Liberty or Death

Monday, January 11, AD 2016


As faithful readers of this blog know, I like to play strategic level games recreating past conflicts.  One game that I am looking forward to is GMT Games’ Liberty or Death:  The American Insurrection. Part of the COIN series of recreations of asymmetric counter-insurgency struggles throughout history, it uses counters and cards to recreate the Revolutionary War with the following sides, each of which have differing abilities and goals:


As the British, you have to deal with an Insurrection across a massive region.  With control of the seas (at least until the French arrive), you have extreme flexibility and can move across the coast and cities at will.  You will muster Tories to support your efforts.  They will march with you to battle, but they need your cover.  You can control any space you choose, but you cannot answer every threat on the map.  The Indians will work with you but, like the Tories, will need you to coordinate and protect them when the Patriots become aggressive.  With the leadership of Gage, Howe, and then Clinton, you will be able to strike a potentially decisive Brilliant Stroke if the stars align.  Each leader brings something new to the war effort.  If you can strike the decisive blow and Win the Day you will be able to build Support and reduce Opposition in short order.  If the option to Battle the French in the Colonies presents itself, it will be hard to pass up!

As the Patriots, you initially aren’t powerful enough to counteract the British Army.  You will need to pick your battles and initially spread the Militia to key areas.  Over time you can train a force of Continentals to take on the British Regulars.  Until then, Rabble-rouse and work with the French to challenge British dominance.  Skirmish with the British in small numbers to make their stay expensive.  Will the French be there when you need them?  Persuade the local population to give you resources to keep the heat up.  Watch the Indians on the Frontier because if they develop their forces unanswered you won’t be able to win the game regardless of what happens with the British.

As the Indian player, you have selected the lesser of two evils in aligning with the British.  You will work with them to lower Opposition using Raids but you will be developing your footprint by Gathering forces and building villages.  The British can help you to protect them from the Patriots and in return you can assist the British in controlling the region.  War Chief Joseph Brant and later War Chief Cornplanter give you the ability to mount a decisive attack with your War Parties but will it be worth exposing your villages to Patriot attack?

As the French, you have the ability to be the thorn in the side of the British in North America.  With the Hortalez Rodrigue et Cie Company, formed to feed the Patriots resources, you can fund the Insurrection.  Your agents can rally assistance in and around Quebec and you can facilitate privateers to steal resources from the British. When you sign the Treaty of Alliance with the Patriots, you can bring French Regulars to America to March and Battle.  You can also increase French Naval Intervention, Blockade Cities, move Regulars by sea and Skirmish with the British.

Continue reading...

9 Responses to Liberty or Death

  • That looks quite interesting, Donald. I got into Hex and related games through the computer medium. I purchased “The Perfect General” when I was in my teens, and played it for many an hour. Now, it’s mostly games with my kids that are anywhere close to this sort of thing (Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, etc.).

  • is good Jonathan for releasing old computer games at a minimal price. They update them so they can run on current computers.

  • That’s fantastic, Donald! What a great website!

  • [The British]weaknesses were that they simply did not have the troops to garrison every town in the 13 colonies and the fact that the British government was not going to engage in a never ending war against the colonists and that the War had to be won prior to British patience running out.

    You left out the 3 month/3450 mi (approx) line of communication.

  • Ernst!

    Get a pic for your avatar, you ruined the ‘feel’ of the comments section!


  • The only time that was really a problem was during the Saratoga campaign when the effort to coordinate Howe and Burgoyne’s forces broke down. However Burgoyne’s force was so small for the task allotted him, that no amount of coordination could have saved him. Other than that, British commanders were left to their own initiative, not an unusual situation in the Eighteenth Century in warfare outside of Europe. The Americans had poor communications by land and lack of coordination between forces often characterized their operations.

  • What is this? Mardi Gras? You think you can jingle-jangle your flashy string of cheap costume jewelry at me and I’ll flash you my gravatar?

3 Responses to My Little Pony Cavalry Commander

  • I know what I’m getting my oldest child. She loves My Little Pony, as does the middle child.

    Ah, to have a household full of girls. At least the middle one already seems interested in wrestling, so I’m not totally sunk.

  • Slitherine Group? Does it come with apples?

  • Alright, that’s Pinky Pie on the front, and Derpy in the front seat of the tank, but it looks like they recolored Fluttershy’s hair to orange for the third pony. (Apple Jack is on the recruiting poster.)

    I might think is is odd, if my husband wasn’t halfway through building a MLP:FIM Warhammer Fantasy army. (Still debating on classic Strawberry Shortcake, La La Oopsie or Rainbow Bright for the humanoids. The “Spike” forest dragon is tough to budget points for.)

Game That Pope!

Saturday, March 9, AD 2013

I have wasted endless hours of my life playing historical strategy games since 1970, first as board games and then on computers.  Troy Goodfellow at Flash of Steel has a fascinating look at games which involve the Papacy:


Popes are also generally not playable characters, and when they are, they come with major strings attached. Papal power is a spasmodic interference in play, either through the mechanics of being a Trump (a power that players compete for so they can use it against their enemies), a Vendor (a mechanic that distributes tasks and rewards to stimulate certain types of play and progress) or a Disruptor (a mechanic serves to keep games challenging or hasten resolution of stalemates.)

Medieval Total War II is probably the best exemplar here, and the one most familiar to readers of this blog, though certainly not the first. You can’t play the Pope in MTW2 – and you can’t even easily direct who assumes that role once the old pope dies – but he is always in your face, both in good ways and bad. First, as a Vendor, the Pope is one of two sources of “missions” for Catholic rulers (alongside local nobles). The Pope’s missions are connected to religious stuff, generally – build a church, convert a province, etc – and rewards for accomplishing his minor missions are on par with those nobles will provide. The Pope is a Disruptor by calling Crusades and then demanding your king or princes participate, drawing resources and armies away from where you would rather have them (you can always say no, but there’s a price). And the Pope further disrupts through Excommunication, putting leaders beyond the protection of the church and freeing you to act against them.

Continue reading...

Defeat Don!

Monday, January 2, AD 2012

When I am not practicing law, dealing with the joys and duties of family life, or blogging and browsing the internet, I can often be found playing strategy games.  I started playing strategy board games circa 1971 when my parents, at my request, gave me a copy of the Avalon Hill game Panzer Blitz for Christmas.  It was love at first sight, and I have been playing strategy games ever since, almost always with a historical setting.  Most of my gaming these days is done on the computer.

Recently I have been playing games on the Yucata website here.  Registration and play is completely free at Yucata, and they have some 77 games available for play.  One thing I like about Yucata, is that players do not have to be online simultaneously to play.  When you log in and go to the games that you are playing, you are prompted after clicking one of the games, to go to any game where an opponent has taken a turn.  You then take your turn, and when your adversary is online at the website, he will be prompted to take his turn, and the process repeats itself.  A fun way to play is to have several games going at once, so you have multiple turns to take when you log in.

A game I have been playing a lot of lately is A Few Acres of Snow, which deals with the struggle of France and Great Britain in North America in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Go here to read the rules of the game.  Below is a video review of the game:

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Defeat Don!

  • I notice Yucata also offers a Founding Fathers game. Maybe playing it should be a requirement for nominees to the Federal bench.

  • We played Risk and Stratego growing up – quite primitive compared to today’s offerings.

    I’m partial towards Lord of the Rings Online, and I just installed WoW over the weekend. Each has free-to-play options – though I currently subscribe to LOTRO, and will probably get a short subscription to WoW.

    I’ll definitely alert a good friend of mine about Yucata, though – he loves strategy games, and would enjoy the site.

  • Don,

    Have you read Robert Leckie’s book on the French – British conflict over North America, “A Few Acres of Snow?”

    I’m guessing you probably have, but it’s a great book from a Catholic perspective, and the account of the martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues and Companions is enough to curl your hair.

  • Yes I have Jon, along with his other many volumes on American and military history. The late Mr. Leckie was a gem.