Norbert Chan
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Calgary
Alberta
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Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
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Game 1: Jean was the English regulars. Tim was India and the Canadian Milita. Don was the American regulars, while I played the American militia. This was my first game, and the second game for everyone else. I had read the rules, and entered the BGG contest, so I had sense of how to play. In the BGG contest, you had to make decisions, and then you were awarded points for how optimal your decisions were. I got something like 15 out of 18 pts, so I wasn't too shabby. Don and I massed troops at the borders (Detriot, Buffalo, Ft. Niagara, Ogdensburg). But the game broke wide open when 5 Native Americans landed in Erie through a canoe. The Native American special ability lets them comand decision to enemy territory. So after we tried to eliminate them, they would command decision to an adjacent hex where we had no forces. This came to a head when the Native Americans were able to land into Albany and Pittsburgh, preventing the Americans from recruiting, and putting their fled units back in play. We had to waste a turn to get rid of the Native Americans in Albany and Pittsburgh, but by that time, the British were coming down south at Plattsburgh, and we could not repel them. We resigned when the British/ Native Americans had a 4 pt lead.

Lesson #1: Don't let the Native Americans get in the back woods of America, where they can spread around onto victory point areas.


Here thee four British flags could be seen, and he infiltrating green Native American cube is deep in our territory, causing problems.

Game 2: This time Jean was the American regulars, Tim was the American militia, Don was the British regulars and I was playing the Canadian militia and Native Americans. We got a sense of their strategy when the Americans tried to put a cube in every hex to prevent the Native Americans from oozing around and causing havoc. In fact there was an Amewrican cube east of Detriot. This strategy was the brainchild of Jean's after watching the Native Americans cruise around unmolested in the American back. So we countered by massing our troops in Amberstraug and Queenston. We were able to walk thorugh the small forces in Detriot, and grind all the way to Fort Stephenson. The Americans were able to eventually push back to Detriot, after all, forces in enemy territory are hard to keep if your opponent masses together a large force. But with all the American firepower in Detriot, we were able to push through in the center, through to Buffalo and Ft. Niagra. We were comfortably in the lead, until Jean played his truce card (Tim had already played his truce card earlier, so this sginalled the end of the game). But Jean combined that with Warhawks (move double the number of armies), so that meant Jean could move 8 armies 2 spaces! Fortunately we had built up enough of a lead to survive: British win 2-1.


British win by holding the two VP areas in the middle after seizing Detriot and holding on for a 1 VP lead after the Americans counter with Truce and Warhawk.

Game 3: Switching roles again, I was the American regulars, and Jean was the American militia. Tim was the British regulars and Don was the native Americans and Canadian militia. My initial draw was the truce card and Warhawks, Jean's big move combination at the end. So I held onto that combo waiting for the right time to play it. That meant I was only playing single movement cards at a time. I realized after this game, that had I drew a special card, I would have been forced to play the truce card, and that might not have been the right timing.
Jean and I made the deicision to be patient, let them canoe over and we'll take over the Native American threat, and don't invade until we get the right combos (war hawk and truce, for instance). Don then invade with his 2 canoe cards, and we eventually repelled those, and we thought we were in good shape until the turn order allowed the British to hit us both in Detriot and Platsburg, ending the game 2-1 in favor of the British.

Lesson #2; Don't hold onto card combos too long, since you may not get a chance to play them, like I did with the truce and Warhawks combo.

Game #4: I wanted to try and see if someone could be successful with the Americans, so I asked to stay as the American regulars. My teammate was Don playing the American militia. Jean was the British regulars, Tim was the Canadian militia and Native Americans. Don tried an early sea movement onto Sands's Creek with 6 units, but they were eliminated the next turn when Jean/Tim rolled 6 hits with 6 dice! Don and I had planned about being disciplined and not make unnecessary forays. A Canadian forces soon landed across Lake Ontario to creat havoc on our side, and the Native American canoes over to Lake Erie caused some havoc as well, but being disciplined we were able to wipe out the invaders. As the game looked like it was winding down, I played a warship card, followed by the special card that lets you attack an adjacent area if you are succesful in your first attack. I sent 4 American regular over Dundas, took out the 1 unit force there, then the special card let me attack York succesfully. So we got 2 VPs on our side. The Native Americans got York back the next turn, but not Dundas, so we chose to end the game (and our turn) with the Truce and Warhawk combo giving us a 2-1 lead (we had 4 attacks, one in Ogdensburg and Prescott) before the last turn of the British. Don had advised this move, since he thought the British might be stuck with bad cards. In the attacks, we did make a tactical mistake, we attacked first in Ogdensburg first, allowing those British troops to retreat to Prescott, which could have won it for them. We should have attacked in Prescott first, to prevent any support from the retreating troops from Ogdensbrug). On the final turn, the British did have a warship card, so they simply seized a 1 pt area across Lake Erie, and the game ended in a tie! We thought we did okay. Don was frustrated with the dice, rolling three flees a few times, and he exclaimed out loud, "These dice are loaded!". So we survived some bad luck to squeak out a tie for the Americans. Don and I talked afterwards, he thought that the American advantage lay in going first. If the British/Canadians deplpoy spreading out, we mass our troops in Detriot and pound Amberstraug since it takes a long time for the British to get troops over to that side.


Americans hold onto a tie, getting 1 VP from the warship plus special card to attack Dundas and York (losing York), but on the last turn gained a 1 VP area in Prescott, forcing the British to tie us.

Lesson #3: Order of battle is important since your opponent can retreat troops back to another important battle, so choose wisely (which we didn't do, but were able to survive it).

This is a great game. We are looking forward to more plays.
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Brian Boyle
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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This is a great game. And that was a great (multi)-session report.

Still can't help feeling the game is may be unbalanced towards the Brits. But also get the feeling that I am probably not looking deep enough.

To me, its feels a bit like an inverse A Few Acres of Snow problem.

In Few Acres, there appears to be a winning strategy for the Brits but I am still enjoying an apparently (to me) balanced game in my blissful ignorance.

In 1812, there appears to be no winning strategy for the Americans but I am still enjoying an apparently (to me) unbalanced game in my blissful ignorance.

Of course, in the former instance, I may learn how to break it and then the fun is over - but in the latter I may learn how to balance it and the fun continues.

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James Palmer
Canada
Ayr
Ontario
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I've certainly seen the Americans win, and it usually involves taking over Montreal.
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Brian Boyle
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Aha... the Montreal Mallett

Felkor wrote:
I've certainly seen the Americans win, and it usually involves taking over Montreal.
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Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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I'm not convinced the game is unbalanced with experienced players. I think the point about the American deployment and first turn being huge is accurrate.

If it is found over an extended number of plays that the game has a balance issue that you want to rectify, you can easily fix this game by bidding extra starting armies for the Americans. That's such a simple fix (giving them an extra starting army or two for deployment) thating coming to a consensus on the right number of bonus units should be relatively easy. I don't think we should go there yet, however.

This is in contrast to A Few Acres of Snow which has no easy solution or way to balance it's inequities (at least, that anyone has discovered after months of trying to come up with fixes).
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dave boulton
United Kingdom
etchingham
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I just had a quick look at my recorded plays of this game and i have certainly seen victories for both sides as well as draws

the latest tatic that has evolved in my groups (9) plays of this game is exploiting naval movement down (forgive me i may be wrong here as i am unsure of the name) i think it is called lake Champlanie(?) it is the long skinny lake along the east border of the map, ifn the alliance can manage to get a turn in which the americans have moved both of their factions in phases 1 and 2 and the brits have a naval movement card and a big mixed army sitting in Lacolle they are looking at a serious american crippling (i know, i've done it myself)

also as the alliance do not underestimate deployiog some of your free choice natives in or around montreal at the set up (especially useful in a Champlaine naval invasion)

american victories have been based on crushing of the natives by naval movement over lake Erie or aggresive invasion in the extreme west or in one case attrition against montreal

our results as a group are so far from 9 plays

2 draws
4 for the alliance
3 for americans

all these are from purely 1 on 1 games not conviced my lot to try a multi game yet but hope too soon, its seldom we have 5 players at the same time and this seems teh fairest option though 4 would not be too bad as 1 player being both american factions
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Kevin Duke
United States
Wynne
Arkansas
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There have been other people claiming that te Americans always win. Sounds like the game is working fine and folks just see one collection of options at a time.
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Scott Pizio
United States
Fall River
Massachusetts
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Wait! The warhawk wants a truce?
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Scott Wheelock
Canada
Woodstock
New Brunswick
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David Malki drew this!
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Can you remember how long each game took you to play?
 
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Norbert Chan
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
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swheelock wrote:
Can you remember how long each game took you to play?


Each game lasted approximately one hour to one hour and fifteen minutes long.
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Scott Wheelock
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Woodstock
New Brunswick
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Norbert Chan wrote:
Each game lasted approximately one hour to one hour and fifteen minutes long.


My kind of game! Thanks.
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