Max Bentovim
United States
New York
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Posting this in Sessions, since it seems too specific to go in Strategy.

Playing a solo campaign (as all factions, no bots) to teach myself, and I came across a situation where I'm facing a genuinely hard strategic question that looks like it could decide the fate of the whole game. Would love to hear folks' thoughts, since I think that would help sharpen my own thinking and help me better learn a COIN.

So here's the situation (most of which can hopefully be gleaned from the picture) without over-explicating how the game developed (I'm tracking the session play-by-play):



(full rez version of the picture is here, awaiting mods https://boardgamegeek.com/image/4078054/liberty-or-death-ame... https://boardgamegeek.com/image/4078054/liberty-or-death-ame...)

Long campaign, we're early in the third campaign round (1777). Most key metrics are pretty close (the Indians have been a little slow getting on the map, in part because they were forced into a big raid mid '76 to shut a big support/oppose gap opened by a big Patriot military victory with Washington 2x'ing the Win the Day).

The Rebels seem to have a hammerlock on the Mid-Atlantic and Mass, and with Washington up there (2x Win the Day), Boston blockaded, and points ready to be racked up all across the region, it's looking like, even if the British can hold on there for a while, they'll have trouble building support and may take some serious casualties.

The South, on the other hand, is ripe for the plucking, with SC and GA easy pickings and 4 undefended Rebel support in VA.

The British have one key advantage right now - they've got Resources and everybody else is basically broke, most critically the French (who went into the last WQ round with no cash and therefore couldn't keep their dudes in the WI even after winning the Battle there - oops).

Currently, it's the British move on the current card (the French Brilliant Stroke'd on the last card so all are eligible).

It seems like the French's best move here no matter what the British do is to pass this time for the next event, quickly getting 7 resources that they can then use and/or share with the Patriots (who can carry the French with them at no cost b/c Rochambeau). If the British Command + Special Activity here (which seems likely since the event is meh for them at the moment) the Indians will probably have to take the Event or Limited Command because not doing so leaves the event open to the Patriots, who will get a quick presence into CT/NH and cash. So they'll probably just take a free Village, meaning the next round will be French event meaning a full Patriot Command + Special Activity, which probably means a March, with likely targets being some mix of Boston, NY, NJ, and VA.

So if you're the British, I think you have a huge and difficult decision to make here. I think you have to do a big Muster, dumping a pile of Regulars into a key space while reinforcing across the board with Tories. But I think there are two hugely different strategic directions you go here:

1. The Southern route. Muster your Regulars into (probably) SC, creating a Fort there (sucking away the sitting duck Fort in PA before it can become a Casualty or Win the Day'd), tossing some Tories there and also up North for reinforcements. Basically the goal is to take advantage of having time on your side and scoop up as much of the seemingly uncontested Support you can rack up in South, hoping your guys can make the North painful for the Rebels while you consolidate your position and then Garrison north. You'd probably get rid of the blockade in Boston here just to annoy them.

That seems right to me, buuuuuut...

2. The Northern attack. Plunge a pile of Regulars back into the fight. The South will be there, it will be slow going for the Rebels with few Resources and they'll be too tempted to Rally piles of Continentals in the North and win big battles to rally single Militias into the South. Instead, attack them at their strength - do a maximum Muster into PA, Philly, or Mass with reinforcements elsewhere, maybe joined by a skirmish to knock off their units.

This is riskier, but given that the British victory condition is to inflict casualties you're not going to do that by avoiding battles or just letting battles happen where you don't have an advantage. Instead, flat-foot them by forcing a battle on your terms, when you have created an advantage, and their ability to respond quickly is limited.

There's also 3. the West Indies but as much as that would annoy the French it seems like a big, permanent commitment of forces to what is ultimately an intermediate goal.

Thoughts? Also glad to recount how the game got here, since I'm sure I made all kind of rookie strategic errors that got us to this place (I know I made a few minor rules errors throughout but nothing that threw anything off that mattered before I caught it).
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Joe Fatula
United States
Blue Tent
California
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Whatever you decide to go with, let us know here. I'm interested to see how this war plays out.
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Oerjan Ariander
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HUDDINGE
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MaxBentovim wrote:
Currently, it's the British move on the current card (the French Brilliant Stroke'd on the last card so all are eligible).

It seems like the French's best move here no matter what the British do is to pass this time for the next event, quickly getting 7 resources that they can then use and/or share with the Patriots (who can carry the French with them at no cost b/c Rochambeau).

Agreed. Though right now there doesn't seem to be any Continentals in position to "carry" French Regulars; as far as I can tell from the Photo, the Patriot units in Philly and Maryland are all Militia.

Quote:
If the British Command + Special Activity here (which seems likely since the event is meh for them at the moment) the Indians will probably have to take the Event or Limited Command because not doing so leaves the event open to the Patriots, who will get a quick presence into CT/NH and cash.

Nah, see below.

Quote:
So if you're the British, I think you have a huge and difficult decision to make here. I think you have to do a big Muster, dumping a pile of Regulars into a key space while reinforcing across the board with Tories. But I think there are two hugely different strategic directions you go here:

1. The Southern route. Muster your Regulars into (probably) SC, creating a Fort there (sucking away the sitting duck Fort in PA before it can become a Casualty or Win the Day'd),

Stop. That Fort is an asset for the British, not a liability:
- The winner of a Battle only Wins the Day if the loser removes at least two pieces due to the Battle, so there's no way for the Patriots to Win the Day against the lone British Fort in PA.
- Defending Forts inflict +1 Attacker Loss in Battle, and a Skirmish that removes a Fort must also remove one of the Skirmishing Faction's Continentals or Regulars. Partisans can only remove Units or Villages, but not Forts.

In short, as long as the British do not Reinforce their lone PA Fort they cannot lose any Victory Points from it. At the same time it presents a distinct threat to the Rebels, so let them spend a Special Activity (or better still, a Command) to remove it if they want.

You're quite right that the south is wide open, but the British can react quickly if the Rebels try to go there... and so can the Indians.

What I'd do as the British player in this situation is to use a Naval Pressure+Muster combination. Execute the Special Activity immediately before the Command to remove the French Blockade in Boston. With Boston un-Blockaded, the British can now Muster in CT/RI to place the maximum 6 British Regulars and 2 Tories. If you want to you could also place Tories in other spaces - Boston and South Carolina are prime candidates, the former to make it harder for Washington to take out the Fort and the latter to make it harder for the Patriots to shift the Colony to Opposition just by getting a lone Militia there just before Winter - but you want to save some Resources both to Reward Loyalty fully in CT/RI at the end of the Muster and to have some left for future Commands.

Now the Royalists have +10 Support (start at +4, regain +2 for Boston, and gain another +4 for CT/RI) - belay that: you have included the 2 Support points for Boston in the "Total Support" count on the Edge Track even though Boston is Blockaded, so after the Muster the British only have +8 Support more than Opposition, not +10 - and a large bunch of War Parties poised to Raid the main Opposition spaces (except MA) in case the Rebels try to close the gap. The British are somewhat behind on Casualties and the Indians are way behind on Villages vs Forts, but it will take the Rebels a very major effort to get the +21 +17 Opposition-vs-Support swing they need to get to victory themselves.

The British can afford to stay defensive for a while - probably using some suicide March+Skirmish (March a lone Regular into the enemy army, then Skirmish to remove 2 Rebel cubes for 1 British Regular). Or, if Washington comes out to play, Skirmish to deplete his army then March away to deny him the Battle he wants next turn... maybe into MA, to threaten the now weakly protected Patriot Forts.

If the Patriots and French take the next two Events, which they are pretty likely to do given how broke they are at the moment, they gain Resources - but they lose time, and they're not inflicting any Casualties on the British either. The Patriots can use The Burning of Falmouth to get a couple of Militia into position to Rabble-Rouse or Partisans, but depending on what the card after Treaty of Amity and Commerce is they might not get a chance to use them before the British (or Indians, depending on where they are placed) neutralize them.

And the Indians... well, they should Pass now to gain a Resource and be (almost) guaranteed to get a full Command&Special Activity after the French sign their Treaty next card. A full Gather+Trade would go a long way towards closing the Fort-Village gap, and could also raise new War Parties to go into Georgia or South Carolina later in the year.

Quote:
2. The Northern attack. Plunge a pile of Regulars back into the fight. The South will be there, it will be slow going for the Rebels with few Resources and they'll be too tempted to Rally piles of Continentals in the North and win big battles to rally single Militias into the South. Instead, attack them at their strength - do a maximum Muster into PA, Philly, or Mass with reinforcements elsewhere, maybe joined by a skirmish to knock off their units.

No. No, no, no. You can't Skirmish in a Muster space, so if you Muster 6 Regulars into Mass you'll face Washington's 9 Continentals + 1 Underground Militia with just 6 British Regulars. That's 3d3+2 for the Patriots vs 2d3+1 for the British - an almost guaranteed major victory for Washington. In PA or Philly you'll probably get hit by a March+Skirmish combo instead, leaving you outnumbered before you get a chance to Battle. Either way the British will almost certainly take more Casualties than they inflict.

Regards,
Oerjan

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