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Virgin Queen is the sequel to Here I Stand, another card-driven game of grand strategy that covered the previous forty years (from Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses in 1517 through the abdication of Charles V in 1556). Players familiar with Here I Stand will find much that is familiar in Virgin Queen: over half of the rulebook remains unchanged. New game systems have been put in place to emphasize the changing nature of the conflicts here in the late 16th Century:
- Religion: Streamlined from Here I Stand, the new rules for religious conversion and rebellion allow actions to be resolved quickly, reflecting the already entrenched presence of both Catholic and Protestant factions across the key areas of religious struggle.
- World Map: Oceanic expeditions are now under direct player control as they sail to the Caribbean and beyond to seize plunder, found colonies, and attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
- Diplomatic Influence: Alliances with minor powers (and major powers that can be activated in games with less than 6 players) are now made through a unified system where players buy influence at each of these foreign courts.
- Weddings: Here I Stand’s secret negotiation phase is still present here in Virgin Queen, but with a new twist. Now you will want to arrange marriages for each of the princes and princesses of your family dynasty with a suitable foreign royal. Will even the Virgin Queen succumb to love and take a husband, or will she jilt that suitor at the last minute once again?
- Patronage: Your royal court will be visited by artists, writers, scientists, and architects, who all want you to invest in their endeavors for the glory and advancement of the realm. Will you sponsor Galileo, Cervantes, or Shakespeare or instead spend your treasury on a fruitless quest for the Philosopher’s Stone?
- Espionage: Beware, there is also a dark side to this period -- a time of espionage and spymasters. In Virgin Queen you can ask your ambassadors to spy on foreign courts, send out handgun-armed assassins, invest in cryptology, and even recruit Jesuit priests for undercover missions of conversion.