I've now played Washington's War two different times. As a longtime fan of its predecessor, We the People, I had the potential to be either WOWED or DISMAYED. In this case, I lean a bit more toward the WOW side.
For those who are unware, Washington's War is a reboot of Mark Herman's ground-breaking American Revolution based game of Avalon Hill's We the People . GMT games has done a wonderful job with the graphics and game components. The hard-backed board appears to be a new standard for most GMT products, replacing the folded poster sized maps. The player aid card provided is simply gorgeous , very well organized and utilitarian.
In both my games I played the American Side and in both my games I lost. This limited experience might lead some players to believe that the American side is weak, but I'll have to admit that my losses both stemmed from a lack of comprehension of rules and mechanics and inability to utilize them to my advantage.
Players who are familiar with the original We the People can pick this one up and play it almost immediately. There are three major differences. First, the combat system has been completely revamped. Sadly, for me, the Battle Cards (a major innovation first introduced in We the People) are gone. Now, combat is won by the highest die roll with a number of modifiers. In regards to combat, I have to state that the Americans have to beware that the Brits have a slight edge in most cases, especially if they have the British regulars-which they usually do. The British side also gets a ton of reinforcements, especially in the early turns of the war. The second major difference is the "pick up" event cards. If an opponent discards one of your events you can play an ops card to pick up and play that event. The third change is that a player can play a battle card and after the combat he is permitted to draw a replacement card for his hand. This adds a new strategy-- fighting for the express purpose of using a battle card that may or may not help in order to draw another card and maybe improve your hand.
When I get a few more plays of this one under my belt I'll share more. At this time, I have to state my opinion that Washington's War is a really good game. After a few more plays I may revise that opinion, but thus far I have enjoyed the game and have a very positive regard for it.
In today's game, the war ended in 1781 (due to a mandatory card play) and I held 4 colonies while my opponent held 9. A clear loss, and if the war had gone further it would have been even worse for my side. I had lost almost all of my combat units due to Washington's inability to defeat a force entrenched in Philadelphia. Today, war was truly Hell for the Americans... we only hope that the next time I roll this one out I'll be able to turn those lobsterbacks into the sea.