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Subject: A long delayed pair of British victories rss

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Jimmy Okolica
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My gf and I have been loving this game; however, she is not much into military games. So, since game 3 we've been playing it as an area control game with both of us trying to expand as quickly as possible. I've played the British every time and she's won every time (although I did get close once). From game 3 through game 8 I've focused on extending the British empire, upgrading cities to towns, and occasional raids (game 1 I won as the Brits militarily and game 2 I won as the French via expansion).

So, last night, I decided it was time for the Brits to win. We played two games and I tried two different strategies. In Game 8, I Merchant'd for $6 the first turn and the bought both Settler cards in turn 2 (effectively limiting the French to a single Settler card). My gf still did not go the military path but attempted to rush to settle west and upgrade from cities to towns. Although she got both Detroit and Mackinaw, I was able to pull out an eventual win by 6 points. It was late in the game before she finally bought the Intendant, effectively doubling her ability to settle. Unfortunately, it was too little too late. There were no sieges in the game and only two or three raids. I finally bought my first regular infantry in the last 3 rounds of the game and the French never bought any.

While we're both still learning the game, my take is that if the Brits want to play an expansion game, they need to start by grabbing both Settler cards and even then, the results are in doubt if the French grab Intendant early.

For our second game, I went back to my strategy in the first game and went the military route. I again got money on Turn 1 and then purchased regular infantry on Turns 2 and 3 (settling Deerfield as my second turn 2 action) and then launching a siege on Port Royal. The siege see-sawed for a few turns but the Brits eventually won and settled it and then raided and settled Fort B. With this beachhead, the Brits continued to grow military and eventually launched a siege on Louisborg. The French were not prepared for it and the Brits won it quickly (too quickly as it turned out since they didn't have a Settler card in their hand). Louisborg lay empty for four turns before the Brits were finally able to settle it. Meanwhile the French again tried to extend into the West (this time with both Settler cards). With Novia Scotia secured, the Brits also expanded into the west, staying militarily ahead of the French. Eventually the Brits successfully raided Oswego, getting 12 points worth of villages/towns and ended the game with a 15 point victory.

After the second game, we decided that while the French can afford to lose Port Royal, they cannot lose Louisborg and need to fortify it ASAP.

We're still learning the game and I have no doubt that our strategies will change and mature over time. However, I think I've finally come to the conclusion that this is a wargame and that, at least for the Brits, in order to win you have to play it that way.
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Mike Smith
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My son came to the same conclusion a few games ago and has been been beating my French westward expansionist strategies ever since. The French need to outmoney the British by efficient fur trading, disrupt a British military buildup with timely ambushes, and threaten the British militarily and by raids, all whilst staying ahead in the development race. It ain't easy. I reckon the Intendant is crucial to French play.
This is a heck of a game.
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Clyde W
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A couple of notes, based on my experiences. I've nearly been steamrolled by the English as French when English opening is buy two green settlers. If all they do is upgrade settlements to towns as quickly as possible, they can finish the game before the French have an opportunity to start a Boston or New York siege. Even with Intendant, I don't believe French can compete in expansion game if they lack two settlers, though I'd love to be proven wrong by this. (I never have been, though.)

The other note is, why allow the Brits to take Port Royal, which is a stepping stone to Louisborg? Don't let it fall! If it does, it denies the French one of their few ships and it makes it incredibly difficult for the French to take the location back.

In any case, if Royal is fortified within the first few turns, you may still put pressure in Nova Scotia by settling Fort Beausejour. That allows you to then siege Gaspe, allowing you to work your way up the coastline towards Quebec.

Basically, if the French are smart, they will do everything in their power to protect Royal, settle Beausejour, settle Halifax (giving them an extra ship, good for more piracy), which locks up Nova Scotia from the British. That forces the Brits into a landwar, at which point you start stocking up on green Native Americans and go to town raiding and pirating. (That is, of course, if you wish to play defensively...there's no reason to not go after Boston, as far as I can tell, especially after you've allowed the Brits to clog their hand with useless land locations.)

Finally, I have noted another insidious strategy as British when taking two green settlers. If you can buy up enough military to compete in a siege, fortify Pemaquid then allow the French to siege it. Slowplay the siege, drawing it out as long as possible, all the while continuing your expand/upgrade strategy while the siege is occurring. Exhaust your supply of town upgrade tokens then withdraw from the siege. Devastating for France.
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Jimmy Okolica
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clydeiii wrote:

The other note is, why allow the Brits to take Port Royal, which is a stepping stone to Louisborg? Don't let it fall! If it does, it denies the French one of their few ships and it makes it incredibly difficult for the French to take the location back.

In any case, if Royal is fortified within the first few turns, you may still put pressure in Nova Scotia by settling Fort Beausejour. That allows you to then siege Gaspe, allowing you to work your way up the coastline towards Quebec.
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But how? I can't see the Brits waiting long enough to let the French fortify Royal. Royal and Louisborg give the French too many points for the Brits to not try to grab at least one of them. Unless someone can show me that the Brits have no hope of winning if they siege Royal in the first three turns, I think that is a very strong play for them, followed up by gaining military as they continue their siege (dumping in one militia card in case they eventually lose it).

clydeiii wrote:

Basically, if the French are smart, they will do everything in their power to protect Royal, settle Beausejour, settle Halifax (giving them an extra ship, good for more piracy), which locks up Nova Scotia from the British. That forces the Brits into a landwar, at which point you start stocking up on green Native Americans and go to town raiding and pirating. (That is, of course, if you wish to play defensively...there's no reason to not go after Boston, as far as I can tell, especially after you've allowed the Brits to clog their hand with useless land locations.)


Agreed. That's why I think the Brits have to do everything they can to get Royal. There's no way the French should have time to get Halifax, Canso, and Fort B. So, I don't see any way for the Brits to not have a foothold in Novia Scotia. If it does happen, I agree it will be a bad day for the Brits.
 
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Clyde W
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It all depends on what the Brits do in the first few turns. I believe if they do buy the two green settlers, they are planning on ending the game differently from what you describe, but it's hard to say without seeing a few more turns play out. I do agree that the British should go after Nova Scotia if they want to win militarily. I would also point out that the French don't neccessarily have to fortify Royal in order to hold an early siege of it, they just have to be competitive militarily, and they are quite able to do this. Use the siege as an opportunity to get a fortification card in your hand so that after you repel the Brits, you can quickly fortify.

The other option would be to get a jump on the Brits by doing a "fake" siege of Pemaquid...use that siege to buy you time to fortify. If you're lucky, you might even walk away with an early siege victory.

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Royal and Louisborg give the French too many points for the Brits to not try to grab at least one of them.
If I am grabbing at least one of them, I'm going for Quebec. Points are meaningless (although naturally it makes it harder for the French to win on points before you can siege their capital).
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