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Virgin Queen

MAP ART Mark Mahaffey
CARD ART Charles Kibler
COUNTER ART Mark Simonitch, Charles Kibler, & Rodger B. MacGowan
PRODUCERS Gene Billingsley, Tony Curtis, Andy Lewis, Rodger MacGowan, Mark Simonitch
Price: $89.00

Component Photos (see slideshow at left) by Scott Mansfield


  • Five full color counters sheets
  • 22x34 inch full-color mounted mapboard
  • 112 Playing cards & 22 Royal cards
  • Six Power Cards
  • Diplomatic Influence Table card
  • Protestant Spaces card
  • Rules booklet
  • Scenario booklet
  • Ten dice
  • Two Reference cards
  • Patronage Charts cards
  • Royal Wedding card


 Virgin Queen: Wars of Religion 1559-1598 is a game of grand strategy for two to six players based on the military, political and religious conflicts within Europe during the reigns of Elizabeth I of England and Philip II of Spain. Each player controls one or more of the major powers that presided over European politics in that day. Spain is the juggernaut, able to draw upon the vast riches of their global empire. But such a dominant power is sure to have many enemies. The Ottoman expansion towards Spain’s Mediterranean outposts remains unchecked. Elizabeth’s English sea dogs are poised to raid Spain’s overseas empire. And the forces of Protestant reform will soon drag Spain into eighty years of rebellion in the Netherlands. Will Spain find aid from its Catholic allies? Perhaps not from France, where the Catholic Valois dynasty is soon to engage another group of Protestant believers in the bloody French Wars of Religion. And even Philip’s relatives in Vienna who rule the Holy Roman Empire may dabble in the Protestant faith instead of remaining loyal to their Catholic heritage and Spanish brethren.
The six powers in Virgin Queen are:


Virgin Queen is the sequel to Here I Stand, another card-driven game of grand strategy that covered the previous forty years (from Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses in 1517 through the abdication of Charles V in 1556). Players familiar with Here I Stand will find much that is familiar in Virgin Queen: over half of the rulebook remains unchanged. New game systems have been put in place to emphasize the changing nature of the conflicts here in the late 16th Century:

  • Religion: Streamlined from Here I Stand, the new rules for religious conversion and rebellion allow actions to be resolved quickly, reflecting the already entrenched presence of both Catholic and Protestant factions across the key areas of religious struggle.
  • World Map: Oceanic expeditions are now under direct player control as they sail to the Caribbean and beyond to seize plunder, found colonies, and attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
  • Diplomatic Influence: Alliances with minor powers (and major powers that can be activated in games with less than 6 players) are now made through a unified system where players buy influence at each of these foreign courts.
  • Weddings: Here I Stand’s secret negotiation phase is still present here in Virgin Queen, but with a new twist. Now you will want to arrange marriages for each of the princes and princesses of your family dynasty with a suitable foreign royal. Will even the Virgin Queen succumb to love and take a husband, or will she jilt that suitor at the last minute once again?
  • Patronage: Your royal court will be visited by artists, writers, scientists, and architects, who all want you to invest in their endeavors for the glory and advancement of the realm. Will you sponsor Galileo, Cervantes, or Shakespeare or instead spend your treasury on a fruitless quest for the Philosopher’s Stone?
  • Espionage: Beware, there is also a dark side to this period -- a time of espionage and spymasters. In Virgin Queen you can ask your ambassadors to spy on foreign courts, send out handgun-armed assassins, invest in cryptology, and even recruit Jesuit priests for undercover missions of conversion.  
There are several different scenarios included allowing your play sessions to be tailored to the number of players and time available:
  • 2-Player Tutorial: Great for new players just learning the series, this 90-minute game pits the Ottomans against Spain during the time of the Siege of Malta and Battle of Lepanto. Uses a subset of the full rules so you can dive in quickly.
  • Campaign Scenario: The full Virgin Queen experience, this 8-hour game can last up to 7 turns and is normally played with from 4 to 6 players. Variant rules allow you to play with just 2 or 3 players if desired.
  • Armada Scenario: A quicker game focused on Turns 3 to 6 of the full campaign, this 4 to 5-hour game is ideal for tournament play. Once again supports from 4 to 6 players.
TIME SCALE 6 years per turn
UNIT SCALE Land unit = 5000 men
Naval unit = 25 galleys

Customer Reviews
# of Ratings: 11
1. on 7/3/2018, said:
Surprisingly, Virgin Queen is an exceptional solitaire game! I love the addition of patronage, royal matchmaking and—especially—espionage. These added mechanics were needed for an accurate portrayal of late 16th century developments. The map looks weird, but I love it. It shows the strategic priorities of Philip II; Mark M. wrote a great essay about it in a recent book on wargaming. The cards are unique. It’s not tired-out, predictable mechanics with an “historical” title pasted on. I’d like to see the series continue with the first half of the 17th century: The Thirty Years’ War needs this kind of careful strategic treatment.
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2. on 2/24/2016, said:
This is my new favorite game. There are so many options and ways to win and play. Great.
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3. on 5/7/2014, said:
Masterpiece,art,every component is highest quality.Board is pure artwork,artist ommage to the era presented - just looking the board you get idea about how each power is doing at 1559y.It asks from the players to be dedicated and gently to this artwork, but it returns 100x more!
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4. on 5/3/2014, said:
This is a fantastic game. For anyone who liked Here I Stand.
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5. on 1/20/2013, said:
On my third online game already (played a two player ftf first) Just Brilliant!
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6. on 11/18/2012, said:
Wow. Awesome in scope and depth. Forget 'Here I Stand' because this is now 'Where I Sit!' The map board is impressive as are the counters and charts. What frays my patience with GMT is the Quality Assurance of key components, as the errata covers charts. A few to scale/color overlay stickers would be nice to touch these up! Game play is so good and interesting that 5 stars is justly deserved for such a fine effort! Fascinating coverage of this time period.
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Showing comments 1-6 of 6