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1812: The Invasion of Canada» Forums » Reviews

Subject: 5 plays of the 5 player game at BGG Con 2011 rss

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Steve Duke
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I taught this game and played in 5 games with 5 different groups of folks this past weekend at BGG Con.
This is a quick review and a compilation of comments from all of the players of these games.

Bottom line, we all loved this game!
I literally grabbed people who were standing around looking like they were trying to find a game and brought them over to the table. In about 10 minutes, I explained the rules and we were off to play.

No game lasted more than an hour or just a hair over even with 5 players. It seemed fast and it was!

There is enough depth and uncertainty to keep you coming back to this game as the fact that I played in 5 games testifies to. I would describe it as a wargame Euro. Here are some highlights:

How to Win: Own/control more Victory Point areas than the other side when your side's last Truce card is played and the current round ends.

Components: Mounted map that took a bit of getting used to at first due to the coloring and orientation. It grows on you, though and was very functional.

Small wooden cubes to represent the army units. Functional and colorful.

Dice for each side. The dice have a possibility of 3 results on them: a hit to your opponent, a flee result for one of your units, and a command decision where you can either stay where you are (and fight another round) or move to an adjacent friendly area. The Native American Player can go to an adjacent enemy area which can add some excitement. The Brits and US Regulars have 2 dice each, everyone else has 3 with different hit/flee/command decision results for each.

Cards. Each nationality (US Regular, US Militia, British, Canadian Militia, and Native American) gets a total of 12 cards for the game. Cards are either movement cards or special cards that give some advantage in battle, for example. Your hand has 3 cards, one of which has to be a movement card or you reshuffle and draw again. Once you play a card, it is out of the game. So 12 total cards, you get the idea how quickly the game can play.
You must play one movement card and can play up to 2 special cards a turn.

Truce cards. The game ends at the end of the turn in which one side or the other's truce cards have been played. Truce cards double as movement cards so they may be played at a less than opportune time because that is the only card the player can play. (Since a truce card IS a movement card, if that is the only movement card in your hand, you have to play it.) Timing of the playing of the truce cards causes a lot of excitement at the table.

A turn looks like this. A marker for each player is put into a bag and drawn out one at a time. One block is drawn, and that player conducts his turn. His turn sequence is to muster by bringing in allotted new blocks at his muster area(s). Then he must play a movement card and move up to the allotted number of armies from the movement card (all the friendly blocks in one area are considered an 'army'). He conducts any battles where his units he has moved or activated occupy an area with enemy units. He can also play any special cards that may bring in reinforcements or help with a battle).

Lastly, he refills his hand to 3 cards. Your turn is over and the next colored block is drawn out of the bag.

Any ally can move forces in an area that contain the color armies of their side along with any other friendly units in that area. So if I draw my color on round 1, I can activate any location that has at least one of my color cubes in it, and I can bring along any or all of my allies with me. Later in that round, one of my allies could move that same army again. So it appears important for both sides to keep a mix of forces together and it makes for interest when it is time to take casualties. "why do you want me to take off one of MY blocks, why don't you take off one of yours?"

You fire first if you are fighting in your own home country no matter who actually owns it at the current time. Battles can be deadly or laughably not deadly.

The game plays quickly and smoothly and does a good job showing the attritional nature of the conflict. Between the random round order each turn, the cards, and how the dice can roll, you never really know what the outcome of the battle will be.

Summary.


Academy has a winner with 1812. As mostly a wargamer, it had enough substance to keep me interested. The cooperation aspect with your partner(s) is also fun and we tried to limit table talk to avoid too much 'help' to each other, simulating the friction of the period. There is enough randomness to things that none of our 5 games played the same.

Outcome was 3 US victories and 2 victories for the Brit/Canadian. At least one of these was a calculated play by one side that already had all but one of their Truce cards played and were waiting to be the last player that round.

They then played the last Truce card and conducted a VP area grab to end the game with more VPs than the other side. Maybe a little gamey, but the end was in doubt up to that point. Every player said they'd play it again.
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Sir Halden of FTL
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I love the theme and the ease of play interests me.
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Dave VanderArk
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Your experience sounds a lot like ours at Great Lakes Games in early November. Everyone who tried it liked it. One of the designers (Jeph) and publisher (Uwe) were in attendance, and they were happy to teach and/or play along with us. The game looks like it's going to be a hit.
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Mark Chaplin
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We played a 3-player game, and it was an enjoyable experience. The uniqueness of the move-other-player's-forces system, and the Memoir-like dice made for a quick game. If everyone was fairly quiet during their turns, the game moved briskly.


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Freddy Dekker
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Native Americans seems a strange way to refer to the tribes fighting the americans....

This truce card gives me the feeling you might have some short games.
Are there specific rules for when this can be used?
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Mark Chaplin
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sagitar wrote:
Native Americans seems a strange way to refer to the tribes fighting the americans....

This truce card gives me the feeling you might have some short games.
Are there specific rules for when this can be used?


Play them whenever you like, if I recall.


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Freddy Dekker
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I'm curious to know how people who played the game experience this sudden death card.

Is there a historical 'explanation'' justification' for the use of the card?
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Mark Chaplin
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sagitar wrote:
I'm curious to know how people who played the game experience this sudden death card.

Is there a historical 'explanation'' justification' for the use of the card?


All 5 players have to play their truce card for the game to end. And, yes, there is a loose historical precedent.


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Freddy Dekker
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AHA!

I understood it was just all players from one side that needed to play there card.

So the player who holds on to his card has a rather strong position asto where deciding the outcome is concerned.

Thanks Mark.
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Jeph Stahl
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Each faction has a truce card in their deck.
These cards are the strongest movement cards, so there is good reason to play them.

All players on one side need to play their truce cards in order to signal the end of the game. This end game criteria is only checked from turn 3 onwards, so the game will last a minimum of three turns.

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Freddy Dekker
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aH see, got that right.

I reckon it will all become clear whilst playing.

I would order it now, but I've taken part in the contest and it would just my luck to win it, just when I've ordered it..
yeah sure....soblue

Looking forward to it.
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Mark Chaplin
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jstahl wrote:
Each faction has a truce card in their deck.
These cards are the strongest movement cards, so there is good reason to play them.

All players on one side need to play their truce cards in order to signal the end of the game. This end game criteria is only checked from turn 3 onwards, so the game will last a minimum of three turns.



Ah, yes, been a few weeks since last we wheeled this game out. The old grey cells aren't what they were...


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Freddy Dekker
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laugh
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David Janik-Jones
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Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
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On my must buy list. Thanks for the overview.
 
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Freddy Dekker
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On my purchase list, but allready the game seems hard to get over at this end of the puddle.
Well I reckon there is nothing for it but be patient...

 
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Jeph Stahl
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sagitar wrote:
On my purchase list, but allready the game seems hard to get over at this end of the puddle.
Well I reckon there is nothing for it but be patient...


The game is being distributed by Fred Distribution, so you should be able to find it.
Here is list of possible places:
http://www.freddistribution.com/control/fredlocator
 
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Freddy Dekker
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Thanks
 
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Steve Duke
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so there is good reason to play them.

And sometimes it is your ONLY movement card and you have to play it, whether it is a good decision or not.
 
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