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Subject: Defending Scotland rss

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Max DuBoff
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Hello there.

A lot of people talk about defense of Scotland by the French. I may be playing with the wrong people, but in my games, I just don't see a way to do that most times unless I draw a card like Auld Alliance or spend almost an entire turn building up my fleet. Any suggestions (I always just thought the English were designed to take Scotland )?
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MD1616 wrote:
Hello there.

A lot of people talk about defense of Scotland by the French. I may be playing with the wrong people, but in my games, I just don't see a way to do that most times unless I draw a card like Auld Alliance or spend almost an entire turn building up my fleet. Any suggestions (I always just thought the English were designed to take Scotland )?
It's more about forcing the English to make a bigger commitment of it then they expected. The English can easily get bogged down in a long, frustrating siege, which can eat up their Ops, and delays any war on the continent with, for example, France.
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James Rousselle
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Amnese wrote:
MD1616 wrote:
Hello there.

A lot of people talk about defense of Scotland by the French. I may be playing with the wrong people, but in my games, I just don't see a way to do that most times unless I draw a card like Auld Alliance or spend almost an entire turn building up my fleet. Any suggestions (I always just thought the English were designed to take Scotland )?
It's more about forcing the English to make a bigger commitment of it then they expected. The English can easily get bogged down in a long, frustrating siege, which can eat up their Ops, and delays any war on the continent with, for example, France.
I must agree 100%. Scotland is a tough minor nation. Plus, if France builds ships to help defend Scotland, England is in for a long war.
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Max DuBoff
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Amnese wrote:

It's more about forcing the English to make a bigger commitment of it then they expected. The English can easily get bogged down in a long, frustrating siege, which can eat up their Ops, and delays any war on the continent with, for example, France.
Alright, that makes sense. Do you suggest just building ships?
 
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Thomas Ting
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MD1616 wrote:
Hello there.

A lot of people talk about defense of Scotland by the French. I may be playing with the wrong people, but in my games, I just don't see a way to do that most times unless I draw a card like Auld Alliance or spend almost an entire turn building up my fleet. Any suggestions (I always just thought the English were designed to take Scotland )?
The English generally DoW Scotland via play of their Home Card. This lets France immediately intervene without paying CP. So no need to play Auld Alliance - the Scots immediately come under your wing.

The standard play to defend Scotland is to build ships, and then send them into the North Sea. The French can generally have a fleet of 4 ships to use against England (your fifth is initially stuck in the Med), plus one Scottish ship.

This brings their total naval strength up to five ships, compared to a maximum of 5 ships for the English Navy, meaning it will be an even fight. Should you win this naval battle, Scotland's fortified space can't even be assaulted at all barring play of the Treachery Card.

Building up ships is NOT hard, and you have at least one if not two impulses to do it (The English need one impulse to move in, and their first assault is likely to fail. Only on the third impulse are the Scots likely to fold). A ship just costs as much as a regular, and you start with some of them already on the board. And the English also have to build up their fleet too - it's not as if they already have 5 ships at the start.

Do NOT fall into the trap of thinking that England is a powerful naval power just because of all the "Invincible Royal Navy" propaganda in history books. The English Navy simply isn't that strong in this game. In fact, speaking long-term France+Scotland will in fact outnumber the English fleet (Their fleet is 5 ships at most. With the Scots and the Med squadron moved to the North Sea, the French+Scots have six).

Just be sure to always concentrate your fleet, which you can afford to do so while the English can't. They have to have a fleet in the North Sea (to siege the Scots) AND they have to worry about guarding the English channel while their army is in the north (otherwise a French army can cross the channel and march on London). The French by contrast can just put their whole fleet in the North Sea to prevent the Scots from falling - the English won't have an army to raid mainland France if it's busy in Scotland.

I would in fact go out on a limb and say that Scotland should ALWAYS survive as long as the French:

1) Play competently

2) Aren't faced with a lucky English player who gets 3 hits while rolling 5-7 dice; OR who got Treachery in their starting hand.

3) Aren't being harried by other threats like the Hapsburgs.

And of those, #3 is usually the only reason why the English manage to take the Scots.
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James Rousselle
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Thomas, good analysis. I would add one more thing. In the one game that I played France, England started with Diplomatic Marriage--what a bummer for France.
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Philip Thomas
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Sadly (from a historical accuracy angle apart from anything else), what usually happens in my games is England and France make a deal splitting the Scottish assets- England gets Edinburgh, France gets the Scottish troops and fleet.
 
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Max DuBoff
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Thomas Ting, I'd love to play England to your France. Although I appreciate your analysis, your comments seem to be assuming that France has unlimited cards and time. I don't usually build regulars as France on the first turn either, but two cards are probably already excluded from building French ships (the home card which should be played for the event and a 2- or 3-op card to explore with). That leaves France with only a few cards. Additionally, England may choose to DOW at the beginning of T2.

(I meant Auld Alliance, btw, for the regulars added to Scotland, not the alliance.)

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JGRno5 wrote:
Thomas, good analysis. I would add one more thing. In the one game that I played France, England started with Diplomatic Marriage--what a bummer for France.
That's actually okay in my book, as long as England plays correctly afterwards.

The reality of the English situation in the 1517 scenario is that if the French retain Scotland, they are left VERY vulnerable to invasion. Not just because their backdoor is open, but also because the survival of Scotland leads to French naval superiority (6 Scot/French ships vs 5 English).

Taking Scotland puts England on an even footing with the French, banishing the threat of invasion and ensuring that the English will have at worse naval parity with the French (5 vs 5).

The _problem_ is that too many English players make the mistake of going after France in "vengeance" for defending Scotland. In reality, the English gain very little by pursuing all-out war against the French - because they will only be able to send limited-sized armies over the Channel.

Proper English play after the fall of Scotland is instead to make peace with the French, and focus on turtling to gain VP via Edward, Exploration, and Protestant conversions. The English will only make war on a strictly opportunist basis - DoWing mid-turn using their Home Card (you DID get Edward early as I suggested, yes?) often to take Antwerp (very vulnerable due to the pitiful Hapsburg naval presence) or to raid France (especially if the Haps are taking French keys left and right, and you need to deny them those spaces). All of the above, combined, is enough to get you to 25; possibly as early as Turn 3 (with a granted Divorce, luck in Exploration, and a good Protestant player who plans to win the moment Schmakaldic League triggers on Turn 4)

In short, the English MUST take Scotland or they will be at the mercy of France, but they musn't take it too personally and treat the French as an enemy forever because attacking France usually won't win them the game. Diplomatic Marriage just skips the whole war between the two powers and achieves England's goal of security without needing to fire a shot.

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Thomas Ting, I'd love to play England to your France. Although I appreciate your analysis, your comments seem to be assuming that France has unlimited cards and time. I don't usually build regulars as France on the first turn either, but two cards are probably already excluded from building French ships (the home card which should be played for the event and a 2- or 3-op card to explore with). That leaves France with only a few cards. Additionally, England may choose to DOW at the beginning of T2.
France doesn't have unlimited cards or time, but it has enough. I actually laid out how little you actually need to spend.

All you need is about 6-8 CP to build ships and get them to the North Sea. Again, recall that the French have ships on the board and the Scots do too - and the English need to spend about as much CPs in order to counter the French fleet.

As for time, as I've noted, you likely have at least two impulses.

The problem lies not with my analysis, but with your desire to ALSO play the home card for VP and to get an exploration. You're trying to do too much; I'm just trying to defend Scotland and I'm showing how it can be done relatively "cheaply" - just spend the Home Card and a 3CP card, and the rest can go to other projects (e.g. taking Metz)

Moreover, frankly, I think playing the French Home card for VP is a terrible idea on Turn 1 (more to the point I think it's a terrible idea to play it for VPs in most situations, but I digress). Successfully defending Scotland opens up far more options than the paltry 1 VP you will get, and the "maybe 1-4 VP" you'll get for an exploration.

To expand: Scotland is already worth 2 VP on its own, double what you would get for playing the Home Card, and it cannot be taken away from you if you sue or the English for peace. Scotland is also potentially another card in your hand every turn.

Taking Scotland also effectively cripples England from a defensive standpoint. They lose naval superiority (5 English ships vs 6 French/Scottish ships) and must fight a two-front war against a stronger power. It actually gives the French a real shot to score an auto-win by military conquest, or to pick off English keys for VPs when they're at the brink.

Finally, it is a bad idea for England to wait for turn 2 to DoW Scotland. For one thing, you want to start Edward rolling by Turn 2 (you can't even play the Home Card to get a new wife on Turn 1, so it WILL be used to DoW someone). Secondly, the war between France and the Hapsburgs could be over by this point, which lets France go full-time defending Scotland.

The joker in the pack for the French really are the Hapsburgs. France needs and wants to take Metz on Turn 1 too; and it is this focus on Metz that is really the key for the English to win in Scotland.
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Sadly (from a historical accuracy angle apart from anything else), what usually happens in my games is England and France make a deal splitting the Scottish assets- England gets Edinburgh, France gets the Scottish troops and fleet.
I agree that't not a good play. Scotland opens up so many good options for France that they should really try to keep it. Moreover, getting to keep the Scottish ship really doesn't help - because you want to be able to keep building a sixth ship to outnumber the English navy; not have a token squadron which can't be rebuilt.

Besides, Scotland historically "wins" the Here I Stand/Virgin Queen series. When Elizabeth dies after Virgin Queen a Scottish king ascends the English throne .
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Thomas, I'm sure you're a fine player, but I really think you're ignoring some pretty key factors. First of all, I truly don't believe France is capable of winning without at least some Chateau VPs. Second, doesn't a lot of this depend on cards? Third, you say France has two impulses, but he cannot build all his ships in those two impulses unless he has some crazy good cards. Fourth, if the English player builds up ships on T1 and declares war in the DOW phase of T2, France has to spend a card and England can immediately march on Edinburgh assuming the ships are already in Calais. Your comments just seem a bit idealistic imho. I've never seen French player keep Scotland for more than maybe 3 turns.
 
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MD1616 wrote:
Thomas, I'm sure you're a fine player, but I really think you're ignoring some pretty key factors. First of all, I truly don't believe France is capable of winning without at least some Chateau VPs.
And I think you're still not getting the point.

I didn't ignore any key factors. Like I said, you're sacrificing _1_ Chateux VP; for the 2 VP of Scotland, her fleets, and defensively compromising England. These are all FAR weightier than the measely 1 VP you get from Chateux, and do note that my defense budget STILL leaves you with several more cards for other things.

Seriously, divorce yourself from the idea that you should always get Chateux VP. It is NOT something you should do every turn, and definitely not on the first turn. You should be getting Metz, Scotland, or both on Turn 1 - netting you 2-4 VP which can't be taken away from you without great expenditure of resource and unlocking more card draws for France in future turns (while at the same time denying your enemies).

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Second, doesn't a lot of this depend on cards?
Good players don't let cards dictate their strategy. They instead do what actions are needed to win. A classic mistake of many beginners is that they let the cards play them. Only a tiny handful of cards (e.g. Treachery, Diplo Marriage, Professional Rowers) really change the equation in this case.

And I'd be very surprised if there is any hand that the French player gets wherein he doesn't have at least 8CP to do a successful Scotland defense.

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Third, you say France has two impulses, but he cannot build all his ships in those two impulses unless he has some crazy good cards.
Yes, but you don't need all of your ships to rescue Scotland, and more importantly the English don'tstart with all of their ships on the board either. They have two ships on the board. You start with two that can contest the North Sea (one French, one Scot). The odds are even.

To reach their maximum fleet size, the English have to spend 6 CP. And they usually can't afford that, because they still need to spend on mercenaries for assaulting the Scots (usually 4 CPs off the Home Card, followed by 1 CP move to the fortified space), and then spend two more cards in subsequent impulses for the two assaults.

Even worse for the English, they have to build their fleet "on the go" (as in, build the ships when war has already been declared and try to unite them - with calamitous results if the French catch the fleet piecemeal) or build them prior to DoWing, which telegraphs the move to the French and gives them time to build their own ships.

In other words, if the English haven't DoW'd Scotland and they build ships, the French can match it. Ship for ship without a problem.

If this is a purely England vs French contest France will win the race. The French don't need to spend CPs for mercenaries or assault. Everything just goes to ships, so the French have more cards and spend less to defend Scotland. That is the ruthless math of the game - once you stop clinging to bad strategies like Chateuxing at all cost on turn 1 - the French are ALWAYS at an advantage in a head-to-head battle against the English for the defense of Scotland:

Six ships is more than five; and the English have no special powers letting them build ships faster or roll more dice.

This is again why the only real joker in the pack are the Hapsburgs. If the French contest Metz (which they should, especially if the Hapsburgs send Charles V to Besancon) then they may end up too busy to defend Scotland. Being too busy with Metz (aside from Treachery or awful luck) is the only excuse a competent French player has for not successfully defending Scotland.

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Fourth, if the English player builds up ships on T1 and declares war in the DOW phase of T2, France has to spend a card and England can immediately march on Edinburgh assuming the ships are already in Calais. Your comments just seem a bit idealistic imho. I've never seen French player keep Scotland for more than maybe 3 turns.
Except that the English player _also_ has to play a card to DoW Scotland in T2. Dowing Scotland isn't free. Seriously, you keep making the defense of Scotland way harder than it is because you keep forgetting how costly it is for the English.

Secondly, the English having the ships in Calais doesn't help one bit, because you still need to wait until the next impulse to assault. During the French impulse all you really need to do is to spend 2 CP to get your fleet out into the North Sea - you have been matching the English ship-for-ship instead of wasting CPs on Chateux, yes?

Again, the numbers disfavor the English irrevocably. Maximum of 6 French + Scot ships versus 5 English. If you don't outnumber the English fleet, then it is because you failed to build ships even though you have a card advantage over the English player. The French are playing VERY poorly if they are losing this situation consistently.

Against an actual good French player who understands the correct priorities, if the English don't take Scotland on their first try, they will almost never take it barring extraordinary luck (e.g. Treachery Card. You can't even assault Edinburgh anymore once the French have naval superiority); and will most likely be conquered by the French later in the game.
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Max DuBoff
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A few things.

France cannot control the Scottish ship until England DOWs, and England controls when he DOWs.

From a balance in design perspective, if the French were meant to always keep Scotland, the English would always have a ridiculously (and unfairly) hard time winning.

I'm not sure what to make of your comment about Metz. Sure, France can go try for Metz on T1--if he wants to be annihilated by the Hapsburgs. There are some interesting cards like Mercenaries Bribed, Mercenaries Grow Restless, and Mercenaries Desert, and France obviously cannot afford to build an army of regulars on T1. I'm not quite sure what happens in your games, but French efforts at Metz before Turn 3 usually seem ill-fated.

All in all, I cordially invite you to come on Wargameroom and play France against me or, even better, a player more experienced than myself, because I'd love to see how you do it.

(About your comment that a good player doesn't let cards dictate his strategy, I'm a little dubious. It just sounds a bit too-good-to-be-true, especially considering that the genre is card-driven games. )

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Thomas Ting
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MD1616 wrote:
A few things.

France cannot control the Scottish ship until England DOWs, and England controls when he DOWs.
They don't, but again you generally have two full impulses to unite the Scots with the French fleet as soon as war is declared. It's not a big deal - the bigger deal is that one of the French ships start in the Med; and until you get rid of it on Turn 1 it can't join your North Sea forces. (unless the errata finally clarified if you can disband and rebuild fleets in a different location on the same turn)

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From a balance in design perspective, if the French were meant to always keep Scotland, the English would always have a ridiculously (and unfairly) hard time winning.
Which is why the Hapsburgs exist. Again, you seem to keep missing how I always mention that the biggest joker in the pack are the Haps trying to take Metz.

Quote:
I'm not sure what to make of your comment about Metz. Sure, France can go try for Metz on T1--if he wants to be annihilated by the Hapsburgs. There are some interesting cards like Mercenaries Bribed, Mercenaries Grow Restless, and Mercenaries Desert, and France obviously cannot afford to build an army of regulars on T1. I'm not quite sure what happens in your games, but French efforts at Metz before Turn 3 usually seem ill-fated.
You're being horribly self-defeating if you think the French automatically lose a war with the Hapsburgs on Turn 1. Bad players let the fear of cards take over them. Good players simply employ the correct and optimal strategy and accept that sometimes luck will turn against them. I will totally take a situation wherein I win on a roll of 2-6 on a six-sided dice, and will not fret and cry over the possibility I might roll a 1. That's just terrible self-confidence talking.

The Hapsburgs do have a card advantage, but positionally they are actually even with the French in the struggle for Metz; even when you consider the standard "deploy from Vienna to Besancon" opening. If you wait until Turn 3 to fight for Metz, then an actual good Hapsburg player will show you how to win by that turn.

You don't need to "build up" and have huge armies to fight. It is more important to fight and gain keys early; because that gives you more cards and actions for later turns while denying your opponent.

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All in all, I cordially invite you to come on Wargameroom and play France against me or, even better, a player more experienced than myself, because I'd love to see how you do it.
I don't really have a lot of time to play a full game online now, but I'll check it out.

Quote:
(About your comment that a good player doesn't let cards dictate his strategy, I'm a little dubious. It just sounds a bit too-good-to-be-true, especially considering that the genre is card-driven games. )

You really need to get over a ton of newbie preconceptions. "What wins the fight is what wins the fight"; not "Play how I think the game should be played".

It's a card-driven game, but cards can always be played for CP and it's an inherent part of the design. Hence, appealing to how "you should play the event because it's designed that way!" is utterly silly when you realize that the game allows you to largely ignore events and just play them from CP.

I would say that the majority of the time (60% of my card plays) - I play the card for the CPs, not the event. Another 20% of the time, I play the card for the event ONLY because I was planning to do that action and the card just lets me do it more efficiently (e.g. Shipbuilding is a 2 CP card that lets me build 2 squadrons, effectively giving me a 4 CP card if I plan to build ships). Only 20% of the time do I ever play the card for its event, and usually some special event which gains me a key (e.g. Diplomatic Marriage), screws over another player at a critical juncture (e.g. Gout), and almost never any combat cards. .

[Sidebar: The only exception are the Protestants, who are hugely event-dependent. But only because their events are just more efficient versions of their regular actions. Take Calvin's Institutes for an example - it's actually just the Publish Treatise action but with a bonus]

Again, a classic beginner mistake is having the cards play you, instead of playing the cards to pursue a specific strategy. If a card doesn't have an event I need, it will get played for points towards something I'm actually working on.
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Zinegata wrote:
MD1616 wrote:
A few things.

France cannot control the Scottish ship until England DOWs, and England controls when he DOWs.
They don't, but again you generally have two full impulses to unite the Scots with the French fleet as soon as war is declared. It's not a big deal - the bigger deal is that one of the French ships start in the Med; and until you get rid of it on Turn 1 it can't join your North Sea forces. (unless the errata finally clarified if you can disband and rebuild fleets in a different location on the same turn)
Hmm, interesting. The games i remember (where English and France not have deal about the scots) the first english avtion was the homecard, building 2 merc and a ship oder 4 merc and lay a sige against edinbourg. and the 2nd turn will bring the asault with a naval move before.

Most times, Habsburg springdepoyed to Besancon, if he will not go for Milan first, with is even worse for the French.

And you really tell me, France can spend a least 4cp to build one ship and move the 2 in the North Sea? Hmm, interesting. I think, i would be afraid, what the Habsburg will do with me in this case. And i leave the Channel without ships, so that the english can chance mind and go for france instead.
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teefha wrote:
Hmm, interesting. The games i remember (where English and France not have deal about the scots) the first english avtion was the homecard, building 2 merc and a ship oder 4 merc and lay a sige against edinbourg. and the 2nd turn will bring the asault with a naval move before.
That's... not a very good English opening.

Building 2 mercs only is really chancey - you're only rolling 4 dice (Henry, 3 regulars, 2 mercs = 4 dice total) against the Scot's 4 dice! You'd have to be very lucky or have a siege card to take Scotland on the first assault impulse; and a bit of bad luck could result in the Scots successfully holding off the English even WITHOUT the naval help.

Also, having only 1 naval move opens up French naval superiority.

In response to the above move, I'd play the Home Card for CP. Spend 4 CP on 2 squadrons to place in Rouen (you have one there already). That gives me 3 ships in Rouen. Spend the 5th CP to move the fleet to the English channel, where it will catch the lone English naval ship from Portsmouth.

(Note: The English North Sea fleet can also try to intercept the french as they come out of Rouen, but the odds disfavor them and they'd be fighting a 6 vs 6 battle)

Next impulse the English assault and likely fail (again, too few troops). The combined French + Scottish fleet (now 4 ships) clobbers the English fleet in the North Sea. Game over for England barring lucky rolling in an 8 dice vs 4 situation.

I don't think you thought this situation through as the English. It's honestly a pretty awful plan and not how I would do it.

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Most times, Habsburg springdepoyed to Besancon, if he will not go for Milan first, with is even worse for the French.
Milan? Really? Terrible idea.

Say you Spring Deploy to Innsbruck with 4 regulars from Vienna. To immediately siege Milan, you need to do the following:

1) Teleport Charles V to Innbruck

2) Spend 1 point on a Merc

3) Spend 2 points to get over the pass to Trent, then another to switch control

4) Spend last point to get to Milan

The French in this case simply react by Spring-deploying their army (4 regulars) to Grenoble (they deploy after the Haps, so they can see the Milan assault developing a mile away). Use Home card to do the following:

1) Build 2 Mercs

2) Move into Turin (2 points)

3) Attack Charles V in Milan (1 point)

At which point your Milan garrison comes out to fight for you. So you have an army of 8 against 5. Once the Haps are dead, then the French actually have an incentive to just march on Florence - they're already there anyway!

The Besancon-Milan route is even worse. You need to convert TWO spaces (Geneva and Turin) and make three moves, one over a pass. That's 6 CP spent and the French can just cut your supply lines.

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And you really tell me, France can spend a least 4cp to build one ship and move the 2 in the North Sea?
Nope. As I said above, build TWO ships. So your fleet of three moves into the English channel. The Scots will suffer one assault, but again it's not likely they will be conquered after the first assault (barring good siege cards or treachery). You DON'T need to rush into the North Sea on the first impulse if you have another to spare.

Really, read my post carefully and understand it; as opposed to trying to poke holes in it to preserve the very cherished but factually incorrect notion that Scotland is hard to defend. It isn't barring good English luck, active Hapsburg intervention, or the French player being psychologically beaten before the first shot is even fired (which frankly sums up most of the "objections" to the optimal defense plan in this thread!)

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Hmm, interesting. I think, i would be afraid, what the Habsburg will do with me in this case. And i leave the Channel without ships, so that the english can chance mind and go for france instead.
The English will invade France with... what? Their army is in the north fighting Scotland if you'd recall. Again, people need to stop overstating imagined threats. You don't need a fleet in the Channel if there is no English army that can fight you. This is yet another tiresome example of a French player jumping at his own shadow.

The Haps, as I've repeatedly stated, are the ONLY reason why an invasion of Scotland can succeed. If they threaten Milan or Metz the French have to respond, and they may have to do it with their Home Card; which may in itself be enough to prevent a rescue of the Scots.

Still, I would say that you'd have be playing the French pretty awfully to lose Milan on Turn 1 to the Hapsburgs. Metz is the real prize for the Haps - the Besancon gambit leaves them with a fully army of 8 to use for the battle for Metz, while the French can only move in with an equal-sized army if they use their Home Card for the immediate counter-stroke (leaving the Haps with more dice due to being the defender and Charles being the better leader).
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Thomas, I really resent that you've called me a beginner at least twice, depending on how one wants to construe your somewhat disparaging statements. I am by no means a beginner; I probably have 50 plays on WGR.

I have no idea what happens in your games, but on WGR it's generally accepted that going for the Hapsburgs T1 is foolish (except if France gets a dream hand).

In response to your assertion that France has to compete for Metz, that doesn't really have any basis in fact. At all. The correct time for the French to take Metz is when the Ottomans are heating up in the East (and hopefully when the English are taking Antwerp). This often occurs around Turn 3. Again, I have no idea what happens in your games, but on WGR there is usually a gentleman's agreement (with good reason) that the Haps don't mess with France on Turn 1 as long as France lets the Hapsburgs have Metz. Since the Hapsburgs should pretty much always go for Metz on Turn 1 (except if Charles V was a little reckless in his youth and now succumbs to an unfortunate attack of Gout), you're basically saying your plan should never really work to begin with.

The usual play on WGR is for the Haps to Spring Deploy to Tunis and teleport Charles from there, either to Antwerp or Besancon. This shows even more of a trust that France will not interfere, ironically enough. If France does decide to attack the Hapsburgs, the Hapsburgs will stay at war T2 (instead of peacefully offering a truce, as is usual) and go beat up the French (in fact, they'll probably get the English to come along, because who doesn't love to beat up on a weakened France?

Attacking the Hapsburgs T1 may (quite ironically) even help the Hapsburgs, who will be able to deal with the Ottomans alone if the French are subdued. Going for Metz later actually helps curb the Hapsburgs because they cannot defend both Vienna and Metz.

Once again, your plan seems to imply that the English have no chance. I will once again assert that the English have no chance. The English can move their ships and then declare war, thus concentrating their naval force. If you have a balance issue with the game, take it up with the designer or at least on another thread.

As to your (I'm sure carefully thought out) implication that a competent Hapsburg player should win by T3 (!), as I'm certain you know, the Hapsburgs become stronger as the game goes on. There is basically no chance of the Hapsburgs winning by VPs by T3. If the Hapsburgs look like they will win on keys, France can certainly attack sooner, but the Hapsburgs will be hard-pressed to do that in the early game in 6P play (with 3 players, perhaps that's a little more likely, but it still doesn't change my points).

On another note, I still believe you're misguided in your approach to the French home card. The French player cannot hope to compete if he doesn't get most of his home card points (let's say 4 out of 6). The French home card is a mechanic designed to give France the boost it needs because it doesn't have the Ottomans' piracy, the Hapsburgs' lucrative New World opportunities and sheer number of keys, the England's quest for an heir, or the Pope's St. Peter's. France cannot realistically expect to hold Scotland forever, and if he needs to use his home card for ops twice to hold Scotland, why not use it for the action for two PERMANENT VPs? (The chances of France getting Edinburgh and Metz on Turn 1 for an extra card are not worth betting too much on.)

If you think France is unbeatable up north, what is England supposed to do? What do you do when you play as Henry VIII?

If you ever do get around to WGR (and I really hope you do, because I'd love to see your plan in action), look for MD_HIS.
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MD1616 wrote:
Thomas, I really resent that you've called me a beginner at least twice, depending on how one wants to construe your somewhat disparaging statements. I am by no means a beginner; I probably have 50 plays on WGR.
Then stop advocating pretty stupid moves; like insisting that you should only adopt certain strategies because you get a "dream hand". It's again emblematic of newbie play - you are letting the cards play you instead of actually spending on stuff that wins you the game.

You have actually given ZERO evidence on how building up a fleet and sending it to the North Sea wouldn't save the Scots. Pretty much all of your objections boil down to "But what if the English have so-and-so card?!" and pretending they don't have to spend on their own mercenaries and fleets.

My answer is that you should stop worrying. If they get lucky, they get lucky. But worrying about the pretty low chance of a specific card showing up in the English hand (which I noted CAN happen anyway, whereas you keep dishonestly accusing me of saying that the English "hve no chance") is just bad argumentation and awful strategy-making.

You asked for and were given "plans". You keep shooting them down because you keep jumping at imagined or unlikely threats and demand "certainties" instead. There are no certainties in this game, but there are GOOD plans that have very good odds of succeeding due to board position and resource availability.

Defending Scotland as the French with a Navy is one of them, and its successful execution is worth FAR more than a paltry one VP from Chateux.

Quote:
I have no idea what happens in your games, but on WGR it's generally accepted that going for the Hapsburgs T1 is foolish (except if France gets a dream hand).
The French fighting the Haps on Turn 1 are facing an uphill battle, no doubt about it. But the French need to do it because the odds are never going to get better for them than on Turn 1.

The Haps start with a card advantage on Turn 1, but it will only get better as the game goes forward. Starting Turn 2 they can get New Worlds Riches (mostly via Conquest, but also Colonies if lucky) AND 2 saved cards.

The French by contrast will only be able to save 1 card, and need to be REALLY lucky to get Conquests, and have more expensive colonies. It would be very possible for the Haps to have at least a 3 card advantage over the French in Turn 2 (1 more saved, 1 Conquest, 1 Colony).

By contrast, losing a war in the Haps on Turn 1 is totally fine for the French. Just sue for peace. I would even go as far and say that it's fine to lose Paris if you take Metz no matter how badly counter-intuitive it sounds to regular gamer thinking.

It is better for France to lose on Turn 1 while the Haps don't have their saved cards and New Worlds riches, because the Haps won't have the resources to take much of France. By contrast, if you fight and lose on Turn 2 with a loaded Haps hand, there might be no Turn 3 at all.

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In response to your assertion that France has to compete for Metz, that doesn't really have any basis in fact.
Only because you're playing a different version of Here I Stand where the Haps pull punches. See below for why your "gentleman's agreement" is awful for the Haps.

Taking Metz will mean the Haps will be 4 keys away from winning once they inevitably get Prague. What this means is that they are four keys away from winning.

At that point the Haps can just throw a war against the French and Ottomans (intentionally suicide a leader to the Otts or French as needed), then DoW the Papacy and Genoa during the turn they sue for peace to both the Otts and French.

So what you then have is the Hapsburg juggernaut facing the Papacy in open war... with four keys (Rome, Ravenna, Florence, and Genoa) ripe for the taking for the auto-win.

And that's assuming the Haps don't simply throw the war against the French or Ottomans (whoever is the stronger player) so they can sue to peace, and then wipe out the weak player and take 4 keys the "old fashioned way".

If you aren't watching out for this possibility, then you're playing with pretty weak Hapsburg players.

Quote:
At all. The correct time for the French to take Metz is when the Ottomans are heating up in the East (and hopefully when the English are taking Antwerp). This often occurs around Turn 3. Again, I have no idea what happens in your games, but on WGR there is usually a gentleman's agreement (with good reason) that the Haps don't mess with France on Turn 1 as long as France lets the Hapsburgs have Metz.
This is incredibly stupid and emblematic of the poor strategic thinking that happens in your games for two reasons:

1) The Hapsburgs have NO incentive to keep their word. They can also just clobber France and get their four keys from there. They should not even promise the gentleman's agreement in the first place.

2) If we assume the deal is made, then why don't you have resources to defend Scotland as the French? You now have literally ZERO excuses. You now have the resources to build a fleet to send to the North Sea!

In fact and this is the ultimate silliness of your strategic thinking - if you're saying that the French fighting the Hapsburgs is suicide because the Haps have a card edge on them, then the English fighting the French should be just as suicidal. The French have a card advantage over the English.

Again, if it's an English vs French matchup, the French have an advantage; and a very strong one. The French have more cards and need to only spend it on fleets (where they will outnumber the English 6 to 5 in the counter mix). The English have less cards, and must also build mercenaries and spend CP to assault Scotland. An English vs French battle has WORSE odds for the English; compared to the odds of the French in a French vs Hapsburg matchup.

Seriously, you are violating basic arithmetic with your nonsense assumptions. 6 vs 5 is suicide for the French, but the French being up 5 vs 4 is too hard against the English?

Quote:
Once again, your plan seems to imply that the English have no chance. I will once again assert that the English have no chance. The English can move their ships and then declare war, thus concentrating their naval force. If you have a balance issue with the game, take it up with the designer or at least on another thread.
The English have inferior chances, and can only win if they get lucky. I have even specified many instances where luck lets them win - e.g. they get Treachery. The problem is, these instances are much less common than a situation where they don't have a card like Treachery to save them.

Again, if you cannot comprehend these simple nuances you really have no business formulating or pretending that your "strategy" is any good - you're just engaging in pointless cherry picking because the real problem is that you have psychologically defeated yourself as the French facing the English even before a shot is fired. This is why your "analysis" very hypocritically claims hat the French will lose to the Hapsburgs because of the latter's card advantage, but that they cannot win against the English despite the French card advantage.

Plans do NOT revolve around the relatively low chance that the English will have Treachery in Hand or panicking over what can go wrong. Plans revolve around the OVERALL situation - and the overall situation is that the French have a major advantage over the English, an even better one that the advantage the Hapsburgs have over the French on turn 1 which you insist is suicidal for the French.

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As to your (I'm sure carefully thought out) implication that a competent Hapsburg player should win by T3 (!)
They do in fact win by Turn 3 often. In fact in the World Championships (albeit it's a different scenario - but their board position is in fact WEAKER there because they don't have Tunis) they still generally win on Turn 1 or 2 of the scenario - and they dominated the final heats (where you culled out all the weak players) in the recent one despite buffs to the English and Papacy.

Their only real competition is the Protestants; after the development of the "Surge" technique which allows the Prots to hit 23+ VP in one turn with a great degree of consistency.
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Max DuBoff
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Zinegata wrote:

Then stop advocating pretty stupid moves; like insisting that you should only adopt certain strategies because you get a "dream hand". It's again emblematic of newbie play - you are letting the cards play you instead of actually spending on stuff that wins you the game.


This is incredibly stupid and emblematic of the poor strategic thinking that happens in your games for two reasons:


In fact and this is the ultimate silliness of your strategic thinking -


Seriously, you are violating basic arithmetic with your nonsense assumptions.


Again, if you cannot comprehend these simple nuances you really have no business formulating or pretending that your "strategy" is any good - you're just engaging in pointless cherry picking


Thomas Ting's Greatest Hits--look for it on CD!
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Max DuBoff
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We can agree to disagree, I think.
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Michael
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MD1616 wrote:
Zinegata wrote:

Then stop advocating pretty stupid moves; like insisting that you should only adopt certain strategies because you get a "dream hand". It's again emblematic of newbie play - you are letting the cards play you instead of actually spending on stuff that wins you the game.


This is incredibly stupid and emblematic of the poor strategic thinking that happens in your games for two reasons:


In fact and this is the ultimate silliness of your strategic thinking -


Seriously, you are violating basic arithmetic with your nonsense assumptions.


Again, if you cannot comprehend these simple nuances you really have no business formulating or pretending that your "strategy" is any good - you're just engaging in pointless cherry picking


Thomas Ting's Greatest Hits--look for it on CD!
It's easy enough to tune out and simply ignore. I'd just move on.
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Zinegata,

You seem to have very strong views on how the game should be played that seem to differ from the majority of people who frequent this site. Any chance you could post a session report of a "typical" game among your play group? It's possible that it would better show how you think the game should be played and show why certain criticisms about your style are or are not appropriate. As your games generally end within three turns, you might be able to go into considerable detail about the cards each player held, how they were played, known or suspected diplomatic moves, etc.
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Thomas Ting
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Cathan wrote:
MD1616 wrote:
Zinegata wrote:

Then stop advocating pretty stupid moves; like insisting that you should only adopt certain strategies because you get a "dream hand". It's again emblematic of newbie play - you are letting the cards play you instead of actually spending on stuff that wins you the game.


This is incredibly stupid and emblematic of the poor strategic thinking that happens in your games for two reasons:


In fact and this is the ultimate silliness of your strategic thinking -


Seriously, you are violating basic arithmetic with your nonsense assumptions.


Again, if you cannot comprehend these simple nuances you really have no business formulating or pretending that your "strategy" is any good - you're just engaging in pointless cherry picking


Thomas Ting's Greatest Hits--look for it on CD!
It's easy enough to tune out and simply ignore. I'd just move on.
Yes, because in this forum six squadrons is apparently less than five. Excuse me while I giggle as you self-congratulate yourselves on how you fail basic arithmetic and completely failed to actually address a proper plan to defend Scotland. In favor of ridiculous things like:

1) Asserting that 1 VP gained by Chateux is better than 2 VP gained by keeping Scotland (plus positional advantage. Plus card advantge. Plus half a dozen things I've mentioned... but nah, let's cancel it all by playin the imaginary "GREATEST HITS!" card)

2) That the French fleet of six ships is at a disadvantage fighting the english, who have five at best.

3) That the French will not be able to build the said fleet even if the Hapsburgs leave them alone; ignoring that France start with more cards than the English and don't have to build up an army.

4) That going to the North Sea leaves the English Channel open for an English Army invasion of the mainland... despite the fact that the English army is in Scotland.

So yeah, keep mocking me with your greatest hits nonsense. The problem here is that you keep feeling insulted not because I'm impolite (when in fact your entire modus operandi boils down to launching ad-hominem insults against me), but because I am proving you comprehensively wrong and that you don't need more than a basic knowledge of arithmetic to understand this.

Learn some actual strategy instead of insisting on the impossibility of a plan. Six is greater than five. Scotland is quite defensible and it is the English who need luck on their side to win this conflict if the Haps leave the French alone. This is the ruthless math of the situation, which is what you are actually denying.
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theactionisgo wrote:
Zinegata,

You seem to have very strong views on how the game should be played that seem to differ from the majority of people who frequent this site. Any chance you could post a session report of a "typical" game among your play group? It's possible that it would better show how you think the game should be played and show why certain criticisms about your style are or are not appropriate. As your games generally end within three turns, you might be able to go into considerable detail about the cards each player held, how they were played, known or suspected diplomatic moves, etc.
We don't always end on Turn 3, but we generally end a lot of games on Turn 3 and the most we've gone is Turn 5.

I've noted some specifics, but the key here is that the Hapsburgs don't pull punches. There is no "gentleman's agreement" wherein the Hapsburgs aren't allowed to attack France on Turn 2 if they are allowed to take Metz.

So if the Hapsburgs take Metz - and the Ottomans take Hungary (always no later than Turn 3) the Hapsburgs are four keys away from victory and are open to a very quick auto-win. The most extreme case (which I've done and won personally) is to DoW the Papacy after suing to the Otts and French. The Haps taking on the France or Ottomans I've also seen happen - as long as the Haps suicide a leader into the power they don't want to fight and just sue for peace.

(E.g. The Hapsburgs think the French are weak. As the last action, the Haps suicide Ferdinand with 1 troop to the Ottomans. At the start of the next turn, the Haps sue for peace, give the Otts 3 VP, and then aim for the auto-win).

Even if it fails (which happened once when the Haps took three keys from France), the Haps will get so many points from the peace deal that a Turn 4-5 ending is pretty much a forgone conclusion.

Particular cards don't really matter for us, because we don't use most of the cards for events UNLESS it happens to do something I wanted to do in the first place more efficiently (e.g. Shipbuilding). We don't even use combat cards by and large - better to have a card ready for an end-of-turn assault (we also tend to save a lot of cards when we can).

[Sidebar: I know I'm a total heretic for saying this, but our whole group thinks Knights of St John's for instance is pretty worthless - as evidenced by how Akinji Raiders is a strictly better card and yet there's no "controversy" or rush to prevent it. St John's simply never gets played unless the Haps get it or they're willing to pay 2 cards for another power to play it - the actual fair price for it]

The big ones that change the game are generally just things like Diplomatic Marriages (and the other similar cards), Treachery, Fuggers (and other card advantage cards; of which St John's is NOT one of them) - those always get played for the events. Of course, the Prots also play a lot of events.

In terms of deal-making, let me blunt - we rarely do deals. We did deals in maybe the first 3 or 4 games (out of the dozen or so I've played; the majority being six-player) but after that it became clear that deals are only accepted if one player gains disporportionately from the arrangement. (Which makes me even more "heretical" - because I find half of the "gambits" proposed here silly and disproportionately beneficial for one side)

One classic example (which I think drove the player to write Ed Beach and demand a clarification ) is when I, as the Hapsburgs, secretly agreed not to attack France. The English player was slow on the ball and ended up being conquered by the French who successfully defended the Scots (I could have broken my word, but a deal is a deal). Funnily, the player who complained to Beach was the English player ("The French and Hapsburgs are at war! They can't be secretly at peace!") who got a reply that basically said "But that's a legal move!"

The only deals we make are generally those regarding the Divorce (Papacy will charge cards), or a turn-long truce just to beat down on a leader (by default, the Hapsburgs). That, and the Prots will deal for some events good for them (e.g. Printing Press)

Heck, the only time we don't try to beat down the Hapsburgs is when the Ottomans are clearly winning - because most of the time the only person who can stop the Otts is the Haps.
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Max DuBoff
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Zinegata wrote:
you don't need more than a basic knowledge of arithmetic to understand this.
Ever heard of...dice? **gasp**
 
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