Europe had been engaged in a war with Napoleon’s France for nearly ten years when the United States thought the time was right to pluck the jewel of Canada from the Crown of one of the mightiest powers on Earth, Great Britain.
“The defense of Canada depends upon the navigation of the lakes…operations out of Canada must be preceded by the establishment of naval superiority on the lakes.”
– Duke of Wellington 1814
The Great Lakes of North America provide the theater for the fresh water navies of the United States and Great Britain to refight the engagements that will determine the shape of a nation. As the Iron Duke suggests, both players will need to carefully deploy of their fresh water navies to blunt the advance of the opposing armies and interdict supply.
1812! War on the Great Lakes Frontier is played across maps depicting the Great Lakes and the settlements carved out of the heavily forested wilderness of the old Northwest. Both players engage in a naval arms race to construct new warships from the surrounding forests augmenting their original fleets. Inexperienced US commodores and crews sail against the salty veterans of the Royal Navy and fight the US Navy’s first fleet engagement at the Battle of Lake Erie, the only instance in which an entire British fleet surrendered.
While the cannons echo across the Lakes, US commanders such as William Henry Harrison and Winfield Scott maneuver their amateur armies against the British commanders such as Isaac Brock, George Prevost, and Henry Proctor and their seasoned forces. Fighting along-side the British are the Native American tribes under Tecumseh who are desperately trying to maintain a hold on their traditional lands.
Your opponent is not the only enemy. When playing the campaign scenarios, winter blankets the wilderness territories of the Great Lakes frontier. The player who has not prepared will see his naval and land forces decimated.
1812! War on the Great Lakes Frontier is a card-driven strategy game that simulates the naval and land actions fought on and around the Great Lakes of North America during The War of 1812. This is a two-player game with either player commanding the naval and land forces of the United States of America or the British Empire.
Players will alternate playing Strategy cards, spending Operation Points and causing historical events to occur. Operation Points are the currency used to move and fight battles with military units. The scale of fighting units is regimental and single ship. Each leader, regiment and naval vessel has been researched to determine its relative strength and weaknesses based on battle performance, unit size, and type. With armies rarely exceeding a few thousand men, the forces are manageable and the clashes are skirmishes in comparison to the battles fought in Europe.
Unit density is small, 288 units over 2 maps at 55 square miles per hex. The playing area is a hex-based with a point-to-point feel encompassing the three primary battlegrounds of: Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and Lake Champlain. There are no overly complicated systems or tables allowing quick and intuitive game play. The game scenarios range from a single map with each player holding one hand of 8 Strategy cards with a 1.5 hour playing time up to the full 2-map, nine-hand campaign averaging a 9 hour playing time. All of the scenarios and the full campaigns are highly re-playable with new experiences in each playing.
Quick Play tables for land and naval combat resolution are included for easy solitaire play.
- Complexity: Medium
- Time Scale: Seasonal turns
- Map Scale: 55 square miles per hex
- Unit Scale: Regiments
- Players: 2
- Solitaire: Medium
- Playing Time: 1.5 hours for single map scenarios (9 hours for campaign)
- Recommended Age: 14+
- Two 22″ x 34″ Maps
- One 8.5″ x 11″ Map
- 337 5/8″ counters
- 104 US Strategy Cards
- 102 British Strategy Cards
- 14 Combat Cards
- Four Player Aid Cards
- One Terrain Chart
- Two Land/Naval Combat Displays
- Five Single Map Scenarios
- Six Two-Map Scenarios and Full Campaign
- One Rules Book
- One Play Book
- Designer: Ken Repel
- Graphic Artist: Iván Cáceres