Soldier Kings: War in the Age of Frederick the Great
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This game is the best game I have ever played, simple but realistic, my 11 year old son plays against me and he just loves this game, as do I. Little turd is always Britain and uses the seas to his advantage, I never know what he's gonna do next, except sink my french fleets.
Get this game, its awesome!
I played this game for the first and only time about a week ago. Components are nice. Map sheets are nicely done and the fact that it's a world war really adds to the game. Counters are colorful and sturdy.
The rules are not bad although there is plenty of errata to download if one wants clarification on some rules. Avalanche seems to have more than their share of errata for their games.
Once one grasps the rules and gets oriented to what they have to do, the game turns play fairly quickly. There are 28 of them if you play the whole 7 Years War. Each turn represents a season. There are not a lot of pieces in the game as each major power typically has only 8 - 12 armies or so and maybe a few fleets (Britain excepted who has 7 to start)in order to control all of their interests around the globe. This forces one to rely on the inherent garrisons in the territories that they control in order to hang on to there possessions. This is okay as it forces one to utilize their pieces thoughtfully. It does present one of the rule quirks that I am not to sure about, however. In order to put a hit on an army or fleet and flip it over(which forces a retreat), one must put a number of hits (6 on 6 sided dice for a hit) in one round equal to the defense factor of the unit. Fortresses with their garrisons roll dice equal to their fortress strength. Their strength is reduced as they take hits and they therefore roll less dice in subsequent rounds after these hits are taken. Therefore, a stronger army and/or navy with a stronger army which may need 2 - 3 hits in a round to be reduced, can hardly be hit by a 2 - 4 strength garrison, but the garrison can be methodically reduced by the army. This is not terrible as it can be realistically said that a garrison might be reduced over a span of time through seige without hardly any damage inflicted to the beseigers. It does though create a number of automatic wins by the army as long as they choose to execute unlimited attacks against certain weaker fortresses.
A larger problem as I see it involves the ability of fleets to contribute their fighting strength to coastal battles. Since the British usually have more than double the fleets of anyone else, they really have the inside track on this one. They can easily form little battlegroups where they attack with a couple fleets and one army. As long as he chooses, and pays for, unlimited attacks, the power generated by the fleets supporting the army is nearly unstoppable. In our game, the British player figured this out and simply picked his targets and moved in and took them. There is essentially no fear of coastal defenses because of the fortress rule covered in the previous paragraph. In less than 8 turns in the campaign game, it was nearly over because no one could keep Britain from running over any distant fortress and controlling it fairly easily. I really think that the fleets are too powerful. Not only can they transport troops all over the world, but also they can fight at the strength of armies along with the troops they just dropped off.
All in all, I think this game has potential. The rules just need a little revisiting in my opinion. As they are now, I frankly don't see how any moderately intelligent and reasonably lucky Brit can lose.