This is a very high-level, quick-playing game of the American Civil War for 2 players. It was designed by Martin Lawrence and released in 2018. We had a chance to give this fun game a try this week.
The action is driven by card decks, one for the Union and one for the Confederates. As the game progresses, the deck for the Confederates worsens while the Union deck improves.
The cards control all of your choices and each card offers multiple options – you can use cards to raise armies, influence European powers, increase or run a blockade, influence battles, move units (by land or sea), build forts, attack, and move by rail. You could see many of these options on a single card, so playing one good action could cost you the use of a great action later.
The movement system is point-to-point and there are only eighteen or so locations on the map. Units come in three strengths – 1, 2, 3. Combat is very straightforward, you simply add the number of points on either side to determine the winner. However, your cards can influence the battle by allowing you to bring reinforcements into a location, your armies could have exceptional leadership, or you could be defending the high ground, none of which the attacker knows before initiating battle (though the attacker can play cards, also). Combat losses are applied in a straightforward manner – simply take 1/2 rounded down (winner) or up (loser). This can lead to some heavy casualties if you do not have the right mix of army sizes (i.e. don’t take 3-point armies into a battle without smaller armies in support).
Union losses in battles can move the European powers toward recognizing the Confederacy, so be careful early in the game when your numbers are only slightly better than the Confederates. You may be able to bring a lot of forces to bear, but the Confederates are generally going to have better commanders. A large number of small losses can add up to you losing the game. You have the ability to use some cards to influence the Europeans and your own victories can move the marker in your favor, though.
Overall, this is a fun, quick game that can be easily learned. The card choices give you some real options and deciding which is the most valuable one can be a challenge. Despite the simplicity of the board and the mechanics, the game has some depth to it.
We will have some fun, two-player games like this in the Game Library for the cruise, so be sure to vote for this one when you register!
See you onboard,