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Subject: A quick tale of 2 sessions rss

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Mathieu Paré-Paquin
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So I had the opportunity to play a game of Virgin Queen with some friends at a recent "Stack Académie" day in Montreal. Here is a quick tale of whay happened and with some commentary from my limited perspective.

Game 1 : I play protestant.

Turn 1 : cards dealt (Taxis family courier, Fire ships, Morisco Revolt and Conquest of the Philippines). So, a weark hand (2cps, 1 cp, 2 cps, 4 cps) which will not allow me a lot of things to do.

Deals : - Spain : offers mariage of Philipp to Elizabeth de Valois + alliance with France, offers alliance with England, offers alliance with HRE
- England : accepts alliance, offers to receive 2 mercs from HRE, marry Elizabeth with Earl of Leicester
- France: accepts alliance, offers to receive 2 mercs from HRE
- HRE : accepts alliance, accepts to give mercs to England / France, offers Anna of Saxony to William of Orange
- Protestants : accepts mariage proposol

Highlights :
- Ottomans do piracy in the med (2vps)
- prots play taxis, giving fire ships to HRE, drawing scurvy (or signal fires?)
- some conversion attemps in the Netherlands fail, with some limited success in France (3 spaces)
- with 1 card left in the prot hand for its 3 cards remaining + treasures, Spain unleash the catholic kraken with Tridentine catechism + 2 5cps cards played for extra conversions and rolls a bunch of 5s-6s, to the point of a Spanish catholic victory...

Sad day for protestants and good day for Spaniards, with an auto-win on the 1rst turn. With a game that lasted 40 mins and the board set-up, we convene to have antoher game

Game 2 : I play protestants again, the spanish player of last game switches with the french player.

Turn 1 : cards dealt (morisco, fire ships, muscovy company and Genoese bankers)

Deals : - Spain : Alliance with France + marriage Philip/Elizabeth (confirmed), Alliance with England (confirmed), alliance with HRE (confirmed)
- England : 3 mercs from HRE (Confirmed), marriage Elizabeth/Earl of Leceister
- France : 1 merc from HRE (Confirmed)
- HRE : marriage Anna / William (confirmed)

Highlights :
- Morisco revolt played by protestants, affecting 1 key
- Jon Knox played by ottomans
- iconoclastic fury played by HRE to help protestants
- followed by double rebellions (calivinist zeal)that flips Rouen and Antwerp to protestant control
- some piracy by ottomans and prots for vps
- 2 fortresses and patrols in the NW (thx to Menendez)
- marriage between France/Spain = +2 vps, between HRE/Prots = +1vp and +1 card

Turn 2 : cards dealt (scottish rebel, muscovy, hawkins, grand tour, sack, rising of the north, war in Poland)

Deals : - Ottomans : Alliance with HRE (confirmed)
- Spain : alliance with France + 4 mercs (confirmed), alliance with England (confirmed), alliance with HRE (confirmed)
- England : marriage elizabeth/earl
- France : Mary / Charles = +2vps
- HRE : 4 mercs to protestant + 1 card from prots (confirmed)

Highlights :
- Malta besiged by ottomans (and eventually falls)
- treasure fleet appears without opposition
- england gives Sea Beggars to protestants via Taxis
- prots plays Hawkins for the event
- papacy changes hands (from Spain to France, thx to a lucky die roll)
- France plays last card in hand to remove unrest on paris
- HRE plays army mutiny on paris (for a promise of 2 cards from prots), 6 regs and 6 mercs die
- prots revolt in now-emptied Paris (sucessfully)

Turn 3 : cards dealt (war in persia, war in poland, Jeanne of Navarre, tridentine catechism, spanish fury)

Deals : - Ottomans : peace with Spain (denied), alliance with HRE (confirmed)
- Spain : alliance with HRE + 4 mercs from HRE(confirmed), alliance with France + Don Carlos (rating 1) to Marguerite (confirmed), alliance with England (confirmed)
- France : marriage between Elizabeth of Austria/ Henry III + alliance with HRE (confirmed)
- HRE : marriage between Anna / Henry Navarre + 2 cards from prots + alliance (confirmed)

Highlights :
- scottish lords rebel by England, but France responds with Border reives (+4 inf in Scotland) and thus, Scots are France's again.
- Spain plays council of trouble (removing a besieging William)
- Germans merc curtained played by HRE, killing 2 prot mercs in Paris and killing 2 mercs besieging Brussels (4 regs remain but siege is lifted since tied with defenders)
- City state rebels by France on Paris, which returns to France
- Ottoman fleet defeats the spaniards on barbary coast
- Spain gains Tunis but loses 4 guys after a "Desperate Assault"
- Ottomans gain 2-3 vps + 1 card from piracy
- HRE plays war in Persia with 5 independants, which Ottomans fail to resolve with their last card

Turn 4 : cards dealt (Edmund Campion, border reivers, conquest of the Philippines, scurvy, tridentine catechism, St-Bartholomey's massacre)

Deals : - Spain : France gives 1 card to Spain(confirmed), France gives 1 merc to Spain (denied), alliance with HRE + HRE gives 1 card + HRE gives 4 mercs + Spain gives 2 treasures (confirmed), Spain gives all the netherlands (2 keys + 9 other spaces) to prots + prots give peace + prots give 2 cards to Spain (confirmed : give Scurvy + tridentine catechism)
- England : alliance with prots (confirmed)
- France : La rochelle to prots in exchange for alliance + 2 mercs from prots (confirmed)
- HRE : alliance with prots (confirmed)

Diplo : - HRE DOW Ottomans

Highlights :
- Ottomans end war in Persia
- Spain plays Polish election, won by France
- England plays papal bull, papacy goes back to Spain
- Protestants play Conquest of the Philippines for the event
- Buda falls to Spain
- Belgrade falls to HRE
- France play Muscovy company, hoping for another turn
- Spain besieges Algiers (that will fall eventually)
- Mehmed gets shot by HRE
- Henry III survives 2 assasination attemps from England / protestants
- late play with last card of prots for conversion, to change tracks (if HRE was balanced = +4 vps, after conversion, only 2 vps)

After patronage evaluation (+1 vp for HRE, notably), HRE reveals that instead of being balanced, he was protestant (+3 vps) and wins the game with 25vps!

Final scoring : HRE = 25 vps,France 24 vps, Protestants = 24 vps, England 20 vps, Ottomans = 17 vps, Spain = 17 vps

My HRE friend told me that he was balanced for the 1rst game but knowing that I am an aggressive player that would want to avoid a shameful catholic victory, I would kick the conversions into overdrive and thus, he chose pro-protestant. Great exemple on how to play the players instead of the game!

Also, it is to be noted that I traded the Netherlands to Spain for 2 cards this turn and 1 card next turn, but if Spain drew scurvy, I would play Conquest of the Philippines. At that point, Spain was really far behing in terms of vps and were hoping for a gunpowder plot, but saddly waited too long and lost its 5cp card to a late ottoman piracy.

Ottmans tried for the first 3 turns to build the canal but failed and, on turn 4, basically gave up and just did piracy with its home card.

France's game was doing so well that they got a real kick in the nuts by losing its army + Paris in turn 2 but, it just tells you, again, that despite such losses, France will still win in the long run because that is just how good the power is (starting in turn 3, Spain + France + HRE did a 20 mins diplo between them, which is always worrisome for a protestant player...).

Edit before actual edits : With photos and while writing this battle report, I realized that I forgot to account for 1 vp for protestants, thus in the end, protestants would have won with 25 vps (beating HRE on tiebreakers)... Let that be a lesson to always double-check your vps!
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David Peacock
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Good games indeed.
About the first game catholic auto win, the French paved the way by cleaning up their Protestant spaces, had they waited surely I, as England, would have won in the long run whistle

As for the second game, here's a pic from the English point of view, taken near the end of the 4th turn, debating if I should take a chance and play my homecard for its CP...
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Korax RG
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Thank you very much for the reports ! I played Spanish on the first one,French in the second.

In the first report, french helped me by cleaning his prot spaces, once it was done, all I had to do was to convert as much as possible in order to try to get the catholic victory.

The 2nd one is clearly, for me, a lesson of how resilient is France,and congrats to both HRE and Prot for their 25 vp, it is always a good performance !

The game were great, it is nice to see a good game in which at the end nearly everyone has a chance to win !

Thanks for the reports Mathieu ! I hope we will play again soon!

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Chris Trimmer
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In the first game, how close was it to a French Catholic auto victory?
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Mathieu Paré-Paquin
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I do not remember exactly but I think there was 5-7 prots spaces in France.
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