Having enjoyed Ed Beach's superb Here I Stand boardgame on the Wars of the Reformation, I leapt at the chance to work on a playtest map for his upcoming sequel covering the Golden Age of Elizabeth, entitled Virgin Queen. (An altogether fascinating period of history including the French Huguenot Wars of Religion, the battle of Lepanto, the Spanish Armada, and much more.)
Ed's original playtest map was a modification of the Here I Stand map, using 3 insets to add action in the New World, the Netherlands, & Indian/Pacific oceans. For example, we see in Here I Stand, the Netherlands warranted a mere 4 spaces; whereas in Virgin Queen that count expands to 21 spaces to contain the Dutch Revolt and Reformation:
Some brief discussion with Ed led me to suggest we employ a cartogram (a superb discussion of practical cartograms may be found here) for the map, to better reflect the relative importance of the areas during the period. What we needed was a map that would enlarge the Netherlands' surface area greatly (and to some degree, France & England's), as well as include The Indian and Pacific as far out as Australia. The resulting contortion is what Ed aptly describes as "The world inside Philip II's head:"
The content on the map is still in flux, so we'll save a look at that until things settle down a bit. Open PBEM playtesting is beginning soon, and if you're interested in helping you can email Ed to sign up.
Please note that this is in no way endorsed by GMT Games yet; for that matter as far as I know GMT has not technically contracted to publish the game at all.