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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

loki100

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another great update. To burn something down (not of course that I have ever done this) you need to occupy it first. The option to destroy will then pop up among the valid operations. It is a good idea to split a force (more burners don't burn more quickly) and I often (well never of course as despite Narwhal's claims I never did this) left a fast moving unit behind to do the burning and the rest moved off.

I think you are right to identify the Continental Army as your problem. You have two of the classic problems in fighting an insurrection. If you spread out to hold your gains sooner or later you are too weak to take anything. If you concentrate you have horrible supply problems and you need to concentrate to beat that force. Its a nice dilemna and one I made a real mess of trying to solve.
 

Merrick Chance'

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I think that if you build depots on the Connecticut river that you have a very defensible position there. I don't know if it's necessarily a winning position (don't know enough about the situation), but I do know that the defensive is a really winning strategy in WiA, where attrition and winter are so painful to attacking forces.
 

TheExecuter

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Well, it's been three months off...but we have successfully moved half-way across the United States to Nebraska. I should be able to resume this game shortly, though I will likely have to review my notes and figure out where I am and what I was doing first.

My apologies for the delay, but it's been quite crazy here.

another great update. To burn something down (not of course that I have ever done this) you need to occupy it first. The option to destroy will then pop up among the valid operations. It is a good idea to split a force (more burners don't burn more quickly) and I often (well never of course as despite Narwhal's claims I never did this) left a fast moving unit behind to do the burning and the rest moved off.

I think you are right to identify the Continental Army as your problem. You have two of the classic problems in fighting an insurrection. If you spread out to hold your gains sooner or later you are too weak to take anything. If you concentrate you have horrible supply problems and you need to concentrate to beat that force. Its a nice dilemna and one I made a real mess of trying to solve.

Thanks for the pointers on indian warfare. We shall see if I will be able to do anything substantial with the Indians.

As to dealing with the Continental Army...I am not really sure it can be finally defeated. It's powers of regeneration rival a hydra, in my limited experience. Ideally what I'd want to achieve is a defeat of the Continentals early in the campaign season...then pick off my targets during the lull...and get ready to defeat them again in the spring. To do that though, I need a moveable army...something I don't have at the moment.

I need to learn how to maximize the benefits of the Royal Navy, IMO. Currently my plans are rather amateurish.

Merrick Chance' said:
I think that if you build depots on the Connecticut river that you have a very defensible position there. I don't know if it's necessarily a winning position (don't know enough about the situation), but I do know that the defensive is a really winning strategy in WiA, where attrition and winter are so painful to attacking forces.

I agree it's a strong position. However, I see no reason why Washington must attack me there. If I were him, I'd slip past my forces through the gap towards Albany, and regroup in the middle colonies and wait for a favorable moment to attack the forces of the King.
 

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I've just read through this from page 1 glad to see you are going to continue. Got to say I have never been interested in WIA although this has gone a long way to changing my mind.
 

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July 1776

Ah...we are back...

Wait, where are we?

Ah yes. I know have preponderance of force in most theatres.

Lets begin in the south. Savannah falls! This means we have only one more port to close (Wilmington in North Carolina) and then I shall get to clearing the up-country.

battleofsavannah.jpg


Haldmand sends his cavalry to find the whereabouts of the rebel militia between him and Charleston. I am looking to concentrate the militia around Camden and use a concentration under Haldmand to expand Tory control in the upcountry. Perhaps North Carolina eventually.

carolinasu.jpg


The rebels believe attacking the western indians will somehow weaken the resolve of the crown. Little do they know that all they are doing is wasting time taking indian villages I care very little about. Some of the chiefs have offered their warriors...so I get them together to do something useful...like put Pittsburgh under siege.

pittsburgh.jpg


In Virginia, I order the Maryland militia to join Lord Dunsmore at Norfolk...hopefully they arrive in time.

virginiam.jpg


In upper New York, I order my indians to move on the Hudson river valley, while I ship in reinforcements of rangers from Quebec. The indians are only a raiding force, I am just trying to make trouble before winter.

uppernewyork.jpg


New York has a breach in it. Burgoyne is confident of success. In New England, I decide to attempt to defend the Connecticut river line and cut the remaining New England militia and regulars off from the rest of the country. My Germans march north to extend my defense and cut the gap to Albany. I send some cavalry and skirmishers in the direction of Albany to slow any response down...and move some regulars north from Howe in order to maintain a strong hold on the western bank of the river.

newengland.jpg


I order up new supplies and push 'next turn'...hoping I haven't forgotten anything or messed up any stances.

How hard could it be?
 

loki100

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congrats on your move ... seems an awful long way

& on restarting this. I find this such a hard scenario to call and interpret but at the worst you are severely constricting the space available to the Americans which must be good and New York is a real prize.

Good use of the Indians, but watch out they can force the garrison to surrender (so you get the VPs etc for the loss of the unit(s)) but can't actually take the town.
 

TheExecuter

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congrats on your move ... seems an awful long way

& on restarting this. I find this such a hard scenario to call and interpret but at the worst you are severely constricting the space available to the Americans which must be good and New York is a real prize.

Good use of the Indians, but watch out they can force the garrison to surrender (so you get the VPs etc for the loss of the unit(s)) but can't actually take the town.

Thanks for the congrats...I was looking to move off the east coast, and so Nebraska was a very good opportunity.

I am trying to gum up the works in New York so my siege of Manhattan can proceed unmolested. The Indian movement is not to take the town, but to prevent the forces in Albany and in the Mohawk valley from retreating down the Hudson. So, I don't really want to take the town, just provide a blocking force and do some scouting.

Unfortunately, I have almost no presence in the middle colonies, so all my victories have been either in the deep south, which is going quite well, and New England / New York...where I am trying to tip the scales in my favor. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia are almost completely untroubled by my presence.

I hope to go after Philadelphia in 1777...if I can get my army oriented that way during the upcoming winter. Hopefully I will then control Albany and the Connecticut river line with sufficient strength.

We shall see...
 

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Looks good to my untrained eye. :)

Regarding your line on the Connecticut river: how hard would it be for the American forces to loop around it, pass through Brattleboro (or even further north) and head west, to join up in Albany or otherwise disrupt proceedings around New York City?
 

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It's relatively easy to bypass a defensive line, but the question is 'with what'? A force of any significance needs supply, and going way out of your way to avoid a defensive line chews the hell out of supply.

It means that, all things equal, defense is the winning strategy in WiA (and many of the AGEOD games in general). The thing that we get out of Narwal games is that things are often not equal--major offensives are very effective in situations of uneven information, or unequal geographic situations.
 

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Looks good to my untrained eye. :)

Regarding your line on the Connecticut river: how hard would it be for the American forces to loop around it, pass through Brattleboro (or even further north) and head west, to join up in Albany or otherwise disrupt proceedings around New York City?

They can easily bypass my line on the river...just some extra marching required. Which is sort of the point. I want to delay US reaction to my moves...not necessarily stop his reaction. Of course, the big question will be how much force to hold the line with. I really want all of those forces marching into Pennsylvania and New Jersey in 1777...and also taking Albany. New England is irrelevant to my strategy for next year. So, I may abandon the 'line' earlier than expected, as it really is only a means to gain time by forcing the colonials to either attack me in a good position, or march a long distance. By then, Manhattan should fall, and I should be ready to threaten Albany and Philadelphia.

Merrick Chance' said:
It's relatively easy to bypass a defensive line, but the question is 'with what'? A force of any significance needs supply, and going way out of your way to avoid a defensive line chews the hell out of supply.

It means that, all things equal, defense is the winning strategy in WiA (and many of the AGEOD games in general). The thing that we get out of Narwal games is that things are often not equal--major offensives are very effective in situations of uneven information, or unequal geographic situations.

This hits the nail on the head. Defense is definitely the winning strategy. Unfortunately, no side can control enough land on the defensive to accomplish their goals. The game then becomes one of maneuvering your forces into defensive positions which your opponent is compelled to attack, or forced to bypass by chewing up supply.

This is why attacking Albany from Canada is silly. Albany is much more vulnerable from Connecticut and New York City than across the easily defended northern wilderness.

You can see this in New England where I am using my position on the Connecticut to shield my siege of New York.

The situation in the south is an even more interesting thought experiment. Most militia can only be raised in territory you control (I think)...so the goal is to control enough towns to prevent your opponent from getting supply and reinforcements. Thus, battles are of secondary importance to position. The goal being to establish an area controlled by your militia into which your forces can retreat if defeated. Your forces regenerate and then push back. Of course, this may only work against the AI...frankly I've been disappointed with the colonials response to my southern strategy.

But of course, this is my first time...so all of this really is speculation.

I was planning on doing an update tonight...but the month was chock full of battles, and I am still mulling over the strategic situation in New England.

So...more thought required.
 

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August 1776 - Part 1

So, with the campaign season starting to come to a close (at least in the north), fighting erupted all over the colonies.

Let's begin in the south.

My loyalist cavalry finds the US militia at Colleton and retreats from the superior force. There are some regulars here, but not a lot of force. I don't think I will need the regulars under Cornwallis to deal with this force. The loyalist militia should be strong enough to keep the south in play.

battleofcolleton.jpg


My militia move on Hillsboro, North Carolina shows that the town is still too strongly held by rebels to be easily subdued. Haldimand will have to come up with my militia 'hit squad' to deal with this.

battleofhillsboro.jpg


So, my forces in South Carolina are shown below. Militia reinforcements from Charleston will sweep through Orangeburg on their way to reinforce Haldimand. The wounded cavalry will move into Georgia to recover and then follow the rebel militia forces. Haldimand will move into North Carolina and head for Hillsboro.

southcarolinan.jpg


In Virginia...

Lord Dunsmore is ejected from his defensive positions at Norfolk before being reinforced by the Maryland militia...

battleofnorfolk.jpg


...thus, I send Dunsmore south into North Carolina, in search of a base for use in reforming his men and linking up with the Maryland militia.

northcarolinar.jpg


Which then leads us to the North...where even more action took place!
 

TheExecuter

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August 1776 - Part 2

Let's start in the Mohawk Valley...

Brant's Indians beat up on the Green Mountain boys around the Indian village of Unadilla...with the victory, there is nothing between my natives and the hudson.

mohawkvalley.jpg


In upper Massachusetts, my Germans rout the militia supply train holding the key village of Battleboro. I now hold the Connecticut river line in force and the Continental army is still in Massachusetts, rather than in Albany...or close to New York.

battleofbattlebro.jpg


Speaking of New York, Burgoyne and company successfully captured it!

This results in the death of Nathan Hale...

nathanhale.jpg


This opens up a host of possibilities. Albany is lightly defended. The Continental Army is close to my forces, and out of position. Philadelphia is likely undefended. However, it is now late August, and winter is coming on.

newyorkb.jpg


My dilemma is now what to try to achieve in the small time before winter stops campaigning. I decide, at length, to move on Philadelphia with an advance column of Germans. Burgoyne will move up the Hudson, but only as far as Fishkill, which should be my advance base to try to take Albany in early 1777. The Germans at Battleboro will move towards Fishkill to form the screening force of Burgoyne's force.

Howe will move down to Manhattan and prepare to take the war into Pennsylvania, and I leave decent sized forces to 'hold' the Connecticut river line...by which I mean make the Continental Army fight to cross the river. I do not think I will hold Connecticut, and have adjusted stances accordingly.

newenglandd.jpg


I order up more regular reinforcements...

reinforcements.jpg


...and His Majesties government starts talking about a coalition against France...

coalitionl.jpg


How hard could it be?
 

loki100

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I *think* you are doing well. You have chopped up most of the rebel regions into segments (at the least you'll have a better idea of their movements) and you seem to have locked the Continental Army into a relatively defined area.

but, as confessed, of all the WiA scenarios I find this one the hardest to judge, esp with the variable of French entry and knowing from bitter experience just how strong the Continental Army can be.

I'd guess, ideally, you want it to end up somewhere where it takes some attrition and suffers enough for supply that it cannot reinforce?
 

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I won't pretend to offer expert analysis, but I do worry a bit that you're trying to achieve too much in the New York region: several forces heading into different directions, weakening the mass of your force, seems risky, what with the Continental Army so close at hand. On the other hand, if you always keep your forces massed to be able to defeat the Continental Army, then you'll be stuck in place and you'll never take any victory locations.

I guess your approach just goes against my over-cautious nature. :) Still, better to try to seize some cities now, before the French decide to throw their weight against you.
 

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I *think* you are doing well. You have chopped up most of the rebel regions into segments (at the least you'll have a better idea of their movements) and you seem to have locked the Continental Army into a relatively defined area.

but, as confessed, of all the WiA scenarios I find this one the hardest to judge, esp with the variable of French entry and knowing from bitter experience just how strong the Continental Army can be.

I'd guess, ideally, you want it to end up somewhere where it takes some attrition and suffers enough for supply that it cannot reinforce?

I think I'm still behind...I know I am still behind on victory points, as I'm not controlling enough of the countryside to be really stopping the rebellion. Militarily, I am doing fine...but that's because I vastly outnumber the Continentals AND France hasn't entered the war.

As to France, I am as much in the dark as you are...though I think I will suddenly have to worry about the West Indies, Halifax, and Quebec if France enters the war. If she does, I would much prefer that she try to fight me in the colonies, rather than force me to spread myself out defending non-essential locations to the main goal (ending the rebellion). I really don't know what the conditions for foreign intervention are, besides keep the FI numbers low. Currently they are around 16...down from a high of 42, as a result of taking New York, and the discussions with Austria and Prussia.

As to the Continental Army, I just want it out of the way. I also want it to have to fight to get into a dangerous position, hence my decision to defend the Connecticut river line...now, as to whether the Continentals will actually try to take on my 'weak' forces...that is the question.

Stuyvasant said:
I won't pretend to offer expert analysis, but I do worry a bit that you're trying to achieve too much in the New York region: several forces heading into different directions, weakening the mass of your force, seems risky, what with the Continental Army so close at hand. On the other hand, if you always keep your forces massed to be able to defeat the Continental Army, then you'll be stuck in place and you'll never take any victory locations.

I guess your approach just goes against my over-cautious nature. Still, better to try to seize some cities now, before the French decide to throw their weight against you.

You are quite right that the dilemma of force concentration vs force dispersion is haunting me. My goal in pushing harder in 1776 is predicated on my belief that this is when I am strong relative to the rebels. If I do not achieve something now, before the French enter...I may never get there.

As a gamer, it feels very much like I am playing Europa Universalis II, with an army I don't quite trust in battle. The practice of picking which towns to siege, while simultaneously managing positions to ensure my forces can survive any encounter forced on them feels very similar.

As a side note, I now have enough supply wagons to start experimenting with moving beyond the road-net. I need to figure out how best to handle supply wagon movement. Suggestions are welcome!
 

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September 1776

So, fall sets in, and my forces are still on the prowl, looking to extend the authority of the crown!

The deep south is mostly pacified, the rebels in South Carolina are on the run and have momentarily disappeared, but they are on the run and are looking for safe harbor.

Haldimand and the loyalists are moving on Hillsboro, while, as you can see...Cornwallis seizes Wilmington, NC. A force of regulars will move on New Bern...while Cornwallis will get ready to move on Norfolk.

northcarolinaa.jpg


In the swamps, Lord Dunmore tries to move further towards safety.

dismalswamp.jpg


In the mohawk valley, my Indians return to ensure the safety of the indian villages, and link up with my Canadian raiders arriving in Oswego.

mohawksb.jpg


In New Jersey, my Germans look to seize the rest of the east bank of the river across from Philadelphia.

newjerseyi.jpg


But what of the Continental Army? Did they move on the Connecticut river?

battleofnorwich.jpg


Well, the army moves south, and removes my loyalist militia scouting on the western side of the river. The loyalists fall back across the river and will move towards the rear to replenish.

A small force of Americans that tried to get in Howe's way are vaporized by the bulk of my infantry heading back towards New York.

battleofnorwalk.jpg


So...here is the positions at the end of the turn. The Continental Army still lurks...but my forces are now in position to fully control the Hudson, and move on Philadelphia and Albany in force.

hudsons.jpg


How hard could it be?
 

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well it does look as if you strategy of trying to constrict space is starting to pay off. Looking at that last map, it seems now pretty unavoidable that there is going to be a large clash (which means of course no such thing will happen :( ).

Against a human player I'd be afraid that concentrated US force will hit your weaker covering brigades, but less sure about the AI.

Congrats on producing sucn an intriguing AAR
 

Stuyvesant

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<Notices Wilmington has been occupied by the British. Hastily hangs out the bunting and hoists the Union Jack>

Hurray, I have been liberated from the tyranny of these so-called freedom-loving rebels! God Save The King and all that jazz (wait, they didn't have jazz in the 18th century. 'All that chamber music', then?).

On to the actual AAR. It will be interesting to see what the AI decides to do with the Continental Army (henceforth, because I'm lazy, CA). It looks like it could smash any of your screening units along the Connecticut river with ease (not knowing how brutal a river-crossing penalty would be), but in the wider region the numbers are stacked against it. I wonder if the AI will decide to pick a target and pick it apart, or if it will get careful/cowardly due to the preponderance of force you have in the region?

I think the latter would be preferable, as it would allow you to seize some more cities and then concentrate your forces again and come out swinging.

Well, I'll just have to wait and see. An intriguing situation you have in the Northeast, full of opportunities and that one giant threat that is the CA.
 

TheExecuter

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well it does look as if you strategy of trying to constrict space is starting to pay off. Looking at that last map, it seems now pretty unavoidable that there is going to be a large clash (which means of course no such thing will happen :( ).

Against a human player I'd be afraid that concentrated US force will hit your weaker covering brigades, but less sure about the AI.

Congrats on producing sucn an intriguing AAR

Thanks!

If I was a human player, I wouldn't have concentrated the Continental Army in Connecticut in the first place. After pushing the Brits out of Boston, the #1 priority MUST become properly defending New York (or at least the upper Hudson!). The AI made no attempt to even try.

My gambit on the Connecticut was an attempt (and still is) to mesmerize the CA into attacking where I want them to attack, across a river into the teeth of cannon. Now, I don't actually intend to hold the crossings for very long...8500 rebels is a HUGE force. However, if I can get the CA to have to fight, then it is very likely that will slow them down, AND get them embroiled in a campaign in western Connecticut, as the snow begins to fly.

If the CA decides to stay put for the winter, all the better, I shuffle troops around, blitz Philadelphia, and fall back on New York, thus shortening my reinforcement lines. All the while Cornwallis and company continue their unmolested swallowing of the south.

In short, because the rebels concentrated in New England, and failed to hold the Hudson, I now have a free hand in the middle colonies...and the benefit of playing DEFENSE against the CA, which suits my forces and generals much better than trying to track down the wiley rebels.

Stuyvesant said:
<Notices Wilmington has been occupied by the British. Hastily hangs out the bunting and hoists the Union Jack>

Hurray, I have been liberated from the tyranny of these so-called freedom-loving rebels! God Save The King and all that jazz (wait, they didn't have jazz in the 18th century. 'All that chamber music', then?).

On to the actual AAR. It will be interesting to see what the AI decides to do with the Continental Army (henceforth, because I'm lazy, CA). It looks like it could smash any of your screening units along the Connecticut river with ease (not knowing how brutal a river-crossing penalty would be), but in the wider region the numbers are stacked against it. I wonder if the AI will decide to pick a target and pick it apart, or if it will get careful/cowardly due to the preponderance of force you have in the region?

I think the latter would be preferable, as it would allow you to seize some more cities and then concentrate your forces again and come out swinging.

Well, I'll just have to wait and see. An intriguing situation you have in the Northeast, full of opportunities and that one giant threat that is the CA.

Excellent! I see you've chosen the right side to back in the conflict. Care to raise a militia company?

My gut feeling is that now that the CA has removed the easy target (my militia) she will try to pick off whichever force across the river seems weakest. My hope is for snowflakes this turn!
 

Merrick Chance'

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Yeah, in closing out the CA into New England you've removed America's spatial advantage. So long as you concentrate in Manhattan you can starve Washington out in Connecticut; if they concentrate on the other side of the Hudson that just gives you more and mroe space to play in.