Tag Archives: Italy

Venice in History and Board Games

One of the most storied cities of the world celebrates its 1600th birthday this year: As legend has it, Venice was founded when three Roman officials established a trade post on the lagoon off Italy’s Adriatic shore on March 25, 421. Since then, Venice has been a refuge, a great power, and a tourist destination. Venice continues to be an inspiration due to its special topography of islands and canals, the enterprising spirits and artisanal skills of its population, and the heights of subtlety and sophistication which its diplomacy, politics, arts, and culture reached. Correspondingly, the city is a frequent subject of board games: 64 are listed in BoardGameGeek’s “family” of Venice games – many more than are set in, say, Milan (13), Florence (25), or even Rome (also 25). This post will take you on a journey through the history and board games of Venice.

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Report of Evelyn Sandringham, Alpinist with the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division (USEAAR, #28)

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

Verona, March 07, 1943

To the Chief of Staff

Sir,
my investigation of the avalanche which has buried the freight train with supplies for and cut the railway link to the 24th (Gibraltar) Mountain Corps has been completed with the following findings:

  • The avalanche has not been caused naturally, but rather through setting off an explosive. The remains of said explosive have been found on the eastern slope of mountains next to the Adige valley. That the avalanche coincided exactly with the time the supply train was passing through compounds these findings.
  • Inquiries after the activities of pro-Nazi partisans among the ethnic Germans in these parts of South Tyrol have been inconclusive. The intelligence officers of British Army in Italy are aware of such partisans, but deem it unlikely, yet not impossible, that they have the amount of explosives required to conduct such an operation. It is, however, conceivable that the attack has been carried out by other groups.

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Report on the Three-Power Conference in Tehran (USEAAR, #25)

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

Written by Salvatore Graniti, Counsellor of Legation in the Italian diplomatic service, posted at the Foreign Ministry in Rome

November 30, 1942

To his excellency the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Italy

Sir,
the following draft for a report on the three-power conference between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America held in Tehran is most humbly submitted to you.
The three powers have made agreements regarding the conduct of the war in Europe and the Pacific as well concerning the future peace order for Europe. Continue reading

Letter from Gianni Rossatti to Salvatore Graniti (USEAAR, #23.2)

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

Letter from Gianni Rossatti, Counsellor of Embassy, posted at the Italian embassy in London, to Salvatore Graniti, Counsellor of Legation, currently in Milan

London, August 23, 1942

My dear Salvatore!
I am so relieved to hear that you have evaded Nazi capture. Since the first news of the German counter-attack have reached me, I have been praying for your delivery. It is uplifting to hear, especially as the good news have been so rare lately. Continue reading

Letter from Salvatore Graniti to Gianni Rossatti (USEAAR, #23.1)

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

Letter from Salvatore Graniti, Counsellor of Legation in the Italian diplomatic service, formerly posted as a liaison with the British Army in Germany, to Gianni Rossatti, Counsellor of Embassy, posted at the Italian embassy in London

Milan, August 13, 1942

Most esteemed Gianni!
You will have heard what has befallen the forces under the command of General Montgomery – and by extension, to our Italian division, and to me as liaison with the British Army in Germany. I am happy to tell you that I am alive, unwounded, and, unlike most others who served with that unit, not in captivity.
When General Montgomery’s headquarters came under attack by German forces, I happened to be on an errand to the 1st Italian division in Alsace. A stray artillery shell hit my jeep, and we crashed into the ditch. My driver was dead immediately. Poor Paolo! He’d been with my all this time since Sicily. Frankly, I write this letter to you so I can postpone writing the one to his parents. What am I to tell them that will not just give them grief? Continue reading

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

Letter of Congratulation on the Italian Campaign (USEAAR, #20)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.
Written by Gianni Rossatti, Counsellor of Embassy in the Italian diplomatic service, posted at the Italian embassy in London

London, February 24, 1942

To Salvatore Graniti, currently posted as a liaison with the British Army in Italy
My dear Salvatore,
I have no idea where this letter will reach you. In November, you had just crossed into Calabria, in December, you were in Apulia already, just to embark again, and land in Trieste in January. Having just taken Venice, as I hear, I assume you will be half the way to the Reich Chancellery by now. Continue reading

Report on the crossing to Italy (USEAAR, #18)

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

Written by Salvatore Graniti, Secretary of Legation in the Italian diplomatic service, assigned as liaison officer to the staff of the British Army in Italy

Palmi, November 1, 1941

To his Excellency the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Italy
Sir,
the following report on the military progress of the forces of the Kingdom of Italy and those of our esteemed ally, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in the Italian theater of war is most humbly submitted to you.
I am pleased to report that we have taken the initiative and crossed an entire army into Calabria. The German forces have been forced to retreat. The commander of the British Army in Italy, Lt. Gen. Bernard Montgomery, is confident that we can hold the bridgehead over the winter and threaten flanking attacks either into Lazio or into Apulia early in 1942. Continue reading

Report on the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (USEAAR, #12)

 

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.
Written by Salvatore Graniti, Secretary of Legation in the Italian diplomatic service, recently posted to the Italian embassy in London

To his Excellence the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Italy
Sir,
the following report on the recent developments in the political leadership of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is most humbly submitted to you.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Right Honourable Neville Chamberlain, has resigned from his post during a meeting of the War Cabinet in the evening of December 18, after the last German soldiers had been expelled from the south-east of England. He argued that the failed invasion had irrevocably damaged the confidence Parliament and the British people could have in his leadership. He is succeeded by the previous Foreign Secretary Edward Wood, Viscount Halifax. Continue reading

Diary entry of Edelgard Traun (USEAAR, #9)

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

Dresden, August 31, 1940

Tomorrow we complete one year of this war. I, like most Germans, did not want it. I am old enough to remember the World War of 1914—18, and this war looked just the same. Yet I confess that I was carried away when our armies swept through France and took Paris in just six weeks. It seemed like it could be a short war, just enough to restore our glory lost in 1918. But since then, nothing has gone right again. The front in France is bogged down just like in 1914. The Italians have joined the fight in the hope of plunder just like in 1915.
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