Tag Archives: Century of German History

The Treaty of Versailles (Century of German History, #10)

Friends of history, board games, and history in board games! Last year, I started a series called „Century of German History“ covering Germany’s turbulent 20th century. For every decade, I picked one crucial event (that happened in the year ending in a 9), placed it into the wider context, and illuminated it with exactly one board game. Now those of you who counted might have noticed that I didn’t finish this series in 2019. One event was missing – that of 1919. You might blame that on my laziness, but I swear, this time, that’s not true. The defining event of 1919 is the Treaty of Versailles to end World War I – and I wanted to cover that with the upcoming Versailles 1919 (Geoff Engelstein/Mark Herman, GMT Games). However, while I was ready for Versailles 1919, Versailles 1919 was not ready for me yet. Now, the game is about to go to the printers, and I can write about this intriguing design which made it to my list of most anticipated historical board games to be released this year. We’ll talk about the powers involved in the peacemaking at Versailles, the process of negotiations, and what became of it. Continue reading

Farewell 2019 – On the Blog

Welcome to the last end-of-year post for 2019 on my blog! So far, I’ve done Top Threes in the following categories:

Today, we come to the blog itself. It’s been a very good year for the blog – I posted 48 times (up by 9 in comparison to 2018) and doubled the number of hits and visitors.
The blog had visitors from 122 different countries and dependencies this year. Unsurprisingly, most (around 40%) of them come from the United States as the biggest English-speaking country, with the UK, Canada, and Australia accounting for another 20%. I’m always a bit surprised to see the blog doing well in countries where I don’t know a single subscriber (but of course, I cannot know everyone personally who stumbles over this blog) – so whoever you are who reads this blog in Sweden, Portugal, South Africa, Hong Kong (among many others) – thanks for stepping by! Leave me a comment. I’d like to get to know you!
Dear readers, thank you for your interest! I hope you had a delightful and possibly even educational time. I certainly had fun writing these posts. And here are the three projects which I regard as my finest achievements this year:

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The Wall Must Go (Century of German History, #9)

I’m doing a series on German history in the 20th century on my blog this year. In intervals of 10 years, I pick a crucial event and explore it – with the help of precisely one board game. You can find the previous posts here:

Today, we go into very recent history: Only 30 years ago, the world was still divided into the power blocs led by the United States and the Soviet Union. The frontline of this confrontation known as the Cold War ran right through the heart of Europe – Germany, and even its major city, Berlin, divided by the Berlin Wall. We’ll look at what this wall meant, how influences from outside Berlin gave an impulse for change, how the Berlin Wall finally came down, and which way the divided country took afterward. The game to accompany all of this could be no other than 1989 (Ted Torgerson/Jason Matthews, GMT Games).

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Into the Abyss: The Global Economic Crisis and the Fall of the Weimar Republic (Century of German History, #8)

I’m doing a series on German history in the 20th century on my blog this year. In intervals of 10 years, I pick a crucial event and explore it – with the help of precisely one board game. You can find the previous posts here:

Today, we’re going all the way back to Germany’s interwar Weimar Republic and the global economic crisis beginning in 1929. We’ll look at the vulnerable foundations of this new democracy, the immediate effects of the economic crisis, and the part the crisis played in the fall of the Weimar Republic. Also, we’ll discuss the perpetual questions if the Weimar Republic failed and if its fall was inevitable. The game to accompany all of this is Weimar: The Fight for Democracy (Matthias Cramer, Compass Games). The game is to be published next year, so all the components you see here still have the playtest art which will of course be polished. Designer Matthias Cramer provided me with the pictures and answered some questions of mine about the game and its portrayal of the crisis – very kind of him! Continue reading

Willy Brandt and Détente (Century of German History, #7)

I’m doing a series on German history in the 20th century on my blog this year. In intervals of 10 years, I pick a crucial event and explore it – with the help of precisely one board game. You can find the previous posts here:

Today, we go back to 1969, when Willy Brandt took office as chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the policy of détente across the Iron Curtain he implemented then. Here, the „German question“ of reunification merged with superpower détente into détente between West Germany and the Soviet Union as well as her allies in Eastern Europe. And when it comes to matters of détente and confrontation, our accompanying game can be no other than the famed Twilight Struggle (Ananda Gupta/Jason Matthews, GMT Games). If you are interested in Brandt’s life beyond détente, check out one of my very first blog posts on exactly that matter. Continue reading

World War II (Century of German History, #6)

I’m doing a series on German history in the 20th century on my blog this year. In intervals of 10 years, I pick a crucial event and explore it – with the help of precisely one board game. You can find the previous posts here:

Today, we go back to September 1, 1939 and the German attack on Poland – the beginning of World War II. The game that accompanies us is Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games). Now the events of World War II from the first shots to the final surrender of the Axis powers are well known (and covered by myriads of books, articles, and, yes, board games). Therefore, I’ll skip the narration of who conquered what when and instead focus on three crucial perspectives on the war and the board game: How was this war different from other great power wars before? How does the game balance between freedom of action of the players and recreating a historical outcome? And why does Unconditional Surrender capture an essential aspect of the war?
Finally, this post will also serve as the starting point of a new project: I’ll do a detailed Unconditional Surrender after action report. Follow my Twitter account for live updates (and vote on strategic decisions) and check out the larger narrative on the blog! Continue reading

The Naval Arms Race (Century of German History, #5)

Welcome to the fifth installment in my series Century of German History! Every post in the series sheds light on a focal event of German history in the 20th century and illustrates this event with precisely one board game. You can find the four previous posts here, here, here, and here.
Today we go to the very beginning of the century, to the very first decade and the Anglo-German naval arms race – from the comfortable naval position the United Kingdom enjoyed in the 19th century to the German challenge to this position, and the arms race proper and its consequences. Our game will be Europe in Turmoil: Prelude to the Great War (Kris van Beurden, Compass Games).

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