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Thirty Years War by Wargame Design Studio   The start of the Thirty Years War is normally taken to be the Third Defenestration of Prague in ...

Thirty Years War by Wargame Design Studio Thirty Years War by Wargame Design Studio

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June 2024

Thirty Years War by Wargame Design Studio

Thirty Years War


Wargame Design Studio

 The start of the Thirty Years War is normally taken to be the Third Defenestration of Prague in 1618. I had not known about the other two defenestrations until quite recently. The first was in 1419 during the Hussite War and the second took place in 1483. Technically, defenestration means to literally throw out the window. It now also means to throw out of power abruptly. The 1618 occurrence was when the two Imperial Regents and their secretary were tossed out the window of Hradcany Castle in Prague. Although they fell from a great height, their landing in a pile of offal meant they escaped with no real harm. So, if you are visiting Bohemia my suggestion is to take a room on the first floor in case you upset the populace.

 The throne of Bohemia was then offered to Frederick V Elector Palatine (one of the electors of the emperor in the Holy Roman Empire). Because of the shortness of his reign, he was called 'The Winter King'. This, in turn, started the Thirty Years War, one of the first wars that involved most of the countries of Europe. While ostensibly a war of religion, it sometimes had Catholics fighting Catholics and Protestants against other Protestants.  

 The warfare that took place at the time is usually written as the dividing line between older forms, (not much changed from ancient times) and the newer gunpowder age. The push of the pike gradually faded under the weight of a matchlock's ball. Some of Europe's greatest generals fought during the thirty years span. These included Turenne, The Great Conde, Gustavus Adolphus, and Wallenstein, among others.

Some Campaign Screens

 So, let us see what Wargame Design Studio has to say about their game:

"At the start of the 17th Century, Europe was in turmoil. Although largely centered on Germany and, at least initially, considered by many contemporaries to be a religious rather than political conflict, the Thirty Years War was in fact part of a complex series of interlinked conflicts. Some of which, such as the Dutch revolt from Spanish rule and the lengthy military rivalry between France and Spain, had their origins in the previous century. This title will weave in and out of these various conflicts with a focus on the larger battles and more predominant characters such as Tilly, Mansfeld, Gustavus Adolphus and Wallenstein.

The Bohemian Revolt of 1618 leads the way with initial battles between the Catholic (Imperialist) forces and the mercenary led Protestant (Anti-Imperialist) forces at Sablat and White Mountain. With the failure of the Catholics to completely crush and demoralize the resistance, the Palatinate phase began which would lead to larger battles and stretch through 1623.

1625-6 would bring in a new phase with the entry of the Danish king Christian IV of Denmark aligning with other Protestant forces to challenge the Hapsburg Empire. Poor performance on the battlefield and loss of major leaders such as Christian of Brunswick emboldened the Hapsburg Emperor Ferdinand II to try and clamp down on the situation in 1629. This would spur the Swedish king, Gustavus Adolphus, to enter the fray on behalf of the Protestant cause. This change would lead to the first defeat of Catholic forces under Tilly in more than a decade, at Breitenfeld in 1631. This would also see much larger actions taking place over the subsequent four years.

This ebb and flow would continue across the continent with new armies being raised and battles being fought in many areas of the continent. Civilian populations, commerce, and civilization itself would be shaken to the core for most of the region during this time and the effects of this conflict would be felt for generations to come. When the dust began to settle the "Holy Roman Empire" had been weakened beyond repair and the rise of the modern nation-state was solidifying."

Two zoomed in 3D Battle Screens

 This is a list of some of the battles:

Includes battles from all aspects of the war - major encounters to small skirmishes. 80 stand alone scenarios and 2 campaigns. A sampling would be:

White Mountain
1st Breitenfeld
Rain, the River Lech
1st Nordlingen
2nd Breitenfeld
2nd Nordlingen

 Their names shine out from the past. Lutzen, 1st Breitenfeld, Freiburg, and Rocroi where Frederick the Great and Napoleon, among others, read about and learned their craft. The war spans from the age of the Tercio until its fall at Rocroi to the Great Conde.

 There is a 'Getting Started' scenario along with four 'Bootcamp' ones to learn the game mechanics. In total, there are 75 actual battle scenarios. Many of these allow the player to play against the AI from either side. I have dreamed about a computer game that would allow me to fight as the Spanish against the French at Rocroi.

A zoomed out 2D Battle Screen

 Unless you were kidnapped by the Fae folk or have been lounging for a long-time underneath a piece of granite, you should know about The John Tiller games and Wargame Design Studio. Wargame Design Studio has released or updated (really done over from the ground up) a myriad of computer wargames. The list of their Game Series is as follows:

Civil War Battles (American)

Early American Wars

First World War Campaigns

Modern Air Power

Modern Campaigns

Musket And Pike (Which Thirty Years War belongs to)

Napoleonic Battles

Naval Campaigns

Panzer Battles

Panzer Campaigns

Squad Battles

Strategic War

 They also have ten demos that allow a player to test the water in almost all of the above Game Series.

 I am a solitaire wargame player at heart, and I would prefer to play that way with either a boardgame or a computer one. What Wargame Design Studio has been able to do with the AI battle/campaigns is really just amazing. Even if you are a person who does not like to play solitaire, they have you covered.  You can play their games the following ways:

Play by E-mail (PBEM)

LAN & Internet "live" play

As well as two player hot seat

A little closer in screen with the inset map.

 The game 'Thirty Years War' has really been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. We have had games about WWII, Napoleonic, and many others. However, the Musket and Pike Era has been almost completely ignored. You had to set up a boardgame if you wanted to play a battle from the age until quite recently. Wargame Design Studio's games were/are meant to transition the boardgame player to the computer with as little hassle as possible. Of course, there is a learning curve. What in life does not come with one? Thirty Years War, and all of their games (really simulations), is an involved game with many rules and a UI (User Interface) to master. I will say that learning to play one of their games is much simpler than trying to put together some plastic castle in the wee hours of the night before Christmas. The good thing is that the UI is used pretty much across the board with their games. If you learn one of their games, it is pretty easy to learn another. Just as I was finishing this review my phone alerted me to even more updates that WDS has released. It seems updates have been coming on almost a weekly basis. 

 As far as Thirty Years War, what can I say? I absolutely love the push of the pike and a failed cavalry charge. If you are a student of history, you owe it to yourself to pick up TYW. Books are now priced almost in the same range. or higher, than WDS games. For the maps and the setup of the armies alone it is worth the price of the admission, with the added attraction of being able to put you into your favorite general's saddle and boots they are priceless. 

 Now we have to talk about the downside of WDS games. They are addictive and once you have bought one you will want more. The other negative to WDS is this. They have not yet released a game about Marlborough's campaigns or the earlier wars of Louis XIV. I am also awaiting an Ancient Battles done with the new AI and UI.

 As I have stated before, I am an unabashed fanboy of the John Tiller games that started out almost 30 years before. Wargame Design Studio has taken all of the series of games to heights undreamed of when we were first playing them so long ago.

 They have also started to have a different game go on sale every week, although the standard price of $39.99 should make them easy to afford. It is almost half the cost of an AAA computer game and with what comes with it will keep you occupied/happy for years to come. 


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Thirty years War: