Two Good Years Out of Seven: The View from Paris After a Game of The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble

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Introduction by 7YW:FG Game Developer – Fred Schachter

Mark McLaughlin and my designer/developer partnership span a number of fine GMT games: but since my business career took me away from the Northeast; it’s been all too rare that I could visit with my friend Mark and enjoy a good fun time gaming.  A recent trip to New York City, however, provided opportunity for a side trip to Mark’s home. 

During this visit, I re-introduced Mark to Greg Ticer’s The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble, which we last played a few Impulses of during WBC 2014 when GMT introduced us to Greg.  As InsideGMT content for this game indicates; there’s been considerable progress and improvements made to this design since that WBC. 

It was a genuine pleasure to share the latest iteration of 7YW:FG with Mark. Mark had such a grand gaming experience he was inspired to write this After Action Report for InsideGMT.  I wrote the photo captions and the end game victory calculations. However, this article’s photos would be better appreciated if a reader references a copy of the 7YW:FG play test map.  Enjoy!   

The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble: Game Development Progress Report and Updated Overview Presentation

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It’s been awhile since the last InsideGMT article concerning The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble, henceforth referred to as 7YW:FG.  This piece is an update of the game’s development progress as well as solicitation of InsideGMT readers of whether the game is on the right track in considering certain content.

The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble – A Newbie British Player’s Experience

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Game Developer (F. Schachter) Introduction: Most InsideGMT articles are submitted by game designers and developers; but this is authored by a play-tester who was so taken and enthused about the game that he took a multitude of photos during play and here shares his experiences of this upcoming exciting new GMT game (Thanks Jeffro!)

Although this article is illustrated, readers may find it helpful following the action by having a copy of The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble (7YW:FG) play test map available for reference.  There is also a host of material related to this forthcoming GMT publication within InsideGMT as well as the game’s P-500 site.  Hopefully, this encourages your interest in the game and placing an order for it.

The 7 Years War: Frederick’s Gamble: Remodeling a 19th Century Field Battle and Siege System for the 18th Century

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During a WBC Convention, Gene Billingsley of GMT, acted as a kind of matchmaker (to those of you familiar with “Fiddler on the Roof” feel free to hum that tune which starts “Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match…”). He arranged introducing renown Designer Mark McLaughlin of The Napoleonic Wars, Wellington, Kutuzov, as well as many other titles, and myself, his erstwhile Game Developer for said publications, to Greg Ticer, a budding Game Designer.

The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble – “The First World War”, 1756-1762 – Part 2

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Here’s a link to Part 1 of this article.

1758 7YW:FG Turn Two: Beginning 1758, the strategic initiative still lay with the Prussians and their superb hard marching professional infantry. With the victory at Rossbach, the appreciative for Prussian support British felt that continuing the fight in Hanover was now feasible. Imagine how a British Player would react to such aid from their Coalition Camp Partner in a game of 7YW:FG  since complete enemy capture of all four Hanover’s Keys at the end of a year will automatically end the game.   

Rossbach

The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble – “The First World War”, 1756-1762 – Part 1

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Readers interested in learning more detail about the play of 7YW:FG should read the our earlier article, The 7 Years War: Frederick’s Gamble – Playtest Report.

7YWFG Map

Designer Greg Ticer’s hand-drawn 7YW:FG playtest map.

Theaters of Operation and General Introductory Overview

The fighting depicted in The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble game (7YW: FG) can in historical terms be divided into distinct theaters of operation. The naval conflict, abstracted in the game, was chiefly between the British and the French, as were the conflicts in India, North America, the Caribbean and elsewhere which, when including the broader European stage, result in many deeming this conflict “The First World War”. 

Fredericks Gamble NA Theatre copyMINI-MAP NORTH AMERICA: On the North American frontier, the British suffered early defeats because their army was not effectively trained nor equipped for wilderness fighting. By 1758 these deficits had been remedied and the tide turned in favor of the British. During 1759, known to history as the “Anno Mirabilis” (Year of Miracles), the British launched a three-pronged offensive against the last French controlled territory and, by end of that year, achieved their aim of destroying France’s North American colonial presence.  In 7YW:FG  terms, that colonial theater of operations would be considered “Dominated” and the British enabled to annually transfer troops, e.g. strength points (SP’s), out of North America.

Summary Changes between 7YW:Frederick’s Gamble & The Napoleonic Wars

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For background, please reference the previous  After Action Report of a play test of this exciting game: which is built on the game system pioneered by Mark McLauglin’s The Napoleonic Wars and refined with his GMT Wellington and Kutuzov designs.

Whenever Greg, I, or one of our fine play-testers teach 7YW:FG to individuals, at a club meeting, or in a convention setting, we’ve found explaining the game to those already familiar with The Napoleonic Wars (TNW) system, cross-referencing their existing rules knowledge by explaining the differences, the deltas, between TNW and 7YW:FG a great way to speed their achieving appreciation of how to play 7YW:FG.  By doing this, we spend less time explaining the rules and more time actually having the fun of playing the game.

This article is based on the “Hand Out” we use to review with gamers the changes between TNW and 7YW:FG.  We hope it provides another level of appreciation of this fine Greg Ticer design offering.

The 7 Years War: Frederick’s Gamble – Playtest Report

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 I’m privileged to be Game Developer for The 7 years War: Frederick’s Gamble (henceforth referred to 7YW:FG).

This is a wonderful game based on the innovative and still ever popular card driven game engine from Designer Mark McLaughlin: The Napoleonic Wars.  If you’re familiar with TNW or its successor games, Wellington and/or Kutuzov; you’d have little difficulty getting into enjoying this debut Game Design effort by Greg Ticer.

The game’s title stems from Frederick the Great, King of Prussia’s 1756 land grab of the independent central European State of Saxony, right on his arch-rival Imperial Austria’s doorstep.  Frederick “gambled” he could get away with this annexation without triggering a general European War.  He failed, and when Austria was joined by its Ally France (Imperial Camp) and the Prussia had Ally Britain (Coalition Camp) with its mainland interests in Hanover/Hesse join the fray, that European War expanded into one of history’s first Global Conflicts.

To reflect the global nature of this conflagration, 7YW:FG has “mini-maps” off to the side of the main European theatre: one for North America and two areas of the Indian sub-continent.  These maps use a point-to-point map of “Duchies” similar to TNW.  An abstract “Naval Control Track” accommodates the war on the waters so players can concentrate on the exciting action ashore.

There are aspects of the game cards and rules which make this very much an Eighteenth Century rather than TNW Nineteenth Century gaming experience.  Future pieces within “InsideGMT” will provide more background and descriptions of what 7YW:FG has to offer. 

For now, with this article’s play test map before you along with your war gaming imagination, we hope you’ll enjoy this After Action Report of a 7 Years War: Frederick’s Gamble contest by the Metro Seattle Gamer guys play-test team, with yours truly supervising… somewhat akin to a line judge during a championship tennis match.  What makes this AAR unusual is the game starting as a two player contest, then, as more gents arrived at the club, growing to a 3 and then full 4 player version of the game.

Enjoy and feel free to pose questions interim to the next “InsideGMT” piece concerning this yet-to-be P-500 listed game. – Fred Schachter, Developer

7YWFG Map

Early Playtest Map for 7YW:FG     Note: For this and all images below, please click the image for better detail