The year is 1000 A.D., the European continent is constantly at war as competing political factions try to control Europe through military might and political intrigue. Will the Byzantine Empire rise again and give rebirth to the glory and ancestors of Ancient Rome? Can the upstart Kievan Rus Empire bring a new golden age of Slavic Culture and power? Or will the Fatimid Caliphate push further into Europe and create an even greater Muslim Empire?
Swords & Sails is a unique game that combines Conquest, Diplomacy, and Intrigue
In Swords & Sails, players control one of these factions in a bid to conquer Europe. Muster armies and assemble fleets, build more cities, make and break alliances, spy on your opponents, and go to war to conquer all of Europe. Players move armies consisting of six types of army combat units (Knights, Heavy Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Heavy Infantry, Light Infantry and Peasant troops) and fleets containing warships, Raider ships, and Transport units. Each season, brings the opportunity to build more units into your armies or fleets. Capture territories and build new cities to increase income. A unique combat system gives you the chance to line your troops up for battle and face off against your enemies.
Swords & Sails was created to maximize “FUN” game play while minimizing complexity in the rules. Even though there are allot of components, that is to allow for the full simulation of letting players have all the choices that a historical leader may have had in 1000 AD. Several reviewers have called Swords&Sails a very good gateway Wargame as it represents the theme of a historic strategy game in a non-complex package with fairly simple mechanics.
Choose one of the seven major Factions to play from 1000 AD:
Holy Roman Empire – After the Carolingian Empire dissolved in the early 900 CE, the duchies of Franconia attempted to gain control of the expanse of land that no longer had a ruler,and it wasn’t until Otto I was crowned by the Pope in 962 CE that the land become unified once more. Through careful marriage and lineage, the Empire gained ties to most of the political powers in the Early Middle Ages, including the Roman Empire (referred to as the Byzantium Empire), The Vatican, and the French Empire. Continuing to expand its influence through marriage, conquest, and religious placing, the Holy Roman Empire flourished until its dissolution in the 19th century.
The Byzantine Empire was the eastern half of the Ancient Roman Empire. In 330 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine I chose Byzantium as the site of a new Roman capital for the eastern empire, renamed Constantinople after his death. The Edict of Thessalonica issued in 380 AD established Christianity as Rome’s official religion. The citizens of Constantinople and the rest of the Eastern Roman Empire identified strongly as Romans and Christians, though many of them spoke Greek and not Latin. Though Constantine ruled over a unified Roman Empire, this unity proved illusory after his death in 337. In 364, Emperor Valentinian I again divided the empire into western and eastern sections, putting himself in power in the west and his brother Valens in the east. The fate of the two regions diverged greatly over the next several centuries. In the west, constant attacks from German invaders such as the Visigoths broke the struggling empire down piece by piece until Italy was the only territory left under Roman control. In 476, the barbarian Odoacer overthrew the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus, and Rome had fallen. One of the most extraordinary aspects of the Byzantine Empire was its longevity: It was the only organized state west of China to survive without interruption from ancient times until the beginning of the modern age.
The Fatimid Caliphate – the political and religious dynasty that dominated an empire in North Africa and subsequently in the Middle East from AD 909 to 1171 and tried unsuccessfully to oust the ʿAbbāsid caliphs as leaders of the Islāmic world. It took its name from Fāṭimah, the daughter of the Prophet Muḥammad, from whom the Fāṭimids claimed descent. The dynasty ruled across the Mediterranean coast of Africa and ultimately made Egypt the center of the caliphate. At its height the caliphate included in addition to Egypt varying areas of the Maghreb, Sudan, Sicily, the Levant, and Hijaz.
The North Sea Empire – Lasting only 19 years, the North Sea Empire was the land holdings of King Cnut, Son of Sven Forkbeard who became King of Denmark and Sweden after his father’s death. Cnut eventually gained control of England, Denmark, and Norway, with Scotland, Poland, Sweden, Normandy, and parts of Ireland as close allies or tributary areas. Regarded as the “most effective king in Anglo-Saxon history” King Cnut’s territory enjoyed peace and prosperity. The Empire collapsed after his death in 1035 AD and there were multiple claims to his throne through previous rulers and illegitimate heirs claiming blood right.
The Kievan Rus’ Empire – was a loose federation of East Slavic tribes in Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century, under the reign of the Rurik dynasty. Both the origin of the Kievan state and that of the name Rus, which came to be applied to it, remain matters of debate among historians. According to the traditional account presented in The Russian Primary Chronicle, it was founded by the Viking Oleg, ruler of Novgorod from about 879. In 882 he seized Smolensk and Kiev, and the latter city, owing to its strategic location on the Dnieper River, became the capital of Kievan Rus. Extending his rule, Oleg united local Slavic and Finnish tribes, defeated the Khazars, and, in 911, arranged trade agreements with Constantinople.
The Kingdom of France – At the Dawn of the 11th century, The Kingdom of France was poised to become a prime power in Early Medieval Europe, however were still disorganized as a political power. Under rule from the Capetian Kings, French holdings were controlled through a weak form of feudalism. The kings themselves (Robert II from 972-1031 AD and Philip I 1052-1108 AD) ruled small holding in the heart of their territory. They relied mainly on their potentates to control their other land. The natural wealth of the area and defensive land, however, helped France to become more powerful leading into the Middle Ages, and the church helped unify France into a strong Kingdom.
The Kingdom of England – 1000 AD saw England under control of the Anglo Saxon King Æthelred II. The chief problem of Æthelred’s reign was conflict with the Danes. After several decades of relative peace after Æthelred’s father King Edgar had re-taken almost all of Danelaw (area of England controlled by Denmark), Danish raids on English territory began again in earnest in the 980s. Following the Battle of Maldon in 991, Æthelred paid tribute to the Danes as a result of losing the Battle of Maldon and as a way of ending the raids. The Anglo-Saxon era did not end until 1066, when the Norman king William I (Known as William the Conqueror) took the throne at the Battle of Hastings.
|2 Map Game Boards (East+West), 36″ x 27″||70 Army & Fleet Wooden Tokens (10 / player)|
|280 Army & Fleet Units (40 per player)||196 Faction Markers (28 / player)|
|70 Army / Fleet Cards (10 per player)||7 Diplomat cards (1 / player)|
|107 Historic Punch out Coins (in 4 types)||7 Reference / First Turn Sheets (1 / player)|
|14 Custom Dice (2 / player)||7 Wet Erase Markers (1 / player)|
|50 Wooden City Tokens||Two Minute Timer|
|Score Board||6 Wooden Team Cubes|
|34 Page Full Color Rule Booklet||60 Intrigue Cards|
|8 Bonus Leader cards|
The Following Add-Ons are available for the Swords & Sails game:
Mercenaries & Privateers card expansion
This new expansion features 100 new cards, including the Mercenary/Privateer, Revolt and Calamity/Prosperity categories of intrigue cards. This will expanded the original deck of 60 intrigue cards and the 4 original categories of Development (Green), Political (Blue), Espionage (Yellow), and War (Red) to 6 Categories adding the Calamity (Grey) and the Prosperity (White) categories. Intrigue cards expand the options which Swords & Sails players have during a game and represent many simulated choices which make the game more realistic and very satisfying to play. Intrigue cards are acquired by players during the intrigue phase of the game, with each player gaining at least one card, each turn.
Extra Units (Orange or White)
40 Extra White Units (double sided), both Army and Fleet Units which can be used for any of the Minor Player Faction expansions or for additional units for any player.
Battle Chests (Plastic Storage Boxes with Lids)
These plastic boxes with lids are perfect to hold your pieces for each faction.
Extra Large Neoprene Map (4ft x 3ft)
This Extra Large, Extra Thick Neoprene Game Mat with stitched edges replaces both East and West sides of the 6 fold cardboard map board. It creates a 50% larger play area for Swords & Sails.
7 Player Historic Metal Coins
Upgrade the cardboard punchout historic coins into metal coins. 140 metal coins in 4 denominations based on 4 actual historic con faces are represented.
4 Player Historic Metal Coins
80 metal coins in 4 denominations based on 4 actual historic con faces are represented.