For the historically interested, the sources of the
Thirty Years' War
are endless. Here I will focus on how the board game relates to the real war.
Bellum se ipsum alet
The phrase, although coined by Ancient Roman statesman Cato the Elder, is primarily associated with the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). The laws of the Holy Roman Empire provided for funding armies by raising special war taxes. First, the food supplies needed for the army were derived directly from the territory occupied by this army. Later, the pay for the soldiers was derived from the occupied territory as well. In addition, one of Gustavus Adolphus main argument in the Parliament for going to war in Germany was to prevent the war from coming to Sweden.
The leaders in the game are all authentic historical characters:
Gustavus II Adolphus: King of Sweden and known for his military skills and use of combined arms, won the Protestants' first major victory at the battle of Breitenfeld 1631 but fell in the battle of Lützen 1632
Johan Banér: Swedish Field Marshal, participated at the victories at Breitenfeld 1631, Wittstock 1636 and Chemnitz 1639
Cardinal Richelieu: Chief minister of King Louis XIII of France, although not one of the Thirty Years' War's commanders, he did lead the French army against the Huguenotts in Rochelle 1627-1628 (and is a too known character not to include in the game)
Louis de Bourbon: French general and le Grand Condé, participated at the victories at Rocroi 1643, Freiburg 1644 and Nördlingen 1645
Albrecht von Wallenstein: Supreme commander of the Imperial army, won the battle of White Mountain 1620, Dessau 1626, Wolgast 1628, Alte Veste 1632 and Steinau 1633 but was charged with high treason and assassinated 1634.
Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly: Commander of the Catholic League, his victories caused Bohemia to surrender 1623 and forced Denmark out of the war 1629 but his sack of Magdeburg 1621 left 25 000 dead. He died from wounds received at Donauwörth 1632, in spite of his enemy Gustavus Adolphus sending him his own personal physician.
Ambrosio Spinola: Spanish general and Grandee of Spain, campaigned in the Lower Palatinate 1620-1622 and captured Breda 1625 in spite of the efforts of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange.
Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand: Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, participated at the victory at Nördlingen 1634 and captured several Dutch cities 1635-1636
The major powers
The Holy Roman Empire, dominated by Austria, wanted to restore Catholicism in Europe
Spain held territories in the Spanish Netherlands and Italy, connected by the Spanish road through Germany
France was surrounded by the two Habsburg states and wanted to exert power against the weaker German states
Sweden wanted to control the Northern Germans states bordering the Baltic Sea
Vienna and Paris are the Austrian and French capitals. Bruxelles was capital in the then Spanish Netherlands while Stralsund was an important bridgehead for Sweden and became Swedish after the treaty of Stettin 1630.
Prague was the capital of Bohemia, fighting on the Protestant side 1618-1620 and the Catholic side after 1620
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, which took on the Protestant cause to defend its interests in
Germany but was defeated by Wallenstein, withdrew in 1629 and was invaded by Sweden in 1644.
The Union of Utrecht 1588 is regarded as the foundation of the Netherlands, although not recognized by Spain until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648
Dresden was the capital of Saxony, fighting on the Protestant side
Heidelberg was the capital of the Palatinate, fighting on the Protestant side until 1623
Berlin was the capital of Brandenburg-Prussia, fighting on the Protestant side
Brunswick-Lüneberg was fighting on the Protestant side
Munich was the capital of Bavaria, member of the Catholic League
Cologne was a member of the Catholic League
Breslau supported the Bohemian revolt that initiated the war and was occupied by Swedish and Saxon troops
The rich port of Danzig was a prime target of Gustavus II Adolphus but the city fended off the
attackers and was spared the casualties of the war.