For the People
AKA For the People II, 2006 reprint
List Price: $55.00
Your Price: $43.95
(Worth 4,395 Funagain Points!)
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For the People is a grand strategy game of the American Civil War covering the conflict from Texas to Pennsylvania, from the firing on Fort Sumter to the end at Appomattox Court House. For the People includes a deck of strategy cards for conducting campaigns and incorporating the many events and personalities of the war. The Confederate player can build ironclads, naval mines (torpedoes), submarines, conduct overseas purchases, and work towards foreign intervention. The Union player can build up his naval blockade, his ironclad fleet, fight draft riots, secure the Border States, and issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
Contains Five scenarios, including the campaign game, 1861, 1862, 1863 and 1864. Game is Medium Complexity, with Medium Solitaire Suitability. Includes 420 full-color two-sided counters, One 22x34" full-color mapsheet, One 6-sided die, RuleBook, and 110 Strategy Cards. Play specifics: 4 months per turn, point-to-point map, 6000 men per strength point, one to two players.
I really like the point-to-point, movement-card-driven play system (We The People, Hannibal, Paths of Glory, etc.) that is used in For the People. It makes for a fast moving, fun, and *very* suspenseful game.
FtP is one of the best games built on this system (Paths of Glory being the other). It *doesn't* use the stupid rock-paper-scissors (WtP and Hannibal) combat cards but has a CRT instead--this is a vast improvement.
The component quality is fantastic--just like all the GMT games I've ever seen.
If you like strategic-level games, this one is definitely for you. It is relatively easy to learn with only a few subtle/confusing rules, and you can find lots of opponents on the net.
You should definitely add this game to your collection.
I've played For the People seven times now, and each game has been a thrill a minute. I know of no other title that so manageably captures the sweeping scope of the entire American Civil War like this design.
As the Union player, you will defend Washington, launch a campaign to capture the Mississippi, carefully select naval landings, increase the blockade, struggle for the control of border states, and ultimately cut a swath through through the Deep South late in the conflict thus reducing the Rebel Will to continue the war.
Playing the Confederate side, you will want to raid Northern lands, put legendary commanders (Lee, Longstreet, Jackson, etc.) to best use, judiciously allocate limited manpower, build strategically placed forts, and harm the Federal Will to wage war so that Lincoln is defeated in the election of 1864.
Once the rules are grasped, the card deck drives the game in a smooth and effortless fashion. Players can concentrate on strategy and fun, two commodities that are abundant in this title.
Amongst the hundreds of games that I own, For the People is definitely one of my all-time favorites. It's a brilliant design (by Mark Herman), and despite being labeled as a wargame, all types of players who don't mind a long afternoon of gaming can enjoy this one.
A richly rewarding and very satisying experience.
The 2nd edition is a little more complex and has a few more pices of chrome (and little rules to remember) but its still not complex by wargame standards. I find it a big improvement over the 1st edition.
I still despise the idiotic and fallacious leader loss rules, but the game now plays more like the ACW.
I will list several of the important changes.
For the People was originally published by Avalon Hill 2 years ago, and I found it to be rather disappointing. Despite the obvious potential, several rules sections were totally dysfunctional (the river rules, General casualties, and unrevealed Generals), and the game reeked of a lack of playtesting, being simply not done.
Fortuantely, Mr. Herman started a web site and continued to support his game over the next two years, producing several upgrades to the rules and a number of options to fix the couple of egregious problems. This new version is a culmination of all these updates, plus a few more--a massive rethinking of many of the general's tactical (McClellan goes from 0 to 2--but only on the defense) and political ratings, a number of new and important cards, and a significant improvement to the river rules and aesthetics. In short, most--but not quite all--of the problems with the original have been fixed (the sole remaining problems still have to do with Generals; mainly the casualty rates, which remain oddly linked to several seemingly unrelated factors--having large force ratios and defending behind fortifications still hugely increase the odds of one your General dying).
Anyway, the game is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage on steroids. The card deck and basic mechanics are essentially unchanged--you've got a deck of cards valued 1-3, which have events for one side or the other, Generals, SPs, and a point-to-point map. Generals are activated using their initiative and intercept and fight for political control in much the same way as will be familiar.
But, there is a lot of additional stuff added in. There are multiple levels formations, from Divisions to Armies based on size, all with somewhat different properties; there is the Strategic Will, which functions similarly to your PC reserve in Hannibal (when you run out, you lose); the *still* ever-confusing river rules; amphibious assaults; the blockade; and a somewhat involved mechanism for determining state control.
There is quite a lot to like here for the fairly serious gamer, but the game has certainly progressed way beyond We the People or even Hannibal; We the People had some 6 pages of rules, Hannibal somewhere around 12, and now For the People has about 22 pages. I don't think it's really quite as complex as the pure page count might indicate, but people I know who like and enjoy Hannibal have certainly balked at the complexity of For the People.
Still, if you liked Hannibal and are not deterred by a bit of extra complexity, you should definitely check this one out.
Yes, I know I'm about twelve months late, but imagine if this had been written when Avalon Hill were being absorbed into the fatty tissue of Lord Hasbro. I could have regaled you with an opening paragraph like "And even in their death throes, Avalon Hill maintain their outstanding legacy of supreme strategic wargames never bettered in four decades......".
The good news from Tubby Hasbro is that there will be a trickle of AH titles, that the company will remain autonomous and that the all-powerful Hasbro board have relinquished Advanced Squad Leader to our baseball buddy Curt Schilling who will publish the scenarios independently. If Hasbro pick their spots, then the powerful retail division might well place these ?????? titles in the big stores, and then, who knows?
Irrespective of the future, For The People (American Civil War, full campaign and scenarios) certainly confirmed AH's reputation in the marketplace they dominated for about forty years. And I am delighted that this game does not represent an RIP post.
For The People is the third game in the AH trio of card-generated tactical wargames, following We The People and Hannibal, although the latter's designer Richard Berg pronounced within these pages that had not been his original intention.
Like its predecessors, FTP is driven by a deck of Strategy cards which have a dual purpose. They can be used as either Event Cards or as an Operational device. In both cases, the choices are clearly illustrated, with text and graphics for the various incidents and occurrences and a card value (OC) which allows movement, the placement of forts, the restitution of Generals, the addition of army markers and, what is at the game's core, the placement of Political Control Markers.
All of the above will be familiar to veterans of the series, as will the gameboard, in which key spaces (NOT hexes) are connected by road and rail. I was reminded of GDW's brilliant A House Divided when we laid out the mounted map. It is both colourful and intelligible, and is ambiguity-free. Movement across the board is activated by the Strategy Cards (using their OC value), and in this case Generals and supporting casts can traverse between 6 (Army) and 10 (Cavalry) spaces.
Rapid movement is a pre-requisite. You cannot pussyfoot in this game, and a nervous Union player anxious to hold Washington will be spat on from all corners. Similarly, the Confederate player must strike hard and beware a frisky Union opponent looking to strike using the hugely effective river movement.
The play of cards continues until both players have exhausted their hands. At this point, all gains are marked with Political Control markers and the assessment of States begins. Each player starts with 100 Strategic Will points, and this total is adjusted to account for territorial gains or losses. In all scenarios bar the introductory 1861 game, a variable advantage of SW points determines the winner. The 1861 engagement requires specific state control. So, be extremely wary of surreptitious PC placement, and note that these markers can be placed wherever friendly armies (Strength Points) are in place.
Combat, and there will soon be plenty of it, is determined by comparing the aforementioned Strength Points. Elite Units and Generals provide the nucleus on any Die Roll Modifiers. Initially, this provides a battle size, either large, medium or small. Losses are then established on the Combat Results Table, remembering to verify numbers in the appropriate column. Most losses, and you're a goner and must retreat. Because of the expanse of FTP, recovering ground is very difficult, as you are likely to be fervently engaged elsewhere on the map to worry about reinforcements.
The final act of the sequence of play is Attrition, and a horrible penalty is paid for the encampment of excessive SPs in a space, 3-6 meaning a one step loss, with more than 6 incurring a double penalty. Even worse befalls weary units if they cannot trace Lines Of Communication and are out of supply.
I hesitate to describe FTP as "fast-paced", because players will need to assess their cards, deciding which of the options is more favourable, although if you have events specific to the opposite camp, these can be set aside for the Operations phase. The events are loquacious, as you would expect from veteran designer Mark Herman, and he has encapsulated this well-trodden war in a refined and unpretentious manner.
Blues Guitarist BB King was once asked (not by me) the secret of his style. "It's the notes I leave out", he replied. I sense similar editorial skills within Mr. Herman.