High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel

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Quick Overview

There you stand, lead attorney where the stakes could not be higher. The accused is Louis Riel, hero of western Canada's Métis people who are angry with their government. Arrested during a rebellion, he now stands trial for High Treason. Can you successfully prosecute or defend the accused? Will he walk or will he hang?

Front cover

  • Front cover
  • Back cover
  • Game mat
  • Player aid (prosecution)
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Details

Gold Banner product Named one of Alexander's and Grant's Top Ten Games of 2016 from The Player's Aid!

In the Wild West of Canada, the natives were restless and seeking redress for their grievances from the government in eastern Canada. Matters came to a head in 1869 as Louis Riel led a successful rebellion, forcing the government into a compromise. This resulted in the Manitoba Act and caused Louis to flee to the United States. Then again in May of 1885, the North-West Rebellion broke out and Louis Riel returned to lead it. However, this time, the Canadian government crushed the revolt militarily, and Louis was captured to stand trial.

It is July of 1885, and over five fateful days Louis Riel must face the trial for his life on a charge of High Treason. The government has changed the venue to a location more favorable to the prosecution and brought in top lawyers to see that justice will be swift and sure. Oddly enough, this capital case only saw six jurors seated. Louis’ team of attorneys is angling for an insanity defense, but the prosecution is ready to rebut those arguments.

More than the body of one man, Louis Riel, may hang in the trial’s outcome. The fate of a nation is also on trial and can just as assuredly hang on the balance of justice.

High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel is a two-player, 40-minute card game where the players lead the prosecution or defense of one of history’s heroic and tragic figures. The deck is stacked for the prosecution, but the burden required for a hanging conviction is as high as the gallows. You will question prospective jurors and dismiss those least helpful to your case, after which the trial begins in earnest. There are many paths to victory: Swaying the jurors personally and “locking” them into your outlook; swaying the jurors on key personal matters such as their language, religion, and occupations. The prosecution must also present evidence of guilt and rebut evidence of insanity, while the defense must do the opposite. When the trial is over, the jurors deliberate and score their verdict to determine the fate of the defendant, Louis Riel.

Can you triumph on the courtroom stage with a man’s life at stake? Find out with High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel!

What's In The Box?:


•   One 16-page, full-color Rules booklet
•   50 Trial cards (45 historical + 5 "what if?" variant cards)
•   12 Juror cards
•   One 11x17" game mat
•   Two player aids
•   100 thick, laser-cut, multi-shaped counter pieces (minor assembly required)
•   One six-sided die
•   One bright red, 9 1/4" x 5 7/8" Standard cardboard VPG game box
•   One beautiful box cover sleeve
•   One "Wipes-A-Lot" napkin
•   One charcoal desiccant packet

Credits:


Game Design: Alex Berry
Development: Alan Emrich
Graphic Design: Tim Allen
Rules Layout: Noelle Le Bienvenu
Playtesting: Mark Butt, Tom and Hayden Decker, Paul Farrell, Phil Fleischmann, Sam Furth, Amanda Hodge, Steve Johnston, Alexis Jones, Nathan Hansen, Jeremy Lennert, John Mason, Noah Massaro, Lance McMillan, Chris Meichtry, Robert and Barbara Nielsen, Barry Pike III, Brian Powers, Joanne Powers, John Prewitt, Dorian Richard, Daniel Robison, Phil Sauer, Petra Schlunk, Torin Schlunk, Matt Shirley, Alan Snider, Jeanne Ziegler
Proofreading: Matthew E. Deuber, Avalon Emrich, Linda Dailey Paulson, Russ Williams, Karen Wolterman

Game Data

Number of Players 2
Age 13+
Playing Time Approximately 40 minutes
Difficulty 4
Solitaire Suitability 1 (not suitable)
Designer Alex Berry
Developer Alan Emrich

Reviews

High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel by Herb Levy (Gamers Alliance)
The game excels in both capturing the intrinsic biases that human beings have and the influence convinced jurors can have on other, less sure, jurors. creating, in effect, a “falling domino effect” as jurors leaning towards one side can be pushed to “locked” status. This can make for an exciting endgame....

So what is the verdict? High Treason! The Trial of Louis Riel July 1885 is GUILTY! Guilty of providing an extraordinary amount of tense courtroom drams due to a solid, strong and impressive Alex Berry design.
High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel by Robert Peterson (A Wargamer's Needful Things)
Where [the game] really shines is the ability for replay. One would think that a historical trial would become rather stale after a few play-throughs. In reality, all of the different cards and the strategies that a player can use keeps it fresh. The use of 'What If' variant cards also helps to keep the game from getting stale.
High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel by Alexander (The Player's Aid)
[F]or a $20 game this packs a big punch with very intricate interactions and very tense back-and-forth style. I had never heard of this game, and it’s not a stretch to say that many other haven’t also, and in that sense it’s a diamond in the rough. This comes with all my recommendations and I hope there will be many more to come from [designer Alex] Berry in this line of games.
Trial and Errors by John Farrell (Gaming Trend)
High Treason succeeds spectacularly in representing the feeling of trial strategy. You have to decide which points to hit and which to concede. The jury’s attention span is limited, and you can only give them so much information. ... You need to adhere to a consistent strategy to be really successful, yet there is room for experimentation to keep the trial exciting.
High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel by Neil Bason (Lizard Lounge)
One of the most joyous occurrences in gaming is when you get caught completely off guard by a game. That instance where surprise hits you square in the jaw, leaving you lost in awe at what is unfolding, is truly special and to be savoured.

This is the position I found myself in after just the first few moments of The Trial of Louis Riel, July 1885; wide-eyed, completely engaged and drenched in the life-affirming waters of utter surprise.....

I entered The Trial of Louis Riel as a doubter. Unsure [how] such a heavy subject matter would sit well with my notion of what gaming is. I leave completely stunned by how utterly playable the game is, and thankful that I got to sit and play something that might otherwise have passed me by.

Victory Point Games have something special here. They have a game that is equal parts exciting, thought-provoking, tense, and strategic, but more importantly than all of that, they have a game that is an absolute whole lot of fun! (5 / 5)
High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel by Chris Blackford (BGG)
Alex Berry has created an excellent game system, where players can get a taste of influencing jurors in the world’s most famous trials. The system could provide to be more than entertainment, as this game may be useful in classrooms or other educational settings. It does a fair job of abstracting challenges both the prosecution and defense may encounter during a trial in a short, simplified way. It’s also great to see the focus of the game set on the aspects of the trial rather than just the people involved. It also encourages players to learn a bit more about the history behind the trial. There’s a fair bit of information to spark and interest in the rules and flavor text alone. There are endless possibilities for the World on Trial game system, and I am eager to see where this line of games will go. (8.5 / 10)