While the armies of Louis XIV in 1674 were pressing their advantage in the Netherlands, the Imperial effort was now aided by the Elector of Brandenburg and a number of minor princes such that a second front to threaten France became a real option. This offensive would be directed at the Alsace and Louis XIV placed Maréchal Turenne with the responsibility to defend the eastern frontier along the Rhine.
At the start of the campaign, Turenne has 12,000 men under his command with Zabern (Saverne) serving as his magazine. Across the Rhine, the Duke of Lorraine and Marshal Caprara have 10,000 men near Heidelberg and were awaiting the arrival of reinforcements from Franconia. While waiting they would also gather their supplies and establish magazines to serve the combined armies.
Playing the game
The campaign begins in January 1674 with both players attempting to gain “activity points”; this represents the allotted funding from each government’s treasury. This process continues each month until the game ends with the winter of 1675.
Armies will move no earlier than May 1674 and the reinforcements from Franconia should arrive during the summer.
Turenne begins in the province with Zabern as his magazine. Although he has orders from the war ministry not to cross the Rhine his chance of success lay with the two Imperial forces not meeting one another. As the French player you can reorganise your command to create detachments, make use of a pontoon train and use any means to impede the joining of the two armies.
Duke Lorraine and Marshal Caprara start in the Palatine province and must wait for the reinforcements under the command of General Bournonville. The 25 to 30,000 troops have enough provisions to reach the Rhine. Therefore, your primary task is to defend the right bank of the Rhine and establish magazines in the provinces to hold the fall harvest. Strasbourg has the only bridge crossing the Rhine and as a Free City and neutral party to the events will eventually join the Imperial side. The arrival of reinforcements and the Strasbourg declaration are card activated.
This rough outline will serve both players begin the game and as the campaign progresses this will no doubt experience changes along its way. Each of the Imperial commands should be handled as “allied” so their commands will remain independent of one another. All stratagems may be used.
Historically, Bournonville arrived in late summer and in September crossed the Rhine with 40,000 men. He was also expecting a further 20,000 men under the command of the Elector of Brandenburg.