Holy Roman Empire (HRE) Board Game

Mark McLaughlin designed a game of the Thirty Years War called “Holy Roman Empire” or HRE for short. I’ve never played it but I do have a copy. It looks a good basis for a miniatures campaign so I’ve summarised some of the features which I think make it interesting. I found the material on Board Game Geek: Holy Roman Empire useful when looking at the game.

Wargamer 33 cover

Thirty Years War Flavour

The game includes some features which capture the essence of the Thirty Years War.

  • A nice map
  • Players represent the major powers: Austria, Spain, Bavaria, France, Sweden and the Palatine
  • Minor and/or peripheral powers are also represented, e.g. Denmark, Swiss Confederation, Brandenburg, Poland, Hanseatic League, Dutch Republic, Saxony
  • Reflecting shifting loyalties of the minor states by making them open to bribes as “cards”
  • Reflecting historical allegiances with religion, and giving some states and leaders preferences via hereditary, controlled, influenced, and/or pro/anti modifiers.
  • Mercenary forces are encouraged by:
    • Severely limiting the amount of national forces available to each power.
    • In particular limiting the number of leaders each power – Austria has the most with up to four allowed – thus forcing ambitious players to recruit mercenary leaders if they want more armies in the field.
    • The rule which means troops under a Mercenary leader are cheaper to maintain.
  • Making mercenaries risky with rules covering:
    • Mercenaries going on the rampage as “marauders” if they are not maintained
    • Mercenary leaders are open to bribes because they have “cards”
    • Mansfield, Saxe-Weimar and, in particular, Wallenstein, are greedy and require land to employ
  • Employers of mercenary leaders (but not other players) can attempt to assassinate the mercenary leader
  • Alliances are either the “Catholic League”, “Protestant Union” or “German Entente” but it is up to the players which name is used when.
  • Leaders have ratings from ordinary (no modifier) to good (+1) to very good (+2). The rating impacts both combat and the leaders ability to manage, i.e. move, larger forces.
  • Combat options include field battles or in the case of a defender that retreats to a city also siege, storm, mask, or ignore.
  • Other, random, events: Famine; Plague; English Pirates; Troop Riot; English Aid Huguenots; Revolt; Turkish Raids; Heresy; Russian War; Leader Dies; Italian Uprising; Religious Conversion; Baltic War; Economic Boom


The HRE map is divided into provinces. Most states comprise one or more provinces. Many provinces contain cities. Sweden and the Hanseatic League have no provinces but do have cities.

Holy Roman Empire - 1984 version - Map with errata
Holy Roman Empire – 1984 version – Map with errata

There also three three sea zones on the map (the Baltic, North Sea and Channel) and another two off-board zones (OBZ) (France OBZ, Spain OBZ). The France OBZ is connect to the Channel, Lyonais,Savoy and Bourbonnais. The Spain OBZ is connected to Milan. The chart shows how the OBZs connect to each other and to provinces on the map:

Channel Bourbonnais Lyonais Savoy Milan
France OBZ Spain OBZ

Turn Sequence

There are up to 15 turns representing about two years. The players conduct the Movement / Combat phase sequentially but the other five phases are simultaneous.

  1. Random events (omit on Turn 1)
  2. Finances
    1. Receive income
      • Controlled: full value
      • Influenced: half value
      • States with a value in quotes (e.g. “5”) are halved again if not held by original owner
      • Conquered, controlled by Mercenary, or value in parenthesis (5): no income
      • Special aid cards
      • Charity (if less than four crowns)
    2. Pay Maintenance
      • 1 crown per strength point (1/2 crown with mercenary leader)
      • Give province to mercenary if applicable
    3. Upgrade States
      • 2 crowns to change a state from conquered to influenced
      • 1 crown to change a state from influenced to controlled
    4. Upgrade, purchase & place new national units
      1. Purchase/rebuild national troops
      2. Write non-national unit purchase requests
      3. Distribute Purchases
      4. Pay for units
      5. Place new units in controlled provinces (national units placed in home provinces)
    5. Secretly write purchase requests for mercenary units
    6. Simultaneously reveal purchase requests for mercenary units
    7. Allocate, place and pay for new mercenary units
  3. Diplomatic Bidding (in order of size of treasury; HRE resolves draws):
    1. Discharge mercenaries
    2. Assassinate mercenaries
    3. Bidding on State Cards, Mercenary Leader Cards, Un-maintained Mercenary Troops / Marauders
  4. Alliance Declaration
    1. Form / break alliance, elections, diet
    2. Allies exchange cards, money & units
    3. Ransoms etc negotiated
  5. Movement / Combat
    1. Marauders
      1. Marauders move first
      2. Marauders attack any defenders, if they outnumber the defenders
      3. Marauders enter an adjacent province with
        1. most income
        2. fewest defenders
        3. requiring least movement points
      4. Marauders attack immediately & cannot retreat.
    2. Independent States
    3. Player units (randomly selected)
  6. Victory & Game Conclusion determination

Random Events

A player rolls 1d6 for the 10s and 1d6 for the digits thus getting a number from 11 to 66. A random event happens on a roll of 11 through 46 and if the conditions on the event card apply.

From Turn 2 one player rolls 2d6 for Random Events each turn. The Baltic War event can only occur once; otherwise a particular event can occur any number of times during the campaign.

  1 2 3 4 5 6
1 English Pirates Famine Plague Troop Riot No Event No Event
2 English Aid Huguenots Revolt
3 Turkish Raids Heresy
4 Russian War Leader Dies
5 Italian Uprising Religious Conversion
6 Baltic War Economic Boom

English Pirates

Spain loses two crowns and one naval strength point. Ignore on or after Turn 11.

English Aid Huguenots

France loses one naval strength point and two land strength points of choice in France. Ignore on or after Turn 11.

Turkish Raids

Randomly determine if Spain or Austria is affected. The target loses two crowns.

Russian War

Sweden loses one naval strength point, one land strength point and two crowns.

Italian Uprising

If present one Spanish unit and one Austrian unit in each of Milan, Venice and Savoy is eliminated. If the province becomes vacant due to loss, the state is independent

Baltic War

Swedish and Hanseatic fleets each lose one naval strength point. Sweden loses two land strength points. Danish card and units are removed from play. Ignore if Sweden holds Danish Card. Can occur only once per game; ignore if diced for a second time.


Each province containing three or more land strength points loses one land strength point.

Lose one more land strength point lost if any of:

  • besieged
  • looted,
  • conquered
  • Polish province

Lose one less land strength point lost if any of:

  • Gustavus or Wallenstein is friendly and in the province
  • Province borders a river
  • Friendly naval unit present in province and unblockaded


As Famine but ignore prior to Turn 5 except in looted or besieged provinces.

Troop Riot

Pick a nation randomly. All non-national units demand an additional crown of maintenance. Unpaid units become marauders.


Pick a nation randomly. All provinces this nation has conquered immediately revolt. Remove one land strength point in each such province. If all provinces in a state become vacant then the state becomes independent.


Pick a nation randomly. All provinces of a different religion that this nation has conquered immediately revolt as above.

Leader Dies

Pick a nation randomly. Randomly select a leader of this nation from both national and mercenary leaders. That leader is eliminated but can be replaced at a cost of three crowns.

Religious Conversion

Pick a nation randomly. All provinces of a different religion that this nation controls can be converted to player’s religion at a cost of one crown per province.

Economic Boom

Pick a nation randomly. The player adds 2d6 crowns to treasury.


Province status

Status Income Effect Notes
Controlled full income intrinsic garrison
Influenced half income

intrinsic garrison;
1 crowns to upgrade to Controlled

Conquered no income 2 crowns to upgrade to Influenced
Reserve   cannot be transferred or conquered eg King of Spain
Hereditary   may be conquered or traded. if regained by original owner, placed in “control” immediately
Cards with (n) no income eg Holland, Swiss
Cards with “n” Income halved except for original owner
Cards with + after value    
Turkey 1d6 to controlling Power
6 = Sp & Aus lose 5C
min. of 5 units prevents Turkish aid
Independent states intrinsic garrison equal to state value
Poland half x 1d6
6 = free gendarme Wars
NB Poland moves first if invaded (XE5.)


Units can only move with Leaders; and cannot be picked up, unless they are already stacked with (another) Leader. Units can be “dropped off’

Major States and Players

Player 6 Player Game 5 Player Game 4 Player Game 3 Player Game 2 Player Game
1 Spain Spain + Bavaria = Catholic League Spain + Bavaria = Catholic League Austria + Spain + Bavaria = Imperial Alliance Austria + Spain + Bavaria = Imperial Alliance
2 Bavaria Austria Austria The Palatinate + either France or Sweden The Palatinate + France + Sweden
3 Austria The Palatinate The Palatinate + either France or Sweden Remaining State
4 The Palatinate France Remaining State
5 France Sweden
6 Sweden

The 3, 4 and 5 player games one or two players control more than one state. A player cannot exchange card between their states. Each such player has a dominant state. The dominant state may give crowns to the lesser states but cannot receive crowns from them. These restrictions do not apply in two player game.

Bidding Table

The loyalty of the state affects the value of the bid.



Different religion

Effective Bid:


Bid + 50 % Bid Halved
1 2 1
1 4 2
2 6 3
2 3 8 4
10 5
3 4 12 6
5 14 7
4 16 8
6 18 9
5 7 20 10
22 11
6 8 24 12
9 26 13
7 28 14
10 30 15
8 11 32 16
34 17
9 12 36 18
13 38 19
10 40 20

Minor States

State Intrinsic Army Supply Replacement Limitations
Brandenburg 1 x Leader (George William)
1 x Infantry
free free unreliable in Movement
Denmark 1 x Leader
1 x fleet
(8 infantry)
free must be paid
Hanseatic League 1 x fleet free
(1 inf garrison / city)
free must be paid
Holland 1 x Leader
2 x Fleets
4 x elite infantry
1 x elite cavalry.
1 x LArtill.
free 1 per Dutch province free max 3
others paid for
move only
with NL Leader
in United provinces
Spanish NL’s
adjacent provinces
Poland 2 x Infantry
2 x Reiter
2xL cavalry
2 x Elite cavalry
2 x gendarme
(intrinsic: 1 inf / province)
free 1 per unoccupied Province, free cannot leave Poland
Saxony 1 x leader(John George)
2 x Infantry
1 x reiter
free free will not fight or move reliably
Swiss 1 x Leader
4 x Elite Infantry
normal(counts for bidding) free , in Swiss may only move w/ Swiss leader
Transylvania 1 free L.Cav.
Turkey can only be entered by min of 5 units & Leader

Leaders & Mercenaries

Nation Number Names
Spain 3 Cordoba / Leganez
Piccolomini +1 / Melo
Spinola +1 / Infante +1
Palatine 3 Thurn /
Christian Brunswick +1 /
Wm Helle Cassel
Christian V Anhalt / Geo V Baden
Bavaria 3 Pappenheim +1 / Werth +1
Tilly +1 / Mercy +1
Maximillian / Von Geleen
France 3 Crequi / Conde +1
Harcourt / Turrenne +1
Orleans / Guebriant
Sweden 3 Horn / Wrangel
Gustavus +2 / Banner
Torstenson +1 / Konigmarck
Austria 4 Ferdinand +1 / Leopold
Gallas / Savelli
Holk / Charles 
Bucquoi / Montecuculi +1
Denmark 1 Christian IV/ Mitzlaff
Swiss 1 Swiss Leader
United Provinces 1 Maurice / F. Henry
Hanseatic League    
Saxons 1 John George / Saxon Leader
Brandenburg 1 Geo Wm / Fre. Wm 
Mercenary 4 Von Arnim / Franz Albrecht
Saxe-Weimer / Schomberg
Mansfield +1 / Geo V Brunswick
Wallenstein +1 / Goetz
Name Cost Benefit Limit
Bonus (+ , ++) added to die roll for combat
Increases size of force leader can move
all mercenaries Cards count x 2 cannot be Light Cavalry
Arnim   halves maintenance costs non-aligned
Mansfield 1 card 1 x Crown income
halves maintenance costs
Saxe-Weimar 1 card halves maintenance costs nance costs pro-France
Wallenstein 1 card each turn free maintenance pro-HRE can raise his own army

Unit Summary

Unit Type Purchase Cost Combat Value Move Bonus  
Leader 3 (0/+1/+2) -1 per “+” Can move 5 units; add bonus of +1/+2 if applicable
Gendarme 5 4 -1  
Elite Cavalry 3 3 -1  
Light Cavalry 2 1 [3 in pursuit] 2  
Reiter Cavalry 2 2 -1  
Elite Infantry 3 3 0  
Infantry 2 2 0  
Heavy Artillery 3 2 (or +1) +1  
Light Artillery 1 (+1 when stacked) 0  
Fleet (6MP) Capacity: 4 units 2 2 N/A  

Terrain Effects

Terrain Combat Modifiers Movement

• Defender fires first, (first mm only)
• Attacking Horse -1

if hostile, +1
Mountain Border

• Defender fires first,
• Attacking Horse -1

if hostile, +1
Hostile OBZ 1 MP
River Crossing, Amphibious Defender fires first, (first turn only) if hostile, +1
Poland (Poland moves first) 1 MP minimum

1. Both HA fires
2. All defenders fire
3. Attackers fire
• Attacking Horse -1

The States

The states are:

State Location Religion Value Set up Alignment Provinces Cities Notes
Alsace 5-110 RC 1 Spanish Control Spanish Control      
Anhalt 14-47 CV 1 Pal control      
Anspach 11-14 LU 1        
Augusburg 12-37 RC 1        
Austria 20-36 RC “3” Aus. hereditary Aus. hereditary Upper Austria, Lower Austria Vienna, Linz full income only to original owner
Austrian Hungary 25-39 RC 2 HRE Control HRE Control   Pressburg If not garrisoned controlled by Transylvania
Baden-Durlach 7-102 LU 2        
Bamberg 13-42 RC 1        
Bayeruth 14-43 LU 1        
Bavaria 15-38 RC “8” Bavaria Hereditary Bavaria Hereditary   Munich, Ingoldstadt  
Berg 5-102 CV I Brandenburg Control Brandenburg Control     Brandenburg includes Brandenburg, Berg, Mark, east Prussia and Pomerania
Bohemia 19-42 CV “8” Pal. control Pal. control anti-HRE/Spain Upper Bohemia, Lower Bohemia Prague, Budweis May not e bribed away from Palatine unless Palatine rule interrupted
Branbenburg Elector 18-50 CV 3 Brandenburg hereditary Brandenburg hereditary   Berlin Brandenburg includes Brandenburg, Berg, Mark, east Prussia and Pomerania
Bremen 10-96 CV 1        
Brunswick-Luneberg 11-96 LU 2        
Brunswick-Wolfenberg 10-98 LU 2 Pal control      
Carinthia 19-32 RC I Aus. hereditary Aus. hereditary    
Carniola 20-30 RC 1 Aus. hereditary Aus. hereditary    
Cleves 4-100 CV 1        
Cologne (Elector) 4-101 RC 1 Aus Influence Aus Influence      
Denmark 8-92 LU 8   Pal Influence
Holstein, Schleswig Copenhagen  
East Prussia 27-53 CV 1 Brandenburg control Brandenburg control   Konisberg Brandenburg includes Brandenburg, Berg, Mark, east Prussia and Pomerania
France RC 20+ France Reserve France Reserve Picardy, Ile de France, Champagne, Orleanais, Burgundy, Berry, Nivernais, Bourbonnais, Lyonnais Amiens, Paris, Rheims, Orleans, Lyon  
Franche-Comte 1-111 RC 1 Spanish Control Spanish Control      
Halberstadt 12-48 LU 2 Pal control pro-Protestant
    HRE/Spain must garrison if conquered / influenced or it revolts.  Never controlled by Catholics
Hanseatic League 8-95
LU 4 Sweden Influence pro-Swedish / Danish (No provinces) Bremen, Hamburg, Lubeck, Straslund
Hesse-Cassel 9-101 CV 2   pro-Swedish
Hesse- Darmstadt 8-102 RC 2   pro-HRE    
Holy Roman Empire 1     (No provinces) (No cities)  
Lorraine 2-107 RC 1       Nancy
Lower Palatine (Electorate) 6-104 CV 2 Pal hereditary Pal hereditary   Heidleberg
Lusatia 18-47 RC 2 HRE Control HRE Control
Luxembourg 5-102 RC 4 Spanish Control Spanish Control   Luxembourg  
Magdeburg 11-46 LU 2       Magdeburg
Mainz (Elector) 9-104 RC 1 Aus Influence Aus Influence   Frankfurt  
Mark 7-100 CV I Brandenburg Control Brandenburg Control     Brandenburg includes Brandenburg, Berg, Mark, east Prussia and Pomerania
Mecklenburg 13-53 CV I   pro-Danish   Rostock
Metz 2-104 RC 1       Metz
Milan 8-116 RC 2 Spanish Control Spanish Control      
Moravia 22-40 LU/RC 2   pro-Bohemia   Brunn
Munster 8-78 RC 1        
Nassau 5-103 CV 1        
Nurnberg 13-41 LU 1 HRE Imperial city HRE Imperial city     Free Sanctuary. Any attacker pays double to influence German states until end of game
Oldenburg 7-95 LU 1        
Osnabruck 8-98 RC 1        
Ottoman Hungary / Turkey 26-34 Mus (10)   pro-France
    ?? special ??
Poland RC (10)   pro-HRE pro-Brandenburg
Greater Poland, Little Poland, Poznan, Lithuania< Pomeralia Warsaw, Thurn, Danzig, Cracow ?? special ??
Pomerania 20-55 LU 1   Pro-Brandenburg
Brandenburg Influence
  Stettin, Kolberg Brandenburg includes Brandenburg, Berg, Mark, east Prussia and Pomerania
Salzburg 17-35 RC 1        
Savoy 3-116 RC 4   anti-HRE/Spain   Geneva
Saxony Duchy 12-44 LU 2 Saxon control Saxon control     Saxony includes Duchy and Electorate
Saxony Elector 16-45 LU 4 Saxon hereditary Saxon hereditary   Leipzig, Dresden Saxony includes Duchy and Electorate
Silesia 23-43 LU 2 HRE control HRE control
Spain RC 10 + Sp Reserve Sp Reserve      
Spanish Netherlands 1-102 RC 5 Spanish Control Spanish Control Artois, Brabant Dunkirk, Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp  
Strassburg 5-107 RC 1        
Styria 20-34 RC 1 Aus. hereditary Aus. hereditary   Graz
Sweden LU 12+ Sweden Reserve Sweden Reserve (No provinces) Stockholm  
Swiss Confederation 7-118 RC / CV (5)       Berne Controller may rent elite infantry at 1 crown/unit/turn. Max 4 units on board. Impassable to non-Swiss.
Transylvania 29-42 LU/CV 1   anti-HRE/Spain     One free LC per turn, limit of 4 in play, if held by player opposed to HRE/Spain.
Trier (Elector) 5-103 RC 1 Aus Influence Aus Influence   Coblenz  
Tyrol 13-34 RC 1 Aus. hereditary Aus. hereditary    
United Provinces (Dutch) 2-96 CV (12)   pro-Palatine
Holland, Geldern, Friesland Amsterdam, Deventer, Groninger no income ?? more ??
Upper Palatine 15-42 LU 2 Pal hereditary Pal hereditary    
Val Telline 11-115 RC 1   pro-Catholic     Only controlling player may move through. Others (including Conquer / Influence) must stop when entering.
Venice 15-30 RC 5   Pro any player who opposes HRE or Spain anti-HRE/Spain    
Wurzburg 10-104 RC 1        
Wurtemburg 9-39 LU 2       Stuttgart


RC: Catholic
LU: Lutheran
CV: Calvinist (Reformed)
M: Muslim
Mixed: Responds to either religion shown

Counter Mix

Nation Leader
Spain 3         6       3 33
Palatine 3         1         12
Bavaria 3         1         12
France 3 3               2 30
Sweden 3       2 4     2   27
Austria 4                   12
Denmark 1                 1 5
Swiss 1         4         15
United Provinces 1       1 4     1 2 22
Poles   2 2 2 2   2       16
Hanseatic League                   1 2
Saxons 1     1     2       9
Brandenburg 1           1       5
Mercenary 4 4 8* 46** 8*   46** 6      

* The reverse of the Mercenary ECav counters are LCav

** The reverse of the Mercenary Reiter counters are RInf

Rick Heli’s lists the Counter Errata on Board Game Geek: Holy Roman Empire:

The Saxon reiter is mistakenly colored like a Brandenburg unit.
The Bavarian at-start infantry and elite cavalry units are mercenary.
The Palatine at-start infantry in Halberstadt is mercenary
The Palatine at-start infantry in Anhalt is mercenary
The Austrian at-start infantry in Vienna is mercenary.
The United Provinces units are two different shades of green
The French leaders are colored green on the reverse side instead of blue.

Initial Deployment

Campaign Game

Including Rick Heli’s Deployment Errata from Board Game Geek: Holy Roman Empire. Given the counter mix the Palatine troops with Mansfield must also be mercenary.

Starts Turn 1. All treasuries set to 20 crowns.

Player Controlled States Influenced States Mercenary Leaders Military Forces Special Rules Dynastic Bonus Points
France France     Paris: Crequi, 3 x Gendarmes

Picardy: 2 x Fleet

May not move French leaders/units outside of France on turn 1 or  unless France is invaded. May, however, bid for and mvoe mercenary units and bid for other cards. +1 per state adjacent to France occupied by French Units
+2 per channel/North Sea/OBZ occupied by French units
Spain Spain, Alsace, Luxembourg, Spanish Netherlands, Milan, France-Comte     Brussels: Spinola, 2 x EInf

Milan: Cordoba, 2 x EInf

Antwerp: 2 x Fleet

May not attack the united Provinces on turn one due to treaty. +1 per French province occupied by Sp units
+2 per Channel/North Sea/French OBZ or United Province province occupied by Sp units

+5 if the emperor is a Catholic power
+5 for the Spanish Road (an unbroken chain of controlled or influenced states between
and including the Spanish Netherlands and Milan)
Bavaria Bavaria     Munich: Maximillian, Pappenheim, Tilly, 1 x EInf, 1 x Merc RInf, 1 x Merc ECav   +2 per Protestant state card controlled/influenced
+3 per Catholic sate card controlled/influenced
+5 per electoral crown card controlled/influenced
+10 for the Imperial HRE card
Sweden Sweden Hanseatic League   Stockholm: Gustavus, Horn, Torstensen, 4 x EInf, 2 x ECav, 2 x LArt., 1 x Fleet

Hanseatic League:
Any Hanseatic League City: 1 x Fleet

Begins the game at war with Poland.  Swedish units may only enter Swedish
controlled/influenced states and Polish provinces (and the Baltic) until of the
following conditions has been met:
(a) Sweden conquers, influences, or controls Poland
(b) Swedish units/provinces/cards have been attacked or entered by non-Polish hostile
units, or
(c) non-Polish units hostile to Sweden have entered Poland
-1 per Polish province not occupied by Swed. units/markers
+1 per province bordering Baltic occupied by Swed units/markers
+1 if Baltic occupied by Swedish controlled fleets
+5 if the emperor is a protestant
Palatine Lower Palatine, Upper Palatine, Bohemia, Anhalt, Brunswick-Wolfenberg, Halberstadt United Provinces, Denmark Mansfield Prague: Thurn, 1 x EInf

Halberstadt: Christian of Brusnwick, 1 x Merc RInf

Anhalt: Christian of Anhalt, 1 x Merc RInf

Upper Palatine: Mansfield, 3 x Merc RInf, 1 x Merc Reiter 

Anywhere in United Provinces: 1 x Leader, 2 x Fleets, 4 x EInf, 1 x ECav, 1 x LArt

Copenhagen: 1 x Leader, 1 x Fleet

Anywhere in Saxony: John George, 2 x RInf, 1 x Reiter

The United Provinces and Denmark may not be bid for or attacked on on Turn 1.  These states become controlled by Palatine in the maintenance phase of Turn 2, for free. +1 per Protestant state card controlled/influenced
+2 per electoral crown card controlled/influenced
+10 for the Imperial HRE card
Austria HRE, Moravia, Hungary, Styria, Silesia, Austria, Carinthia, Carniola, Lusatia, Tyrol, Poland, Nurnberg Mainz, Trier, Cologne   Vienna: Bucquoi, 1 x Merc RInf   -10 if not the emperor
Brandenburg       Berlin: George William, 1 x RInf    
Swiss Confederation       Geneva: Swiss Leader, 4 x EInf    
Poland       Warsaw: 2 x RInf, 2 x Reiter, 2 x LCav, 2 x ECav, 2 x Gendarme    


Grognard: Errata for HRE has errata published in Wargamer and some directly from the author. I’ve reproduced it here:

Holy Roman Empire Wargamer #33

Errata from unknown issue of Wargamer.
HRE errata
The following rule was inadvertently left out of the Movement section.
Add as section XV, D4 e:
“e. Units moving through Mountain Passes DO NOT PAY the mountain
movement penalty. The passes are marked by arrows, and include the
following borders: Milan-Val, Telline-Tyrol-Augsburg and Upper
The following rule was inadvertently left out of the Field Battles
section. Add as Section XX, E, 4:
“4. PASSES: Units which move into a hostile province or state through a
mountain pass border do not incur the mountain penalty. The battle is
instead fought as if in clear terrain.”
The initial setup for the Swedish Scenario (Section XXVII) contains two
ambiguities. This is corrected as follows:
1. The Polish card is placed in the Swedish influence box.
2. The Mainz card is placed in the Spanish control box.

Fire & Movement 44.
Fire & Movement 44 had a review of the game. While they praise the game
as such they state
“The shame is that much of Mr. McLaughlin’s cleverness, and even more
of his obvious effort to achieve a viable play balance, has been
destroyed, or at least hidden, by the failures of 3-W’s rules and copy
editors and graphics staff”
“The published rules were neither edited nor proofread. We number fully
174 typographic and/or simple grammatical errors which are just slop..”
They go on to mention errors in the game, the major being the awarding
of a electoral crown to Bavaria instead of Bohemia.
“if Austria had not lost control of the vote to a Protestant power, the

Misprint of United Province’s (Netherlands), french and the Saxon Reiter
Failure to print arms of Duchy of Lorraine on map.
Marking of electoral crown in Bavaria.
Failure to draw electoral crown in Bohemia.
The Elbe river should run be draw as running between Denmark and
Bremen-Hamburg not Denmark-Mecklenburg.

A recitation of the major errors within the rules would be tedious in
the extreme. A far more productive effort follows: the errata which we
developed to enable HRE to be played with a semblance of the designer’s
intent. A comparison of these fixes to the rules as presented will,
should time permit prove instructive to the reader.

A. The duke of Bavaria is not an elector, the King of Bohemia is.
B. The cost to buy or rebuild National units are the same as for
non-national units.
C. A 2MP forced march attempt adds 1 to the die roll; the chart is
D. Consider forced march modifiers cumulative, even though the rules do
not say so.
E. Treat Hamburg like any other independent State, except it has no
card, no religion, no alliances and no income.
F. Naval units have a Combat Value equal to their strength points.
G. Combat between one player’s naval units and another player’s land
units is not possible except as described in the siege rules. Opposing
land and naval may be present in a given coastal province – in which
case , the land units ALWAYS hold possession of that province.
H. Defending units granted honors of war do not have to end up in an
adjacent province so long as they end up in the closest friendly
province reachable through territory controlled by the player granting
the honors of war. If there is no such province, the defenders may not
ask for honors of war.
a. Attacker Phase, Attacker is the Phasing Player
1. Phasing units move
2. Non-phasing Cavalry units move
3. Phasing units fire
4. Non-phasing units fire
5. Losses are removed
b. Defender Phase – repeat steps 1-5 with Defender as Phasing Player
and Attacker as Non-Phasing Player.
J. Units may not combine fire, but must “shoot” at any one target except
as noted in the artillery rules.
K. Rule X.A.3 should be noted on the Bidding Modifiers Chart.
L. The Random Events Chart should show “No Effect” for a die roll of
M. The religion of the Palatine Player in the Campaign Scenario is that
of the Palatine Elector, Calvinist.
N. Any Spanish elite infantry unit which is totally destroyed in combat
(the flip side is destroyed) may not be rebuilt. This reflects the
fragile nature of the “tercio”. (We admit this is not a “fix”, but an
added option which we like)
1. In the Swedish Scenario, what is the religion of the Palatine Player?
– he does not control any part of the Palatine and has possessions of
various religious afflictions; need to know his religion because of its
effect upon diplomatic bidding.
2. In the Swedish scenario, the Austrian Player gets, among his military
units, “1 in each conquered state/province” – 1 what? (we can hope for
3. Will marauders disband, rather than move, if all adjacent provinces
have been looted? Will marauders disband, rather than move, if all
adjacent provinces either contain superior forces or are looted.
4. In tactical combat, it states that “no unit may cross a wall unless
it enters an empty box on the other side” Since neither friendly nor
enemy units may stack, does this mean that a unit could not cross a wall
into a box that held a forest marker?
5. In tactical combat, Rule XXII.G.3.b states that “the attacker (only)
may advance into the box” Does this advance take place at once and
before anything else happens or is it merely allowable in the Attacker’s
movement phase?
6 Only the gendarmes placed with the French are always specified as
being “French Gendarmes”. You should specify in the National and
non-national units in all of the set-ups, because of the impact of the
marauder rules.
7. When are political influence markers placed upon the map?
8. What are we supposed to do with the crown marker (black crown on
white field)? (Ours was placed upon the mantel awaiting your answer.)
9. Obviously, a player can move forces of a State which he controls (the
French can move the French army), but can a player move the army or navy
of a state which he only influences (the French and, say, the United

There is a reply from designer Mark McLaughlin where he takes
responsibility for any errors and says:
“The errata (which the reviewer compiled without my help – and did so
correctly I might add) is valid; answers to his other questions are
included with it in the article”

My personal addenda to the above (non official).
C. They mean the forced march chart on page 28, the chart on page 29 is
E. Hamburg was a Hansa city, and is listed as such in the rules. Correct
errata would be to move the Hansa symbol on Grüningen to Hamburg.
Grüningen is a city in Friesland.
1. Calvinist.
2. Infantry
6. All units are national if at all possible.
7. When the card is in the control or influence pile. Notice how Austria
keeps inf in her conquered provinces.
8. Use it for an elegant turn marker.
9. No
Designer letter. Mr McLaughlin fails to answer the questions, they are
not “included within the article”.
Personal question. The Swedish OB contains 2 light cavalry, but the
scenarios list 2 elite cavalry. Elite cavalry would definitely be the
more historically accurate. Which is correct? Should perhaps the Swedish
OB contain 2 elite cavalry?

Christian B.


Board Game Geek: Holy Roman Empire

Grognard: Errata for HRE

McLaughlin, M. G. (Sep 1984). Holy Roman Empire: A political-military game of the Thirty Years War. The Wargamer, 33, 21-36. 3W Inc.

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