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Subject: S&T 270 American Revolution Game REVIEW rss

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Terence Co
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OK, I have played a few American Revolutionary games(1776, We the People, give me liberty, Washington's war) that portray the whole war on a strategic level. Now I have to say that the S&T 270 American Revolution game is actually the best of the lot. Why do I make this bold claim well read below:

The basics: Point to Point movement game with the points being significant towns or cities. Each turn is one year. Each unit is regimental size . Two sides: The British & the American Revolutionaries. The map not only portrays Eastern Canada and the USA(as far as Fort Detroit and the Mississipi river and as far south as Florida and the Carrabean). Britain, Spain and France are portrayed in off map boxes. Strategem chits(randomly drawn from a pool) are used like cards to influence game play and are earned by buying them via political points, winning battles and conducting massacres in certain areas etc.. So the game is a chit assisted game.

The sequence of play each turn is as follows:

1. Initiative. Both players commit strategem chits(any and any number)and the player who commits the most gets to be the first player for the turn(in case of draws(both players commiting the same number of chits), both players rolls a dice and the highest roll wins. The commited chits are put back into the chit pool.

2. Political phase. the First player collects political points. These points are used to buy units or strategem chits. Political points are earned via occupation of certain areas with a political point number(many areas do not have political points to gain). Political points are also gained by extra die rolls garnered by: play of certain chits, the support of the French and Spanish and the Revolutionary progress level. Political points cannot be saved and carried over into the next turn. Then the next player collects points.

3. Mobilization phase. The first player starts by buying chits and units. The players can buy a wide gamut of units, from regular units, militias, partisans, fleets, strategem chits, Indians, etc. The second player does the same.

4. Rabble Rousing phase. Well this is a major part of the game. Both players commit Rabble rousing strategem chits to three rabble rousing tables namely the Colonial Loyalty, Revolutionary Progress and European Balance of Power Tables.

The Colonial Loyalty table has 7 colonies(New England, Virginia, Mid Atlantic(New York, Philidelphia etc.), Deep South(Richmind etc.), the west, Canada and Florida. Each colony is an major area which encompasses a collection of points in the game. The tables determine to which side is loyalty to what side and what level of their loyalty. the loyalty of a colony determines the cost of recruiting militia and partisans unit in the area. Also important in supply and foraging. Also figures importantly in the final victory conditions.

European Balance of Power table shows the support of various European power to one side or another. This table is important on determining the status of the French and Spanish support for the American Revolutionaries or their neutrality in the war.

Revolutionary progress table determines how advanced the American revoluion is. This can earn the American player more political points, the entry of George Washington in the game, and the cost of American continental units(they are significantly cheaper when the Continental army professionalizes level is reached)

Each player at the same time commits a number of rabble rousing chits to all or some of the 7 colonies, the Euro balance talbe or Revolutionary progress table. After all players have commited their chits. the chits are revealed with their number point values revealed. If both players have opposing chits in a table or one of the 7 colonies. both players roll a dice, the highest value added to the die roll wins. If a side wins, the table moves towards the level advantageous to the winning side.

5. Campaign Phase. There are three campaign phases. Each phase the followinng happpens:

First Campaign phase. The first player moves his units. each group of units moved has a movement point rating of a roll of a dice with a leadership rating added to it(if a leader is present with the stack). Each point is connected by trails, roads or sea lanes. and trails usually consume 2 movement points(except if stacks consits entirely of light units, leaders or Indians) and roads and sea lanes(only traversed by fleets or units carried by fleets) cost only 1 MP. Units stop moving when entering areas containing enemy units.

The First player then conducts combat if there are any enemy combat units in an area with friendly units. Both players commit a number of tactics strategem chits up to the leadership rating of a friendly leader. If there are no leaders no tac chits can be commited. Then both players roll a dice whose result is the number of tactical chits commited added to it to determine the final result. the highest final result is the first player to fire. The player with the firing initiative fires first and rolls a dice for each friendly combat factor involved in the battle, a player can commit tactical chits and increase the number of dice rolled for each tac chit commited. For each roll of 5, a unit is disrupted, a roll of 6 means a unit is destroyed. After the first player fires, any surviving units of the second player then fires using the same procedure.

Any player instead of firing can chooose to retreat.

the battle goes on until one side or another either retreats or is completely destroyed.

At the end of the battle each sides gets a number of Strategem chits equal to the number of units eliminated int he battle.

After the first player completes his first campaign phase, the second player completes hi.

In the second and third campaign phases. Units can only move via forced march but combat is still the same as the first. Units moved via forced march risk being elimiated through attrition(roll of 6 for each unit means it is elimianted via attrition).

6. Supply Phase.

In the forage subphase, each unit in a point then forages. Each point can support a number of units depending on its political value(double if the area is friendly to the occupying units). Partisans reduce the foraging value of a point to zero for enemy units. If a unit is out of supply, a die roll is rolled, a 1-3, it is eliminted, 4-6, it survives.

In the enlistment subphase. For each eligible units(militia of both sides, US continental regualars and light units and Indians) a die is rolled, a roll of 1-4, the unit goes home and is eliminated. 5-6 means the unit remains and survives.

Point marker adjustment phase: both players zero out their remaining political points, Both players return half of the campaign markers in their respective hands.

7. End of the Turn phase, each player does a victory check:

A Sudden Death victory happens when the military victory and a political victory tenets are achieved.

A military victory is achieved if friendly units occupy a number of points with a total political value of 36 or more.

A US political victory occurs when the US player attained the articles of confederation level on the Revolutionary progress table and a loyalty level of 2 in any four of the 7 colonial regions.

A British political victory occurs when the Revolutuionary level is 2 or less level and a loyalty level of 2 in any four of the 7 colonial regions.

If neither player achieves a sudden death victory at the end phase of the last turn, a player can claim a partial victory if one side gets a military victory or a political victory and the other side has not.

If neither player achieve a military or political victory or both has achieved one or the other. then a draw happens.

Now why do I make this lofty claim that this game is the best American Revolutionary game out there. Well the game whle meaty plays well and the rules is straightforward and can easilly be learned and played. the rules are easilly understood but there are some errata.

The heart of the game is its political system which portrays the political situation and advantages in a easy but innovative way. This is represented by the earning of political points and the earning and use of strategem chits. The more political points means not only more units can be recruited but also more strategem chits can be bought. The strategem chits influence various points in the game, most importantly the progress of the revolution and the loyalty of colonial areas. and the entry of Euro powers or their neutrality.

In my plays of the game, I found that the players are in a quandry whether to devote their efforts in gaining the military advantage(buying units) or gaining the political advantage(strategem chits).

The forage and enlistment rules are simple and effective in portraying the realities on the ground of the time. Units foraged locally to get supplies and militia units are mainly weekend warriors who fought when called for battle but had to go back home to their jobs and farms.

Both players have an interesting position in the game. The British have an intial military advantage with more regular units however strong British units are mostly in England and have to be shipped to the Americas with sea movement. The Americans start with 6 strategem chits and a superior political position however the British get more Political points at the start of the game but the British have to buy units and chits at double their value in turn one.

I think the game is balanced. While the Americans have the advantage, the British have to play defensively at the start of the game and gain a political advantage by buying strategem chits and hopefully getting enough rabble chits to influence the various tables and neuter the Amnericans politically while weathering US military actions. The British player does not want the French and Spanish military units and aid entering the fray, this could be critical in American victory. The loyalty of the colonies is also important more for the US player as it can be expensive to buy militia units if the loyalty of a colony is for the enemy.

Anyways, the game is very enjoyable, meaty but easy to play and straightforward while portraying the war in a very interesting way but intuitive way. The game shows the political and military side of the war well.
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Bill Lawson
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I liked this game a lot. Thanks Terence! Nice write up.

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Bob
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Thanks for the review Terrence. thumbsup

I've just added this to my Wargame Secret Santa wishlist...
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Bill Lawson
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Ashitaka wrote:
Thanks for the review Terrence. thumbsup

I've just added this to my Wargame Secret Santa wishlist...


Hope you get it Bob!
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Lewis Goldberg
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I'm trying to get a little more clarity on the errata. There's more than what was in the file you (Terrence) posted in another thread. Not your fault, as it was presented as the "official errata".

The doc I'm putting together has a "sticky errata" for the map error, as well as a bunch of Q&A. I'm just waiting on Joe to answer a couple more questions, and then I'll post it in the Files section.
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Terence Co
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Yeah, its the official errata but not complete.

However the game played smoothly even with the errata I posted.

Great game, I would like to add that this game is the only strategic American Revoluationary war game which portrays the fighting in the Carrabean.

Historically the American Revolutionary war was not only fought in North America but North America was only one of the theatres in a wider war which was fought between Britain, France, Spain and the Dutch which again was the wider long standing bitter rivalry between Britain and France recently coming from the British victory in the 7 years war and its emergence as a major power.

Large naval actions were fought in the west indies, gibraltar, India, Sumatra with land actions between Britain, France, the Dutch and Mysore in India, Sri Lanka and Sumatra.

Looking at the American Revolutionary war in the wider worldwide strategic context. It was actually a fight between Great Britain and France. While the American Revolutionaries and France won in the 13 colonies. France and its allies lost almost everywhere else. The French economy collapsed due to the huge debts it incurred in financing the American revolutionaries and its conflicts with Britain and this resulted in the French Revolution. So in the wider context, while Britain lost the 13 colonies, it not only gained valuable territory and trade routes abroad but collapsed the government of its main enemy, the French.

I myself have not seen a game on the entire worldwide war but Miranda's American Revolutionary wargame actually shows the conflict in the West Indies(which was important as it sat astride the trade and supply routes to North America from Europe) and the political dimension of the war.

Washington's war shows this in an abstract way with card play. Washington's war focuses land actions in the 13 colonies but leaves Florida and the West and the West Indies and Canada out of the loop.
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Wendell
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Gangrel wrote:

I myself have not seen a game on the entire worldwide war but Miranda's American Revolutionary wargame actually shows the conflict in the West Indies(which was important as it sat astride the trade and supply routes to North America from Europe) and the political dimension of the war.


I have this game, haven't played yet but this point is one of the things that appeals to me - the West Indies was a crucial theater in the wars that centered on the American Revolution.
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Terence Co
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Yes in historically and in the game, control of the west Indies is also important as not only do the West Indies colonies have high political values but also the west indies sits astride the supply lines to North America.

This is where the Spanish and French come in. French entry will see French naval and land actions to take the Briish colonies in the West Indies. Seeing as strong British regular units need to be shipped from England. Control of the West Indies is important.
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Steve Herron
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Thanks for the review I had We the People and didn't get Washington's War because it was on the low end in the solitaire rating. It seems this game would be better suited for solitaire play seeing it was for 1 to 3 players.
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Marco Arnaudo
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Gangrel wrote:

Great game, I would like to add that this game is the only strategic American Revoluationary war game which portrays the fighting in the Carrabean.



uhm, actually Liberty: The American Revolution 1775-83 includes the West Indies too...

Anyway, great review! Now I have to get this game!
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Terence Co
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Never played Liberty but from what I can see on the Liberty map, the West Indies is abstracted.

In American Revolution, you actually fight there as part of the map and can sieze ports.

Also the West is on the map in the Miranda game as far as the Mississipi river and Fort Detroit.
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Marco Arnaudo
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Gangrel wrote:
Never played Liberty but from what I can see on the Liberty map, the West Indies is abstracted.

In American Revolution, you actually fight there as part of the map and can sieze ports.


Same in Liberty: you can sea attack normally in the West Indies and occupy ports too. So in that regard the Indies are no more abstracted than any other area where combat may take place.
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mark van roekel
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I created cards to replace the chits, speeds play and makes keeping track of the 14+ chits drawn every turn much easier to recall while keeping hidden from your opponent. Each card includes the event name and a brief abstract of the rule governing the event. You can find them in the Files section here on BGG.
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David Dockter
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Wow, sounds like a good game: a ARW with politics. Been waiting for this since 1776...a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng wait. zombie
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Terence Co
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Yeah this is a great game....love the politics too very historical in an easy to play package.
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Judd Vance
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Great review. I just got this game last weekend.

In your opinion, how is the solitaire suitability? It sounds like it could be hard if I read it right, where players secretly commit chits and then reveal.

If it has a low solitaire capability, I'll wait for a VASSAL mod before playing (I can't get F2F play for this in town), but if it has solitaire capability, I'll be reading rules much sooner.

Thanks!
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Bill Lawson
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I played it solo. I enjoyed it.
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Terence Co
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Well you could solitaire it but you would have to think in two minds. Its optimized for two players, because of the strategem chits.
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Tom Swider
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Chits vs Cards
I would use chits and scrabble racks instead of cards.
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Barry Miller
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Gangrel wrote:
Never played Liberty...

I just discovered this game (don't own it (yet)). I have played "Washington's War" and "Liberty" - each for their different scopes of the Revolution & AWI. I enjoy both very much.

So I'm wondering, since this discussion back in 2011, if you've had an opportunity to play "Liberty" and what your comparative thoughts might be?

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Judd Vance
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bgm1961 wrote:

Gangrel wrote:
Never played Liberty...

I just discovered this game (don't own it (yet)). I have played "Washington's War" and "Liberty" - each for their different scopes of the Revolution & AWI. I enjoy both very much.

So I'm wondering, since this discussion back in 2011, if you've had an opportunity to play "Liberty" and what your comparative thoughts might be?



I have played Liberty and it's just o.k. It's the old problem of trying to fit the Hammer of the Scots model on to everything in an 8 page rulebook. It's pretty fun but it misses the mark in so many ways. I read the rules on this one and have it set up. I am guessing that I will like this one much better, because it focuses more on the balance of political and military and has a lot of chrome cooked in.
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Barry Miller
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airjudden wrote:
It's pretty fun but it misses the mark in so many ways. I read the rules on this one and have it set up. ... because it focuses more on the balance of political and military and has a lot of chrome cooked in.

I like Liberty for what it is... it's a wargame about the American War for Independence. It's not about the Revolution. (I point out that distinction because in my mind, the Revolution was so much bigger, and so much more than the military campaign). You're right that it's fun, but it's a fun wargame. The political and social aspects of the Revolution, on the other hand, are abstracted in a very slight way (via control of towns that aren't occupied).

So is the fact that Liberty focuses almost 100% on the war, and not so much on the Revolution - is that what you mean by, "misses the mark"?

Now contrast to Washington's War, which I think is more about the Revolution than it is about he AWI. I'd say that Washington's War is 70% Revolution & 30% AWI, while Liberty is 10% Revolution (maybe less) and 90% AWI, if this makes sense.

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Adding another one to my "Want To Play" list.
 
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Judd Vance
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bgm1961 wrote:

So is the fact that Liberty focuses almost 100% on the war, and not so much on the Revolution - is that what you mean by, "misses the mark"?


Liberty is a game of whac-a-mole. The British need to control so many victory point cities and lack the forces to cover them all. They take one, and the Americans take a different one.

The idea that the cities were worth victory points is where it misses the mark. Philadelphia was a big 0 in worth. It was the largest city, but the Brits learned taking the capital did nothing and they abandoned it. The had Boston and abandoned it. They took Charlestown, Savannah, etc, nothing. Fighting for military objectives is a poor victory condition.
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Barry Miller
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airjudden wrote:
The idea that the cities were worth victory points is where it misses the mark. Philadelphia was a big 0 in worth. It was the largest city, but the Brits learned taking the capital did nothing and they abandoned it. The had Boston and abandoned it. They took Charlestown, Savannah, etc, nothing. Fighting for military objectives is a poor victory condition.

Good point. Can't argue with that. So your case is that Liberty misses the mark because it is strictly a wargame, whereas a game that truly captures the context of the AWI needs to be more than that.

 
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