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Won by the Sword

Won by the Sword

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*The Default edition may be any edition of this game. Designers, publishers and game box may vary.

Designer(s) Ben Hull
Publisher(s) GMT Games
Players 2
Play Time Epic - Over 3 Hours
Suggested Age 12+

The war raged across Germany from 1618 to 1630 with the Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor retaining the upperhand. Then the tide of war changed when King Gustav Adolf of Sweden, the "Lion of the North," revitalized the cause of the Protestant princes of Germany. Bankrolled by France, the Swedes pushed their advantage towards the Emperor's most valuable ally, Maximilian of Bavaria. Though Catholic, France sought to keep the power of the Habsburgs in check by financially supporting the Swedish King.

From 1632 to 1648, Bavaria and the surrounding area became a crucial battlefront to knocking Bavaria out of the war. The Swedes enjoyed success until fate removed their King and their over-extended forces could not hold onto their gains. After the Swedes suffered a sharp defeat at Nördlingen in 1634, France was forced to play a more active role or lose all she had paid for. A series of seesaw campaigns ensued as the French Armée d'Allemagne secured crossings of the Rhine and pushed the war back into the heart of Bavaria. The area became the proving ground of the greatest generals of the age - Turenne, Condé, Mercy, de Werth. Neither side possessed a clear superiority of forces so it was a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, march, counter-march, siege, and surprise attacks. After several years, a combined French-Swedish campaign finally broke the back of the Bavarians in 1646 and Maximilian made a separate peace. It did not last long; after a year he reluctantly rejoined the Imperial cause. Repeating the winning combination of 1646, the French-Swedish army ended Maximilian's enterprise at Zusmarshausen in 1648.