Here I Stand" from GMT Games, is a monster of game that recreates the political, military, and religious struggle of the mid-16th century. Players take on the roles of Britain, France, the Catholic Church, the Protestant Rebellion, the Turks, or the Hapsburgs. "Here I Stand" takes its title from Martin Luther's statement during the Diet of Worms in 1521. When Luther was ordered to recant his writings he said, "Here I stand. I can do no other."
The Game is card driven, where players can play cards for their historical events or for their point values. It is a similar system to GMT's "Twilight Struggle," "1989: Dawn of Freedom," and "Washington's War." This is a much, much bigger game however. Though the game only lasts nine turns, however, the details and nuance of each phase ensure this can easily be a 8-9 gaming experience. Still, players who devote the time to it will find a brilliant game that captures the flavor of the period, and yet still lets players engage in creating ahistorical timelines. The Hapsburg and French player essentially engage in a military conflict, while the Catholic and Protestant player duke it out in a series of religious debates with Germany as the prize. The English and Turkish players must expertly navigate the fringes of Europe and look for opportunities to advance their cause. Each player has unique victory conditions.
"Here I Stand" is truly a wonderful game that expertly blends play mechanics with its historical theme. The only downside is its length, meaning that it won't hit the table as much as I'd like. If you do enjoy a good historical scenario that is rich in detail and engaging theme, you'll want to look into "Here I Stand."