Widely considered the first modern election in U.S. history, the 1828 contest between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson proved that no man could stoop low enough to garner votes in their quest to be the president of a young nation.
Revolution of 1828 is a two-player game from renowned designer Stefan Feld about the hotly contested U.S. election between Jackson and Adams. Can you out-maneuver your opponent to earn the most votes using smear campaign tactics while dodging the press?
Revolution of 1828 is played over four rounds, each with three phases. After randomly drawing tiles from the bag and placing them on the board, the round begins. The board is divided into five areas, representing the different parts of the United States, with a sixth area marked for the Press.
On your turn, take one election tile from the board and if it’s a delegate then add it to your side matching the area’s color. However, if it’s a campaign action, then you’ll either resolve its effects immediately or when instructed to do so. If you take the last election tile from an area, then you immediately slide the elector (or editor) to your side and take an extra turn. After all tiles have been taken, the round ends and the votes are counted.
Votes are based on who has the most tiles in their campaign piles and who secured the most delegates in each area. Finally, if you claimed the editor token then you must deal with the press. You give one vote back to your opponent for every smear campaign token on your side.
After the fourth round, whoever has the most total votes has won the election and is the new President of the United States!
From The Castles of Burgundy to Trajan, Feld’s games are well known and highly regarded. While a good portion of his titles are known for being dry Eurogame point salads, Revolution of 1828 is somewhat of a departure for him: it’s a two-player game with a theme that’s more than an afterthought. The background for the game is neatly covered in the rulebook and details the parallels to today’s political climate, with a populist president leading the charge for controversial changes in politics, governance, and society itself.
Thanks to the Feld name, expectations were high when I received Revolution of 1828. While it’s a good game, it’s not one of his genre-defining ones. The head-to-head conflict is enjoyable, but it’s not the brain-burny Feld I’m used to. And perhaps that was the goal of this game: to trim down the typical Eurogame experience into something that two players can manage in a relatively short amount of time.
With more companies entering the two-player scene with “duel” versions of their classic hits, Revolution of 1828 may get lost in a growing niche market. It may not be the best option for those times when game night consists of you and another player, but it’s certainly a good one.
Thanks to Renegade Game Studios for providing a review copy of Revolution of 1828.
Ruel Gaviola is a regular contributor to Geek & Sundry, The Five By, iSlaytheDragon, and other sites. His name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. You can find him talking about board games on Twitter or Instagram.