Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Washington's Wars

Last night I played my first game of Washington's Wars by GMT Games. I spotted this a few months ago and decided to pick up a copy to potentially use for AWI campaigns once (if?) I get my army painted up. Fi kindly indulged me by agreeing to play the Americans.
The game mechanics are based closely on those of Hannibal which is an excellent game and seemed to be used in a number of GMT games. The Board takes the form of a point-to-point map covering the original 13 colonies and Canada. Each turn corresponds to a campaign year during which each player is dealt 7 strategy cards which they play to either control their armies, influence the political situation, or initiate historic events. The skill of the game is to strike the right balance at the right time between military and political concerns.
We managed to change the course of history with the British holding onto America by 1882. The British launched a southern campaign straight away gaining a strong base of support in the South that they never lost. And, despite some successful campaign in Canada by Washington, including the capture of Montreal, the Americas were never able to chase the British out of the North East and eventually the British moved in to secure the central states.

It was an enjoyable game for our first run through. The main thing I wanted to discover was how the rules taken from one period, the Punic Wars, would feel in another and found they worked well. There are a number of changes to the rules that give players different challenges to deal with. These cover elements the placement of political counters to the system for reenforcements. The biggest change however is battle resolution which is through an adjusted dice throw rather than the card system in Hannibal.
While for Wargames I like a different set of rule mechanics for each period I am more willing to consider the same mechanics at a strategic level. While battlefield tactics have changed between periods through changes in weapons, population, theatres and cultures, strategically the challenges remain the same. You need to get armies in the field, maintain them, and use them and other means to influence the political situation to bring victory.

I found that the changes to the rules give the game a different feel and represent the historic challenges each side faced based on my current understanding of the war. However, it does feel heavy stacked in favour of the British player as they have a good advantage in combat (as they did historically) but this makes it difficult for the Americans to bring the French into the war as they need nine victories baring other events.

I look forward to taking on the challenge of being the Americans the next time we play the game.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, the game is stacked in favor of the Americans. One more victory in the British favor can cost them the war. The British cannot use their superiority to fight every battle. They need to win, convincingly, as they cannot either take losses or lose time in minor skirmishes. Would be interested if you devised a campaign to miniatures set of rules.