December 1740: Young King Frederick II leads the army of upstart Prussia in a surprise invasion of Austrian Silesia. He hopes for an easy conquest of the rich province at a time when the Austrian Empire appears vulnerable following the death of Charles VI, King of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor. But despite internal opposition to the ‘Pragmatic Sanction’ that allowed a woman to inherit the throne, Austria’s new Queen, Maria Theresa, is cowed neither by Frederick, nor by France’s scheme to place a Bavarian puppet candidate on the throne of the Holy Roman Empire, nor by Spanish designs on Austria’s holdings in Italy. Amid these conflicting dynastic ambitions, Frederick’s local territorial coup proves to be only the opening act in a major European war that none of the great powers had anticipated - but all wished to profit from. It would ultimately span eight years and half the globe.
Clash of Sovereigns (COS), GMT’s 2-4 player card-driven game of the War of the Austrian Succession, has been 9 years in the making. It is a free-wheeling, faster-playing, stream-lined “nephew” of the widely-regarded Clash of Monarchs (COM).
- A 12-hour campaign game and three shorter scenarios covering 2-3 years apiece that can be played to completion in as little as three hours!
- The French, Prussians/Spanish (“Pr/Span”), Austrians, and British/ Piedmontese (“Br/Pied”) each have their own separate card decks divided into Early, Middle, and Late war periods
- Half a dozen minor powers add their own blood and diplomatic wrinkles to the tableau – and can sometimes reshape it utterly by switching sides.
- Leaders are rated for Initiative, Offense and Defense modifiers, and Action Points.
- Distinctive national tactics and troop quality factors are ‘captured’ by Army Battle Ratings (which evolve over time) and event and Battle Tactics cards.
- A simple, but significant, naval sub-game simulates naval operations in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, including the annual Bourbon Treasure Fleet’s risky voyage home.
- Colonial conflicts in Canada and India are simulated by event cards.
- Design-for-Effect economic factors are “baked into” the event and reinforcement cards and can therefore be resolved in only a small fraction of the time required by COM’s more complex economic model.