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Friedrich» Forums » General

Subject: How much of a "problem" is player elimination via Clock of Fate? rss

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Dave Small
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Preface: I've got three other people lined up for gaming Saturday and would like to get this to the table but am concerned because it appears that the Clock of Fate can/will result in player elimination and I don't want someone to be bored and twiddling their thumbs while the rest continue to play.

Questions: Is it even a problem? How has your group handled it?
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Brandon Pennington
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I have played 3 games of Friedrich and have yet to see a nation eliminated by the deck of fate. There are a lot of cards in there, but it can happen. I honestly think though by that time, everybody will be so "into" the game that even if they are eliminated they will want to continue watching the game to see how it ends. That is the way I would feel as the game is really very tense and exciting.

YMMV
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jbrier
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Even without player elimination, the four-player game will likely see the French player bored as he has little to do relative to how long he has to wait between turns; and once Russia and/or France exit the game then those respective players are basically eliminated from the game.

For both of these reasons I play the game with three instead of four. It is an excellent game though.
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Tom Dickson
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Even after Russia and France are eliminated they continue to play the small armies - and they're no slouch. They will have built up cards slowly over the preceding turns and can grab victory unexpectedly if Friedrich moves too far away. In fact, an important Russian strategy is to try to make it so that Friedrich has to give up some of the harder Swedish objectives. Paying attention to the difference between first and second order objectives is key! I've never seen a game won without relaxed victory conditions in affect.
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Mark Christopher
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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As was implied, there is no player elimination in Friedrich, only country elimination.
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Mark Luta
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Proper French play involves quite a bit of careful watching between turns, as well as encouraging his allies to attack in the 'correct' sectors often (generally hearts but sometimes spades, and on rare occasion clubs). The French do indeed have a ponderous army and sometimes a very frustrating role, but there is really a great deal of subtlety which is lost if France is also playing Russia/Sweden (although there is some benefit to learning the game with 3, since the France role does probably require a few games to see how things can play out differently). A result in a suit sector on the far side of the map can have serious implications for France on their turn, they cannot afford to not be paying attention, nor is it fair for them to know the Russian cards.

In a 'normal' game the France player will have to bash through the Hannoverians burning as few hearts as possible (an often frustrating task if the proper suits are not received turn after turn!), then time when to make the all-out attack on the Prussian army in hearts to take Magdeburg--too early, with too weak a hand, the French army can be shattered, yet wait too long and either Prussia may have a stronger heart hand yet, if no allies are attacking in hearts, or worse still, an ally will win!

The Friedrich World Championship was won last year by the France player as France, and even though he was frustrated through much of the game, I doubt he was bored! And two conventions ago in Los Angeles, the France player was denied his victory as France by the cards of fate as his armies stood at the threshold, and then soon after he won the game playing with the Empire forces! More interesting still, the last Friedrich game at the Los Angeles convention resulted in a joint victory with both Austria and France meeting their victory conditions on the same turn (a walkover victory for Austria following routing of all Prussian armies on their front the turn before, and a battle victory for France which secured Magdeburg).

As was briefly touched on above, Russia should be played with an eye to helping Sweden take objectives, it very often happens that Russia dropping out at an opportune time will let the player win as Sweden if this is done. Sweden needs Russian help to keep that primary objective to the east, but if Prussia is busy elsewhere, if the Russian forces can keep the Prussians away from there, Sweden may then have the opportunity to take the rest of their primary objectives, and even start on the secondary. And, Sweden can help the Russian cause, for example there are places that Swedish supply train can be placed which will potentially allow the Russian armies to destroy a Prussian army which captures it.

The game does sometimes end before reduced objectives are in effect, but this requires a complete Prussian collapse. Still, players need to be alert to when that might happen, to try to make certain one of their own nations at the winner's position at the end.
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Dave Small
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Thank you all for responding!
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Jim Marshall
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The last time I played I drew Russia and the 1st card of fate saw Russia drop out - it was a long afternoon after that! I've also seen France drop out after three cards, which was even more unlucky (for the French player).

Early elimination of France/Russia is definitely a risk. Playing Sweden/HRE can be interesting later in the game once Prussia has been beaten down some, but still involves a lot of downtime. However, it doesn't prevent me wanting to play Friedrich.
 
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Andrew Brown
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In the 2012 World Championships I suffered from both an early exit for Russia/Sweden when playing Elizabeth; and an early exit for France when playing Pompadour. I still enjoyed myself and even had some small success with the Imperial Army.

I say what goes around, comes around - perhaps on some future play there will bean early exit for Elizabeth or Pompadour when I'm playing Prussia!
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