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Subject: Playing through my Victory Point Games titles rss

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Paul Dodds
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At the outset of events Jefferson decided to focus his efforts on his Virginia Dynasty agenda in the hope that the prestige this would grant him could be used as quickly as possible. Disturbing rumours reached the President that Burr had persuaded Spain to help finance his plans which had accelerated his preparations. Whilst Jefferson's plans to secure the Virginia Dynasty were proceeding well further reports were received that Burr had ordered the construction of 15 boats at Marietta. Just what was he planning?

The maverick James Wilkinson thought he knew and made a desperate attempt to try and arrest Burr. Fortunately Wilkinson had no idea where Burr was hidden so his meddling came to naught, although it was enough to give Jefferson an unpleasant scare. More unpleasant events were to confront Jefferson when the battles of Trafalgar and Austerlitz ruined his chances to try and put pressure on Britain to support the young nation. Fortunately these overseas events had no effect on Jefferson completing his Virginia Dynasty agenda, which would greatly increase his prestige at home. With his original plan thus completed Jefferson decided that time was right to start planning for issuing a Presidential Proclamation which he believed would greatly assist in helping track down Burr and revealing his plans.

While Jefferson was working on his Proclamation his diplomats did an able job improving the relationship with Spain, which was a cause for concern after the rumours of its financial assistance to Burr had begun to circulate. Jefferson was confident that improved relations with Spain would slow down the progress of Burr's plans. Jefferson's progress towards the Proclamation provided slow as his agents were providing him with increasing evidence that Burr was up to no good, and much of his efforts involved his carefully refuting evidence that might assist Burr should a trial ever occur. The improved relationship with Spain had the added advantage of the Spanish Minister, Carlos Martinez de Irujo, revealing that he had rebuffed Burr's requests for funding. Clearly Burr was not one to take such setbacks lying down and further disturbing reports reached Jefferson that Burr had now persuaded Britain to provide him with financial assistance. In response to these rumours the President decided to dispatch some gun boats to New Orleans

This moved prompted Jefferson to finally issue his Proclamation and he begin moving Federal Agents to the West to start searching for Burr. By now the President was genuinely alarmed by reports that Burr's plans might be nearing completion. The Agents were able to arrest Jonathon Dayton as a possible conspirator with Burr, and under interrogation Dayton revealed that he believed that James Wilkinson had refused to have anything to do with Burr. A master of self-denial, Wilkinson was shocked to hear that he had actually been under suspicion, and in his characteristically erratic manner he responded by the forces under his command towards Natchez. This move greatly antagonised the Spanish and immediately undid the good work performed earlier by Jefferson's diplomats. It certainly did nothing to convince the President that Wilkinson was not somehow involved with Burr, despite the claims made by Dayton. The President did receive some good news when his judicial reforms were completed.

The Federal Agents were becoming increasingly heavy handed in their attempts to find Burr and Jefferson was only narrowly able to prevent a terrible riot occurring with a stirring speech. Nevertheless it greatly damaged his prestige with the nation. Talk of riots reach Wilkinson who, for reasons known only to him, now decided to move his forces to Baton Rouge. Jefferson was concerned that his move might encourage Burr to accelerate his plans, but the information he was receiving on Burr made no mention of this, and Jefferson's concerns abated.

Jefferson's Agents in the West were able to uncover evidence proving the innocence of Andrew Jackson, long suspected of helping supply Burr. They were also able to arrest Colonel Tyler after discovering that Burr had turned to him for supplies after being rebuffed by Jackson. The Agents then succeeded in arresting Samuel Swartwout who had been assisting Burr. Despite this results Jefferson was becoming increasingly frustrated by their failure to locate Burr, and he was increasingly worried about the lack of information he was receiving about Burr's movements. Surely Burr would not wait much longer before making his move? By this stage the President was convinced that Burr was planning an invasion of Spanish Florida. That, or Burr was completely innocent. But the President simply could not believe that after all the damning evidence he gathered Burr might actually be innocent! Just when Jefferson was beginning to despair of locating Burr before he launched his invasion his Federal Agents intercepted Burr on a trip to get a pre-invasion hair cut, and he was promptly returned to Washington to stand trial.

Jefferson was confident that with the evidence he had amassed and his recently completed judicial reforms that he would easily obtain the maximum sentence of life imprisonment for Burr. Unfortunately for the President the prosecution was no match for Burr's eloquent defence lawyer, and Burr was sentenced to only five years imprisonment for his crimes. What consolation the President might take for correctly deducing Burr's plans was ruined when the unpredictable Wilkinson found himself indicted by the Grand Jury after giving evidence, in last humiliating turn of events for Jefferson.

Final score:
4VP - remaining Prestige
-20VP - holding two Wilkinson cards after the fool got indicted
+10VP - for the 5 year conviction
6VP - for 3 arrested conspirators as Burr was found guilty
Total = 0VP, a Political Embarrassment

Analysis: I felt I needed to take a risk on bringing Burr to trial even though there was the possibility of him being innocent. The Plan Progress Track was one space shy of rolling for a Launch Check every turn, and I had been taking a gamble by not reshuffling any of the expedition events back into the deck and concentrating on reshuffling defence cards. The launch check would have been at +8 even with the gun boats and I didn't want to take that risk. I got even luckier when accusing him of planning to invade Florida because I forgot that there are 4 Wilkinson cards in the game so Burr invading the Spanish Southwest was an option I mistakenly discounted - oops! That luck balanced out during the trial phase. Despite having 7 evidence cards to only 2 in the Defence Deck I ended up rolling a 6 for the Defence and 1 for the Prosecution twice during the three trial phases. This burnt through my cards and forced me to use the Wilkinson evidence, which then hurt me when he got indicted. At least my fortunate accusation moved the result from Censured to Guilty. Because of the early draw of the Trafalgar card I was unwilling to invest too much in trying to advance the Pressure Britain track which was uncompleted so my result remained a Political Embarrassment.
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Robert Leonhard
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Great replay, Paul! So who ended up being the co-conspirators?

I love it when players start feeling the pressure and have to agonize over when to push for Burr's arrest.

Did you remember to use Swartwout's influence in the trial? And the Judicial Reform advantage?

BTW--One small historical note: the trial was actually in Richmond.

Thanks again for the session report! I'll have to dig out my copy and give it a go again!

Bob Leonhard
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Paul Dodds
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Thanks for you feedback, Bob. And huge thanks for letting me know that the trial was in Richmond; I did not know that. As a big history buff I like to try and get my facts right!

The conspirators were Blennerhassett, Merry, and Wilkinson. Jefferson was clearly right not trust Wilkinson, despite what Dayton said!

Sadly the +1 from the judicial reforms still involved me burning through a lot of my evidence cards as a result of rolling 6 vs 1 twice! And Swartwout's +1 for the defence didn't help either. The two defence cards I'd been unable to reshuffle were hefty ones as well - +3 and +2.

Still, hopefully 5 years in prison will have dissuaded Burr from messing with Jefferson again.
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