It’s been a long time since I’ve had the chance to write an update on Here I Stand: Wars of the Reformation 1517-1555 because this turn has taken a hell of a long time to complete! It is a GMT game that I play by email (PBEM) and I’ve lost count of how many players have been on vacation or on work-related trips. But, finally, the turn ends and I would be surprised if it doesn’t completely end in Turn 5 with the Hapsburgs taking the prize.
(After this game is over, I may take the brave step of actually entering a gaming club to which my husband belongs, filled with serious, semi-hoary white men hunched over their war game boards, cardboard pieces and/or miniatures. This is a 20+ year old gaming group to which not a single woman currently belongs and, not surprisingly, they are having some serious concerns over membership numbers. I hope to chronicle my visit there in a future article.)
But, now, the most exciting turn for this female Pope must be documented!
To begin with, during diplomacy, the Ottomans declared war on me. ME! With France already at war with me, this was NOT something I needed. I had already promised the Hapsburgs a loan of two Venetian fleets (stupid, stupid, stupid!), but I did manage to get the honorable English player to give me the one extra card he had promised me for allowing him to divorce Catherine of Aragon. That was good.
With the first impulse of the game, the Ottoman player sets sail with a whole posse to Ravenna, the Pope’s town, which would place him squarely between Florence and Vienna. Both cities are under my control and no way am I going to give them up. The Pope is not known for his military might, though, and has no military leader for field battle advantage. So, with my first card move, I seek to fortify the cities by adding 2 mercenaries to Florence and 1 regular unit to Venice.
With the second impulse of the turn, the Ottomans land in Ravenna and wait for my response. Noticing that the Ottomans have very few cards, I choose to play a response card that forces him to give one of his cards up, leaving him with only 2 cards to play (he had started with only 4 anyway). Bwahahahaha! With that, unfortunately, he then lays siege to Ravenna.
Now, this is very tricky because the Ottomans are on land with 9 regular units and one cavalry. At this point, I’m feeling pretty much overwhelmed no matter what I do. With the third impulse, I notice that Modena stands empty and unguarded. The Ottoman has to get through Modena to get to Florence. So, I play a card for points and add three mercenaries to Modena. Suddenly, the Ottomans start passing. Hmmmm…
With my next impulse, I add three mercenaries to Rome. The Ottomans continue to pass. Still wary, at the next impulse, I add another mercenary to Florence and spent a point on construction of St. Peter. (For the Pope, construction of St. Peter’s is another method of adding victory points.)
The Ottoman kept passing so I decided to do something about the Lutherans. Part of the trick of being Pope is that you always have the religious conflict on your hands. So, if you are engaged in a war, you will have at least a two-front battle no matter what. I choose to target the English language zone in order to have a debate and see if I can burn somebody. So I play a card and expel Calvin, the most powerful debater from England, so I don’t have to contend with him in a debate.
During my next impulse, I draw the weakest of the English debaters and beat him in the dice roll, but not by enough to burn him. D’oh! But I am able to turn London from the Protestant influence back to the Catholic influence. Huzzah.!
For my two final impulses, I continue construction on St. Peter’s Cathedral to garner another Victory Point and then take over Genoa. All Hail ME! After that we all passed and we are on to the diplomacy phase of Turn 5 where the sound of crickets reflect the holidays out there.
So, I am at war with France and the Ottomans, I have fortified the Italian peninsula except for Ravenna, I’ve recovered London from those evil heretics, and I will finally get my two fleets back from the Hapsburgs. I expect utter annihilation in the next turn though.
Here’s to nearing a resolution soon!!!