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Here I Stand: Wars of the Reformation 1517-1555 is the first game in over 25 years.to cover the political and religious conflicts of early 16th Century Europe. Few realize that the greatest feats of Martin Luther, Jean Calvin, Ignatius Loyola, Henry VIII, Charles V, Francis I, Suleiman the Magnificent, Ferdinand Magellan, Hernando Cortes, 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.
There are six main powers in the game, each with a unique path to victory.
Here I Stand is the first card-driven game to prominently feature secret deal-making. A true six-sided diplomatic stuggle, the game places a heavy emphasis on successful alliance-building through negotations that occur away from the table during the pre-turn Diplomacy Phase. Set during the period in which Niccolo Machiavelli published his masterpiece "The Prince," backstabbing is always possible, especially because the card deck is loaded with event and response cards that can be played by any power to disrupt the plans of the powers in the lead.
The lineage of Here I Stand includes descent from both SPI's A Mighty Fortress (published in 1977) and GMT's The Napoleonic Wars (2002). Reusing the theme of A Mighty Fortress, the game improves on its predecessor with a much deeper system to handle religious conversions, the additions of New World exploration and Mediterranean piracy, and the explicit inclusion of minor powers that can be coerced into the conflict through card play. Borrowed from The Napoleonic Wars is the use of important cities to determine economic strength and elements of the land combat, avoid battle, and interception systems. Many game mechanics borrowed from The Napoleonic Wars were simplified to ensure a fast-paced game despite the wide range of factor considered by this design. From this base, the game adds mechanics unique to the 16th Century, including heavy use of short-term (and unreliable!) mercenaries, explicit wintering of armies, and the mercurial nature of siege operations, especially against targets that can be resupplied by sea.
Here I Stand is an innovative game system, being the first to integrate religion, politics, economics and diplomacy in a card-driven design. Games vary in length from 3-4 hours for a tournament scenario up to full campaign games that run about twice the time. Rules to play games with 3, 4, or 5 players are also included. The 3-player game is just as well balanced as the standard 6-player configuration, taking advantage of the natural alliances of the period.