Billabong Boardgamers

Billabong Boardgamers December 31st, 1997

Present: Alan & David

Previous session report

David Coutts writes:

New Years Eve at my house.

Alan had heard a great deal about the "We The People" series of games, so we decided to play the original game itself, We The People (American War Of Independence) . A die roll decided who would be who:- Alan, American; David, British. I’ve played the game a few times before, as well as Hannibal a couple of times. This was Alan’s first go.

1775 started badly for the British with Alan playing "Baron von Steuban Continental Training" strategy card before a shot was fired in anger. Normally the British enjoy the minor advantage of "British Regulars" which gives them an extra battle-card in battles. Now, that was lost, and with the first strategy card played!

Things got worse with Alan playing the "Declaration Of Independence", which allows the American to place a political control marker in an empty space in each of the 13 colonies! Worse still, I was forced to play "Benjamin Franklin Signs a French Alliance" which gave Alan General Rochambeau and 5 French strength points!!!

The end of year saw the British under Howe holed up in Boston with armies under Washington, Rochambeau & Green poised to strike (and the French navy blockading the port of Boston). The British used their 3 reinforcements to land (with Clinton) in deepest Georgia to capture the port of St. Mary. Fortunately for the British, Rochambeau was not in Winter quarters and suffered attrition, losing 2 strength points. The British had used to the year to place political control markers whilst sitting tight.

1776 saw Howe strike at Rochambeau (thanks to a Minor Campaign card, otherwise Howe would have been at the receiving end) at the port of Barnstable in the Massachusetts Bay colony. Howe won with a double envelopment, but Rochambeau and his entire force were wiped out as no retreat is possible from Barnstable. The French were gone! Furthermore, Cornwallis and his 8 reinforcements landed at Falmouth (also in the Massachusetts Bay colony). Unfortunately, Howe suffered Winter attrition for being where Rochambeau had been during the last Winter. The British continued to place political control markers, isolating one or two American markers (which were removed). Meanwhile, the Americans continued to amass troops.

In 1777, with the Benedict Arnold treason card already discarded, Alan brought him into play and won his first battle against the British at Falmouth. Control of the militia in the Massachusetts Bay colony would swing back to the Americans again. Arnold then used his special movement ability to invade Canada and capture Quebec & Montreal. Down in Georgia, South Carolina & North Carolina, the British were gaining the upper hand politically without fighting a battle. Alan attacked with Lincoln and was beaten back. Meanwhile, in the North again, Howe & Cornwallis moved inland to capture Lexington & Concord and threaten Washington (an instant win if he is captured). Greene tried to retreat (on a 1 to 4) and failed. He lost the battle and had to withdraw.

1778 is another good year for British reinforcements (8), although only Burgoyne was available to land with them. In the South the British decided to attack whilst they had the advantage, and again Clinton beat Lincoln and captured the port of Charleston. In the North the American attacks were beaten off and Washington’s army depleted. Cornwallis moved North and recaptured Canada, and captured Benedict Arnold!

1779 saw further slow gains by the British in the North, although Arnold reappeared in the South and captured the colony of Georgia without a fight!

Alan’s luck with counter-attacks was extremely poor throughout the game, as was his ability to match my attacking battle cards! Also, the British were lucky to have good Operations Strategy cards throughout the game. You can see where this is leading….

1780 was destined to be the final year of war. The War Ends Card was 1780 (though I was dealt the 1779 card), but Washington was finally defeated and captured at Frederick Town after fleeing from the British armies pursuing him. Unfortunately for Washington, Cornwallis (who had been dismissed by Howe earlier) landed with 5 reinforcements at Yorktown and could easily reach him.

Even without the automatic victory, it looked like the British would win politically (although it may have been close).

Overall a good game, and we only made 2 mistakes. Early in the game Alan played one too many reinforcement cards (straight to the discard pile, not allowed). And my attack against Charleston should not have allowed me the 2 extra battle cards for a port space (this is printed on the map - we simply missed it!).

From explaining the rules through to conclusion it took 3 hours. A very playable game, very interesting historically. Mark Herman has certainly come up with a highly original game design for a wargame.

Personally, I prefer Hannibal. The strategy cards are better designed such that you are never left with cards in your hand which only the other player can play, as the cards have dual uses in Hannibal. In WTP you are often forced to just discard a card. I prefer the period (Rome vs Carthage), too. Mind you, I still haven’t played Successors…..Doug? Alan?

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