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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

HIS - English - Overview

The English

The English are the Red forces in Here I Stand.  Like the Ottomans, the English have a few fairly straight forward decisions to make.  Unlike the Ottomans, the English decisions begin on the first turn and greatly impact their ability to achieve various goals.  Forutnately for beginning players, the initial decisions are "cut and dry" and only occur after other events in the game happen.  In my opinion, this makes the English one of the more "Strategically effective" factions to play, but still easy enough for new players to grasp the various areas of play.

Strengths

The English are the most versatile of the nations, capable of amassing an army for military conquest, explore the New World, and even actively participate in the Protestant Reformation.  This flexibility permits them to garner points in a variety of ways, but none so potentially quickly as the "Creation of an Heir".

The English Home Card, King Henry VIII, grants the powerful ability to declare war against a Power outside of the diplomacy phase.  However, it is also the only way the English King has of achieving a suitable Heir to the throne.

Weaknesses

The English have several serious shortcomings.  Like the Ottomans, their starting position on the "island nation" is a liability, but it is also a benefit.  The island nation is unlikely to be attacked"by an enemy nation, but it is relatively easy to blockade the English ports, preventing the creation of large armies.  Fortunately, the English can raise an almost unbeatable navy, but at great expense in Command points.

Again similar to the Ottomans, the English have a "War Card" worry, which can cripple their plans, particularly if it comes out early.  The worst timing is if it comes out on Turn 1 or 2, just after the player declares war using their Home Card.  It is only 4 troops, but 4 troops is enough to halt an English offensive in its tracks.

"Fortress England": Difficult to Assail, Difficult to Leave

The last major weakness of the English is their lack of cards.  The English player, more so than any other player, is tempted to go in all avenues for Victory Points.  The New World and its riches await, Conquering Scotland seems a necessity, and the player still needs to go for an Heir.  Later, there is the Protestant Reformation to support.  All of these require cards, however, and the English player is extremely limited in this regard.  Therefore, the English player needs to focus on one or two

"The Heir Issue"

English Home Card
Historically, King Henry VIII's desire for a male heir drove many of the events, decisions, and (ultimately) changed the history of not only England, but of the world.  Representing this, the English player's additional concern is about acquiring a male heir to the throne.  There are two major impacts on the English player's game revolving the quest for an heir: Victory Points and Successors.  This is an important enough discussion it will be handled in a later post.

Home Card

The English Home Card is one of the most powerful cards in the game.  Not only does it grant the ability to advance the Marriage marker, but it also grants the ability to declare war during the Action Phase.  The use of the English home card can seriously disrupt the plans of any of their nearby neighbors.  The Spanish and French players must be particularly aware of a build up of English forces in Calais, as they represent a potential threat which should not be ignored.

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