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The War of 1812 on Your Tabletop

Brian Train, 20 June 2012

Legen... wait for it... wait for it... dary designer Brian Train has compiled a nice little tour through your tabletop wargaming options on the War of 1812. Y'know, this being the 200th anniversary of it and all. And even though the Canadians did a significant amount of butt-kicking, we still decided to let them chime in with an article.


In time for the bicentennial of the invasion of Canada that began the War of 1812, here is a brief summary of board wargames dealing with the conflict


1812: The Invasion of Canada

Academy Games 1812

Here’s an interesting one that is getting a lot of attention this year: a cooperative area-control game! Up to three British players (British Regulars, Canadian Militia and Native Americans) and two American players (Regular Army and Militia). Players must cooperate with each other in order to plan and conduct their campaigns to capture Objective Areas on the map. When a truce is called, the side that controls the most enemy Objective Areas wins.


Amateurs to Arms!

Clash of Arms Games 2012

Card-driven game on the entire war. Several months per turn, cards are played for the event described on the card, or for the card’s Operations Points, which allows player activities such as moving

forces, building ships and fortifications, or raising troops. Card and game events conspire markers on the Peace Track to move the end of the game up inexorably as the governments of both countries try to end the affair without shame.


A Mere Matter of Marching

Microgame Design Group 2002

DTP game on the three summer campaigns on the Niagara Peninsula, 1812-14. Point to point movement system, company troop scale. Units move on a strategic map until they make contact, then action is resolved on a battle board.


Chippawa: Birth of the United States Army

Markham Designs 2000

DTP wargame of Chippawa at battalion level.


Fury on Champlain

3W 1994

Land and naval warfare in the Lake Champlain area during September 1814. Said to have many rules problems.


For Honour and Glory

Worthington Games 2005

Many land and sea scenarios for the War, using the Clash for a Continent system. Features map boards, terrain tiles and hardwood counters to build up scenarios. Scenarios placed in Canada include Queenston Heights, The Thames, Chrysler's Farm, Chippawa, and Lundy's Lane.


La Bataille de York 1813

Minden Games 2002

In Panzerschreck magazine #9. Solitaire tactical mini-game in which the player (as British) tries to turn back the American invasion near York (afterwards, Toronto). Tiny map, fewer than 20 counters!


Line of Fire

BSO Games 2000

Two-game DTP package by Richard Berg: Maipo, a battle in 1818 in Chile and Lundy’s Lane, the bloodiest battle of the War of 1812.


Mr. Madison’s War

GMT 2012?

Another card-driven game on the War, players have a choice between playing the event on a card for its points or using it to perform actions on the game board and score automatic points for the playing of a card as an historical event. Map covers the northern theatre at four months per turn, with a unit scale of regiments, battalions, and individual ships. This game made its P500 cut in late 2011, but no release date has been announced.


Obstinate Beyond Description

The Perfect Captain 2005

Free print and play area movement game on operations in the Niagara Peninsula. Two days per turn; “detachment” (100-200 men) troop scale.


Rocket’s Red Glare

Simulations Canada 1981, Omega Games 20??

First game to cover the entire war. Designer Stephen Newberg (a Canadian) said of this, “This game is one of my favourites of my own design. The complexity is only moderate, but the game manages to include both a strategic game covering the U.S. from New England to Louisiana, and a breakdown operational game dealing in detail with the critical Great Lakes region confrontation zone. We have land and sea combat systems, and their integration. And it actually produces good history in a tense game.” Omega Games has been promising a reprint of this Real Soon Now for six years.


Twilight’s Last Gleaming

Decision Games 1997

In Strategy & Tactics #184: three small games on the battles of Bladensburg, North Point and New Orleans.


Twilight’s Last Gleaming II

Decision Games 2004

In Strategy & Tactics #225: sequel to the first volume, with revised rules; three small games on the battles of Chippewa, The Thames and Lundy’s Lane.


War of 1812

Columbia Games 1973

Focuses on the campaigns for the Great Lakes only. Block game, introductory level rules complexity but tremendous number of decisions and lack of information make for a tense and quite balanced game.


War of 1812

Decision Games 2001

Strategy & Tactics #201

Joe Miranda design covering the entire war. Seasonal turns, regimental troop scale, point-to-point movement system that appears similar to that used in A House Divided.


Additionally, there are many naval wargames that feature individual actions from the naval part of the war.


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