My favorite multi-player game is easily GMT's "Here I Stand." Rich was kind enough to set-up and host a game last Saturday at his lovely home in Downers Grove.
My strategy--or strategery--as the Papacy: Diplomatically, i need to maintain a strong alliance with the Haps. We both have shared interests in Germany--me on the religion side, Haps on the Electorate side. The Haps can provide military protection for me as well. My other main diplomatic goal is to make peace with France and to keep them out of Italy and direct their attention elsewhere.
England cuts a deal with France where France gives him a card in exchange for allowing the Scots to vacate Edinburgh. This raises eyebrows amongst the other players and would have repurcussions for England in the following turns as we felt England had taken advantage of a new French player.
The Ottomans took Belgrade and also knocked out the Knights of St. John so it looked like they were going for a Med. strategy.
The Haps took Metz. France pulled their Scots out of Edinburgh and built a chateux. England took an undefended Edinburgh, while i failed to take Florence but did have success in keeping the reformation somewhat in check against John's Prots. I also threaten France with Excommunication should they cross into Italy. I'm not sure if Michael planned to do so or not, but i like to think my threat helped keep the French army out of Italy.
In the New World, France found the Amazon, the Haps conquered the Aztecs but failed in exploration. England's Rut found the Straights but failed to circumnavigate.
VP's Otts 10 Haps 12 England 12 France 15 Papacy 18 Prots 1
|At start. Outstanding graphics!|
The action really gets started. I draw the best card possible for the Papacy in "Venetian Alliance!" I also find that the Haps have Wartburg, so i'm in good shape. France and i agree to end our war and i encourage France to stay at war with England. I also ally with the Haps and Tim forms a Haps-France alliance with loaning 2 squadrons to France to fight England.
On my turn 2, i take Florence, play Leipzig Debate and target Tyndale in England and burn him! I then bring Venice into alliance. Great turn for me.
England and France begin their arms race in the channel, building up their navies and armies. The Ottomans take Buda, creating war with the Haps. The Haps are pretty quiet, although they play Trace Italiene, plopping a fortress in Germany and, along with a Papal merc i had deployed to Germany, help keep the Reformation in check.
|France and England--the Phony War.|
VP's: Otts 14 Haps 16 England 12 France 16 Papacy 21 Prots 4
|Suleiman takes Buda.|
Diplomacy continues hot and heavy. With the Prots under control, i now need Tim more than he needs me, so i gladly continue our alliance and loan the Haps a Papal squadron. Rich and i discuss divorce terms. We bargain back and forth with me wanting 2 cards and 2 mercs as my starting position. Rich starts with 1 card and 2 mercs. We finally settle on 2 cards to me and i send him a single merc. This will cancel my alliance with Tim which worries me a little but i quick talk with France convinces me i'm okay.
When we announce deals though, France declines to go to peace with England--they had obviously discussed this in diplomacy-- and England cancels our deal as he needs the cards to fight France.
So, France invades England but Rich is able to crush the French army. France does win a naval battle in Calais and exchanges one loaned Haps squadron for 2 English squadrons, and settles in for a long seige of Calais as Rich hits France with Gout and Unpaid Mercs.
Rich also hits the sheets with Ann Boleyn but only gets Elizabeth out of it. Ann's days are numbered...
John's Prots go on a conversion rampage in Germany which i can do little about. John's dice have finally went hot and mine cold.
The Barbary Pirates make their appearance, but Tim is ready for them and sails a Spanish Armada into port and wipes the corsairs out.
The Shmalkaldic League also comes out and Tim moves Charles into Germany to try and take some electorates.
|Charles in charge...German version.|
It's a quiet turn for me, as i work on St. Peters and build up my army for what i expect will be an invasion from someone.
VP's Otts 16 Haps 19 England 14 France 16 Papacy 23 Prots 12
With 23 VP's, i know i have a big target on me. The question is, who is going to come after me? My biggest concern is Tim, as Charles coming up from Naples with a large Haps army could be bad. Tim also has a bunch of cards so he could take Florence and Vencice from me. The Otts are also a concern but i am better prepared to deal with them as i have a good sized fleet in the Adriatic.
Tim is also in a good position to win so i want France and England to go after him. I talk to Michael(France) and encourage him to end the Angl-French War and ally with England to go after Tim. He sees the logic in this and i feel pretty good about my chances of either winning or being in a good position to win on Turn 5.
But here is where i make a huge mistake: i don't talk to Rich to make sure the England-France deal happens. So we go to announce deals and France and England stay at war! The Ottomans then go to peace with Tim and DOW me. Now, i am very concerned that Tim will win this turn as he has carte blanche in Germany and can easily take all the Electorates, and that coupled with another exporation and conquest can give him the win.
So Dean sends the Ottoman fleet into the Adriatic to take on the combined Papal-Venetian fleet. He sinks all but 2 squadrons while lossing a couple himself in a bloody battle. Sulieman then lands in Venice with 5 Ottoman regulars.
|Ottomans move on Italy.|
Over in the channel, Michael's French fleet takes out the English fleet and Calais finally falls to the French.
|Calais falls to the French!|
|Haps blitz Germany.|
Meanwhile, a Papal army moves to relieve the seige at Venice and wins the field battle! With no retreat path, Sulieman is captured and paraded through the streets of Rome.
So, i am in good shape having held off the Ottoman invasion. Tim is at 22 VP's with an explorer to roll for. When he picks his -1 explorer Navarez, i breath a sigh of relief. It looks like we'll go another turn and i have a great chance to win on Turn 5. But Tim rolls an 11, which gives him a chance to circumnavigate and get the win. He still needs an 11 or 12 to do this, so i'm still not worried. He throws the dice in the cup and...12! His worst explorer circumnavigates and the 3 VP push him to 25 and the win!
Final VP: Otts 17 Haps 25 England 12 France 19 Papacy 22 Prots 6
Nice win for Tim. I felt i played a great game but made one major mistake during the turn 4 diplomacy not talking to Rich to cement the French-English anti-Haps alliance. So what happened there? I found out that Rich had wanted peace but wanted to wait a turn to DOW the Haps and use his home card to try and get Edward. This was a non-starter for Michael as he, rightly so, didn't want to take the Haps on alone. Both Michael and Rich are new players so they really needed someone to broker the deal and to make sure they attacked Tim. I failed at this and it cost me the game.
Great time as always. Thanks again to Rich for hosting ,and i'm looking forward to our next game.