The Great Wars of the Modern Age 1618-1945
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I decided I will make a list of big wargames that look interesting to me. The theme will be modernity.

The term "modern" is one that arose in the Renaissance. Historians associate the beginning of the modern age, with the end of the Renaissance and the beggining of self-awareness in history. While the Renaissance was the rediscovery of many of the classic texts of antiquity, and through the rise in the popularity of the humanist movement and the advent of moveable type printing, learning became more acessible, and scientific and philosophical advances came about by leaps and bounds.

This list is an examination of strategic level war games based upon some of the most important conflicts of the modern era.
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1. Board Game: Thirty Years War: Europe in Agony, 1618-1648 [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:2393]
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30 Year War, 1618-1648

With the renaissance came the protestant reformation and great upheavel in the once "stable" crown of Roman Catholicism. Beginning in 1517 with Martin Luther's objections to the sale of indulgences, and through the means of the distribution of protestant literature, the movement spread throughout Europe like wildfire.

Eventually entire nation's declared themselves officially protestant and the schism between old European Catholocism and Modern Protestantism became a point of contention which led to the 30 years war, one of the most violent and disastrous wars Europe had seen in years.

The war was not merely fought for religious means, but, as usual, political motivation was also a factor. The Hapsburg dynasty had slowly gained control of much of Europe gaining control of the Holy Roman Empire, The Kingdom of Spain and much of Italy. It was the intentions of many of the Protestant Kingdoms involved to break apart the vastly bloated size of the Hapsburg dynasty.

After the intervention of Denmark, Sweden and finally France the war ended with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 and the Hapsburgs once great empire was all but gone and the once great Spanish Kingdom lost much of it's former glory and was forced to fight the dutch revolt and France was seen as the emerging power in Europe.
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2. Board Game: The Seven Years World War [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:9030]
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The Seven Years War 1754, 1756-1763 (Known in North America as the French and Indian War)

Many claim that the seven years war was merely the continuation of the War of Austrian sucession (1740-1748) in which King Frederich II of Prussia had gained valuable land in Silesia but Empress Maria Theresa of Austria had only signed a peace treaty to gain time to rebuild her military power. In the break between fighting, the powers of Europe had greatly shifted once again.

The fighty began in North America in 1754 in the Ohio Country in the Ohio river area when a young Colonel of the Virginian Militia, George Washington, was sent to force the French out of the Ohio river territory.

The fighting spread to Europe on May 15th, 1756 when Great Britain declared war officially against France. Frederick II decided to strike first, and his armies crossed over into Saxony on August 29th.

The Seven years war was, in all senses of the word, a global conflict. Fighting broke out in Europe, North American, the Carribean islands, the Phillipines and in India.

The war ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763, and with the treaty of Treaty of Hubertusburg returning all lands to their pre-war status the same year.

The war displaced the French from much of their previous colonial possessions and placed the British as the leading colonial power in North America gaining the entire colony of New France.
 
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3. Board Game: We the People [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:1031]
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The American Revolution 1775-1783

With the conclusion of the Seven Years War, Great Britain was in control of most of North America, and American Colonists in the 13 Colonies no longer had French or Indian enemies to fight and soon tensions rose between the homeland and the colonists.

With the Battles of Lexington and Concord fighting broke out. Many of the leaders of the colonies were hesitant and attempted to mend relations, but the wrath of King George was soon apparent. The Second Continental Congress reconvened in 1775 and eventually declared their independence from the British Crown with the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

With the intervention of the French and Spanish against the British the war spread throughout the world, with conflicts in not only the 13 Colonies but also in the Gulf Coast, Carribean, India and the Netherlands.

The war was formerly ended on September 3rd 1783
 
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4. Board Game: The Napoleonic Wars [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:1802]
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The Napoleonic Wars 1804-1815

Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of the French Republic in 1799 after what had been on of the bloodiest revolutions in history. He at first became a Consul, and then on December 2nd 1804 crowned himself Emperor of France.

Napoleon was to lead a series of campaigns and wars across Europe and even returned after being exiled to only finally be defeated at the Battle of Waterloo on the 18th of June 1815. He formally surrendered on July 18th 1815.
 
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8. Board Game: Paths of Glory [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:100]
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The First World War 1914-1918

The build up of nationalism and empires in Europe led to the eventual involvement of the worlds strongest powers, and battles were fought throughought the entire world.

The official cause of the War was Austria-Hungary declaring war upon Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austrian-Hungarian thrown. The actual cause was the building war machines of the great nations and the interweb of alliances remaining from the Napoleonic Wars.

Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia through news of the telegram on July 28th 1914. Russia, who had previously promised to keep Serbia sovereign, mobilized it's troops in anticipation of the Austria-Hungarian invasion of Serbia. Germany, Austria-Hungary's close ally, threatened Russia with war if they would not immobilize, and after the Russians refused, declared war on Russia on August 1st 1914 and then declared war on France, Russia's close ally, 2 days later, on August 3rd 1914. Germany then launched the Schlieffen plan, an assault into France through the neutral nation of Belgium and invaded Belgium on August 4th 1914. With the invasion of neutral Belgium, England was forced to uphold it's alliance with Belgium and proceded to declare war on Germany on the same day.

The Ottoman Empire entered the war in October-November of 1914 on the side of the central powers. Italy entered the war in May 1915 after declaring war on Austria-Hungary, breaking any previous notions of alliances with germany. The United States broke neutrality on April 6th 1917, entering the war on the side of the allies.

Bulgaria was the first central power to fold, and signed an armistace on September 29th 1918. Germany requested a ceasefire on October 3rd 1918, when the German navy was ordered to renew aggressions they mutinied in Willhemshaven starting on October 29th 1918. On October 30th the Ottoman empire surrendered. On November 3rd the Austrian-Hungarian sent a flag of peace to Italian troops asking for an armistace.

On November 11th the official armistace was signed and the war officially ended.

With the war over, peace came at an uneasy price, and soon the whole peace process fell apart. The treaty of Versailles left much to be desired, and left Germany with a feeling of bitterness. Hostilities were never fully reconciled, and merely paved the way for the greatest war mankind has ever witnessed.
 
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10. Board Game: A World at War [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:2820]
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The Second World War, July 7th 1937 (in Asia) and September 1st 1939 (in Europe) until 1945.

World War II's causes are still greatly debated, but it has gnerally been concluded that a combination of the Treaty of Versailles, nationalism and militarism were the primary causes of the war.

In 1922 Italian Fascist Bennito Mussolini rose to power and on the 2nd of August 1934 Adolf Hitler, the democratically elected chancellor of Germany, became the dictator of the nation. In 1936 the two fascist nations created the Rome-Berlin Axis in 1936.

Both nations began a large scale build up in arms (with Germany defying the Treaty of Versailles, and on October 3rd 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia for it's imperial ambitions. On the 7th of March 1936 Germany reoccupied the demilitarized Rhineland zone between Germany and France and annexed Austria in 1938. Joseph Stalin of the USSR singned the Nazi-Soviet Non-agression pact on the 23rd of August 1939 after failing to secure a 3-way alliance against Germany with Britain and France.

In Asia in 1931 the Empire of Japan invaded and occupied Inner Manchuria in China, establishing the puppet government of Manchukuo and in 1937 invaded the region once again, fully establishing the Japanese position in Asia.

On the 1st of September 1939 Germany invaded Poland. Britain and France decided to honor their defensive alliance and declared war against Germany 2 days later on September 3rd 1939 only partially mobilizing their forces. On September 27th 1939 Germany, Japan and Italy officially signed the Tripartite act, solidifying the Axis powers. Germany proceed ed to occupy Denmark and Norway on April 9th 1940 and on May 10th 1940 invaded France, the Netherlands and Belgium. Germany attacked Britain for control of British airspace for months in the Battle of Britain. The German Luftwaffe was eventually defeated. Italy invaded Greece on the 28th of October 1940. Germany invaded Soviet Russia on the 22nd of June 1941 breaking the non-agression pact. On December 11th 1941 Hitler declared war on the United States after the Japanese attack on Pearl harbor, hoping the Japanese would make good on their treaty and invade Russia. Japan never did. The Alliance was formed and this marked the turning point of the war.

Adolf Hitler commited suicide on April 30th 1945 when allied forces drew ever so near to Berlin and on May 8th 1945 Germany officially surrendered ending the largest war in human history.
 
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