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Subject: Why play American Revolution war games? looking for opinions/experiences rss

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Bob Long
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Ok all you war gamers

I teach and include games in the content, stated this before on other posts...old news. but I have been invited to give a presentation to the Sons of the American Revolution in May on wargaming the American Revolution or as some folks say...The War of American Independence.

Have introduced my students to various AR games, 1775, Wash War, Liberty, but I wanted to find out from fellow gamers their opinions, on... Why play American Revolution war games?

I know everyone has various backgrounds, professionally etc, some war gamers are college profs, some teachers, some retired and current military, the vocations of war gamers vary but I believe that we have one thing in common, we all enjoy playing and in the meantime learn something about a historical period, battle, military operation etc.

So, would like to know your opinion: Why play American Rev war games (besides the obvious of learning) what are the elements that draw us to AR war games, and what do we all "get" from playing a game on the American Revolution???

Not only that, but would like to know from all those diehard grognards that have a lot more experience in the war game hobby than myself, info that you would like for me to pass on to my students and at the presentation (stories/experiences).

Thanks for all you war gamers do to keep history alive!

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Kent Reuber
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For me, the attraction of AWI is a conflict where a considerably-less-trained but local force is fighting a superior-trained but remote force.

I think there's an opportunity for learning a bigger lesson, since this is the sort of conflict that the US seems to find itself involved in. What are the goals and strategies of the Rebels? What are the goals of the group trying to crush the rebellion?
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Jason Maxwell
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For me its the history and learning. I know that Saratoga (for example) was a major turning point because the Americans beat the British, but how did they do it and what other options were there for both sides?
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Brad Miller
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Because Washington's War is a really great, fun, game, that also shows the inherent differences in the two sides in a very historically accurate, and enlightening, fashion.
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Tom Willcockson
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For me I know a little about the strategic course of the war, but very little about how the actual battles were conducted. I would suspect that many who are moderately well versed in American history would be the same although probably have even less knowledge of the strategic course of the war. Someone who knew the basics about the ACW or the battle of Gettysburg or Antietam probably would draw a complete blank about the Battle of Guilford Courthouse or Monmouth. I credit 1776 with giving me an appreciation of the general course of the war and it has only been since getting the BoAR series that I know anything at all about most ARW battles.
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Bill Lawson
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I would suggest The American Revolution: Decision in North America. Great game.
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fightcitymayor
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I enjoy the history of the time-period, the wargaming of said time-period is just a bonus for me. Actually, if somone made a wargame with Washington and Daniel Morgan squaring off against a time-travelling Cthulhu at a revised Battle of Brooklyn Heights I would enjoy that just as much. I'm not particularly enamored with any specific tactics or operations of the period.

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Jim F
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To get the right result
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Bob Long
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Thanks so far for everyone commenting

Thanks Jim, I kind of forgot that BGG is world wide, so would love to hear from all parts of the world, especially those folks living in the UK, France, Canada, and all parts of the globe.


Yes, the American Revolution was something that had world wide ramifications. Canada, was greatly impacted too... were the British now vulnerable or was it that the folks back in the UK were just tired of war. How did this impact all of Europe?.... led to the rise of Napoleon, led to an increase in the slave trade in Africa, consequences in Spain, Mexico, and in the pacific.
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Jacovis
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Ashiefan wrote:

To get the right result


I love this one. I have often thought about what other consequences there would have been... what about WW1 and WW2? How would this have affected colonialism in general? Slavery? What would have happened to France for the next 100 years with a failed American Revolution?

Ah well... I pledge Allegiance...

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Hunga Dunga
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buseyhead wrote:
the American Revolution or as some folks say...The War of American Independence.

...or our first Civil War...

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Greg S
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Ashiefan wrote:

To get the right result


To repeat the right result, but sooner.....



You all know I'm kidding - I'm an anglophile at heart.
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Judd Vance
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This is why:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/14387/why-i-play-warga...

It applies to any wargame, but for me, it was the American Revolution, and that is why I play operational games on it.

I play Washington's War (strategic level) because it will help you understand Fabian tactics and you will feel the frustration of Washington and Howe (later Clinton). None of the other games give me that feeling, but I have yet to play the Miranda game that Bill mentioned, and I hear it's a peach.
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Tom Swider
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For me and the Battles of the American Revolution series, the visual experience is pleasant. Perhaps revisitng a time when things went a little slower, and some time to reflect on what it took to get us where we are today.
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Alan Richbourg
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When I play Am Rev games, I not only get into the national and regional history, but it spurs my research into my family's history. So there's that. And it made a great complement to the chance I had to walk a lot of battlefields in S. Carolina a few years back, when I was there for an extended time for work.
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Enrico Viglino
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billyboy wrote:


Keeping an eye out for it. I've not been satisfied with any of
the strategic coverage I've seen yet (WaWa, 1776, 13: The Colonies in Revolt),
but this is an era I'd really LIKE to see a good model for.


Ideally, I wish Nick Karp had done one. The kind of detail he put
into Vietnam strikes me as the level I'd really like to see. But,
something lighter that feels right would work too.

Dunnigan did one I've heard good things about too (from way back).
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Enrico Viglino
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tswider wrote:
For me and the Battles of the American Revolution series, the visual experience is pleasant. Perhaps revisitng a time when things went a little slower, and some time to reflect on what it took to get us where we are today.


These are a neat system, with the advantage that there are a lot of
battles covered by now. For tactical, I also enjoyed The Battle of Monmouth,
with a somewhat more detailed look (the Wellington's Victory system); wish
more games had been made using that system for the AR.
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Wendell
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Hungadunga wrote:
buseyhead wrote:
the American Revolution or as some folks say...The War of American Independence.

...or our first Civil War...



Kevin Phillips argued that the American Revolution was the third of three wars between roughly the same sides, the first being the English Civil War in the 17th century, and the final being the ACW.
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Bob Long
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Hmmm interesting the comparison to the AR and English Civil War, wars, involving the "rights" of the king.

Its good to be king.
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Michael Sommers
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buseyhead wrote:
Its good to be king.

Tell that to Chuck.
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Bob Long
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well maybe its not good to be king
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Paul Aceto
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Your question brings to mind an experience I had while a student at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. I was in a small seminar on the Civil War taught by the wonderfully named Benjamin Franklin Cooling (his books: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dst...).

As part of the seminar, we had to choose a topic related to the war, present to the class, and write a short paper. I mentioned to Dr. Cooling that I owned a lot of ACW wargames, and would like to do something on wargaming. He thought about that, looked at me and asked, "These games, can they us anything about the war?" I said they could, and that became the focus of my project. I examined several strategic ACW gamnes, and rated them in terms of their "teachiness" on some of the key concepts we had studied in the seminar (For the People won the contest hands down).

So for the AWI, I could see identifying some of the key factors involved (rebels vs Tories, use of militias, role of Native American tribes, British politics, French intervention), and then seeing how well they are shown in the games.
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Ryan Powers
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For me, it's largely the smaller numbers involved. Makes it easier for me to develop a picture in my head.

It also makes me more tempted to attempt some battles in miniature at relatively small troops:models ratios, but haven't attempted it yet.
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Bob Long
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Thanks Paul, for your points will use, which brings up a point abut your professor, "can these games, tell us anything about the Civil War" .....most folks in the business of education are not aware of the usefulness of games in the classroom, from middle school to graduate school. Thank goodness for teachers that do use games in the classroom. Would love to read your paper.... For the People won

I recently watched a vid on BGG by a high school teacher that spoke about the educational benefits of Twilight Struggle, I guess there could be a debate about the abstract nature of TS or "is TS a real war game" the point being that games in general can teach us in a different way about a subject, be it history, geography, politics, economics etc.

Thank you for your commentary

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rod humble

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Hungadunga wrote:
buseyhead wrote:
the American Revolution or as some folks say...The War of American Independence.

...or our first Civil War...



Or the second of three as Phillips argues...



edit dammit beaten

wifwendell wrote:

Kevin Phillips argued that the American Revolution was the third of three wars between roughly the same sides, the first being the English Civil War in the 17th century, and the final being the ACW.
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