War is Heck

I know very little about the American revolution. I’ve never watched the Mel Gibson movie or seen all of last of the Mohicans but I like 1776 rebellion. It’s real Purdy 
This could be described as a lite version of a Distant Plain with a dash of quartermaster general thrown in for good measure. It’s sort of like that. It’s a lite war game and I think it’s a lot of fun and suitably different from what we normally play. 
The game shows a sideways subway like map of the east coast of North American made up of a patchwork of colonies which are sub divided into regions. The regions start with a number of cubes in situ in a variety of colors (all detailed on the map for ease of setup) 
In the blue and yellow corner we have Team America. The continental army (who’s balls hang low) and the American militia. In then red corner we have Team GB: the always nasty Red Coats and the loyalist militia: plus let’s not forget Team neutral: the Native Americans. 

The goal is very simple. At the end of the game control more colonies than the opposing team. That’s it. There’s no money or economy in the game you get some dudes each turn and have at it 
Winning is achieved in the time honored tradition of placing reinforcements, moving armies and then knocking the shite out of the other team whilst in general cooperating with your teammate. 

What’s different here from the normal fare on the face of it appears small but puts a surprisingly large spin on proceedings. Firstly when you command units you can control your team mate’s units too. Don’t worry there’s enough lads on the board that you won’t fall out over it and you are really working together 
Now I’m not a huge fan of games with two teams. In a lot of cases they’re just two player games with a bigger player count (I’m looking at you letters from white chapel). Granted some of them work really well like Star Wars Rebellion and War of the Rings but 1776 feels like you’re part of a team properly and truth be told you could play with more than 4 if you wanted as the game lends itself to advisors throwing in unhelpful sideline suggestions. The map can change quickly, observers won’t be bored
The mechanics of the game are simple. You start with a deck of 12 cards per faction, some of which are movement cards, some event cards and one special movement card in the form of a truce. 
Every turn you HAVE to play a movement card (or show and draw a new hand). Movement cards come as either move x amount of armies y amount of regions or ship movement where you move x amount of armies from one costal region to another (or across a river). The final one is the ever tricksy truce card which allows four armies to move and once one side had played two of these its game over. Whilst moving, as you would expect if you bump into the enemy it’s fighty time.  
Fights are straightforward. You pick the dice for the troop types engaged and roll them (defender goes first) There’s a limited amount of dice per unit type so a mix of troops gives a better chance of success. Dice feature hits, blanks and flee faces. Hits remove enemies (defenders choice), blanks allow you to retreat units (or advance them to some other area) and flee causes your guys to scurry off but they’ll be back next turn. Again the subtle differences have a big impact. It’s possible to “retreat” units to forward unguarded location. This is big. It makes it much harder to contain enemy forces as they can slip out of your hand like a bar of soap (whatever that is) 
Add to this native Americans that side with armies they first encounter, mercenaries that appear as part of events, event cards that cause a variety of headaches for your opponents but are definitely not overpowered and it’s becoming a very rich gaming experience. It’s a simple game to learn but there’s quite a bit of depth here

The game is suitably epic. Rolling battles. Dug in resistance. Last ditch defenses. The theme is strong here. It’s also very close run. The game we played (and I won’t get into the mistakes I may have made as an American general when my team mate went off to water the horses) was a draw. Games are quick or can be. It’s possible to end the game anywhere between turn three and ten. Even a ten turn war will only last two plus hours. There’s no downtime here it’s full on but immensely enjoyable to watch. 
Production values are excellent. It’s a beautifully presented game. The artwork is gorgeous. The only thing I’d prefer would be little painted soldiers than cubes for the units. I say prefer but I’m never going to paint them up. 
I really like this game. It comes with a number of scenarios outside of the big campaign for quicker or or fewer player games
Just like quarter master general I’m impressed with an innovative and simple rule system and I’d love to try some of the other games in this series. Once I’ve played enough of this one of course. Which I haven’t 
Great game well worth a look

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