Right after Luther’s death, the Holy Roman Emperor resolved to undo the Reformation by military force. The Lutheran princes formed the Schmalkaldic League to fight against him. In the ensuing Schmalkaldic War, the Emperor defeated the Lutherans–taking away the princes’ lands and titles and re-imposing the Roman Catholic faith. But that was not the end of the story. In a bizarre and providential turn of events, Lutheran theology became legalized after all.
UPDATE: What happened was this: The Emperor bribed one of the Lutheran princes, Maurice of Saxony, with lands and titles if he would change sides. He did. As a direct result of this treachery, the Lutherans were defeated and the Reformation, evidently, was over for good. But later, Maurice felt the Emperor reneged on some parts of the deal. So he changed sides again and went to war with the Emperor. Even though he was fighting the vast Imperial army pretty much by himself, he defeated the Emperor! And made him legalize the Reformation! And so we see how God uses even sinners and acts in ways we could never expect.
Now there is a board game in which you can re-enact the military exploits, the political intrigue, the personality conflicts, and the theological commitments that played out in this strangely-forgotten but pivotal moment in history.
The game is called the League of Confessors and it’s available here. You have got to check out the website. The cards that are pictured there and that you play with in the game amount to a who’s who of the late Reformation: John the Magnanimous, George the Pious, Ernst the Confessor; and on the other side Ferdinand I, Albrecht Alcibiades, and the perfidious Maurice of Saxony.
And if you order the Reformation 2017 edition, you will also get the Franco-Ottoman extension, in which the “unholy alliance” of France and the Turks takes advantage of the war between Catholic and Lutheran “confessors” for their own global-political advantage.
This would make a good 500th Reformation Anniversary present to oneself or others, although I’m not aware of any Reformation Day gift-giving customs. But still, there are at least some of you who would love to play League of Confessors.
League of Confessors is a simulation of the spiritual and physical warfare that erupted after the Reformation. It is the only game that covers the specific battles that took place between the Schmalkaldic League of Confessors (the Lutherans) and the Catholic League (Holy Roman Empire) between the years 1532-1555. The setting of League of Confessors begins after the death of John the Steadfast as the leaders of the Augsburg Confession prepare to defend themselves against the impending armies of the Holy Roman Empire. Power and wealth will collide with conviction and courage as two leagues of heroes go to war with sword and the pen!
With the special release of the Reformation 2017 Edition, you will also get the Franco-Ottoman Expansion for absolutely free (League of Confessors by itself will retail for $80 in 2018). Included in one large retail box, you will get all the components of League of Confessors, and also get all components of the League of Confessors Expansion, The Unholy Alliance. This opens up the game to up to six players. Not only are you able to play as Charles V, John Frederick the Magnimous, Ferdinand I, or Philip of Hesse, you are now able to play as Francis I and Suleiman the Magnificent! The Reformation 2017 Edition is the only way that you will be able to get both games together. It will never be available as a package deal again, and there will be no Kickstarter campaign (saving you cost!). The only way to get League of Confessors (Reformation 2017 Edition) is to order your copy before August 9, 2017.