This is a 2 player, strategic level game of the American Revolution. The Complexity is moderate / low. Point to point movement with counters.
In a way, the name is misleading. You arent just in charge of logistics. You are in charge of the entire war. There IS a strong military component to the game. You have leaders and Army SPs that you get to build and move around the board. And yes, you DO get to fight battles. So relax. It IS a wargame. 🙂
A better description of the game would be that it is a simple strategic wargame but it also includes logistical considerations. I very much applaud this effort in design. Logistics in real wars are huge. In many ways the logistics are the most important thing . It does no good to raise a bunch of troops and deploy them into the field. Those troops need to eat. In order to fight they need powder and shot. They need all this stuff at the right time and place.
When I look at buying a wargame, I want to look at the rules first. Why? Because I want to see how the supplies work. That is the first thing I check. If I dont like how the game models supplies, I dont buy it. To me, this is key to a game at this level. This is what induced me to try this game out.
Here is some feedback for the publisher: I showed this game to a friend. He immediately assumed the name of the game was Join or Die by the box cover. I think this would make a better name. More simple and catchy, if its not already in use.
SLOTARTNT: 1775-1777 is a bit long and misleading in a way. On the other hand, this might be part of what makes it stand out and look different. That might actually be good in a crazy, backwards way.
Ok, to be fair, I am extremely picky when it comes to graphics. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this game as a 6. By that I mean it is slightly above average for the industry. It is ok. There is an attempt to make the map look somewhat period. It works. I have seen much worse from the wargame industry.
The pieces look like they are upgraded, cut hardboard. Nice. The graphics are average. I bought the Print N Play. It downloaded and printed easily. I made my own custom pieces, so my pix are very different from what you will get with the regular game.
Rules, rules, rules. Does anybody like rules? Have you ever seen a rule book that you liked? Im not sure I ever have. They never seem to be easy. I have very high expectations for rules. I dont think any rule book lives up to what I want it to be, even my own. With this in mind, I would rate the rulebook a 4 out of 10. Slightly below average for the industry. Which in my view has a lot of room for improvement.
The rules are simple and short. Only 11 pages. I found them difficult to remember and difficult to scan for answers. I kept having to look things up. That may be my age and failing memory though. 🙂
Even so, I was able to learn and play the game fairly easily. These rules are no worse than most wargames out there.
Mechanics Under the Hood
To move, you must spend a green food cube. The cube has to be in the area with the troops. No food? No movement.
The fighting was a bit different than what we normally expect. Each side gets dice to roll for hits. The difference is: the number of dice you roll is based on the number of war supplies you spend, NOT on the number of troops you have. The war supplies you spend, need to be what you have with you at that moment. So, no war supplies? No dice.
Each city produces 2 food and 1 war cube at the beginning of each turn but only if you have an army there. That is fine if you plan on fighting there. If not, youre going to have to get these supplies moved up to the front.
So as you would expect, you are going to be spending much of your time planning how you are going to get these supplies and troops where you need them. You need to build supply lines by spreading your troops out in a line. At the end of the line, you need to assemble a concentration of troops to fight with. They will need a leader and a steady flow of supplies to move and attack with.
There isnt any Fog of War in this game. Both players can see and know what each side has. This works well for this design. You usually have 10 things that need to be done in your turn but you can only do 1 right now. This creates enough unknowns and Fog of War by itself.
If dealing with all of these issues sounds complex, dont worry. This game is very easy, fun and playable. It all plays out in a quick and streamlined fashion. It will take a few turns to get a feeling for what is going on and how to plan. Experience seems to be the best teacher:
You will move quick and shatter the enemys army. All of these undefended Victory Cities will be sitting right there in front of you but you wont be able to do a darned thing about it. Why? Because you just ran out of food. You cant march anymore.
Do that once or twice and then you will start to get your act together.
A nice melding of Logistics with movement and combat.
I really like how this system models the timing of war. In most games, every turn, every piece you have flys around on the map and fights. If you read about real wars, you will see that there are long periods in between the battles. For months, everybody just sits there. Nothing is happening. Why? In this game, you can see why. There actually are a lot of things happening during those periods of nothing. These periods of nothing can be very interesting and fun.
Only the Northern Theater? I really wanted to see the entire war played out.
Summary / Conclusion
In spite of its short comings, I definitely recommend this as a buy. Overall, Id rate this game an 8 out of 10.
Great little game. The rules are a little rough around the edges. It is refreshing to see wargames incorporating logistics in more detail. This game proves that it can be done in a simple way, with short rules and that it greatly adds to the strategy and enjoyment of the game. I hope we see many more designs in this direction!
Supply Lines of the American Civil War? Supply Lines of Napoleon? Supply Lines of Caesar? Tom Russell, you better get to work!
You can find Supply Lines of the American Revolution at Hollandspiele Games.