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Posted on Mar 21, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Prussia’s Glory – Game Review (PC)

By Jim Cobb

Moving the center of the Prussian army presents the conundrum of 18th-century warfare. Moving troops quickly to contact disrupts the all-important line with the accompanying loss in effectiveness and ability to withstand attack. Rushing disorganized, exhausted men into the enemy line is a recipe for disaster. Conversely, a slower but more orderly approach means the men will be under fire longer, the enemy will be able to shift to better positions and, in the case of the game, runs a danger of missing the deadline. A formula answer does not exist. In this instance, the troops will move up in good order, giving the Prussian artillery time to soften up the enemy.

This move is made easier when Frederick activates immediately after Driesen. All units in the Prussian center can move forward without concern for corps or brigade activation. Troops move forward with little residual disruption. Most of the other corps and brigade commanders activate. The radius report function shows how far their command reaches so they move up to their troops.


Toward the end of the Prussian activations, Austrian leaders begin to activate. Over a dozen enemy leaders activate in turn one. Most send their troops south in column, suffering some disruption. One cavalry commander moves his troops in front of the perimeter, masking friendly infantry line of sight. A cleverer commander extends an infantry line south to enfilade some Prussians.

The situation report after turn on shows the Austrian numerical superiority, the better Prussian withdrawal level and the victory levels.

Turn two begins with Austrian bombardment. Three batteries concentrate on a Prussian battery while another targets an infantry regiment; total losses are only one gun and seventeen men, these losses being shown in the scrolling report panel immediately below the map. Prussian corps and brigade commanders come up for activation but are deferred until Frederick can be activated to unlimber the artillery. Exceptions to this are cavalry corps commanders Ziethen and Driesen, both out of Frederick’s command radius. Ziethen is close to the Austrian unit that moved to the south and orders his corps to the attack. Austrian infantry first fire causes two regiments to rout. Frederick fails activation but his commanders come through, unlimber the artillery and move troops up. Formation changes like unlimbering artillery or going from column to line is a four-step process: select a unit, right click to bring up the command menu, select the formation change, and then click on a shaded hex to face the unit.

Three Austrian batteries fire on a single Prussian one. Changing formation is done via a menu.

Austrian movements seem to be aimed at the north with one cavalry brigade positioning itself for a flanking movement.

Turn three sees an effective Prussian bombardment followed by an ineffective Austrian one. Wedel in the center moves up and rallies wavering troops as does the newly-awakened Frederick, who rallies Ziethen’s two routed units. Ziethen continues the assault on the southern flank but only after using the "Disengage" option to pull a badly disrupted unit off the line. No unit on either side routs despite charges and automatic counter charges. The Prussian right begins to lap around the Austrian’ position. Infantry comes up to support.

A color-coded arc shows a battery’s range and effectiveness. Austrian infantry rebuffs a cavalry charge with musketry. The small yellow crossed swords indicate targets.

Many Austrians activate and some inflict casualties with second fire. An Austrian cavalry charge in the south routs another one of Ziethen’s units. As units rout, commanders’ ratings drop so Ziethen might be in rating trouble.

By turn four, the course of the battle seems clear. The Austrians clearly plan to hold the objective hexes while the Prussians must quickly rout their enemies in the south. Victory is a function of morale and objective points. The Prussians must use their lower withdrawal level to cause Austrian positions to fall. Given apparent Austrian aggressiveness, this battle will take all seventeen bloody turns to decide.

Toujours l’audace!

Prussia’s Glory game play need never be repetitive. The initiative, activation, disruption, and morale rolls insure a scenario will never be the same twice. A real challenge is playing as Austrian or Russian commanders. LAN, PBEM and TCP/IP open up the world of head-to-head play. A powerful, full-feature scenario builder allows creation of any scenario players can imagine. Hopefully, somebody will create the one great battle the series has missed, Rossbach.

An occasional frightening bug exists. During the AI turn, unit figures disappear even though their movement can be heard. Players should use the "Quick Save" function liberally. Another irritating design flaw is that deferred commanders don’t receive the usual "Activate?" message if their turn comes up later. Players must instead click on any commander with a blue hex. Flickers in the action panel during phase interstices are annoying but not game stoppers.

Some reviewers and players may disparage Prussia’s Glory’s graphics or interface. Frankly, these people just don’t understand the point. This system, when patched, remains the only one that accurately portrays the pace and factors of 18th-century European warfare. The emphasis on disruption, morale, and command is not only correct but is handled beautifully for the serious gamer. We can only hope that the basic system is expanded to other eras. Such a gem is too valuable to let lie.

Armchair General’s Rating: 84%

55/60 — Gameplay
14/20 — Graphics
05/10 — Sound
10/10 — Documentation and Technical

Prussia’s Glory at Shrapnel Games

Discuss Prussia’s Glory on the Armchair General forums.

Author Information

Jim Cobb has a PhD in History, having studied at the Universities of Missouri, Wisconsin and Marburg, Germany. He is a member of the adjunct faculty at Cardinal Stritch University Madison, WI. Jim has been playing wargames seriously since 1968 and has been writing about them incessantly since 1993.

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1 Comment

  1. What is this the one about the Prussian army is this old or fairly new?