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1812: The Invasion of Canada» Forums » Reviews

Subject: 1812: The Invasion of Canada gets reviewed! rss

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Shayne Smith
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Salt Lake City
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I want to start this off by saying that this review is my first ever. With that out of the way I would also like to point out that this is a positive review. I am a positive person and therefore am inclined to
see the good in games I play but it is also worth saying I am fast becoming an Academy games fan boy.


(My growing Academy Games collection and proof of uber fan status)

So I wouldn't call this review bias but just keep in mind I knew I would be enjoying this game before I even pre ordered it. So now that we have that said let's get on with the review.


Components




The components like the other Academy Games titles are top notch.


(I think it is worth pointing out everything packs up into the box VERY nicely)


MAP

The map itself is Mounted and is 950 x 480mm that is around 37 x 19 inches for anyone like me who doesn't visualize things in millimeters. The map is absolutely beautiful and is easy to understand with Red colors on British areas and Blue on American areas.



CARDS

60 cards come with the game, 12 for each player. The artwork on these cards is top notch and they are varied from player to player in the way that they play so that no one faction feels the same. The special cards all have flavor text which adds historical flavor and makes it more atmospheric.



UNITS/CUBES

The units in the game are represented by 160 wooden cubes in 5 colors. Some factions have more or less cubes than others representing each factions abilities to field a certain amount of soldiers for instance there are many more American militia then British regular troops who were more expensive to train and field. I personally feel that this game could have benefited from the use of plastic soldiers in the vein of Risk or Memoir 44. I understand costs prevent things like this from happening and the cubes don't take away from the game in any way I just think plastic soldiers would have added to it.

DICE

5 Sets of Custom Battle Dice and Turn Order Markers come with the game one for each faction. At first glance I thought the dice would be cheap plastic and very light but after handling them I have to say they are VERY nice. They have weight to them and feel durable. Each faction has up to 3 different marks on their dice that represent combat effectiveness and training.

A target represents a kill.
A man running represents a unit breaking and fleeing from battle.
A blank side represents the ability to make a tactical withdrawal or stay in the fight.

The dice tell a unique story in every conflict and affect the way you use your forces greatly. For instance British regulars never flee from battle and hit often (3 sides of the dice) where as Indians flee on one side hit on two but can tactically retreat into enemy territory.

This makes battles interesting and though luck is very much apart of dice rolling (this is a game of odds) I felt it never took away from the fun or punished good tactical decisions with bad luck.



MARKERS

20 control markers come with the game. They are double sided with the Union Jack and American flag on either side. They seem durable enough and do the job they need to do.

RULE BOOK

The rule book is impressive. Easy to read, glossy, and to the point.It comes with 3 scenarios one intro scenario and two full game scenarios. Like the other rule books put out by Academy Games this one has designer notes and historic flavor throughout making sure you have a very good grasp on the history you are recreating. Usually I find myself getting excited about a game reading the rule book and teaching it to my girlfriend (who is very new to games and despises rule books) so that we can play. Tonight she read the rules and tought them to me for a change.


(15 minutes later we were ready to play)

Gameplay


So the components are great but how do they work in play?

Answer: They work freaking awesome.

I have only played 1 vs 1 so I can't speak to the merits of the game when played with a full compliment of players but I can already see the potential of playing with more then 2 players and adding people to this game only adds fun.

A typical turn in this game starts with a random drawing of a cube. If it is your factions color it is your turn. You bring in reinforcements that are marked on the board as well as units who fled from battle any time before your turn began and then play a movement card.

Your card will have the amount of armies you can move and how many territories they can move through printed on it. Some cards allow you to move by way of sea and others are special cards that give you advantages in battle or allow you to move more armies farther.

After you play your card and move your armies which can consist of any combination of friendly units as long as one of yours is present in the area, you resolve any conflicts that are a result of your movement and your turn is over.

Draw a new cube blindly from the bag and continue.

Obviously there is more to this game then what I have posted above but you see how simple it is. Things like being able to move other factions along with your own make for interesting decisions and force social gameplay which is something I enjoy from a simple game like this quite a bit.

The game is incredibly easy but I think you will find a wealth of interesting decisions to be made on any given turn.


(Our first game in progress)

In Conclusion


I think this is a great game. It plays quickly and is simple enough for my mom (who is in love with Carcassonne) to play and have fun with but still offers enough depth that me and my brother will want to revisit it.

I think 1812: The Invasion of Canada could be the quicker playing more fun version of Risk we all wished we had when we were kids. I hope you give it a shot and enjoy it as much as I have.


(happy customer)
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G. Gambill
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Shawnee on Delaware
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Nice review. I too am becoming a bit of an Academy fanboy. Strike of the Eagle was my number two game last year, and I have high hopes that this will be a game with a wargame feel that I can play with my wife and others who do not normally like this type of game. Are you finding the play time listed on the box accurate?
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Iain K
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Nice review Shayne, can you give us a sense of the "wealth of of interesting decisions to be made on any given turn" as you put it?

How does the game generate tension, what sort of trade-offs do players have to make, and do events play out along historic lines?

Thanks!
 
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Eddie Drood
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Seriously, call Kenny Loggins because you're in the Danger Zone!
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Nice review, can't wait to get this one!

Also: keep an eye on that cat--it's faking being asleep, probably planning for breaking in that new box lid!
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Chris Wolfe
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BLOOMINGTON
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citizen k wrote:
Nice review Shayne, can you give us a sense of the "wealth of of interesting decisions to be made on any given turn" as you put it?

How does the game generate tension, what sort of trade-offs do players have to make, and do events play out along historic lines?

Thanks!


Not Shayne, but I can address some of these.

Simply in terms of what might be familiar to people, Invasion is a little like Risk played with Memoir '44-style cards, with some caveats:

1) re: Risk, each Invasion faction plays differently. The Native Americans are extremely mobile and can cause headaches for the more centralized, often massed American Regulars and Militia, for example.

2) re: Memoir '44, the action cards, movement cards and dice in Invasion are unique to each faction. You'll also see most of them during a single play session.

How does all of this impact mechanics? Invasion is a very free-form game. Playing with my wife, I always felt as though I had a number of turn-to-turn tactical options in support of a broader strategy. Maybe I'll mass units here, then send the militia across the lake for a delaying attack on her reinforcement lines? Or, maybe I'll engage now and turn the tide of a smaller skirmish with a special card?

Even dice rolls produce more than just hit-or-miss results. Units may flee from battle, and some are more likely to do so than others. British Regulars? Not at all. And when rolling a blank side, you may also decide to move a unit of that color to neighboring friendly territory. Do I stand firm or regroup?

When played with 2, it's very easy to plan how each faction will complement the others. I'm also eager to play with 5. Different personalities will bring some chaos to the board, and I think it's designed to work particularly well that way.

As far as history, I'm not well educated on the subject (besides the great write-up provided in the rules book). My guess is that Invasion is meant to simulate a certain feel of the war, but not necessarily recreate very specific battles. The way that the truce cards work is a very clever, thematic way of ending a game, for example.

In short, it's a game that's meant to be played, really. You're not going to lay everything out just so and plan moves between visits to BGG to check rules. You'll sit down with people who may or may not have ever played a board game and have fun. You'll probably beat them, and they'll probably want to play again.
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grant wylie
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I've played two face to face games and both of them came down to the last 2 cards played of the last turn. Very exciting, one win and one loss and the loss was probably the funner of the two just from the twists and turns the game took over the last 2 moves.

Easily my favorite game of all time right now. It gives a view of history with the dice, cards, and simple rules.

Grant
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Makis
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Good review. I picked the game up at BGG.Con and haven't had a chance to play it yet. Really looking forward to it!
 
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Shayne Smith
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Thank for the positive feedback everyone! I think Chris answered any questions that were asked. If you want to know anything else or I left something out let me know



eddie_drood wrote:
Nice review, can't wait to get this one!

Also: keep an eye on that cat--it's faking being asleep, probably planning for breaking in that new box lid!



I think you might be right! Though I have 2 other cats that were probably battling for king of the box status.
 
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David Janik-Jones
Canada
Waterloo
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Combat Commander, Up Front, Fields of Fire, Cats were once worshipped as gods and they haven't forgotten this, The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me!
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Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzy┼╝ Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
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Agreed, nice review, thanks. This is on my want list and based on reviews I'm wondering if I personally won't enjoy this more than A Few Acres of Snow (which is a very good game) based on the subject and gameplay mechanisms. Academy Games is indeed doing very well.

P.S. Nice ink, btw.
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Mike Clarke
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Port Coquitlam
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Thank you! This game has been on my radar from the minute Uwe Eichert previewed it at Essen. I love the period. I bought A Few Acres of Snow a few months ago and this would complement it nicely.

From my read of the rules the the gameplay seemed to be fast and fun but with enough interesting decisions to make it worth playing. And I think your review supports that. I already knew the artwork on the cards is gorgeous but the mounted map looks even bigger than I'd imagined which is a definite plus. Thanks for doing this!
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Tom
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Nice review...also nice tattoos!
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Ryan Stainsby
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Excellent review. This game was the surprise of 2011 for me. Personally, I'm not much a fan of the dice quality. I don't like the weight, and they are all starting to gather dirt and scratches after just a few plays (looks like the white dice will turn gray over time). Comparing them to the seemingly gorgeous looking d-day dice, this is one point were the game falters for me.

Everything else is spot-on, and you concisely capture that in your review. I look forward to seeing what they do with this series.
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