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For the People - Board Game Box Shot

For the People

, | Published: 1998
13 2 0

For the People is a grand strategy game of the American Civil War covering the conflict from Texas to Pennsylvania, from the firing on Fort Sumter to the end at Appomattox Court House. You take the role of either President Lincoln or President Davis and command the armies, promote and relieve generals, conduct amphibious assaults, dispatch cavalry raids, and even battle incompetency and political intrigue among members of your own cabinet.

For the People includes a deck of strategy cards for conducting campaigns and incorporating the many events and personalities of the war. The Confederate player can build ironclads, naval mines (torpedoes), submarines, conduct overseas purchases, and work towards foreign intervention. The Union player can build up his naval blockade, his ironclad fleet, fight draft riots, secure the Border States, and issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Relive the history of this exciting time when our nation was torn asunder.

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I play blue
El Dorado
Guardian Angel
15 of 16 gamers found this helpful
“A Great ACW Game”

For the People (FtP) is the second Card Driven Wargame (CDW) by the designer who invented CDWs, Mark Herman. FtP is a strategic level American Civil War game which covers the war from start to finish. Players take on the role of either President Abraham Lincoln or President Jefferson Davis and manipulate the political and military resources of the North and South, respectively.

The game components consist of:
48 page rulebook
22×34 inch paper map board
130 Strategy Cards
2 Six-sided plastic dice (1 blue and 1 gray)
Player Aid
A plethora of 1/2×1/2 inch cardboard counters

The components are publisher GMT’s standard quality. The map is large, colorful and pleasing to the eye. The cards are somewhat durable and have fairly nondescript artwork. Owners will probably want to sleeve the cards. The counters are also colorful and present information well. The rulebook is very well organized, well written, and contains examples of play. Overall, the components function well but are not exciting graphically.

The rulebook contains set-up instructions for 5 scenarios in which players can play only a specific year of the war such as 1862 or play the entire campaign (1861-1865). Depending on the scenario, set-up time can range between 10 and 15 minutes. Only a few troop counters and turn markers are initially placed on the map, the deck shuffled and cards dealt.

The game is played in a series of turns which represent 1 season (spring, summer & fall) in a year. Each turn or season is played in the following sequence:

1. Reinforcement Phase
2. Deal Strategy Cards
3. Strategy Rounds
4. Political Control Phase
5. Attrition Phase
6. End of Turn

A) Both players place their reinforcements on the map. The Union has a fixed schedule of reinforcements. The Confederate reinforcements are based on how many states and ports the Confederacy controls.

B) Both players conduct Strategic Movement. Strategic Movement consists of shifting a certain number of Strength Points (SPs) by railroad to points around the map. SPs represent soldiers in the game. There are only infantry and cavalry types of combat units in the game.

C) Both players place generals available that particular season on the map. Generals are placed randomly.

Each player is dealt a number of Strategy Cards, from a single deck, according to the game turn. Only 4 cards are dealt to each player in spring 1861. However, as the war ramps up, the number of cards increases to 7 in spring 1862.

Players alternate playing Strategy Cards until all cards have been played. The Confederate player may choose to go first if he has a Major or Minor Campaign card. Otherwise the Union player goes first.

Strategy cards can be used as either an Operations Card (OC) or Event Card (EC), but not both. If used as an EC, the player carries out the specific instructions for the event on the card.

If a card is used as an OC, then the player uses the numerical rating (1 to 3) on the card to perform an action. All cards have a number called the Operational Card value in the upper left-hand corner. Playing a Strategy Card as an OC allows the player to do ONE of the following:

A) Move Forces: Players can move units from space to space on the map. Armies can only be activated if the Operation Card Value is equal to or greater than the general’s Strategy Rating. Generals have many ratings which I will touch on during the review.

B) Create an Army: A force containing at least one general and 5 or more SPs can be formed into an Army. Each player can have a maximum of 4 armies on the map. The general with the highest Political Value is designated the Commanding General.

C) Relieve an Army’s General: Playing an OC of any value allows the player to change the Commanding General of an army.

D) Reorganize Generals: Playing an OC of any value allows a player to shuffle any number of generals around the map. Generals can move up to 10 spaces via road or an unlimited number of spaces by railroad or from port to port via naval move.

E) Place Forts: The Union player may play any value OC or the Confederate player plays a 3 OC to place a fort in a friendly controlled space.

F) Place Political Control (PC) Markers: The player places a number of PC markers equal to the value of the OC. PC markers are placed in any space that contains a friendly SP or a Border State space that is neutral.

During the Strategy Phase, while units are moving there are a few actions which can occur:

Place PC Marker: An army can convert an enemy PC marker or place a PC marker in a space they occupy by spending a movement point.

Interception: An interception can occur whenever an active force enters a space adjacent to an enemy army. The interception attempt is successful if a 1D6 roll is equal to or less than the general’s Defensive Rating. If the interception fails, then the enemy force continues its move without possible interruption. A successful interception allows the force to be placed in the space prior to the enemy force entering the space, causing an immediate battle.

Retreat Before Battle: A defending unit with a general may attempt to retreat instead of fighting a battle. The retreat attempt is successful if a 1D6 roll is equal to or less than the general’s Defensive Rating. A successful retreat allows the defending unit to move to any adjacent friendly controlled or neutral space as long as it is not the space from which the enemy attacked.

Battle: A battle occurs whenever a unit enters an enemy-occupied space and the defender cannot be overrun and cannot or chooses not to Retreat Before Battle. In FtP, battles are characterized by size, determined by totaling the number of SPs from the combatants in the battle. Larger battles have higher casualties. Players then determine their Die Roll Modifiers (DRM) which can come from successfully intercepting, defending a fort, a general’s Offense or Defense Rating, force ratio bonus, and a few others. Once each player determines their respective DRMs, they roll 1D6 and consult the Combat Results Table for the corresponding battle size. The side which inflicts the most casualties wins.

A) Change Capital Segment: If a side’s capital was occupied by enemy combat units, then the capital must be moved to another friendly space.

B) Political Control Segment:
a. Players place friendly PC markers in any space containing an in supply friendly infantry SP.
b. Determine State control. State control is determined by a side having PC markers in the required number of spaces as denoted by the values on the map.
c. Assess Union War Weariness and Confederate War Guilt penalties.

Spaces with 3 to 6 SPs lose 1 SP and spaces with 7 or more SPs lose 2 SPs.

The game ends on the last turn or if victory conditions are met. Players check victory conditions, which are different for each scenario. Victory is determined by the Strategic Will level of each side. Each side begins with 100 Strategic Will (SW) points. Actions such as gaining control of a state, destroying a Confederate Resource space, relocating your capital, the elimination of an army, winning a large battle, losing control of a fort, the effectiveness of the Union naval blockade, changing army commanders and others all effect SW.

FtP is one of my favorite CDWs. It is a great game! FtP has a steep learning curve but is well worth it. There is a great amount of depth to this game and I find myself agonizing over the best play for each card.

Is the game historically accurate? To some degree it is. The significant people, places and events are in the game. However, will you fight the same battles or play the events along the same timeline or even at all? Probably not, that is a big part of why FtP is very replayable.

Overall, the game plays well and is a lot of fun. The political aspect of the game is done very well. It’s fun to watch the SW track rise and fall with the events of the game. It can be tense at times. The military aspect gives the players a great feel for the conflict. The combat system is simple and does not create downtime. I highly recommend this game to avid and power gamers!


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