Newcastle Upon Tyne
Played this for the first time earlier this week -- thought it was great
You're an excellent judge of a game!
How can a player lose (forced surrender) a war?
From the rulebook and its examples, I think the only way would be: if I had navies and you didn't at the end of the 2nd year at war (say we were at war), you would lose.
Is that right? Are there other ways to lose a war? Correct? (I'm only asking about forced surrender; say neither player ever chooses to surrender.)
If that is right, the outcome of land war is only ever casualties and never plays a role in who wins/loses the war.
That's right. (Of course the casualties in a land war may result in a change of control of resources or even the loss of a colony.) For some reason this rule seems to phase some people, but note what is happening in a land war here. A land war is merely a local skirmish in a colony far distant from the major European Power concerned. It is not one European Country invading another - it is not a full scale land war like the Napoleonic wars for example. But the navies are all-important in the colonization process. Without navies a nation cannot defend it's merchant ships and will be unable to derive benefit from it's colonies. The navy is so crucial that it's total loss must result in surrender.
If I lose my last counter in a territory I explored, and there are no other counters there, would I lose the VP? If I have the booming city, and player makes a different booming city, do I lose the VP? (Or would it only be lost if it became an independent state?) Any other ways?
Offhand I can't think of any other ways VPs are lost. Certainly someone else building the BC does not deprive you of the point you earned for having it previously. And loss of your last token, in a territory you explored, is no VP loss either. You are still the original discoverer of that territory and the prestige and fame gained for doing so stay in the history books for ever.
I'm glad you're enjoying the game!