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The Napoleonic Wars» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Who Uses "Guerre de Course" as Event? rss

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John Griffey
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The CAMPAIGN MANUAL does not sound very encouraging about play of the "Guerre de Course" Event, describing it as a " . . . weak anti-British gambit because Britain can respond to it with relative efficiency. It can pay big dividends but the result is often unobtainable. If only you knew what the dice have in store for you . . . "

1) What are the statistically likely outcomes of a 7 British dice v. 4 French dice, or 6 British dice v. 4 French dice Guerre de Course naval battle?

I'm crunching the binomials by hand, but it's slow going. After the first battle round of a 2 Squadron v. 2 Squadron duel, 6 British dice v. 4 French dice, the British win 51.26%, the French win 24.6% of the battles. It's a tie 24.14% of the time after the first round of Battle. I'm still working on how the ties break out.

2) Does anygeek out there use Guerre de Course as an Event?

3) If so, when, why, and how? Thanks to Sr. Roberto Amestoy for helpfully suggesting playing GdC to prevent the British play of "Admiralty." (The Brits need a minimum of 6 Squadrons in 6 Zones for Admiralty.) Other possibilities: Do you play GdC only if the Brits have exactly two Cards to lose, and thus at most two Impulses to Patrol for your Squadrons? Do you use GdC only if you think your Squadrons are doomed to British attack anyway, or do you use it as a proactive strategy of choice?

The following analysis led me to conclude it's at best a marginally useful attrition play, absent special circumstances.

Each play of Guerre de Course as an Event costs France 6 CP. Add the cost to get surviving GdC Squadrons out of Regroup and to Refit them, at a cost of 1.5 CP per Squadron. (Of course, one might want to keep the Squadrons in Regroup, no? To avoid the Royal Navy.) For the sake of argument, if two French Cruisers are Regrouped and Refitted, as part of an ongoing GdC policy, that's another 3 CP to France. The French will probably run Blockade to get their Squadrons in position to play GdC, so total cost to France for GdC is 9.5 or 10 CP. There is also the major downside that France by playing GdC is sacrificing a present 6 CP for a prospective 8 CP (average CP value of two Cards) loss inflicted on the British next Turn.

Assuming the British match with 2 Squadrons of their own, and do not Patrol, the average British loss will be 2 Cards from next Turn's hand (assume they haven't already hit their Minimum Hand, else, why use "GdC?") worth on the average 8 CP, plus 3 CP to Regroup/Refit, making GdC cost Britain 11 CP. If the British pay for Patrols and fail to Intercept the French Squadrons, the cost is 1, 2 or 3 CP higher to them.

If the Brits do Patrol successfully and there's a Battle, I'm guessing the attrition numbers usually change in Britain's favor, even with the high cost of GdC Patrols, the cost of British Regroups/Refits, and the the fact that a French Squadron sunk won't need to be Refitted/Regrouped. Britain of course saves 2 Cards by defeating the French Squadrons. The French will win about 30% of these fights if they don't Evade, and about 20% of the fights if they do roll to Evade, get caught, and face 7 dice. Of course, double ouch to the British if they lose: they then lose Cards as well as (usually) Squadrons.

EDIT: I see from the interesting responses below that "Guerre de Course" is used as a heavy attrition card, as part of a broad strategy to defeat or even to conquer Great Britain, usually used when other anti-British cards in the French/Spanish hand favor such a strategy. It cannot be used as a cost-effective way harass Great Britain while focusing on the Eastern Front, because it is too expensive. That's what was confusing me about the card: I was thinking of it as a sort of 19th century version of the U-Boat, which could be played simultaneously with an Eastern Front focus, just to keep the British busy. But it is too expensive to be used that way, Perhaps if the card were changed so that a single French Squadron, not two, sufficed to kick in all the adverse two-cards lost consequences for Britain it would be so usable.

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John McCoy
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I've never used it as an event, nor seen it used as such.
 
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D Hansey
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I've used it. If for no other reason then to give it a try.

Sometimes you have to do new things. If you have had sucess with the French slamming into Austria again and again, why not try to win a different way?

If you go all out for Britain then this card is probably a good way to start.

If you are lucky enough as the French to get a strong hand 5's and 6's you could even go for Prussia on the second impulse. I did it once although my hand wasn't all that strong and I did move Napoleon and his full army into Berlin taking two other keys along the way. Its not the best move, but its more entertaining then doing the same thing over and over.

edit for spelling
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John Griffey
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How does using this card help the French go after Britain?

The game starts with 9 British, 6 French, and 3 Spanish Squadrons.

The French will need to remove their 2 Squadrons South Atlantic, or run out 2 of their 6 Blockaded Squadrons at 42% chance of Interception + failed Evasion.

What's left is 7 British, 4 French, and 3 Spanish Squadrons. The French are then in worse shape to challenge the British than before play of Guerre de Course. (27 dice v. 15 dice (80% British advantage) v. 21 dice v. 11 dice (91% British Advantage.) Also, if France uses South Atlantic Squadrons to go GdC the Brits will remove two Mid-Atlantic Squadrons, and the remaining Brit intercepts are all +1 Blockade Intercepts which will result in more disadvantageous intercepts to the French.

I like the GdC concept. It's cool and it's historically accurate. French commerce raiders did much damage to British commerce. I'm just not convinced it's a cost effective move in this game.

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D Hansey
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AnimalMother wrote:
How does using this card help the French go after Britain?

The game starts with 9 British, 6 French, and 3 Spanish Squadrons.

The French will need to remove their 2 Squadrons South Atlantic, or run out 2 of their 6 Blockaded Squadrons at 42% chance of Interception + failed Evasion.

What's left is 7 British, 4 French, and 3 Spanish Squadrons. The French are then in worse shape to challenge the British than before play of Guerre de Course. (27 dice v. 15 dice (80% British advantage) v. 21 dice v. 11 dice (91% British Advantage.) Also, if France uses South Atlantic Squadrons to go GdC the Brits will remove two Mid-Atlantic Squadrons, and the remaining Brit intercepts are all +1 Blockade Intercepts which will result in more disadvantageous intercepts to the French.

I like the GdC concept. It's cool and it's historically accurate. French commerce raiders did much damage to British commerce. I'm just not convinced it's a cost effective move in this game.



It can help by forcing the british to move ships from the map. It can force the British to spent CP to hunt the French ships on the GdC event. The combination of this event with a foregin, like the War or 1812, can certainly impact the British ability to rule the waves. Also, if any ships do survive to the interphase from the GdC card you could regroup together in a port with other ships, like Brest. So, now you have french 3-4 ships together. You could also bring Denmark in the picture and have a very dangerous Danish Fleet.

If you have a hand that fits a Britain first plan then I feel its a good play. Its not really a questions of whether or not it's the most effective play. It probably isn't. The best play for the French is to go all out in Austria. Once you've done that dozens and dozens of times, maybe its time to try something else.

(edit for spelling)
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Johan Johannesson
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I really like the card and it gives the french an interesting option. As all CDGs I think that your strategy must be decided when you see your initial hand of cards. "Guerre de Course" gives the french player an additional option to use under the right circumstances.

It is certainly a gamble and do not succeed all that often, but it forces the British player to spend his cards on CPs instead of events. Another thing to factor in is that since the french have a larger hand and can afford to divert some resources to tie up one player and force them to a certain course of action. The potential damage to the English player is not so much the total loss of OPs, but rather the potential loss of flexibility that he gets with a smaller hand.

I certainly do not use the card in every game, but if I have naval cards I sometimes give it a go.
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Matthew Barratt
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Depending on how many fleets Britain has, playing GdC may make it impossible for Britain to control the sea zones she needs to play Admiralty as an event.
 
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Jason Cawley
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Hansey has it about right. It is usually combined with other anti-British cards, either foreign wars (especially Anglo-American war) or naval cards (split squadrons e.g.) to deliberately overstress the British navy. This is usually part of an attempt to pull off an invasion of England, with the side effects of preventing the Brits from having sufficient CPs to put together a decent invasion of Spain or the low countries.

The usual sequence is to divert the Brits off map with G de C, and follow it with subsequent (sometimes pre-empt) impulse in which Anglo-American War (or similar) is played, immediately after the British reaction. This pulls 4 (3 for e.g. Letters of Marque instead) squadrons off the European map with the French to move next, before the Brits. They then sortee the fleet, in North Atlantic or the Bay typically, and try to control either the channel or the north sea during their impulse. 2 CPs then put an invasion force ashore in England proper.

Between fighting the G de C squadrons or losing cards to them, repelling an invasion, and spending CPs to roll to end the foreign war - and typically not getting Admiralty off - the Brits usually wind up purely defensive in any game-turn this is tried. That typically allows the Spanish to collect Lisbon if they don't have it already, the French Naples likewise, and avoid any key losses or reactive card play late in the turn to deal with a pesky British army landing someplace, as otherwise typically happens every turn if the Brits are left alone.

If the invasion succeeds and takes England, great. But it doesn't need to. It just needs to get the Brits playing all their CPs to regain sea control and repel invasions and end foreign wars to get their squadrons back and replace lost ones in builds right before the interphase. Yes there is a significant CP cost in all of the above, on the order of 15-20 CPs, or roughly half the French budget for the turn.
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