(It’s a pity that I wasn’t playing Britain.)

Me, Patch, Mark, and Jason (a friend of Mark’s, that I’ve seen in a while). Got together today for a game of Soldier Kings. It was planned as a five-player day, but continuing car-trouble means that can’t attend at the moment.

It’s been a while, so, despite everyone having the rules to look at ahead of time, there was some fumbling around at first, though it went far better than last time.

Mark got Britain, Patch got France (I was just as happy to leave the naval war to them), I got Prussia and Jason had Austria. The big discovery is that it’s just very hard to keep Britain from doing whatever it wants, navally speaking, without Spain in the game. Patch tried to get them as a minor ally at one point, but couldn’t quite do it. After the first year, Britain was almost half way to winning, and Patch had his hands full slowing him down, never mind stopping him.

I think the underdog in a fight can do more than Patch did in that situation. You have to stay flexible and keep the other guy off-balance. Not that I’m a good one to talk. I’m in the same boat as Prussia, have better means of doing it (a pair of good leaders), and didn’t do all that well.

Things started well enough with a couple of good rolls helping me win battles. Sadly, at the end of the first year, I had a couple of big reverses, which reduced my army, lost me a leader, and lost me Silesia. Even though I was able to immediately get a new (lesser-quality) leader, this definitely put me on more of a defensive footing. I did grab the Netherlands from Austria, but the French got it from me right afterwards.

The second year was slightly better. I managed to take Saxony that fall, which left that minor ally army with a single wounded army, and no way for it to repair. The third year again started out well, and I lost it all at the end, including the death of Fredric the Great, which really cut down my options.

Meanwhile, Mark slowly built up his dominion in the New World. He shipped his best army over early, and since France was in no position to send anything meaningful over, it just slowly battered everything else into submission.

So, we’re definitely wondering how to keep Britain in check without Spain in the war, and a little concerned that they have the fifth player be Russia instead of Spain. Still, it’d be good to try again, especially with 5-6 players.

Next time is up in flux. If we have three, we’re probably playing the SFB scenario Flashpoint Mantor again. Things could definitely have gone better, and Mark and Patch have been eager to give it a go. But, we’re checking to see when Jason is available again, and if it works out, Mark and Jason may bring their Command & Colors: Ancients sets over, and we’ll all try that.