|Year||2012||Topic||Great Northern War|
|Players||2 to 2||Scale||Strategic|
|Length||90 to 420|
It is 1700, and a youthful Karl XII has recently come to power as King of Sweden. Rivals around the Baltic Sea seize the opportunity to get their hands on Swedish territory. An alliance is struck between Denmark, Saxony-Poland, and Russia, the last under the vibrant leadership of Tsar Pyotr. This coalition mobilizes to take advantage of the untried King, and break Swedish dominance in the Baltics forever... Thus opened the Great Northern War, ravaging Northern and Eastern Europe for over two decades at the beginning of the eighteenth century. By the end of the war, one nation would lose its status as a Great Power, while another would rise to dominate the region for centuries onward.
PAX BALTICA is a two-player wargame covering the entire Great Northern War (1700-1721). Published first as a limited “guerilla” edition in 2009 by Three Crowns Game Productions of Sweden, this new enhanced edition has been revised and upgraded by GMT Games in conjunction with the original designers.
Over twenty years of fighting span the map from Norway to Turkey, Saxony to Finland. Units are represented by labeled wooden blocks, which are stood upright to conceal their identity and strength from the enemy, allowing players to dupe and outfox each other on campaign. Action points are spent to maneuver on the map, but also for reconnaissance, replacements, or a roll on the treacherous but lucrative National Politics Table. Straightforward rules account for lines of communication and forage, as well as time-consuming sieges, adding to the period flavor. The fast-paced and exciting combat system captures the aggressive "charge with cold steel" tactics that Sweden used to defeat her enemies in succession at the start of the war.
Players are subject to a host of influences and distractions that will hinder their plans at every turn. An elaborate plan will be at the mercy of a poor action roll or sudden plague, while other events shape strategy with historical motivations and deterrents. Players must prepare for the worst, but be open to fleeting opportunities.
Special rules capture simply the unique events and circumstances of the Great Northern War, including • Russian army reforms • Ukrainian Cossack uprisings • Intervention by the Ottoman Empire • Polish royal politics • Attrition of Swedish manpower • Founding of Sankt-Peterburg
Four scenarios are included with the game: a short tournament scenario covering the Swedish invasion of Russia that led to the Battle of Poltáva; two scenarios that simulate the first and last half of the war; and a “grand campaign” scenario that refights the entirety of the Great Northern War, a first in wargame publishing. Turns typically take no more than a couple of minutes, ensuring a fast pace of play. Swings of fortune ensure that no two games will turn out the same.
Can you save Sweden’s empire? Or ensure Russia’s rise to prominence? You make the choices that will determine who reigns over the PAX BALTICA.
Game Design: Stefan Ekström and Göran Björkman • Development for GMT: Scott Muldoon • Complexity: 4 • Solitaire Suitability: 3 • Scale: Strategic. 1 turn = one season; units are armies, regiments, and fleets; 1 strength step = approx. 1500 troops or 6-8 fighting ships • Players: 2 • Time to Play: 1-2 hours for the shortest scenario, 7-14 hours for the grand campaign
- Scott Muldoon
- Pekka Hakoma
- Rick Galli