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  The Siege of Malta by Worthington Publishing   The Knights Hospitallers, their actual name is ' Order of Knights of the Hospital of Sa...

The Siege of Malta 1565 by Worthington Publishing The Siege of Malta 1565 by Worthington Publishing

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The Siege of Malta 1565

 The Siege of Malta


Worthington Publishing

 The Knights Hospitallers, their actual name is 'Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem' or in Latin if you prefer 'Ordo Fratrum Hospitalis Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani', are probably the least well known out of the three main knightly orders of the Roman Catholic Church. Their well-known cousins, the 'Knights Templars' and to a lesser extent the 'Teutonic Knights', usually steal the limelight. The Knights Hospitallers were founded in Jerusalem after the First Crusade had won it back from the Muslims. They had been displaced with the other crusaders after the fall of Acre in 1291. They then had found themselves on Cyprus and after the fall of Cyprus on the Island of Rhodes. When Rhodes was conquered by the Ottomans in 1522 their next stop was Malta. Their rent for their lands was one Maltese Falcon a year on All Souls Day (November 1st). Unfortunately for Hollywood, it was an actual falcon and not a gem encrusted piece of art.

 This is the story of one of the greatest sieges of the Renaissance. The historical notes of the game tell us that the Turkish invasion of Malta was commanded by Mustafa Pasha and Piyale Pasha, the first a general the latter an admiral. It also tells us that the Turks had 40,000 troops with them and 380 ships. The Knights Hospitallers could count on the walls of their fortresses and around 6,000 men, with only around 500 of them being knights. The famous corsair Dragut also joined the Turks to help take the fortresses. The main part of the siege, as well as the game, centers on the attack and defense of the three fortresses: St. Elmo, St. Michael, and St. Angelo. You can see below that St. Elmo is separated from the other forts.

The game map

 "This is what Worthington Publishing has to say about the game:

Both sides have elite units that can affect battle results with die re-rolls.  These are limited so deciding when to use them is important.

The siege in 1565 was during the early days when gunpowder came into use.  Each side has very limited use of gunpowder for musketry which can help their odds of success.

The Turks also have limited gunpowder for artillery.  While in supply they can bombard the Malta forts.  The Turks also have a siege tower they can use.

Play solitaire as Muslims or Christians"

 This is what they have to say about the Great Sieges Series:

"Syracuse 414 BC - The Athenian army lays siege to the great city of Syracuse.

Malta 1565 - The Turks versus the Knights of Malta in the last battle of the Crusades at the dawn of gunpowder.

Quebec 1759 - The siege that won North America for the English.

The Great Sieges game series highlights command decisions for players against a solitaire game engine opponent. They have been designed for easy set up and quick game play. Game unit placement is shown on the game board and units are wooden markers representing troop and ship formations. 

Each game was developed for solitaire play. In 414BC Siege of Syracuse and 1759 Siege of Quebec there is also a two player version of the game.  Both sides require you to make great decisions based on good strategy, keep your wits about you when orders do not turn out well, and press on to victory.

All three games use a common set of rules for game play, but each game has its own set of unique rules related to specifics of those individual sieges."

Turkish Order Book

 This is what comes with the game:


Hard Mounted Game Board

2 sets of troop markers (one set per army)

2 sets of solitaire cards (one set per army)*Only 1 set of solitaire cards in 414BC Syracuse

Command Decision Cards

2 Field Order Books (one per army)

Rule Book

Custom plastic storage tray


Complexity: 3 of 10

Solitaire Suitability: 10 of 10

Playing Time: 30 to 60 minutes

Players: 1-2

Sample of Turkish Cards

 The components are more toward the utilitarian side of things compared to the arty hex and counter or Euro wargames we might see today. As far as the map goes, because there are only a few places to put your units, the map does not have to show terrain. It can also be smaller than usual for the same reason. The map is mostly light green and blue with the places you can put units coming in as dark green for the Muslims and white for the Hospitallers. It is a mounted map. I believe the units are made of wood and none of them are misshapen in any way. The cards are your standard wargame size cards. They come with a piece of artwork from the time on them. They are easy enough to read and understand. There are two Player Aids, called 'Order Books', one for the Turks and one for the Hospitallers. The Turkish player one is just in green and white with the Hospitaller one having a few more colors. They both come with slightly smaller writing on them than I would like. There is a map in the middle of the 'Orders' and a Sequence of Play on the back of both. The Rulebook is 12 pages in length and is in full color. The rules only take up nine pages and the other have Design Notes and Historical Notes on them. This is written in two columns and has the standard size rulebook type. The game does come with a nice little Battle Record pamphlet where you can record your playthroughs. The bottom of each page has a piece of artwork from the siege. I have reviewed two other of the designers, Maurice Suckling, games and these components are comparable. These games are meant for play and not aesthetics. 

Hospitaller Cards

  The games play out pretty simply. After all, Worthington Publishing has them listed as a three on the complexity chart. Play time is also listed as between 30 minutes to an hour. So, you can see that these are not the kind of wargames that take one player an hour to make one move. That is not to say that the game does not have depth or give you some immersion. It most certainly does. It is just the mechanics of playing are extremely streamlined. This is great for people who do not have dedicated wargame space. In a night of gaming, you could easily play three of four games all the way through. These Great Siege games are also meant to be played solo. The solo mode is not something that was tacked onto the games at the last minute. These games were built from the ground up to be an excellent choice for the solo game player. I believe that only the game in the Great Sieges series that you cannot play solo on either side is 414 BC Siege of Syracuse, (and no, you are not playing against the Orangemen). Worthington games has made a point of making a lot of these, I hate to say it, easy to learn and hard to master wargames. The way to victory is to drop your opponent's morale to zero. 

 This is the Sequence of Play:

1. SELECT ORDER: select one of your available Orders
by placing the Order Used card on the order in the Order Book corresponding to the choice you make.

2. USE ADDITIONAL ACTION: decide if you want to use one Aggressive Commander Action (or, for the Knights, a Defiant Speech
Action). If so, place the appropriate Order Used card on that order too.
A. The use of an Aggressive Commander Action or Defiant Speech also refreshes all expended Orders, so remove any Order Used cards from the Order Book (except Knights’ Order 6: Launch Reinforcements, if it is not yet available). These orders become
available again.

3. EVENTS & SPECIAL EVENTS: reveal the top card of the Counter Orders deck and place it face up. Implement any effects
from the Event section of the card, or take them into account in any ensuing die rolls in the current turn. Then implement any effects from Special Events, if present on the card.

still proceeds, find the column on your issued Order that corresponds with the Counter Order from the side you are not controlling, then roll the white die, applying any modifiers, to calculate then apply the result. If an Aggressive Commander Action or Defiant Speech is played, roll the black die calculating results from the relevant table, then apply results.
A. Optionally, you may use your +/-1 ability (if you have any remaining) - your Musketry (for Turks) or Greek Fire (for Knights). Only one may be used per turn, and it may only be used on an Order. But you must decide the use of this ability before you roll, then apply results.
B. Optionally use your reroll ability (if you have any remaining) - your Janissaries (for Turks) or Elite Knights (for Knights). Only one may be used per turn, and it may only be used on an Order, then
reroll and apply results.

5. ORDER EXPENDED: once you have finished rolling for the current turn, flip the selected Order facedown. It cannot be selected again until refreshed.

6. Begin next turn.

7. Play stops immediately victory conditions have been

 I have been in awe about the siege of Malta since I was a child. I read The Great Siege of Malta by Ernle Bradford not too long after it was published in the 1960s. I make a habit of rereading it probably once every two years or so. Thank you, Worthington Publishing, for allowing me to review this great game about an incredible historical event. The next Worthington Publishing game I will be reviewing will be 414 BC Siege of Syracuse; I hope Alcibiades makes an entrance into it.


Worthington Publishing:

1565 Siege of Malta:

My review of Freeman's Farm:

My review of Chancellorsville 1863: