Tag Archives: Religion

Greek Freedom? (The Greco-Persian Wars, #2)

2500 years ago, the most powerful man in the world, Persian great king Xerxes I, had set out to add another country to his vast domains – small, mountainous Greece. In the previous post we’ve seen what prompted this invasion and how initially things were going well for the Persian invasion force – they broke through the Greek defenses at Thermopylae and thus central and southern Greece lay open to them. This time, we’ll finish the account of the Persian invasion of 480/479 BCE, look at Greco-Persian relations in the following one and a half centuries, and look at how the Greco-Persian Wars were remembered among the ancient Greeks and until today – of course, with board games!

Continue reading

The Leipzig Debate

What is the most exciting part about gaming history? – Doing what the historical agents might have done („Let’s see how an alliance with Imperial Germany would have worked out for Victorian Britain“) or see how what they did would translate into the game („John Shore was made a baron after his time with the East India Company, which is like scoring a prize after leaving the office of chairman.“
In short: Nothing is better than taking the perspective and agency of a historical agent. Card-Driven Games (CDGs) are reputed to have trouble with that. They can include all kinds of historical events on the cards, but the downsides to that are

  1. that the exact agency of the player in bringing about those events is a bit fuzzy (how exactly am I responsible for that storm which wrecked the opponent fleet?) and the player might feel „like an overworked Time Lord, delaying discoveries, accelerating accidents“
  2. and that the „standard“ moves to be conducted with the action points can be rather abstracted and generic („spread influence“).

One way out of this dilemma is employing standard events for each player which return to their hand – like the Home Cards for each power in Here I Stand (Ed Beach/GMT Games), which can be played once per turn and perfectly mesh with the respective power’s play style.
Today, we’ll look how that plays out in regard to the Leipzig Debate, one of the defining events of the early Reformation. After a quick look at the budding Reformation, we’ll go straight to the contestants of the debate and then the theological contest itself – and how it shaped events to come. All the while, Here I Stand will be our companion.

Continue reading

The Prague Defenestration: How Peace Went Out of the Window

May 23, 1618 was not a good day for Count von Martinitz. Neither was it for Count Slavata, nor for Councillor Fabricius. The three were assailed by an angry mob of the Bohemian Estates[1] and thrown out of a window of Prague Castle. Miraculously, all three of them survived the fall of about 20 meters. European peace, however, did not survive. The Thirty Years’ War which resulted from the attempted lynching ranks high among the bloodiest conflicts in European history. This article will take examine how this relatively small act of violence could trigger such a long and intense war and what made this war different from others before and after. All the while, games about the Thirty Years’ War will be discussed.

Continue reading

The Many Explanations for the Collapse of Communism (1989, #1)

The ancient history professor Alexander Demandt has enumerated 210 theories why the Western Roman Empire had fallen that had been proposed in the 1500 years since the Empire’s collapse. They ranged from the abolition of the gods to vulgarization and everything in between – fighting multi-front wars, excesses, lead poisoning, decline of the “Nordic character” of the Romans, female empowerment, you name it.[1] While the Roman Empire is gone for a bit longer than the Soviet Empire, the number of explanations for the sudden end of the Cold War and the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe are almost as manifold as those for the fall of Rome. That speaks of the surprise that the collapse of Communism was, and never was this process faster or more dramatic than in the year 1989. This article will look at the first group of explanations for the collapse of Communism and how they are represented in the board game 1989 (GMT Games, Ted Torgerson/Jason Matthews), kicking off a series on how history, politics and culture intertwine in 1989.

Continue reading

Reformation 500: Part 1

On this day 500 years ago, Oct 31, 1517, an unlikely man created a spark of history. When this spark fell on the tinder of renaissance Europe, the conflagration changed the world like few other events before or after. The man was the Augustine monk Martin Luther, and the spark he made were his “95 theses” that began the Reformation and led the fundament for the Protestant faith. Since this breathtaking event merits some broader inspection, I’ll examine it in two parts. Continue reading