FRIEDRICH, the game
Friedrich is a deceptively simple strategic wargame designed by Richard Sivél and set in the Seven Years’ War.
The game is asymmetrical, one player doggedly defends Prussia and her minor ally Hanover against the three attacking players who control Russia and Sweden; Austria and the Imperial Army; and France respectively. Although allies, the attacking players vie for victory independently.
Each nation has its own character and strategies making for an interesting and varied game.
The board depicts Prussia and the surrounding countries in 1756, the year the war broke out.
A dense network of cities joined by roads regulates the movement of the pieces.
The objective cities of the attacking nations are marked with flags of the corresponding colours. To win, a nation must control all of its objectives simultaneously.
The board is further divided into rectangular sectors, each marked with a suit symbol (clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades), which indicate which Tactical Cards can be played during combat.
Each player controls a number of generals, each of which can command up to eight troops. Each troop represents about 2,000 men. Up to three generals of the same nation can stack together, so a force can be as small as one troop and as large as 24.
Supply trains, represented by wooden cubes, allow the generals to operate effectively away from their home territory.
Generals move three cities (four along main roads) and take unprotected objectives by simply moving over them. To take a protected objective requires victory in combat.
Every general who is adjacent to an enemy general at the end of the movement phase must attack. Combat is resolved by playing Tactical Cards until one side either cannot or does not wish to continue and must retreat.
Each general must play Tactical Cards of the suit of the sector where he is positioned. The key to success is knowing when to fight to the last and when to slip away with minimal losses.
Clock of fate
The Clock of Fate is the motor of the game. To emerge victorious, Frederick must resist the onslaught of his enemies until Fate eliminates them one by one.
At the end of each turn from the sixth turn onwards, a Card of Fate is drawn. There are eighteen Cards of Fate, twelve of them with minor events. Of the six major events, two reduce the number of Tactical Cards that Prussia draws at the beginning her turn and four knock Russia, Sweden and France out of the game.
Since no-one knows when the critical Strokes of Fate will fall, tension remains high throughout the game.