Friedrich for Dummies
There are already a number of good strategy guides for Friedrich available, most notably those written by expert players Anton Telle and Björn Apelqvist, both former world champions. So this little effort is not another complete guide, but rather is meant to provide a few useful tips and insights for learners and hopefully inspire more veteran players to reflect a little on how they play.
The best way to become familiar with the game and hone your skills is to dive right in, play regularly, try out various strategies, and by learning from your inevitable mistakes develop your own style for each nation.
To see how others have fared in the past, a good place to start is the Histogame website, where you can find turn-by-turn reports of a number of World Championship finals, most with commentary from the participants. Alternatively, you can get up to speed by playing online at PlayFriedrich.com although tussling it out face-to-face across the board is faster and more fun.
Friedrich is a wonderful game of manoeuvre, resource management and bluff that can be played comfortably in a single four to six hour session. Don’t be fooled by the simple, elegant rules, becoming a skilful player requires a certain amount of dedication, but that investment will be amply rewarded by thrilling, varied and interesting games.
Try to join, or if necessary create, a group of like-minded players willing to play roughly once a month. Use a chess clock. This will ensure that games don’t run on too long and prepares you for the championships you’ll hopefully participate in soon. Always use five packs of cards and a cube-and-matchbox system, such as those provided by Friedrich de Luxe, rather than the printed army sheets in the rules.
The game is a natural generator of interesting situations and anecdotes, to be told and retold over beers for years to come. You should therefore play in the right spirit: always scrupulous with the rules, magnanimous in victory and gracious in defeat.
If counting to three is very hard, counting to six is nearly impossible.
Many have lost thinking they defended a key objective from four cities away.
Whole armies have deserted because seven is more than six.
It is no consolation that in the stress of the struggle, everyone is prone to this kind of mistake.
The blue areas are not sea. The sea is not full of towns and crisscrossed with roads.
Hands of Cards
Some organise their hand by suits, some by rank, others just hold them as they come. You be you.
However, practice fanning out your cards in one hand so that you can see them all at one glance and have a clearer picture of what you hold. Do not separate off just the cards of the suit you are fighting in – the enemy is watching and would love to know when you’re about to run out.
Watch the hands of all the players, especially the enemy, like a hawk. Strike when they are at their weakest.
Reserves are like gold dust. One of their main uses is to simply be in your hand rather than those of your enemies and rivals. Cling on to them. For grim death. It may well be better to lose a battle heavily but save a precious reserve; you can always buy replacements, a spent reserve may well not come back. Never forget to take a minute to consider the alternatives before taking a quick retreat, keep the reserve for a more critical occasion.
No doubt about it, Friedrich is a game of manoeuvre. Careful positioning of your pieces is the key to victory. You can’t be defeated if they can’t attack even attack you. They may well not attack you if you momentarily offer battle from a different sector. The threat of an obvious retaliatory encirclement may disuade all but the most determined.
Attacking versus Defending
Attacking is risky because, come what may, your opponent will draw fresh cards and move again before your next turn. And as it is the battle winner who decides where the loser retreats to, a losing attacker can be faced with supply difficulties, cross sector border counterattacks and battles of encirclement.
Defending can be complicated too. Are you standing in the right place? Can you afford to retreat or have you forgotten to reinforce a one-troop army? If you’re looking to take a quick retreat, does the enemy have enough pieces close by to cut off all the exits and force you to fight? Where are you going to stand if this sector is overrun?
If your general is exactly three (check, check again) cities away from the objective, remember he must win to prevent retroactive conquest.
Combat is certainly not just a matter of whoever has the higher cards wins. Card play requires subtlety, skill and a good measure of bluff.
Don’t go in blind. Before the battle, decide what you want to achieve. Then spare a moment to examine the situation to work out how to avoid disaster, just in case.
Don’t just play your biggest card and hope for the best, this will just hand the initative to the enemy. Choose the best card to get the result you want. A few examples will help:
You reckon you have more cards than your more numerous enemy. Play on nought (see below) a few times to punish his insolence, then offer a moderate retreat, say four or five, enough to drive him off for a turn without wasting too many pip points. If you offer a longer retreat, he may well have the card(s) needed to get just the retreat he wants and be able to come at you again next turn.
Alternatively, if he has x troops, play on x. He faces elimination if he doesn’t have the right cards.
You have set up a trap. If the enemy retreats by two, you can attack him in your next turn across a sector border. Play on two. Play on two again. Then again. He may well take the dreaded retreat or have to burn a reserve as a one (huzzah!).
You are attacking somewhere and just want to help an ally, but not too much. Now it’s ideat to play to ten or higher, thus forcing the enemy to spend a high card just to slip away. If you’re feeling particularly generous, retreat him so your ally can attack from a convenient suit. Obviously this doesn’t work with nations that play before you.
You actually have bucket-loads of the suit. Look annoyed as if you got caught off balance. Take a quick retreat, deliberately get surrounded and smash your enemy when he divides his forces to counterattack in his turn (see Encirclement Battles).
You just want to scare the willies out of him. Stare searchingly at the map. Count along few cities with your finger. Play on, say, five. Then play on five again. Then again.
Playing on Nought
In combat, if your opponent brings the current score to nought, you must continue and play a card of the suit you are fighting in (fortunately reserves are not affected by this obligation).
The objective is typically to simply empty your opponent’s hand of cards in that suit, but also serves to set up a desired retreat if things are going badly (I play on nought, he has to play to a positive score, I slip away).
To get out of this particular bind, you have to make your opponent play to a positive current score, which will then allow you to retreat to safety. To achieve this you can check your hand for multiples, the smaller the better. If you have, say, three fives, it is unlikely that your opponent with be able to keep playing on nought without using a reserve (expensive, goody). Carefully track the cards already played. If your opponent has used certain cards in combination, e.g. a three and a two to make five, playing one of equal value may get you out of trouble. If there is no other option, playing a reserve as a one (expensive, ouch) obliges the enemy to do the same or let you escape.
Don’t. No, seriously, don’t.
This isn’t Maria. Don’t worry about supply. Your troops can be out of supply fully half the time and still perform admirably. Just make sure you don’t cock up counting to six on the even turns.
Minor Cards of Fate
Never worry about these at all, you already have enough on your plate.
New Fate Deck Shuffle
Russia dropping out in turn six or seven put such a crimp in Elisabeth’s chances that a new way of shuffling the Cards of Fate has been come up with.
1. Put Elisabeth, Lord Bute or Poems, and India or America to one side.
2. Shuffle the remaining fifteen Cards of Fate.
3. Of these, put the top four cards to one side.
4. Shuffle the three major Cards of Fate from #1 back in.
5. Place the four removed cards on top.
Without seriously changing the feel of any nation, this guarantees that Russia cannot drop out before turn 10 and gives both Elisabeth and Pompadour a slightly bigger bite of the cherry. It also means that Austria will keep control of the Imperial Army for a turn or two longer on average.
The Role of Friedrich
If the attackers are up to snuff, playing as Friedrich should be a stressful roller-coaster ride, with moments of elation, despair and doubt only relieved by final victory or honourable defeat.
Use your advantages well. You have lots of troops and plenty of strategical options. You get to choose where to fight and you will generally have more cards than your enemies, at least at first. Frustrate them through careful manoeuvring; impress them with cunning card play; frighten them with brilliantly executed traps and timely counterstrikes.
The Golden Rule: You win not by crushing your enemies, but when the Cards of Fate knock the attacking nations out of the war one by one. You can lose every battle and yet still prevail. So, be cautious, very cautious, a major disaster may send you on a spiral of defeat from which recovery is impossible. Spend as few cards as possible and let your hand build up menacingly.
The Attacking Nations
A competent defence is a hard nut to crack. But you have nothing to lose. To successfully eject the blue pieces from their defensive positions, you will have to launch repeated, often risky, attacks and keep going despite lack of cards, untimely Fate and recalcitrant allies.
Use your advantages well. Make sure you have an overwhelming numerical advantage in the decisive sectors. Replace your losses quickly to keep cards your allies desperately need in circulation. Constantly maintain the pressure, don’t let the Prussian hand get so large that it becomes unbeatable.
Keep an eye on what your allies are up to. Try to attack in the same suits as them to debilitate the enemy and force him out of position. If possible, try to co-ordinate your movements so that you and your allies can at least threaten to attack the same Prussian general one after the other in the same turn.
Weakness in a key suit is no excuse. Don’t be afraid to bluff. March in confidently and try to outmanoeuvre the defenders. You never know. Friedrich may well be reluctant to attack in his turn for fear of it being a trap. If you hang back timorously, you’ll achieve nothing other than telegraphing your lack of cards and confidence.
If all else fails, send out an expeditionary force to attack in suits you do have and thus unbalance the defence. You might even win in the ensuing chaos.
The Golden Rule: Never sit on your laurels. Better to go down spectacularly than inflict a boring game on your fellow players.
The Nitty Gritty
The Sector Defence
Prussia is stronger than any of her individual enemies, both in troops and (usually) in number of cards and total pip points. But Prussia and Hanover combined are weaker than all the attacking nations together. Fighting everyone in every suit is a recipe for rapid disaster. Defending against each major power in just one suit and using that suit only against that nation is clearly the logical way to maximise the chances of victory. The fourth suit can be used to buy replacements and to cover emergencies.
This means choosing to stand and fight in three sectors that offer the best possibilities for success. Kammin (clubs) against Russia and Sweden – Saxony (diamonds) against Austria and the Imperial Army – leaving spades or hearts against France in Brandenburg is a classic arrangement, although you might like to surprise your enemies with other combinations. Also, have a back-up plan for when things inevitably go wrong. Be flexible, the best players not only know the board well, but react in time to exploit opportunities as they come up or to prevent a crisis from becoming a rout.
The direct way to break through the sector defence is by forming a powerful stack and repeatedly attacking with a considerable numerical advantage then retreating before reinforcing and attacking again. When sufficiently weakened, the defenders will be forced to switch tactics to cling on, e.g. by taking quick retreats or running to other sectors. Look out for the change and don’t let them get away. Launch the decisive attack with a smaller force so that you have the initiative at the being of the battle.
The indirect approach means deliberately attacking in areas where the defences are weaker and leaving the more heavily defended sectors for later. You might also like to go all out for the victory of the second nation, Sweden or the Imperial Army.
Nation by Nation
Prussia versus Russia
To defend strongly in East Prussia, or not to? That is the question. And if so, how?
Although many other options are viable for example, hearts in Neumark, the standard, tried and tested defence is in clubs in Kammin. Dohna is assigned six or more troops to face down the expected mass attack by R1 and R2. Heinrich, with just a couple of troops should join him to make up a solid, yet flexible defence (you need two generals if you want the option of nipping into Gollnow and Massow when the going gets tough). Meanwhile, Lehwaldt, with just one or perhaps two troops comes off after obliging the Russians to chase him all the way to the far northeastern corner of the board. Works pretty well most of the time.
So well, in fact, that the Russians are expecting it and can happily set up with only a weak force to take East Prussia and the main attacking stack, with twelve plus troops, heading west to join up with the Swedes coming the other way. Time to surprise them! Give Lehwahlt more troops and defend East Prussia in strength. This should catch the Russians on the hop and it also gives you the luxury of choosing which of the four suits to defend in. You might even opt for the famous Soldau defence, holding the one city in East Prussia that is in clubs and can only be attacked from clubs.
The downside is that the Russians may well overrun Kammin quite quickly and have a real chance to win with the Swedes or run amok in Brandenburg and Saxony. Also, if you head straight for Soldau, they will attack you in turn two and the cat will be out of the bag, allowing them to reorganise at their leisure.
Keep sending the Tsarina plenty of that black tobacco she’s so fond of.
Prussia versus Sweden
Sweden is weak and slow, but cards are precious. Let Fate deal with them. No need to crush the Swedes, unless you can do it for virtually nothing, perhaps in the early turns. Just keep an eye on them, drive them off repeatedly, retake an objective from time to time to make them march and countermarch to no effect. Under no circumstance should you let them capture all five primary objectives, even for one turn. If the Swedes attack your main stack, retreat and then counterattack to use your numerical advantage twice against them for free.
Russia versus Prussia
One Card of Fate can knock you out. One. You have no time to consider the cruelties of life. Get in there and take Königsburg, then the rest. If you have literally no cards in the right suit, attack anyway using your numerical advantage. Force Friedrich to constantly spend cards, even if you have to pay six times as many pip points (in other suits) to make up the losses.
If you really are totally blocked, screen the defence and march to the aid of the Austrians. Threatening to break the Prussian defence will seriously disconcert Friedrich. He may make mistakes or even retreat into the sector of the suit he’s been using against you, then you might be in with a chance.
Sweden versus Prussia
Meanwhile, look after the delicate Swedes, keep them out of trouble, picking up objectives and accumulating cards. If the Russians are doing their job, Friedrich probably won’t have a general dedicated to stopping the Swedes full time, preferring to just occasionally recapture an objective to prevent them from winning. Exploit this. You have time during the other players’ turns to gradually manoeuvre your supply train into the perfect position to prevent the loss of Malchin or Anclam while you take Cammin. With the five major objectives in the bag, now you actually want the Elisabeth card to come up!
Prussia versus Austria
Austria is your main enemy. She is powerful and dangerous. You simply cannot expect to be able to defend in strength against her everywhere. He who defends everything defends nothing. So, where to fight? In Silesia, in Saxony or somewhere else?
The plus side: Silesia is the easiest area to defend. Assign fourteen plus troops to P4 and P5 and prepare to fight. Initially act agressively towards the eastern Austrian armies, make them dither and waste time or even fight at a numerical disadvantage. Threaten to launch the Offensive Option. Actually launch the Offensive Option. Ready a third general to form a triple stack that the Austrians will never defeat. Then comes a critical decison. To defend in diamonds around Neisse or in spades around Breslau? Choose as late as possible and choose wisely. Consider offering an enticing cross sector border battle to drain the attackers of the key suit before slipping into the sector where you now have overwhelming superiority.
The disadvantages: Somehow, you will have to stop the Imperial Army. Only foolhardy Austrian players treat Hildi as disposable and expose him to attack in the first few turns. Wiser heads will keep him out of trouble, slowly accumulating a decent hand and progressively taking objectives. By turn ten or twelve an Imperial victory will be a distinct possibility and may require desperate measures to thwart.
The plus side: You are defending against both the Austrians and the Imperial Army at the same time. You are close to Berlin, so reinforcements can arrive quickly and you also have the option of rushing troops to and from the Magdeburg area if needs be. Of the original two defenders of Silesia, an annoying covering force, perhaps one general with two troops can retreat into Poland and threaten both Russian East Prussia and Austrian Silesia. You may desperately need the necessary supply train for this little adventure elsewhere though.
The disadvantages: Silesia may well be overrun despressingly quickly, leaving you clinging on to only Radeberg, which can be increasingly difficult if you run out of diamonds. The Austrians may be able to free up a general to put pressure on you elsewhere. Also, supply. Saxony is conquered territory, so you can be starved out. This is not easy though, but you will need both your supply trains, just in case.
Sneaky variant: Defend Saxony from Bohemian spades! You will need to slip a supply train south, probably via Dresden. The Austrians may well have to spend a lot of precious time reorganising their attack, and the Clock of Fate is running.
Somewhere in between
The clubs sector across eastern Saxony and northwest Silesia can also be successfully defended, especially if you manage to split the main enemy forces and thus prevent them from forming an effective triple stack. This area offers some of the same advantages as the more common spades or diamonds defence: reasonably good supply and covering more than one objective. However the Imperial Army will still have to be dealt with and another suit found to keep the Russians at bay. Try offering a seemingly foolish cross border battle, Austrian clubs for spades or diamonds (which Maria Theresa wouldn’t be tempted?). Then retreat to prepared positions in clubs.
Prussia versus the Imperial Army
Hildi only requires eight turns to walk the course. Eight. Prussian victories come in about turn twenty on average. So, hunt down that yellow army, drive him as far south and west as possible. Attack and destroy him in the early turns. Otherwise, prepare yourself for a nasty surprise.
If he is bold or desperate enough to attack your triple stack in Saxony, don’t waste cards fighting a long, drawn-out battle. Retreat quickly and then counterattack to use your massive numerical superiority to crush him.
Austrian versus Prussia
You can form a triple stack with up to twenty-four troops. With this you can probably achieve a numerical advantage of eight or more, enough to compensate for all those turns that Prussia was drawing more cards than you. You have two main options: use the stack as a battering ram against the main Prussian defence, repeatedly attacking to progressively empty Friedrich’s hand then switching to attacking with fewer troops and drawing the last few cards by playing on nought before executing a brilliantly timed coup de grâce to take that last objective.
Alternatively, you can screen the main defence and deliberately head to where Prussia is weak. An initial score in the high teens will persuade most Friedrichs to cut their losses and look for another way of holding on to their ill-gotten gains. Avoid allowing a couple of weak Prussians to give your main striking force the runaround in Poland though.
Choose where to attack from carefully, there are plenty of opportunities for Prussia to trap you in an encirclement battle. However demoralising, losing twenty plus troops in one go is more costly in time than in cards (you can afford the replacements, right?) and the inevitable extra expense incurred by Friedrich may be decisive in the long run. So, don’t be reckless, but take calculated risks.
Once you have liberated Silesia, keep control of the all-important main road leading right through to Berlin. Don’t allow the Prussians to race an army back to Breslau and wreck your chances of victory.
You have five generals. The French especially could do with a hand in order to be a real headache for Friedrich. Using one general to escort the Imperial Army is a good idea. As well as helping Hildi capture Torgau, this general can eliminate Hanoverian supply trains, disrupt the defence around Magdeburg and generally cause trouble.
Do not approach through the southeastern tip of Silesia. Such a move requires a dedicated supply train, which won’t be able to supply your armies further west. Using this circuitous route also wastes precious time and offers the Prussians the opportunity of slipping away up the main road towards Berlin or standing firm and splitting your generals.
Instead, in the early turns, gather your forces in the hearts and clubs sectors between Saxony and Silesia before deciding how to develop your attack from there. Prevent the Prussians from transferring a general from Silesia to Saxony or vice versa.
The Imperial Army versus Prussia
The Golden Rule: Do not throw away the Imperial Army. You have a good chance to win with her, even better if using the new Fate Deck shuffling rules (see elsewhere). Do not abandon Hildi to his fate when control changes. Preventing an Imperial victory is another problem for Prussia to solve, don’t make it easy for her.
To starve out a strong defence of Saxony will require the use of nearly all your pieces, Imperial and Austrian alike. It can be done, but requires careful positional play.
No way out: Prussia’s defence in Saxony is doomed.
Hanover and Prussia against France
France can be defeated on the cheap, by exploiting her fundamental weakness – she only has three generals. It’s called the Triangle Defence and here’s how it works. Each Hanoverian general has to keep one French counterpart busy, thus leaving Pompadour only one general to take on the Prussians.
One Hanoverian general slips south past the oncoming red hordes and takes up residence in the confetti of light blue exclaves. The goal is just to stay on the board. If the French concentrate elswhere, Kassel can be liberated.
The second Havoverian is stationed around Diepholz in the north-west, always ready to nip out and recapture any unprotected objectives.
Set up the Manni Defence (see below) by deliberately losing the the early battles and then assigning each general just enough reinforcements to have exactly one troop fewer than the French general facing him.
Initially one Prussian general, with just a few troops, around western Brandenburg is enough. He can even multitask, protecting Swedish and Imperial objectives as well as Halberstadt and Magdeburg as needs be.
Attacks by a lone French general can usually be driven off easily, or you might even like to set up the Manni Defence here too.
If the Austrians heave into view, scarper north out of their way, unless you’ve got a shot at destroying the Imperial Army. Exploit the turn order: Hide behind the French and Imperials to avoid attacks from the white pieces. If they have come in strength, use the Manni defence against them to prevent the Austrians from draining your hand of hearts.
Use the Hanoverian supply train to slow the French down further. It can prevent the loss of an objective for one turn, or give a defending general a breather. At the same time, avoid setting up your own traffic jam in which Prussia pieces are blocked by ill-placed Hanoverians.
You might also like to stand and fight. Hanover alone actually has more cards than France in turn two, so may well be able to win a brief pitched battle outright, especially if the French have a void in the critical suit. A large enough defeat will leave Pompadour reeling, with insufficient cards to rebuild her army quickly and regain numerical superiority. The spades sector around Braunschweig is a good area to hold, there are plenty of objectives to defend and the Prussians can lend a hand from time to time. An alternative is Paderborn in hearts, but you need the supply train for this.
Fun variant: Nip across to Ravensburg and defend Minden. Crossing Hanoverian territory can be done without needing a supply train if you time it right. When the French come for you, they will be hard pushed to protect Halberstadt and Magdeburg at the same time. These can be liberated easily.
Exotic option: Assign eight troops to the northern Hanoverian army and go hunt the Swedes! Overkill, but if they don’t see you coming, they will probably be destroyed in the ensuing battle eight to four, unless they are lucky enough to have just the right small card(s) to get away. However… this setup leaves Cumberland with only four troops and completely at the mercy of the French, who will be only too willing to squash him.
It is difficult to win with France, principally because you draw three and a bit cards per turn (only three after India or America come up) and are fighting two nations that together draw nine. Tricky. You have plenty of troops, but this advantage is seriously offset by the fact you only have three generals.
The first priority is to destroy the southern Hanoverian army. Use two generals and both your supply trains imaginatively to corner the little blighter and prevent the Triangle.
If you do get caught in the Triangle however, immediately switch your forces around, even if it means losing an objective or two in the process. Alternatively, use sixteen troops, eight and eight, against the Hanoverians. They only have twelve, so can’t give both the required seven to keep cheap retreats and will go bankrupt buying replacements.
Once you’ve utterly beaten the Hanoverians, station a general next to Stade to prevent them from coming back on. Now two heavily armed generals can head to Brandenburg with a substantial numerical superiority over the Prussians and things get interesting.
Attack the Prussians and lose. The losses can be used to reinforce against the Hanoverians and break the Triangle that way. Better still, contrive to create a two-troop army with which to hunt down and rout both light blue armies in turn. If necessary, deliberately leave one of your armies out of supply two turns running.
If, despite all your valiant efforts, you can’t win in hearts, it might be worth your while heading to Saxony to wreck the Prussian defence in diamonds. A grateful Austria might even lend you a hand in your sector afterwards. Don’t hold your breath though.
Beware of Prussians standing in hearts on the border with spades. It’s a trap. If you are unwary enough to attack head-on rather than outflanking them, they will use their hearts to drain your spades and then slip into the tongue of Prussian territory in spades from where it will now be very hard to evict them.
The Offensive Option
You should try this at least once in your career. It’s fun and the game will be memorable.
It requires setting up against Austria with all the forces you dare to muster and then being brave enough to actually go through with it. You have to break through before your emboldened enemies crush your pared down defences elsewhere.
Offering a hearts battle in the first couple of turns is a good opening, recommended by the designer Richard Sivél himself no less. If Maria Theresa takes the bait, it’s important to win a decisive enough victory to leave the Austrians both short of troops and low on cards. This will weaken them so much that they are unable to recover and will allow you to use your numerical avantage to crushing effect over and over again. Complicate things further by leaving armies next to both Austria depot cities so that eliminated Austrians face combat in the turn they come back on, followed by your counterattack if they are lucky enough to survive.
Expect to have to fight in all suits. Your defence against the Russians is likely to be desperate and the Hanoverians will have to keep the French busy virtually on their own. Don’t panic. Just win in Bohemia before you lose elsewhere.
Tricks and Traps
The classic is the Senftenburg trap. A retreat of one from Hoyerswerda could land you up in Kamenz or Spremberg, a retreat of two might leave you in Bischofswerda, all of which only have two exits and can thus easily become the scene of terrible battles of encirclement.
A stack standing in Oels forces an Austrian stack attacking from Breslau to desperately avoid taking a -1 retreat or risk being surrounded in either Neumarkt or Ohlau. Or worse still, a long hungry march back from central Poland.
Look around for other places and use them. Or at least threaten to use them. A worried enemy is a good enemy.
The Manni Defence
Named after world champion Manfred Wichmann, and very commonly used by Hanover against France, this neat little tactic consists of arranging your forces so that they have exactly one troop fewer than the armies ranged against them. When attacked, the defender simply retreats by one immediately without playing a card. In the next turn, the loss is replaced and the defeated army nips round, ready for the next skirmish. Repeat to the frustration and dismay of your aggressor. Position your army two cities away from the objective (there are even some places three cities away from where a -1 retreat still leaves the retreating army covering the objective).
The downside is of course the cost, replacements are expensive. But it’s worth it if you can prevent France from ever playing a card or if you’re just clinging on in the endgame.
Variant: If you have a run of cards in the necessary suit, say the 2, 3, 4 and 5, you may be able take successive -1 retreats against a stronger enemy without buying reinforcements between attacks. The lost troops can be usefully deployed elsewhere.
Use a two-troop army to break the Manni defence. Alternatively, use your supply trains aggressively to pin the slippery little devil down and force him to fight to the last (his).
Alternatively, use your supply trains aggressively to pin the slippery little devil down and force him to fight to the last (his).
Two generals, however weak, can run rings round a single enemy. As long as both protect an objective and cannot be attacked at once, that objective is safe.
These nifty little beauties are really useful. Unlike lumbering triple stacks, an attacking two-troop army always has the option to play cards in combat*, which may be exactly what is needed as part of your plan for final victory. Use them to safely escort your second nation (Sweden or the Imperial Army) into sectors where Prussia has no desire to fight you, or just to thwart the Manni defence.
If needs be, unlike a one-trooper, they can take a -1 retreat and live to fight and retreat again some other day.
*Yes, yes, a one-point defender can just accept elimination, but that’s probably good for you too.
Enemy Depot Cities
Although it can be tempting to occupy these, given that it increases the cost of replacements from six to eight pip points each, the extra flexibility your opponent gets for placement of returning pieces can often more than compensate. Better: Stand next to the depot city and force any returning general into a disadvantageous battle when he come back on.
It’s late in the game, you are running short of everything and have spent your last reserve. Most of your enemies have dropped out, but Austria has only one objective to take to win. Attack! Well, move into attack position two spaces away from the objective with exactly the same number of troops as the enemy. The initial score is nought, but you have cleverly spent all the cards of that suit buying replacements. So, you must play a card, but don’t have one. It’s a draw! Your general stays on the board and protects his colleague standing behind him and so placed that he cannot be attacked in the enemy’s next turn. The general in the front line is doomed, but if Fate is kind the game may end…
Although not a detailed simulation, Friedrich superbly recreates the operational atmosphere of the main European theatre of the Seven Years’ War, with the Prussians desperately clinging on with dwindling resources until final victory… or defeat.
Each role has its own character and charm, which combined with good replayability means that the game remains fresh and interesting even after being played a hundred times.
No-one has yet won the World Championships in the role of Maria Theresa. It’s about time, isn’t it?