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Virgin Queen» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Nothing Euro about it. rss

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Joseph Courtight
United States
Pennsylvania
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So Virgin Queen is classified as a strategy game and a war-game. While I do feel these are appropriate I think this historical wargamer stereotype really does the game a disservice. The game gets its heritage and most of its combat system from the Napoleonic wars. However the Napoleonic wars is a direct war-game which would have little appeal to non-wargamers. Virgin Queen has players representing a great power of the time period. This means that players will need to worry about religion, science, trade, piracy, royal marriages, art and war. To be honest none of these aspects are all that interesting on their own. It's the experience of being said nation that makes the game truly great.

Now there are an immense number of games which a player runs a nation: clash of cultures, eclipse, civilization, twilight imperium, star trek ascendency and many more. However, one thing separates the virgin queen from all the for mentioned and that is the setting. Virgin Queen is one of the few historical games were you act as a nation: not a general or an economist.

Real history is far more detailed and elaborate than any fictional setting a player could create for their game. It also ensures a strong asymmetry from the games factions. However, the setting is not without weakness. The starting position will always be the same, which can lead to first turn openings. Although, Virgin Queen is sufficiently unpredictable that no two games will play the same. Players may associate a historical setting with a bad experience they had in history class. Finally, history has a lot of odd happens which are expected to be possible to replicate within the game. In the case of the Virgin Queen this causes a few quirky rules. For example: if England and Spain go to war they can never sign a peace treaty, thus creating a rule exception.

I will not lie the rules have a lot of little exceptions and conditions in them making virgin queen on the higher end of the difficulty. However most odd events are handled through the game's card driven system, making the game not too hard to learn, but adding all the normal CDG disadvantages such as the event you wish you knew was in that deck before you started playing. Honestly, if you understand the historical situation Virgin Queen's events will not be anything Earth shattering to you. Additionally, without historical contexts your head could spin with what you should be doing. You get points for colonies, points for marriages points for art, points in war, etc.

Finally, I will talk about the diplomacy. I do not feel like it should work. But the odd patterns of royal marriages, mercenaries, alliance and card draws actually work and encourage table talk. I always appreciate good negotiating even if it's only between each of the games seven turns. Finally, the game has spies which I think is often underestimated aspect of war and politics.

Who to recommend virgin queen to is tricky. I'd say if you are familiar with the setting and are looking for a good run-a-nation type game then go for it. If you are a run-your-nation-type gamer but have never heard of the Holy Roman Empire read some history first, maybe I'll even post a background/goals file for the factions at some point.

If you are looking for a new war game, play a friends copy first cause you may be disappointed with how peaceful it can be. I feel that anyone who can take the time to understand it before the first play will find an experience to be had. If however you just want to sit down and dive into a game, this game's quirky rules are probably too intense even for veteran gamers.
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Mark Kaska
Poland
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Great review !

Must read for anyone who thinks about buying/playing the game.
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MLeis
Estonia
Tallinn
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Dalek5 wrote:
religion, science, trade, piracy, royal marriages, art and war. To be honest none of these aspects are all that interesting on their own.
That's exactly what I felt when trying to decide what to do after high school.
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Roger Hobden
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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Nice review !

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Frank Riskey
United States
Boise
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Excellent review.
 
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Gus I
Australia
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Nice review.

This game works very well as PBEM ACTS/Vassal. Which is really handy if you struggle to get 6 players around the table for 8 hours.

Virgin Queen and Here I Stand are my favourite PBEM games. Both games work really well PBEM. The 16th Century is a fascinating period historically.

HIS has a slow steady build up. VQ is much more asymmetrical and unpredictable. It can be a bit like riding a tiger - never a dull moment
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