Tag Archives: Great Britain

Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford (Prime Minister Ratings, #1)

300 years ago, Robert Walpole was made First Lord of the Treasury for the second time. Not a particularly impressive event – if Walpole had not retained that office for 21 years and turned himself into the leading British politician of his time. Thereafter, the office of First Lord of the Treasury customarily was given to the monarch’s representative to parliament – the Prime Minister, as the holder became known. As times changed, so did the office: Today, the prime minister is much more responsible to parliament than to the monarch. Yet the office, unofficial at first, has endured these 300 years and been held by dozens of very different men and women. And thus, this post about Walpole will kick off a new irregular series on the blog – Prime Minister Ratings! I’ll assess Walpole (and, in the future, other prime ministers (or even leaders from other places)) by a very general rating system – and I’ll introduce one board game in which the prime minister or the problems they faced feature – this time, Imperial Struggle (Ananda Gupta/Jason Matthews, GMT Games).

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The Great Enfranchisement: Women’s Suffrage in the United States and the United Kingdom

The United States are on the eve of an election. In a democracy, this is when the people (so prominent a term in the founding documents of the United States) are called upon to have their say and decide the future of their country. Yet, for a long time in American history, only a very limited amount of Americans were called upon to cast their votes on a Tuesdays in November – because of their race, their class, and also because of their gender. 100 years ago, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States ended the latter practice and gave women equal suffrage rights with men. We’ll look upon the roots of that long struggle for equality and at the political machinations that led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, drawing strongly on two soon-to-be published board games: The Vote (Tom Russell, Hollandspiele), to be released on November 3, and Votes for Women (Tory Brown, Fort Circle Games), to be released in April 2021. Of course, American women were not alone in their fight for voting rights, and the British suffragettes (more on that term later) were particularly influential with the style of their campaigns – and with the board games they published.

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The Life & Games of Florence Nightingale

2020 is the year in which we all suddenly discuss hygiene measures and infection rates. Medical workers are recognized as the essential pillars of our society that they are (although much of it is performative, and working conditions in care do not reflect the crucial role of the field). One particular pioneer of our medical system was born 200 years ago, and she made major contributions to all the areas mentioned – hygiene, statistics, and nursing. And thus, it is doubly fitting to dedicate this post to Florence Nightingale, from her early struggle to become a nurse over her sudden fame as a nurse in the Crimean War to her contributions to sanitation, statistics, social reform and nursing instruction – and, at times, to discuss the board games in which she features and the limits of biographies via board games.

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The Life & Games of Winston Churchill

Eighty years ago, the fate of the world hung in the balance as Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany. It is the legacy of one man that Britain fought on: Winston Churchill. This post will retrace his life from his early days through his deeds in war (World War I and World War II) and peace (the inter-war period and his later years). Unsurprisingly, a man of the historical importance of Churchill has inspired quite a few board games which will be our companions on the way.
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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

Notes of the Diplomatic Proceedings in Rome (USEAAR, #4)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.

Notes of the diplomatic proceedings in Rome, taken by Salvatore Graniti, junior Secretary of Legation in the Italian diplomatic service

September 21, 1939

The Duce has been anxious to see the German delegation. He congratulates them on the great successes of their armies in Belgium and France. The Germans express confidence of further advances and hint at looking for a partner to share responsibilities for Europe. „We are no southern country, but the Mediterranean must have a firm hand and order as well“, says ambassador von Mackensen. The Duce replies that Germany has no better friend than Italy and that the old privileges of Britain and France must be altered to fit our new times. Continue reading

Mr Chamberlain, end this war! (USEAAR, #2)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.

Daily Mail, London

October 12, 1939

MR CHAMBERLAIN, END THIS WAR!

Our country has been at war for six weeks now. It has been six weels of unmitigated disaster: Belgium is defeated, France has lost her capital Paris. The French army has proven utterly inept – outmaneuvered, surrounded, destroyed at every turn. So of course when it comes to the heavy lifting, it’s been our boys who had to do it – our fighters rule the sky over France, and we even led the counter-attack that aimed to retake Paris. But how is one to succeed with such hapless allies? Continue reading

The Life & Games of Napoleon Bonaparte (Part 2)

Welcome back to the Life & Games of Napoleon Bonaparte! You can find the first part dealing with Napoleon’s biography here. This second part is going to be a little more analytic, examining his military, political, and cultural legacy – and the games about it (see more games also in the first post).

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The Life & Games of Napoleon Bonaparte (Part 1)

BoardGameGeek divides their history-themed games in eras. Only one of them is named after a person (and the one after it indirectly, as Post-). So, how big must you be to have that honor? – Napoleon-big. As Napoleon was born 250 years ago (on August 15, 1769), here’s a post covering his life (from his early years over his mastery of Europe and finally his downfall) and the games about it. Not all the games, mind you. Not even close. In board gaming – as in history and public memory – Napoleon looms large. 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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