$30.00
Recommend
60 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Revolutionary Masterwork rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: Pyuredeadbrilliant [+] [View All]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
flag msg tools
Revolution: The Dutch Revolt was designed by the master, Francis Tresham and was published by Phalanx games in 2004. The game plays in around four hours.

What You Get

The box art is drop-dead gorgeous. A true work of art. And the inside is even better. The board is breathtaking: beautiful coloration, scripts, and shading. Even the holding boxes blend in beautifully. There is considerable discussion as to the readability of the map, and there is a point to this as the font can be difficult, but it looks so good, I’m willing to fight a bit to make out all the text. The cards are also beautiful and very high quality. The portraits on the counters are magnificent. Perhaps one of the best presentations for a game ever.

What You Do

This is a very intense game: a single mistake can haunt you and even cause your loss three hours later. And, with no dice, you only have yourself to blame (or maybe the lying neighbors in whom you placed your trust!)

The goal of Revolution is to gain control of as much as the Netherlands as possible as the fledgling nation struggles to gain its identity and independence. You represent one of five factions: the Catholics who want to maintain control of the Bishoprics, the Reformers who want to control the Universities, the Nobility trying to sway the hearts and minds of the people, the Burghers who want to master the trade centers, and the Hapsburgs who want to assert their strength in arms. And everyone wants control of the cities.

Play order is determined in an interesting way: in descending order of score, you get to choose where you will play, either before or after any player already placed: this player order can have very important influence on what you can do and to whom! The game turns, of which there are but five, cover twenty phases. From sending and receiving units to the holding boxes to allow them to access the board, forming, moving and using armies to siege or convert the populace to your cause, to hiring the Water Beggars to block army mobility and harass the besiegers. You have to tax your possessions, and adroitly manage your finances but also available board tokens: in an ingenious move, the tokens may be flipped over to form a treasury: you cannot have both at the same time.

Each region can only support so many units: excess must be reduced through competition: those with the least units lose tokens first in this deterministic battling. Absolute majority in regions will allow claiming regions or cities, essential to win, but also to get income.

After five turns, the scores are determined, and the new master of Holland is declared, as everyone sighs a breath of relief and massages their pounding temples.

What I Think

This is a masterwork. The author, Francis Tresham, is nothing short of amazing. Not only the author of the incomparable Civilization, a summit to which all other Civ games are compared, but he also designed 1829 and 1830, which started the 18xx phenomenon. Even his lesser known games, like Spanish Main, display flashes of brilliance with simple designs with a myriad of possibilities.

Revolution is not a wargame, but it has intense warfare elements. It is not an economic game, but you have to carefully manage your economy. It is not a Eurogame, as it's relentless, punishing atmosphere will crush the weak. The five antagonists all have different, but interrelated, victory conditions. It plays well with differing numbers of players. It is a brain-burning four solid hours of decision-making agony: you don’t notice the time, and emerge refreshed and exhausted at the same time. Marvelous.

There has been a lot written about the obscurity of the rules, even with cries how the overflow rules were broken and the game was unplayable. Utter rot. The rules have some odd touches, but if one only reads them carefully and realizes the intent, the game flows so naturally there is never a question raised to disturb the brainpower grinding away at options.

It is not for everyone, as Phalanx discovered. Originally when I chatted with the developer in 2003, he indicated the plan for 500 copies in a limited edition. Oh, had he held to this premise: instead, they produced 5000 copies. There wa no way five thousand copies would be embraced by the ‘games under ninety minute’ crowd that gaming is evolving towards, and so hundreds of the games lie unclaimed and gathering dust on back shelves of dimly lit shops or in bargain bins around the capitals of Europe.

This is a battle of wits that demands an entire evening. Chit chat there is little time for. There are no cute ‘help the trailer’ rules to keep the score close. You cannot blame the deck or a bad roll for a defeat. It all lies before you, barefaced and naked, and what you do with it will determine both your fate and the future of a nation. So many disparate factions and eighty years of history distilled enticingly into five short turns. Now that I write this, it seems like something only Tresham could have managed.

This is one of the best games of all time for those gamers that can appreciate its vintage. For the others, alas, I feel only sorrow.
53 
 Thumb up
3.75
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
flag msg tools
VENI, VIDI, VISA - my good wife conquering a Shopping Mall.
badge
Like a good red wine, I improve with age... and being laid.
mbmbmbmbmb
Pyuredeadbrilliant

Jim...... mb
Est. 1949

10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Robson
Scotland
Edinburgh
Midlothian
flag msg tools
designer
Available from www.spielmaterial.de
badge
Got a light, mate?
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent review Michael.

mi_de wrote:
There has been a lot written about the obscurity of the rules, even with cries how the overflow rules were broken and the game was unplayable. Utter rot.

Well said. The flow of the game is very smooth once you get a grip of the "why" of the rules.

mi_de wrote:
This is a battle of wits that demands an entire evening.

It takes us a wee bit longer than "an entire evening"!!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jorik
Netherlands
Utrecht
Utrecht
flag msg tools
How sticky is your ZOC?
mbmbmbmbmb
We have started a tradition to play this every "koninginnen-dag" a few years ago and it hasn't disappointed me yet.
I lost the second game because I placed one unit to much in flanders and not in Brugge costing me the scoring of that city, and the game in the last turn
I was Habsburg and the catholics won by just 0,5 points because he claimed brugge angry so a bad decision on my part and the fact that he came after me turnwise cost me the game.

But a game that you lose by a small margin is way more memorable than a cakewalk to victory
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon H
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This is probably the most overlooked and under-rated (on BGG) game I have played. It really is up there with the best. boardgames. ever.

True, a new player will have no clue what is going on for most of 'Turn 0' or even 'Turn 1' of the first game - but after that, you will never look back!
5 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gert Beffers
Netherlands
Utrecht
flag msg tools
mb
Nice review Michael. Yes, this is a really strong, beautiful and underrated game. Apart from Revolution I don't know any other game that has a touch of teasing unpredictability without the use of luck. There are no gamy or unnecessary rules, they all make sense. The theme is thoroughly interwoven in the smooth, subtile engine thus making theme and engine fit completely. In Treshams best tradition Revolution is a true, benchmarking masterpiece and hopefully also a revolutionary one like 1829/30 and Civilization.

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.