21 June 2012

Anniversary: War of 1812, Part 'Next' of... we lost count

(another guest column from Internationally Acclaimed Game Maestro™ Brian Train. Also cross-posted over at grogheads.com)

In time for the bicentennial of the invasion of Canada that began the War of 1812, here is a brief summary of board wargames dealing with the conflict

1812: The Invasion of Canada
Academy Games 1812
Here’s an interesting one that is getting a lot of attention this year: a cooperative area-control game! Up to three British players (British Regulars, Canadian Militia and Native Americans) and two American players (Regular Army and Militia). Players must cooperate with each other in order to plan and conduct their campaigns to capture Objective Areas on the map. When a truce is called, the side that controls the most enemy Objective Areas wins.

Amateurs to Arms!
Clash of Arms Games 2012
Card-driven game on the entire war. Several months per turn, cards are played for the event described on the card, or for the card’s Operations Points, which allows player activities such as moving
forces, building ships and fortifications, or raising troops. Card and game events conspire markers on the Peace Track to move the end of the game up inexorably as the governments of both countries try to end the affair without shame.

A Mere Matter of Marching
Microgame Design Group 2002
DTP game on the three summer campaigns on the Niagara Peninsula, 1812-14. Point to point movement system, company troop scale. Units move on a strategic map until they make contact, then action is resolved on a battle board.

Chippawa: Birth of the United States Army
Markham Designs 2000
DTP wargame of Chippawa at battalion level.

Fury on Champlain
3W 1994
Land and naval warfare in the Lake Champlain area during September 1814. Said to have many rules problems.

For Honour and Glory
Worthington Games 2005
Many land and sea scenarios for the War, using the Clash for a Continent system. Features map boards, terrain tiles and hardwood counters to build up scenarios. Scenarios placed in Canada include Queenston Heights, The Thames, Chrysler's Farm, Chippawa, and Lundy's Lane.

La Bataille de York 1813
Minden Games 2002
In Panzerschreck magazine #9. Solitaire tactical mini-game in which the player (as British) tries to turn back the American invasion near York (afterwards, Toronto). Tiny map, fewer than 20 counters!

Line of Fire
BSO Games 2000
Two-game DTP package by Richard Berg: Maipo, a battle in 1818 in Chile and Lundy’s Lane, the bloodiest battle of the War of 1812.

Mr. Madison’s War
GMT 2012?
Another card-driven game on the War, players have a choice between playing the event on a card for its points or using it to perform actions on the game board and score automatic points for the playing of a card as an historical event. Map covers the northern theatre at four months per turn, with a unit scale of regiments, battalions, and individual ships. This game made its P500 cut in late 2011, but no release date has been announced.

Obstinate Beyond Description
The Perfect Captain 2005
Free print and play area movement game on operations in the Niagara Peninsula. Two days per turn; “detachment” (100-200 men) troop scale.

Rocket’s Red Glare
Simulations Canada 1981, Omega Games 20??
First game to cover the entire war. Designer Stephen Newberg (a Canadian) said of this, “This game is one of my favourites of my own design. The complexity is only moderate, but the game manages to include both a strategic game covering the U.S. from New England to Louisiana, and a breakdown operational game dealing in detail with the critical Great Lakes region confrontation zone. We have land and sea combat systems, and their integration. And it actually produces good history in a tense game.” Omega Games has been promising a reprint of this Real Soon Now for six years.

Twilight’s Last Gleaming
Decision Games 1997
In Strategy & Tactics #184: three small games on the battles of Bladensburg, North Point and New Orleans.

Twilight’s Last Gleaming II
Decision Games 2004
In Strategy & Tactics #225: sequel to the first volume, with revised rules; three small games on the battles of Chippewa, The Thames and Lundy’s Lane.

War of 1812
Columbia Games 1973
Focuses on the campaigns for the Great Lakes only. Block game, introductory level rules complexity but tremendous number of decisions and lack of information make for a tense and quite balanced game.

War of 1812
Decision Games 2001
Strategy & Tactics #201
Joe Miranda design covering the entire war. Seasonal turns, regimental troop scale, point-to-point movement system that appears similar to that used in A House Divided.

Additionally, there are many naval wargames that feature individual actions from the naval part of the war.

By: Brian Train


Jack Nastyface said...

Thanks for this excellent list of games of an often overlooked part of N. American History. The war of 1812 offers a number of possible scenarios for gaming, as it includes amphibous warfare, naval warfare on the open seas and great lakes, control of rivers and waterways, extended supply lines, seiges, raids and skirmishes, and large set-piece battles. What most of these games do not capture (few games do) is the tremendous impact on civilian life...burned villages, economic ruin, bitter emnity, and civilian displacement.

Creating an 1812 naval scenario is quite easy - on-line references are readily available - but some of my favorite games come from age-of-sail stalwarts Wooden Ships & Iron Men, and GMT's Flying Colors - Serpents of the Seas.

Yours in gaming,

Jack Nastyface

Brian said...

Thanks Jack!

By the way, a reprint of ROCKETS RED GLARE, Stephen Newberg's long out-of-print game on the War of 1812, has been announced as the issue-game for #78 of the relaunched PAPER WARS, due out in fall of 2012.