Friedrich – Boardgame Review
In 1756, having assessed that Prussia will be assaulted by the forces of Austria, Russia, France, Saxony and German States Imperial Army, Frederick the Great attacks Saxony which surrenders in a matter of weeks; becoming the blueprint for the German blitzkrieg. England and Hanover join Prussia and the conflict becomes the worldwide Seven Years War, even extending to the new world; called “The French and Indian War”. During the six years that Prussia struggles frantically for survival, Frederick loses as many battles as he wins, but his victories at Rossbach and Leuthen become part of military legend.
This is the setting for Richard Sivel’s strategic level game of the Seven Years War in Europe. The game is designed for four players, Prussia/Hanover, France, Russia/Sweden and Austria/Imperial Army. Originally released in 2004 by Histogame, the second edition of 2006 is priced at $49.95 and adds some needed improvement in components. Control markers for each power are included to denote conquest of objectives and the fate cards are now included in an English version. Overall the game falls within the current “German game” category, not surprising as Mr. Sivel is German and was inspired by a Bavarian television historical series.
The components are few but of high quality as would be expected from a German/Euro type game. The map is an old style reproduction of Germany, Austria and Poland covering all the areas of conflict upon which is superimposed a road network connecting cities. The map is further subdivided into large rectangles each marked with a card suit. Some cities are marked with flags which denote various objectives for the individual nations or as a depot city, where eliminated generals and supply trains may return. Generals for each nation are represented by a labeled wooden disc with the general’s name, supply trains by a wooden cube of the appropriate color. Prussia has 8 generals, Austria 5, Russia 4, France 3, Hanover 2 and Sweden and the Imperial Army 1 each. The game also includes 18 Cards of Fate in both English and German versions and 4 decks of 50 tactical cards each. Each tactical deck contains cards 2-13 in four suits and 2 Reserve cards; also each tactical deck has a different back. The face cards are represented by the famous generals of each power; the 13 of spades is Frederick. The cards are very well made with attractive artwork and will hold up under repeated use.
Turn 3- Frederick with Winterfelt has invaded Bohemia, the
Austria player prepares the defense, but wonders
how many armies the Prussian has? Each General can have up to 8.
Rule Book, Charts and Player Aids
The rules are only 7 pages and are very clear with numerous examples and diagrams. Very few questions on play occurred and were immediately resolved after referring to the rules. Two color player aid cards (playing card size) show order of play, number of generals, armies, tactical cards and objectives for each nation. Each nation also has a small sheet to secretly record armies assigned to each general. A general only marks the location of a force, each nation may only have a maximum number of armies (Prussia has 32, Austria 30, Russia 16 etc) distributed among the generals secretly. No general may have more than 8 armies, but each must have at least 1.
This is a game that can truly be played by setting up the pieces, reading the rules and simply starting in about 30 minutes or less.
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