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1812: The Invasion of Canada» Forums » General

Subject: How is this with less than 5? Or, really, with 2 or 3? rss

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Justin Gortner
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Hi,

I just had a wonderful experience with Academy Games over the phone with regards with my purchase of Freedom. So I thought I would take the time to look into some of their other games.

This one looks SOLID. Really. Accessible, light enough to maybe get the wife to play, solid layout and design ... it just hits all the right buttons.

My only concern is how it handles less than 5. What are people's experiences? Is it annoying managing multiple armies? Is there an "alpha" player problem since you are playing on a team? Do the movement cards allow you to move any of your teams' armies?

The BONUS question, if you have played it, is how does this compare to 1775 in the same regard?

Thanks!
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Matt
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I've played two games with two players. Both played fine. It may be a *little* taxing managing three different hands, along with planning the turns, when playing as the British and their allies, but it's not so bad.

"Is it annoying managing multiple armies?"
- No. As I said, a little taxing, but far from being a chore.

"Do the movement cards allow you to move any of your teams' armies?"
- Yes. This is actually a critical part of the game.
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James Palmer
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I've played it with all numbers of players, and thought it worked just fine.

With just 2 players, you have a little more to keep track of, but since you're only ever doing one faction's turn at a time, it's really not that bad.

My own gaming group virtually never has a problem with "alpha" players, so it's hard for me to comment there, except to say that we haven't had that problem with this game, although I could see it happening.

For any of the issues you're concerned about, I don't think you'd find 1775 any better or worse than 1812. If you're looking for something light, I'd say 1812 is a bit lighter, a bit easier to grasp how it works. 1775 will take a couple plays before you really start gaining an idea of what the strategy is. So from what you've said, I'd recommend 1812 over 1775. Both are great though.
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Mike Szarka
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I have played it primarily with fewer than five players. Really it works fine with any number. With four, the "standard" suggestion is for the Canadian militia player to take over the natives. But I find it works just as well if the two British-side players collaborate on the Indian moves or take turns moving them.

With three players the same applies but the US player takes both US factions.

1775 also works fine with two players or four players. Haven't tried it with three but there's no reason it wouldn't work.
 
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Matt
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One thing you may want to look in to is the consensus that the game is unbalanced in favor of the British/Canadians. If it doesn't bother you, or you want to make your own conclusion, by all means...
 
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Justin Gortner
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madhatter wrote:
One thing you may want to look in to is the consensus that the game is unbalanced in favor of the British/Canadians. If it doesn't bother you, or you want to make your own conclusion, by all means...


Huh, yes, that would be a concern to me.

I have also just read going last on the last turn can be rather overpowered since you can just throw all your troops out there without consequence.

With regards to the other comments. I am not sure how much I would like having to manage 3 separate (or even 2 separate) hands individually. That seems arduous to me. I wonder why you don't just combine the hands into 1 giant hand to pull from any?
 
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James Palmer
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jgortner wrote:
madhatter wrote:
One thing you may want to look in to is the consensus that the game is unbalanced in favor of the British/Canadians. If it doesn't bother you, or you want to make your own conclusion, by all means...


Huh, yes, that would be a concern to me.

With regards to the other comments. I am not sure how much I would like having to manage 3 separate (or even 2 separate) hands individually. That seems arduous to me. I wonder why you don't just combine the hands into 1 giant hand to pull from any?


The different factions actually play quite differently than each other, with a different assortment of movement and special cards. It wouldn't work to group them together.

I don't believe it's tipped *that* far towards British/Canadian - our win ratio has been pretty even. That said, there is a semi-official variant to give the American's a bit of a handicap to compensate (I'm trying to remember what it is - I think you give each faction a couple estra reinforcements at the beginning of the game.)
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Christopher Leary
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I'm in a similar position myself right now, in trying to get the wife to play a wargame, specifically one on the War of 1812.

I'm a big fan of the other two big games on the war that came out recently (Amateurs to Arms and Mr. Madison's War), but those are a significant step up in complexity/depth.

I've not played 1775 (have it, and planning to break it out in the new year), but I've enjoyed 1812:TIoC... there's some interesting strategic depth, and it provides a general feel for the conflict while abstracting out a fair bit of the war. I've only played it two-player myself, and still found it very enjoyable (and the idea of a 5-player tug-of-war is very appealing!).

I was probably biased towards liking this, though, as I'm very keen on this conflict and period in history (actually picked up my copy of the game at the bookstore in the Fort Meigs visitor center).

The more I think on it, the complaints that suggest this is as complex as something like Risk are actually a compliment in a way. If this and 1775 are now the "ground floor" for getting into wargames, great.
 
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Mike Szarka
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Felkor wrote:
jgortner wrote:
madhatter wrote:
One thing you may want to look in to is the consensus that the game is unbalanced in favor of the British/Canadians. If it doesn't bother you, or you want to make your own conclusion, by all means...


Huh, yes, that would be a concern to me.

With regards to the other comments. I am not sure how much I would like having to manage 3 separate (or even 2 separate) hands individually. That seems arduous to me. I wonder why you don't just combine the hands into 1 giant hand to pull from any?


The different factions actually play quite differently than each other, with a different assortment of movement and special cards. It wouldn't work to group them together.

I don't believe it's tipped *that* far towards British/Canadian - our win ratio has been pretty even. That said, there is a semi-official variant to give the American's a bit of a handicap to compensate (I'm trying to remember what it is - I think you give each faction a couple estra reinforcements at the beginning of the game.)


It's very simple to manage multiple hands. The choices involved are pretty straightforward, and you only do them one at a time since you rarely know which faction is moving next.

I also agree that the supposed imbalance is overblown. There might be a slight advantage for the British, but lessened by the variant providing a few extra cubes for the American. More simply, you can always give the more experienced players the American side. Most players like a challenge.
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Matt
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jgortner wrote:
I have also just read going last on the last turn can be rather overpowered since you can just throw all your troops out there without consequence.


This is very true. The "end of world" syndrome is present in this game, and it is quite overpowering. This is doubled down if your side has both of the last two turns. In fairness, 1812 isn't unique in this regard, lots of conflict games have this issue... but I don't know if that makes it any better.
 
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Doug Ratz
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It is a great game. I *prefer* to play with only 2 players as I like to run all the troops on my side, but it plays well with 2, 3, 4 or 5. The rules are not difficult and after you've played, you'll want to play again to try a different strategy.

As for the imbalance, well, the Americans have to use different tactics than the British side, as mentioned in these forums.

I'm expecting 1775 to be under the tree next week, and am looking forward to it.
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Mike Szarka
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madhatter wrote:
jgortner wrote:
I have also just read going last on the last turn can be rather overpowered since you can just throw all your troops out there without consequence.


This is very true. The "end of world" syndrome is present in this game, and it is quite overpowering. This is doubled down if your side has both of the last two turns. In fairness, 1812 isn't unique in this regard, lots of conflict games have this issue... but I don't know if that makes it any better.


Well, that supposes you have control over all your truce cards at the same time. People tend to miss the fact that only one side has to play their truce cards to end the game. So the idea of going all out with al your factions on the same turn won't happen that often. But when it does, it adds extra excitement as there is always a chance of a change of fortune.
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Niko
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I've played the game most often with two players and it works great.
You should be keeping track of what the other armies on your team can do when considering your strategy anyways, so IMO the only added work is that you now have to keep track of which 3 of the 9 (or 6) cards in your hand you can use on any given turn. They're nicely colour coded, so that really isn't an issue either.

It also works great with any other number of players. Just keep in mind that with 3 players the solo player has the advantage of not having to articulate his strategy but may be able to overhear what the other team is discussing.

As for the imbalance; Yes the British seem to have an advantage, but so far the Americans are still leading by maybe 60-40 in my games. That may be because most new players want to play the British side though. I still think it's a great game and if you get to a stage where you want to play "competitively" just bid with VP for who gets to play the British. I.e. the Americans get an extra X VP when determining who won.

Going last is definitely an advantage. However, the end of the game happens when certain cards are played. If you play those cards without going last than that is your choice (mostly). If you think your opponent may be in a situation to end the game after going last then you have to prepare for it. The variable turn order and game length is simply part of the game.
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Matt
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mcszarka wrote:
madhatter wrote:
jgortner wrote:
I have also just read going last on the last turn can be rather overpowered since you can just throw all your troops out there without consequence.


This is very true. The "end of world" syndrome is present in this game, and it is quite overpowering. This is doubled down if your side has both of the last two turns. In fairness, 1812 isn't unique in this regard, lots of conflict games have this issue... but I don't know if that makes it any better.


Well, that supposes you have control over all your truce cards at the same time. People tend to miss the fact that only one side has to play their truce cards to end the game. So the idea of going all out with al your factions on the same turn won't happen that often. But when it does, it adds extra excitement as there is always a chance of a change of fortune.


This isn't hard to pull off, and can be predicted. Let's say you're the Brits & allies, the first three player turns are over, the Canadians, and both American factions have played their turns (bum deal for the Yankees, but not statistically improbable), now the British and Indians play their turns with no response from the Americans. If it's turn 7, there's a good chance you've already drawn all the truce cards for your factions. All you do now is play them, recklessly grab every objective possible, and then the game is over.
 
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Mike Szarka
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When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
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madhatter wrote:
mcszarka wrote:
madhatter wrote:
jgortner wrote:
I have also just read going last on the last turn can be rather overpowered since you can just throw all your troops out there without consequence.


This is very true. The "end of world" syndrome is present in this game, and it is quite overpowering. This is doubled down if your side has both of the last two turns. In fairness, 1812 isn't unique in this regard, lots of conflict games have this issue... but I don't know if that makes it any better.


Well, that supposes you have control over all your truce cards at the same time. People tend to miss the fact that only one side has to play their truce cards to end the game. So the idea of going all out with al your factions on the same turn won't happen that often. But when it does, it adds extra excitement as there is always a chance of a change of fortune.


This isn't hard to pull off, and can be predicted. Let's say you're the Brits & allies, the first three player turns are over, the Canadians, and both American factions have played their turns (bum deal for the Yankees, but not statistically improbable), now the British and Indians play their turns with no response from the Americans. If it's turn 7, there's a good chance you've already drawn all the truce cards for your factions. All you do now is play them, recklessly grab every objective possible, and then the game is over.


If it's turn 7 then the imminent end of the game should be apparent to everyone (giving everyone the same incentive to grab all they can before the truce, which is actually quite historically reasonable).
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Brian Cox
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Another person who has only played the game two-player here. My wife and I play it, and that says a lot since it's difficult to get her to play games.

I don't really see how the game would work with more than two. I always assumed that the semi-cooperative nature of adding players was just kind of tacked on (no offense to the designers and developers). But the fact that you can move other players units and share information always seemed to me like you were just controlling 2 (or 3) different factions fighting for the same cause.

So basically, there are two sides. Perfect for a two-player game.
 
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Kevin Duke
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It plays quite well and somewhat differently with more than two, and there is zero feel about anything being "tacked on."


Quote:

I always assumed


And you know what happens when people assume...
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James C
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I love 1812, and heartily recommend it for any number of players (except 1).

It's no Axis & Allies, meaning that it's not at all that difficult to play three entire nations by yourself.

Many of my games have been 2-player, and that works extremely well.

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Alex Drazen
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I've only played it 2P, except once. I prefer it 2P as well. It does seem a bit tilted toward the British, but the 1813 campaign gives the Americans a little more of a shot (mostly by limiting the water moves and special cards of the British side, plus having 2 medium sized American armies start nearer to Canada, making it a more even contest).

The only real disappointment is the best American strategy feels the same every time (pound the snot out of Canada in the west, preferably via boat, make sure you have seized the York & Six Nations musters for a while, defend your lines at & behind Buffalo/Ft. Niagara, and hold the east with single-cube CD's).
 
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I quite like it with 2 players. Of course I've lots of experience playing the A&A games that way too.
 
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Erin Sparks
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I just played my first full-length game with 2 (I have played the very short scenarios with 4). I think 2 works better. One person has 3 hands to manage but it's really no big deal.
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