Well, I played the Catholics, and ended up losing by .45, or half a point. Talk about a pretty close game.
Right out the gates, I played a pretty strong game, with the goal of at least keeping up the initial areas and scores of the Catholics, and at first I did pretty well. The Hapsburgs utilized their military stregnth to initiate several seiges and military influence, which actually put them at the forefront of scoring, but using them as a point for me to work with, I focused more on spreading from Utrecht with overflow, and slowly worked on Koln, Trier and Artois in order to win and maintain the bishoprics there.
Meanwhile in the North the Reformists were busy trying to sieze univesity towns and the Burghers spread all through the north. The Reformist solidly gained Friesland and Gronigen, which looking back at it may have been a mistake on my part. The Burghers claimed most of the area most of the area down to Cleve, but the Hapsburgs gave them multiple problems in retaining that area.
On round 3 however, the biggest changes started, with a determined front by the Burghers/Reformists to end the Hapsburg military dominance of the game. At this point, I had lost some ground, but only around 2 points from my initial strong start, but the Hapsburgs were way in front of everyone else. Of course that hurt them some with placement, and also since all their armies were already on the board, they didn't have any more armies to place. I had three armies...but was having a hard time keeping them up.
I had to make the decision that round whether to keep them up, or keep the funds for the Allegiance of Citizens, so I sacrificed and army.
Meanwhile, with an influx of funds the Reformists and Burghers decimated the Hapsburg armies, along with further hurting the Hapsburgs by employing Water Beggers, which overall reduced the Hapsburg military from 6 armies on the board to 2.
They didn't really recover after that, however, I was in for a worse surprise on the fourth round. I had been able to retain Utrecht thus far, and had an army sitting there to protect it, which was very problematic. Unfortunately the Reformists finally jumped at it, and since they went after me, basically put most of their tiles right on top of it. They forced me out of Utrecht, however, with my army on the fifth round I was able to lay siege to it as well as spend money in order to get the Allegiance of Citizens two spaces all the way to the left, which hurt them pretty badly and gave it back to me.
I also used my lower score to enable me to go second to last, which helped me to grab up a few extraneous areas no one thought I'd go after in Hannault.
I knew it was going to be a close game at that point, but I didn't know how close.
When the totals were added up, I ended up with a score of 11.5, however the Burghers managed to get retain enough area, and had managed to retain Drenthe as well as siezing Cleve with overwhelming enough numbers that the Hapsburgs couldn't defend it, that they got 11.95 points.
I think the problem that enabled the Burghers to win was that the Hapsburgs simply didn't have enough pieces left in order to have enough resources to place. They had spent all their resources already at the end of the game.
The same held true for me. I had the hard choice of what to keep or spend, and I opted to have enough to spend on the Allegiance of Citizens at the end, but that meant I only had 4 resources/tiles to place on the last round.
The Reformists had spent all their money and siezed some key university towns, but overall, it was the Burghers siezing Holland, and retaining control, as well as all their goal cities (cities in white) that enabled them to pull of the win with Holland, Gelderland, Overijssel, Cleve, Drenthe, Antwerpen, and Haarlem (along with as I said, all their goal cities which gave them bonus points).
Pretty dang close game...I was actually expecting to win or see the Reformists pull the game to a win for the other side, not the Burghers.