Virgin Queen Forum Game

Virgin Queen is the sequel to Ed Beach’s earlier game, Here I Stand. It is based on the political and religious conflicts within Europe during the reigns of Elizabeth I of England and Philip II of Spain. Each player controls one of the major powers: the Ottoman Empire, Spain, England, France, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Protestants (representing the Dutch and Huguenot factions).

@Cuthbert, @Panzeh, @CraigM, @Tom_Mc, @Juan_Raigada, and I will be playing this one out on the forum, as we did with Here I Stand. This time, I won’t let @Panzeh win walking away by turn 3. Probably.

The Rules are available here: Virgin Queen Rules
The Scenario Book (with historical notes!) is available here: Virgin Queen Playbook
The VASSAL module which we will be using to play the game is here: VASSAL Module

Many of the basic mechanics of Here I Stand return to Virgin Queen, with a few significant differences:

The Religious Struggle

The core focus of the religious struggle has shifted from Germany to England, France, the Netherlands, and Scotland. The old mechanic of contested rolls between Papacy and Protestant is gone. Now, a power attempting to promote their religion rolls “conversion attempts.” They are detailed in Section 18 of the rules, and are important reading for England, France, the Protestants, and Spain. The Holy Roman Empire cares a little, as they secretly choose a side at the beginning of the game (Catholic, Neutral, or Protestant), and score points on that basis.

There are also Protestant rebellions, which can take place in France (Huguenots) and the Netherlands (Dutch). This is how the Protestants initially gain spaces on the map, and allows them to pop up with Regulars in France or the Netherlands.


There is an espionage system, allowing a player to potentially inspect their opponents hand, force their opponent to discard, assassinate their opponents rulers/generals, and, for the Spanish, win the game by executing the Gunpowder Plot and blowing up Parliament.

Piracy and the New World

Everyone can be a pirate now, but only Ottoman Corsairs can do privacy while at peace with the target power. Piracy can be done on the Europe map, like in Here I Stand, or in the New World map, where the powers can pirate Spain or Portugal. Successful piracy results in the pirating power potentially obtaining VPs, Cards, or Treasure Tokens. Treasure tokens represent Spanish (and Portuguese) new world riches, and allow bonus CPs during card plays.

The English, French, Protestant, and Ottoman can also earn VPs through having a sea captain circumnavigate via the New World map.

Diplomatic Weddings

The crowned heads of Europe can arrange marriages, which creates another diplomatic tool and source of VPs.

Arts and Sciences

The players can patronize great artists and scientists to obtain VPs and other benefits.

The players in this game will be (in impulse order):

  1. Ottoman Empire: @CraigM
  2. Spain: @Cuthbert
  3. England: @Panzeh
  4. France: @Juan_Raigada
  5. Holy Roman Empire: @Tom_Mc
  6. Protestant: @CF_Kane

This is incorrect, actually, under no circumstances may anyone pirate Spain.

Some may disagree with this.

The situation in this game is interesting. I was not too familiar with it all. I have only played VQ once before. The distribution of initial forces seems adequate to hold the land currently occupied. However, the Ottomans have a serious army there ready for offense. As one of the logical targets in this path It makes me as the HRE very nervous. This does seemed to be balanced by the heavily fortified border between us so there.

As a lark I am wondering if there is a way to play the game where England and Spain continue to be fast friends and Elizabeth fully steps in for her sister, Mary. But the way the VPs are structured that would essentially be England throwing the game to Spain. I do like the way that VP schedule gives the push to a historical trajectory.

The HRE is kind of the runaway freight train in terms of VPs but not so much because it gets them so quickly(France can get the quickest VPs of all if people cooperate on marriages) but because so few players can actually attack them and they do have good patronage. VQ is a much less militaristic game than HiS, particularly with the profusion of forts all over the place.

So, out-right Spanish war with the english does not typically happen in VQ. They will be at ‘war’ but it’s very op-intensive for an op-strained Spanish player to actually go to fight the war with England when they have to deal with France, the Ottomans, and the Prots.

Sad Suleiman

Now we have Mad Mehmed. His battle rating is not quite as good but the ability to tote around 12 units is pretty nice. Your starting war does have the issue of trying to cross the sea there. But you do have the best Mediterranean navy. I’m also looking at the war between France and England. It looks like that particular fight is going to framed mostly around Scotland with a possible Naval escalation there. This is an interesting situation and I see the possibility for a lot of variations here.

Adding a quick export of the starting map here as reference:

That is a chunky Netherlands.

It certainly takes maps as an abstraction to a whole new level!

Fair play to whoever the map designer is! They’ve done some great work there

I do like the obvious distortion there. I heard it once as the map in Phillip II’s mind.

So uh, how do we start?

We start in negotiations for turn one. Everyone should have cards and stuff already.

I may have missed something but it looks like only the home cards are in hand.

Make sure you advance the log.

Yeah It slipped my mind to actually treat the log like a log. Oops, all good here.

Ha, makes two of us. And happened to me turn 1 of Here I Stand too

I probably should have posted a save instead of a log, but it is hard to break the habit.

I suppose I should list the eligible royal bachelors and maidens available for marriage this turn. As you all know, when a man and woman get married, they must roll on the royal wedding table. If they are from different great powers, they each add their eligibility bonus to the die roll. If they are from the same power, they just add the highest total. Hapsburgs can never marry Hapsburgs and Valois can never marry other Valois.

If you roll a 12 or higher on 2d6+eligibility bonus, you can get a card marker, +1 VP, +1VP and a +1 Card Marker, or 2VPs. If you wanted to marry Elizabeth and are jilted, you can receive one or 2 +1 card markers, or 2-4 CPs to Spend on diplomatic influence or mercenaries, depending on what you roll on a d6.

Now, on the royals:

First, the eligible ladies:

  1. The true prize of this year’s marriage season is Her Majesty herself, Queen Elizabeth of England. She is eligibility rating 5, but since the English get a VP every turn she remains unmarried (through turn 5), she is unlikely to be married off this turn.
  2. Elisabeth de Valois (French) is eligible-ish, because she is already betrothed to Philip II, King of Spain. If Philip breaks the prearranged marriage, he loses a card. Because Elisabeth is a Valois, she earns France a VP when she marries. She is eligibility 2.
  3. Anna of Saxony rounds out the eligible ladies. While she is only eligibility 1, she does come with a lovely bonus: her Husband’s power gets +1 card next turn.

There are also a glut of eligible male royals:

  1. Philip II, King of Spain is the most eligible at 3 points, but is in a prearranged marriage to Elisabeth de Valois. Can someone get Spain to give up a card next turn for another match?
  2. Don Carlos of Spain is available, at eligibility 2, but he has to reroll the highest marriage result die, thanks to his lousy Hapsburg genes.
  3. Charles II of Austria (Holy Roman Empire) is eligibility 2, but gives -1 card to England to the Protestant on a marriage.
  4. William of Orange (Protestants) is a strong candidate at eligibility 2 with no negative factors. Plus, if his marriage fails to produce VPs, he goes back into the marriage pool at eligibility 2 to try again.
  5. The Earl of Arras (Protestant) is eligibility 1, but when he gets married the Protestant gets to resolve a Preach Sermon action in Scotland.
  6. The Earl of Leicester (England) is in the pool at eligibility 1. If he is unmarried, he remains in the pool so long as Elizabeth remains unmarried. Pining away he is.

To all people waiting for french diplomacy: I’ll read the rules today and answer soon!

I thought this a historical game!