Updated: Dec 3, 2019
This is a game I backed twice on Kickstarter. It failed to reach its funding target on its first attempt but succeeded on its second attempt with a lower funding target. What particularly appealed to me was the artwork, drawn entirely from drawings, maps and paintings from the period.
Published by Battle Hardened Games, the game itself represents the 18th Century struggle for colonial dominance between Britain and France. Though there are player boards and tokens to tally money and influence, 1750 is essentially a card game. In play, it is reminiscent of the collectible card games that Decipher produced for the Star Trek and Star Wars universes in the 1990s. I rather enjoyed the play in those old core games, so it’s good to see another game of similar ilk that can be played out of the box but without being burdened down by collectible expansions and chaser cards.
On their turns, players try to achieve a political objective (a modified die roll), and buy battle deck and historic event cards. Battle is for control of individual colonies and for the export goods they produce. Event cards can be played as ‘interrupts’ (ie: on the other player’s turn as well as your own). Victory points are earned for colonies controlled and for completing a secret objective drawn at the start of the game.
The game covers a period of history that is not widely studied: it predates the American Revolution and, of course, the Napoleonic period and it’s later than the Hundred Years War between England and France that dominated late medieval history. As it involved neither Henry VIII or Hitler, it is unlikely to fall within the syllabus studied in English schools. It is an important period, however. It incorporated the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian Wars) and it is a period that helped to define the modern world.
This isn’t a simulation game: you’re not marking out lines of supply or moving chits on a map. You’re not recreating Wolfe’s victory at Quebec in the comfort of your living room: if you want to do that, there are other games to try. This game does, however, convey a sense of the scale of the colonial powers’ imperial ambitions and the plans they sowed for economic and political domination. And it makes for an effective and manageable two-player game.
(Review by Selwyn Ward)