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Review of 1775: Rebellion

C.  Battle Phase

A battle occurs when opposing armies occupy the same area.  If there are multiple battles, the Active player chooses the order in which the battles are resolved.  Any Event Cards played that may influence a battle must be assigned prior to battle resolution.

The Side that moved into the area is the attacker and the other the defender.  The defending players have the initiative, and simultaneously roll their battle dice and apply the results.  If units of both sides remain in battle, the attacking players simultaneously roll their Battle Dice and apply the results.  The battle continues, alternating back and forth, until only one side remains in the area.

Each faction’s controlling player will roll his Battle Dice and make decisions for his own units.  A player rolls a number of Battle Dice corresponding to the number of their units present in a battle.  The maximum number of dice that may be rolled is limited by the number of dice a faction possess.

Battle Dice Results – Each Faction’s Battle Dice have a unique combination of Hit, Flle and Blank “Command Decision” faces.

Hit Results – When a Hit die face is rolled, an opponent’s unit is removed from the battle and placed into its Reinforcement Stockpile.  The opponents decide among themselves which unit to remove if units from more than one faction are present in a battle.

Flee Result – When a Flee die face is rolled, the faction’s player removes one of his own units from the battle and places it into the Fled Units Space.

A factions Fled Units return at the beginning of that faction’s next turn.  Place them into any City Area(s) within colonies controlled by that factions side.

Command Decision Result – When a blank die face is rolled, that faction’s player may decide to move one of his own units out of the current battle.  This unit may move into any adjacent area that is not solely enemy occupied.

An Area that contains both friendly and enemy units (an upcoming battle) may be moved into by Command Decision.  An area that contains only Native American units may be moved into by Command Decision, because they are independent.  Once your unit moves in, they become a ally.

If a battle area is surrounded by enemy occupied areas, a Command Decision movement out of battle is not possible.  An army that moved into battle by water may not move out by water with a command Dennison.

D.  Draw Cards Phase

At the end of their turn, the Active Player draws his hand back up to three cards.  If there are not enough cards left in the draw deck, he draws what remains.

If the Active Player has no Movement cards in his hand after he draws, he must show his cards, reshuffle them into his draw deck and draw three new cards.  A player must always have one Movement Card in his hand after drawing.

The Active Player’s turn is now over.  A new Turn Marker is drawn from the draw bag and the next player takes their turn.  If all Turn Markers have been drawn, the round is over and game end conditions are checked.  If the game does not end, a new round begins.

Game End

The game end condition is evaluated at the end of round 3 and a the end of each subsequent round.  The game ends at the end of a round if Truce Cards belonging to all faction of one or both sides have been played.

The game is won by the side that controls the most colonies.  Games can end in a tie.  In case of a tie, neither side wins and America becomes a southern province of French Canada.

My Thoughts

One of my favorite things about board games are the pieces, the components, that move around the board that you can pick up and feel. One doesn’t get the same interaction with IOS or video games; only board games. So for this reason, the components, the board, and sometimes even the box itself comes under scrutiny, as they are all part of the game. I have only good things to say about the components for 1775. The box insert, the game board, the artwork, the dice, and the cards are all amazing. I really wish more boards were of the quality of 1775’s, it lays flat right out of the box, with no gaps between the folds. The insert is useful for both storage and game play. Plus, you have the option to leave it as is or tear it apart so each player can have their own tray. The dice and Turn Markers are beautiful and chunky. They are fun to roll and will stand up to a younger player’s abuse. The cards have beautiful artwork and Event cards even have a little bit of history to explain them. There is a lot of care and thoughtfulness that went into every level of this game.
The rulebook is easy to read, concise and simple, making the game easier to learn. I did have the advantage of learning the game at a Convention. This showed me the game would be easy to teach. Even four new players could pick it up quickly. Of course, the cooperative element will also help new players learn the game. Each side can plan together and discuss what their best strategy is. I enjoy the discussion that comes out in this type of cooperative play.

As a history teacher, and a fan of history, I like the extra effort put into the back of the rulebook with the explanation of the 1775 Rebellion and the Event Cards that were added to the game.

There is both strategy and luck at play in 1775.  Where and when to move your troops, allying with the Native Americans, and when to attack all depends on the strategy you choose.  But there is also the luck of your card draws and the dice.  In the games I have played so far,  I have not been able to bring out my French Allies or Hessian allies (depending on the side.)  They are not necessary to win the game, but they are very helpful.  I just haven’t drawn the cards before the end of the game.

Rolling dice also adds another element of luck.  You may bring a far superior army into battle but lose on dice rolls.  Of course you can be on the other side where you small army beats up your powerful foes; another win for the underdog.  What is definite is that this is not a pure strategy game.   Those looking for luck free strategy look elsewhere.

I don’t enjoy heavy war games, I like them simple with  limited options and the addition of dice and cards is also preferred.  This is what I have found in 1775.  You only have 12 cards during the first scenario, and only draw three in your hand at a time.  I didn’t feel overwhelmed by options when playing.  I know by the card I played, I can move three armies two spaces and that is all.  I could use an Event Card as well.  Of course when it came to choosing which armies and where it did get a little more complicated.  I like the Event cards that helped you move more armies, add extra units, and bring in your allies.  I didn’t like when the Benedict Arnold card was played on me, making me lose control of a colony.

Each faction has their own dice, cards, strengths, and weakness.  I enjoy these asymmetrical player powers.  Their abilities create great decision making opportunities during all rounds of play.  Who should you take out with a hit?  The stronger British troop or the weaker Loyalist Militia; knowing that the British have no flee results on their dice so you’ll never have more than four new British during the Reinforcements phase.  It is a simple way to show the historic aspects of the opposing sides.

The Command decision result is also useful and can keep a colony from falling into your enemies hands, or take an army from a lost battle to the next one to be fought.  So, no matter what is rolled players are left with useful actions.  The dice rolling and strategic decisions offer a nice blend of thematic game and Euro game mechanics.

There is also minimal downtime during the game, with either two players or four players.   During a four player game you will be discussing and planning with your partner.  And each turn may be a chance for you to roll your battle dice.  Turn order is determined by the Turn Markers being pulled from the bag so you never know when your next turn will be.  This has both advantages and disadvantages for players.  You can’t predict when you will next play so a thought out move may not work after your opponent takes two turns in a row.  I also believe there is a distinct advantage to going last after the second Treaty of Paris card has been played.  It is one of my issues with the game.  When that card comes out and your opponent needs only one more colony to win you better hope you have good luck with your dice rolling.  Of course, many will say that careful planning ahead of time will negate that last move.  But the possibility is there and I don’t like it.  I was the one who won the game because of it.  It just felt like a shallow victory.

Overall I have really enjoyed 1775: Rebellion, the game play is solid, the components amazing, and the game length just right.  It’s a game that families can play together, school children can use as a fun way to learn about the beginning of the American Revolution, and couples can enjoy as a light war game.  Luck and card draws may keep heavy war gamers away but even they can enjoy the blend of Euro and thematic game mechanics.  It a game that I know will stay in my collection based on theme, fun factor, and ease of play.

Quick Stats:

Designer:Beau Beckett, Jeph Stahl

Artists: Jarek Nocon, Steve Paschal

Publishers:Academy Games, Asyncron Games, Ediciones MasQueOc, Schwerkraft

Players: 2-4

Game Length:  75 minutes

Ages: 10 and up

Review Overview

Final Rating

Almost Perfect

Overall I have really enjoyed 1775: Rebellion, the game play is solid, the components amazing, and the game length just right. It's a game that families can play together, school children can use as a fun way to learn about the beginning of the American Revolution, and couples can enjoy as a light war game.

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