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Here I Stand

Here I Stand

Game Information

Game Name
Year Published
GMT Games

Card driven wargame about the Protestant Reformation.  6 player game where negotiation features heavily.  Players play events, move armies and spread religion depending on what power they have drawn.  The game plays long and is complex.

Editor reviews

3 reviews

Great game for the time-rich
There's a lot of really good stuff in this game, and my rating would be higher were it not for the very complex rules, glacially slow pace and monstrous play time of the game. The event cards, setup and asymmetric powers capture the history of the time brilliantly and the game offers all the usual excruciating and thrilling CDG choices between events and operations and what to use those operations points to do, although this is diluted by the multi-player nature of the events. As an added dimension the negotiation in the game is as tough and vital as it is in Diplomacy - and HIS is the only other game I know which semi-forces it onto the players as a prerequisite for success. But the bottom line is that unless you've got a vast amount of time on your hands to learn and play this, it's going to see the table very rarely indeed. It's suitable for PBEM play but is very, very slow.
#1 Reviewer 286 reviews
(Updated: April 19, 2019)
I love this game. It is a wargame, yes, but really it's a multiplayer negotiation and diplomacy game at its core. For me, it is the perfect mix of an actual game and theme. In fact, both of the elements actually make the game far stronger. By making all the cards and flavor into events that you can generally play for other players, the negotiation part of the game is that much more enriched. Players negotiate with each other to play each others events, send them mercenaries, help them with attacks, alliances, etc.

I've played this game a lot for such a long game, and at this point I'd probably suggest something else because the game does have some fairly straightforward best directions for each power. I only learned these best directions after several PBEM plays with top expert players, and I'm told that the new 500th anniversary edition may throw some twists into the mix.
So You Think You Can Pope?
So you think you can Pope? Fine: a "burn books" action is yours. The "verbs" mask bad mechanics. For players who salivate at the words "Tudor marriage track." Jane Seymour gets a +1 to rolls on the "birthing chart." Weren't Jane's last words, dying from postnatal complications, "fucking +1"? Like history, this game happens viciously to you.

User reviews

5 reviews

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The Pope Is an Inside-Out Demon!
(Updated: August 07, 2019)
"Awright—lissen up, fools! The time machine has dead-ended; grab yer package from Time Patrol Costume Division and go smother your respective heads of state—and let the games begin!"

The perfect gateway game for Reformation scholars?

This is one of those games you wouldn't end up playing unless you had a specific woody for the theme (at least one would hope). Me, I get all sweaty for it. The game has two issues that by themselves are no problem, but when combined work to kill it off:

1) It takes all day to play. Our "learning game" took eight hours; and

2) It requires repeat plays to really grok the interlocking systems and possibilities.

This isn't a problem for me, personally—I enjoyed the hell out of that long Saturday spent with friends in the early 1500s. But it will take insane levels of logistics to arrange a day off with a suitable quorum of six ("An all-day game where we LARP the Reformation? Holy crap—now THAT makes my pants fit funny!"). So really we're looking at Die Macher levels of replay... like twice a year, max. And that's a bummer.

If you're here asking, "Is this game for me?" take the Here I Stand Compatibility Quiz:

1) Does the idea of nailing stuff to a church door make you sweat?

2) Do you have five friends who would fight over being the Pope or Martin Luther?

3) Not counting those five friends, are you a social misfit who has no life such that you can spend whole days gaming without pissing any SOs off?

If you said "no" to any of the above, this probably isn't for you.

Provisional rating after one play = 4 stars.

UPDATE: The second play rockets this to a solid 5 stars. The first game was with five n00bs, the second with only three; both were 6p games. Even though it was fraught with error and much page flipping, it was an incredible experience. Can't wait to play it again!

Ideally, the ultimate game would be the seventh one, with the same six people; six games so that everyone gets a chance to play each power (as well as get all the kinks out of the system). That seventh one would be the Real Game, with no n00bs, no one getting hammered through ignorance, and everyone knowing what everyone else is capable of... I know there are at least two of us who are completely smitten with this game, and at least one other we can reliably convince to play, but I fear those other three slots will be forever sat in by n00bs playing for the very first time. Sigh. Time to install some more D-rings in the basement ceiling and break out the chloroform so I can collect some more, uh, dedicated friends.

UP-UPDATE: Fourth play, two n00bs. Rock solid. Also, we now have so many people up for this that we actually had two alternates waiting in the wings for an opening.
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Historical Gaming at its Finest
As others have mentioned, this game is a masterpiece of diplomacy, asymmetry, and theme, burdened only by a seeming complexity (in fact many of the obscurer rules apply only to certain players) and an epic length, which, in my estimation, adds more to the game in majesty and grandeur than it takes from it in playability. For me, really, the only disappointment in the game is one common to its genre: the quality of the components, especially the paper board. One can't complain about the treasury of period artwork that adorns the good-quality cards, however, and any shortcomings in this arena certainly do not greatly diminish the rewards of Here I Stand's unique and rich play experience. Anyone with an interest in European history owes it to themselves to check this out, but it's well worth your hours even if you're not an enthusiast.
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Not so long with experience
To comment briefly...

The game is quick and easy once every player is familiar with the rules. I don't suggest playing with 6 for the first time without a veteran to hold hands along the way. With veterans, and 6 veterans at that, the game can fly very quickly. Games can fly by in 4-5 hours if analysis paralysis is kept to a minimum, and each player is well versed in the rules. The rules are long, but not complex. There is a lot to know, but it isn't difficult or full of holes. It is all very intuitive, and is also a blast!

My only complaint, is that I fear the competitive abilities of the Papacy. I have yet to see them do well, let alone win.
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Easily worth the investment of time
Terrific game, one I would happily play with a group that knows the rules well and can stay on task. It's incredible that such a detailed game with wildly different objectives for each power could be designed at all, let alone with the stellar rulebook and minuscule amount of errata that Here I Stand has. Designer Ed Beach has to be among the best in the business for providing ongoing clarifications and support of the game.

Ultimately it's nowhere near as complex as a 44 page rulebook would have you believe. You get the hang of the procedures for movement, attacks, assaults, and unit construction pretty quickly. The flavor is really in the dealmaking and diplomacy that set the stage for each turn.

This is a gaming experience unlike any I've really had.
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(Updated: April 30, 2019)
Vastly immersive "wargame". In quotes because how much war there is depends greatly on which role you play. I'm not a wargamer and yet I've enjoyed both my plays of this. There's something for everyone here.
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