• Wargaming with Men: Turn 1 Endeth!

    by  • June 19, 2012 • People & Events • 2 Comments

    I’ve reached the end of Turn 1 and, as my first-time ever as Pope, my butt is being KICKED by the Protestants.  I believe that I let them get away with too many  conversions.  Should have tried burning more of them!  Right now, we move into the diplomacy phase of Turn 2.  I finally realize that I am at war with France and the Ottomans are talking about the “new faith” taking over Europe.  End result?  Chaos!

    Welcome to Here I Stand: Wars of the Reformation 1517-1555 !

    Some background.  Here I Stand:  Wars of the Reformation 1517-1555 is a wargame from GMT Games.  It is a wonderfully complicated game that I’m playing for the second time over email.  (See end of this post for information on one way to get into a game yourself!)  I’m the only female and have to rely on the kindness of strange faceless men in the US and Europe to meander through.

    Turn 1 with this group was very different from Turn 1 with my first group.  This is a much more playful group who takes themselves less seriously.  That is a relief.

    My biggest dilemma in Turn 1 was not knowing how to play at all and not even knowing how to navigate the online elements like Cyberboard and ACTS.  Now, I can at least do that.  But now I have to learn how to wage religious battle which is completely different from what I played before.  It is like learning the game all over again.

    We do have one veteran player who likes to give advice quite freely.  At first, I thought it was a little condescending, but I realize now that he does that to everyone so I don’t feel singled out so much.

    One bad habit I have developed over time is the habit of apologizing.  I feel as though I apologized through the entire first game I ever played.  It’s hard when you are learning a game and feel as though you are holding everyone up.  Especially a taciturn group that gives little feedback (first group.)  They were kind, but SERIOUS.  Do all first time players feel this way or is it something we women are more prone to do… apologize when we don’t know something?  It’s a question I throw out there.

    It looks like my strategy this turn will be to 1) take Florence so I can get me some points.  Then 2) debate the Protestants and try to burn them… or switch control of their spaces over to me.  The Protestants have allied with the Ottomans… an unholy alliance from the Papal perspective.

    Meanwhile Henry is talking about how to get rid of his wife Katherine.  As Pope, I said no to a divorce.  But, when I first played HIS, I was England and actually ventured a question to my friend as to whether I could stay married to Katherine.  (I’m very well-versed in English history and I think Henry was just a jerk.  Why not stay married for a change?)  My friend politely explained that while he understood my reverence for the sanctity of marriage, I would never win by staying married to Katherine.  I basically had to divorce and do the musical wife dance.  It was frustrating that the design of the game forced this divorce.  All other kinds of things happen that have no basis in history… crazy alliances, unexpected military upheavals, etc.  The Ottomans could conceivably rule England.  Is this a male perspective built into the game or is just innocent game design?

    Anyway, off I go into Turn 2.  If you’re interested in joining a group, one way is to get an account on Boardgamegeek.com.  Then search for Here I Stand.  You can then scroll to Forums, then click on General.  You can see emails from people looking for a group to join.  You can answer that or you can post yourself saying that you would like to join and say what your experience level is.  Let me know if that doesn’t work!



    I was always interested in D&D from the time I found Basic and AD&D at my local hardware store while in junior high. I bought both and found out that only boys played and I wasn't allowed to play with boys :-(. At the age of 38, I joined a group with my husband and played tabletop for 2 years. Now we LARP together in World of Darkness games. We are also working on some Call of Cthulu, Mouseguard and Savage Worlds tabletop games. I'm probably the odd person out having come to the hobby so late in life compared to others. My special love is plot, character development, interaction, and DRAMA!! In real life, I'm a tax auditor and an animal shelter volunteer.

    2 Responses to Wargaming with Men: Turn 1 Endeth!

    1. avatar
      June 21, 2012 at 17:55

      On the apology thing, I don’t think it’s just women. Or at least, I’m male and I do the same thing. After a while I kind of hit a sorry limit and start just doing what I know I can do, even if I suspect it’s not the best move, just to not be the one slowing things down and asking questions. I mean, I know the other people PROBABLY don’t mind, but I still feel bad about it.

      As for the Henry/Katherine situation, could it be some kind of balancing mechanism? I haven’t read the rules (yet), but could it be that the designers felt they had to give England some kind of disadvantage to keep them from being too powerful? I don’t meant to deny that it could be some kind of male perspective thing just like you say, but I’m just tossing out an alternate idea.

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    2. avatar
      June 27, 2012 at 20:05

      Yeah, the balancing mechanism sounds logical. England is a bit player and, really, the only thing that makes it special is the whole marriage trajectory. Take it away and it becomes a wallflower, unless there’s a particularly brilliant player at hand.

      The Henry/Katherine thing doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the game, but it was just a nagging little thought that I’ve had. Thanks for the feedback! :-)

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