Supply Lines of the American Revolution: The Northern Theater, 1775-1777 is a two-player game focused on the supply and logistics aspect of the Patriots and their struggle for independence during the first three years of the American Revolutionary War. The game is a struggle between the two sides of the war, the Patriots and the mighty Crown forces. The game does a fantastic job of focusing on the logistical side of war and makes it readily apparent to players why this is important as moving and attacking are specifically tied to possessing a type of supply. Green cubes, representing Food Supply, are used by each side to move their troops around the board to position them for battle and natural cubes, representing War Supply, such as ammunition and powder, are used to gain battle dice to be rolled in combat. If you don’t have the type of supply required to fund the actions you desire to take, you will find that you are not doing anything and will need to quickly change your tactics to address this problem.
As you can see from the above picture, the goal of the game is for each side to control cities such as Baltimore, York, Morristown, New York, Albany, Boston and Providence in order to have that city produce Supply each round. If the city is occupied by at least 1 Unit counter representing an Army, it will produce Supply during the Supply Phase of each round. The supplies produced will include 2 Food Supplies and 1 War Supply as long as it is occupied by an Army, has at least one Point (or green shaded square) adjacent not occupied by an Army or occupied by a friendly Army. This is key as you can attempt to cut off a city from producing Supply by simply threatening it with the presence of an Army on one of these adjacent Points. I was able to do this early in the game with the Patriots by simply moving one of my Armies into a Point adjacent to Boston, which stopped Supply from being generated and ultimately led to my forces chasing the British form the city into the seas and allowing me to control it.
Once again, by looking at the above picture, you can see that I have established a very long and uninterrupted Supply Line stretching from Baltimore on the south edge of the map all the way to the Point located just south of Fort Ticonderoga. This uninterrupted Supply Line allowed me to produce Supply in many Patriot cities to the south, including Baltimore, York, Philadelphia, Morristown and Albany and then by rule be able to move that Supply freely through the connections made with those Lines. I simply used this network to build up the appropriate amount of War Supply to allow for a realistic chance at a siege of Fort Ticonderoga to chase the British further north and relieve pressure in this area.
One note about building the Supply Lines. It is not as simple as you would assume and requires a fair amount of planning and forethought about what it is that you are trying to accomplish. You have to make sure to have enough Food Supply to march your forces, but also have enough War Supply to be able to fight as well when you get to where it is that you are going. In moving your forces around in order to establish the Supply Lines, you will find that it is very expensive as you can split a stack to move around the map but you have to pay for the whole stack in that Point whether you move them all or not. This will mean that in the beginning you will not necessarily be using those Food Supply cubes efficiently as one green cube can allow you to move up to four units plus a Leader and in the early going, I found myself spending a single green cube to simply move one or two units to stretch those lines making connections from city to city, particularly in the southern colonies on the map.
Supply is the name of the game and managing those Supply Lines, while also attempting to ruin and disrupt those of your enemy, will lead to victory. In our next Action Point, I will take a look at the Battle mechanic and how to use those Supplies to realize the goal of winning freedom and independence for the colonies.
If you are interested, we did post an unboxing video of the game showing the components and talking a little about the game. Note: In the video, you will notice that the rulebook was not included. The publisher did send me a replacement rule book very soon after I contacted them about it missing. Hollandspiele not only makes great, playable games, but have fantastic customer service as well. Great work Tom and Mary!