(2-4 players; 60 minutes; ages 10+)
1754 is one of a brilliant series of war games – all using the same base mechanic: Each round the turn order is revealed randomly. So this turn the British regulars may go first, but next round its the French colonists. Movement is governed by card play – one to four armies moving one to four regions. The fighting, is governed by dice rolls – with desertions coming back into play on later turns.
As if that was not enough, the map of 1754 and its sister games are among the most beautiful in all board gaming.
Are these games as good as Memoir ’44? Absolutely. If your child is struggling with addiction to violent computer games I’d recommend keeping the violence, but putting it into a historic board gaming conquest. My top three choices: Memoir ’44, 1754 and 878 Vikings – a sister game to 1754.
Runnerup Game of the Year
Jon Perry's Air Land & Sea impressed me immediately with its inspired rule that allows players to withdraw from a battle at any time. The game improves with play as the first games will be slowed down because each card has critical text... however there are only 18 cards in total. This game is a gem for those with a limited budget.
Game of the Year
Elizabeth Hargrave's Wingspan does not have the most innovative mechanisms, but it is infused with natural beauty like no other game I've played. Unlike all previous winners, the game did not "wow" me on the first play, but over many plays, I came to love the anticipation of each new bird entering play. It is a sumptuous game.