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1754 Conquest – The French and Indian War Review by Jennifer Ladewig and Kirsten West

Beau Beckett & Jeph Stahl
Academy Games
2201 Commerce Drive
Fremont, Ohio 43420

Academy Games newest addition 1754 Conquest – The French and Indian War completes the Birth of America Colonial Trilogy. This is a game based off of the Seven Year’s War (1754-1763) which was fought between the French and the British along the northern American colonies and into Canada. This is a game of strategy, control, with randomly dictated plays depending on what cards you have in your hand. In the game players from opposing factions made up of French Canadians, French Regulars, and British Colonials, and British Regulars fight to control for dominance for the Americas. Both sides can ally themselves with the Native American Nations who essentially act as free agents throughout the game. Each side strategizes together against the other side attempting to control key Victory Symbol Areas on the game board. The game ends, either at the end of the eighth round, with the team who has the most control markers or when all sides play the Truce Card. To get the hang of the game there are instructions for a Short Introductory Game on page three of the Rule Book. Teaching Videos are also available on their webpage. The game is for 2-4 players. This game is recommended for ages 10 and older. Each game takes approximately one to two hours to play. The game retails for $70.

1754 Conquest is categorically not your normal run of the mill game. This game requires a bit of “smarts” and strategy. Players must have the ability to sit for an extended period of time as you will be sitting for at least an hour or longer. I think that this would be a great game for honors, AP, and enrichment type classes. This would be a great game to play after studying about the French and Indian War in the classroom or homeschool setting. This game would also be perfect for the child or individual in your home that has a particular fascination with history, war, or military strategy. Team success is twofold, tactic and luck of the die roll.

Overall, this is decidedly a great quality game. My teenage son who is fascinated with history and battle/war games was definitely more interested in playing this game than were my teenage daughters. One of the express highlights of 1754 is the addition of two new features. 1754 Conquer has added two additional tactical elements to the game that make for greater strategical maneuvering. First is the addition of forts that have been placed throughout the home and neutral areas. Second, is the addition of harbors. The addition of harbors allows you to quickly move troops via “imaginary” ships to other harbors thus allowing players to have stronger defenses and to allow sneak attacks. This has added an extra element of tactical “fun” to the game. This is a great game to teach strategy, team work, and history. I really enjoyed the Historical Overview that was added at the end of the Rule Book.

I will have to admit that it took me a significant amount of time to learn how to play this game. I tried to just read the Rule Book but was just not getting it. I was excited about the videos on how to play the game until I realized that they were actually just other people’s reviews on the game. While many of the videos did break the game down well I was still left with questions. I was happy for about the “Short Introductory Game” version on page three of the Rule Book. Like I stated earlier in the review, this is clearly not your ordinary game. When I first got the game one of my husband’s Ph.D. interns came over to visit and I asked her to look at the game and her first response was, “Oh this is one of those games for the smart, nerdy types.” No wonder I was having a hard time learning how to play it. With that said, it is possible with lots of patience, time, and questions for the average person to learn how to play this game. The Rule Book does a great job at breaking down the different game phases, battle examples, and card classifications but I am more of a visual learner. It would be nice if Academy Games had a more basic, dumbed down version of the game rules and teaching videos for people that would like to learn to play their games but need something a bit more simplistic in terms of instruction. Not everyone is well versed in game strategy, military tactics/maneuvers from playing other similar board games or video games.

I would without a doubt recommend this game to others but would be selective as to who I would recommend the game to. Between my teenage son, my military husband, and my son-in-law I most definitely am glad that we own this game. I am hoping that over the holidays more of our family and extended family members will be able to enjoy playing this game. This would be a great gift for the history or military/battle enthusiast in your life.

- Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2017

Another Perspective:

1754 Conquest: The French and Indian War
Academy Games

If you enjoy board games, strategy, and history, this could be the product for you. Academy Games created a historical board game that allows you and your family to try your hand at the French and Indian War of 1754.

The French and Indian War is an often-overlooked event in American history that developed the character of key founders of our country and set the stage for our independence. This board game allows you and your children to explore the beginning of the seven-year war and meet some of the famous historical figures like the young George Washington and the Marquis de Montcalm.

The game, designed for four players, allows for you to play as British Colonials, British Regulars, French Canadiens, or French Regulars. You can also play with two people if you double up with one person playing all the British troops and the other person taking command of all the French. We also had an expansion pack that expanded our play options to include alliances with the Native tribes.

Each player gets a small deck of cards that include movement options and special maneuvers. You set up the game by distributing troops through your territory and setting up forts. We did notice that the instructions did not seem to completely match the printing on the game board during the fort setup phase of the game. Then the game begins. The player order is randomly determined by drawing your color from a bag for each round of the game and each player has a reinforcement, movement, and engagement phase to their turn. You play three to eight rounds and we found that even a short game takes about one and a half to two hours. I think the game time was longer that we expected because when you play with children you need to take short breaks or listen to funny stories or stop to resupply a drink or shoo away a cat who really wants to nap in the middle of the game board.

The game comes with a booklet that describes how to play in detail as well as an extensive historical overview section that describes the war and the key figures. The instructions can be a bit complicated if you are not used to role-playing or war strategy games. But we read the rules and procedures through a number of times and quickly figured out how to play. There are also teaching videos to watch at that will help you understand how to play the game.

We had a mixed experience with the game. While we enjoyed the time together playing, we found the architecture of the game to be frustrating at times. The element of chance is so prominent in the game play that any strategy or tactics you employ have no effect on the outcome of the game. We took different approaches to our gameplay and discovered that if you pay no attention to the game and just move through your turn, randomly attacking and moving, you have just as good a chance at winning as if you pay attention to terrain and forts and any tactical advantage you have. My son found this aspect of the game disappointing. If you are playing with younger children, however, this might be a fun family game. The game is rated for children as young as 12, and at that young age, the randomness of the game might work just fine. If, however, you have older teens who enjoy strategy games, you might find the game disappointing.

In general, this game is perfect for junior high to adult. If your child is studying the French and Indian war, you can use the game to reinforce and more deeply understand the geography and actions that took place during the war. Almost immediately, my son realized that the British had a significant geographic advantage when the war began. They controlled most of the harbors, and the French had fewer cities inland than the British. We surmised that this was because the Native tribes in the inland areas were not friendly, but made a note to spend time researching the hypothesis over the next few months.

You could also use the game as part of an overall history and literature study. We supplemented the game play with readings from The Last of the Mohicans (to paint the picture of life in 1754) and readings of George Washington’s journals kept during his time fighting in the war. This gave my son a picture of life during the French and Indian War which brought the game to life.

-Product review by Kirsten West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2017