It is spring 1757.
The Prussian king, Frederick II, arguably the supreme example of the
Enlightened Despot, is surrounded on all sides by enemies. He seeks to ensure
security for his land and his people. This king commands one of the most
feared and vaunted military machines of his time. He was known to his
Prussians as "Der Alte Fritz." In history, he is simply
Frederick the Great.
To accomplish his ends, Frederick
seizes opportunity to annex the rich central European Electorate of Saxony
before his opponents can mobilize their larger armies against him… and this
risky action ignites general war not only in Europe, but a conflagration across
the globe in the colonial areas of North America, India, and elsewhere. Many scholars consider this “The First World
War”: for it is The Seven Years War:
In adapting GMT’s
multi-award-winning The Napoleonic Wars game system by Mark McLaughlin, Designer
Greg Ticer, aided by Developer Fred Schachter, create a furiously paced,
card-driven, and battle/siege-intensive strategic/operational game which can be
concluded by two, three, or four experienced
players in an evening or an afternoon.
Players represent the Coalition of
Britain and Prussia or their nemesis, the Imperial Camp of Austria (with its
Holy Roman Empire Pact Ally) and France (with its powerful Russian Pact Ally). The four main Powers never change Camps. Neutral Sweden and Denmark wait to possibly
be swayed into one of the antagonist’s fold.
Britain and France not only contend against each other on the continent,
but upon the game’s colonial mini-maps and through an abstract naval war.
Unlike GMT Games The Napoleonic
Wars, Wellington, or Kutuzov,
7YW:FG has mechanisms unique to 18th
Century warfare. These include: Trained
Troop Pools, Honors of War (bring back most eliminated pieces for a new year of
play), no Army Group movement or forced marching, Kinder War… a kind of
“Guerilla” action to remove enemy flags, more powerful and difficult to besiege
fortresses, greater vulnerability to attrition with a variety of interesting
colonial units including Forts, Native American Tribes, Sepoys and Colonial
players familiar with one or more of the series’ other games should quickly “get
into” 7YW:FG -particularly
with aid of a special “Tutorial” which accompanies the game.
a 7YW:FG game does not need to
“go the limit” with all possible yearly turns being completed. Players not only experience the uncertainty
of a “Peace Die Roll”, which characterize other games of the series, but also
several possible “Sudden Death” game endings.
For example, when one of the four major Powers is conquered the game
ends and the winning Camp, Coalition or Imperial, is determined by tabulating
Victory Points… yet only a single player
is declared winner! This makes for
fun, occasionally stressful, but engagingly interesting dynamics when two are
playing one of the Camps. It also means
all the players are fully engaged in the game action through the contest’s
When armies collide, battle or
siege-related cards may be played; dice rolled to resolve conflict, inflict
casualties, and possibly gain loot for each routed/eliminated Leader. Some
cards confer special advantages such as interceptions from two Duchies distant,
mandatory play of events, raise or eliminate pieces, or affect the course of
the broader world-wide war (e.g. Foreign Wars).
With so many variables, including a
short three year version (1757-1759), no game comes close to playing the same
way twice. The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble is glorious,
entertaining, unpredictable, and most of all enjoyable. It stretches players'
skills, hence the challenge and pleasure of a well-crafted card-driven game (CDG).
- 22” x 34” Mounted Map Board
- Five frames of die-cut playing pieces.
- Control Chart/Setup Sheet
- Battleground/Diplomacy Chart
- Eight Headquarters Displays
Overview of the Game
- 110 Cards
- A lavishly illustrated Rule book and a
- 24 plastic stands and eight six-sided