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Rainy Day Game's Board Game Review of The American Civil War:
The American Civil War in Summary
Take control of the Union or the Confederacy is the epic battle for the future of America. Eagle Game’s excellent new board game, The American Civil War, does an excellent job of modeling the strategic and tactical concerns of the Civil War. The tactical, strategic, economic, and political aspects of the 19th Century are rendered in a game system that is simple to understand and satisfying in its complexity.
In the standard Eagle Games style, The American Civil War board game comes with a huge map, a large tray of high-quality plastic game pieces, and a thick rule book which allows you to select Basic, Standard and Advanced game rules. Choose the level of play to fit who is playing and how much time you have to spend.
Like the best historical war games, The American Civil War board game gives you the feeling of re-writing history. Play “What If?” and see if you can change the course of the nation. Like its more tactical but equally excellent sibling Battle Cry, The American Civil war will be a long-loved and much-played addition to your games closet.
The American Civil War Gameplay
The American Civil War board game is really 3 games in one because of the three levels of rules. Basic rules focus on battles. Standard rules introduce economies and more advanced tactical battles. And the advanced rules add in political considerations. We’ll concentrate on Standard rules here because that’s what we’ve played most.
Being a war game, your primary concern is going to be your military unites and moving them across the board. The very large, colourful board focuses on the Eastern seaboard of the United States at the time of the Civil War. The map is divided into regions which regular the movement of your armies, and cities are connected by rail lines: a major strategic resource you must pay attention to during game play.
The military units, of course, follow the technology and style of the Civil War era. Infantry, cavalry, artillery, naval and leader units will form your armies. Each sie in the war has strengths: the North produces artillery and naval units cheaply whereas the South excels at quickly producing infantry and cavalry units. Infantry and artillery can move one region per game turn; cavalry and leaders can move two. The exception is those all-important rail lines. If you can load your troops onto the trains, striking deep into the enemy’s lines becomes quick and effective.
Battles happen when opposing troops come together. If either side has 5 or fewer units, a skirmish occurs. Skirmishes are simple affairs where the two lines face off and bang away at each other until a victor emerges. If both sides have 6 or more units a major battle ensues. Players set up their forces in a left flank, right flank, center line, and reserve area. The goal is not to anhilate the enemy forces, but to break their line. Once one of their front areas has been decimated, the enemies retreats as the victor takes one last shot.
Each unit has their own peculiar movement, attack and defense capabilities and the tactical challenge is the perfect compliment the broader strategies that play out on the main map.
The Standard rules of The American Civil War board game also introduce production points. Production points are the economic power of your military machine. As you lose and gain cities your productive capacity will grow and shrink. These points are used to buy new units, expand your rail capabilities, and influence the European powers who are keeping a close eye on the war in their former colony.
The winning condition of the game also change depending on which variant you’re playing. The Basic game requires a simple occupation of 8 opposition cities to win. The Standard game requires the Union to occupy every Southern and border-city state before the December 1865 game turn. The Confederacy can win by preventing that winning condition or by occupying 6 Northern cities at any time. The Advanced game adds the election of Abraham Lincoln into the equation and if he fails the campaign the South wins its independence!
Who should buy The American Civil War?
The American Civil War board game is for a much broader audience than just war gamers. Eagle Games has done a great job of taking a complex period of history and authentically rendering it into a simple game system. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ve learned the rules and start working on the strategic problems of the game.
With the three levels of game available, The American Civil War board game is suitable for lots of different gamers and lots of different game situations. With the number of plays you’ll get out of this box, it’s definitely good value for your gaming dollar.
The Manufacturer's Board Game Review of The American Civil War:
The American Civil War is a game of grand strategy and tactical battles during the epic struggle that divided the United States. The players take control of the war effort of the North as they attempt to save the Union, or the South as they attempt to gain independence for the Confederacy. They can lead armies into battle, build their navy, emancipate the slaves, enact conscription, or attempt to influence European involvement in the struggle to tip the balance. Refight the war, and change the course of history.
Hundreds of magnificently sculpted miniatures that represent the various types of units that made up the armies of the era:
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