Following the fall of Rhodes, the Knights of St John rewarded Suleiman’s magnanimity by harassing Turkish shipping and commerce from their new home in Malta. In 1565, Suleiman sent his generals to finish the task he had left incomplete more than 40 years previously. The Turks laid siege with a force that reached 60,000 in number. They would exterminate the 500 Knights of St John defending the island and wipe the Order from the face of the earth – or so they thought. If ever there was an ‘against the odds’ situation, then this was surely it.
Waning Crescent, Shattered Cross is both a solitaire and two-player game recreating the incredible events that occurred on this small Mediterranean island and changed the course of European history. Across three scenarios (short/learning, full campaign and solitaire), using cards to drive events, the game is easy to learn but a challenge to master. You'll want to play it again and again as you try to develop the optimum attack or defence strategy - and each time you play fate will, literally, deal you a different hand.
The variable turn length will constantly present the players with the dilemma of whether to be ambitious in their play - at the risk of ending up achieving nothing; should they try to build their hands to a size that might deliver a decisive blow or to use their cards to gradually wear down their opponent. And the play of cards complements the management of resource including supply, artillery, men and even honour. Acts of treachery, torture and atrocities will contrast starkly with acts of heroism, rousing speeches and even the celebration of Saints Days in the midst of horror and terror.
Unlike Andy Loakes’ previous design (Toulon, 1793) this is a true grand-tactical siege game - and yet the use of cards, the constant need to juggle resources, the need to consider not one but four (arguably five) fortifications, and the constant struggle against the vagaries of fate ensure that both players will remain fully engaged throughout. This isn't the attritional slug-fest that so many siege games can be.
And like Toulon, 1793, the game will have many unique aspects and will feature a beautiful playing board based on a period map.
A great addition to anyone’s collection.