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First produced in 1972, this classic has been updated with new labels. The rules remain unchanged.
Qubec 1759 depicts the French-British struggle for control of Qubec City in 1759. The battle was decisive in the future of North America.
Time: 60 minutes
Weight: 488 grams
- 50 wooden blocks
- Mapboard (11 x 34 inches)
- 4 Dice
Average Rating: 2.5 in 2 reviews
This is the first of the Columbia block-wargames, and it is by far the simplest. There's certainly something to be said in approval for a wargame that lasts only an hour! Unfortunately, it only takes three or four plays to figure out all the strategies, after which you need to put it on the shelf and let it 'age' for a year or so before you can take it out again and it will once more be fresh and you can enjoy it.
Although I have only played a few historical wargames, I couldn't help but feel that 'Quebec 1759' must be a poor example of the genre.
The two players, British and French, arrange their pieces Stratego-style at the outset, i.e. you know where your opponent's pieces are but not which ones they are. Then the players write down which pieces they will move each turn, Diplomacy-style, and after movement is revealed, battles (if any) take place by arranging your pieces into columns and alternating die rolls.
Basically, I found the game had too many limitations to be engaging. The board is rather small with not many movement options. More importantly, the British player has only one way to win, which is to capture the Plains of Abraham territory within a set number of turns. The French player wins if they maintain possession of the Plains, or can inflict a certain number of British casualties.
The French player also has use of some First Nations allies, represented by a piece that can teleport at will, skirmish, and retreat. The result of all this seems to be that the best strategy for the French is to pile up all their pieces on the Plains of Abraham, and as they wait for the British to approach, use their roving First Nations squad to whittle off British forces. Then when the armies come together, the French player need only defeat a portion of the British pieces to win, whereas the British player will need to eliminate all of the French pieces to win.
Perhaps enough repeat playings would provide an answer for how the British player can overcome this apparently massive tactical advantage for the French side, or perhaps experienced players could tinker with the victory conditions so as to produce a more even match. But I doubt that this somewhat lacklustre game will encourage people to try. Ultimately, to me it seems that the designers let historical accuracy be more important than creating a balanced and engaging game.