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Freeman`s Farm 1777
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Freeman's Farm 1777 is the first in our Battle Formations game series. These games are a new game system that have been designed for solitaire and two players. The object of the game is to break three of the formations of the opposing side. This is done by activating your formations and choosing the best actions for it to undertake given the state of the battlefield. Each time you call on a formation your army gains momentum. As your army builds momentum it allows you to press your formations to continue attacking. But the cost is a reduction in the momentum the army has built up as well as reductions in the morale of the attacking formations. Each formation has a fixed number of troop markers that can be hit in combat and are also subject to breaking from morale loss. Each formation can only be activated when its activation card is played, and these are limited and not always available. Each formation reduces its morale when activated and when continuing attacks. Formations are broken when they fail a morale test OR when all their troop markers are eliminated.
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What a blast to play. The random activation and tactics cards make every game different.
Each turn a player draws an activation card from his hand of three and plays it. He collects the number of momentum cubes on it, then activates the formation indicated. Each time a formation is activated its morale goes down one space on its morale track. Units may move along pre-designated tracks, or may attack. They can only target specific units listed on their formation cards. If attacking, the player rolls a number of dice indicated on their formation card, sometimes gaining bonuses depending on objective locations held (the mill and the farm), or losing dice depending on other factors. The player is trying to roll doubles, and when he does he compares the doubles rolled with a chart. Double sixes means he hits an opponent and he loses a block, double ones means the attack loses one of his own blocks. Other doubles mean loss of morale to attack or defender or gaining more momentum cubes. Players can spend three momentum cubes to re-roll dice, or remove a block from a unit to do so. If all of a unit's blocks are destroyed, the unit is destroyed. If ever the morale track gets below a certain number, the player must make morale checks with a die roll that could result in the unit being broken and removed from play. Once the results of the combat are resolved, the player may purchase a tactic card from three face up tactic cards. These tactic cards generally allow you to play dirty tricks on your opponent or give you special bonuses. At the end of the player's turn he draws another activation into his hand. Each player plays fifteen cards and the first to destroy three enemy units wins.
There is a lot more going on here, like general cards that can allow players to do different things and try to save units during morale checks, but generally that is it. There is a also a great solo game, where one player can play against the game's A.I. It's really well done and almost as much fun as playing against an opponent. All told, this is a great light wargame that will provide hours of fun for players. The game itself usually takes only about 45 to 60 minutes, so it's not an all-evening kind of thing. Setup and takedown are very easy, too. It is also incredibly easy to learn and to teach, meaning friends who are easily intimidated by wargames will not face much of a roadblock here. I really can't recommend Freeman's Farm 1777 enough. It is a tremendous amount of fun and very well designed.
The Discriminating Gamer.