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Posted on Aug 24, 2006 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Savannah – Boardgame Review

By Johnny L. Wilson

I can hear some of you, now. “Big deal!” you’re saying. “Lots of games have weather charts.” And you’d be correct. What makes this game so interesting is that the effects of weather change far more than your movement factors or conditional attack odds. A Hurricane can cause step losses, prohibit combat, eliminate movement, prevent the playing of Random Events cards, forbid siege and bombardment (more later), delay reinforcements, reduce rally attempts, and delay construction or completion of siege works. A Gale force wind only halves movement and prohibits ranged combat (while interfering with close combat), but has all of the other negatives of a Hurricane term. A Squall reduces effectiveness in movement, combat and siege/bombardment, but only prohibits construction and completion of siege works. There are two other gradations of weather (Storms and Heavy Rain) that only reduce effectiveness. Finally, Favorable Conditions do nothing to hinder the battle.


Siege and Resist (Siege and Bombardment)

In the full campaign game, the French player may attempt to construct and occupy siege work hexes of his own choice. In the tactical game, the historical location of these siege works is already specified. Once the works are constructed, they not only offer a terrain advantage for their occupier, but they allow the French to roll on the “Siege and Bombardment Table.” Table I is a more static and traditional approach to random effects than the card deck, but it adds additional randomness and flavor. Plus, each roll includes a 70% chance that the rolling player will get another roll on Table II (merely an interesting way of adding additional random effects with the same dice mechanic).

Once the French player is using the “Siege and Bombardment Table,” the British get to unleash their guns. There are British results for Table I and Table II, as well. This phase allows players to experience a more interesting flavor than “move, shoot” and “move, shoot.”

Dispatch from General Lincoln (Conclusions)

With Great Battles of the American Revolution: Volume IV: Savannah, the series has turned the flank of certain expectations. Whether it will commercially turn that flank and create a critical mass of Great Battles of the American Revolution fans remains to be seen. I, personally, had trouble recruiting opponents for this game. Worse, I agreed to play only the Historical Battle in my first playing and missed most of the game’s new color and cleverness. That opponent so disliked the claustrophobic feel of using mostly the bottom corner of the map and the concomitant scattering of counters because of the marker inflation (for combat results) that he refused to play again.

Frankly, I urge everyone to play the full game. The strategic turns don’t take very long and they are where each game takes on a slightly different color. Once I had moved to this approach, the game became significantly better. I suddenly had to worry about what cards my opponent might or might not have. Suddenly, since I usually played the Allies, I had to be concerned about movement more than die rolls. Then, Great Battles of the American Revolution: Volume IV: Savannah became what I really look for in a historical war game, an experience that made me appreciate the historical choices, sacrifices, and heroism more than ever. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I like it better than its predecessors.

Armchair General Score: 81%

36/40 — Gameplay (for campaign game only / tactical = 28)
10/15 — Components (needed the 5/8” counters)
14/20 — Rules/Documentation (needs index, Living Rules)
13/15 — Replay Value (for campaign game / tactical = 9)
08/10 — Reviewer’s Tilt (like the era, visited the ruins)

GMT’s American Revolution: Volume IV: Savannah page.

Discuss this game on the Armchair General forums.

Author’s Information

Johnny L. Wilson is the former editorial director of Computer Gaming World and publisher of Dragon, Dungeon, Star Wars Gamer, Star Wars Insider, TopDeck and Undefeated magazines. He is the author of The Sim City Planning Commission Handbook and co-author of Sid Meier’s Civilization or Rome on 640K a Day. His most recent game-related book is High Score: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games, written with Rusel Demaria. Today, he balances his game playing with his work as a freelance novelist and author of multimedia study guides for the books of the Bible. His passion is any game that causes him to study more history. Not the strongest player, he is nonetheless an avid player. Johnny and his wife live on the shore of Castle Lake in Tyrone, Georgia.


1 Reginald Hargreaves (Major), The Bloodybacks (New York: Walker & Company, 1968), p. 327.

2 Henry Lumpkin, From Savannah to Yorktown: The American Revolution in the South (Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1981), p. 32.

3 Hargreaves, p. 320.

4 Lumpkin, p. 33.

5 See .

6 Lumpkin, p. 34.

7 Barbara W. Tuchman, The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution (New York: Ballantine Books, 1988), p. 160.

8 Lumpkin, p. 39.

9 Hargreaves, p. 327.

10 Lumpkin, p. 34.

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