Monday, April 7, 2014

Playing Friedrich - the Boardgame


Saturday night last I managed to talk James (Rabbitman) Manto and our friend Mike (Weirdy Beardy) into leaving the minis along and trying my new boardgame Friedrich.  

Friedrich is a German/English game by Richard Sivél, who lives in Berlin, German and designs games when he’s not busy being a geological engineer.  Friedrich was first published in 2006.  My copy is a third edition issued last year to commemorate Frederick’s 300th birthday.  He also has a game out called Maria, about the War of the Austrian Succession.

Friedrich can be described as a point-to-point movement game and as card management game, for 3-4 players.  It is set in the summer of 1756.  The Prussian player has the advantages of interior lines, a large army, a second small army (Hannover) and the largest hand of cards, and has to use those advantages to fend off Austria, Russia, France, the Empire and Sweden.  These opponents are played by 2-3 others.  The “allies” are forbidden from attacking one another, and all have their individual victory conditions (the Prussian player mostly has to survive).  The allies have smaller numbers of cards.  While the Prussian player is always in supply while defending the homeland, the allies are dependent on their supply trains, and have to protect them, or else armies tend to disappear.

Players who want a sophisticated war-game won’t get it here.  There are two types of units, Generals (the round counters above) and Supply Trains (the smaller square counters above).  Generals are named after historic personages but don’t have any special ratings, so Frederick behaves the same as Subise or Fermor or any other general on the board.  Generals can lead up to 8 strength points, and fight when they come into contact with an enemy general on an adjacent area.   Combat is basically a card game, with players adding to their combat scores and detracting from their opponent’s scores by taking turns playing cards.  If you look at the picture above, you’ll notice that the map above it is divided into squares, each showing one of the four card suits.  When a player is in combat, they can only play cards of the suit of the square where their general is.  If you run out of cards of that suit during the battle, you are in trouble (hence the card management aspect).

In our first game we found that while Prussia’s situation appears pretty dire, it actually has a very strong position.  James and I went in hard after Mike and ended up with bloody noses in the first turn.  Lacking a fourth player, the first controls Prussia/Hannover, the second France/Austria/Empire, and the third Russia/Sweden.  It would have been more fun with a fourth player.  We didn’t have time for more, but I think a good time was had by all.   Recommended for fans of the SYW (the board alone would be an excellent player aid for a miniatures campaign) and for those who like a stiff gaming challenge.

Still lots of time to play the Mad Padre Wargames caption competition.

Blessings to your die rolls (and card draws).







  1. I like a good board game- thanks for bringing that one to my attention.

    Quick question: if you are playing with less than the optimal 4 players what happenms to the unplaid faction? Is it ignored or run according to dice roles?



    1. For three players, the Austrian player controls the French and the (1) Imperial Reichsarmee, while the Russian player controls the Swedes.

    2. Thanks for the explanation,

      Happy Easter too,


  2. I played this a while ago - I remember being very impressed with the distribution of card suits to simulate logistics.


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