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In BoA 2, dragging one stack of units on top of another to trigger a battle is as close to the blood and guts of a combat engagement that players get. That doesn’t mean things are totally abstract, and the player has nothing keep track of. The game is extremely detailed. Terrain, weather, supply, training, the abilities of your leaders, their experience and morale can each one by themselves tip the balance of power in favor of one force over another. You can even watch each individual battle unfold from a pop-up box and see at the end of each battle how things went.
BoA2 is primarily a strategic delight, a point underlined by the beefed-up big-picture decision-making. As long as you buy expecting the occasional bout of mystification, a few oh-my-god-I’ve-just-allowed-5,000-men-to-freeze-to-death moments and the odd snicker (hurrah for the Kickapoo Indians!) BoA2 won’t disappoint.
If you're at all familiar with the battles fought then, you'll recognize many of the battles fought during the campaigns in the game, or if you're thinking of buying the game for kids, it's not a bad way to get interested in history. Being set during the American Revolution, the title is literally dripping with history. And there are a lot of features that really push the realism angle as well, at least as it pertains to military strategy.
There’s certainly a lot of depth to the gameplay in Birth Of America, and the entire proceedings have been slanted to reward the most cautious of armchair generals. Rushing into an attack will almost always spell disaster, as you’ve got an embarrassment of options to take into account.
If there's one thing that will draw such people back into this ultimately enjoyable game, it's the undeniable charm present throughout. Whether it's the chirpy, authentic soundtrack, or the classic board game presentation, BoA2 has a charisma about it that its more average competitors lack. It's not going to challenge the big boys, but AGEON know that. Instead of trying, they've poured all their efforts into creating something of their own. The result may be dated on the surface, but at heart it's refreshing and entertaining enough to succeed of its own merits.
Like all of AGEOD's games, Birth of America II: Wars in America 1750-1815 focusses its attention on the battles. Simply put, you have a selection of scenarios, based on real battles, to choose from and play. Some gamers might appreciate some more historical information, so as to better immerse us in the period in which the battles take place, but that is not the purpose of the game. Likewise, there's no campaign mode that would allow you to play through all of the scenarios one after the other with the results of the previous ones affecting the starting point of the next one. Such an option would quickly deviate us from real history, into the realm of alternate history and that is not the goal of any of AGEODs games.
With a distinct board-game approach, BoA II takes on a striking resemblance to Civilization without diplomacy. Each section of the map contains several city strongholds that form the basis of a long-term campaign, with objectives usually involving capturing one or more of these important locations, surviving a siege or driving the enemy beyond borders. Movement is a simple process of dragging and dropping the relevant icon to a desired location on the map, with combat automatically engaged on your behalf. There are no battle animations or interactive elements to contend with, just a simple text explanation of the resultant carnage.
Birth of America II: Wars in America 1750-1815 is an average game and perhaps an above average one in the realm of the turn-based strategy, but I would suggest that newcomers to the genre start with a simpler game to whet their appetite, rather than going for a sequel that is difficult and confusing at the best of times. However, those who are knowledgeable and experienced strategists could do a lot worse than this authentic but flawed production.