Monday, April 20, 2015

Battle of Tippecanoe Game

Below is a game that I created as part of an assignment for a history class, which I am taking as part of my elementary teaching licensure program. It's untested and probably totally unbalanced right now; at some point in the future, I hope to actually give it a try.

The game is a history-based deck-building card game. The main thing that makes it distinct from most such games is that the deck is built in-game by each player, and the two players each have a different method of building a deck. Check it out, and if you happen to put together a game and actually play it, let me know how it goes!

Players: 2
Game Time: 60 minutes
Type: Strategic Card Game

  • US Troop Cards: 50 
    • 40 US Privates 
    • 5 US Sharpshooters 
    • 4 US Captains 
    • WH Harrision 
  • Native Warrior Cards: 50 
    • 20 Aggressive Warriors 
    • 18 Defensive Warriors 
    • 10 Native Sharpshooters 
    • Tecumseh
    • Tenskwatawa 
  • US Condition Cards: 20 
  • 7 Fair Conditions 
  • 3 Dysentery 
  • 2 Swamp 
  • 1 Lost Unit 
  • 4 Tension in the Ranks 
  • 3 Desertion
  • Ammunition Cards: 30
  • Weapon Cards: 100 
    • 5 Swords 
    • 60 Muskets 
    • 15 Muskets w/Bayonets 
    • 20 Bow & Arrow/Tomahawk
  • Tactics Cards: 25 
    • 5 Charge 
    • 5 Dig In 
    • 5 Flanking Maneuver 
    • 2 Feigned Retreat 
    • 8 Take Cover 
  • Dice: 10 
  • US Troop Advancement Board: 1 
  • US Troop Advancement Marker: 1 

Printable game materials can be found here (Excel file)

Tecumseh. Source
The year is 1811. Tecumseh, a Shawnee leader from the Ohio country, and his brother, the prophet Tenskwatawa, have drawn together an intertribal coalition of Native Americans, with the village of Tippecanoe in the northwest Indiana Territory as its primary power center. This confederation of Shawnee, Lenape, Sauk, Miami, Pottawatomie, and other Native Americans, joined together for mutual aid and defense, is deemed a threat by the US Government, who decide it must be put down before it grows strong enough to resist white settlement of the Northwest Territory. Goals: The Native player must first gather and arm a coalition of warriors, and then lead a defense of the Tecumseh Confederacy’s capital at Tippecanoe. If the Native player succeeds, the US may be forced to come to peaceful terms with the Tecumseh Confederacy and treat it as a legitimate political entity to be reckoned with. The US player must march and deploy a force strong enough to overcome Native defenses at Tippecanoe. If the US player succeeds, the Confederacy will be scattered and the Northwest Territory will eventually be settled by whites.

Tenskwatawa. Source

The game takes place in two stages: preparation and battle. The preparation stage is distinct for each player, but both preparation stages involve creating the deck that will be used to play the battle stage against the other player.

Preparation Stage – Native Player: 
The Native player’s preparation stage comes in two sections: the Civil Chief phase and the War Chief phase. These phases reflect the political arrangement in place in the villages of Tecumseh’s Confederacy: political affairs in ordinary life (such as treaties and relations with outsiders) were directed by the Civil Chief, but in wartime, a separate War Chief took power. Thus, the Civil Chief phase focuses on attracting warriors from various Native tribes to Tecumseh’s Confederacy, while the War Chief phase focuses on preparation for battle by acquiring supplies and training warriors.

Civil Chief: During this phase, the Native player may pull 7 cards from the warrior deck, and choose 5 to keep in the their hand, replacing the remaining cards at the bottom of the deck. The player may also choose to trade one warrior from their hand for one ammunition card or one weapon card. The player may choose to switch to the War Chief phase at any point (5 turns is recommended), but may not switch back.

War Chief: During this phase, the Native player may draw ammunition, weapon, and tactics cards. Each turn the player may draw 3 ammunition cards, 5 weapon cards, and 1 tactics card. The player may also exchange any ammunition, weapon, or tactics card for another warrior during this phase.
WH Harrison, US Commander. Source

Preparation Stage – US Player:
The US player starts out with a full complement of weapons (5 Swords, 30 Muskets, and 15 Muskets w/Bayonets) and troops (40 US Privates, 5 US Sharpshooters, 4 US Captains, and WH Harrison), as well as 15 ammunition cards. Each turn, the US player will draw 1 tactics card and 1 condition card. If the Conditions card allows for it, the US player will advance one day’s march closer to the Native player’s position, moving the US Troop Advancement Marker 1 space on the US Troop Advancement Board. The condition cards will gradually decrease the US player’s deck size; unlike the Native player, the US player “builds” a battle deck primarily by choosing what to discard.

Battle Stage: 
Start: At the beginning of the battle stage, each player lays out 5 unit cards, each paired with a weapon of the player’s choosing. The rest of the units remain in the hand.

First Battle Round: At the Battle of Tippecanoe, the Native forces attacked the US troops before they reached Tippecanoe proper, so the Native player attacks first. The attacking player first announces whether they will perform a ranged or hand-to-hand attack. If the attacking player is performing a ranged attack, both players must discard an ammunition card. (If the defending player does not have an ammunition card, they can still win the round, but the attacking player will not lose any units.) Both players may then play a tactics card if they choose to do so, with the attacking player choosing a card first.

Next, each player rolls one die for each regular unit on the battlefield (no officers or historical characters)—up to 5 dice. Each player adds up the sum of their dice roll; the attacking player adds this to their total battlefield attack number (composed of each unit’s attack score, each weapon’s power score, and any bonuses from unit cards or tactics cards), and the defending player adds their dice roll to their total battlefield defense number (composed of each unit’s defense score, each weapon’s power score, and any bonuses from unit cards or tactics cards). Note that the weapon power score is different for ranged and hand-to-hand attacks. The player with the higher score wins that round; the losing player that round must remove a number of units equal to the difference between the attacking and defending score from their field of play, along with the units’ weapons. If the difference is greater than 5, only 5 cards are removed from play—no cards are discarded from the hand.

Next Battle Round: The next round begins with the losing player placing on the field new units with new weapons from their hand, with a total of 5 cards on the field. The attacking player becomes the defending player, and vice versa, and the process repeats.

Example Battle Round:

The attacking player chooses a ranged attack, and each player discards an ammunition card in the discard pile. Attacking player chooses a tactic that adds 1 attack for each unit; the defending player choses a tactic that adds 2 defense for each unit. The attacking player rolls 5 dice, one for each regular unit, and scores as follows:

  • Unit score: 7, adding up each unit’s baseline attack (1+1+1+2+2)
  • Weapon score: 8, adding each weapon’s power (1+2+2+2+1) 
  • Tactics score: 5, multiplying an attack bonus of 1 times each unit (1x5)
  • Dice score: 20 
  • Total score: 40 
The defending player rolls 4 dice, since they have 4 regular units, and scores as follows:

  • Unit score: 5, adding up each unit’s defense (1+1+1+1+1) 
  • Weapon score: 4, adding each weapon’s power (1+1+1+1+0) 
  • Special unit score: 5, multiplying a defense bonus of 1 times each unit (1x5) 
  • Tactics score: 10, multiplying a defense bonus of 2 times each unit (2x5) 
  • Dice score: 14 
  • Total score: 38 
The attacker wins this round by 2 points, so the defender loses 2 unit cards of their choice, along with their weapons. The defender must select 2 more units and 2 more weapons to play before becoming the attacking player and beginning the next round.

Game Conclusion: The game is over when one player has no more units on the battlefield, or when one player concedes defeat.

Parkinson, S. (Instructor) (2015, February). Contested Republic. HIST 201 Class. Lecture conducted from Muncie, IN.
Oakes, J. (2012). Of the People: A History of the United States (Concise Edition, Second ed.) Oxford University Press, USA.
Sugden, J. (1998). Tecumseh: A Life. New York: Henry Holt and Co.