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  War for America The American Revolution, 1775-1782 by Compass games  'The World Turned Upside Down' is actually a song from 1640 a...

War for America: The American Revolution, 1775-1782 by Compass Games War for America: The American Revolution, 1775-1782 by Compass Games

War for America: The American Revolution, 1775-1782 by Compass Games

War for America: The American Revolution, 1775-1782 by Compass Games

 War for America

The American Revolution, 1775-1782


Compass games

 'The World Turned Upside Down' is actually a song from 1640 and laments that Christmas can no longer be celebrated due to an Act of Parliament. So, it would seem to be a strange tune for the British to play at their surrender at Yorktown. However, whilst the words have nothing to do with the occasion, the songs title fits perfectly with it. Washington had refused the British the 'Honors of War' (they would have been allowed to fly their colors and normally play a French or American song), because the British had denied them to the  American Army who had capitulated the year before in Charleston. It seems that some historians doubt it was that song, but they are a cantankerous bunch. 

 Strategic games about the American Revolution have had a large growth spurt after around 2000. Before that, there were many battle games/simulation but not that many on the strategic level. This is actually Compass Games second strategic game on the American Revolution. The other is 'End of Empire 1744-1782' which also covers the French and Indian Wars leading up to the Revolution. It is an excellent game on one of my favorite eras for wargaming, but I digress. Trying to compare the two would be like apples to oranges Bart. 

 This is what comes in the box:

2 Map sheets

2.5 Countersheets of 9/16″ and 5/8″ unit-counters (432 counters total)

6 Player Aid Cards

1 Sequence of Play Card

2 Army Organization Displays

1 Setup Card

51 Action Cards

1 Rulebook

1 Playbook

 This is a Compass Games blurb about the game:

Complexity: Medium

Time Scale: Seasonal turns (6 turns per year)

Map Scale: Area point-to-point map

Unit Scale: 1,000 men per strength point, individual capital ships, and leaders

Players: 2

Solitaire: Medium

Playing Time: 8 hours (15+ hours for Campaign Game)

 The game comes with two maps that are each 22" x 34". They show from Nova Scotia to the top of Florida. One has an inset for travel to Europe and the other has a large inset that includes the Caribbean Islands. While these were not important to the Revolution, they were important to England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands after the three latter joined the war. The maps are not just paper. They have a coating on them to help them last. The Action Cards seem sturdier than most cards that come with games. These are easily read and understood. The cards come with small pictures on them of period pieces or other depictions of people and places of the Revolution. There are six separate Player Aid Cards. These are the obligatory hard stock and in full color. They are:

British Reinforcement Chart

Colonial Reinforcement Chart

British - Patriot Start Positions/Terrain Effects Chart

Six Nations Card/Foreign Entry Card

Charts And Tables/Sequence of Play

 The Rulebook is twenty pages long including the Index. It is also in full color. The writing is smaller than I would like, but still readable. There is enough separation between the paragraphs etc. to make it not really difficult to read. The Playbook is twelve pages long. Six of these are for examples of play. The other six pages are comprised of Scenario Setups, Card Check List, Gazeteer of Place Names, Designer Notes, and Bibliography. Physically it is the same as the Rulebook. The counters are square in shape. So, if you are a wargamer who cannot live without rounded counters you will have to do this yourself. They are scored better than you would get with an older game. This means that very little snipping of any excess is needed. The strength points are generic. Most major commanders from both sides are represented by counters. These have small portraits on them. The counters are easily read and not 'busy' at all. The components easily pass muster.

The two Maps together

 The Sequence of Play is:

"Step 1: Reinforcements

  Both players place reinforcements according to their own

Reinforcement Chart. British first. (8.1)

All Turns:

  Both Reinforcement Charts are consulted and reinforcements are


  Units moving from the Europe Box by Naval Transport do not

consume an AP.

  Leaders are Promoted/Demoted/Removed/Transferred.

Early Spring Turns Only:

  Both players position their available magazines (British first).

If St. Eustasius is not controlled by the British, the Colonial player

receives a bonus magazine in the Deep South.

  Cards which have been set aside by year, are introduced commencing in 1776 and shuffled into the Draw Deck along with the cards

from the Discard Deck.

  Each player then draws enough Action Cards to fill his hand to a 3

card maximum.

  If a player already has 3 Action Cards, he can draw 1 Action Card

and then discard any card of his choice.

  The Colonial player rolls on the CLT to raise and place new SP.

Winter Turns Only: 

After both players have moved two Action Rounds:

  Colonials check for Expired Enlistments.

  Both sides check for over-quartering.

  Both sides remove all magazines at turn’s end.

  Six Nations units return to their villages

  If British Withdrawal is in effect, 12 SP must be removed to their

Caribbean possessions.

Step 2: Initiative 

Players roll a D6 for 1st initiative. The player with the higher result 

performs the 1st AP of the Action Cycle.

Step 3: The Action Cycle (9.0)

The player having the initiative moves and has combat with one single 

force from one single space. He performs any ‘free actions’ (9.10) during

this AP, at any time and in any order of his choosing. He can perform 

these at the beginning or end of his AP. It is entirely his choice. When he

has completed his actions, the other player proceeds with his AP in a 

similar manner.

Step 4: Administration Phase

  Check for Victory. (4.0)

  Advance Year/Season markers on the Turn Record Track"

Close up

 This is a big game in both size and scope. It comes with two scenarios: The 1775-1782 full scenario and the 'The French are in 1778-1782' scenario. This is a bit of a shame. With the maps conveniently splitting the colonies almost in half it is a shame there were not smaller scenarios for just the Southern and Northern Colonies. Perhaps a Burgoyne and Cornwallis scenarios could have been added. Do not get me wrong, what the game portrays in the two full scenarios it has it does very well. This is the first game that really adds some strategy to the Caribbean theater instead of just an off map box. The game also shows how seapower was the one really decisive part of the war. Without seapower there is no Yorktown. This not only goes for actual fleet actions, but also for supply. So, the game mechanics really show how the war was fought and what you need to do to win it. 
 The Colonial Militia and its disappearing and reappearing act throughout the war is taken care of simply and elegantly during the battle phases. In the early years of the war the Militia was absolutely needed for any Colonial Army to stand a chance against the British. 

 As mentioned, the game is physically large. You also have to invest a good amount of gaming time to it. The full campaign game can last up to twenty hours or several game sessions. This is not a game where you are going to be able to set it up and play in one night. There is nothing wrong with long or short games for that matter. It all depends on your appetite (thank you Billy Joel) at the moment. Getting immersed or lost in a game is one of my favorite pastimes. I agree that it seems harder to do this in 2022 than it used to, but I still love to do it on occasion. If you are like me in that respect you will be very pleased with the game. 

 The game gives a player so many different strategies to try out. I do not think anyone will ever get bored or find the game repetitive. Each side has its own strengths and weaknesses. This is a recipe that is needed for good gaming. 

 We do have to deal with the elephant in the room though. This would be the page of errata that comes with the game. You can, however, look at this in two different ways. You can castigate Compass Games for having the need of any errata. This mind set is really not something that is useful in the real world. When I was young I had a boss that told me "that is why they have erasers on the end of pencils". We are human and mistakes will be made. Also if you can find any game that was released without any errors at all I would be amazed. You could look at it and thank Compass Games for giving you the errata right in the box when you open the game. This saves you from searching online for the correct wording etc. It also could have been released six months after you bought the game, and you had to download it also (I have seen this more than once). So, I guess errata can be looked at like half full glasses. It is all in the mind of the beholder.

  The only real point of contention between myself and the game is William Howe's Command Rating. I have always had a soft spot for the Howe brothers.

 The games victory conditions are these:

"Three main factors influence the various Victory 
Conditions (VC) which must be met to win the 
• The year victory is obtained
• Before or after France enters the war
• The Political Will of each side
Hint: The British have their best chance of victory
during the early stages of the rebellion before 
French seapower can swing the balance. Victory 
will be much harder to achieve once the
‘Declaration of Independence’ Action Card has 
been played or the French have recognized the 13
4.1 British VC Prior to French Entry
Accomplish either:
• Reduce the Colonial PW/VP to ‘0’ after any 
Colonial AP.
• In 1775, control all the colonies in New 
England while not losing both Montreal and 

4.2 Colonial VC Prior to French Entry
Accomplish either:
• Reduce the British PW/VP to ‘0’ after any 
British AP.
• Cause the surrender of a second British army or 
force of at least 5 SP of regulars at the end of 
any combat.

4.3 British VC After French Entry
Accomplish one of the following:
• Reduce the American PW marker to ‘0’ after 
any Colonial AP.
• Capture all French ports in the Caribbean while 
not losing any of their own, at the end of the 
• Control 4 colonies at the end of the game.
• Control all the following port spaces in the 13 
Colonies in the following chart at the end of the 
game while still controlling Halifax, New York 
City and Norfolk, VA.
Boston, MA Baltimore, MD
Newport, RI Alexandria, VA
New London, CT Wilmington, NC
New Haven, CT Charleston, SC
Wilmington, DE Savannah, GA

4.4 Colonial VC After French Entry
Accomplish one of the following:
• Avoid the British Victory Conditions.
• The British are unable to move 12 SP of 
regulars to the Caribbean for British 
• Capture both Quebec and Halifax at the end of 
any British AP.
• Capture all British ports in the Caribbean while 
not losing any French Caribbean ports at the 
end of the game.
• Capture both Montreal and Quebec while 
preventing British control of New England and 
the Middle States at the end of the game.
• Prevent the British from controlling any of their
possessions in the 13 Colonies at the end of any 
British AP. (The specific cities listed in rule 
• Prevent the British from controlling any of the 
13 Colonies while not losing any French 
possessions in the Caribbean at the end of the 

VC - Victory Condition
AP - Action Pulse
PW/VP - Political Will/Victory Points

 So, the game is essentially cut in two segments once the French become involved. The British should also really push in 1775 to end the war as quickly as possible.

I think it is an odd choice of a picture of good old Banastre. Instead of the usually dashing cavalryman he looks a bit stodgy

 Thank you very much Compass Games for letting me review this very good game. As usual I have been very impressed by the components and gameplay from one of their stable. 


Compass Games:

Compass Games – New Directions In Gaming

War For America:

War for America: The American Revolution, 1775-1782 – Compass Games