Chestnut Lodge Wargames Group

1672 The Year of Disaster

An Offside Report by Nick Luft of a discussion lead by Jaap Boender planning for a potential megagame of 1672 The Year of Disaster at the Chestnut Lodge Wargames Group Conference, Oct 2014

1672 The Year of Disaster

Portrait of Louis XIV

Portrait of Louis XIV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jaap wants to design a megagame based on 1672 The Year of Disaster the Dutch name for a year when all of Europe decided to attack the United Provinces of the Netherlands.

This year saw Louis XIV having an all out attempt to invade and conquer The Netherlands, and getting the rest of Europe to assist in some way, usually by offering them some territory for their assistance. The backs-to-the-dykes Dutch had a desperate fight on their hands. There was a land invasion from the French with German incursions and also the British navy raiding their coastal regions.

The Dutch had a rather interesting political setup. The Central government could only implemented policies that the unanimous support from all of the Provinces. Any abstention or opposed vote resulted in no action being taken. Somehow the crisis enabled the Dutch to cooperate sufficiently to defend themselves. This thought Jaap would provide an interesting game.

During the discussion the group thought that the most interesting role for the players would be to play the Dutch team with their enemies controlled by an umpire team or some mechanism. The problem for such a game is that if the enemy was played by real players they might be too strong and enthusiastic in their attacks and would be successful. Historically what weakened the “Allies” was that they had other strategic “fish to fry” and thus had a luke warm desire to finish off the Dutch.

Each Dutch Province had a different political structure from the other. So each team would be different too, with differing and competing objectives. Each Province would make a decision on each proposal in front of the Central Government and each Provincial delegate was then TOLD how to vote. This should create desperate politicking between the Provinces so they could have a proposal they could all agree on.

Jaap was at an early stage of developing this game. And I hope that this discussion gave him more confidence that there is a game in Dutch politics!

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