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This four player, no expansions, 1754 game was one of the best rounds I've ever played of this game, or any other in the series. Lu and I, as the husband and wife French team, took on Andrew (Drew) and Andrew (Bates) playing the English.


Historical Overview

Turn 1 saw the French push into Eastern Nova Scotia to try and secure some early points. The English kind of floundered around for a bit, but they had some good rolls on their defense of Halifax, Nova Scotia so they did not fall too far behind.


Halifax, as painted by Charles Chichester.

Turn 2 saw the English switch a muster point to Halifax, from New York, meaning that the French forces were now overextended up there, but had a fantastic opportunity in the center of the map. Meanwhile, the Natives turned up on the 2nd slot, for the first time of four—for the rest of the game they would turn up only in Fort Beauséjour and Fort Niagara. The English abandoned some spaces to fortify their positions, and managed to snatch the French muster point at Saint Jean, in New Brunswick, a big blow to the French that they never recovered from.


Fort on the Saint Jean River.

Turn 3 saw the French try to free their muster point. First, we surrounded Saint Jean. Then we invaded. On our first invasion, we chased everybody off except for one white cube. The second invasion brought six cubes against this one soldier, because we wanted to be able to defend what we were about to take. But then that soldier rolled a single hit, and on our roll all five of our units ran away. This one guy had defended the muster point twice due to all our units running away—all command decisions and flees after the white defending unit scored a hit each time. Ugh. This guy was a hero:


The hero of Saint Jean.

Then Lu invaded New York Harbor and took New York City, opening up the English center of the map for some easy points.

Turn 4 saw the English take the two-point Cape Breton Island space, and have a big push in the French center, getting three points around the Great Lakes. This was a low point for the French forces. But the sheer number of fled French forces would come back to haunt the English in turn five.


Fort Oswego

Turn 5: Down 9-3, the French needed a miracle to win. Demoralized, the French played their last treaty card, saying out loud, "Well, this is hopeless, let's just end this." They used it to invade around the Great Lakes, attempting to negate all three points the English just took: two of those battles were easy, the two in Purple territory. But the third, over Fort Oswego, relied on the British rolling poorly. Luckily for Lu and I, Drew rolled to flee or retreat five units. "Ah," he said, referring back to the defense of Saint Jean, "That's what that feels like." But, there was still one British unit and one French unit, who had led a large Native force in. The French rolled a command decision on their yellow die, and two hits on the Green, eliminating the British and leaving just the natives standing, with nobody claiming that point, making the score 6-3. Bates then took one point for the English, I think it was New York, making it 7-3.


The French attack St Jean in 1762.

Lu's turn was the last one, and she had only a two army move card. Drat! There were wide open points that could've been taken for no effort—two of them, including that unattached native army chilling in Fort Oswego. But to tie, the French needed to take two green spaces that were currently under British control—thereby losing the British two points, and gaining two points for the French, a swing total of four points—all in order just to tie the game.


A statue in Saint John today, which I think of as that one British dude holding off the whole French Army, twice.

Two invasions were launched, one from the hinterlands of what is now Maine and New Brunswick, and the other coming up from the port between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. One was an easy win, but the retreating English forces reinforced the about to battle army at Saint Jean. Right, we needed to take Saint Jean. We'd tried this before. And this time we would roll better? The defenders took the French down to a single die left, in the span of two rounds of rolls. 1 cube versus 1 cube, that same white cube from earlier, versus a purple cube of Lu's. Lu and I looked at that die, then she shook it around and dropped it on the table. That die came up with a hit, and tied the game on the final die roll, of the final play, of the final turn after clawing back from 9-3 in a single turn. 5-5 was the finish, and I've never been so happy to tie a game before.

The French poor rolling of command decisions and flees left a lot of their forces on the map instead of dead, meaning that they had enough units on the board to pull off this comeback tie at the end. The French missed the win by a single die roll: a yellow unit running away at Fort Oswego, leaving the native army standing strong and unattached to either side at the start of Turn 5. Also, if Lu had a card that allowed her to move three armies instead of two, French would have won: the British overextension was strong at the end, after keeping the French on the ropes for three years of in-game time. There were literally undefended points in red counties that were within one or two spaces of the French forces. Great game! One I'll certainly remember for years. Hands were shaken all around, and everybody was smiling and laughing.

[All images Wikipedia except the in-game shot that I took.]
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Another excellent article with great period illustrations. thumbsup
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