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Thread: The Hero, The Traitor and The Barbarian - an AJE PBEM Beginner AAR

  1. #1
    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    The Hero, The Traitor and The Barbarian - an AJE PBEM Beginner AAR



    This is an AAR for Alea Jacta Est, the new AGEOD game. I will play Sulla in the Marius vs Sulla scenario – and Loki100 will play Marius. There is actually a third important faction : Mithridates, king of Pontus and leader of the anti-Roman Greek coalition. It will be played by the AI with a pretty hefty bonus :-)

    This AAR will be a gameplay AAR, as Alea Jacta Est is a new game, and its antique era might interest people who have never played any other AGEOD games. For this reason, I will explain game concepts as I go along. I wish I could do a narrative one, but my knowledge of Roman history is too limited for that – we Frenchmen grew up on Asterix so our version of the history of Rome is a bit peculiar.


    Table of Contents

    The Heroic Optimates
    February 87 - The Optimates introduce themselves. How can you not love them ?
    March 87 - The Optimates are preparing to do some epic stuff
    April 87 - The Optimates hand Romes around for the poor
    May 87 - The Optimates reckon they might have handed too many Romes around
    June 87 - The Optimates find the Man of the Situation
    July 87 - The Optimates put their badassery on display
    August 87 - The Optimates fly from victories to victories
    September 87 - The Optimates free the eternal cities
    October 87 - The Optimates manage to do more diplomatic feats
    November 87 - The Optimates let in their leniancy the foolish Greeks run away
    December 87 : The Optimates express their powerful and just anger !
    January 86 - The Optimates carry on doing the fighting on behalf of the real Roman people
    February 86 - The Optimates defeat the Pontic hordes decisively
    March 86 - The Optimates receive Neptunes's support with thankfulness
    April 86 - The Optimates brave the storms and crush the Pontics at the same time - one hand each
    May 86 - The Optimates kill oodles of Greeks
    June 86 - The Optimates defeat the Populares army once more
    July - August 86 - The Optimates final victory


    The Miserable Populares
    February 87 - The Populares introduce themselves. Traitors. All of them.
    March 87 - The Populares get outrebelled from the very start. Amateurs.
    April 87 - The Populares are having tea with Pirates like genuine little girls
    May 87 - The Populares start to act like the horrible horrible people they are
    June 87 - The Populares try to put the people to sleep while they commit heinous crimes
    July 87 - The Populares find out that even the ravens hate them with passion
    August 87 - The Populares prepare to backstab the heroic guardians of Roman order
    September 87 - The Populares stab the brave Optimates and rout in front of the Barbarians
    October 87 - The Populares blame bugs and crows for their deserved setbacks
    November 87 - The Populares plan to assault peaceful refugees
    December 87 - The Populares are not doing anything against Maltese piracy
    January 86 - The Populares lose their leader during yet another orgy
    February 86 - The Populares are lazying around as the world is burning
    March 86 - The Populares are ignoring the plea of the peaceful inhabitants of Chios
    April 86 - The Populares are falling once again in deep slumber
    May 86 - The Populares want to loot Roma and destroy the City of Culture
    June 86 - The Populares finally turn crazy as they watch their holdings burn



    Beginner's Corners
    Structure of units
    Unit statistics - Basics
    Command Points
    Activation
    Posture and ROE - Basics
    Taking structures - Sieges, blockades
    Leaders
    Unit statistics - Details
    Supply
    Resources : Money, Engagement Points, Prisoners
    Engagement Points
    National Morale
    Unit production, replacement production
    Combat I - Frontage [IMPORTANT]
    Combat II - Fire phase
    Combat III - Melee phase
    Combat IV - Targeting
    Last edited by Narwhal; 02-03-2013 at 12:42.
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  2. #2
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
    I wish I could do a narrative one, but my knowledge of Roman history is too limited for that – we Frenchmen grew up on Asterix so our version of the history of Rome is a bit peculiar.
    this is of course a far better grounding in Roman history than having been brought up on a rich diet of ' Up Pompeii' and 'Carry on Cleo', but then Asterix never said:

    "Mark Antony: Ptolemy is trying to usurp Cleopatra.
    Julius Caesar: Trying to do what with her?
    Mark Antony: Usurp her.
    Julius Caesar: Sound positively revolting. "

  3. #3
    Ruler of Somewhere else Thandros's Avatar
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    Sits down extra eagerly. I'm watching this no doubt about it.

  4. #4
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Ooh, goody! Have already pre-ordered this (thanks a bunch, loki, just what my bank account needed ), so it'll be helpful to have a manual-in-action, if you will.

    Do you have early access to the game, or will we have to wait a few more days until the fun starts? Oh, and does either one of the authors care to clarify who is the hero and who is the traitor?
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  5. #5
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thandros View Post
    Sits down extra eagerly. I'm watching this no doubt about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Ooh, goody! Have already pre-ordered this (thanks a bunch, loki, just what my bank account needed ), so it'll be helpful to have a manual-in-action, if you will.

    Do you have early access to the game, or will we have to wait a few more days until the fun starts? Oh, and does either one of the authors care to clarify who is the hero and who is the traitor?
    nope the game has started, Narwhal was in the beta and they've given me access to the beta version for this. Well the AI has Mithradates/Pontus so that is clearly the Barbarian. Narwhal has Sulla, so I guess he is the reactionary threat to the democratisation of the glorious Roman Republic. As punishment for my Rome AAR, I'm playing Marius/Populares - so am clearly the hero?

    I am on first use of the game, so more or less playing my usual role of the hapless victim

  6. #6
    I only stumbled into this game recently on the aged forum can't wait to see this. Best of luck to you both.

  7. #7
    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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    I have absolutetly no idea or close to idea of what this game is like but i've enjoyed your competitive AARs before and i will follow....closely

  8. #8
    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    Introduction – February 87

    The conflict between the Populares and the Optimates is, to my knowledge, the first serious civil war of Rome. It is triggered by the conflict between the Populares – “knights” from petty families – and the Optimates – the Patricians. As the mighty Mithridates knocks at the Roman limes with the anniliation of the Bithynite (Roman allies) and the murder of 80 000 Roman citizens in Ephesus, the Senate calls for the veteran Sulla to solve the situation. Unfortunately, the Populares do not take lightly that their favorite is ignored – and thus started, at the same time, both “Sulla’s first civil war” and the “first Mithridatic War”.

    The game explains it better than I do :



    Let’s have a look at the situation in february 87 :



    In the East, the situation is extremely poor :



    Under the Pontic onslaught, most Roman possessions in Thracia are gone. The only cities left are from Roman client-states : Byzantium (a Greek city by that time) and Rhodus (also Greek, under an heavy blockade) and further away, Antiocha (under control of our allies the Seleucids). The Pontic have literally several hundreds of thousands of soldiers to throw at me.

    The blockade of Rhodus is too strong to force for now : the “power” of my fleet is less than 500, versus more than 600 for my opponents. For a land battle, this would be a fairly low difference and I could hope to pull it out with better commanders or on favorable terrain – but in naval matters, not so much. [More about power, naval battles, blockades later]





    In Italy, the situation is not better :



    While I hold about 50% of the territory, including Rome, I “only” have 4 legions in Italy ; and 3 of them are locked, probably wondering which side they should join. Rome is opened, with only a few auxiliaries and the city militia to protect it. I have only one legion really active, in the South, trying to quell some rebels.

    Spain, Africa and Sicilia are firmly under Populares control, and they will use them as a base of recruitment for their forces (AJE has an economy, just like RUS for instance, so the more territory you hold, the more troops you can have. This is accentuated by the fact that you need to pay your troops each turn, and by the fact that there is a “maximum” recruitment by region – but more on this later as well)




    As you can see, there is a very high number of factions. Some are actually under my control, even though for now I cannot do anything with them (Numidians, Egyptians, Seleucids), some are independants and are playing their own game (Lusitanians, Pirates, Samates)… and are more or less powerful.

    So, is everything desperate for me ? Not quite. While the situation is difficult, I have some major assets in my hands, and right now they are in Macedonia :





    Sulla and his huge army is there. At the beginning of the game, the Optimates have only two advantages, but big ones : they have the best commanders, and they have extremely powerful – and battle-hardened – legions, which can destroy Pontic forces 1 against 2. It is with these legions that I must build a “breathing space” which will allow me to recruit more, to match Pontic’s power and Populares’ economy.
    The Populares start with few troops, troubles with the Lusitanians but a powerful economy and the ability to build more legions, the Pontic start with lots and lots of troops, a very powerful economy, a navy that shines, only one dangerous neighbor (me)… but VERY major supply issues due to the number of soldiers they field.

    So, given this, what is my strategy ?



    As Rome cannot be defended, I plan to create that breathing space in Greece, by capturing the city-states that had the wrong idea to ally with Mithidates, and from then land in Sicily, take it, before liberating Rome. Of course, I will have to stop the Pontic dead in Greece, but I suppose I can manage to do this.
    In practice, here are my orders for this turn :



    I have also been building legions (2 new legions), garrisons in Italy and transport ships – the war will be long.
    Here are the new legions. I will do a point on building units later :



    And now, the first “beginner’s corner” :

    Beginner’s corner : Structure of command
    The basic of the game – and to the understanding of the AAR – is what my troops are made of, in the game.
    This should sum it up :



    The "highest” level is the stack, that I sometimes will call army (but remember that in other AGEOD games, an “army” is actually a group of several “stacks” with a common “commander-in-chief”).

    This stack is made of several units : from one to infinite (but it is not wise to have to many units in a stack). A leader is a unit, a group of supply wagon is another unit, and your rank-and-file soldiers are yet another units.

    Units are made of “elements”, which are the basic bricks of the structure of command. Sometimes, there is only 1 element : a leader unit has only one element (himself) for instance, sometimes there are plenty of them. The elements can be different, for instance a legion unit will have :

    - several cohort (infantry) elements,
    - one cavalry element,
    - one “HQ” element (“legatus legionis”)
    - sometimes an attached “leader” (here Quintus Hortensius).

    You cannot attach or detach elements freely from a unit, with two exceptions :

    - Leaders can be attached or detached from “rank-and-file” units of their nation to bring them bonus
    - Depleted units of the same type can be merged in some circumstances

    Finally, each element has “strength points” (i.e. men / horses / ships). Those strength points (SP) are lost in battle, or due to attrition. When an element has no more SP, it is destroyed. When an unit has no more elements, it is destroyed as well. In the example given, the cohort has 10 SP. Since a full cohort has 600 men, it means 1 SP = 60 men ; the element will ALWAYS lose a multiple of 60 men. Actually, the number of men has no importance in the game, it is just an information to make the game more immersive, what is important is the number of strength points.




    Beginner's corner : Unit statistics - basics

    Troops are defined by a lot of characteristics, but in 90% of the cases there is only a few you need to follow.

    Here is the description of a unit, as you can see on the lower part of the screen. I took a legion, because we like Rome for them, right ?



    Name : It would be boring without it, wouldn’t it ?

    Type : It is the “type” of the unit. Here it is infantry. Note that you can have several “types” of elements in an unit – for instance you have one element of cavalry and one of HQ in a legion, but you will only see the main type here.

    Cohesion : How exhausted the unit is. The higher the cohesion, the better. It is an average of all the elements of the unit, and each element has its maximum (legionary cohort’s maximum is higher than the slingers maximum). Marching, fighting, or a long transport by ship will deplete this bar. Not doing anything will allow it to recover.

    Strength Points
    : How many men are left in the unit, compared to the maximum men possible for the current number of elements in the units. It gets depleted by just about everything, including just minding your own business in a fort, due to desertion and illness.

    Power : An estimation of the strength of a unit in normal situation for their current health / cohesion. You can trust it, more or less, in open terrain. In difficult terrain, remember that your light infantry has little to no malus, while even though they look “powerful” the legions will fight at less than their power. Also, your phalanx are completely useless in marshes, mountains, …

    Abilities : It is the special “abilities” of the unit, in this case “Entrencher” and “Legion” (which actually means that the unit has a whole array of “sub-abilities” too long to list here. Also, if your unit does not want to leave a theater (Egypt, Numidia, …), which is common for Roman ally, it is going to be said here.
    Last edited by Narwhal; 16-09-2012 at 11:06.
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    Ruler of Somewhere else Thandros's Avatar
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    Hmm very interesting. I'n guessing you can unlock various allies and your going to do so as quickly as possible.

  10. #10
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powloon View Post
    I only stumbled into this game recently on the aged forum can't wait to see this. Best of luck to you both.
    must say, it has a gorgeous map and 'counters'. The ones in this scenario are a bit bland compared the multi-coloured gems from the Imperial era civil wars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derahan View Post
    I have absolutetly no idea or close to idea of what this game is like but i've enjoyed your competitive AARs before and i will follow....closely
    Me neither to be honest. Reports from the beta are very favourable, and although this one has a bit more economics than some of the AGE games its a return to their traditional close focus on a specific campaign.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thandros View Post
    Hmm very interesting. I'n guessing you can unlock various allies and your going to do so as quickly as possible.
    I think virtually the entire Mediterranean comes into play pretty soon. We are at turn 3/4 and the option to expand the war into North Africa has just come up and Spain is ablaze.

  11. #11
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Set up and opening moves: Populares

    My side of this AAR will see much briefer reports, but I'll try and give some feel for how I'm seeing the game. I'm basically in the same boat as most potential readers I've not been able to play, just to gaze with rapture at the stunning map and 'counters'.

    Few bits that are worth stressing. Some of the mechanics are clearly taken from Pride of Nations (PoN), so there are trade fleets in designated trade boxes. Equally the new units/replacement page looks very much like the layout in PoN. On the other hand, some aspects seem a lot like Wars in America (WiA). We are on monthly turns and supply does not 'push' like it does in RoP/RUS/PoN etc. This means you need to ferry it from supply producing cities to your forces. There is also a large element of Russia Under Siege (RUS) in this. The scenarios are civil wars, so front lines are complex, equally as we will see political murder and forced requisition as much part of the game as the clash of legions.

    As with many AJE games, the currency involved is a combination of manpower, cash and 'engagement points'. You gain and spend these as the game develops.

    Now like RUS, AJE comes with a really useful overview map. Handy for planning and as a guide to the big picture:



    At the start I have some decisions. So lets arm the slaves. I need the manpower.



    And more political, in this case I decide to try and raise loyalty to my faction. Not sure if this is a good use of resources as I am playing this by instinct.



    And here is my starting army (this only shows the mobile units in the first turn).



    So I decide on a few moves. The weak North African force I'll bring to southern Italy. It can try to take some towns in that area.



    My relatively powerful force at Tarentum can try to capture the port (and level 2 fort) at Brundisium. One thing I want to do is to take control of all the ports, that will hamper any attempt by Sulla to regain a hold in Italy.



    Here is the main Optimates force still in Italy.

    I have two (locked) armies. Cinna at Capua (who will try to take Rome) and Marius in Volaterrae. My goal will be to unite these two and take out that annoying force, but I need to capture Rome first (and neither can move this turn).



    In Spain, my main force is a legion with auxilaries. I'll leave them where they are for the moment.



    Should stress, I have checked and AJE comes with the full range of burning things down options. So hopefully some of those will be deployed.

  12. #12
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Looks good on both sides. Narwhal seems to have more fleets in trade boxes - more money for him that way?

    I already noticed that Narwhal's map shows one of his units besieging the rebels in that last holdout of the Social War, while Loki's map doesn't show it - I wonder how long it took loki to figure that out, and how nasty a surprise it was when he did.

    Anyway, onwards with the game! Let there be slaughter and murder and looting and burning! And the usual level of mudslinging/excuses-making.

    Me, when my game activates (and I find the time to play - hah!), I'm gonna take a stab at the Spartacus scenario. Beating up a bunch of underfed, poorly trained slaves with the mighty legions of Rome, how hard could it be?
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  13. #13
    Corporal DaiMonPaul's Avatar
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    Can't wait to see how this game turns out!

  14. #14
    The reason is that a third party is the one under siege

  15. #15
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    I am in love with late Republican Rome, and of course AACW and RUS (PoN not so much...), so I'm absolutely DROOLING over this.

  16. #16
    This will be very interesting to watch. I have the game preordered and the unlock patch will be out in a week IIRC. Three-faction multiplayer games will be very interesting.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the AAR, will be following this.

  18. #18
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    Awww man, I'm really looking forward to this. Any info on the stats of your major generals?
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  19. #19
    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powloon View Post
    I only stumbled into this game recently on the aged forum can't wait to see this. Best of luck to you both.
    It is by far the most beautiful AGEOD games. I am not a huge fan of the Roman period, but the sheer epicness of the campaigns more than offset this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derahan View Post
    I have absolutetly no idea or close to idea of what this game is like but i've enjoyed your competitive AARs before and i will follow....closely
    So far both of us are more trying to resist our local "non-Romans" than harming each other.
    Except some vicious attacks from the Populares, of course. But you cannot trust them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Thandros View Post
    Hmm very interesting. I'n guessing you can unlock various allies and your going to do so as quickly as possible.
    It is more in the Populares's hands... so far.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Looks good on both sides. Narwhal seems to have more fleets in trade boxes - more money for him that way?

    I already noticed that Narwhal's map shows one of his units besieging the rebels in that last holdout of the Social War, while Loki's map doesn't show it - I wonder how long it took loki to figure that out, and how nasty a surprise it was when he did.

    Anyway, onwards with the game! Let there be slaughter and murder and looting and burning! And the usual level of mudslinging/excuses-making.

    Me, when my game activates (and I find the time to play - hah!), I'm gonna take a stab at the Spartacus scenario. Beating up a bunch of underfed, poorly trained slaves with the mighty legions of Rome, how hard could it be?
    Loki will soon have Rome, and as for the trade boxes, I have only one "active", as Pontus presence in the second one precludes mine.

    I am pretty sure you will wipe those "Spartaculites". Just be warned that it is NOT a typical scenario.

    Quote Originally Posted by Searry View Post
    This will be very interesting to watch. I have the game preordered and the unlock patch will be out in a week IIRC. Three-faction multiplayer games will be very interesting.
    Indeed. More than half the campaigns (4 if I am not wrong) are 3 factions.


    Quote Originally Posted by Merrick Chance' View Post
    Awww man, I'm really looking forward to this. Any info on the stats of your major generals?
    There is quite a few of them (they die even faster than in RUS, though) so not sure yet. The Populares have less, though.
    Learning from Prussia - a Rise of Prussia AAR for beginners - or how a forced march in winter saved Prussia from anniliation.
    A Tale of French and War Crimes : A double Multiplayer AAR of Wars in America with Loki100. Includes violence against English and Indians - not suited for children.
    The War of 1812 - or how I burned down Washington

  20. #20
    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    The calm before the storms - March 87

    Well, this month has been fairly calm, with no battle an everything getting into position.

    In Greece, the Pontic forces regroup in Athenae, and thus my troops advance unchallenged.

    In Italy, the last rebels in Nola surrender, and the city is now under my control.



    Delos switched side on its own, which is good news because it means I can use it to build Greek galleys.



    Before mentioning the next event, let me tell you about another rule : the Command Points.

    Beginner’s corner : Command Points

    In Alea Jacta Est, they are three types of land units :

    - Leaders
    - Troops
    - Support units (supply wagons, trebuchet, …)

    Leaders never fight on their own. They are used to command troops and generate Command Points (CP),

    Here is the production by “level” of leader (top right of the leader face) :


    [These leaders are not all from this scenario]

    I give the rank as a number of stars, as the name of the rank depend on the culture, and moreover the “political” role if any replace the “official” rank (hence, there can be a one-star consul, or a three-stars consul).

    At any moment, the maximum command points generated in a given stack is 48 !

    On the other hand, troops and some support units need command points. If they do not have them, they will have a sizeable malus in moving, in cohesion recovery and in combat. How much cohesion is needed depend on the unit – legions demand 3 while auxiliaries demands 1 for instance.

    Most support units don’t need command points – and if they are caught escort are captured without combat.

    So of course, the objective is to have enough CPs in your forces to lead your troops properly, else you will have a malus which can go up to 25%

    As an added difficulty, troops of a nationality (say : Greek) need at least one leader of their nationality in the stack, else their “command cost” will increase dramatically (x4). One leader of the good nationality is enough to avoid the malus, whatever is the number of units.

    Finally, some leaders have traits that add or substract Command Points, or which allow them to command troops of another nationality.

    Here are a few examples to illustrate how CP works :




    End of beginner’s corner

    Why did I told you all this ? Well, in Italy, one of my commanders takes his retirement after being ordered to dissolve his legions :



    Historically, Strabo killed Rufus, so I suppose this is an event that can go both ways : Strabo accepting the Senate orders, or Strabo taking his retirement – and maybe even Strabo defecting.

    This is an issue for me, because I am short on leaders to command my legions in Italy.



    For this reason, I am going to move my leaders currently in Rome to Ancona. They will try to avoid any combat on the way (“evade” order), because their escort is very weak.

    The force in Nola will remain there until reinforcements can arrive.
    So here are my orders in Italy :



    In Greece, I am just going to assault Thebae for now :



    The garrison of Athenae is strong, and if assault does not work when I will be there, I will have to siege the city. Unfortunately, Athenae has a port, and thus I need a fleet – which I don’t have for now. Fortunately, someone else thought of the problem :



    Here are the places where I need to go :



    And well, let’s go to the first one :



    Meanwhile, I have an ambitious naval program. Those are the units I am building in Greece :



    Add to this yet another unit of transport ship in another city (I saturated Dyrrachium’s port).

    Finally, to please the people (and thus increase my National Morale – to be be seen later), I order some games of the circus. People like those :

    Last edited by Narwhal; 25-09-2012 at 14:53.
    Learning from Prussia - a Rise of Prussia AAR for beginners - or how a forced march in winter saved Prussia from anniliation.
    A Tale of French and War Crimes : A double Multiplayer AAR of Wars in America with Loki100. Includes violence against English and Indians - not suited for children.
    The War of 1812 - or how I burned down Washington

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