How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

1812: The Invasion of Canada Game Rules

Let’s dive into the game rules of 1812: The Invasion of Canada! Get ready to step into history and experience the excitement of the War of 1812. As you play, you’ll take on the role of a military commander and strategize to achieve victory for your side. The game is designed for two to five players and offers an engaging and strategic gameplay experience.


To start the game, each player should choose a faction – either the British Regulars, Canadian Militia, Native Americans, American Regulars, or American Militia. Each faction has its own strengths and weaknesses, so choose wisely! Once you have your faction, place your units in the appropriate starting areas on the game board.

The game board represents the theater of operations during the War of 1812 and is divided into regions such as Upper Canada, Lower Canada, and the Great Lakes. Each region has a set of battlefields and key cities. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the board and the different regions before beginning gameplay.


On your turn, you’ll have a set of actions available to you. These actions include marching, battling, raiding, and reinforcing your troops. Each action requires a certain number of cards, which are drawn from your faction deck. Balancing your actions and card management is key to success.

As you move your units across the board, you’ll engage in battles with your opponents. Battles are resolved using dice rolls and take into account factors such as the number of units, leaders, and terrain advantages. Plan your attacks carefully and consider the strengths and weaknesses of your faction and your opponent’s.

Scoring in the game is based on controlling key cities and winning battles. The more battles you win and cities you control, the higher your score will be. However, be careful not to spread your forces too thin, as this can leave your other regions vulnerable to enemy attacks.

End of Game

The game ends after a certain number of turns or when a faction achieves a certain score. The faction with the highest score at the end of the game is declared the winner. Victory is achieved through a combination of strategic planning, tactical decision-making, and a bit of luck.

Remember, the outcome of history is in your hands. Can you change the course of the War of 1812 and lead your faction to victory? Gather your forces, formulate your plans, and let the invasion of Canada begin!

How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules UltraFoodMess

Welcome to the year 1812, where war is raging all over Europe and Russia. The infamous Napoleon, who calls himself the emperor of France, is on a conquest to dominate Europe. But here’s the twist – a bunch of countries, led by Great Britain, are putting up a fierce fight to stop him.

Now, Great Britain is in a bit of a pickle. They’re desperate for resources, so they start capturing American ships that are helping France. Not only that, they take all the stuff on those ships and even force some of the sailors to join their Royal Navy.

Now, let me tell you about the United States. They’re not too thrilled about all of this. They want to protect their rights and make sure they have a strong position in North America. So, on June 18, 1812, they do something big – they declare war on Britain.

On July 12, 1812, we seized an opportunity to strike a blow against the British army as they fought Napoleon in Europe. Our aim? To liberate their final colony in North America. The audacity of our invasion caught Britain off guard. Suddenly, they found themselves confronting a new adversary on a distant continent.

What We’re Up Against

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  • 1 Map
  • 60 Cards
  • 25 red British Regular units
  • 35 yellow Canadian Militia units
  • 25 green Native American units
  • 30 blue American Regular units
  • 45 white American Militia units
  • 1 Round Marker Pawn
  • 20 Control Markers
  • 13 Battle Dice
  • 5 Turn Order Markers

What’s the Game About?

In the game 1812 – The Invasion of Canada, you get to play as one of the important groups that were involved in the War of 1812. If you choose to play on the British side, you can take command of the British Regulars (Redcoats), Canadian Militia, and Native Americans.

The American Regular Army and American Militia make up the American side. We, the players, will work together to plan and carry out our campaigns. Our goal is to capture Objective cities and forts on the map.

When a truce is called, the side that has control of the most enemy Objectives will be the winner.

Now, let’s get into the setup.

First, we need to choose a faction. You can pick either the American Regulars, represented by the color blue, or the American Militia, represented by the color white.

For the British side, we have the British Regulars in red, the Canadian Militia in yellow, and the Native Americans in green.

If you’re playing with fewer than five people, some players may need to control multiple factions on one side of the conflict. But remember, all factions must be played.

Now, let’s move on to the map setup.

How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules UltraFoodMess

Hey there! Let’s talk about this awesome game where you get to be an American or British player and strategize your way to victory. When you set up the game, make sure to place the map in the center of the table. If you’re playing as the American side, position yourself on the south edge, and if you’re on the British side, go for the north edge. Easy peasy, right?

Now, take a look at the map. You’ll notice that it’s divided into red and blue areas. The blue areas represent American Homeland Areas, while the red areas represent British Homeland Areas. Keep an eye out for those starred cities or forts – those are the objectives. The more enemy objectives you control by the end of the game, the closer you are to victory. So, snatch those objectives and show your opponent who’s boss!

Speaking of the game, there are three exciting scenarios to choose from. There’s an 1812 Introductory Scenario, the 1812 Full Campaign Scenario, and an 1813 Campaign Scenario. Pick the one that suits your taste and get ready for an epic adventure!

Starting Units For The 1812 Scenarios
Place Additional Units
Unit Force Pools
Draw Cards
Place Round Marker
The Draw Bag

How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules UltraFoodMess

When you start a game of 1812, the first thing you need to do is place all the Turn Order Markers in the Draw Bag. If you’re playing the Full 1812 Campaign, take the blue American Regulars Turn Order Marker and put it on the 1st Turn space.

Welcome to the Game

Playing the Game

This game has a variable number of rounds. Each round, every one of the five factions gets a turn to move its units using movement cards.

We determine the turn order randomly. At the start of each round, we put all five Turn Order Markers into a bag. Then, we draw a marker blindly and place it on the ‘1st Turn’ space of the turn track.

The color of the marker tells us which faction’s turn it is. That faction finishes its turn before we draw the next marker from the bag.

Note: In the Full 1812 Campaign, the American Regulars always take the first turn of Round I.

The Player in Control

You are the one in control when it’s your faction’s turn.

When all the Turn Order Markers are pulled and every faction has had their turn, the round comes to an end. We return all the Turn Order Markers to the Draw Bag and move the Round Marker Pawn to the next round space.

The next round starts by pulling a new Turn Order Marker from the Draw Bag.

Checking for the End of the Game

After round 3, as well as after each subsequent round, we need to check if the end of the game condition has been met.

A Turn in the Game

When a Turn Order Marker is drawn, it shows which faction will take their turn next. Then, the active player can go through the following actions in order:

  1. Placing Enlistments & Fled Units in Muster Areas
  2. Playing a Movement Card and up to Two Special Cards
  3. Resolving Battles
  4. Drawing New Cards

1. Placing Enlistments

Hey there! Let’s talk about the Muster Areas in the game. You see, each faction has their own special spots on the map. These spots are called Muster Areas and they have cool Enlistment cube graphics in different colors to represent each faction.

For the British Regulars, their Muster Area is in Montreal. They have three cubes in red. The Canadian Militia also has their Muster Area in Montreal, but they only have one cube in yellow. They also have another Muster Area in York with one yellow cube.

The Native Americans have their Muster Area in Six Nations. They have one green cube and they get an extra green cube as well. Pretty cool, right?

The American Regulars have their Muster Area in Pittsburgh. They have two blue cubes there. They also have another Muster Area in Albany with three blue cubes.

Lastly, the American Militia has their Muster Area in Pittsburgh too. They have two white cubes there. They also have a Muster Area in Albany with one white cube.

Here’s a visual example to help you out. The picture shows the Albany area, which is a Muster Area for the American Militia and American Regular units. I hope that clears things up for you!

How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules UltraFoodMess

When I start my turn, I grab some Enlistment Units from my Unit Force Pool and put them in my Muster Area(s). The number of units I grab depends on the picture below the cube that represents my faction.

Each faction has a limited number of units in their Unit Force Pool. If my faction doesn’t have any units left in the pool, I can’t place any Enlistments that turn.

Enlistments from Native American Factions

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Hey there! Let me tell you about an interesting rule in the game. I think you’ll find it pretty cool!

So, here’s the deal. In the game, there’s something called the Six Nations Muster Area. It’s a special spot where you can place a green unit. But guess what? If you’re the Native American player, you get to place an extra green unit somewhere else too! Pretty neat, huh?

Here’s the cool part. Usually, you can only place units in your own homeland areas, right? Well, not if you’re the Native American player! You can put that extra green unit in an American or British homeland area. And get this, you can even do it if the Native American Muster Area has enemy units on it. Wow!

Okay, now let’s talk about another rule. It’s called “Place Fled Units.” Let me break it down for you. Besides putting Enlistments in play, you can also bring back any of your units that were in the Fled Unit Space. Just place them in your own Muster Area(s). Simple, right?

For example, imagine you’re playing as the Canadian Militia. It’s your turn, and you have some units in the Fled Unit Space. Well, guess what? You can bring them back! Just grab some yellow Enlistment units, and place one in Montreal and another in York. Easy peasy!

When it’s my turn, I can place up to 7 yellow units in Montreal and/or York. But if there are enemy units in a Muster Area, I can’t put any units there.

Sometimes, I might not be able to place any units or enlistments on the map for a whole turn. If that happens, I lose that turn’s enlistments, and my fled units stay in the Fled Units Space.

After placing my units, I get to play a Movement Card.

2. Play a Movement Card and Up to Two Special Cards

I have a deck of twelve cards, which includes eight Movement Cards and four Special Cards. On my turn, I have to play one Movement Card, but I also have the option to play up to two Special Cards.

When I play the game, I can move my units on land or water, but it all depends on the Movement Card I have. During my turn, I’m only allowed to play one Movement Card, and once it’s played, all the other cards I’ve used are removed from the game, except for the Truce Movement Cards.

Now, let’s talk about the Land Movement Cards. These cards are special because they let my units move from one land area to another. It’s like giving my forces the power to travel across the map. But remember, the Movement Card I play isn’t the only thing that affects my units’ movement. Sometimes, I might have a Special Card that modifies how my units can move.

Speaking of units, let’s discuss armies. An army is a group of units that are in the same area. It’s like having a team of soldiers working together. The cool thing about armies is that they can be made up of units from different factions that are on the same side. For example, in one area, I could have a British army with red British Regulars units, yellow Canadian Militia units, and green Native American units. It’s all about forming a strong coalition to achieve victory.

When you look at a movement card, you’ll notice that the number of soldier figures on it tells you how many armies you can move. You should also keep in mind that each of these armies has a limit to how far it can travel.

Here’s something important to remember: you can’t move an army (including all its units) more than once during a turn.

How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules UltraFoodMess

If you’re playing with the movement card shown, you, as the American Regulars player, can move up to four different armies. Each army can move two areas, but keep in mind that you can’t move the same army more than once. However, some Special Cards might give you extra movement range for an army.

In order to move an army, you need to have at least one unit in that army belong to you, the active player. Once you meet this requirement, you can move all of the units in that army, including any allied units that are part of it.

For example, let’s say you, the American Regulars player, have an army that consists of 1 American Regulars unit and 6 American Militia units. You can move all of these units together.

Moving armies happens from one area to another, crossing area boundaries. However, if an area is already occupied by enemy units, your army must stop there. Also, keep in mind that you cannot drop off or pick up units while in the middle of moving your armies.

When I play the game, I sometimes have to divide my army into multiple smaller armies before I can move them. This tactic allows me to move one part of my army while leaving another part behind. If the Movement Card I have allows for multiple army movements, I can even move the other part of my army to a completely different area. It’s like playing chess, where I can strategize and position my pieces in different places on the board. It’s pretty cool!

Let me give you an example to help you understand. Imagine I have 4 American Regulars and 5 American Militia units in Fort Niagara. During my turn as the American Regulars, I play a movement card that lets me move my armies. I decide to move 2 Regulars and 2 Militia into Fort George for my first army move. Then, for my second army move, I move 2 Regulars and 2 Militia into Queenston. But wait, I still have 1 Militia unit left in Fort Niagara that I haven’t moved yet. So, I leave it there. And guess what? I still have two more army moves left to make! It’s like a puzzle, trying to decide how to strategically move my armies to different areas.

When I’m playing the game, I don’t have to move all of my armies or use all of the allowed movement per army. I can choose to move fewer armies if I want.

A minor river is marked on the map as a black line, and I can cross it without needing a boat, just like crossing any other border on the map.

Truce Cards

Each faction has a Truce Card. Truce Cards are a type of Movement Card, and I play them just like any other card. Instead of discarding them, I line them up along the western edge of the map to keep track of how many have been played.

When all factions in an alliance have played their Truce Cards, the game ends at the end of the round.

Water Movement

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To cross a big stretch of water, like a wide ocean or a big river, you need to use a special card called a Warship, Fishing Boat, or Canoe Movement card.

On the map, you’ll notice that some lakes and large rivers are colored light blue. These are what we call Large Bodies of Water. The boundary of a large body of water is where the rivers turn gray.

If you have a Water Movement card, your armies can move from one land area next to a large body of water to another land area next to the same large body of water. It doesn’t matter if there are enemy armies there, you can still move through.

For example, let’s say you have a British army in Prescott that wants to move to Fort Niagara. Since both places are next to Lake Ontario, the army can cross the lake and move to Fort Niagara. However, the army can’t move to Buffalo because it’s next to Lake Erie, which is separated from Lake Ontario by a grayed-out river.

Now, let’s talk about the size of the armies that can use Canoes and Fishing Boats.

How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules UltraFoodMess

When it comes to water movement in the game, there are certain cards that impose restrictions on the size of armies that can be transported. The number and color of the cubes on these cards determine the maximum number of units that can be moved per army.

For example, the Canoe card allows a maximum of 5 Native American units to be moved. These units can come from up to 5 different areas on the same body of water, and they can all be transported to a single area on that body of water.

On the other hand, the Fishing Boat card allows for the transportation of two armies. Each army can consist of up to 3 units, and the units must be from two different areas. Just like with the Canoe card, both armies can be moved to a single area on the same body of water.

How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules UltraFoodMess

Fishing with the American Militia Fishing Boat card gives me the power to move two armies. Each army can have a maximum of three units and must have at least one white unit. It’s exciting to have this opportunity to strategize and plan my movements carefully.

Limits on Movement

I have to remember that I can’t move into the forbidden beige boundary territory. It’s off-limits. Also, islands in large bodies of water don’t count as areas, so I can’t move into them either. These boundaries and rules make the game more challenging and interesting.

How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules UltraFoodMess

Special Cards: Unleash the Power of Uniqueness

I’ve got some exciting news for you! Each faction has its very own Special Cards that are totally unique. You can easily spot them because they have the word “Special” right at the top. These Special Cards have a superpower – they can change the rules of movement and combat. So, when it’s your turn to move, you can play not only your regular movement Card but also any or all of your Special Cards. How cool is that?

Now, let’s talk about battles. After you’ve finished all your epic moves for the turn, it’s time to resolve some battles. Get ready for an adrenaline rush!

Objectives: Unveiling the Importance of Cities and Forts

Imagine this: you’re playing a game and you come across special cities or forts. You can easily spot them because there’s a star next to their name. Guess what? These are the Objectives and they are super important.

Controlling an enemy Objective is a big deal. We keep track of control by placing a special marker in the area, showing which side has the upper hand. Look out for your side’s flag symbol – when it’s face up on the Control Marker, that means you’re in control! Keep your eyes peeled for these strategic locations and show ’em who’s boss!

Do you know how sides gain control over enemy objectives in the game? Well, let me explain. At the end of a turn, a side is considered to control an enemy objective if its units occupy that area. But here’s the catch – if those units leave or are forced out of the objective area, the control marker is removed and control goes back to the original owners. It’s like a game of tug-of-war!

For example, let’s say the British forces occupy Buffalo at the end of the Canadian Militia’s turn. In this case, a British control marker is placed in that area. It’s important to keep a firm grip on those objectives!

Now, at the end of the game, the side that controls the most enemy objectives is the winner. It’s as simple as counting the number of control markers each side has on the map. Whoever has the most markers, reigns supreme.

Take the Fort Erie and Queenston area, for instance. There are two objectives up for grabs. If the Americans manage to control this area, you’ll see two American control markers proudly placed on it. It’s all about staking your claim!

Ready for Battle

When opposing armies find themselves in the same place, a battle ensues. If there are multiple battles happening, the player in control gets to decide the order in which they are resolved. Before the actual battle takes place, any Special Cards that may affect the outcome must be assigned.

The side that controls the area where the battle is happening has the initiative and gets to roll first. In areas marked in red, the British players have the initiative, and in areas marked in blue, the American players have the initiative. This is true regardless of whether they are the attackers or defenders.

Initially, both sides’ players roll their Battle Dice at the same time and apply the results. If there are still units from both sides left after resolving the results, the players of the opposite side then roll their Battle Dice and apply the results. The battle continues in this manner, going back and forth, until only one side remains in the area.

When it comes to battles, each player takes on the role of a faction and gets to make decisions for their own units. The number of dice a player rolls depends on how many units they have in the battle. American Regulars and British Regulars can roll a maximum of two dice, while American Militia, Canadian Militia, and Native American players can roll up to three dice.

What the Dice Can Do – Each faction’s dice have different faces that represent different outcomes: Hit, Flee, and Blank Command Decision.

The Hit Face

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When I score a hit, it means I’ve successfully attacked an opponent’s unit and taken it out of the game. The unit is then placed in my Unit Force Pool. If there are multiple factions to choose from, the opponents will need to decide together which unit to remove. It’s like a quick retreat for the unit that got hit.

How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules UltraFoodMess

When I roll the colored die and get a Flee result, one of my units runs away from the battle. I place that unit in the Fled Units Space on the map. But don’t worry! It’s not gone forever. It will come back to my Muster Area at the start of my next turn.

How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules UltraFoodMess

Deciding What to Do

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have to make a difficult decision? Maybe you were unsure of what to do or how to proceed. Well, that’s a common experience for all of us. Decision-making can be challenging, but it’s also an essential part of life.

When faced with a tough decision, the first thing I tell myself is to take a step back and carefully consider my options. It’s easy to make impulsive choices without thinking things through. By stepping back and giving yourself a moment to breathe, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to make a more informed decision.

Next, I like to gather as much information as I can about the situation at hand. Whether it’s doing research or talking to others who have been in a similar situation, I find that having more information allows me to make a more educated decision. It’s like having a roadmap – it helps guide me in the right direction.

Of course, it’s also important to listen to your gut. Sometimes, you just have to trust your instincts. Deep down, you know what’s right for you. It may not always be the easiest choice or the most popular, but it’s important to stay true to yourself.

Lastly, I remind myself that making a decision is part of the journey. There’s no guarantee that the decision I make will be the perfect one, but that’s okay. Life is full of ups and downs, and it’s through facing these tough decisions that I grow and learn.

So, the next time you find yourself in a situation where you have to make a tough decision, remember to take a step back, gather information, trust your instincts, and embrace the journey. Decisions may be difficult, but they also pave the way for personal growth and discovery.

How to play 1812 The Invasion of Canada Official Rules UltraFoodMess

When I roll a blank die face, I have the option to move one of my own units out of the current battle. I can choose any adjacent Friendly Area to move this unit to.

Friendly Areas are areas that are either empty or contain allied units in my side’s Homeland Areas. They can also be enemy Homeland Areas that are occupied by allied units.

But there’s a catch – my side’s Homeland Areas that are solely occupied by enemy units are not considered friendly. However, if an area contains both friendly and enemy units, such as in an upcoming battle, it is considered friendly and I can move into it.

The order in which we carry out Command Decisions is determined by the involved allied players.

However, if there are no friendly areas adjacent to the battle, then I don’t have the option to move out of it.

When I think about armies, I imagine them moving into battle. But what happens when they need to move out? Well, that’s where Command Decisions come into play.

A Different Perspective

Native American units have a special advantage. They can use a Command Decision to move into enemy areas that aren’t occupied, including American Objective Areas.

Step 4: Get Some Cards

After I finish my turn, I have to make sure I have enough cards in my hand. I need to draw enough cards so that I have 3 in total. If there aren’t enough cards left in the deck, I’ll just have to make do with what I have.

But here’s the thing. Let’s say I draw 3 Special Cards and no Movement Cards. Well, that’s not good. I can’t go into battle without any way to move. So, I’ll have to reshuffle my cards, put them back into the deck, and draw 3 new ones. But I always need to have at least one Movement Card in my hand after I draw.

Once I’m done with my turn, it’s time for a fresh start. I’ll reach into the Draw Bag and pull out a new Turn Order Marker to kick off the next turn.

The Endgame

At the end of round 3 and each subsequent round, we assess the game’s end condition.

The game will end if, by the end of a round, all Truce Cards from either or both sides have been played. The British allies have 3 Truce Cards, while the American allies possess 2.

The winning side in the game is determined by the number of Control Markers they have on the map. It is possible for a game to end in a tie.

For example, let’s say the Americans have control over three British Objectives, resulting in them having 3 American Control Markers on the map.

On the other hand, the British have control over two American Objectives, giving them 2 British Control Markers on the map. In this scenario, the Americans emerge as the winners with a margin of 1.

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