EU:tPoP - Defying Destiny #4

Burgundy & Hungary + Add-ons + Launch: 18 June

18th June, Save the Date! 

This is just a prototype, but it neatly fits all the Event decks, Action decks, and the Trade deck. The colors are subject to change, and the logo has been added in Photoshop here.

Defying Destiny Dev Diary #4: Burgundy & Hungary + Cardholder Add-on


Welcome back to another development diary for Defying Destiny and the upcoming Gamefound Campaign. We wanted to tell you that we are planning to Launch on 18 June, so save the date!

Now, you already know that there's going to be a new expansion and a reprint of the Deluxe Edition, but we also want to have some other cool things on the campaign. We will be offering all the add-ons that we had on the previous campaign this time as well, except that the giant playmat will be neoprene this time, not eco-leather like last time. But seeing the game in action over time, we have also gotten some new ideas, as well as several fan suggestions, for how we could improve the EU:tPoP experience even further.

Well, how does it fit sleeved cards, you say? It will fit all the bridge-sized cards of the Deluxe Edition WITH sleeves. Here we've sleeved the Administrative Action deck (top left), all the Age II Events (bottom left well, that is the biggest Event deck), and the Age IV Events and all Setup Cards together (bottom right well). As you can see there is still space for more cards.

So, we got Panda to engineer a new thing we thought would make a really great add-on for EU:tPoP, and we hope you're going to like it! What you see in the photo above is the prototype of a new cardholder for the game, its 8 wells will fit all the bridge-size cards from the EU:tPoP Deluxe Edition with sleeves, and when closed, it fits neatly into the game box, so this is the perfect storage solution for your cards.

The cardholder fits neatly into the Deluxe Edition box once you remove the base tray. The player trays will then go into 2 stacks next to it, and the mini-cards will go in a small tray that fits in the gap in the middle here. Boards, mats and booklets go on top.

Moreover, it is not just for storage. When the top part is moved into the "staircase" position, the cardholder also provides a brilliant way of keeping your gaming table less cluttered while you are playing EU:tPoP. You can use the wells on one level for the Action and Trade decks, and keep the corresponding discard piles in the wells on the other level.

We intend to put the EU:tPoP logo on it and make it available as an Add-on on the Gamefound campaign, and we really think it is going to enhance the whole EU:tPoP gaming experience, from setup to cleanup!

The lid is attached with magnets and functions as a dice tray. We also intend to put the EU:tPoP logo on top of the lid in gold.

Still, we want to hear your opinion about what add-ons you would most like to see, so if you want to influence those decisions and help us choose among the other ideas that have come up, please complete this small survey.

Burgundy

Nestled between France and the Holy Roman Empire we find Burgundy, our next featured Realm for the Defying Destiny expansion.

Even though the Duke of Burgundy owed fealty to France on paper, by 1444 the Burgundian dukes had become way too ambitious to be content with that. For generations, they managed to accumulate lands both in and out the Holy Roman Empire, behaving more as an independent realm rather than a vassal of the French king.

We will see this confidence reaching its zenith with Charles the Bold's Ambition, with the duke initiating a series of conflicts known as the Burgundian Wars trying to forge a new kingdom (unfortunately, he met his demise). This Event might either throw Burgundy into a war with some of their NPR neighbors, as it historically happened, or cause turmoil and rebellions around the region that you can take advantage of.

Charles demise will shake the foundations of the Duchy, but will also bring an opportunity to strengthen the ties between Burgundy and a neighboring player, just like in reality Burgundy sought in Austria the ally to resist France.

 

This marked the End of a Dynasty and at this point in history Burgundy ceased to exist as an independent state, and would instead become part of the Spanish crown, but, just like we saw last time with Aragon, we wanted to make sure that the Events moving forward would remain linked to the actual history of the region as much possible, while still giving the players options to play their Realm as they wanted.

For instance, an important event that the players will have to deal with is when Calvinism Takes Hold throughout the Burgundian lands (which mostly affected the Low Countries). Burgundian players will have the chance to accept the spread of Calvinism, which will see Protestantism spread through their religiously tolerant Realm, or instead adopt a more radical approach that could see Protestantism or Counter-Reformed become the main religious trend in the Realm. Notable governors of the Spanish Netherlands will lead Burgundy, like Albert of Habsburg, who actually ruled these lands independently, but produced no heir to carry on his lineage, so the Netherlands fell back under Spanish rule.

New Generic Events

Just like with the previous Development Diaries, we will also showcase some of the Generic Events that will accompany the new Featured Realms in the expansion. This time around, let’s have a look at some of the most Generic Events, meant to be used regardless of the geographical focus that the given scenario has, or the specific Realm combination that you will be playing with.

The Burgundian Netherlands were booming in the 15th century, and Growth of Cities will ask players how they want to respond to the rapid attraction of serfs to the cities, allowing them to either develop their Provinces, embracing the newcomers, or instead force the serfs back in the fields, Researching Serfdom at a reduced cost. Even if you are not the Active Player, if you saved some Administrative Power you can also make use of this Event, making its effects beneficial to all players at the table.

 

But not all is good in the Realm, sometimes, when your power is weak a Pretender to the Throne may rise to contest your rule. Do note that this Event can be used not only to disrupt an Opponent, but you can also target yourself with it, if your current ruler is … not that capable.

Other times the threats don’t come from within, but from across the border. As we saw with Charles the Bold, you should always be on the lookout for ambitious rulers on your doorstep. With An Ambitious Prince, a new DNPR will arise adjacent to at least one Player Realm, and it will immediately expand into other neighboring NPR Provinces, significantly altering the border region of adjacent Player Realms.

Also, with Imperial Rule on the Wane states may suddenly not consider themselves part of the Empire anymore, which is something you might want to take advantage of (this is an Event for scenarios with NPR Emperors, where Austria is not a Player Realm).

 

What about you? Will you have what it takes to lead your Realm to glory, or will you succumb in the heat of battle?

Hungary

We find Hungary in the Carpathian Basin, a large plain divided in the middle by the mighty Danube river, inhabited by the Hungarian people since the 9th century, when the Magyar tribes settled the area. In the years preceding 1444, Hungary saw their Rulers becoming Holy Roman Emperors, and their Kingdom was at their territorial zenith in the union with Poland, under the rule of Władysław III, before his sudden death in the battle of Varna.

In 1444, Hungary starts with the infant László as their legitimate king, who is also heir to the duchy of Austria, and the kingdoms of Bohemia and Croatia. With marriages to the first two, and the third one as their Vassal, Hungary’s starting position is a strong one, but, just like in real history, Hungary will face some shake-ups that will make or break the Realm.

After his father, John Hunyadi, took control of Hungary as its regent, Matthias Corvinus succeeded him on his death as the actual king of Hungary, initiating a Consolidation of Power that took Hungary into a Golden Age, in which Matthias managed to also conquer Moravia, Silesia and parts of Austria. Matthias will allow the Hungarian players to have a strong start, either by focusing on building a strong army, or by developing their realm.

 

But the death of Matthias in 1490 meant a period of instability that would lead to a War of Succession between the two main contestants, Matthias illegitimate son John, and Matthias rival and old enemy, Vladislaus, king of Bohemia, who, after a costly war, managed to take the throne of Hungary, bringing the Jagiellonian dynasty to Hungary. Players will have the option to support either of these claimants, while dealing with the consequences of the war itself.

After the death of Vladislaus, Hungary’s crown passed to his son, Louis, who was just a child when his father passed away. But even though Louis was the king, Hungary's power resided on the nobles and magnates, that used Louis as a puppet to bring forth his plans. This weakened Hungary also had to face the threat from the great Ottoman menace. János Szapolyai had been made Voivode of Transylvania by Vladislaus, gaining influence and power within the realm.

At only 20 years of age, the young king Louis died while fighting the Ottomans at the battle of Mohacs, leaving no descendants to take the crown. Both János and Archduke Ferdinand of Austria claimed the now empty throne for themselves. Just like János, players will have to rely on close ties with Poland or Ottomans to secure their independence, or else will be subject to Austrian influence. This is reflected in the Event, Two Kings, One Crown.

Hungary was a really important Realm in this period of history, that is why we not only created new Realm-specific Events for Hungary, but also some new Generic one that showcase its importance even when not played by a player. 

In the base game we experienced the importance of the Burgundian Succession, which completely changes the shape of Western Europe once it comes into play. As we just discussed, Hungary also had a similar situation in history when Austria and the Ottomans each annexed a part of Hungary for themselves, and only Transylvania managed to remain independent under János, as an Ottoman Vassal. A series of new Events will see this historical situations being reenacted or re-imagined by players, which will work perfectly in S2-01 Enemy at the Gates, or S2-02 The Grand Campaign.

 

This also means that, with these new Events, while playing The Grand Campaign, you could decide to randomize between Burgundian Succession Crisis and Death of Matthias Corvinus to add an extra level of suspense and unpredictability to your game.

Will you have the strength to defy destiny and keep a strong and independent Hungary? Or will you be opportunistic and use their weakness to your advantage?

The CounterCon attendees.

CounterCon Report and AAR

Finally, we have some really nice Session Reports/AARs that have been posted on BGG lately, that highlight some of the new Featured Realms from Defying Destiny.

Roberto published a very nice write-up of the CounterCon2024Event that took place in Łódź, Poland last weekend, gathering 27 avid EU:tPoP fans from across Europe. It had 5 different tables running various familiar and unfamiliar scenarios, featuring a lot of new content from Defying Destiny.

Thomas (Genejack) has written a great narrative about their Mediterranean-focused campaign, featuring Aragon, Mamluks, Morocco, Ottomans, Portugal and Venice. The observant eye will notice that it is the same session briefly referred to in the previous Update, and perhaps they noticed even then that Morocco was one of the Player Realms. We'll talk more about Morocco in the next Update.


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