Liberty or Death
RPG night fell through but in my desperate bid for normalcy I pulled together a head-to-head go at LoD.
I played the entirety of the Rebellion (Patriots and French). When I tried this with Fire in the Lake there was just too too much to think about. But LoD is much more manageable. Fun to coordinate the factions, and you’re almost always involved. Sometimes COIN downtime can take a while.
Anyway, we played the medium scenario again and it took about 5 hours. Now I’ve played every faction except the Indians. Still a coupe plays away from really understanding the factions, or extending my planning horizon beyond my own shit.
11 thoughts on “Liberty or Death”
So, what’s this game like?
It’s uh…Really good? What do you want to know about it?
I wrote a really big essay about it a while back, I could find the link.
Paul Beakley I read that! was good. I’m not sure what I want to know, but I think the other essay had not much detail about how the game works
Okay, got it. Here’s the executive summary.
There are four factions: Patriots, British, French, Indians. Asymmetrical abilities and victory conditions. Patriots and French are paired as the rebels, and the British and Indians are paired as the royalists. Each pair shares a victory condition, which is to achieve a margin of “support” or “opposition” on the map. Then they have secondary victory conditions that cut across the pairs: Indian villages versus patriot forts, rebel kills versus British kills.
Look at that sequence of play box. That’s the core of the game. There is an event deck built out of sets of cards from the years you want to play (scenario length), and seeded with “winter quarters” cards that stop the game for a while while you do maintenance and check for victory.
If your faction is eligible to act (ie it hasn’t already acted) then the event card says the order of factions that can act. Only two factions well ever do anything per card.
When a faction acts, either it gets the benefit on the event card (most of them have two outcomes, or a benefit that any faction can use), or some combination of command and maybe social actions. The first faction to act constrains what the second faction can do, per that chart in the photo.
So basically from that point you’re adding troops, moving them around, fighting, and messing with support levels in the map spaces. Every faction has a different set of moves, and so they feel really different in play. Totally exceptions based! Even down to movement rules. Getting good at the game is mastering not only your own choices but understanding the limitations of your opponent’s choices. I’m not there yet.
Enough? Want more?
sounds pretty awesome! Thanks Paul!
All the COIN games work in a similar way. Liberty or Death is the first premodern iteration, and it does some things that are pretty different to model that. It’s exciting to me because there will be an avalanche of games using this model and across history.
It’s definitely interesting! Sounds very different from trad wargames.
Oh yeah,I can’t play trad wargames. I said it in the other essay, but COIN really does feel as different from hex-and-chit as PbtA feels from Shadowrun or some other hyper detailed simmy rpg. Which may not be an endorsement to you, I understand!
oh, I don’t mind the approach. I play everything from very abstract Rosenbergian eurotrash to GURPS, and I’m really keen on new approaches. (My gripe with PbtA is only limited to what it stops me from doing)
(Isn’t it crazy that those constraints don’t matter in the same way in a wargame? Because the asymmetrical faction commands feel almost exactly the same as “moves.” COIN haters share your PbtA concerns! Why can’t my Indians march into an unprotected city whyyyyy? (End of side note.))
(as a fan of freikriegspiel, they irk me more in rpgs than in traditional boardgames. somehow I come equipped with a lower expectation of freedom and a higher expectation of abstraction in boardgames, so it’s ok if things are weird, but in RPGs I demand tactical infinity and agency)