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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Axe27

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Being a RUS player, it seems odd to see such small stacks running around, but it's obvious here that the Continental army can eat these huge losses directly to the face. My advice to you is to face Continental Army sized stacks on directly equal terms, ie, don't try to hold a river crossing with only 100 pwr versus the 300 pwr Continental army. The reason being is that the British (you) are playing on the American home turf - the Americans can afford to lose one thousand men, you however, will start having issues if you lose that many men in one battle.
 

loki100

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Being a RUS player, it seems odd to see such small stacks running around, but it's obvious here that the Continental army can eat these huge losses directly to the face. My advice to you is to face Continental Army sized stacks on directly equal terms, ie, don't try to hold a river crossing with only 100 pwr versus the 300 pwr Continental army. The reason being is that the British (you) are playing on the American home turf - the Americans can afford to lose one thousand men, you however, will start having issues if you lose that many men in one battle.

there is, unfortunately, a huge 'but' to that strategy. Well two actually. One is supply, if you make a monster British stack it will quickly be out of supply (or at least in limited supply) & that screws up its chances to recover losses, so you are on a downhill slide. I lost a PBEM spectacularly by going for a very concentrated British force. Second, unlike say playing the Reds in RuS, the way the VP game works out in the 'tax-evader's revolt' is the British will need a decent haul (pref to be ahead) early on ... and that means taking and holding a wide range of cities.
 

TheExecuter

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Loki100 said:
well to answer your default question - "very". It seems to be becoming an issue of what you can do to the Continental Army as the key to this. And looking at that last sequence your problem is you outnumber it overall but are over matched by it at any one place. At least in the course of that last defeat you were able to chip away at a little, and unless it can rest on a depot that is the start of wearing it down.

:D

It's rhetorical...I think. Maybe not. Anyway, yes...what to do with the Continentals is an open question. I don't really outnumber it, unless I concentrate damn near everything to fight it, which defeats my purpose anyway.

I was happy to see that I was finally able to pick a defensive position and inflict heavy damage on the Continentals, a first for me in the game. That alone was a boost in moral. Of course, the retreat to the north rather than the south wasn't what I had planned...

Doombunny said:
You may very well have been defeated at Hartford, but casualties like that are quite a blow, especially from a much smaller force. Good luck.

Exactly. I caught Hartford as a victory. I made Lincoln pay in serious blood to cross the river, and my forces retreated in good order to a decent position. I have other strong forces which can also bleed the Americans, though not in such strong positions.

Stuyvesant said:
So, the follow-up question becomes: is there a depot in Hartford?

I hope you can have a couple more of these 'losses' against the CA and then finish the whole bunch off, but fear that won't happen immediately - they're now on the wrong side of the Connecticut river and no longer have that river crossing penalty.

I don't know how supply works in WiA, but should you move that militia in New Haven across the river to cut off the road leading to the CA, or is that irrelevant for its supply? Or, alternately, would that simply mean sending that militia unit on a suicide mission, to be smacked around by a bunch of angry rebels?

Good luck, the CA amidst your lines has ratcheted up the tension a fair bit. I hope you can take Philly soon and use those troops to stem the the tide up North.

Hartford is at least a level two city, so it produces a fair amount of supplies in and of itself. Merely resting there, and controlling the road from Rhode Island should prevent his army from disintegrating this winter (it may even reinforce).

You are right in that Hartford was probably our best chance of hurting that army. If you notice, I started reinforcing Grey with troops from Burgoyne's command. I'm trying to balance slowing Lincoln down, without compromising my attempt at Albany in the spring.

There is no bridge from New Haven across to southern Connecticut. I would need to use boats, and there are still significant forces in New England garrisoning places like Newport and Boston. It wouldn't be worth the trouble of trying to 'cut off' the CA, since the militia would be easily destroyed.

The gathering of forces at Albany is also a source of significant concern. I want more forces committed to Pennsylvania than currently, but I am running out of troops to commit there.

Director said:
I'm not familiar enough with the game mechanics to be able to comment on strategy, but I do seem to remember that the British never really had men enough to securely hold New York and Philadelphia at the same time... Much less contemplate striking up the Hudson too.

The classic strategic question is: do you concentrate on defeating the army in the field and then occupy places, or occupy places in the hope of starving the enemy army in the field of men and resources? The classic answer is the former - beat the main fleet or army and then secure the victory. It troubles me that you seem to be trying to do both at once - or have I misunderstood?

Good point on the numbers of men. I have the benefit of Burgoyne's Corps that historically surrendered at Saratoga reinforcing my forces in New York (I didn't invade from Canada), but I have detached Cornwallis' forces to complete my invasion of the south...which amounts to me being slightly stronger than Howe was in real life in the New York / Philadelphia area. I also have the advantage of having the main CA army still in New England, rather than sitting in North Western New Jersey, simultaneously threatening both New York AND Philadelphia. As it is, Lincoln can only strike at either New York or my Albany staging forces...he cannot come to the assistance of Philadelphia.

The problem with the classic interpretation is that it does not understand the true strength of the American forces in the revolution.

If we look only at regular army forces, I should win this war easily. However, the Continental Army was also buttressed by the local militia's (and further flung militia's). The militia acts as a space denier, and as cannon fodder for the regulars. I can thus decisively defeat the continental army in the field, and a new continental army could be raised in a few months out of the militia organization.

In essence, the militia's were called out when the British attempted to move into a new area, forced the British to fight for the new areas, and, when the British moved onto a new priority, re-occupied the old positions. Basically, anywhere the British went they were certain to be opposed...and the British had to garrison everything with regulars in order to hold it. Quite a drain on resources.

The CA, on the other hand, does not need to garrison anything. The militia does that job.

If I consider militia numbers in determining force strength, I am always outnumbered.

These ideas place this war squarely in a counter-insurgency campaign. I cannot trust anywhere to be loyal to the crown until I have changed the hearts and minds of the colonists themselves. My use of EPs has been designed to optimize this. As far as battles are concerned...my goal with the CA is to lure it into using up time inflicting pyrric victories on itself while I use the space and time won by my lost battles to occupy strategic points (either for VPs, or to setup another pyrric victory for the CA).

I hope this makes sense...remember, I am a rookie at this.

OneWingedDevil said:
From what I can gather, the brittleness of his army really prevents him from doing either safely. Getting enough land/EP/whatever helps him raise militia-type troops to help him continue the Southern campaign might let him refocus his Regulars down there to smashing armies in the fields of the North. I imagine the rebels would be hurting a lot if he broke the Continental Army, as stacks that size are the main challenge to his better-equipped but low number of quality troops.

Of course, someone with actual experience playing the game could probably provide more insightful analysis.

Sort of. I think the effort required to break the CA would most likely break my army as well...not to mention being counterproductive, since the CA would be likely to reform in strength before I could again disperse to occupy all the places that need occupying on this continent.

Axe27 said:
Being a RUS player, it seems odd to see such small stacks running around, but it's obvious here that the Continental army can eat these huge losses directly to the face. My advice to you is to face Continental Army sized stacks on directly equal terms, ie, don't try to hold a river crossing with only 100 pwr versus the 300 pwr Continental army. The reason being is that the British (you) are playing on the American home turf - the Americans can afford to lose one thousand men, you however, will start having issues if you lose that many men in one battle.

I don't want to face the CA on equal terms. The losses incurred would quickly incapacitate my ability to occupy the colonies.

I want to inflict disproportionate casualties...but I cannot afford to concentrate fully to do so. Therein lies the dilemma.

loki100 said:
there is, unfortunately, a huge 'but' to that strategy. Well two actually. One is supply, if you make a monster British stack it will quickly be out of supply (or at least in limited supply) & that screws up its chances to recover losses, so you are on a downhill slide. I lost a PBEM spectacularly by going for a very concentrated British force. Second, unlike say playing the Reds in RuS, the way the VP game works out in the 'tax-evader's revolt' is the British will need a decent haul (pref to be ahead) early on ... and that means taking and holding a wide range of cities.

Exactly.

Of course, it is almost impossible to be 'ahead' in the early game...though Narwhal was right when he pointed out that I should have focused on New York / Philadelphia MUCH earlier.

Ah well...hindsight and all.

TO ALL:

I am traveling for Thanksgiving and will be away from the game. So...no update this week. Have a great week, and remember to be thankful for all your blessings!
 

unmerged(368182)

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Based off my WIA experience I think you're over thinking the situation. As long as France doesn't intervene and you don't outright lose an army you've effectively won, at least against the AI. Usually what's caught me up when playing as the British is the supply issue for the British. In terms of facing the Continental Army the best thing to do is to catch them off guard and beat them in a big siege. In my past WIA games as the British I've managed to capture almost every major city before or during 1778 with the main issues usually being the interior cities and a bit in the South. I've rarely lost against the Continental Army unless I attack too early with Gage while Howe and Clinton are taking New York. Speaking of which the AI likes to go for New York, if you're looking for a defensive battle. In NYC I've seen Howe's American Expedition beat off the starting Continental Army. The Milita issue is real but their biggest danger I've found is in the South.

The biggest advice I'd give is use your reinforcements well. My strategy is almost always the same at first; use Howe's American Expedition to take New York, which distracts the Continental Army. then when Gage unlocks transport a majority of the force to Providence or Newport (Newport is worth taking so normally that first, but I also leave a garrison in Boston) and make a few detachments to take and hold a few towns around there. This might not work well against a human player, but the AI is usually going to head first for New York and as long as you have taken New York quickly will lose a lot against you so don't worry too much about your troops in New England. When Burgoyne arrives I usually try and fit him somewhere in New England which gives you 3 main forces in the area and the ability to beat the American's easily. The main threat there is that you may lose some battles where your spread out forces get hit by the Continental Army. Cornwalis I usually send to Philly rather than Charleston and I use the officers from Alabama to work with the Milita's in Georgia (though I admit this often goes wrong). Finally there's two other main reinforcements (Gage and the other guy) and with them the big thing is don't break your supply lines. Likely you can send them South. Generally where I fail is I try and take Clinton with the troops in New York and move South to Charleston but this can be an issue due to cohesion and supplies.
net
The point is just keep the French away and the game shouldn't be too hard, I've rarely had to worry about the Continental Army against my main British Armies. Much more menacing is whoever's in the Deep South. THey are the ones you should worry about as they really can bloody you up a bit.

Replace Gage with Gray when it comes to reinforcements who arrive later. Speaking of Gray, while his attack and defense stats aren't that great his strategic rating is good and thus he's very useful
 
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Enjoy your Thanksgiving and we will see how you fare against the pesky rebels and their Continental Army at some later date. :)
 

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Keep up the good work, got to keep on top of these rebels.

Indeed!

Welcome!

dylanpt24 said:
Based off my WIA experience I think you're over thinking the situation. As long as France doesn't intervene and you don't outright lose an army you've effectively won, at least against the AI. Usually what's caught me up when playing as the British is the supply issue for the British. In terms of facing the Continental Army the best thing to do is to catch them off guard and beat them in a big siege. In my past WIA games as the British I've managed to capture almost every major city before or during 1778 with the main issues usually being the interior cities and a bit in the South. I've rarely lost against the Continental Army unless I attack too early with Gage while Howe and Clinton are taking New York. Speaking of which the AI likes to go for New York, if you're looking for a defensive battle. In NYC I've seen Howe's American Expedition beat off the starting Continental Army. The Milita issue is real but their biggest danger I've found is in the South.

The biggest advice I'd give is use your reinforcements well. My strategy is almost always the same at first; use Howe's American Expedition to take New York, which distracts the Continental Army. then when Gage unlocks transport a majority of the force to Providence or Newport (Newport is worth taking so normally that first, but I also leave a garrison in Boston) and make a few detachments to take and hold a few towns around there. This might not work well against a human player, but the AI is usually going to head first for New York and as long as you have taken New York quickly will lose a lot against you so don't worry too much about your troops in New England. When Burgoyne arrives I usually try and fit him somewhere in New England which gives you 3 main forces in the area and the ability to beat the American's easily. The main threat there is that you may lose some battles where your spread out forces get hit by the Continental Army. Cornwalis I usually send to Philly rather than Charleston and I use the officers from Alabama to work with the Milita's in Georgia (though I admit this often goes wrong). Finally there's two other main reinforcements (Gage and the other guy) and with them the big thing is don't break your supply lines. Likely you can send them South. Generally where I fail is I try and take Clinton with the troops in New York and move South to Charleston but this can be an issue due to cohesion and supplies.
net
The point is just keep the French away and the game shouldn't be too hard, I've rarely had to worry about the Continental Army against my main British Armies. Much more menacing is whoever's in the Deep South. THey are the ones you should worry about as they really can bloody you up a bit.

Replace Gage with Gray when it comes to reinforcements who arrive later. Speaking of Gray, while his attack and defense stats aren't that great his strategic rating is good and thus he's very useful

You are most probably right. I am now getting leaders which I might be able to use to outmaneuver the Continental Army into a siege.

The deep south is very much in my control at the moment.

Your style seems more aggressive than mine...I am usually a very cautious military commander. My brother refers to me as a McClellan...I like to build a large and well-oiled machine, but I can't bear to see it suffer in order to attack something. Ah well, my own weakness!

Thanks for the advice.

Stuyvesant said:
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and we will see how you fare against the pesky rebels and their Continental Army at some later date.

Thank you! I did enjoy it...and you will have an update tonight!
 

TheExecuter

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December 1776

Christmas, 1776...and the war continues.

In the south, my cavalry defeats the rebels at Thickety Fort by starving them out...but the cavalry don't take the fort...do I have to have infantry to take it?

My forces are collecting in Augusta to rest and then will move against the rebels, who I believe are hiding out in Beaufort...or the environs.

southcarolinal.jpg


In North Carolina, I move to cover Charlotte, left uncovered by tory militia going home at the end of their enlistments. Perhaps in a month or two we will make another attempt at Hillsboro.

northcarolinai.jpg


Cornwallis is still recovering from the epidemic hitting his corps in Virginia, but I send Dunsmore's marines back to Norfolk by sea, and begin constructing a fort at Norfolk. This is where I want to springboard my invasion of Virginia from.

virginiaw.jpg


In Pennsylvania, Knyphausen moves to place Philadelphia under siege. The rebel congress must be broken up...and I hope that by spring I will be mopping up the region.

pennsylvania.jpg


And finally, stalemate in Connecticut and the Hudson. I try my hand at moving supply wagons around, but fail to do orders properly...fortunately, it won't hurt me too badly. I'm still a rookie!

hudsonz.jpg


I order another royal pardon to the people, in an attempt to bring out more tories. Unfortunately, I don't have the EPs to lobby in Europe to prevent French entry into the war...

epuse.jpg


How bad could that be?
 

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bit of an interlude there, you seem to be gathering stuff together for the next campaigning season and clearing up in a few areas. In the meantime the French seem to be looming rather large on the horizon.
 

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Hopefully, the CA won't do anything in the depths of winter. I see your soldiers up North are keeping warm, with all the bonfires gaily lighting up the region. Fitting for such a festive season. ;)

Is your unit in Springfield out of supply? I see that the pips have turned a sickly yellow/orange... Hopefully it'll clear up soon enough.

I hope your Hessians fight well in the snow and are able to seize Philadelphia soon. That would be quite the coup.
 

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The temptation to try and pincer the Americans at Hartford must be very strong. I applaud you for being able to resist it and I'm not sure I could. My 'military thinking' tends to be of the 'get a bigger hammer' sort.

Your problem is, what are the Americans in Hartford going to do next? Turn north to Springfield and then swing over to Albany before heading south? Or push to Long Island Sound and west to New York? Surely not hang themselves in the Berkshires in winter... Either way you need to plan ahead so as not to get beaten in detail.

Without the presence of a strong enemy force in the mid-Atlantic (Philadelphia to Baltimore) you should be able to sop up a number of towns. Not sure if that will fix your VP problem or not, but it can't hurt.

Historically, Washington's officers were a definite weak point (see Harry Lee at Monmouth for just one example) so I'm surprised the Continental Army in the game is so formidable. My impression was that Washington was very careful not to commit it too deeply to battle. His narrow escape from New York seems to have made a deep impression and reinforced his careful nature. I can't remember an occasion when the British passed up a chance to attack... anyone have thoughts to offer? Not criticising TheExecuter here, just trying to see how the game models history-as-I-know-it.
 

loki100

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anyone have thoughts to offer? Not criticising TheExecuter here, just trying to see how the game models history-as-I-know-it.

the key bit for TheExecuter's in game problem is the different modelling of supporting columns in different AGEOD games. In Rise of Prussia, I made effective use of a mechanism they call 'march to the sound of the guns' where by what looks like a weak formation can engage, take losses up front and draw in the supporting units and overwhelm the enemy. So if that rule applied here, the best thing would be to create an arc of British forces knowing that one will trip over the CA, draw the others in and you have decisive battle where your numbers apply.

problem is that in both WiA and the Rome game (AJE) this mechanism is missing (I think reflecting poorer communication/greater distances), so its more cat and mouse. In some of the less developed areas its less so as both you and your opponent are severly limited as to where you can go, but in the American eastern seaboard in this scenario (& the 1812 one), you have a lot of options in terms of direction of your next move. Its also near impossible to time the arrival of columns to ensure you hit the enemy from different directions (game mechanics again, a unit automatically sets off on day 1 - you can't delay a march).

So I think if the British do bring it to battle on even terms, they will win (though unless you inflict very heavy losses a beaten army can recuperate) but the game mechanisms make that inordinately hard. If TheExecuter makes a mega stack he's doomed (supply) and in any case there is no guarentee the AI will be where he wants it when he arrives where it was. I lost a PBEM with this scenario spectacularly by over-concentrating in New England and going hunting for the CA.

apols for the partial hi-jack, but some of his challenge is how AGE models the conflict in N America compared to how it models say the Seven Years War in Europe.
 

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No, that's fine - I'm a game-mechanism wonk. :) I have played a little AACW and it does have the 'march to the sound of the guns' rule, though commanders don't always heed it.
 

Narwhal

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Historically, Washington's officers were a definite weak point (see Harry Lee at Monmouth for just one example) so I'm surprised the Continental Army in the game is so formidable. My impression was that Washington was very careful not to commit it too deeply to battle. His narrow escape from New York seems to have made a deep impression and reinforced his careful nature. I can't remember an occasion when the British passed up a chance to attack... anyone have thoughts to offer? Not criticising TheExecuter here, just trying to see how the game models history-as-I-know-it.

The American officers are a mixed bunch, from the very elite (Washington, Lafayette) to the well - not so elite. Many of the officers of the battle of Boston are in the game, IIRC, even though most would have no further role in the history of the American Revolution, so the American player has "more" useable officers than the rebels had. Moreover, in WIA, only the leader is important, the other only bring their traits and their CP - so having a string of horrible officers is not a problem is the "head" of the stack is good.

The Continental Army MUST avoid the British as long as possible. In equal number, it is going to be beaten - except the size of the Continental army will increase regularly, while the size of the British army will quickly reach a plateau. Hence the importance of avoiding battle for the US.

On the other hand, the Continental Army can reach a size under which only a British army too strong for the supply network could hope to beat it in attack. Neither main armies can beat each other at that point.
 

unmerged(6159)

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Great AAR you have going here.

You asked for advice so I will offer some.

I actually haven't played WIA but I know BoA very well and I'm pretty sure all this carries through. If it's been changed I'm happy to be corrected. So with that proviso here goes:

Beating on the Continental Army is important, and denying them space is important. The rebels do have very good regenerative powers, but everyone seems to write as if the British can't influence there regeneration. This is not right.

For the British the key issue above everything is the American levy machine. If you leave it to run it is the engine of your destruction - you can't deal with the continental army if you let it grow for 5 years. So the main goal of your plans should be to slow down and ultimate stop the rebel levy machine.
The way levies work in BoA and I’m pretty sure in WiA is reasonably simple. In each region (New England, Middle States/Colonies, Middle South and Deep South) the number of continentals and militia the rebels get at each levy (January and July) is determined by the situation in that region. The situations are

1) No regulars (British or German) present. Maximum levy of continentals, very few militia. This is actually not so bad for the British
2) Regulars present and no strategic cities controlled. (Controlled means that you have military control of the city and you either have more than 50% loyalty or you have a regular present in that region). The continental levy is still maximum but the rebels start to get a significant complement of militia in addition. This is the worst outcome for the British
3) Regulars present and some strategic cities controlled. As the British control more and more strategic cities the continental levies get smaller and smaller. Unfortunately until the British get most of the strategic cities the militia levies keep getting bigger. As you control more than half of the strategic cities the militia levies also get smaller.
4) All cities controlled by the British. No levies received. Obviously this is what you want.

The key implications of this are

-The last few strategic cities in any region are much more valuable to you than the first few. The first few reduce continental levies, but increase militia levies, which isn’t helping you that much (militia aren’t dangerous unless led by a leader with the militiaman ability, but they can cost you a lot of time just because they are so expendable). The last few strategic cities reduce both militia and continental levies. When you have the choice focus on occupying more cities in a region where you’re doing well rather than in a region where you aren’t. Ideally you want to be getting your victory points from one or two regions on the map, not all four (wel not until several of them are completely subdued). The last thing you want to do is have regulars in the region and occupy only 1 (or 0) strategic city. Which is of course exactly how things stand in New England and the Middle South at game start.

-You should always have regulars occupy the strategic cities where you don’t have 50% loyalty. If you fail to do this you’ll never slow down the levies, because that you control count for the rebels if you don’t garrison with regulars.

-When you enter a region you should do so in force so that you can take over most of the strategic cities by the time July or January rolls around.

The other key point about the levies is that New England has the best levies of the four regions by quite a bit. It is the cradle of the rebellion. So you have to decide very early on whether to fight to control all 5 cities (which will be serious slog) or to just abandon it until the rest of the colonies are subdued. I think either is a viable strategy, but if you choose to fight you need to focus almost all of your resources to get it under control.

With regards to the specific decisions in your game I would offer the following advice,

-From the screen shot above I can see that you don’t have regulars in Charlotte, Camden or Augusta. This costs you 3 VP per turn and means that for levy purposes you have 3/7 cities rather than 6/7. Sending regulars to Norfok rather than gathering up the benefit of those cities is IMHO crazy. Yes occupying them will increase your commitment and will also reduce your own Tory levies. But the goal is to stop the enemy levies. I would garrison those, try hard to grab Hillsboro (maybe giving up Wilmington to do so – it’s an objective but not a strategic town) and then stop at the Virginia border to intercept southward bound rebels while I clean up the Carolinas. You are in good shape in the Deep South, but Hillsboro will generate enough levies to be a pain.
-If there is any chance of getting the troops out of New England by January 1777 do so. Don’t risk your armies and moving from Springfield to the Hudson probably is a risk, but if you have enough supply head across the Berkshires.
-New York is great as it is such a wonderful choke point. Armies moving north have to cross New Jersey and you can easily catch them between the Catskills and Manhattan. I would look to occupy all the Middle states strategic cities north of New York (Albany, Ticonderoga, Stanwix) by the end of 1777 along with 3 New England strategic cities.
-And that is where I think the decision not to reinforce Canada was a mistake. Attacking Albany from Canada is indeed a challenge and it certainly should be taken from the south. And I see no value in defending the west – the Americans get no levies there. But Ticonderoga is a strategic city, Levies will arrive there and can cause you no end of grief by crossing the Green Mountains into New England or by attacking the Hudson and Mohawk valleys. And it is a royal pain to take from Albany. The best route to Ticonderoga is down the lake from Chambly. Once you enter the Middle States in force (and given New York’s value you do want to do this pretty early) you should try to take Ticonderoga immediately – it’s hard for the bad guys to take back and secures your rear once you have Albany. I would send a small force to Canada soon so they can take Ticonderoga by July 1777.

That’s my advice – I’m sure it’s worth what you paid for it. I’ll wait for someone will tell me how my BoA experience is all wrong for WiA.
 

Narwhal

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Actually, I did not even know that complex set of rules for militia generation in WiA (if they are the same as for BoA)...
 

TheExecuter

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thats a superb post .... thank you, it suddenly creates a framework for an overall British strategy

Indeed it does...I almost wish I hadn't read it!

I've been very busy with Christmas...but I will be back to this...

Merry Christmas everyone!