Jay Sheely
United States
Hayward
California
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I received this last Christmas as a present and finally got the chance to play it this week. My brother (a non gamer, non wargamer) played the American side and I played the British for both of our games. Americans squeaked out a narrow victory in Game 1 and the British won with a landslide in Game 2.

First impression: the game slightly favors the British.

What kind of game is this?:

This is a low complexity strategy/wargame game. There are small elements of bluff and larger elements of maneuver. None of the mechanics are new but it still felt fresh.

Rules:

Easy to learn and remember. I perused the rules for about 15 minutes and we were off! I think there were only two exceptions to the rules - which is nice. One on the game end condition and one about Native Americans and their command decision options.

As we played, a couple of things were unclear (or we couldn't find them).

1) Can the defender play a card during a battle? The rules didn't say either way so we didn't let the defenders play cards. Having a couple cards designated 'defender only' might be fun.

2) If you march an army through two enemy zones, do you take control of both? What if you leave, is it still yours or does one unit need to stay? (Well - we did find that one after the games. My fault as it was clearly under the Objectives heading)

For the most part, the rules are clear, well written and simple.

Gameplay:

Players simply draw a colored activation cube from a bag and that Force/Player will then 1) add reinforcements and units that fled on the previous turn, 2) play one movement card (Any time opposing units find themselves in the same zone, there's a battle), 3) then draw back up to three cards. Simple and quick.

One of the things I really like is how stripped down and easy battles are. No Combat Results Tables, no attack/defense/terrain modifiers, and no complicated procedures. Battles were resolved quickly and kept the game moving forward fairly rapidly.

We also liked the game-end condition. Once one side plays all of it's 'Truce' cards, then the game ends at the end of that turn (as long as its not the 1st or 2nd turn). My brother was forced to play his final Truce card when he no other movement cards and lost the game! (I was going to end the game with Truce cards that turn anyway but he didn't know that)

Strategy:

Is this a simple game with deep gameplay and strategic options?

Overall I want to know if this game will be compelling after 20 or 30 plays. I have a hunch it'll fade a bit and be a pleasant little game rather than a heavy hitter.

We liked the constant threat of an amphibious invasion on the lakes. Otherwise the situation would devolve into piles of units at the choke points. Is he going to launch those dudes down Lake Champlain and take Ft Ticonderoga or move on land? The existence of those threats is one of the major factors that makes this game interesting.

Presentation:

Box and card art are very nice. The cards have that nice, linen feel. I wish they were a shade bigger. My board is slightly warped but is lovely to look at. I would have preferred more organic looking zone boundaries rather than straight lines. The map is odd to ponder at first but soon melts into usefulness.

The only quibble I have is that the units are wooden cubes. They work perfectly well and plastic units would up the price but maybe wooden blocks with stickers?

Overall:

Fun, simple and quick. Which means it will probably get played often. A complete newcomer to boardgames could learn this in 5 - 10 minutes.

Good looking, well made game that moves forward rapidly. Not sure if it will still produce interesting games after several plays. My brother enjoyed himself and I'm glad I have the game!

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Moe45673
Canada
Toronto
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Nice review.

Only time cards are played is on step two of whatever faction's turn it is, so defender can never play cards.

Please revisit this and post updates after a few plays!

Native Americans also are allowed to muster one cube in any territory that green cubes already are, plus they have some wacky special cards too!

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Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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Man or Astroman wrote:
The only quibble I have is that the units are wooden cubes. They work perfectly well and plastic units would up the price but maybe wooden blocks with stickers?

If you want a block game on the subject, I highly recommend War of 1812. It adds good but simple naval rules for a deeper 1812 experience.

However, I generally agree with your overall assessment of this game. It's a light 2-sided game with rules for up to 5 players, and a big step up from Risk!
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Steve Duke
United States
Georgetown
Texas
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As stated, play it with 5 people if you can.

It is a load of fun that way.
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Ernest S
United States
Renton
Washington
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Great review. I like the format and I concur with your assessment.whistle

I've played this game with one (I play both sides), three, four and five players and have enjoyed it quite a lot with each grouping. It is a quick, simple, sometimes frustrating (those militia run away far too quickly when the shooting starts cry) and always fun game.


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Kevin Duke
United States
Wynne
Arkansas
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After about 20+ plays, with everything from old friends to complete strangers, it's still proving interesting and fun.
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Mike Schmidt
United States
West Greenwich
Rhode Island
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Love the game and the review was fine also. The only problem I found is the blue and green cubes. I have a hard time telling them apart so I need to lighten the green cubes to match the dice.

My son says it's fine but his smirk shows he loves it when I don't end up using my green die (Indians) in battles where the blue cubes (American regulars) are. He says that's fair. I don't agree.

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uwe eickert
United States
Fremont
Ohio
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I am adding a new rule to the game then.
Every time your son does not make you aware of the Native troops, he gets docked 1 weeks allowance.
Simple and hopefully effective rule. LOL.
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James C
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Fabulous game. Played it 10x since Christmas. 2, 3, 4, and 5 player. Works well with any amount.

The key to the games enjoyability IMHO:

1/ quick set up time (assisted by board markings which show where the original units are placed - something I frowned upon originally, but have come to love)

2/ the fun starts immediately. The set up and layout are such that significant battles can be fought in the very first turn. There's no lag as sides stockpile forces for later in the game.

3/ the turns move very quickly. Place reinforcements, move, resolve battles. There's no "clean up" period at the end of a round where forces are redeployed or moved around, income is collected, or what have you. After the battles are resolved, the next player goes. In other words, the game is long on the "fun stuff" of a wargame, and short on the "work." (Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the "work" of placing orders for the exact number of offensive and defensive units I think I'll need, fortifying positions after battle, etc - but all this simply supports the central aspect of any wargame: the battles. 1812 is pretty much all battles all the time. Sure planning, placement, and mustering units are critical components of the game, but the spotlight is clearly fixed upon the battles - and not these supporting actors.)

4/ the game ends! I'm used to (and fond of) interminable wargames. But at 8 turns, 1812's end comes up before you expect it to. As a result, you don't have forever to achieve your objective. You have to move fairly quickly. The issue here isn't about time so much (my games have lasted from 1-3 hours), but about simply the limited number of turns one has to achieve victory. Add to that the chance that your opponent may declare a truce as early as turn 3 (ending the game), and the pressure is really on!
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