This board game was born out of a class assignment where we had to try and educate a particular audience about a particular topic. In this case I chose the Crusades, the wars of religion that define much of what we see in the Medieval Era of history. The goal was to challenge the audience’s underlying themes that we possibly unknowing use to characterize the crusaders and their actions.
The game can best be summarized as, “Pandemic crossed with Risk,” and revolves around the use of multiple decks, each one designed to help or hinder the players in some way based on the crusade the players are currently in. For example, let us say the game is taking place in the Third Crusade. One of the cards a player can pull is Richard the Lionheart, a card that might give the player a particular bonus for their turn. However, the player may also draw a Famine card which will undoubtedly harm all the players to some extent. Additionally, at the end of each turn the players must add to and advance the number of enemy troops on the board by pulling cards from the Enemy deck.
This mechanic of a multiple deck system allows for two fundamental things to occur. First is that it allows players multiple play throughs based on which of the Crusades they decide to start in. Players can begin the game at the start of the First crusade and slowly work through to the end of the fourth crusade, each round encountering special events or famous characters from a particular crusade. Players could also decide to just play during a specific crusade and only deal with cards and events from that era. Secondly, by using multiple decks, players can encounter similar cards that help that might trigger discussion. For example, one card I intended to put in the crusaders deck for the First Crusade was “It is the Will of God” the famous phrase spoken by Pope Urban II that sparked the start of the First Crusade. This card grants certain bonuses and gives the players a little surge of power to help taken on the marauding hordes of Islamic forces. However, at the same time inside the enemy deck, in the enemy deck there is a card titled, “It is the Will of God,” which does very similar effect but for the Islamic forces. This card and others are meant to bring to the player’s mind the idea that just as the crusaders were fighting for the Christian God, the Islamic forces were fighting for Allah. If this is the case, then who is the villain, who is the hero?