What’s it about?
'Revolution : the Dutch revolt' is a game simulating the battle for independancy of the Netherlands in the Middle ages. Up to 5 different factions battle for points in 5 and a half rounds. The player with the most points after the last round is the winner.
How does it work?
'Revolution : the Dutch revolt' is played in 6 rounds of each 20 phases (The first one is stripped down to only 8 phases). The game is played on a map of the Netherlands as they were in the Middle ages. Five factions try to gain influence in regions, provinces, cities and towns. This can be done by military power, by the correct use of resources or by putting enough money in the 'public relations'.
Points are awarded at the end of each round for provinces, cities and the specific goal of each faction.
I would go into way to much detail if I would describe every phase so I would like to describe the overall flow of a single round. Keep in mind that there are three types of tokens in the game : armies, coins and resources.
The first part of a round is centered around the armies. First income is gathered by the ownership of provinces, cities and resources on the board. This income can than be used to maintain and/ or build armies. These armies are placed in a region, controlling several provinces. If there are two different armies in a region they will battle until only one player's army remain or until exactly two armies remain (standoff). These armies can now besiege a city (turning the inhabitants to their side later on), move to an adjacent province and/ or convert the local people (i.e. resources).
The next part is about resources (or 'people'). New people are brought into the game to increase influence in a province. But since every province has a limit of resources it can support, some people will be discarded as well (minorities first). If all provinces have been checked for the amount of people inhabiting them, all present players in this province can divide their people over the different cities, town or countryside of the provinces (majority selects first). In this way influence in the cities and provinces can be controlled.
The third part of a round is limited to phase 16 : turning the people to your side by paying money. This is played at the table on the top left of the board and can seriously alter the outcome of the round. If the inhabitants are converted to the catholic or reformant side, the current population will change sides.
The fourth and last phase is all about assigning cards and counting of points.
City cards are awarded to the player who has the absolute majority in the city.
Province cards are awarded to the player who has the absolute majority in the province (Inhabitants of cities don't count at this point)
And finally points are awarded for cities (one for each card), provinces (as indicated on the card) and for the special mission of each player:
Burghers : Occupation of specific towns
Catholics : One point per catholic bishopric
Habsburgs : One point per region with an own army
Nobility : One point for each 3 or 5 (depending on # players) people
Reformers : One point for each university
In this review, I choose to omit a lot of details to maintain a clear view of the game and indicate what the general flow is
Where is the fun?
This game is basically an 'area-control' game but with many interesting interactions, twists and possibilities. The rules are not too difficult but the amount of options and possible strategies you have, make this game complex.
It takes a long time to play a full game but downtime is limited and the tension remains throughout the game.
Why should I like this?
- Heavy game which will feel familiar to Euro-gamers
- Lots of player interaction
- Heavy strategic play
- No luck involved
Why shouldn’t I like this?
- Too much of a brain burner
- The amount of possible interactions make it sometimes very difficult to oversee where the possible threats and opportunities are.
- It takes a serious amount of time to play.
- Elimination possible if there is no diplomacy between players.
'Revolution : the Dutch Revolt' has been in the making for many years and I have to say that it shows in the game. It is a smooth game with a lot of player interaction and very interesting, interacting mechanics. If you plan on buying a long game but don't feel too much for wargame-type games (e.g. Game of Thrones, War of the Ring,...), this might be what you are looking for. If you don't think you'll ever find people who will sit around the table from noon until night, don't buy it. Every minute is fun but there are a lot of minutes in one game.
I can highly recommend the player aid 'Factionmaps' by Ward. Print it on A5 for all players and the game will be a lot easier
Very nice review. The only thing I can disagree with is the emphasis of time needed to play. We've found that 5 hours is the right amount of time needed to play the full game. With experienced players, this time gets slightly shorter. Definitely not a "noon til night" game as we've played it.
Thanks for the recommendation of my player aid. I'm glad to hear of people making good use of it too.
Since Kristof lives in Belgium, "noon until night" varies greatly depending on the season. In winter time, it would be less than 5 hours!
When we played this game, it was indeed december. We started at 14h00 with a rules explanation and I think we finished the first round around 16h00. With an evening break for dinner, we finished somewhere around 20h00. Total playing time was thus limited to about 5 hours with three inexperienced players.