As you know, I love the COIN Series and anything associated with it. In the March Monthly Update from GMT Games, a new series was announced as well as the first game in that series. This new game is not a COIN Series game but it shares some of the same elements. In Fall 2020, there was a game design contest held called Consim Game Jam where designers had to repurpose a COIN Series game and it’s components and make a new playable game in about 48 hours! The game that won the competition was called Vijayanagara: The Deccan Empires of Medieval India, 1290-1398. The game is an asymmetric 1-3 player game depicting the epic, century-long rise and fall of medieval kingdoms in India over two dynastic periods. Since winning the contest, the team has continued to roll up their sleeves and continue the hard work of focusing the design and developing the final playable product to be published by GMT Games.
The Irregular Conflicts Series, of which Vijayanagara is the first volume, attempts to bring some of the mechanics of the COIN Series to bear on conflicts that are just outside the Counterinsurgency-based model of COIN. If you want to better understand this new series, you can read the excellent InsideGMT Blog post by Jason Carr at the following link: http://www.insidegmt.com/2021/03/what-is-the-irregular-conflicts-series/
We have agreed to provide a home for this series of quick articles on the History Behind the Cards involved in the game as they game continues to move through development and playtesting. We are lucky to be able to bring these articles to you and will be hosting a series of at least 6 posts over the next few months (I am hoping to do more!). This project is being led by Joe Dewhurst as developer and the design team includes Saverio Spagnolie, Mathieu Johnson, Cory Graham and Aman Matthews.
*Note: The cards and their event text, as well as any pictures used showing any of the various components, are still just the prototype version which is only intended for playtesting purposes and the design and event effects and text might still change prior to final development and publication.
History Behind the Cards #3: Kakatiya Empire Extinguished
Motivated to fund the defense of Delhi from invading Mongol hordes, the Delhi Sultanate made sure that tributes were arriving at regular intervals from the many kingdoms south of the Vindhya range. The Sultanate did not tend to maintain large standing armies in the southern peninsula, but amirs and rajas in the Indian subcontinent would occasionally need reminding that tribute had fallen into arrears.
On more than one occasion the Delhi Sultanate sent an army into Andhra region to Warangal, a great city surrounded by three concentric circular walls, and the seat of the Kakatiya Empire. The threat of a large Sultanate army at the doorstep was often enough to kickstart the flow of tribute funds to Delhi.
In 1321, payments from the Kakatiyas had once again fallen behind schedule. The Majaraja Pratapa Rudra sent messengers to the commander of the nearing army, Prince Ulugh Khan, claiming the tribute to be late because of the great distance to Delhi and because the road between was dangerously packed with bandits. But no peaceful arrangement would be made on this occasion. The territory was annexed to Delhi, Warangal was renamed ‘Sultanpur’, and Pratapa Rudra, about to be sent to Delhi to submit to the Tughlaq Sultan, would commit suicide by the banks of the Narmada river.
Ulugh Khan’s triumphant return to Delhi was followed not long after by the passing of his father, Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Tughlaq, in mysterious circumstances – a large canopy celebrating his own return from a campaign to Bengal collapsed upon and instantly killed him. Ulugh Khan, bane of the Kakatiyas, ascended to the throne in Delhi as Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq (r. 1325–51).
The Tughlaq authority in the Andhra region, however, was not long lived. Thirteen years later an uprising in Sultanpur by a Telegu-speaking chieftain would cast out the Sultanate’s governor there and mark the beginning of the end of the Sultanate’s reach in Andhra.
The “Kakatiya Empire Extinguished” card offers two Events, either (or neither) of which may be chosen by the factions in the game in place of standard actions (Commands and Decrees). The shaded Event tends to be favorable to the Delhi Sultanate – here the Sultan can add a powerful Governor piece and a large number of Troops in a Province adjacent to Warangal, and a large sum of Resources are sent back to Delhi immediately. The southern region is reminded to keep payments heading north.
Meanwhile, the unshaded Event, which tends to benefit one or both of the rebelling factions in the game, speaks to the mythic legacy left behind by the Kakatiya Empire, which is particularly relevant to the Vijayanagara Empire. Kakatiya principles of rising in socioeconomic rank through military service (the Nayankara system) were sustained by Telegu warriors, and the foundational myths of the Kakatiyas (from the goddess Pampa), once subsumed by Vijayanarara, provided them too with a foundational myth through the bonding of Pampa with Virupaksha. The Vijayanagara Empire player can use this Event to place a Raja and a Temple adjacent to Warangal, and shift the Foundational Myths track towards the Vijayanagara twice, which enhances their ability to seek out allies throughout the Deccan.
In the next article we will take a look at one empire origin story referred to as The Hare and the Hounds.
You can catch up to the posts in this series to date by following the below links:
I for one am very interested in this one and cannot wait to get more information on the mechanics and history as they work on the game. In addition to hosting this History Behind the Cards Series, I will reach out to the design and development team and try to get an interview up on the blog pretty quickly.
If you are interested in Vijayanagara: The Deccan Empires of Medieval India, 1290-1398, you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $54.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-918-vijayanagara-the-deccan-empires-of-medieval-india-1290-1398.aspx