Well, had the gang over for gaming again yesterday. For the first time, we got a 5-crew over, and we decided to try Soldier Kings once more, but with five players for the first time. As Zjonni was the new one, we gave him England, and drew randomly for the rest. I ended up as Prussia, with Patch as Austria, Mark as Russia, and Jason as France. Progress was slow, with a good amount of head-scratching over the rules (the basics are easy, it’s all the little interactions).

The war in central Europe got off to a slow start as everyone looked across the borders, didn’t like what they saw and stayed defensive. Russia managed to get an alliance with Poland, and I countered with one with Turkey. I attempted, late in the first year, to start knocking Poland out of the war, but couldn’t get the dice I needed.

On the alliance end end, Russia and Austria teamed up, and I allied with France while Britain practiced a form of “Splendid Isolation“.

Meanwhile, France got off to a very good, and very aggressive start, taking the Austrian Netherlands and Hannover in Europe and shipping troops off to the New World. England initially attempted an invasion in Brittany, but was driven off. The year ended with France with 10 point, Austria negative, and everyone else at 0.

The second year got more exciting. Poland was forced to go neutral (Royal Heir Dies), and Britain and France started getting into a real fight for control of the New World. And everyone in my neck of the world got more aggressive, including me. I managed to beat off the first couple attempts into Prussia, but Austria managed to go around me and took Mecklinburg, and I lost East Prussia while I was taking out Saxony.

This is my usual experience with Prussia, there’s too much to do to keep from getting nibbled to death, and because of the small size of Prussia, losing any territory is a pretty big deal. I think I need to concentrate more on making the offensives as fast as possible. Save the resources for unlimited combat and siege, concentrate (using Frederick) on the target swiftly with the big, hard to hurt units, and spend the resources to make sure it gets done now. I keep trying to skimp on the number of rounds so that I can do more things, and getting burned by the dice.

Speaking of bad die luck, I’ve had the luck to have both of the Prussian 4-3s and one of the 3-2s, but all three got damaged during the Fall turn, and I had already had to overspend for a previous repair. Thankfully, there was no time to take advantage of the weakened Prussian army, but maintenance forced me to flip to more units. The bulk of the third year’s budget is going to repairing all of that.

This all actually went quite long, and we had to call the day at the end of the second winter turn. For once, we’re seeing a really interesting situation, and we definitely want to see where it goes. France is in the lead with 12 points, and everyone else is still hovering around 0. However, it’s probably only a matter of time before the heavier English navy gets the victory it’s been seeking for the last year. The end of the session also saw a small flurry of card plays and Poland is now allied with Prussia and Bavaria is allied with France, both of which should help take the pressure off me a little.