Back in September, Mark and I tried out Compass Games’ series of games that started with No Peace Without Spain. I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to Compass (sorry folks), but I did hear about that game, and that it had been popular for them. Mark has gotten most of the series, and proposed it as the next thing to try out. I’ve found the War of Austrian Succession interesting (helped by Reed Browning’s book) and chose the game on that to try the system out with. (All the parenthetical scores later are the number of hits done by each side in the battles, attacker first.)

Mark had the Pragmatic side (that is, Austria and later, England), while the other side is given as the Bourbons (true enough later, but its pretty much the Frederik Show to start with). You start the main section of each turn by drawing five cards each, and using one to bid to go first (a bit like Sekigahara, but you don’t toss the card; the winner is merely constrained to using that one first). I got lucky and drew the one four-action card in the deck, but lost the bid on a 3-3 tie.

Mark started with moving the bulk of the troops out of Milan Innsbruck, threatening Bavaria. Another corps was transferred there from off-map (with another going to Chotusitz), and Hanoverian troops marched into Cologne. This last is important as Hanover/Cassel can be neutralized for a bit if the Bourbon occupies it as part of their first round. I sent four corps in under Maillebois and chased him back out after a quick battle. For the rest of the round, I besieged Glogau (Silesia) and occupied Hanover itself.

The next activity saw a battle in Munich, which was a 0-0 defensive victory (the fact that you can never guarantee any hits, and therefore have a shot at winning in an attack gets nasty). I transferred a French corps there to help out, and started occupying fortresses in Germany. A second battle in Munich forced a retreat (2-0), but I finally took Glogau on my third attempt, and Neisse on my first. Mark made progress in the siege of Munich in two attempts, and I unsuccessfully counterattacked (1-1), and failed to besiege Prague after he intercepted into there (1-1).

This had been done without really looking at the winter phase rules as the end of that happened in the last actions of the turn. At the end of every year (/turn) you are forced to leave any spaces you don’t control, which naturally ends any ongoing sieges. I got very lucky to take all of Silesia, but after Mark’s second attempt, I had no actual reason to go into Munich, and had no way to get Prague (and it would be the only time I got that far).

The Appeal to Hungarian Nobles was successful, while Naples, Moderna, and Piedmont-Sardinia got involved in the war as it went into the second year. This puts some new troops on the board, including a new Spanish army coming out of Naples. Mark won another tied bid, and reinforced Prague. He then attacked Breslau, but was repulsed (1-1), and I counterattacked into Chotusitz but lost (3-3) after Traun intercepted into the space. Khevenhüller chased Frederick out of Niesse and then out of Breslau, but had to pull back for winter. I put both Spanish armies in motion, taking Parma, but I couldn’t quite take Piacenza.

Politics for 1743 went well for me, with France actively joining the war and Charles Albert remaining the Holy Roman Emperor. On the other hand, Britain, Hesse, Hannover, and the Dutch joined the Pragmatic side, but that’s automatic, while the rest was by die roll. This puts a lot more troops in play, especially for the French. I went after Alessandria this time (being an empty fort, instead of occupied Piacenza), while Mark went on the offensive in Silesia. Mark sent Prince Charles west to take Parma right after I took Alessandria, and de Gages intercepted but lost the battle (3-0), retreating into Italy. Meanwhile Frederick moved to Breslau, pushing Khevenhüller out (2-0) with Well-Trained Infantry, and continued to relieve Neisse, but couldn’t break the lines (1-1), even with a Cavalry Charge. Neisse fell, but Mark mostly had ‘1’ cards, so this chewed up almost the entire year for him, and he didn’t even take Parma.

My political luck continued with Charles Albert living through 1744. I played Early Spring to get an extra action card and go first, and lead off with the “4” from the just-reshuffled deck. A very large French Army under Louis XV and Belle-Isle besieged and took Tournai, Charles Albert took Innsbruck, and de Gages besieged Nice, but had to leave that winter. Mark tried to relieve Innsbruck before the siege finished and failed despite Surprising me (1-2). Traun besieged and took Dresden, and Frederick failed to relieve it (2-3), and Prince Charles took Glogau.

1745 adds new event cards to the deck, including The ’45, which removed Wade and a corps for two years. Charles Albert finally passed away, which switches the Empire and Bavaria to Pragmatic control, except for those places the French occupy, so I retained most of the western fortresses (this, as I recall, is fairly historical), and Saxony switched to the Bourbons, gaining a small army while the Bavarian army disappeared. Mark won the bid, and finally chased the Prussians out of Hanover. Mark took Parma, and I besieged Antwerp and reinforced Cologne. I won a battle in Cassel (3-1), also capturing Cumberland, but failed to press on to Hanover against a demoralized army (1-3). Schwein also tried to take Hanover, but couldn’t get anywhere (0-0), but a second attempt from Maillebois took the city (3-0), and followed up by chasing the defeated remnants out of Bremen (2-0). Mark took Munich from the French, with de Saxe backing up in front of him while I got Antwerp.

1746 saw the Frederick Re-enters the War card come out… so if he ever did exit the war, he wouldn’t be coming back. Meanwhile the British Fleet Coerced Naples, making them pull out of the war for a year. A small Hanoverian army went into the Dutch Republic, and the French went after it but were repulsed at Groningen by a Talented Subordinate (2-2). The main French army chased the Dutch out of Bergen-op-zoom, and Conti returned to Nice but again couldn’t take it. Rutowski and Traun cut off the French by taking Cassel, but Bergen-op-zoom fell despite the Fortress being Resupplied. Mark was soundly repulsed in an Italian offensive (0-2).

And now that it was safe, Frederick Left the War. To both of our surprise, this flipped all of Silesia to Bourbon (/Prussian) control, awarding VPs to me for what had been lost. Another Early Spring let me go first. Technically, there were two turns/years left, but the last one has a variable end, and I couldn’t count on enough time for any hard sieges. There was also a large army in Amsterdam. I had transferred Belle-Isle and de Saxe to that front for the extra dice and a +1 on the siege; Amsterdam was a 12d to 11d combat that I won (3-1), and Waldeck died in the retreat, technically limiting Mark’s leadership, though there were spares in Groningen. He threatened to take Bergen-op-zoom back, but Belle-Isle chased him out again (1-0), and then moved to besiege Nijmegen. Mark came back to Antwerp with a partially rallied army, but couldn’t do enough against my Field Works (2-2).

I managed to take Amsterdam on my third siege roll before Mark could put together another attempt, and I had troops scattered around so that he couldn’t take anything in the time left. Taking London, Amsterdam, Vienna, or Paris (and having a proper line of communication at the end of the turn) is an auto-victory. So, the Bourbons won as the game prepared for the final stretch.


There were a number of rules goofs/mistakes that we took care of as the game went on, that probably benefited me more. We both missed the limits on how many corps you can build/replace in the reinforcement phase, and more importantly, I exceeded the French pre-war limit on builds at least once, probably twice. We also kicked some Hanoverian reinforcements down a few turns because the main rule talks about the capital being the main source of supply for that country, and I occupied Hanover. But… they elsewhere talk about the off-map spaces being “unlimited supply” for that country, though the map just says ‘home space’ (which is a different concept), that needs to be cross-referenced better.

That last probably would have meant a bit more activity in northern Germany, and possibly even more problems for Prussia. Perhaps that might have spilled over into the Dutch Republic (which it did anyway), but the second large French army was already there to make that uncomfortable. As it was, I was certainly very lucky where I needed to be. Frederick kept losing battles, but I got good cards, while helped a lot, let me keep an edge on strategic initiative. VPs stayed in the minor Bourbon victory range almost the entire game (there was a short period in the Pragmatic minor victory range after the death of Charles Albert), and that would have been the outcome without the auto-victory.

The overall system is smooth, and we enjoyed the game, and will certainly return to others in the series. However, the political side is too straitjacketed. Charles Albert’s death is variable, but he will die, which wasn’t something that could have been known in advance. Frederick’s tap-dance in and out of the war is actually handled nicely, but he could completely on the ropes, and still get all of Silesia. There needs to be just a bit more feeling that events react to what’s happening on the board, instead of ignoring it.