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Campaigns of 1777» Forums » Reviews

Subject: 1777: Year of Decision - Initial Impressions rss

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Joe Miner
United States
San Antonio
Texas
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This is my initial take on the game in S&T #316.

On the negative side, I’m generally not a fan of magazine games. The last two I purchased were a solitaire game, which became a solved puzzle and a game that was a mess of inconsistency and turbid rules. Thus, I approach such games with trepidation.

On the cautionary side, it’s an era I’m very interested in, so I may be overly optimistic regarding the game.



I’ll cover the three basic components, map, counters, and rulebook.

The map is a representation of the northern colonies of the revolutionary America and part of Canada from Head of the Elk (sic) in the south to Montreal in the north. The satellite view and point to point map are clean and functional. I appreciate that while there are avenues for maneuver, there isn’t the ridiculous maneuvering available in 1776. If I have one quibble, the map is intended to be played with the American player along one long edge of the map, and the British player along the opposite long edge of the map. This makes reading the charts at the bottom of the map a challenge for those who don’t easily read upside down print. An approach similar to that used in Unhappy King Charles would have been useful.

The counters are well done, and, at least in my copy, well registered both front and back. There is a nice contrast between the counters and the map without being garish. If I had to be picky about something, it is the layout of the graphic used to denote the Continental units. If that’s the worst thing about them, that’s a good sign.

Finally, the rulebook. My initial impression upon reading the rulebook was that there would be all sorts of maneuver with units flying around the board. Further, there are so many different things primary leaders can do during their turn. But upon consideration, the rules make sense. They’re set up so that players can accomplish what happened historically, but nowhere near as fast as one would like. Covering all these possibilities necessarily dictated a longer rulebook than one would initially surmise.

Each turn, there will be a total of 13 chits drawn, 2 supply, 2 event, 5 British Primary Leaders, and 4 American Primary Leaders. Primary Leaders are rated, among other factors, for their leadership. Leadership can be spent during an activation with some flexibility, but the costs for various actions are brutal, and you quickly find out those leadership points go quickly. Want to force march? Great, leave your subordinate’s wing behind and hope you don’t need those extra troops for the looming battle. And you didn’t want to bring your supplies with you, either, did you? It’s quickly apparent that players are facing tough choices as to what is important for their leaders to accomplish, and each course of action comes at a relative cost of what part of the craft of war is temporarily ignored.

The one down side to the game is the naval rules for General Howe. His destination is selected upon embarkation and is hidden until the turn before landing. Eliminating the port of embarkation, there are seven possible ports of landing. This one aspect may upset those wishing to solitaire the game.

Overall, I’m happy with the end product, and it certainly looks to have a lot of promise. It’s a nice graphical work and the rules are relatively clean. The designer has provided the limited errata and has created a system that looks like it will provide a nice feel for the challenges faced by both sides. If you are interested in The Age of Reason, it’s worth picking up a copy.
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Jonathan Townsend
Italy
Roma
Lazio
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Thanks for this. I just received my copy and am keen to get it to the table. I also look forward to conversations on this title.
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Hugh Harvey
United States
Chaska
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Joe Miner wrote:


If I have one quibble, the map is intended to be played with the American player along one long edge of the map, and the British player along the opposite long edge of the map. This makes reading the charts at the bottom of the map a challenge for those who don’t easily read upside down print.



I agree. The tracks and tables along the southern end of the map would be much more player friendly if they were rotated 180 degrees. Otherwise its a gorgeous piece of wargaming graphic design.
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