THE ACADEMY GAMES BIRTH OF AMERICA series games are great “family wargames.” Lite in rules, yet deep in strategy, they also play up to four or five players. For the RockyMountainNavy family, their ability to play at 3-players is most welcome. Recently, 1812: Invasion of Canada (Academy Games, 2012) landed on the table. This gave us a chance to rediscover this under appreciated gem.
Like the game, The War of 1812 is also under appreciated. As the American Battlefield Trust puts it:
Sometimes referred to as the “Second War of Independence,” the War of 1812 was the first large scale test of the American republic on the world stage. With the British Navy impressing American sailors, and the British government aiding Native American tribes in their attacks on American citizens on the frontier, Congress, for the first time in our nation’s history, declared war on a foreign nation: Great Britain. Battles raged on the high seas. British soldiers invaded American soil, captured Washington D.C., and even burned the White House. In the end the Star-Spangled Banner waved “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”https://www.battlefields.org/learn/war-1812
Although 1812 can support up to five players, we played with three. The RockyMountainNavy Boys took the British Regulars, Canadian Militia, and Native Americans. I played both the American Regulars and American Militia. The game plays pretty much like every other Birth of America-series game with a few exceptions; the Native Americans are a full “fifth” faction with their own cards and dice, set locations for mustering troops (reinforcements), and combat resolution that has the side fighting in their home territory battle first (instead of the defender as in other games).
Generally speaking, in the Birth of America series the RockyMountainNavy Boys prefer to play 1775: Rebellion for its simplicity whereas I prefer 1754: Conquest for its theme. Much like Americans and the War of 1812 we tend to “forget” this title.
Not any more.
The war played out in three phases. The first phase was an American invasion in the east that was stopped. The second phase was a British invasion through the central Great Lakes that was countered by American invasions to the far west. The third phase consisted of both sides retaking lost territory. By the time the Treaty of Ghent was signed the British were just barely ahead.
This game of 1812: Invasion of Canada played out much more balanced than many of our other Birth of America games. We all enjoyed the ups, and downs, of the campaign. Like other Birth of America games, the Flee results on the dice are the most remembered, like the time that one gritty little Canadian Militia stood tall while the British Regulars around it fled.
At five players, 1812: Invasion of Canada is a good candidate for the Neighborhood Gaming Gang. With the school year starting and the end of summer, the NGG will be looking for titles to play on weekends when the weather is poor. 1812 may be another perfect fit!
Feature image Academy Games