The five groups whose part can be taken by the players are:

This period saw the rapid conquest of Syria by Saladin from his powerbase in Egypt against frantic attempts of the heirs and former officers of the Zangid dynasty to reestablish their grip on these holdings. Meanwhile the Crusader States warred and allied themselves with their Muslim neighbors while the Abbasid Khalifate in Baghdad gaining some leeway from Seljuk rule moved into a last Indian Summer. It also saw the disastrously defeated attempt of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I. Komnenos at Myriekephalon trying to crush the Seljuks of Rhum while the Armenian petty kings in Cilicia fiercefully defended their independence.