27
Owned
Want To Play
A.N. Onymous
Netherlands
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9.1
Jan 2006*
Preliminary rating based on 2 plays. I'm trying to find out how to play the Franks, especially during the first couple of years.

Update after about 10 plays: with the 1.3 ruleset I like this even better.
2006-01-23*
James Boyd
United States
Abilene
Texas
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I Play With Toy Soldiers.
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9
Nov 2006*
A superb game in the Hammer of the Scots style. Eight simple pages of rules that still include chrome (seiges, Knight's Charge, Harrying, etc). The Saracens descend upon the Franks with a furor post Hattin, but over time the Franks gain strength. Tense, fun play!
2006-11-08*
Owned
Michael Barnes
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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9
Oct 2006*
Tremendous. The virtues of Hammer of the Scots are preserved here and in many ways enhanced, making for a deeply engaging, compelling wargame that is both completely accessible and full of detail and specficity. The Franks have a tough time of it through the first few years, fighting to keep their strongholds while the Muslims stage a nasty counterattack. It's a matter of waiting for the Crusaders to show up and strike back. I think it's slightly better than HOTS (itself an awesome game) mainly because there's more options and it doesn't feel quite so hopeless for the weaker side. The only complaints are those that are typical for a Columbia game- lo-fi production and the map could stand to be larger. All in all, one of the best games of the year and one that stands with the best of Columbia Games' fantastic products.
2006-10-06*
Brian Fung
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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9
Nov 2005*
I purchased this game along with HotS. I like this game better! I enjoyed it immensely. Lots of replay value, although playing the Franks could be fustrating for a new player.
2005-11-03*
Owned
Brett David Spain
United States
Lee's Summit
Missouri
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All he got was more thankless work, from a man who ain't even asked his name. Sure, I may be the one who dreamt up the Walls and the Bastion, but the Kid made 'em real, not me.
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9
Dec 2005*
Columbia Games
2012-06-01
Prev. Owned
Ric Manns
United States
Scottsburg
Indiana
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9
Jan 2006*
Great game and I look forward to trying the new rules. The game is a lot of fun and I hear that they have adrressed the balance.
2006-01-02*
Owned
pɹɐɥɔᴉɹ
England
Reading
Berkshire
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Careful. There is a minefield around here.
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BANG!! Don't step on the mines!
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9
Apr 2008*
Bought Crusader Rex and Hammer of the Scots together. Both are fantastic games with similar mechanics.

Siege Warfare adds a new dimension.
2008-04-06*
Owned
Endre Fodstad
Norway
Oslo
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9
Mar 2006*
Tons of fun
2006-03-21*
Owned
Jim Patching
United Kingdom
Newport
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9
May 2006*
Excellent game - plays fast, has depth without being over-complicated, looks nice.
2006-05-20*
Owned
Nomadic Gamer
United States
Palatine
Illinois
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9
Jun 2006*
Must play more...Not many wargames play this fast.
2006-06-01*
Greg Parker
United States
Redding
California
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9
Aug 2006*
Terrific block game, has enough similarity to Hammer of the Scots to be easy to teach one from the other, but play different enough that it is a must to own both. Rule confusions abound as now 4 versions of the rules have been released. We liked version 1.3 with an added tweak of Franks draw 2 blocks and choose one for deployment.
2006-08-15*
Owned
Chris Farrell
United States
Cupertino
California
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9
Mar 2007*
UPDATE: With play balance concerns more or less retired, I've been very happy with Crusader Rex and have enjoyed it a great deal. It's short, it fast-paced, it's highly-playable, it's historically interesting, and there are lots of options for both side. Personally, I like Crusader Rex a lot more than Hammer of the Scots, because it feels more open, where Hammer often felt bottle-necked.
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Sort of a provisional rating. The system itself is great, and the core cardplay/movement/combat/siege I think works better than Hammer, and the more open playing field also is more interesting.

The concern of course is play balance. The first game we played was a Crusader win, but, of some concern, a total blow-out. These things happen, of course, but with experienced gamers it's unusual unless there is a sense that something went seriously wrong, which was not the case here. So ... the judgement is certainly not conclusive, and I look forward to giving it another try. I'll be paying attention to the balance issues, and if they prove elusive, this'll easily round up to an 8, and really, balance is my only significant worry. Systemically, Crusader Rex is a proven game, and felt very solid.
2007-03-01*
Owned
Tom Lynch
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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9
Sep 2007*
The rules are similar to Hammer of the Scots and are easy to learn. Very good game.
2007-09-28*
Owned
Tom Madden
United States
Saint Louis
Missouri
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9
Nov 2006*
A really fun and enjoyable block wargame that captures the medieval theme very well. The 1.4 rules are an improvement, balancing the game nicely. This game always immerses me when I play it. I love it.
2006-11-24*
Owned
Scott Moll
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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9
Jul 2007*
A very good game in the same vein as the Hammer of the Scots.
2007-07-11*
Owned
Nevin Ball
United States
Dallas
Texas
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That tickles!
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9
May 2014
Another excellent game using the Hammer of the Scotts system. Sieges and assassins oh my!
2013-11-29
Owned
Robert Schelchshorn
Germany
Schlüsselfeld
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9
Jan 2007*
raised my rating again after playing with rules 1.4! Much better feeling to play the crusaders now! Maybe I raise the rating again after a few more games!
2007-01-10*
Owned
Robin
United States
Wilmore
Kentucky
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9
Feb 2007*
Similar to Hammer of the Scots but much more balanced. There are not as many year conditions that influence the game like in HotS. I enjoy both games equally and they are the same complexity.
2007-02-15*
Prev. Owned
Les Cheung
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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9
Mar 2007*
My favourite block game set during the Crusades. If you like Ridley Scott's movie Kingdom of Heaven, you must play this game. "Fog of War" strategy at its best.
2007-03-28*
Owned
James Barton
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
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9
Mar 2008*
This is a great game. We can play once, then set it back up and play again.
2008-03-22*
Owned
Jeff Johnson
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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9
Sep 2007*
With 1.4 rules, balance is very close. Always lots of stuff happening and both sides have to be able to attack and defend - in different ways.
2007-09-30*
Owned
Jake Mix
United States
San Francisco
California
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9
Aug 2007*
So good! Both sides have such an interesting challenge ahead of them. If you haven't played yet, the main tension in the game comes from the Franks player waiting for the Crusaders - the English, French, and Germans - to arrive from Europe. Each round, the Franks draw a block from a face down pool - if it's a Crusader, the block is added to a waiting room on the board. Once all three of a given set of Crusader (once again, English, French or German) show up in this waiting area, they can deploy onto the map.

At the start of the game, most of the Franks draw pool are Crusaders. However, as "Outremer" blocks - ie, those knights with holdings in the Middle East - die out, their blocks are added to the draw pool. Since the Crusaders are the Franks most organized and powerful blocks in the game, this effectively dilutes the draw pool and delays the troop surge.

So, for the first half of the game, the Franks sole aim is survival of the Outremers, waiting for the Crusaders. They really have no chance at winning unless they do this. The Franks challenge, then, is to keep their Outremers safely nestled in castles (double defense) while they send out the fairly powerful Templars and Hospitallers (who don't clog the draw pool) to wreak havoc upon the encroaching Saracens using their dangerous Knights Charge ability.

It may seem bleak for the Franks, but the Saracens have their own problems. Their advantages are that they're very fast, so they usually strike first in combat and can move farther in a single turn. During the early game, it's also a mixed bag counterattacking against them because of their Harrying ability (attack retreat simulteneously).

The Saracens are weak in firepower, and most all of their units are removed from the game when they get eliminated. So, their best bet is a hardline push during the first 3/4 of the game, followed by turtling in safety, perhaps with a bit of Harrying, in the final few years.

Plays:

2 - Franks
1 - Saracens
2007-08-06*
Owned
Alex Walter
United States
Lenexa
Kansas
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9
Jun 2009*
I finally had the chance to play this game, and it was great just like I hoped. I really ejoyed Hammer of the Scots, and this is another triumph in the block game series. I played the Franks, and the fluidity and speed of play was more than I expected... therefore I feel that I was fast on may way to a massive defeat. But that is not known since we had to cut it short due to weather related issues. Anyway, fabulous game, I would recommend it to anyone that like war-games or strategy games, and I cannot wait to play it again.
2007-09-04*
Owned
Cathrine & Frank Carroll
United States
Overland Park
Kansas
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9
Jan 2009*
Good light wargame.
2007-09-10*
Steven Dennis
United States
Mandeville
Louisiana
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9
Nov 2007*
Great game that really captures the history and feel of the Crusades.
2007-11-20*
Owned
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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9
Oct 2007*
Based on the HOTS (Hammer of the Scots) block combat system, this is one of the few games, if not the only one, currently out there dealing with the Crusades.
2007-10-04*
Owned
Evolution isn't over
United Kingdom
West Sussex
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9
Aug 2012
No black block for the assassins, but that's nothing that some nail polish didn't rectify. Everyone has black nail polish at home, right? Good. The rules are opaque on the page; setting up the board up for a couple of solo play-throughs and some help from BGGeeks and the designer ironed out most of the wrinkles. Xmas 2007 update: thanks to a newly-acquired working knowledge of HotS, which deals with most of the mechanics, we have now been at liberty to concentrate on the CR-specific rules variations and we understand them! Score may edge up to 8, but I think I prefer HotS. A solid, enjoyable game however with a great historical theme and satisfying gameplay.
2008-01-07*
Owned
Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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9
Feb 2008*
A fine game in the tradition of Hammer of the Scots.
2008-02-04*
Matthew Bond
United Kingdom
Norwich
Norfolk
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9
Mar 2010
Brilliant, yet simple wargame. Asymmetrical forces, set-up and simple rules, such as the harry and knights charge tactics, give the two sides simple yet effective differences in play. Slightly let down by a couple of ambiguous rules. (8.5)
2010-03-17
Owned
Péter Molnár
Hungary
Budapest
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9
Jan 2009*
Elso jatekom sikerelmenyt hozott. A gaz muszlim haderok 1189 ev elejere teljesen kiuztek a harmadik kereszteshaboru hivo szavanak eleget tevo seregeket a szentfoldrol. 1187 elejen a muszlimok teljesen uralmuk ala vettek a szentfold felso harmadat. 1188-ban par sikeres manovernek koszonhetoen a fontosabb strategiai poziciok 70%-a mar a muszlimok kezeben volt, majd 1189 elejen a keresztenyek utolso bastyajat (Judea) is a kezukre kerult.A gaz hodito hordak gyava oroszlankent viselkedve menekultek a tenger fele, hogy mentsek alantas eletuket. Az angol, francia es nemet utanpotlas seregek keptelen voltak elerni a szentfoldet idoben es a muszlimok helyes taktikajanak koszonhetoen keves eselyuk volt az utanpotlas toborzasara. Igaz, volt egy gyenge probalkozas amikor az opium ittas assassin brigadok hatba tamadtak az egyik legerosebb muszlim sereget, de ez a gyenge es alattomos probalkozas is keves volt a keresztesek udvehez, a szentfold nemet mondott a keresztenyseg agressziv terhoditasanak. Tetszett a jatek rendszere, van benne sok kockadobalas, most szerencsesen dobtam. Konnyu szabaly, attekintheto jatekmenet es izgalmas tema.
2008-06-21*
Scott Moore
England
Birmingham
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9
Jun 2008*
Crusader Rex is even better than its predecessor Hammer of the Scots. It retains many elements of the earlier Jerry Taylor game but small changes to the rules as well as a different map and force pool impart a noticeably different feel. Furthermore, the luck of the cards and the draw pool has less of an impact than in HoTS and player strategies are less constrained. Playing Crusader Rex again after a break of several months, having played a number of more complex wargames in the meantime, I am struck by how a block wargame with only 8 pages of rules can be so tactically rich and provide such a convincing narrative.
2008-06-23*
Owned
Rob F
Wales
Aberystwyth
Ceredigion
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Memento Mori
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9
Jan 2009*
I have yet to find a reason or to be offered a reason that would make me think I need another Crusade game. This is THE Crusade game. I just wish there were a few variants such as a First Crusade variant.
2008-07-12*
Owned
Nuno Gonzalez
Portugal
Estoril
PORTUGAL
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9
Mar 2010

The operational nature (movement point to point) of this game, makes it one of my favorites of the Columbia block games.

The combat it's the classic a-b-c-d. But then you have sieges, herrasing mounted archers and Knight Charges!

The timely arrival (or not) of the Frank reinforcements brings a Fun strain to the playing of this title.
2014-12-31
Owned
chet carmody
United States
Florida
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9
Mar 2010
Tricky and chancy as far as the European Knights are concerned, but a tight game. Both sides are quite distinctive and the play flows smoothly.
2010-03-12
Owned
John Graham-Leigh
United Kingdom
Westbury
Wiltshire
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9
Sep 2010
Excellent block game covering the Third Crusade. Plays fast and has a strong historical feel.
2010-09-04
Owned
Kent W T
United States
Dallas
Texas
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9
Dec 2014
Bought it from Grant Dalgliesh at BGGcon 2012!
2012-11-15
Owned
Want To Play
Johannes Schäfer
Germany
Koblenz
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9
Apr 2012
A good game, perhaps it's a bit too elegant for my taste.
2012-04-29
Owned
Krzysztof Miernik
Poland
Warsaw
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9
Jun 2013
We are, with my wife, rather typical euro-gamers. I used to play a little bit of hex-and-counter war games, but this was some 15-20 years ago. We bought the Crusader Rex after giving it a long thought. At first we decided not to buy it, but it caught our attention again after one year, and eventually we decided to go for it.

The rules are little bit chaotic, but after the first game most of the issues cleared out. I checked the official FAQ, apart from one thing (the so-called "rules abuse" issue) I believe we figured out all the problems correctly.

This is an incredibly exciting game. Although it may seem a little bit like a dice fest, eventually it is the dices that give it a lot of excitement. It is not as random as it seems after all. One just needs to calculate the luck factor into his strategic plan: take advantage of the fortunate rolls, and keep a reserves for the unlucky ones.

If you are interested in this historical period you should definitely at least try this game. It is surprisingly well matching the real history. Initially the Saracens have great advantage and should be able to gain territory. However, as the third crusade gathers, the balance changes, and the end of the game may be a real struggle for the Saracen to keep the majority of the cities.

If you have no experience in the war games, it should not be a problem, if you are not scared of heavier games (for comparison: rules are, in my opinion as complicated as Caylus). For my wife this is the first wargame she ever played, and she enjoys it a lot.
2013-11-03
Owned
Viktor Forsberg
Sweden
Stockholm
Stockholm
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9
Apr 2015
4 plays, bumping rating from 8 to 9. Great replayability. No game has been similar to the others. Light on the rules, heavy on tough decisions and strategy. From my experience 4-7 hours depending on if either player is AP-prone. However, as play time is prolonged due to agonizing decisions, I view this as a positive aspect of the game.

2/2 Franks/Saracens, I can't complain about game balance which appears to be an issue for certain people.

Negative: Piece of s%#t stickers, nearly ripped every sticker I tried to remove from the sticker sheet, as they would not come off. Have not experienced this problem with any other CG-game so perhaps I just got the odd bad set.
2015-05-01
Owned
Jonathan Nelson
United States
Birmingham
Alabama
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9
Oct 2014
Check out my review of Crusader Rex below.
http://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/crusader-rex-revi...
2014-10-22
Svenbart the Grim
Germany
Near Bremen
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9
May 2015
fired: Hammer of the Scots, Julius Caesar
2015-06-10
Owned

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