One of the most important points of Steve Tibble’s recent book The Crusader Armies was that the contribution of non-western Christians to the politics and warfare of the crusading period is typically overlooked. Contemporary writers tended to either minimise their importance or take them for granted, but that shouldn’t be the case for modern historians — or gamers — trying to imagine the era.
This meant that when we began designing our scenario for Salute, we wanted to make sure that Christians other than Franks were represented in the game. In the scenario, we decided to include some Armenian characters.
There are some great Armenian models on the market, including parts of the excellent Perry Miniatures Crusades line. We cheated a little, however, by mixing together elements of plastic models from Gripping Beast, Conquest, and Fireforge to create models that represent the combination of Arab, Byzantine, and European styles that we might find among the Armenian nobility.
Now, these are approximations, and there are a few things that probably don’t quite work — the pteruges are a little early — but they achieve one of the most important goals of figures in a miniature wargame: they make the differences between forces visible to the players. That sometimes involves some exaggeration of those differences.
The rest of our Armenian team is going to consist of figures that would fit in with our Muslim forces, just without distinctively Islamic iconography. Again, it’s a little bit of a shorthand, but it works well to convey the fact that everyday dress throughout the region would have a lot of similarities.
With only two weeks to go before Salute, we’re tweaking and refining our scenario, simplifying some areas and expanding others. Don’t forget to come by and see us at gaming table GG10 and stand TG06!