Spiel 2013 Preview: Freedom

Posted by James (admin) on October 17th, 2013

Freedom game boardFreedom is a co-operative game of freeing slaves in 19th Century America which I think is a great concept.  The board shows the Eastern United States with routes between cities and cubes to represent the slaves.

Each turn is broken into several phases.  First, the slave catchers move along their paths based on a dice roll.  Next, each player chooses which 2 tokens to take and, once all players have selected theirs, they take turns using the tokens.  Some tokens earn income based on where slave cubes are located, some tokens move slave cubes (must be purchased), and the final token type (which also must be purchased) moves the abolitionist movement ahead.  This last token type has game effects plus players must have bought all 8 by the end of the game to fulfil one of the conditions required to win.

Each player has a role card which gives them an on-going special ability and a one-use power too.  Moving slave cubes is interesting as ending movement on a city can earn income (contributions from sympathisers), but ending movement on a slave catchers route will draw the slave catcher towards the slave.  This adds the possibility of sacrificing a slave as a decoy to draw slave catchers away from other slaves.

As part of the their actions, players can purchase any of the face-up abolitionist cards at the side of the board (which get cheaper the longer they are available).  Most cards have beneficial effects when bought or used; however, some cards have on-going negative effects whilst displayed so purchasing those simply removes them and their effect.  As the game continues, new cards and tokens enter play as the years progress.

Freedom cover

Each slave that gets captured is added to the slaves already on that round’s slave market card.  At the end of a round, all the slaves on the current round’s slave market card get added (returned) to the plantations.  If there is no more room for slaves, the extras are added to the Slaves Lost spaces.  If these spaces fill up then the player instantly lose.  To win, players need to have bought all 8 abolitionist tokens and move enough slaves to Canada, and this must be completed within 8 rounds.


Freedom’s gameplay is based on moving slaves and careful management of money, tokens and cards.  With some nice historical information included in the game and on the cards, Freedom definitely appeals to me.

You can read the rules and see the details of the game on Academy Games’s web site using this link: bga.me/freedom


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