Friday, January 11, 2008

Featured game: War of 1812, differences between editions

War of 1812, differences between the Gamma Two edition and current Columbia game.

The Map
The Gamma Two edition is mounted and has very dull artwork. The new map is on cardstock with completely new artwork. Besides being more attractive the new map shows the naval bases for each side, which you had to remember in the Gamma Two Game. The Victory Point values of Detroit and Sackett's Harbor have been changed, with Detroit going from a "2" to a "3" and Sackett's Harbor from "3" to "2"
Effect on play: Small. Having the naval bases marked is an improvement. Detroit was already a major target for the British, but they can now winter a larger army there.

The Units
The Gamma Two edition has stylized ship silhouettes printed on 12 brown blocks. The Columbia edition has more realistic ship silhouettes on stickers to affix to seven blocks for each side.
Effect on play: Moderate. Instead of being drawn from one pool each nationality now has its own pool of ships, so there's less chance for one side to create an artificial shortage of ships.

The Gamma Two edition has the unit information printed on clear plastic stickers to affix to the blocks. CV is represented by 2-4 squares along each side. In the Columbia version the unit information is printed on stickers to affix to the blocks. Unit types are now shown with crossed rifles, sabers or tomahawks. CV is depicted with arabic numerals along the side.
Effect on play: Minimal, although the newer presentation is somewhat more attractive.

The land order of battle in both versions is similar with two exceptions. On the British side, the formerly green Indian unit is now red like the rest of the army, allowing more fog of war. And both sides now a 2 CV dragoon unit.
Effect on play: Small. The British can now hide the location of the indians and the dragoons add a speedier, if weak unit to each army.

The Rules
The Gamma Two edition rules run a little over two pages while the Columbia edition's rewritten, indexed and numbered rules run about four pages, excluding the cover and historical notes.
Effect on Play: Large, the new rules are easier to read and understand while not being any more complex. In the Gamma Two edition all land movement was from town to town.

The Columbia version adds a force marching ability which gives a unit a 50 percent chance to move a second area. Failure costs the unit a step. British units get +1 to the die roll, Indians get a +2, increasing their chances of success.
Effect on Play: Large. Armies are much more flexible.

Victory Conditions
In the Gamma Two game control of a lake is worth 1 VP, in the new game this is increased to 2VPs per lake.
Effect on play: Large. Control of the lakes is much more important.

Sequence of Play
In the Gamma Two game the players alternate movement turns. In the Columbia edition players dice for initiative each turn, with the winner choosing who goes first. There is also an optional rules for simultaneous movement with written orders.
Effect on Play: Large, there is less predictability. Combined with the greater mobility of the units there is much more scope for surprise by having force marches on double moves.

In the Gamma Two edition if a reinforcement city was occupied the reinforcements could not be brought on until the city was vacated. In the Columbia game the reinforcements can now fight their way onto the map later during a campaign move if the city is occupied during the reinforcement phase.
Effect on Play: Large. The U.S. can no longer block the large mass of late-game British reinforcements with a small army in Quebec.

While the Gamma Two edition was a fine little game, the new edition improves the game considerably. Game play and strategy remains much the same, although there is somewhat more scope for strategems due to the increase in movement options.

No comments:

Post a Comment