Central Europe, 1618. Germany is a jigsaw puzzle of independent Electorates, Bishoprics, Dukedoms, and Imperial Free Cities nominally under the control of the Holy Roman Emperor in Vienna. An alliance of Protestant leaders rebel against the Emperor, who raises armies to suppress them and regain Catholic property lost during the Reformation; the surrounding kings of Spain, France, Sweden, and Denmark intervene to stake their own claims. Germany is plunged into thirty years of war that will last until 1648, when the exhausted combatants sign a peace establishing the competing spheres of interest that will control Germany for the next two centuries. Thirty Years War recreates this conflict with the award winning game system used in GMT's Wilderness War, Paths of Glory, and For the People. There are four scenarios provided: the Full Campaign (14 turns), Early War (5 turns), Intervention (3 turns), and Apocalypse (5 turns).
This is a two-player game; one controls the Protestant forces (German Protestants, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, France) while the other runs Catholics (the Empire, Bavaria, Spain, and occasionally Saxony, which can switch sides during play!). The heart of the game is the playing card decks of 55 cards that each player receives. Playing a card gives a player the option to move and attack with an army, to recruit new units, to bank up money to pay ever-hungry troops, or to declare an event.
The Peace of Westphalia made certain that Germany would remain divided for another two centuries. Can the Catholic player defy history by recreating the power of the old Holy Roman Empire? Does Gustavus Adolphus survive to dictate peace to the Emperor in Vienna? Thirty Years War allows the players to determine these and other historical what-ifs, while opening a window onto one of the most influential events in European history.