Wednesday, 21 August 2013


Got 2 new board games last week, both of them are from the highly awarded GMT brand of boardgames. Both are excellent, very tactical and historical.

Box cover

The first game titled "The Wilderness War" - is a two player card driven game about the battles between the British and French in 1755 - 1763 for control of North America. During the game you relive the history of this exciting time when the fate of Canada hung in the balance. 
If you ever watched "The last of the Mohicans" you get a sense of the history around this era with the colonials and Indians (well sort of)

The game uses strategy cards and a point-to-point map system with rivers, lakes, mountains, cultivated and wilderness areas. Players maneuver and battle over a map stretching from Northern Virginia to Canada. As the leader of French or British forces, you need to defend your frontier, raid your enemy's frontier, recruit Indian allies, build fortification networks through the harsh wilderness while remaining in supply as this is vital to besiege forts and fortresses, and deal with historical events occurring in Europe that are above and beyond your control.

The game spans 8 years with a summer and winter season in each, making the game 16 turns long. But this is divided into three periods, with a early, mid and late period for gameplay - for a long campaign game you play all 3 periods and for a tournament style game you only play the middle years.

Overall board map

 The French rely heavily on Indian allies such as the Huron and Ottawa, and have large amount of Indian units available to them through card actions, they are classed as irregular troops so have more flexible movement allowance and they help in raiding actions up and down the line, often sneaking past and raiding cultivated spaces for victory points. The British only get a very limited amount of Mohawk and Cherokee Indians in comparison and rely more on the Provincial Colonials and Ranger units. During the course of the game they get more of the drilled Red coats available to them making them formidable as more intent on sieges and trying to force a pitched battle.

During the winter season your irregular troops have to "go home" as it is called, where in they cant sustain the winter months outside so have to go back to a friendly fort or home Indian settlement, the drilled troops dont, but if caught out in the open they will suffer attrition  if not in a Fort or stockade.

Close up showing leaders and troops

The French I must say easily have the early advantage in the game, with the crushing British manpower advantage accruing later. The British are the only ones that can perform amphibious landings from Halifax on to the French Fortress Louisbourg, then down the St Lawrence River and beyond. The French cant due to the blockades by the British fleet.

Played the game last Saturday night with Andrew who eagerly took on the French side, good as I wanted to be the Red Coats ! . We decided to start the game in middle year being our first proper game of it. Andrew used his Indians with some good results and took my forward Forts early on, I struggled to get enough Redcoats and had to rely on the Provincial troops and militia to defend the wide front, as I put a lot of my time in amphibious landings at Louisbourg, To support this I pushed hard up inland towards Quebec, building forts and stockades along the way. I had no end of problems when Andrew played a rather cool (or awful for me) card against my British in the later period, which makes most of your Provincial troops disband "so as to defend their homelands" .... not nice when your relying on them. I managed to take Louisbourg, but I failed to push on as I took heavy losses due to winter attrition. The game took about 3 hours but I think this was mostly due to looking up odd rules and the like.

Playing event cards - Red is British and Blue being French

Andy won in the end on 10 points just before the final turn started - first one to 10 wins the game. But what an exciting game full of drama!
Looking forward to a rematch, where having now played it I hope to put a few different ideas in play, by building more forts and invest in using more troop cards instead of costly amphibious landings.

Will post about the second game some time as I have yet to play it. Game is called "Rebel Raiders on the High Seas" and is all about sea and river battles/raids and blockade runners between the Confederates and Union during the American Civil war period - it looks really good, I hope Andy lets me pick the Confederate side as these guys do all the raiding and blockade running where as the Union are more the aggressor type with all their Industrial might behind them, similar to what the British are like in the Wilderness War I suspect.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a cool game. The thing I like about board games is you can get playing without spending months painting!
    I've always liked that period too. Last of the Mohicans is an excellent book, starts a bit slow but once it gets going it's hard to put down. Much better than the movie.