Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

A Few Acres of Snow» Forums » Strategy

Subject: From A Beginner's Perspective: Basic Strategies (?) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Dale Buonocore
United States
Warren
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
What an extraordinary game. So many interlocking and interacting parts, and on so many levels -- quite breath-taking. Indeed, as I took the initial plunge into this game, I felt both exhilarated and overwhelmed at first as I tried to get some kind of a handle on the multiple and multi-leveled options, tactics, and strategies facing me. After a few plays now, it seems I’m still just beginning to scratch the surface, which frankly delights me to no end. This is one of those special games which lingers in my mind through the day, and is a most pleasant obsession at this stage -- and I absolutely love it when a game does that!

So, what I offer here are just some initial thoughts on basic strategies and supporting tactics which have crystallized for me thus far, i.e., general approaches which provide some direction for my efforts in this early stage, and which may thus prove helpful to others in this same “newbie” stage looking to take this plunge. I realize many (probably most) of you reading this are way more experienced with and knowledgeable about this game than I am, and I would thus be most grateful for your input -- please feel free to correct things that are clearly wrong (with clear explanations, please!), revise and “fine-tune” things that are “close but not quite,” and supplement with any good stuff I’ve clearly missed totally (I’m sure there will be much!). Thanks.

So. Keeping in mind the 2 basic ways of winning in conjunction with the apparent relative strengths of each side, it seems that the best (and most fun!) path to victory for the British is to direct their efforts toward using their superior military capabilities in an effort to capture Quebec, which still looks to be best done (despite recent rule changes which weaken the previously passionately discussed “Halifax Hammer” strategy!) via Halifax and Louisbourg. It has also become evident that drafting some Native Americans to help counter French ambushes aimed at slowing British progress may be worthwhile, as the French can use this tactic (in addition to their own military forces along with appropriate fortifications, e.g., at least in both Louisbourg and Quebec) to do so and thus give themselves a chance for a victory point (VP) win from settling/developing locations and capturing British cubes/discs via raids prior to the British taking Quebec (or, ideally, before they even lay siege to it if they seem likely to win the siege, as any ongoing siege precludes any other end game condition needed by the French for the possible VP win in this situation). [Sorry for the length of that sentence -- I’ll blame it on the mind-twists resulting from the complexities of this game! I just couldn’t find a way of shortening it without disrupting the flow of it...]

Then, on the French side, given their starting advantage of 29-17 in terms of VPs from initial villages and towns, a strategy directed toward a VP win by earning VPs through settling/developing locations with VP values plus capturing British cubes/discs (especially discs!) via raids appears best. Many valuable locations lie to the west (which is, interestingly at least to me, where I live -- quite near “Fort Presqu’ile,” actually!), and numerous locations are quite ripe for worthwhile development right from the start (e.g., Montreal, Trois Rivieres, Port Royal, & Louisbourg). To supplement this strategy, the French should probably actively draft Native Americans for raiding purposes (and be fairly relentless with this tactic), along with some settlers for settlement and development purposes.

I realize that, for you experienced players, this is probably like grade-school level stuff. But for a beginner like me, these approaches helped me to start the process of getting a handle on this initially somewhat dazzling and overwhelming game, and are now providing an ongoing and evolving foundation for further understandings and learnings. And this process is a true delight, and is one of those things I most enjoy about this hobby in general, and really good games in particular! And your input regarding general/overarching strategies would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your attention.
13 
 Thumb up
2.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dale Buonocore
United States
Warren
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Further thoughts after a few more plays...

Clearly the French remain the underdogs here given the advantages the British have in terms of military strength within their still best strategy of trying to take Quebec via the Halifax-to-Louisbourg route. In fact, they are 5 for 5 so far in my plays, although a couple of those games were close (especially the last one, where it went right down to the wire!). Rather than making the game "unbalanced," from my perspective it actually makes it more interesting in terms of then trying to figure out how to effectively meet this challenge from the French side! So, with that in mind...

The French must achieve the requirements for one of the other end-game conditions before the British make their way to Quebec, and thus they do indeed need to do everything in their power to harass and slow the advance of the British -- e.g., ambushes, raids (perhaps even some targeted sieges), diversions, contesting Halifax as much as possible, fortifying first Louisbourg and the Quebec, and building up their own military capabilities to a reasonable degree.

At the same time, however, they must strive for one of those other end-game conditions via settling (placing all their cubes), developing (placing all their discs), or capturing British cubes/discs via raids or sieges (12 VPs worth).

Right from the start, it seems wise for them to draft at least one additional Settler (maybe both if they're going for the development/disc strategy), another Trader (to help with money), and the Governor (to prune the deck of what have become fairly useless cards in later stages of the game as needed). These are, of course, in addition to as many Native Americans as possible for raids and ambushes!

Then they can choose to: 1) expand west for either the settlement (cubes) or development (discs) strategy, or 2) expand south for the capturing British discs/cubes strategy (primarily via raids, but maybe even some sieges should such opportunities arise!), which can then also serve to further divert/slow the British advance toward Quebec -- especially if the French can start threatening Boston or NY.

So -- that's all I've got for now. We'll see what happens over the next few games -- I'm eager to finally pull off the first French win! Any additional thoughts from those of you more experienced with this game would be greatly appreciated. Thanks (again) for your attention.



1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Young
Canada
Victoria
BC
flag msg tools
Old Ways Are Best!
badge
Check Six!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tim (from what I've seen one of the emerging experts in this discussion) claims that the French must use CdB and militia to counter the probable course of the British. I see no mention of that in your posts? Further, he claims that emphasizing natives will just make any sort of French defence even weaker. ??
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dale Buonocore
United States
Warren
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Sorry if I was unclear in my initial 2 posts. When I referred to French "military forces" and "military capabilities" (which I just kind of brushed by rather quickly and with inadequate emphasis), that was intended to include all cards with military power, including the 3 "Militia" cards. And I guess I was just lumping the "Coureurs de Bois" card (assuming that's what "CdB" means -- took me a couple of minutes to figure that out!) in with both/either Native Americans (for its raiding/ambushing capabilities) and as a card contributing to their military capabilities, as it can go both ways (really useful/flexible card!). So I absolutely agree with both of those points.

And, yes -- there definitely is a trade-off with emphasizing Native Americans. While they increase your raiding and ambushing capabilities, they will dilute your deck and weaken your other capabilities accordingly -- especially if you run low on money! This happened to me one game -- after successfully fending off the initial British "push," the French wound up financially depleted and scrounging for money. Unable to pay the Native Americans who kept coming up (and were thus largely useless at that point), the deck was so clogged up and the French thus so bogged down that they couldn't get their act together quickly enough to end the game successfully (they were so close!) before the British recovered and initiated their second (and ultimately successful) push.

So -- thanks for raising these excellent points. Clearly it's a matter of going with the overall flow of the game in terms of your deck/draws and what your opponent is doing, looking for weaknesses/opportunities, factoring in the potential risks/benefits/trade-offs entailed by the various options available to you, and then making a choice and taking the plunge -- and then adjusting from there as things unfold. It does seem that there is a critical choice point where you have to "go all in" and commit to a central strategy, though.

Hope that was helpful in terms of clarifying things a bit. Didn't mean to ramble on so much there -- once I got to thinking about it, it just kind of gained its own momentum. And I just love it when a game does that to me -- great game!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dale Buonocore
United States
Warren
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
UPDATE: Woo-hoo! Finally managed to get a French win against that British military strategy aimed toward taking Quebec via Halifax and Louisbourg -- this after 7 straight losses (!), although in fact 2 or maybe 3 of them were close, and all of them involved the French trying to win by getting all of their discs placed, i.e., by that development strategy noted in a previous post. Did it by expanding south toward Albany via the Fort St. John route (while successfully fending off 3 sieges of Louisbourg!), and raiding Boston and NY from Fort William Henry quite relentlessly - captured the necessary 12 VPs (2 discs & 2 cubes) from the British to end the game with no British siege in progress, and won 41-17!

So, for the moment at least, I am now a fan of that more aggressive capturing strategy for the French noted in a previous post...!

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jules
Belgium
flag msg tools
Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity
badge
Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yay, beginner strategies!! Thanks for this thread
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.