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Subject: Austrian Victory -- all first time players rss

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Bill Herbst
United States
New York
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Recently Bill, Andrew, Brian and Jarett played their first game of the Euro-style wargame Friedrich. They drew their countries randomly and Bill wound up playing Prussia and Hanover which have to compete against all the other nations. Jarett controlled France, Andrew had the Imperial army and Austria while Brian drew Russia and Sweden.

Bill began the game by allocating his armies fairly equally and by attempting to defend each of his borders by spreading out his generals. Prussia probably needed to assess the different levels of threat posed by the different armies and assign troops in an imbalanced fashion that put the emphasis on defending the Austrian border as that seems to be the most highly contested front because of the number of Austrian generals and their high rate of tactics card accumulation. In the first turn Bill maneuvered his generals toward the fronts to assume positions that defended the outlying victory markers. By doing this he spread his generals out somewhat and, in fact, he would never approach a battle with two or more generals combined (although he did face combined generals on the Austrian and Russian fronts later in the game).

Of the invaders, Brian as Russia, began the game with the most aggressive moves. He noticed a potential weakness in the Prussian position in the North as there was only one Prussian general in that area and reinforcements would be slow to arrive. Bill and Brian had a series of large battles for those territories. Bill was eventually able to repel Brian decisively from that area after the game was well over half-way completed but the cost in tactics cards was far too high for the relative security. Further, since Russia begins the invaders' turn sequence, the other invaders were routinely able to capitalize on Prussia's relatively weak hand size during their turns. Late in the game, however, Brian made significant inroads into central Prussia while Friedrich's generals were occupied on other fronts and almost snatched cleverly the victory for Russia.

Jarett's French forces were a persistent threat throughout the game and they had functionally eliminated the power of Hanover through a methodical sequence of incursions over the course of over ten turns. By the endgame the French had just driven off the Prussia forces who defended their Eastern-most victory objectives and they were rapidly closing in on victory.

Ultimately it was Andrew's Austrian juggernaut that rolled over all of their victory objectives in the 13th turn of the game and spelled the end for Friedrich. By carefully preserving his supply lines, cautiously defending his achieved objectives, combining generals for tactical advantages and hoarding tactics cards for the important battles, Andrew had put himself in a position that could not be cracked by Prussia's desperate final attempts to reorganize its troops to the southern front. By the final turns of the game Prussia was receiving fewer tactics cards than the Austrians because of a particularly wicked card of fate, and the Austrians were already working from a much larger hand (since they had cleverly accumulated cards by expanding without conflict on earlier turns). Andrew's methodical advance was so well planned that he never even lost a single battle to Prussia with his Austrian army.

By the time the game ended, each invading player was within a turn or two of victory. The only nation that had been removed by one of the four cards of fate that help Friedrich was the relatively innocuous Sweden.
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