About game:

Here I Stand – a truly large and thorough story of the Europe during the time of Reformation. Few realize that the greatest feats of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ignatius of Loyola, Henry VIII, Charles V, Francis I, Suleiman the Magnificent, Ferdinand Magellan, Hernán Cortés, and Nicolaus Copernicus all fall within this narrow 40-year period of history! This game covers all the action of the period using a unique card-driven game system that models both the political and religious conflicts of the period on a single point-to-point map.

In the full version (preferred, although hard to organised!) the game allows six players to lead key political and religious powers of 16th century Europe. It has great replayability value and provides one of the best asymmetric experiences. Each faction plays completely differently, so you have at least couple of games before you would be able to experience all the subtleties of this title. Among major belligerents are:

The Ottomans
The Hapsburg
The English
The French
The Papacy
The Protestants

But this is not everything! Here I Stand prominently and explicitly feature secret deal-making. A true six-sided diplomatic struggle, the game places a heavy emphasis on successful alliance-building through negotiations that occur away from the table during the pre-turn Diplomacy Phase. That can be really surprising when people come back to table and start to announce what was agreed!

Would you stand-up to the task and manage to prevail against odds, leading your faction to the victories in the field, on the political ground and in the religious dimension?

Number of players:

This is a great 6-player strategic / political game. Equally well you can organize it with 3 players, each of them leading two factions. We have variants for 2, 4, and 5 sides, but they are much less preferable / balanced.

Playing time:

Games vary in length, from 3–4 hours for a tournament scenario up to full campaign games that run about twice the time at minimum.


The rulebook can be a little daunting – it is pretty long and thick. Still, this is due to the fact that almost each faction has some specific, unique actions, abilities, rules, etc. If you just starting, go for Ottomans and approximately half a rule-book is all you need to familiarize yourself with before first game.

What I like:
  • Game theme – I am huge fan of history and love the games where you can influence past events. Here we are getting one of the most turbulent and exciting years in human history nicely packaged as a boardgame, unveiling many pivotal events. A fantastic feast for history-geek!
  • Asymmetry and replayability – with 6 pretty diverse factions you are getting a title which can be played for years and you will never get bored. With time you probably develop affection for one/two factions, leading which will give you most satisfaction. There is simply so much to discover!
  • Mechanics – this is title was published in the golden years of Card Driven Games and uses this mechanics to full potential. The number of options is pretty vast and varies depending on the faction, but you will always be face with very interesting dilemmas and trade-offs.
  • Components – while not a miniature game, and initially published over 10 years ago, the game still strikes with very elegant and beautiful components – be it the great mounted map, the faction displays or the counters. At the same time it is pretty functional and easy to read.
What I do not like or would like to see in the game:
  • Some of the game weaknesses lies in it strengths: it is really hard to get 6 dedicated players, who not only will be willing to familiarize themselves with rulebook, but also play at least 2-3 times to get the most from the game – and each session will easily take 8-10 hours.
For whom?

For sure, this is not a game for an entry wargamer, but if you already played some Card Drive Games, this will be great continuation. Still, make sure you have at least two other devoted and dedicated player who will be willing to take part in this fantastic endeavor!  

More about the game:

And now let us have a look at the components – all pictures taken during my plays:

The full view of the game – beautiful, point-to-point map.
Constant tensions on French-British border, often used by Hapsburgs to progress their own agenda.
Large battles between Hapsburgs and Ottomans are key feature of the game – one time Vienna holds, one time Vienna falls.
Ottomans are not only powerful on land but also one the seas. And all those independent spaces are difficult to conquer!


Here I Stand was a game which I planned to get for a long time. I can wholeheartedly recommend it as fantastic, 6-player grand strategy. But in that recommendation there is a caveat: you really need a dedicated group to get the maximum from that title. Three-player version works fine; still, a whole day with six players will be an experience which nobody will forget! Highly recommended!

See you in another game review!