End of Empire, Command 46,

Playings; 3 (1750s twice, 1770s once), 12 hours (1 British, 2 French wins)

This game has a lot in common with 3Ws Give Me Liberty. Both have the same number of maps and counters and both have parts that work and parts that donít. It would be interesting to combine the best of both. The Command map is excellent, gaining points from the clever idea of having civilised and wild terrain. The expanse of colonised land hugging the coast is easily seen. Each player moves faster in his own civilised area, the wild bits are only easily travelled along trails and rivers. Although this map extends from New Orleans to Newfoundland the scale is similar to Give Me Liberty because the box structure requires more map space to represent the same area. Certainly the pointy-out bit that Delaware is on has roughly the same number of hexes and boxes. To summarise an important point 3W gamers ought to get this map.

Unfortunately End of Empire has a serious counter problem. Units are historical with just about every thing crammed onto their Ĺ" faces. Apparently they were to have been large size counters; the late production shrinking has done them no favours. Set up hexes and reinforcement codes are on all the counters so you will need to make notes before the 1st game and do some careful counter sorting afterwards. A few British units are used in the 1750s and 1770s; these have different designations, in red and black, for each. There are less of these than the game markers provided, duplicate counters would have been a lot of help here. Superimposed boxes and circles to show offensive ambush ability, halved attack factors and improved or reduced movement without a leader. The drawback with all this apart from the sorting is the potential for getting it wrong. Command have posted quite a list on the net, this will mess up the pretty counters when they are adjusted, quite a few British units have no backs until you draw them on and not all the set up codes are correct. Even with the list all is not well, the rules state that 3 units have the NS code for Nova Scotia, I have looked and looked and only ever found one and where is Stanwix the turn 23 British leader? The 1770s scenarios represent the Continental infantry units with limited enlistments. They arrive on one turn and are gone a few later to be replaced by different new units. After a couple of turns rounding up the new boys the army is back where it started. The 1750s scenario has the excellent idea of giving some units "E" codes, these are withdrawn in Winter and come back in their original hexes in Spring. This is good for the owner because they come back full strength making them indestructible but bad because they are useless for garrisoning captured territory. They also let down the army that they used to be stacked with rather badly. This concept would save counters in the 1770s (so we could have fewer bigger ones) but would shame the AWI buffs who will demand historical units. Bergís 13 Colonies in Revolt was let down by merging units to save counters. If you donít want historical units there are only a few different types of units, which could be pooled, it would be necessary to denote most colonial units by state to cover recruiting and going home. Give Me Liberty had some very nice units.

Having got over the countermix faults the game plays pretty smoothly; the whole AWI took 6 hours including the counter sorting. Compare this to the 2-weekly turn Give Me Liberty that takes a long time. A year an hour is pretty good going and is handled by 6 turns a year, 2 of which are Winter where not much happens. To move a stack must roll equal or under the highest-ranking leaderís initiative which is usually a 3. Without a leader most units require a 2, a few ranger units have automatic movement and some sluggards will go nowhere without a leader. Net result a turn can go by without anyone moving anywhere. Some turns take longer to sort out the units going in and out than the play of the turn. This gets easier as the game progresses, it is worst with the annual Continental shift arounds.

The 1750s game is short and snappy because of the limited number of units in play and the handy enlistment rules. The British are on the offensive with strong regulars that are ripe for Indian attack in the woods unless they bring along some local boys. With so many locals going home for Christmas the British have difficulty holding on to each yearís gains. They only build up a strong majority in the last couple of years of the war so the French have plenty to do. In Newfoundland the French can take Halifax if they push their turn 1 units to Louisberg and march on down. The Halifax garrison is weak and the only other British units in range will have to roll a 2 to get back in time. They have 2 turns to make a go of it. The importance of Halifax is in allowing the British to draw supply from coastal hexes, which he will have to do take Halifax back. If the French control the local shipping (50% chance each turn) this will be hard. To win the British need all the major French places and they wont get any until Halifax is taken followed by Louisberg. Halifax will eventually be retaken but will lose the British time and trouble. Historically the French were on the defensive in this area. Did they miss the importance of Halifax? Or is the garrison underestimated? The only other game that I have on the subject is Mohawk. This does not agree with the Command situation but I would not cite Mohawk as a historical source. I worry that the missing 2 NS units might have come from around here (or the reference could be a typo). Try allowing the British at start regular units to be placed at any port as an option to their printed hexes to reduce this problem.

In the 1770s all the rules are the same with a few political modifications. Indians are well represented in the 1750s, the number of French Indians depending on how well the British are doing. There are more Indian counters in the 1770s but they do not do a lot because all the serious action takes place in cultivated areas and the colonial boys are much better at Injun-fighting than the away team. A concept that is treated differently in We the People, Give Me Liberty and End of Empire is the definition of a British win. It is not too hard to represent the historical defeat but rather more abstract to guess what would have ended the rebellion. Possible ends might be a divided America with the Southern states remaining loyal, a total military defeat of the rebels or a collapse of the rebellion for political reasons. Give Me Liberty judges victory on a political index updated seasonally for military victories and territory controlled. We the People is based on land controlled although you will have to crack a few heads to achieve that. In End of Empire the British can win by controlling ports (fair enough) or waiting for the cause to collapse through lack of funds. To do this the French must not have entered by the latter part of the game. French entry is caused by British losses, as in Give Me Liberty, so the British aim can be to run the war on the cheap. Control the minimum amount of territory and keep British losses down. The local loyals and Germans can die like flies because they donít count. In any battle the owner can decide on his losses and the British will be taking them in non-British units. If the British control too much territory they will have to garrison it, this will reduce the proportion of cannon fodder in the main armies. The only hope of the colonials is to rack up a good score of British losses in the early turns before the Germans put their towels on the deck chairs. This is not too easy as the Continentals are always better in defence and have a malus in combat for the early years because they are rubbish (they get trained later on by another German). The best way for the home team to win battles is to intercept a British army as it moves past forcing the British to attack it; the British will not always oblige. Combat losses are pretty light, combat is fought in rounds that depend on initiative to continue, it rarely does and a loss of 2 to 4 steps is common for the loser. A few games may find a hole in this cunning plan if not the Give Me Liberty political matrix can be adopted. Most of the important sites are in both games and in similar places. A few fudges to territorial boundaries and choosing of key cities should see it up and running.