This is a game on the American War of Independence and is presented in the Smithsonian format. It is considerably more playable than TAHGC's previous work on the AWI, 1776. The game components are very smart, as we have come to expect from TAHGC, the game itself was a pleasant surprise - good fun with a strong historical feel.
We the People combines a point-to-point map with a card driven system. The game is pitched at moderate complexity but although the basics are fairly straightforward there are several subtleties and little exceptions in the rules which need to be understood. I strongly recommend that someone new to the game should read the rules very carefully and then work through the example of play. The 1st time I played I rushed through explaining the rules to my opponent, missing a rather important part of the set-up and misunderstanding other parts of the rules.
Each turn is a year, players are dealt a hand of 7 strategy cards each, which are generally played alternately. The most common card is the Operations card, which allows the player to;
1; Move a general, with or without troops (the only way combat units can move).
or, 2; Bring in reinforcements.
or, 3; Place political control markers.
The rest of the pack is a wide mixture of random events based on historical incidents which provide excellent period feel. The most significant cards for the American are "The Declaration of Independence" (which generates a political control marker in each of the 13 colonies) and "Benjamen Franklin signs an Alliance with the French" (which adds a small French army and a very handy French fleet). The timing and the appearance (or non-appearance) of these cards have quite an affect on the balance of the game.
The combat resolution system involves the attacker and defender being dealt a hand of cards - one card per combat point, one extra per point of the general's battle rating and possible additional cards based on circumstances. The attacker plays a card, if the defender cannot match it he has lost, he has no retreat and is likely to take casualties. If the defender survives, he can try to roll his general's battle rating on a D6, if successful he becomes the attacker.
The game nicely combines the military and political aspects of the American War of independence. It may end promptly - if the British can capture George Washington, otherwise expect the game to run for 2 hours or more when victory is determined by majority political control of colonies. I suspect there is a bias in favour of the Americans (some have commented that this is not surprising given it is a US publication) but I have enjoyed some very close games - one being decided by play of the last card in the game.
One rather important rule which is ambiguously phrased. Usually the British player can only place political control markers in vacant spaces adjacent to existing British political control markers (so political control for the British spreads like a viral infection). However if a British army is in a space with an American political control marker it can use an operations point to flip the marker to the British side. My house rule is that this marker does not have to be adjacent to an existing British political control marker.
ZOCo, I have only seen We the People solidly covered in shrinkmap. It has a box and line movement system just like Give Me Liberty so it ought to be possible to cut down the 3W game and play it on the TAHGC map to make We the People a longer player (or Give Me Liberty a shorter one). Tim sent a list of We the People cards, the battle cards come out as, 7 Bombardment, 7 Double Envelopment, 7 Probe, 14 Flank Attack - Left, 14 Flank Attack - Right and 15 Frontal Attack. The wording is irrelevant, they might as well say Red Fish , Blue Fish and such. It does not take a military genius to see that picking less common cards involves less risk of the opponent having a card to match. Similarly if your strength allows a good number of cards, there is more chance of holding the rarer designs.
We The People
I have finally played We The People face to face and was surprised at how unimportant combat was. Unless the loser is unable to retreat any losses will be pretty minor, plus the card based combat system makes it hard to judge who will win any battles except where one side has no leaders present (when it is not really worth picking the cards). I won as Britain possibly because my opponent was too busy trying to win battles while I went for the hearts and minds. In general the feeling was of Go, the best strategy being to keep away from battles and paint the map your colour. A short war is best for Britain because the King can start to run out of men by the later years.