This idea was inspired by my recent visit to Malbork castle near Gdansk in Poland, which is the largest brick castle in Europe, as well as being the former home to the Teutonic Knights when their Grand Master moved there in the early 14th century. We were lucky enough to get a 3 hour guided tour, and I was madly trying to get down all of the details that could make for a very interesting setting for a game!
Day 76: Castle Building Teutonic Knights
The Teutonic order was known for building a whole network of castles through what is now northern Poland and Lithuania, as it was a rule that any member of the order must spend every night within the walls of a Teutonic castle. As such, they were built in such a way so that from any point a castle was no more that a day’s horse ride away.
In addition to this, the Order was responsible for most of the trade in the area, especially getting bricks to build their castles from the Netherlands, as they had exclusive access to the Baltic Sea to the North. Amber was also mined in the area, and was a very valuable local commodity The knights would also lead expeditions around the countryside to try and convert (or conquer, depending on how you see it) as many of the local population as possible.
The game could be set on a map of the area, at the time when the Order is trying to expand their influence, and you are trying to prove yourself worthy of becoming the next Grand Master. You can choose to focus your efforts in a number of areas – you could to seek to master commerce, being a savvy trader of bricks and amber for which all the players will need in the game. You can be a master builder, overseeing the construction of new brick castles across the land, and gaining benefits when other knights visit castles that you have built. You could also be a noble warrior, going off on expeditions for glory and riches in the surrounding lands.
Mechanics wise, I am imagining a game were you are literally moving around the board, castle to castle, and can take advantage of the various actions available in each area or town. Some areas might be rich in amber if you want to try and mine it, or are important trade routes to try and control. Over the course of the game you can control more and more knights, and so have more access to more of the map.
Albeit, this is just the seed of an idea, and perhaps there isn’t so much to differentiate it from ‘just another Euro’. But the richness of the theme, and how well it could match with mechanically what you are doing in a game, definitely interest me. What mechanics do you think would suit this theme?