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War of 1812
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First produced in 1973, this classic has been updated with a new "poetic" map and new labels. The rules remain unchanged.
War of 1812 Depicts the American-British struggle for control of the Great Lakes 1812-14. The roles of navies, infantry and cavalry are depicted.
Weight: 475 grams
Average Rating: 4.5 in 2 reviews
If you like the recent 'eurogames', and would like an interesting 2-player challenge, you would do well to check this game out. It has many of the characteristics of a eurogame, being simple (6 pages of rules, but the pages are pretty small), relatively intuitive, and rewarding thoughtful play. Unlike your typical eurogame, though, which tends to be set up to limit what you can do each turn, War of 1812 is very open-ended--that is to say, you have a lot of flexibility in how you use your resources each turn and there are lots of options available to you. Check out Bill's review for a good overview of the game. The great thing about this game too is that it serves as an excellent introduction to Columbia's fantastic line of games. The next step up in terms of rules and game complexity is Napolon, which is an enduring classic (and is also excellent for 3 players, which is unusual for a simulation game). Napolon adds a fascinating little battle-resolution subgame which adds a great deal of excitement to the basic 1812 system, and manages to make an even more engaging game with very little more in terms of rules. For a little more complexity, you can get Bobby Lee, which is a melding of Napolon and their [page scan/se=0504/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Front games, and is an excellent but more involved game. Columbia's line of games is definitely something you should check out if you are a eurogamer up for something a bit more challenging, and 1812 is a great place to start. Battle Cry is a lot flashier and has gotten more attention recently, but these classics from Columbia are in my opinion simpler to learn, more challenging to play, and all-around superior games in almost every respect.
War Of 1812 is one of only a handful of games on that subject, and remains a classic.
Columbia Games is reknown for its 'block games,' and War Of 1812 is a great introduction into the genre. Players of Stratego will recognize the limited intelligence aspects of block gaming, to which the designers added step-reduction of units. Groups of army units move from point-to-point, as each side attempts to capture towns and cities in the enemy's territory. Rules cover army and naval operations, amphibious attacks, Indians, American militia restrictions, attrition during winter, and an optional simultaneous movement.
Combat is resolved by rolling dice: one for each strength point (called CV) in the force. For each '6' thrown, an enemy block is reduced by one CV, turning that block to its reduced side. When an army unit with a CV of '1' takes another hit, it is eliminated from the game. Battles consist of rounds of dice throwing and attrition recorded by defenders followed by attackers, and both sides have the option to retreat prior to the start of a new round.
The American and British players each begin with a set army order of battle, and receive reinforcements at the beginning of each year. A year consists of 10 turns. The final year (1814) is especially crucial, as the British player receives heavy reinforcements representing troops arriving from the Napoleonic wars in Europe.
Players contend over three lakes: Erie, Ontario, and Champlain. Either side can construct naval units on the lakes, and control of a lake is usually critical to the army operations around it. Naval units can battle enemy naval units on a lake for control; naval units in control of a lake can transport friendly land units across, and even conduct amphibious assaults.
Since there never seems to be enough army units to do everything a player would like to do, and shifting army units from one end of the board to the other is slow, each player should determine which lake or lakes will be the focus of his/her attention at the beginning of each year. Reinforcements can then be allocated accordingly. Since each player can move only ONE GROUP of army units each turn, 10-turn years generally consist of one major campaign effort, or several minor campaigns. Guess poorly at your opponent's intentions while overcommitting your forces to one lake, and you can get hurt badly.
For such a simple game (only 4 pages of rules), War Of 1812 is satisfying as both a strategy game and a historical simulation. The components are very high quality; the map is particularly beautiful.
If you're ready for a step up from Risk, and especially if you love early American military history, try this great little game. If you're a wargaming grognard, you can appreciate it as challenging fare that you can finish in one sitting.