Brent Campbell
United States
Louisvlle
Kentucky
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If anyone was wondering what kind of nerd would play an American Revolution game on July fourth just because it was July fourth, well then wonder no more. Yes I am that nerd that wants his game to correspond to the date in history that the battle/war happened and/or started.

But what game should I play on this most sacred of holidays on the American calendar? How about Hold The Line, I thought, no no that just would not have done, you see I need a Strategic level game to really get into the proper mindset.

1776! Yes of course how can you possibly go wrong with old school Avalon Hill, but this was not to be either because while I was wondering what game to nerd out on the rest of my gaming group was more worried about spending time with family, cooking out, and fireworks. Why can they not have their gaming priorities in order!

I guess it has to be a solitaire game. But I was undaunted I was going to game the Revolution no matter what. Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning, DON'T TREAD ON ME! It echoed through my mind as I desperately searched where it could be. Why did I not think of this sooner it is perfect what could be more American than playing Don't Tread on Me.

Well as it turns out probably any other game would have been more American because, as I had forgotten in my moment of apparent clarity, you play the British high command in North America trying to quash the Revolution. (oh I am sorry I should be saying rebellion but I can not).

It had been a while since I had Don't Tread on Me, on the table and I had forgotten just what a great game it is. After playing it on July fourth I was resolved to write a review.

Don't Tread On Me, is a solitaire game, designed by Ben Madison and published by White Dog Games, based heavily on their game Vietnam Solitaire.

The Components- I have the folio second edition (although there is a boxed edition as well) It comes with a thin card stock map, Turn Record Track, a detailed sequence of play card which on the reverse has the random events table, rule book, and of course some beautiful thick laser cut counters. The components are, in my opinion, really good they are equal or better than just about any other folio game you will find. (allow me to go off on a tangent here. Just because a game does not come in a box does not mean it is not a good game. Some of the most amazing experiences I have had in wargaming have come from magazine games. Never judge a game just because it is not boxed.)

The Game play - The game is played in a sequence of 16 turns and is won when you get to turn 16 before the Liberty counter reaches 9 on the turn track. You are not really trying to defeat an army as much as you are trying to do just enough to keep liberty from increasing. The map is divided into 5 areas that the game calls states. You are trying to control three states including the "target state" for that particular turn. If you finish your turn and you have only British counters in at least three states including the target state for that turn then liberty does not move up. But if you have not done these things then liberty moves up and you inch closer to a loss.

A turn basically consists of first following the instructions on the turn track. You receive money from abroad, the follow the "news" (basically an event that may help or hurt you) The the Rebels place there smugglers in some of the six sea zones, (smugglers is how the rebels get their troops into states). Then you can pay to use your navy to attack the smugglers. Then you go into ground and logistics phases, and after that you can determine if liberty moves up or not, then you get a roll on the random events chart. ( this is not meant to be a detailed description of the game play just an abbreviated feel for the sequence of play.)

If at the end of the British and/or American movement phases you have both American and British counters in the same county (a county is one of four divisions within a "state". Then you count your battle strengths and roll on a CRT. Battle is affected by three types of terrain Wilderness, Farm/Town, and Fortress.

While playing you, as the British, most of the time have little trouble with the American forces. But they keep popping up turn after turn. Someplace else then you start running out of forces to buy and have to force march you forces to another state. It really gets nerve racking because you feel like no matter how good you are doing militarily rebellion rears it head somewhere else. And when you do happen to lose the off battle it feel devastating. This, in the end, was a patriotic game to play on Independence Day after all because I was unable to stop the flood of Liberty and the Americans won.

The Pros- There is a lot and I mean a lot going on in this game. I even toyed with the idea of scratching this review a paragraph ago because I do not think justice can be done without at least three pages a detail. You have Congress that can flee, Washington's leadership skills, Winter attrition which can virtually wipe out the American Army, Hessian mercenaries that you have to use before you even start using British regulars, Americans attacking Quebec, American troops going AWOL to Vermont and on and on and on.Thia game has a lot of detail and really, I believe, a good handle on what the Revolution was really about.

The Cons- Like most solitaire games very procedural, I find it even more procedural than a game like Comanchería. If you are not into following procedure this is not for you. And this game is long. I had not played it in a while it took me a while (5 hours) to get through it. Now I usually love long games when I play with 2 or more people or even if I play a solitaire game like RAF I don't mind setting down for a long time but for what you get out of this it feels a little long. But other than those points this is a great game.

Conclusion- This game is just a hoot from start to finish you are going to get a kick out of all the bad stuff that will happen to you and the Americans. I Love the idea of playing as the British I think that gives you a different perspective on the Revolution. Good fun game and a great solitaire experience. If you have not played in a while then I suggest the next time you want to play a game and lack a partner give this a try.




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Barry Miller
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Saint Charles
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greatbrent75 wrote:
Well as it turns out probably any other game would have been more American because, as I had forgotten in my moment of apparent clarity, you play the British high command in North America trying to quash the Revolution.

LoL! This is exactly why I love playing this game as an American... because you come away as a winner no matter what! (Shhh... is this the part where I'm not supposed to admit that sometimes I do an inner-cheer when the Americans have a good turn? Then I have to remind myself that I don't want that to happen!)

Anyway, that was a nice write-up! I agree with everything... even the part about it being a little long (but still very worth it). I've never been able to finish it in a single - or two - sessions. I find that the game can get bogged down during the 'Rebel Campaigns' phase.

That's why a "going game" sits on a sheet of foam core which easily stores under a piece of furniture. When I have a spare 45 mins, I'll slide it out and play a turn!

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Brent Campbell
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Louisvlle
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Thanks for the nice comments. You are right it is worth it even if it is on the long side.
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Robert Madison
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Brent,

I appreciate the very positive review. Good to see that the game has delivered on its promises!
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