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Subject: Impressions After My First Truly Complete Game rss

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tim woodley
Canada
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Hello,

Just a brief review to record my impressions on this game.

I've been trying for some time to extract a truly gripping
experience from Empires in America, and I believe it happened tonight.
The subject matter itself is superb; high adventure in the vast
expanses of colonial North America. It's command system as well as
it's method of generating auxilliary forces and global events is
novel and gripping. I have grown quite fond of all the SoS titles
and have quite a few of them.

It did take a few tries however, for me to extract a full game from
EiA. Like all SoS games, the action is sustained by the event cards,
the die roll and the decision tree that the player must navigate. So
many of my earlier attempts at this game were derailed by not
receiving the card(s) I needed or by poor die rolls and yes even by
my own decisions. Often, before I knew it, the tableau would be
overflowing with British militia while my own militia would disband and
my Indian allies would be plagued with sickness and I would only have
one commander to react to several active British fronts.

Tonight, the play was a little more balanced. I had a chance to build
a good command system and network or defenses. Boths sides had gains
and losses distributed a little more evenly. The card draws flowed much
better than before. The game may only take about 90 minutes but I
still like to settled into them gradually, sometimes playing them over
the course of two or three evenings and tonight All the components
seemed to come together! Of course, as happened historically, my forces
were finally overwhelmed by the British armies. General Wolfe got his
victory at Quebec while Montcalm lost his forces and his reputation fighting too many battles. I would say that tonight, I went through
about 80% of the cards before this happened. All in all, a satisfying
session.

I like moving in historical progression, so I guess the next game I will
confront at my gaming table is Levee en Masse.

P.S. "Safe Cards" have a unique niche in this game. One event card even
allows the player to draw 3 safe cards. Can we essentially define a
safe card as one that is basically friendly or at least neutral to the
French player?

For my next session of EiA, I'm going to play with the optional rule which allows for commander casualties.

Also, I had an idea for a new optional rule which I call "discetion is
the better part of valour". When a commander loses a battle, he takes
the loss of battalions, the loss of reputation and has to retreat, but
even with a negative reputation, he may not be sacked during the next
card draw which means during the next British Phase, he's going to
advance again, quite possibly to destroy the remainder of his force.
With this rule, if this is the case, you roll a die, add the commander's
battle value, subtract 1 for his negative reputation and subtract another 1 if he lost any battalions. And, it is the same for combat
rolls...if the result is a five or six, he advances. If the result is
1-4, the commander wisely decides to defer his next attack. Also added
to the commander's die roll is the +1 if the Royal Navy becomes attached
to his army.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Tim.

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Mike Szarka
Canada
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Ontario
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When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
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I think this is one of the better SoS games as the decisions are more interesting. After playing a bunch of them, however, I am losing interest in the concept as the biggest factor usually seems not to be any mistake I do or do not make but simply whether the events happen in a sequence that benefits me, i.e. the worst events don't happen until after I have a secure lead.
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Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
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Quote:
The subject matter itself is superb; high adventure in the vast
expanses of colonial North America. It's command system as well as
it's method of generating auxilliary forces and global events is
novel and gripping.


Sounds very juicy! The only thing holds me back is the subject of history. I am not that familiar with it. Any short and concise piece of words can solve that?
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Mike Szarka
Canada
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When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
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Lawrence Hung wrote:
Quote:
The subject matter itself is superb; high adventure in the vast
expanses of colonial North America. It's command system as well as
it's method of generating auxilliary forces and global events is
novel and gripping.


Sounds very juicy! The only thing holds me back is the subject of history. I am not that familiar with it. Any short and concise piece of words can solve that?


The French had a bunch of North American territories that the British wanted. The Brits had more available troops, but the French had forged better alliances with the Indians, whom they used for raiding and mobile warfare. After several years of warfare (and this conflict became entangled in the Seven Years War in Europe), the French collapsed, to a significant degree because of British naval superiority. The outcome is important in Canadian history, because it is the reason that Canada became a British colony. The British victors nevertheless allowed the French-Canadians to maintain most of their existing cultural institutions. Pretty well the whole cultural history of modern-day Canada was forged by this war.

There's a decent overview in the most recent issue of S&T (Ticonderoga).

P.S. The best game on the entire conflict is Wilderness War, at least if you like CDGs.
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tim woodley
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Hello Lawrence,

Mike provided a very good historical overview for this game.

I believe the hostilities erupted when the French went down to
the Ohio Valley and seized Fort Duquesne, which is actually printed
on the game map, in June 1754. Within 2 years, all the great powers
of Europe would embark on the Seven Years War, to a large degree, to
determine which of them would become the premiere colonial power, and
as Mike says, Britain would emerge victorious.

There were also some epic battles being fought in Continental Europe.
This was the age of Frederick the Great in Prussia.
This war did help determine the course for countries like Canada and
the United States. Only fifteen odd years after this war, the American
Revolution would begin. And the American Revolution would help inspire
the revolutionaries in France in 1789, which would give rise to the
life and career of Napoleon. And Napoleon would put the finishing touches of glory on the French Armee, which would be the world's
premiere fighting force until the summer of 1940.

I hope this overview compliments Mike's comments and enhances your
gameplay experience Lawrence, but as I said in my review, this game
in particular really depends on drawing the right combination of event
cards until you are in a stronger position to deal with the increasing
disadvantages you will face as the French player.

Thank you,
Tim.
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Lawrence Hung
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mcszarka wrote:

P.S. The best game on the entire conflict is Wilderness War, at least if you like CDGs.


Really thanks for the piece, Mike. Yes, I have that game but it sits on the shelves for quite some time. I remember the movie the Last Mohigan (Daniel Day Lewis) was about the war and I like that movie. The game was highly praised but it is like among one of the many that I still haven't played, and played enough.

mcszarka wrote:

After several years of warfare (and this conflict became entangled in the Seven Years War in Europe), the French collapsed, to a significant degree because of British naval superiority. The outcome is important in Canadian history, because it is the reason that Canada became a British colony. The British victors nevertheless allowed the French-Canadians to maintain most of their existing cultural institutions. Pretty well the whole cultural history of modern-day Canada was forged by this war.


I played Joseph Miranda's magazine game The Seven Years War. Impressive in scope, I realized the entanglement with that game.

mcszarka wrote:

The outcome is important in Canadian history, because it is the reason that Canada became a British colony. The British victors nevertheless allowed the French-Canadians to maintain most of their existing cultural institutions. Pretty well the whole cultural history of modern-day Canada was forged by this war.


That bit of cultural touch was felt during my recent visit to Quebec. I bought a pin of the state emblem to air that touch.

taskforce7 wrote:

I hope this overview compliments Mike's comments and enhances your
gameplay experience Lawrence, but as I said in my review, this game
in particular really depends on drawing the right combination of event
cards until you are in a stronger position to deal with the increasing
disadvantages you will face as the French player.


I call the State of Siege series a kind of Action-Reaction game system, in which the designer see strategies, that men can make in an attempt to change the course. As pessimistic as it seem, putting out the fire next door as it comes imminent is still something akin to human nature. The system is a bit luck-dependent to my taste as I have yet to figure out how to beat the system. But then, I haven't tried that hard with other games as well.
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Mike Szarka
Canada
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Ontario
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When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
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Lawrence Hung wrote:
mcszarka wrote:

P.S. The best game on the entire conflict is Wilderness War, at least if you like CDGs.


Really thanks for the piece, Mike. Yes, I have that game but it sits on the shelves for quite some time. I remember the movie the Last Mohigan (Daniel Day Lewis) was about the war and I like that movie. The game was highly praised but it is like among one of the many that I still haven't played, and played enough.



We all have lots of unplayed games but I find that one really fascinating. And I suck at it from both sides.
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