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loki100
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The Tea Wars (or the American War of Independence: loki100 vs vigabrand)

Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:43 pm

It seems like an age seems I played a WiA PBEM. But returning to WiA feels like slipping in a very comfy jacket, such an elegant game design and full of scenarios that provide fascinating tussles.

This is going to be the long (potentially) American Revolution scenario starting in 1775. Vigabrand, my opponent, has taken the tax evading Americans and I have the evil imperialist English (with additional Scots, Irish, Welsh and a horde of Germans) [1]. We've played a few PBEMs against each other (incl RoP and CW2 and have a current WiTE PBEM – which you can read about here if you want).

I've played this scenario once, a while back vs Narwhal. Not only did I receive my traditional beating at his hands, but I also managed to skillfully starve the British army to death. So plan (a) is not to do what I did in that game. Plan (b) is to have a good look at the map before starting.

Now it is of course completely traditional to offer a dramatic voice over as the introduction to an epic film. So here goes:

"A clash of cultures. On one side they believe that tea should be made with a mix of boiling water and milk, drowned in sugar and turned a strange orange colour. On the other, tea is made with room temperature water and the tea bag carefully placed in the same room as the cup for no more than 15 seconds. Who ever wins ... humanity loses (or needs to do the sensible thing and start drinking coffee)".

[1] As is traditional in a WiA AAR, there may be a few slurs, inventions, stereotypes and insults.
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Table of Contents

Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:44 pm

1775

April - the British prefer to brew tea (if they actually had any supplies)
May - the British sail off looking for some fresh tea
June - Dunsmore leaves after being forced to drink weak tea
July - Americans are spotted congressing in the fields
August - the Americans are ordered to congress somewhere else
September - some fashionably dressed Scots arrive
October - massive (maybe ... not really) battles in the South
November - you call this winter?

1776

December - January - Dunmore is killed by American tea
February - Major tea shortage in Boston, plans are laid to limit the amount of Congressing going on
March - the sad demise of Mr Smith (and his suspiciously undamaged brigade)
April - Clinton wins a stalemate
May - brewing some strong Canadian Tea
June - fresh tea supplies arrive
July - a disaster at Boston, congressing is banned at Philadelphia
August - British tea convinces the Americans to change sides
September - pain in Stanwix, the glories of Earl Grey, Washington arrives near New York
October - Washington fails in New York, the British tea stocks on the Mohawk are at risk
November - Germany tries to win the war, things don't go quite to plan on the Mohawk
December - Hunting elks and other triumphs

1777

January - Britain begs France to stay at home
February-March - 'Earl' Grey is promoted
April - Washington arrives in New York, France plots against Perfidious Albion
May - my innocent Indians are attacked, the Americans are offered a peaceful cup of orange tea
June - all eyes are on New York, even as I sneak up on Pittsburgh
July - Washington proves to be geographically mobile, the two Thomases have a battle
August - Benedict is scrambled in New York, Washington arrives in Philadelphia, the two Thomases continue their private war
September - in which America agrees to pay its back taxes and embrace orange tea
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April 1775

Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:46 pm

So lets start with that map and a very broad overview.

In the north, I am now the one invading from Canada. I have a small toe hold at Boston. In the south, I own the deep south, most of the rest is held by the Americans but I have significant loyalty advantages.

Image

Image

So time to crush the rebellion with my huge armies ... oh:

Image

that shows everyone I can move ....

So I find Sir Guy and his merry men guarding the croissant stores in Quebec. He's off to Montreal on his first step before he conquers New York. Well apart from the problem that he turns into a mound of quivering jelly if he leaves Canada.

Image

Ok if Sir Guy is not the man for the job, what about Bill Howe and his huge Boston Army. Indeed, what about it?

They are locked for the opening turns in a city that has no depot. So they even refuse to undertake the challenging job of feeding themselves.

Image

The in game notes set out the rough dynamic of the war. Basically in 1775, the Americans outnumber me, from 1776-9 I have my best chance. After that the war turns against Perfidious Albion, not least as the risk of French intervention arises.

As in many AGEOD games, Engagement Points are an important element of currency. Here they can unlock Indians, bring in replacements and unlock other options.

Now I can gain more if I control key cities and thus trade in that region. This summarises the options

Image

For various reasons, at start the Carribean option is impractical. Northern would require me to be winning the war in New England (unlikely for a while) but the Southern group is feasible. I only lack one of the key towns:

Image

Not far from Savannah, which I own, a key objective in any case. As you can see New Orleans is out of my grasp as its Spanish at the moment.
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Pocus
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Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:16 pm

That was fun. Defend the croissants at all cost. Or throw them at the enemy if frozen.
Image


Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

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Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:59 am

I was also beaten in this scenario by Narwhal ! :(

Later I've played with other opponent and we have found out how supply is important. I sense, to know the weakness and strenghts of each faction and for scenario knowledge it is important to play multiple times same scenario in PBEM.

Thanks for writing this AAR.

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Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:46 pm

Pocus wrote:That was fun. Defend the croissants at all cost. Or throw them at the enemy if frozen.


indeed, at all costs I will keep the Americans away from the croissant stocks ... at least till the French decide to join in the war on their side, presumably bringing their own supplies?

Baris wrote:I was also beaten in this scenario by Narwhal ! :(

Later I've played with other opponent and we have found out how supply is important. I sense, to know the weakness and strenghts of each faction and for scenario knowledge it is important to play multiple times same scenario in PBEM.

Thanks for writing this AAR.


I think we need to create a therapy group for those of us who have been beaten by Narwhal at WiA. I think the best I ever managed was a draw with the British in the 1812-15 scenario.

This scenario really captures the problem for the British that a 'small army gets beaten and a large army starves' - certainly against Narwhal I became fixated with New England. I've also since learnt more about how the American reinforcements work and that helps provide a framework for the early years.
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May 1775

Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:48 pm

May 1775

Main issue in this turn is the mounting supply crisis at Boston. I receive Howe's corps and in theory I could build a depot using its supply train. In truth, I find supply wagons in WiA very hard to replace so I'd rather not use them up too early.

Image

So I send Howe off to capture Charleston

Image

Once the Boston army unlocks, I'll break it up. Goal is to leave enough at Boston to hold the city and live within the supply limit (perhaps supplemented by sending the supply wagons to another supply source to refill), but be able to deter any direct attack.

For the moment, if I can, grabbing control of the Deep South is my first goal.

The reason for this is the way American reinforcements are gained. The revolting colonies are split into 4 regions - New England, Middle States/Colonies, Middle South and Deep South.

If I have no presence, then the Americans gain continentals but not many militia. Oddly not decisive as the American regulars really can't stand up to mine in open battle. As I take more cities, the number of continentals drops but the number of militia increases (up to a point, when my control starts to reduce both). Finally if I control all seven cities there are no levies of either type.

My plan is to try and have control of the Deep South by January 1776. I can then think of where to campaign from 1776-1777.

Elsewhere, not much happens. I'm planning to unlock a number of fixed Indian bands over the summer but don't want to leave Montreal too exposed. So juggling the lake fleet and working out what units I need to move.
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June 1775

Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:54 am

June 1775

With this turn, the war seems to expand. New units, units unlock and ...

Image

Yep, Lord Dunmore has to flee his creditors ...

Of more importance, Howe has arrived at Charleston and will attack next turn.

Image

On the lakes, I'm reinforcing both Oswego and Niagara. This will help hold them as useful jumping off points for next year and enable me to start unlocking all those nice friendly Indians.

Image

At Boston, I split off about 40% of the army and they head south to reinforce Savannah where they will meet some units from the Caribbean.

Image

My hope is what I have left is enough to hold the town and at the same time live within the natural supply limits (so for now I don't need to build a new depot)

Spend some of the EP I've built up on additional supply wagons.

Image

Here's the VP situation. As in the last post, my goal is to try and dominate particular regions so as to cut down on American replacements/militia. Charleston should fall next turn and I'll try and grab the inland cities in the Deep South by the end of the year.

Image

Vigabrand has clearly not deployed any regulars to New York so its showing as unowned as it is essentially pro-British.

Also so far, we have had no fighting.
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July 1775

Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:56 pm

July 1775

Turn with some good news. Charleston surrendered immediately my army arrived and, even better, the evil tax evaders failed in their attempt to capture Savannah

Image

That message has a clear mistake ... since they held their 'congress' in a field outside Savannah while my troops demonstrated how to make tea the English way to the bemused locals.

Image

Well done chaps.

Up north, things remain problematic, the army in Boston still will not actually do anything about feeding itself.

Image

Anyway to celebrate the victory at Charleston, Burgoyne is sent to capture Camden (another reinforcement town for the Americans), while some of the army in Savannah is ordered to stop the Americans 'having congresses' in the field and to move onto Augusta.

Image
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Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:41 pm

Very interesting keep it going - how do I know which cities spawn Amerisan reinforcements? How do i know which ones produce extra EPs?

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Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:21 pm

steelwarrior77 wrote:Very interesting keep it going - how do I know which cities spawn Amerisan reinforcements? How do i know which ones produce extra EPs?



The city groups are on the VP etc screen as:

Image


as you can see there are 5 clusters (but you can really ignore the bottom two). Basically if the British control none then the Americans get continentals but no/few militia. The range 1-3 is probably the worst for this as they gain both militia and continentals. Once you are over 3 you start to squeeze out the continentals. If you hold all then they are no reinforcements.

For this purpose a contested town (the red marker) counts as American. In our game those are all actually held by the Americans but I have some loyalty there. If vigabrand had a regular battalion in the province it would show as US controlled. So for the most part with the British you need to leave regular battalions or you do not gain for ownership - so there is a danger of dispersing your army into small garrisons.

The solution is to raise loyalty and you have commanders with the 'hated occupier' trait. These will over time increase your loyalty so you could then just leave say militia to hold the town.


For the extra EPS, this box pops up each turn:

Image

So basically there are three clusters of three cities, the southern group are doable early game (and 10-12 extra EP is more replacements or supply wagons), you can sometimes grab the New York group by 1777 (but are unlikely to hold them all that long).
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Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:49 pm

Great - thanks ;-D

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August 1775

Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:51 pm

August 1775

Not that much dramatic happened in this turn.

The Americans 'congressing' outside Savannah were ordered to go have their congress somewhere else ... and their big guns were confiscated (and added to the fort)

Image

Seems they went off to chase loyalists

Image

Supply situation at Boston remains marginal. I think this I cope with, especially if I shuttle supply wagons in and out as needed

Image

which is what I do

Image

{sorry this is moving slowly but want to keep the AAR a fair distance behind the actual game play ... for obvious reasons}
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September 1775 - the arrival of the well dressed Scots

Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:39 am

September 1775

Fresh units arrive in Canada, clearly the newly arrived Scots have adopted a very French approach to fashion very quickly

Image

Situation at Boston remains ok, I'm thinking of pulling out so the units can winter with full supply but its very hard to retake Boston later, so ... (not sure at this stage)

Image

Also they are keeping a huge American army pinned down.

In the south, I'm trying to grab Hillsboro and Charlotte before January (when the next US reinforcement cycle hits). In practical terms I have 2 groups of regulars facing off against 1 US organised formation. So its a case of movement, trying to secure my gains (each needs a garrison) and being cautious. I suspect I'm not going to make it in time.

Image

But then winter in the south is not the complete cessation of all military action that it imposes on the north.

Few points about my understanding of the longer term. I need to be well ahead on VP by 1777 as after that the war turns against me (France stabs Perfidious Albion in the back). Although I am in theory only 4 cities from 'victory' and I'll take Wilmington next turn the reality is that is not practical. Pittsburgh is hard to reach and Philadelphia is easy to defend (New York less so).

So its a case of thinking about how to use the large 1776 reinforcements I gain. By summer of 1776 I hope to have the Deep South under control, geographically South Central would then make sense. But the Middle States are vulnerable to an offensive both from Canada and the Eastern Coast.
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October 1775

Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:03 am

October 1775

Quite a busy set of battle reports as I make some more gains in the south.

Some American militia have a bad day out near Augusta

Image

and near Savannah

Image

My attempt to grab the inland reinforcement cities in the south is stopped

Image

Campbell seems to have the only organised US formation in the south.

This significant military defeat sees Thomas Gage sacked

Image

In the south, I am less worried about winter than in New England and on the Canadian border. So the newly arrived Howe is ordered to advance towards Crook's Creek and thus threaten the US reinforcement cities.

Image

I doubt I am going to take them all by January 1776 but hope to have the Deep South under control by next June.

Image
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Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:22 pm

Hi loki100,

Great AAR loki100! What is your plan in regards to the Boston area in the future? Will you continue to hold your position? Abandon the city? Or perhaps launch an offensive of some kind?

- Field Marshal Hotzendorf

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Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:51 am

Field Marshal Hotzendorf wrote:Hi loki100,

Great AAR loki100! What is your plan in regards to the Boston area in the future? Will you continue to hold your position? Abandon the city? Or perhaps launch an offensive of some kind?

- Field Marshal Hotzendorf


good questions to which I have no real answer.

In favour of staying:

a) its nearly impossible to recapture
b) I can usually take the other 2 cities in its port group (=extra EPs) using the 1776 reinforcements
c) it seems to have attracted the attention of the Continental Army - so while that means I can't break out, that force isn't challenging my operations elsewhere

in favour of going

a) WiA has a rule that 'within-element' (ie as long as you haven't lost an actual element) replacements are free if you are in perfect supply. I'm managing ok levels of supply but it is under 100%. So if I repeated the historical decision to pull back then that army would regain all its missing combat power. But as you can see the Continental Army also has orange blobs as its strength marker, so I'm doing some damage to vigabrand as well;
b) Those units would probably be more use in the Middle States
c) if Vigabrand does risk an attack and wins (admittedly unlikely), I will lose an awful lot of troops.

At the moment (we are in June 1776), the ability to pin the Continental Army is the only reason really for hanging around. If that moves, there are a number of towns in New England that become vulnerable
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November 1775

Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:10 am

November 1775

Most of my previous experience with WiA has been in scenarios where the American-Canadian border is the key area – War of 1812, French and Indian Wars etc. In those, by October at the latest you make sure that all your armies are safely tucked up for winter.

So its a bit of a surprise to realise that while winter brings problems (slower movement etc), its not the complete end to all operations that it is in other games.

Which is a long way of saying there was quite a lot of action.

Despite being beaten Dunsmore bravely hangs onto Norfolk and has some useful reinforcements.

Image

But Caldwell grabs Fort Dayton, isolating Fort Stanwix – I picked this as it is not an objective city so this gives me a useful gain but does nothing to trigger additional American reinforcements.

Image

In the south, James Hampton arrives in Augusta. My goal is to try and raise loyalty to my side and thus allow me to stop leaving battalion sized garrisons everywhere.

Image

Stand off carries on at Boston – but that is a huge number of irate Americans drinking weak tea (and they are going to get cold soon)

Image

I decide to see if I can weaken the last American units in the deep south:

Image
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steelwarrior77
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Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:13 pm

Interesting AAR and great update ;-D

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Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:21 pm

steelwarrior77 wrote:Interesting AAR and great update ;-D


thank you. The great thing about WiA is it is such a clean system so it all comes down to plans/strategies and mistakes. Its also possible to have complete reversals of fortune, - we're coming to the end of 1776 and in one turn I really though that Vigabrand had effectively won, 2 turns later and I am feeling very pleased with myself (though I've yet to run the last turn with orders)
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December 1775-January 1776

Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:20 am

December 1775-January 1776

Well even despite the better weather, not much happened in the south in December. The one remaining US formation beat up some of my militia.

Image

But 1776 brought far more action.

Here's the position in the south. I'm basically trying to cut off that American unit. If I can force it out of supply then I have complete military control of the region. That will also give me control over Hillsboro.

Image

Bit of a disaster at Norfolk as the rescue boats arrived too late.

Image

Even worse, the Americans celebrate by drinking some weak tea. This all proves to be too much for Dunmore.

Image

Canada celebrates when it becomes clear the Americans have not invaded.

Image

I decide to celebrate by allowing the Americans to be loyal again.

Image

VP situation

Image

I failed to hold all the key cities in the Deep South but that should limit the Americans to just a few militia replacements. By the end of 1776 I really need a decent VP lead to cope with the steady losses in the later years.
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February 1776

Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:23 am

February 1776

Not that much happened this turn. In the south I now have that US brigade pinned into a small area. Hillsboro is under siege but won't fall till I can spare some regulars.

Image

Situation at Boston remains a problem. Supply is ok but not enough to allow the army to recover.

Image

The only reason to hold on is that is attracting the attention of the Continental Army. I send some transports in case I decide to pull back. The other option is to move the army into the town. But this invites an easy to maintain siege and does nothing to help with the supply situation.

I have substantial reinforcements due to arrive by the spring and early summer. I'll have Hillsboro by then (the American reinforcements are triggered in January and June). I think I can create a small force to make progress in the South-Central area but my (and probably obvious) target is going to be the Middle States.

Image

WiA provides two supply problems. First there is no mechanism to push supply from where it is produced to where it is needed. Second, there are few large supply producing cities (hence my Boston problem).

This matters as replacements are free in WiA as long as some of the element is intact and the force is in perfect supply. So any supply lack, no matter how minimal, keeps your army weak.

Going for the Middle States has the advantage that I can take control of some of the main supply producing cities. This is going to be my focus in 1776 more than trying to limit American reinforcements.

I'm going to gamble on Philadelphia as the prime target. It has a large depot (so can be used to bring my larger armies back to full strength) and effectively cuts America into two. From there I can concentrate on capturing South-Central.

The Canadian reinforcements are going to be used to take out the objectives along the Mohawk (Triconderoga, Ft Stanwix and Albany).
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Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:20 pm

So why exactly is Boston such a supply problem? If you were to enter the city would you be in good supply compared to being outside of the city? Does it matter as far as supply goes?

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Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:22 pm

Field Marshal Hotzendorf wrote:So why exactly is Boston such a supply problem? If you were to enter the city would you be in good supply compared to being outside of the city? Does it matter as far as supply goes?


The problem in WiA is it captures the small size of most North American cities up the end of the war of independence - its notable that it is less of a problem in the War of 1812. Add on to this there are very few depots as the British didn't really envisage having to supply large armies in the region. So Boston, although relatively large, produces about 10 supply per turn. Even my relatively small army uses 50. Now I can keep things stable by shuttling in supply wagons but its hard to build up a stockpile.

The result in general is a need to disperse your army at the end of the campaign season so that hopefully each block is in supply - but of course this risks being defeated piecemeal if your opponent stays in a large army - its a nice (ie horrible) dilemna.

If I retreated into Boston I get some supply but not all the 10. Now its possible I could deter an attack with a smaller force if I was in the city so there is again a trade off.

I'm not sure what the right answer is. This is only my second go at the big campaign. Last time I completely missed the importance of limited supply and Narwhal pretty much had my forces wiped out by the end of 1777 .... if I recall the final act was a desparate attempt to seize New York.

An alternative is to give up Boston, retreat to Newfoundland (where there is a depot) and attack again the next season. Given what is going to happen (spoiler alert), I'm now thinking that might be the best solution?
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March 1776

Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:23 pm

March 1776

My decision last turn to reinforce my position at Charlotte paid off:

Image

Well for everyone but Francis Smith. Does seem as if the Americans are keen to shoot the British aristocracy.

Here's poor Mr Smith's brigade – sadly lacking in Smiths - though his troops look pretty happy (maybe it was they who shot Mr Smith?)

Image

In the meantime the stand off at Boston carries on. Unfortunately my army has just had an epidemic. Clearly they have not been boiling their tea properly.

Image
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Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:19 am

loki100 wrote:The problem in WiA is it captures the small size of most North American cities up the end of the war of independence - its notable that it is less of a problem in the War of 1812. Add on to this there are very few depots as the British didn't really envisage having to supply large armies in the region. So Boston, although relatively large, produces about 10 supply per turn. Even my relatively small army uses 50. Now I can keep things stable by shuttling in supply wagons but its hard to build up a stockpile.

The result in general is a need to disperse your army at the end of the campaign season so that hopefully each block is in supply - but of course this risks being defeated piecemeal if your opponent stays in a large army - its a nice (ie horrible) dilemna.

If I retreated into Boston I get some supply but not all the 10. Now its possible I could deter an attack with a smaller force if I was in the city so there is again a trade off.

I'm not sure what the right answer is. This is only my second go at the big campaign. Last time I completely missed the importance of limited supply and Narwhal pretty much had my forces wiped out by the end of 1777 .... if I recall the final act was a desparate attempt to seize New York.

An alternative is to give up Boston, retreat to Newfoundland (where there is a depot) and attack again the next season. Given what is going to happen (spoiler alert), I'm now thinking that might be the best solution?


I see now. Thank you sir.

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Cardinal Ape
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Fri Dec 18, 2015 5:04 am

Thank you for taking the time to document your game. Good reads.

WiA is an incredible game. Sadly, I have yet to play a human in this scenario. Though I did recently have a match against a human in the Seven Years War... And you are right, after not playing this game for many years it was very easy to get back into.

Looks like Washington is packing some serious heat in that last screenshot. I wouldn't fear... I'd take inspiration from a Scotsman that once chastised Big G. Here.

Good luck!

Kizig
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Fri Dec 18, 2015 6:47 am

Agreed, thanks for the AAR Loki.

When I played solo in this scenario recently Washington split his forces, I got to break out, capture him and the depot. It was like a gift from the gods to resolve the Boston situation. I don't envy you having a human opponent who knows to keep all those bright green dots together right on your doorstep.

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loki100
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Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:52 am

Cardinal Ape wrote:Thank you for taking the time to document your game. Good reads.

WiA is an incredible game. Sadly, I have yet to play a human in this scenario. Though I did recently have a match against a human in the Seven Years War... And you are right, after not playing this game for many years it was very easy to get back into.

Looks like Washington is packing some serious heat in that last screenshot. I wouldn't fear... I'd take inspiration from a Scotsman that once chastised Big G. Here


That is rather good ...

Overall I think WiA is a gem, especially for PBEM, there are lots of challeges in the game engine (not least the endless obsession with supply sources), but its very uncluttered and it comes down to trying to out manouver your opponent. French and Indian wars is another superb scenario

Kizig wrote:Agreed, thanks for the AAR Loki.

When I played solo in this scenario recently Washington split his forces, I got to break out, capture him and the depot. It was like a gift from the gods to resolve the Boston situation. I don't envy you having a human opponent who knows to keep all those bright green dots together right on your doorstep.


that would be nice, but I've played (and lost to) vigabrand enough times not to expect him to make that sort of mistake, so yes he sits there till he decides to solve the problem for me :)
AJE The Hero, The Traitor and The Barbarian
PoN Manufacturing Italy; A clear bright sun
RoP The Mightiest Empires Fall
WIA Burning down the Houses; Wars in America; The Tea Wars

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loki100
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April 1776

Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:54 am

April 1776

Not that much happened in this turn.

In the south, I'm trying to harass that American formation, trying to stop it regaining supplies and cohesion.

Image

My intention now is to secure Hillsboro. Its the last US reinforcement producing town in the region and their next round of reinforcements are due in June.

Image

At the same time I'm leaving fairly strong garrisons so I don't lose anything I have recently captured.

Not much change in the overall situation since the start of the year. My small VP advantage is relatively meaningless in the context of the overall campaign.

Image
AJE The Hero, The Traitor and The Barbarian
PoN Manufacturing Italy; A clear bright sun
RoP The Mightiest Empires Fall
WIA Burning down the Houses; Wars in America; The Tea Wars

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