Medieval Europe

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Medieval Europe
Designer: Red Baron
Type: Geographic
Countries: 85 (Large)
Board Info
Reviews Launch Game
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Medieval Europe is a political map of Europe in the year 1350. It is a fairly standard large size turn-based map with no border modifiers suitable for a wide audience, from novice players to Warfish veterans.

[edit] Game Design

The game was originally intended to fill the hole left by the "Europe 1560" game, a popular historical map that was exiled from Warfish due to copyright infringement issues. During development it grew into something unique, though. Like Europe 1560, it covers much of the same geography, has a large hard-to-conquer battlefield area in its center, and has somewhat similar rules. It is quite a bit smaller, though (with fewer countries and continents), and has a different way of granting bonuses. Several maps of the era were consulted in an effort to make the board historically accurate.

The graphic design is inspired by two of the defining characteristics of Europe in the year 1350, the feudal system and the bubonic plague. Society was divided into three "estates," the clergy (first estate), the nobility (second estate), and everybody else (third estate). The image on the left side of the gameboard represents these three estates, as does the card set. The wild card represents the plague. The suits on standard playing cards originated in medieval Europe, so each of the four cards has also been assigned a card suit.

Liberty has been taken to group some smaller nations into larger "empires":

  • Spain, Portugal, Navarre, and Aragon have been grouped into an Iberian empire.
  • Sicily, Naples, the Papal States, and Venice have been grouped into an Italian empire.
  • Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria, Byzantium, and the Turks have been grouped into an Aegean empire.
  • Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have been grouped into a Scandinavian empire.

[edit] Bonuses

Two types of continent bonuses are granted in this game. Empire bonuses (indicated by large colored numbers) are awarded for owning all territories within the large colored areas (the "empires"). Disputed Territory bonuses (indicated by small numbers on multicolored regions) are awarded if a player owns such a territory plus one of the two empires claiming the territory. For example, the Aquitaine was claimed by England and by France, so a bonus of 2 points is awarded if its owner also owns all of France or all of England. There are seven disputed territories:

  • Aquitaine: Ruled by England, but traditionally part of France
  • Granada: Ruled by Moslem Africa, but traditionally part of Spain
  • Corsica: Ruled by Aragon, but traditionally part of Italy
  • Crete: Ruled by Venice, but traditionally associated with Greece
  • Wallachia: Disputed between the Balkans and Hungary
  • Moldavia: Disputed between Lithuania and Hungary
  • Crimea: Ruled by the Golden Horde (a Mongol empire in Asia), but for purposes of this game disputed between Russia and Lithuania.

Some of the larger countries have been subdivided into regions indicated by dashed lines. This merely indicates that those areas were more politically unified than areas with thin solid lines. In terms of gameplay, though, there is no difference between a thin dashed line and a thin solid line.

[edit] Why the Big Circles?

...is a frequently asked question for this map. There is a practical reason for the circles.

The two most common map styles on Warfish are the Circle Fill style (such as in Pirates of Malta) and the Country Fill style (such as in Mobs of New York). Circle fill maps have an advantage in that continents can be made very easy to distinguish, and a disadvantage in that countries are so small that players may be hard to tell apart if they choose similar colors. Country Fill style has the opposite strengths and weaknesses; it's easy to see who owns the countries, but harder to tell how countries are grouped into continents.

The large circles in this game are an attempt to find a compromise between these two styles. The larger circles makes it easier to tell players apart than in Circle Fill mode, yet the clarity of continent groupings is retained. Circle Fill emphasizes continents, Country Fill emphasizes countries, and this new style emphasizes both about equally. It also makes the concept of Disputed Territories easier to display graphically than a Country Fill map could, which is important for this game.

That's why the big circles.

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