Thursday, March 08, 2007

Liberty: American Revolution

After a long hiatus, Ted and I finally got together Wednesday evening to play the Columbia block game Liberty: American Revolution.

The superior training of the British showed as they launched a quick offensive in 1775, capturing George Washington in the process. The Brits maintained control of the southern colonies, Canada and a foothold in Boston for most of the game while the Colonists maintained strength around Philadelphia and New York. In 1778 the main British army pulled out of Boston and made an amphibious landing at Dover. Under the command of Gen. Howe, British forces pushed into Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York. The following year the French intervened and a combined American-French force captured Gen. Cornwallis at Yorktown. By mid-1779, the British held enough victory cities to potentially win the game, but the Americans were poised to launch a counteroffensive that would likely have prevented a British victory.

Ted and I had to stop before finishing the game, but it was a good learning session. It took us about 2.5 hrs. to get from 1775-1779, including reading the rulebook. Experienced players should be able to complete the game easily within the 2-3 hr. playing time listed on the game. I highly recommend downloading the latest version of the rulebook from Columbia games as it clarifies all of the rules we had difficulty with during our game.

While this game utilizes some of the rules from Hammer of the Scots, the majority of the rules are new, particulary in the important areas of naval combat and amphibious landings. The feel of the game is also quite different. There are a lot fewer dice being rolled as much of the game is spent maneuvering forces. The gameboard is also less crowded as both sides have fewer forces. This makes mistakes more costly as neither side can afford to lose precious units. The Americans generally make opportunistic attacks while the British use their fleet to land troops at important locations along the coast. French intervention in the game makes for some interesting dynamics. The French navy is the equal of the British and they are fighting not only in the American Colonies, but in the West Indies as well (represented by an off map box).

Overall, I really like this game. Gameplay is fast and there are plenty of decisions to be made without being overwhelming. This is a winner from Columbia Games.



At 6:53 PM, March 08, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Great session report, Mark.

The basic bones of the game are similar to both HotS and CR, but there are key differences that add flavor and make the game feel different.

Early in the game I was a bit overwhelmed, but by the end of the game I was getting the flow.

Some key points:

-- action pts let you deploy blocks at full strength
-- river movement is a big deal
-- the Atlantic Ocean aids mobility
-- hex based map

I enjoyed the game a lot, and I look forward to playing again. My tentative rating for the trilogy is

Liberty > HotS > CR.

If this holds after I play once or twice more, I'll probably buy a copy.

Highly recommended.

At 7:29 PM, March 08, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

Welcome back, Mark!

At 7:09 AM, March 09, 2007, Blogger Mark said...

Thanks, Ben.

I haven't played CR but I agree with Ted's tentative ranking of Liberty > HotS. Both are excellent games but I like the flow of Liberty better. In HotS the English can use a sledgehammer approach , Liberty requires more finesse.

At 2:40 PM, March 09, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

Guys, stop it. I have enough Columbia Games as it is. Does it really add that much new? If it is indeed too much like CR and HotS, I'm happy not getting it.

I've reached CG saturation..... that is until Wars of the Roses comes out.


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