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The Great Crisis of Frederick The Great by Vuca Simulations  Friedrich der Große was an anomaly for an 18th c...

The Great Crisis of Frederick The Great by Vuca Simulations (formerly Furor Teutonicus) The Great Crisis of Frederick The Great by Vuca Simulations (formerly Furor Teutonicus)

The Great Crisis of Frederick The Great by Vuca Simulations (formerly Furor Teutonicus)

The Great Crisis of Frederick The Great by Vuca Simulations (formerly Furor Teutonicus)

The Great Crisis of Frederick The Great


Vuca Simulations

 Friedrich der Große was an anomaly for an 18th century general. He was more than happy to engage in battle. Most of his comtemporaries would fight wars of maneuver. This didn't mean they did not fight battles, it was just the cost of training troops was always on their minds. Frederick reminds me of Robert E. Lee. He had plenty of victories, and some defeats, but the cost in manpower of even his victories was too much for Prussia in the end. The last two years of the Seven Years War he was forced to fight a war of maneuver, because he could not afford to fight battles. The death of the Russian Empress Elizabeth, who hated him, and the coronation of Peter III, who worshipped him, really saved Frederick. Elizabeth's death was called the 'Second Miracle of the House of Brandenburg'. Strangely, Hitler was hoping for such a change of heart in one of the Allies in 1944-45. He referred to Frederick's luck at the end of the Seven Years War constantly. In a complete reversal of alliances France and Austria, enemies for hundreds of years, were now aligned with Russia against Prussia and England. So the stage is set for the Seven Years War. Let us see what is in the box from Vuca (their name was Furor Teutonicus, however because of its far right wing conotations, they changed it.)

One rulebook
One mounted map
198 large unit counters / 360 counters total
32 tactics cards
Four six-sided dice

 This list does not do the contents of the box any justice. I previously had reviewed Vuca Simulations 'Crossing The Line: Aachen 1944', and the components were wonderfully done. I can say that most of the ones for this new game are equally well manufactured. The map is mounted and it is simply gorgeous for a wargame map. The style is point-to-point movement. All of the information you need to play is right on the map. The fortresses and cities of central Europe are all there in pristine glory. There is also a deck of thirty-two 'Tactics Cards' split evenly between the Prussian and Austrian Player. The cards are just as well done as the map. The counters and different chits needed are, just like the first game, very well done and come with pre-rounded corners. The only difference I had with this game was that the counters were connected to the cardboard sprue almost too well. This time I had to be careful when removing the counters because I thought I might rip some of them. I was kind of surprised, because in the last game the counters popped free very easily. This is not that much of a ding on the game, just make sure you are careful taking them apart. The Rulebook is only sixteen pages long and the actual rules only take up eleven of them. The rest are examples to play, and a full two page spread of the map to show the player where to set up the counters. The Rulebook is in complete color, and is set up for the player to easily understand the game mechanics. The actual print is a little on the small size, but even I could read it without squinting, so it must not be that small. 

 So, it is beautiful, but can it be played? The easy answer is a resounding Yes! For any player who has used a point-to-point map before the mechanics are simple to pick up. Even if you are more used to hexes, the game mechanics are easy to follow. This is the sequence of play:

Procedure of a phase: During their phase, each activated army follows this procedure:
1. All Alliances check their LoC network and mark isolation. (see 4.2).
2. Determines their Action Points  (AP; see 6.).
3. Recovers and moves their forces  (see 6.1 and 6.2).
4. Fights battles  (see 6.3).
5. Removes recovery markers  from units.
6. Marks control of spaces by placing  or removing control markers (see 4.1).
7. Checks if he may draw tactics cards (see 7.4).

8. Checks Victory for his Alliance.
 Each single strength point on a counter represents 4000-6000 troops. 

 Vuca Simulations, and the designer, have kept the game as historically accurate as possible. This means that the Prussian Player has the ability to roam about and put out fires. On the other hand, the Austrian Player has to learn how to herd cats. The Austrian Army under some generals (Browne, Daun) is capable of putting up a very good fight. The French Army is quite a different subject. It represents a threat in being to the Prussian Player, but is as hard to start as a Model T. The Russian Army gave the Prussian Army fits historically, but again it was hard to get into 1st gear. For those of you familiar with the Battle of Antietam, the analogy fits pretty well. McClellan, the Austrian Player, was capable of crushing Lee, the Prussian Player, but because of fear and an unwieldly Union army, Lee was able to fend off all of the disparate attacks by the Union forces. The Prussian Player in this game must play like Lee at Antietam. He must rush around the board and fight off every new invasion of his territories. The Prussian Player must remember that he does not have an endless supply of soldiers. He cannot afford to take as many losses and chances that Frederick did. The Austrian Player has overwhelming strength, but he must be able to bring it to bear. He is like a sumo wrestler fighting an MMA fighter. The Austrian Player must take advantage of any mistakes that the Prussian Player makes.

 The game play is based mainly on Lines of Communications and Resource Points. Keeping your Lines of Communication open to your different forces is vital. If a force becomes isolated, they are penalized by the fact that only four units can move, compared to the usual eight. Their dice rolls for attack and defense are also halved. Resource Points can be either a city or a Resource Fort. Victory is determined a few different ways. If Prussia survives until the end of the game, that is a Prussian Victory. Prussia can also win  after the death of Elizabeth of Russia. Each turn after her death a die is rolled. If a one is rolled then there is a peace settlement. If the Prussian Alliance controls sixteen or more resource Points, that is also a Prussian win. The Austrian Alliance wins if they are able to remove Frederick from the game, or Prussia has only eight resource Points or, nine if the Austrian alliance controls Berlin. 

 Battles and sieges take place off board with each side's troops lines up. The actual mechanics are very like a game with a separate 'Battle Board'. The low amount of units in most battles, and the absence of reserves etc. means that an actual battle board is not needed.

 The game rules are not long at all, but the game is very deep nonetheless. The rules are also easy to remember, and well written. You do not need to put on your judge's wig to determine what the designer meant in each rule. These are clear and concise and you will be up and playing in no time. For the game's sheer beauty some people might want this in their collection. For the person who plays games it is also an excellent addition to his hoard. There is a new version of the Rulebook with errata add in that is about a month old. I will have a link to it below. Thank you Vuca Simulations for allowing me to review this excellent and beautiful game. I think I will have to put an old Avalon Hill game into moth balls, if you catch my drift. 

Vuca Simulations:

The Great Crisis of Frederick The Great:

Rulebook Errata:

My review of 'Crossing the Line':