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We Need a Hero (of Weehawken)

We Need a Hero (of Weehawken)

Posted by Alan Emrich on Apr 11th 2019

We Need a Hero (of Weehawken)
OR – Hamilton: The Requiem

By Alan Emrich

We are very pleased to announce that we are deep in playtesting and putting the design and development work on a new, second edition of Bob Leonard’s acclaimed treasure, Hero of Weehawken. For your reading pleasure, here are my developer’s notes plus some artwork of the prototype copy of the game that we have been playtesting on.

The initial setup ready for play

With a fresh take on this new edition of the venerable Hero of Weehawken game, I look back on this project with considerable fondness. It has been some years since working on the first edition in its small, polybagged format. It remained on our customers’ “most wanted to see upgraded” list for ages and that now, at last, you have it!

It has been great donning once again Jefferson’s well-heeled shoes and buckling them up for this grand gaming adventure. We present this remarkable (if little-known) story of the Aaron Burr conspiracy as a rattling good yarn in the guise of a solitaire game with myriad possible outcomes. As you furrow your presidential brow in deep reflection, your decisions will be many, consequential, and beset by the vagaries of an age steeped in limited information. (Remember, overseas information traveled at the speed of a sailing ship and overland communication traveled at the speed of a horse; if you were not a direct witness, your news was always dated.) You must rely, as Jefferson did, on hunches, suspicions, and your political instincts to bring about a high score through the muck and mire of the Aaron Burr’s plot.

The tableau fills: Conspirators above, Evidence to the right, Jefferson matters below, and Burr's "AI" on the left!

In this new edition I have researched and added flavor text to every card (it was sporadic in the first edition). We have better organized the map board (now slightly larger at 10” x 20”) and game mats so that you are in firm control of the “game space” on the table; I admit that the ergonomics of gameplay is something I think about a great deal because, like most gamers, I am a lazy player and don’t want to reach too far or have to pick up the rulebook. I also sought out better symbolism to convey information so that costs and consequences are abundantly (and graphically) clear.

Note the new Plot cards at the very top and the markers to help you deduce what Burr & Co. are up to.

Burr arrested at last!

Something new in this second edition of Hero of Weehawken are difficulty levels. During setup, you can make the starting situation easier or more challenging by starting with more (or fewer) Prestige Points and beginning with one of the vital Conspiracy cards revealed (or hidden under the map board where you cannot discover it at all). In addition, if you really want a challenge, there is a Remix option that not only remixes the pieces in The West, but also the three Conspirator cards representing the actual plot for Burr’s Expedition! That will keep you guessing and test your skills!

With the designer, we have rendered a verdict about Trial Defense cards. Not only has a new card been added for Aaron Burr to stand before the court as his own attorney (and watch out; he’s good!), but we were on the fence in the first edition deciding whether there should be one or (if needed) two Trial Defense cards revealed during a Defense Argument. Our answer was that, should a low-valued (1/2 or 1) Trial Defense be the first card revealed and insufficient to carry the argument, then a second (and final) card is also revealed to bolster the Defense. This method typically gives Burr and his defense team enough courtroom firepower to be carrying on with.

The "trial of the century" is set up. Burr stands accused of a plot to Invade Mexico!

Aaron Burr trial outcome -- Guilty: Life!There are some new Jefferson cards (and some different effects for existing cards) in this second edition as well. Jeffersonian Democracy  will help with your domestic agendas while Georgia’s Yazoo Land Scandal requires the full attention of a Federal Agent just to keep order in the new lands that will become Alabama and Mississippi. The Military Peace Establishment Act (which technically occurs before the game starts) bears fruit usable to subvert the advance of Burr’s Expedition plot. Finally, The Haitian Independence Lever on Napoleon for Florida  represents a very ticklish matter; Jefferson kicked this can down the road rather than make a decision because of the young Republic’s north/south political divide and feelings about Haiti’s successful slave revolt.

Finally, to top it all off, I have even created a holiday promotional card for Tabletop Tycoon’s 2019 holiday greeting card. That fateful Christmas of 1805 was well-celebrated despite the Republic’s looming danger.… Presumably, this will be included as a thank-you gift to this game’s Kickstarter backers when its KS campaign goes live later this year.