Thursday, May 23, 2024

Unboxing: Here I Stand 500th Anniversary Reprint Edition, 2nd Printing (GMT Games)

I recently received three games I had ordered on GMT’s P500: Washington’s War (third printing), For the People (fourth printing), and Here I Stand 500th Anniversary Reprint Edition (second printing). All new printings of classic, well-known, and loved wargames. I have been buying wargames for quite some time, but I had never managed to have money, interest, and opportunity align well enough for me to procure any of these. Well, until now, of course. I could not wait to get inside the boxes, and look at what I had, so I figured I would write a little, so anyone interested could see as well.

All three of these games interested me, but I started by looking at Here I Stand. It is a game that combines military, political, and religious conflict, all in a Card Driven Game (CDG) package, but apparently is only a ‘good’ game with either exactly three or six players (although a quick check of the rules shows that a two-player variant exists). Something like this seems like a great fit for our yearly gaming get together (assuming my friends were interested), although I do not think that is going to be my goal game this year.
Anyway, let’s look and see what we have.

First the box:

Well, right there on the cover, the game includes a two-player variant. The 500th anniversary edition is an upgraded edition of the game, including six new cards, some card revisions, and some rule changes ported over from Virgin Queen. I have no reference to how extensive the changes are, but if you were going to buy the game, why wouldn’t you get the new one?

Back of the box:

The game is given a two for solitaire suitability, which feels generous, with six player factions and hidden information (the cards in hand). A complexity of six, to me, implies that the game is more complex than your average CDG, which I completely believe.

Next up, we have a couple of books, starting with the scenario book:

I am sure they will update the version they have on their home page, but you can see the previous version of this book here.

Three scenarios are included, and the book mentions that the longest of these should take around eight hours, if everyone is familiar with the rules. It also provides a map of where players should sit, around the board (depending on the power they are playing).

Full color, with a lot of information (this image is from the extended example of play).

Next up, we have the rule book:

You can find the previous edition of the rules here. They will almost certainly post the newest version of the rules on their page at some point, of course. It reads quite clear, and honestly seems like a game that would be straightforward to get on the table.

One power card for each power in the game:

Each power has actions they can perform that may differ from the other powers, and a variety of different rules that apply to them. These will provide an effective way to keep track of what you can do, and how you are progressing towards your victory.

On the back of each card are setup details for the 1532 scenario:

A simpler alternative to setting it up from the scenario book, I guess.

Next, we have two identical Sequence of Play cards:

On one side is the information for the normal game, and on the other side is the information for the two-player game, as shown in the picture. Seeing which cards are added at the start of any given turn will be handy, too.

Next, a set of identical Reference Cards:

The action summary will help a player figure out what they can do on their turn, and the reverse side gives a summary of the distinct types of combat, and the modifiers for each type. Really helpful looking. Maybe one would have to make copies when playing though, one for each player? I admit, I do not know, but if I manage to play this, I will have to think about it, just as a precaution.

Next is the Religious Struggle Card:

Religious conflict is a core part of this game, and conversion of spaces to Protestantism is a way for the Protestant player to win an automatic victory. The debate area is a way to convert spaces and score VPs, and it seems to be tied to language zones in the game, which is a very intriguing rule inclusion that I do not believe I have seen elsewhere. The Reformation, and rules related to the religious struggle, take up six pages of the rulebook, so this is a major component of the game. Very interesting looking.

Five countersheets are included.

There are counters for various military units, markers to show control of spaces, game effect reminder markers, debaters, game track markers, leader counters, and standee punch-outs to go in their holders:

A beautiful, mounted map:

Included are ten dice in two colors:

Used for resolving conflicts, both military and religious.

The core mechanic of the game revolves around these cards:

The rules state there are 110 such cards, including Home Cards (available to their respective power every turn), mandatory event cards (effects that have to go off when they make it into your hand), response cards (allowing you to do something during an opponent’s turn), combat cards (providing some effect in combat), and event cards. Cards are easy to read and seem pretty self-explanatory in their effects. Pretty standard CDG fare, and perfectly good at their job.

Next up is a Diplomacy Deck, which is used in the two-player game to simulate the actions of the non-player powers.

And that is all the components. This seems like an incredible game, impressive in its scope, and honestly a little unbelievable, to me, that they manage to fit so many different facets of conflict into an eight-hour experience.

It also looks like the next printing of Virgin Queen is going to ship in July or so, meaning I will have a second title to impress me the same way. I am quite looking forward to it.

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