It is a resource management wargame with asymmetric forces and numerous potential paths to victory. We worked our way through the rulebook with my son sneezing and sniffling due to allergies. There are about 20 different actions, and you can take two actions per turn.
It is a lot to take in, but we dove in and began. Aidan was playing the English and I was the French. Early, I went down the path of growing my dominion while Aidan slowly built up his military.
Eventually, our tentative peace was broken when I raided and destroyed a village community. The drums of war were beating and the British were going to war. They marched and gained control of several villages, but not after two protracted sieges. During this time, as the French I was able to draw out the war, but knew I was going to fail.
The game ended very quickly when the French made a successful raid on New York and garnered the required 12 captured points to trigger end of game. We tallied our score and the French were victorious
The French income is a lot more feast or famine than the British…with some careful deck manipulation the famine can be mitigated. The English can very easily gain coins.
The British have superior strength on the seas and it makes it very hard for the French to successfully fight for coastal towns. It may be feasible, but the paths I meandered down weren’t ideal of these confrontations. The French, however, are well prepared for expanding along the many river ways and executing raids against the unsuspecting villages.
With raiding, I believe it is very easy to reach end game very quickly. In our game, the British were preparing to mount an offensive against Quebec, but the dastardly French snuck in a raid on New York to draw the game to a conclusion. Had I waited one more round, the siege of Quebec would’ve begun and the French most certainly would’ve lost.
Aidan and I had a great time playing the game, and we are both eager to play again and try the other side. With our first playing of the game, we meandered through various tactics, never quite executing a well formed strategy.
I definitely think this is a masterpiece game, well designed, oozing with theme.