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Subject: Strategy Question rss

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Dan Freedman
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I finally got a chance to play this game after owning for awhile. I enjoyed the game, but it brought up some strategy questions. We were both 1st time players and played the tournament scenario (3 years, 6 seasons). I think we got most of the rules correct except we were only counting Indians as 1/2 pt when activated with a leader.

What we both ended up doing was stacking all our units together to achieve massive forces on the central river. Is this common? As British I did split about 5 drilled over to Halifax and took Louisbourg via Surrender.

What was strange was that once the Louisbourg force proceeded to outside Quebec it got demolished. The huge French force (Montcalm) could move by boat, take out my Brits in the north, then swing all the way back down back down to the central river the very next action.

Basically this huge, super mobile, French sledgehammer felt unstoppable.

Is it a must for the British to press in the west with regulars to prevent Montcalm from massing the big mobile army?

The French had built up a large amounts of Indians there and were getting a few VPs via raids. I figured I'd concentrate on taking Montreal and Quebec instead of Ohio Forks/Niagara. But Montcalm and the entire French regular army were just too mobile via boat movement to attack in 2 places. Any gains in territory by attacking in 2 places at once were offset by VPs lost in battle (due to the large French force).

Luckily I drew some British reinforcement cards. I can't imagine how the Brits could win if some weren't drawn in the 1st two years. The French did draw Small Pox twice and rolled well (4,6)..so that further hurt the British efforts to keep up with the French firepower. But both sides drew cards to repair hurt units, so that almost evens out.

Last, Wolfe didn't come out until late, so Montcalm was getting some drm in combat that really made a difference. Also moving up the river was dog slow as Siege rolls weren't going well.

It seems there are 3 avenues for battle. The west, the middle river, and Louisbourg/Quebec.

Probably just scratching the surface on this one but was curious if I was missing anything obvious in terms of Montcalm's ability to command everything on the board and start squashing spots at will?

I did draw and use Schooner's once to keep him from getting to his location. But outside of burning this card, I couldn't think of a way to stop him except maybe to attack in the west.
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Mark Evans
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Montcalm is pretty hard to deal with, but he can't be everywhere and he can't replace his losses.
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Tobias Kriener
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It's very hard to overcome a massed force with Montcalm if you proceed on 2 avenues that are so close to each other. I would open a 3rd avenue into the north - either via Oswego or even better via Ohio Forks & Niagra, so the french have to split up their forces.

You're right: much depends on how early the reinforcement cards & Wolfe come up.
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Chris Stimpson
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Smallpox can be a game-changer if you get, and can use, the card once or twice; (actually, it's a life-changer if you actually get smallpox, even once, so stick with the card).

Yes, what's noticeable about this game is that activity tends to be canalised into two or three axes of advance: the Hudson valley, the Ohio Forks area, and of course Louisbourg. Games can get predictable that way, so if you have the manpower to spare then Oswego is a good fourth. And ultimately if you are lucky with recruitment cards you can either put together a large army for the Armageddon-style battle with Montcalm or put significant pressure on two or three places at once.

You've noticed, of course, how slow it is to move most places - good historical design, I'd say. The need to build and maintain a string of friendly fortifications in the wilderness in case you ever have to retreat, the fact that you can't pick up forces as you move, only drop them off, and the need to plan well ahead for winter attrition all force you to be very careful when moving in the wilderness. This can be frustrating when compared to other games with less stringent supply rules, but v. realistic.

Another nasty (or nice, depending if you're French or British) card is the Governor Vaudreuil (sp?) Interferes card. Last game I played I took Montcalm away from the big army and stuck him in the fort at Oswego hee-hee.

EDIT: last para. added.
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Randy C
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I think you got the large part of the game. But there is more.

Once Louisburg falls, there are no more French replacements.

If the cards go mostly one way, [little or no brit reinforcements, small pox twice against the brits, Wolfe arriving late] play two.

A close freind of mine often get 2 tournaments games done in one evening 7-11.

One of my favorite games.

Note this is not accurate, see following.
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Volko Ruhnke
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Historically, the British amphibious operations were high-risk affairs (as most opposed amphibious landings are). There was a strong main army (first Abercromby then Amherst) coming up the Champlain--a holding force, as you suggest. And the French had been worn down with little reinforcement from Europe by the time Wolfe arrived near Quebec. Even then the successful outcome required daring cleverness in Wolfe's approach and victory in a battle with roughly equal numbers--part of the "Year of Miracles".

So the maritime approach is a direct route into New France, but it's no cakewalk, to be sure.

Regards, Volko
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Dan Freedman
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cstimpson wrote:
Smallpox can be a game-changer if you get, and can use, the card once or twice; (actually, it's a life-changer if you actually get smallpox, even once, so stick with the card).

Yes, what's noticeable about this game is that activity tends to be canalised into two or three axes of advance: the Hudson valley, the Ohio Forks area, and of course Louisbourg. Games can get predictable that way, so if you have the manpower to spare then Oswego is a good fourth. And ultimately if you are lucky with recruitment cards you can either put together a large army for the Armageddon-style battle with Montcalm or put significant pressure on two or three places at once.

You've noticed, of course, how slow it is to move most places - good historical design, I'd say. The need to build and maintain a string of friendly fortifications in the wilderness in case you ever have to retreat, the fact that you can't pick up forces as you move, only drop them off, and the need to plan well ahead for winter attrition all force you to be very careful when moving in the wilderness. This can be frustrating when compared to other games with less stringent supply rules, but v. realistic.

Another nasty (or nice, depending if you're French or British) card is the Governor Vaudreuil (sp?) Interferes card. Last game I played I took Montcalm away from the big army and stuck him in the fort at Oswego hee-hee.

EDIT: last para. added.


Good idea with the Governor. I did draw that one once and thought about using the event. However, if memory serves it is a 3 Ops card and I needed it to move Abercrombie and not take winter attrition. Abercombie did indeed have the Armageddon style army to face Montcalm but Small Pox combined with his slow activation put a hurt on his army...and by the time Wolfe took over, the Brits were outnumbered.
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Dan Freedman
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Calxx55 wrote:

I think you got the large part of the game. But there is more.

Once Louisburg falls, there are no more French replacements.

If the cards go mostly one way, [little or no brit reinforcements, small pox twice against the brits, Wolfe arriving late] play two.

A close freind of mine often get 2 tournaments games done in one evening 7-11.

One of my favorite games.


Missed that about Louisbourg, but I think the French had all their regulars out by the time I captured Louisbourg. Just to confirm, by replacements do you mean reinforcements or "healing" reduced units (or both as in PoG). The French definitely "healed" units after Louisbourg was taken. If we got that rule wrong, that would be significant.
 
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Joel K
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Double Dan wrote:
Calxx55 wrote:

Once Louisburg falls, there are no more French replacements.


Missed that about Louisbourg, but I think the French had all their regulars out by the time I captured Louisbourg. Just to confirm, by replacements do you mean reinforcements or "healing" reduced units (or both as in PoG). The French definitely "healed" units after Louisbourg was taken. If we got that rule wrong, that would be significant.

No such rule exists, so you were fine--the part I bolded above is not accurate. It's the play of the Quiberon Bay event that makes several events unplayable by France*, not British control of Louisbourg. However, British control of Louisbourg is one of 3 possible prerequisites for the Quiberon Bay event.

* Troop Transports & Local Enlistments (heals reduced units), Victories in Germany Release Troops & Finances for New World (heals reduced units), French Regulars
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Dan Freedman
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JoelCFC25 wrote:
Double Dan wrote:
Calxx55 wrote:

Once Louisburg falls, there are no more French replacements.


Missed that about Louisbourg, but I think the French had all their regulars out by the time I captured Louisbourg. Just to confirm, by replacements do you mean reinforcements or "healing" reduced units (or both as in PoG). The French definitely "healed" units after Louisbourg was taken. If we got that rule wrong, that would be significant.

No such rule exists, so you were fine--the part I bolded above is not accurate. It's the play of the Quiberon Bay event that makes several events unplayable by France*, not British control of Louisbourg. However, British control of Louisbourg is one of 3 possible prerequisites for the Quiberon Bay event.

* Troop Transports & Local Enlistments (heals reduced units), Victories in Germany Release Troops & Finances for New World (heals reduced units), French Regulars


Thanks for the followup. I did have Quiberon in hand the turn I took Louisbourg and planned on playing it. However, I made a huge strategic blunder by moving on Quebec via amphib in the season before winter attrition (2nd year). The thought was that I would take Quebec and be safe for the winter in the fortress. But Montcalm's sledgehammer teleported from the river over to Quebec and forced a retreat. I had to then use Quiberon to save my troops yet again from a winter freezing (maybe I should have let some freeze). Quiberon looks pretty good.
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Jason Cawley
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Mark had the right answer to the original question - I just want to underline the "can't replace his losses" part. The French just get far less in the way of reinforcements and replacements, as well as starting with a weaker force. The British player's best friend is that combat results table. You don't need to win every fight, you just need there to be lots and lots of fights, to which you bring significant forces. (OK, you also need to avoid full army wipe outs for failure to retreat, in the wilderness, and to avoid losing your army to winter attrition, etc - but those pitfalls are obvious enough.)

The French might get 20 steps of new forces all game, and most of them Indians that are 0s once flipped - as are most of their starting units (Marines, irregulars, Indians - all 1s on the front and 0s on the back.). You can inflict that many losses in 4-5 medium sized fights. You want every big card to either bring in reinforcements for you or result in a battle that weakens the French. Also keep in mind that leaders die in battle with 1/18 chance if you have enough to inflict losses on any roll. Together those mean that after 9-10 battles the French will be much weaker than they were at the start, and up to half the time Montcalm will be gone, to boot. So just get in there and fight - numbers and time will do most of the rest.

No captain can go far wrong if he lays his ship alongside the enemy...
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