(excerpted from Glenn Rahman’s article, “Strategic Options in Divine Right,” Adventure Gaming Magazine)
Basically, Divine Right is a strategic fantasy game in which players assume the role of Minarian monarchs. Armies are small and replacements hard to come by; a careful choice of commitments is essential. The object is to capture and plunder enemy castles for victory points.
Concurrent with the military effort is a diplomatic subgame. Ambassadorial pieces attempt to form alliances with the non-player kingdoms on the map. These non-players are assigned Personality cards, which substantially modify the behavior of their kingdoms--sometimes diplomatically, sometimes militarily, or both. Alternately, ambassadors may try to break up enemy alliances with diplomatic pressure--sometimes even bring them over to fight on the friendly side.
Originally published in 1979 and revised in 2002, Divine Right
combines the whimsy of a fantasy RPG with an old-school, beer-&-pretzel wargame. Each of the 2-6 players assumes the role of the monarch of one of thirteen kingdoms in the fantasy continent of Minaria. Specifically, each player controls his kingdom's armies, fleets, diplomat, and monarch counters as they attempt to gain the most victory points during 20 turns. Victory points are awarded for plundering castles and capturing enemy monarchs.
No monarch lives in a vacuum, though. In DR, the players are able to make alliances with not only the other players but with the non-player kingdoms as well. If a player successfully gains the favor of a non-player monarch, he gains access to that monarch's forces and country. Complicating matters are the random (card-drawn) personalities of the non-player monarchs, diplomacy cards (which give variable bonuses to diplomatic dealings), and (in the advanced game) the diplomats' own personalities.
In addition to recruiting other monarchs, players may recruit barbarian tribes and special mercenary units and acquire magical weapons and artifacts. If these aren't enough options to keep your monarch busy, there are also random events that can either help or hinder your kingdom on its way to dominating the map.
DR's fan base has united with Glenn Rahman, the game's creator, to re-edit the DR25 rules and make the game much more playable. For more information, see the links below.
Dragon (Issue 27 - Jul 1979)
Dragon (Issue 34 - Feb 1980)
Successive Editions: (According to J. McCrackan)
1. First edition: published by TSR in 1979
2. Second edition: published by TSR in 1980
3. Third edition: a.k.a. the 25th-anniversary edition, a.k.a. DR25, published by RightStuf in 2002
4. Fourth edition: large errata bundled with DR25
5. Fifth edition: Stan Rydzewski's edition, available for free download in the Files section of the Divine Right Yahoo group
6. Sixth edition: a.k.a. DR6, currently under contract with Excalibre Games