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Subject: A Solo Game: Winter 1814 and a Conclusion rss

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Paul Borchers
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Keller
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Removing Indians and half the Militia for both sides has no impact on the spaces that each side controls at this point. The Americans control two lakes, and the British control one. This means two British Peace marker moves and one American Peace marker move. The British marker must move first, and doing so brings it to the same space as the American marker. Ghent points are calculated at this point, and as neither side has cards at this point, no cards will be played after this calculation and the resulting combined Peace marker move.

Spaces Under British Control: Prairie du Chien (1 point), Fort Dearborn (1 point), Fort Mackinac (1 point), Mobile (1 point).

Spaces Under American Control: Moravian Town (1 point), Amherstburg (2 points), Oxford (2 points), Ile aux Noix (2 points).

Defeated Civilized Tribes: 2 (4 points total).

Therefore, the British have 4 Ghent points, and the Americans have 11. Subtracting the British total from the American total gives the Americans a 7 point advantage. Dividing 7 by 4 and rounding fractions up, the Americans move the stacked Peace markers two spaces in the direction of victory for them. This puts the markers in the Marginal American Victory area of the Peace Track.

Summary of Peace Track Moves


I may have miscounted a move or two of the markers, but I have attempted to categorize and total all the Peace Track moves of this game in the following figure.



The majority of British Peace marker moves were the result of American card play (a variety of events), whereas the American Peace marker moves resulted from a mix of lost combats and the placement of Full Blockade markers. The majority of the cards that moved the British marker occurred at the start of the game; three resulted near the middle and end with the play of Unrest in Canada cards. The British investment in Military Blockades paid off through their conversion to Full Blockades, which not only moved the American marker, but prevented further play of certain American events that would have moved the British Peace marker (USS Constitution cards, for example). In my experience, this appears to be fairly typical of most games, although the number of events that moved the British marker is on the high side. Additionally, the British can usually count on Coastal Raids and the Invasion Fleet to help drive the Peace process. In this game, the Coastal Raid card never appeared, and Napoleon fell later than normal, which in turn meant no surge in British reinforcements and no Invasion Fleet. Nonetheless, for the Americans it was only a Marginal Victory.

Reflections


Card draw luck definitely went against the British in the early and middle portions of this game. The British did not get the Coastal Raid card, they did not receive Regular reinforcement cards, and Napoleon fell later than he did historically. More military actions in the Western wilderness spaces would have made the Indian Nation card critical, but the British did not have the card near the end of the game when Norton and Rangers headed west. The British were able to make proper investments in Military blockades which led to the payoff of Full Blockades and canceling out some American events. The British were aggressive with Brock early, which was their only source of American Peace track moves in the beginning. They might have been more aggressive toward Buffalo if they had had more Regulars available. The Unrest in Canada cards forced movement of the British Regulars, which in turn limited British overland strategy. The British did fairly well on the lakes with minimal expenditures for ships, especially on Lake Ontario. A bigger investment on Lake Erie might have helped, but it’s difficult to overcome good enemy Lake Expedition leaders like Perry.

On the other side, the Americans could not just sit back and let cards do the work. Luck favored early American card draws, but in most games the British will eventually see Napoleon fall and their military machine will start to move the American Peace marker. With the British eventually getting their blockade in place, the Americans must take reasonable military risks to stay in the game. Because the best American leaders never really got into combat this time (with the exception of Harrison, but he was facing Indians), the American did lose some key battles and Expeditions. Nonetheless, they had good luck defeating the first belligerent tribe; the second belligerent tribe cost more cards, but the Americans still won. Winning the fight for Ile aux Noix and Lake Champlain was important this time, as were the final moves against the depleted British on Lake Erie. Holding these spaces made the difference between a draw and a marginal win in Ghent points. The Americans expanded their card draw early with Secretary of State substitutions and the Parrish card, increasing their chance of getting beneficial cards and controlling some of the events. These actions early in the game gave the Americans an edge throughout most turns of the game.

The last turn was interesting because the Peace markers were close together for many rounds. If the British knew that the Americans were holding a Napoleon Has a Setback card, then ideally they would have tried to take an objective city without causing too many additional American Peace track moves. This sounds possible in theory, but it’s almost impossible to control in practice because of the variability of the dice. Even if the Peace markers had been farther apart at this point and the British played the next turn with the benefits of Napoleon on Elba, I think it would have been difficult to pull off a marginal British victory. Likely the two sides would have struggled longer, and maybe a decisive lake battle would have occurred on Lake Ontario in the spring. In any event, that’s another game and difficult to judge at this point.

I hope readers find this documentation of the game useful, and I hope you enjoy Amateurs to Arms.
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Kevin McPartland
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Jessup
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Thanks for posting this game, Paul! It's been great fun keeping up with your progress, and it is now an excellent resource for those who want an "example of play" that covers the entire game.

Kevin
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