Mark made it over last Saturday for a little FtF time. It was his pick, and he wanted to try out Frederick the Great, which both of us have been interested in since we started seeing some interesting reviews of it a few years ago.

I didn’t have any real knowledge of the game going in, and Mark had to leave a couple hours early, but we still finished off the initial 1756 scenario quite handily. Mark took Frederick, while I fumbled around with the Austrians. Both of us had trouble getting anywhere, thanks to the fact that it just takes a long time to set up a siege, and had to set up depots to extend supply range before we could even get to that point.

Frederick himself begins just outside of Saxony, with a very large force. However, the closest Saxon fortress is six hexes away from his supply sources (supply range is five…), so he had to spend a couple turns creating a depot, before starting the siege, which also takes a couple turns (since you go through the ‘create a depot’ to do that).

Meanwhile, the Austrians have some local superiority to the east, and I slipped one army through the Carpathians before realizing that my goal was out of supply range, and the army wasn’t large enough to create a depot. The other (bigger, better led) army hesitantly moved forward and camped in the Carpathans. Since this was a learning game, Mark attacked it in the defensive terrain with his local army, and lost fairly handily. Worse, his available leader wasn’t very inspiring, and the Prussian army stayed under a demoralized marker for the rest of the game (rolled three different ‘5’s when he needed a ‘6’ though…). I set up a depot there, and moved north, kicking his army out of a depot it had created, and back into a fortress.

Frederick finished his siege and moved east to repair the situation. I gathered my available forces together to force him into a poor results column, and Mark thankfully did not roll very well, with 3 to 2 losses. As it turns out, the winner of a battle is determined by comparing each side’s commander’s initiative plus the enemy’s losses. Since my leader only had one initiative less than Fredrick’s, and he took one more loss, the battle was tied. The two armies stayed there for the next couple turns, attacking each other, and grinding down in a number of tied battles. Eventually, winter kicked in and we went into winter quarters, finishing the game.

Thanks to the relative losses, and the prisoners I had taken in the early battles, I had a decent lead and managed to pull out an Austrian win (I forget what exact level).

It’s a fairly nice system, though it does get a little gamey in a couple places. My main concern/question is with sieges. The chart goes from 0 to 6 (with ‘2’ listed twice), and the labeling on the chart says there should be modifiers, but we couldn’t find them in the rules. Our guess is that you’re supposed to compare leader initiatives. There’s no errata for the chart either, though I wonder if it supposed to go from 0 to 7 (allowing modifiers both ways), though since the top few entries are identical, it wouldn’t make a difference.