second chance games

Search This Website of delight

  Wars of Religion France 1562 - 1598 by Fellowship of Simulations "Paris vaut bien une messe!" Henri de Navarre (Henry IV of Fran...

Wars of Religion France 1562 - 1598 by Fellowship of Simulations Wars of Religion France 1562 - 1598 by Fellowship of Simulations

Wars of Religion France 1562 - 1598 by Fellowship of Simulations

Wars of Religion France 1562 - 1598 by Fellowship of Simulations

 Wars of Religion

France 1562 - 1598


Fellowship of Simulations

"Paris vaut bien une messe!" Henri de Navarre (Henry IV of France)

Huguenot : "A French Protestant of the 16th–17th centuries. Largely Calvinist, the Huguenots suffered severe persecution at the hands of the Catholic majority, and many thousands emigrated from France."

"The young lion will overcome the older one,

  On the field of combat in a single battle;

  He will pierce his eyes through a golden cage,

  Two wounds made one, then he dies a cruel death." Nostradamus

 The death of Henri II of France brought to prominence his wife Catherine de Medicis. She was an astute woman who tried to ride the whirlwind of French politics. Henri II's death (supposedly prophesied by Nostradamus, see above), made her the regent for her brood of sickly sons. This period in France was dominated by the machinations of three groups: 

The League - Staunch Catholics

The Huguenots - Protestants



 The history of the period is about as confusing as the Fronde period during Louis XIV's childhood. During both times the players shifted alliance back and forth between the different sides. Catherine's sons, Henri III, and Charles IX were rulers whose kingship was as frail as their constitutions. Henri de Bourbon Navarre became king Henri IV after Henri III designated him king from his deathbed from an assassination (Henri IV was Louis XIV's grandfather and he was also assassinated). Henri IV changed his religion and became a Catholic to become king (hence his quote above "Paris is well worth a Mass"). So let us see what Fellowship of Simulations has done to make this into a coherent game

 This is how Fellowship of Simulations describes the game:

"Wars of Religion, is a card driven game on the XVI century War of Religion in France.

The game can be played by two to three players ( three’s the best ). It simulates the clashes of the Religion Wars between the massacre of Wassy in 1562 and the signing of the Edit of Nantes in 1598. Eight successive wars were fought between the last Valois kings ( Charles IX and Henri III ) and the Huguenots, supporters of the new reformed religion and the Ligueurs, who held an uncompromising Catholicism backed by Spain.

Each of the three players will take control of the destinies of a faction and try to win at the end of the six rounds of the game. Not only will it have to impose itself militarily, but it will also have to win the mind through active propaganda.

a French Protestant of the 16th–17th centuries. Largely Calvinist, the Huguenots suffered severe persecution at the hands of the Catholic majority, and many thousands emigrated from France."

This is the Catherine card in the game

 This is what comes with the game:

One Mounted Map Board

One Counter Sheet

Three Player Aid Cards



74 Character Card Deck

46 Event Card Deck

88 Black, Blue, and Red Colored Cubes

Three Die

Back of the box

The map is smaller than most at 16 1/2" x 23 1/2". However, it is mounted and is done to look like a 16th century map. So, that does add to the game's immersion. It is made up by areas instead of hexes. The counters are 1/2" in size. This is too bad because the artwork on them is phenomenal. The writing on them could also stand to be larger. They use a script that is meant to match the map, but it leads it to be slightly less easy to read. The three Player Aids are pretty much identical except the amount of 'Turncoat Leaders' is larger on the Royalist Card. These are made of hardstock and are easy enough to read. The typing on them also matches the time period. The Rulebook is nineteen pages long with the rules themselves being seventeen pages. This is in full color and reminds me of a magazine. The writing in it is very large. It does not have examples of play in it but does have some of the components and artwork. The Playbook is of the same material and in full color also. The first fourteen pages describe the Campaign Game 'The Wars of Religion' and a short scenario 'Te Deum for a Massacre'. There is then a section of Historical Notes followed by a small biography of the different historic characters used in the game deck. Then there is a section on all the different Event Cards. The Character Deck has a picture in the middle of the card of the personage it represents. It also tells which of the wars the character is in; more on this later. The Event Cards have a smaller picture from the time to decorate the cards. There is also a full explanation of the cards' uses in the game. Taking in the ensemble, Fellowship of Simulations has done an excellent job of using art to add to the immersion of the game. The small writing on the counters is the only thing that some players might have trouble with. 

 As mentioned, this game covers the six wars that occurred between 1562-1598. The French were busy little beavers trying to kill their enemies during this time. Maybe my disparaging of the young kings is over the top because of what a snake pit they were thrown into. This is a game of war and diplomacy with both being as important as the other. Especially when you add in the game of musical chairs thrown in by all of the characters involved in the skullduggery. 

 The game can actually be played by one, two, or three players. The game is good playing solitaire or with two people. However, it really shines when you have three players. Then it becomes a much more interesting game of 'And Then There Were None'. Bitter rivals can become the closest of friends given the right inducement. Each side has a good number of possible turncoats that probably have a plethora of coats in their closets. 

 This is the very abbreviated Sequence of Play:

Every game is comprised of six turns, each divided into
five phases.

1. Initial phase
2. Event Phase
3. Court Phase
4. War Phase
5. End Phase

 This is the War Phase of Play:

During the War Phase, each faction tries to capture
enemy cities while protecting its own. The War Phase
continues until all factions decline to take further
rounds, at which point the war for the current turn ends
and the winner of the war is determined.
War phase sequence:
a) Draw War cards
b) Armies deployment
c) Army leaders placement
d) War rounds
e) Determine War Winner

 The Playbook goes through an extended game turn with three people playing. Some might call this a deck building game. In this game it is more nuanced than that. Sometimes it is better to take a less efficient leader. One of the ways to end the war is by treaty. So, it is usually a good idea to take a writer into your deck. This is one of those games that is like an onion. It is very hard to describe play because it has layer upon layer of strategy to win the game. If you are interested in a deep game that has more than just war at its center, this game is for you.

 These are the games victory conditions:

A faction may achieve automatic victory at the end of
any game turn if it meets the following conditions:
- Royalist: the number of League cities is less than
six and the number of Huguenot cities is less than
- League: the League faction controls twice as
many cities as the Huguenots.
- Huguenot: the Huguenot faction controls more
cities than Royalist and League combined and
control Paris.
If no faction has achieved automatic victory by the end
of the final turn, then count the total victory points as
City control: the faction controlling the largest number
of cities earns (7) seven points, the faction with
the second-largest number earns (5) five points and the
faction with the least earns (3) three points.
Political conviction: the faction that has created the
most treaties earns (4) four points, the faction with the
second-largest number earns (2) two points and the
faction with the least earns (1) one point.
The faction with the most victory points wins the game.
In case of a tie, the winner is by order of priority:
the Royalist faction, then the faction allied with the

 As you can see, creating the most treaties gives you four points so that number is nothing to sneeze at. The card play and events allows anything to happen at pretty much any time. You might have a perfect plan built in your hand only to see it swept away in the next moment. The only thing the game does not give you is actual daggers to stick in your opponent's back.

 Thank you, Fellowship of Simulations, for allowing me to review this game. I am very impressed that you were able to design a game about the convoluted events in France at this time. I can see where it would definitely help a player to have knowledge of these times. However, the game can be taught to someone who knows nothing of the history behind it. Below is a link to my review of their Verdun game.


Fellowship of Simulations:

Wars of Religion France 1562-1598:

Verdun 1916, Steel Inferno my review: