1812: The Invasion of Canada from Academy Games is a light and educational wargame in the Birth of America Series that sees players fighting the War of 1812 in the Great Lakes for dominance of the North American continent. There are two alliances including the British Alliance made up of British Regulars, Canadian Militia and Native Americans and the American Alliance consisting of American Regulars and Militia. Each faction has a unique faction deck of cards that are used to move groups or armies around the board to engage in combat, which is then decided by rolling a number of special customized faction dice to determine the outcome. Simple mechanics, but with definite strategic decisions, this game can be played in about 90 minutes and offers some really fun and engaging gameplay.
It’s a very nice game. I personally like it the best of the trilogy Academy games on this subject/period. One thing I have noticed over many two player games is that the British/Canadian/Native American (BCNA) alliance seems to have the edge. As the review noted, when a faction moves and fights it uses ALL of the units present in the area. This effectively allows the BCNA faction the ability to have 3 movement/combat pulses per game turn vs the American 2 pulses. To optimize this, the BCNA player should create as many mixed faction armies as possible – sort of like a “combined arms” force. Given the random faction activation sequencing, there are times when the BCNA faction will be able to move/fight 3 times in sequence. That can create a very powerful steamrolling effect that the American player cannot recover from – especially if it happens in the end game. In multi-player games this seems to be less of a factor simply because player personalities will vary and you don’t get the “perfect coordination” afforded by one players controlling all the factions on their side.
The Birth of America series plays great 2-player, but at 4-players the design really shines. Each side, composed of two factions, must get along and work together. Combined arms (mixed faction) groups are powerful but is one faction totally aboard with the plans of the other?
In our house the games are usually 3-players with my Boys against me. Even after many plays together it is entertaining to see them bicker. Throw in the oldest videogamer Boy for a 4-player night and I find myself 🤣 as the trash talk and table strategy arguments happen.
Wouldn’t trade it for the world, and all thanks to @AcademyGames!