Once you tried Here I Stand – see our full, 6 players session – it is really hard to stop coming back to that great game. Not always you are able to gather the full group, but the title is very good also with 3 players, each leading two factions, whose political and religious interests are usually in common.
As this was first play for Filip, while Kuba and I already played twice, the planned set-up was following:
- Filip – Protestants & England
- Jakub – Hapsburg Empire & Papacy
- Michal (me) – France & Ottomans
We were playing the base, 1517 scenario. The above assignment of course meant that very quickly my and Kuba’s factions will collide while Filip can get familiar with game by playing more religiously focused countries. And so it happened…
===Turn 1, 1517-1523===
Main developments of the turn:
- England of course declares war on Scotland but did not manage to conquer it yet
- Protestants are very proficient in converting the catholic areas – Filip is doing great in that aspect!
- Ottomans start the conquest of Hungary, Budapest falls; this is accompanied by vast fleet expansion program
- France is in possession of great explorers, one of them will try to circumnavigate the world! On top of this a massive army and fleet build up effort is undergoing; constant war with Hapsbusrgs and Papacy (as per scenario rules) is ongoing
- Hapsburg Empire not only very nicely develops their overseas possessions (two explorations) but also conquer neutral key – Metz!
- Papacy is being mercilessly beaten on religious area but keeps pretty well as far as military forces are concerned
As usually in HiS, initial turn is time for expansion, build-up and in awaiting for an opportunity to arise…
===Turn 2, 1524-1527===
Things start to spin! Quickly!
- Protestant League is being proclaimed (again, very early) and it becomes political entity. The religious conversion continues.
- England crushes Scotland and re-positions it military forces south in anticipation of next turn
- Ottomans amass a decent army and head for Vienna. There are no Poles under Sobieski like in 1683 to stop them. The odds are against empire 6–13. Unlike in our previous games of HiS this is not an epic battle where tow enormous forces clash and one merely prevails. No, this is slaughter… The Hapsburg are obliterated and both leaders goes into Turkish custody. Turning point of game.
- France develops pretty peacefully, discovering Amazon and circumnavigating World – 5 VPs in two shots! On top of this minor military conquest (Florence) and excommunication by Papacy 🙂
- Hapsburg Empire after crushing but deserved defeat in Vienna puts all efforts in the West direction; unfortunately, exploration and conquest are unsuccessful this time.
- Papacy is playing aggressively and conquers Ravenna; of course, on religious field Protestants are still having upper hand
A very exciting and, as it turned out, decisive turn!
===Turn 3, 1528-1531===
A decent follow-up to previous Turn!
- The long awaited man heir to English throne finally arrived and with him 5 VPs! Long live King Edward! Actually, historically, he will live only 6 years as a reigning King 😦 The large English army is now ready in North France for whatever future will bring.
- Protestant expansion is stopped. They look very nervously at the gigantic Ottoman army standing nearby in Austria, but no attack comes from that direction – simply, that would no bring VPs to Ottomans. This is also driver for slow-down of religious expansion.
- Ottomans prepare a grand landing near Ravenna culminating in a won battle but unsuccessful siege of the city. Still, the goal and target for next turn is obvious – nothing will stop the Turks – Papacy and Rome!
- France slowly expands in the New World but what is even more important, amasses large army (16 units) in Paris. The enemies are everywhere, especially Hapsburg in Spain and English in Calais.
- Hapsburg Empire sees his leader – Karol V – released after hefty ransom is paid; they continue with exploration but a significant unrest hits the empire at the end of the turn.
- Papacy bravely repels firs Turkish invasion, losing most if its army in the process. Independence sustained. At least for one more turn.
At this moment in time we had to stop as it was very, very late in night. We played 1/3 of the game and a lot still could happen. The results at the conclusion were following (in brackets, change from the initial value):
- Michal – Ottomans 22 points (+14, Hungary and Vienna conquered)
- Michal – France 20 points (+10, great explorers, Florence conquered)
- Filip – Protestants 17 points (+17, the Reformation was spreading very quickly)
- Filip – England 17 points (+8, Scotland conquered and those Henry’s wives…)
- Jakub – Papacy 17 points (-2, still before counter-reformation, losses considerably low, Ravenna taken)
- Jakub – Hapsburg Empire 14 points (+5, good New World expeditions but disastrous loss of Vienna)
It was so tremendously exciting and close game. And it is such a wonderful design – the game is really deep and I could play it whenever I have companions to do it. The good thing is that even after disaster or defeat your country can recover and your former enemies will ally you just to take down the leader. What a great game! I just hope to play more once lockdown is completed.
PS. Sorry for overview image quality, was taken from different phone and was not able to correct them with any program 😦