Altaris
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Crushing a Rebellion: 1775 Scenario (Altaris - British vs Loki - Americans)

Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:12 am

So Loki and I have begun an AAR of the American Revolutionary War 1775 scenario, I am taking the British side while he plays the rebellious colonists.

This will be an open AAR, Loki is welcome to contribute if he wishes. Since it's open to his reading, I will be posting events a bit behind our schedule so as not to give away any key details on my forces.

I have long held the British's best chances of survival in this scenario are to quell the rebellion as quickly as possible, while they maintain the upper hand. New England is largely a lost cause early on, being full of rebellious sentiment and suffering poor weather half the year. Therefore, I like to strike hard and fast at the heart of the rebellion by taking Philadelphia with the initial expeditionary forces, then crushing the American forces in the South, while the locals are still largely supportive of the crown.

So then, onward to victory, for King George!

Altaris
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Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:28 am

Phase 1: Sending the "Continental Congress" Packing!

Boston is a lost cause in this scenario, surrounded by irate rebels! Upon taking stock of the situation General Howe decides not to relieve Gage's surrounded force, but instead to set sail and take the colonists by a surprise landing at Philadelphia, hopefully cutting off the particularly troublesome New Englanders from the more sensible Southern colonies. This quickly leads to the "Continental Congress" taking flight, as those without a monarch are prone to do...

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Altaris
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Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:36 am

Phase 2: Securing New York

No longer safe in Boston, the remainder of the British forces under Gage set sail and storm New York harbor, securing a major base from which to:
1) Defend the northern approaches to Philadelphia
2) Threaten the major centers of New England
3) Provide a link to Canada, should the need arise
4) Provide a major center of reinforcements and supply

The city falls with little trouble, as the bulk of the Continental Army under Washington rushed to mask Howe's forces at Philadelphia. The British find themselves sitting nicely in two of the richest cities of the colonies, with Washington trapped between them... Surely these pesky rebels will see reason and give up this pointless fight? Unfortunately, such appears not to be, as the rebels storm Boston Harbor immediately upon Gage's departure!

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Field Marshal Hotzendorf
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Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:23 am

This should be good!! :)

Altaris
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Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:29 am

Phase 3: Decisions, Decisions...

With Washington trapped squarely between my two main forces, I did briefly entertain the idea of targeting him with both my Philadelphia and New York armies, and attempting to crush the rebellion in its infancy. I opted not to, as Washington is faster moving than Howe, and should I have failed to catch him, my notoriously inactive generals may have been left too far from base.

In the end, it didn't matter, as Washington launched an ill-advised attack against Philadelphia with a rabble of militia, and was repulsed with heavy losses. After his retreat, the rebel army disappeared from my intelligence, I assume into the Southern colonies or back into the viper nest of the New England heartland. Eventually Washington will meet the hangman's noose, but for now, other priorities must take precedence.

With fall setting in and winter weather on the horizon in the north, I begin turning attention to the South, and formulating a plan there. Loyalists militia have sprung up in Virginia and North Carolina, these are used to creep into Petersburg VA and Charlotte NC, and will provide advance warning should large rebel forces turn their attention southward. Meanwhile, a substantial force sets sail from New York, heading to the southernmost rebel port at Savannah GA. My plan is to begin taking territory from the southernmost point and keep pushing northward, taking things as they go. Seems a decent enough plan, and limits the number of fronts I'm forced to fight on.

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The situation as of September 1775. Morale is tied up, meaning foreign intervention is less likely to go against me each turn, and VP is creeping closer as well.
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Altaris
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Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:26 am

Phase 4: Lighting Up the South!

General Delancy leads British forces successfully into Savannah GA, then leads them through Georgia to secure the contested region around Augusta. Meanwhile, NC Tories raid rebel territory and secure the key positions of Charlotte and Wilmington. Admiral Howe also gets a bit of fortune, and sinks a rebel militia attempting to escape by Bayeaux off the coast of Wilmington. All in all, the Deep South actions have started well, and with the arrival of Cornwallis' army promised in a few months, we should be in good shape to secure GA, SC, and NC in 1776.

Due to these successes, Parliament and the Crown have decreed an amnesty for those colonists who wish to return to the fold, and this does much to erode rebel support in the South. As you can see below, Loki now loses quite a few Southern cities from his VP count due to lacking 50%+ loyalty and not having regular troops stationed in those cities. This also helps me lift fog of war across most of the South, which is very beneficial. Richmond in particular is looking very tempting...

As 1775 comes to an end and 1776 opens way, the British now command a lead in VP cities throughout the colonies. At this pace, we will exceed the rebels' VP count in a few turns, which will help greatly in dissuading French involvement, at least for the time being...

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loki100
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Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:21 pm

just to say I'll comment where it might help put things in perspective - the opening phase is all about trying to survive and to some extent reacting to British moves.

In this respect, Washington was sent to Philadelphia not to contest the British capture but to put a defensive force in the city ... wasn't expecting to lose it so early :)
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Field Marshal Hotzendorf
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Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:20 am

This looks like this one could be very challenging for the Americans very quickly. Where are the French when you need them? :)

Altaris
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Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:08 am

I have to agree seems too easy for the British to turn the tide. Especially loyalty wise.

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loki100
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Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:47 am

Field Marshal Hotzendorf wrote:This looks like this one could be very challenging for the Americans very quickly. Where are the French when you need them? :)


sending me supply carts ... very useful but I think I could do with an army or two
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Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:39 pm

Phase 5: Cornwallis Secures the South

General Cornwallis arrives off the coast of Charleston in February, while Delancy continues up from Georgia. Cornwallis' large army easily takes Charleston and its rich harbor, and pushes westward to link up with Delancy at Camden (these campaigns are of special interest to me, as I live almost halfway between Charleston and Camden, and have visited both frequently). By June, the two forces link up, leaving garrisoning forces behind while pushing the bulk of their combined forces northwards to Charlotte and Hillsboro in North Carolina. Cornwallis is tasked with securing the South (which has largely turned back to pro-Tory leaning tendencies now), keeping this front quiet for the (hopefully) decisive campaigns in 1777 to end this rebellion once and for all. He does his job admirably, even coming to rescue of Norfolk VA at the end of 1776 to remove a brave rebel force which sneaked in to take the unprotected harbor.

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Altaris
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Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:58 pm

Phase 6: Clinton Secures Maryland and Virginia

With Cornwallis' successes in the South, a victory in 1777 becomes a distinct possibility... but only if the British can focus on a strong multi-prong attack into New England come spring 1777. So, with large reinforcements arriving (Burgoyne's Army, plus a hefty set of replacements at Philadelphia and New York of British regulars and German reinforcements), the time is ripe to secure Maryland and Virginia, and take away the threat of substantial rebel armies in these areas. Burgoyne's forces, arriving by ship off coast of Halifax, are initially destined for Canada, but orders arrive from London to instead assist with a landing near Yorktown VA, to be followed up with an attack on Richmond. Burgoyne himself is left in Manhattan, after objecting heavily to the change in his orders.

Meanwhile, Clinton, now commanding the largest British force in the colonies heads south through Maryland to link up with Burgoyne's army. In doing so, his hefty 1400 CP stack runs straight into Washington and the core of the Continental Army, which evidently had been hiding out in Baltimore. Washington's second run-in with the British does not go well, and the colonist again are forced back with heavy losses. Clinton's forces are a bit disorganized after this big fight, and regroup at Baltimore. Clinton's success earns his promotion to 3-star general, and while his forces rest, Burgoyne's army easily takes Richmond, and afterwards the rest of Virginia and Maryland are easily secured.

Of note as well, Sir James Earl Gray (of fame from Loki's last AAR) takes Wyoming, securing another needed strategic city, and also gains a 3-star general promotion (this is particularly valuable, as he is Very Fast Mover general with good stats). I initially sent him to take Pittsburg, but bad weather made me think otherwise before sending a large stack stomping off into the woods/mountains with fall and winter rapidly approaching.

Several raiding parties from Manhattan also manage to put pressure on the rebels in New England, particularly in Connecticut. Though not large in size, these parties do their job of keeping Loki on his toes while my major armies are busy further south.

1776 wraps up with big wins for the British. All objectives save Pittsburg and Boston are well secured, and large armies remain active for duty, though winter means little will happen until spring 1777 at this point. When the good weather arrives, the British will give a massive push into New England to end the rebellion once and for all... and none too soon, for word has arrived a certain Benjamin Franklin is making good progress in the court of France lobbying for support of the rebel's so-called "Continental Army"... as though such an army had legitimacy, pfft! The British Crown knows it must deal with these upstarts quickly before things get out of hand!

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Altaris
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Sun Feb 14, 2016 6:41 pm

So a few comments/observations from playing this game:
1) At this point, it seems likely the British will win this scenario. Not guaranteed, a lot will depend on if the rebels can hold onto Boston or Pittsburg, and keep a legit harbor open for when the French arrive. But I don't know the rebels can hold out to a multi-prong attack of the amount of troops the British have after 1776 reinforcements have arrived. 1777 is the British's high point, and the rebels low point, so its a bad time to be facing a consolidated push from the British. Which leads me to the next few points:

2) IMO, this 1775 scenario has a fatal unbalancing flaw, in allowing the British to immediately take Howe out of Boston on Turn 2, and send him anywhere. This allowed me to take Philadelphia very quickly, before the USA faction even has a chance to react (I've playtested it, there's nothing the rebel player can do to contest the landing if it's enacted immediately). New York is slightly iffier, but it's very easy to take as well in 1775. Losing Philadelphia in particular is devastating to the rebels, as some of their initial reinforcements come to this region, and immediately get stomped if its British held.

3) So, I think the scenario would be better balanced if the initial Boston fleets for the British either didn't show up until August or September 1775, or were fixed until this time. Howe's reinforcement army could be active, therefore leading to a historical Bunker Hill battle, or it could threaten more of Massachusetts if the patriots pull forces back from the siege, but it wouldn't be able to threaten the very exposed coastline anywhere at whim. And attempting a naval landing in fall/winter is a far riskier proposition for the British if they had to wait, particularly to September to do so (not to mention the patriots would have some reinforcements). This one change, IMO, would make the scenario largely balanced.

4) On a similar vein, being able to take Burgoyne's army anywhere when it arrives also makes things challenging for the USA (I had his forces in VA by June 1776). IIRC, the last time I played this,Burgoyne's forces showed up in Quebec, not at sea, but that was years ago and perhaps has changed since. If he were at Quebec, it would at least take longer before the British could sail him to the colonies proper, meaning he'd be less of a factor in 1776 and more of one in 1777. The British already get major reinforcements in 1776, having another 800-1000 CP stack is a bit too much on the already punished USA faction.

5) This game has reinforced my long held opinion the British have to consolidate to a single front, being split between North/South won't work. They really need to either focus on New England or the South first, so they can hold their rear areas with minimal forces and concentrate on one front. The USA faction, conversely, has to figure out how to keep the British from doing this. If the British go with a "South first" approach, the USA faction has to send forces south to contest it and make it difficult. In our game, had Washington been down in SC/NC, I don't think Cornwallis could've beaten him. I had about 600 CP in the area at its height, and had to detach forces to keep pro-rebel regions generating VP. I realize these comments are easier to say than implement, but nonetheless, I think taking Washington to the enemy, but keeping him moving light and nimble, never staying in one spot for long, is the best approach. I dread to think what would happen if there was a 800 CP quick-moving stack moving around SC or GA right now. Also, winning battles in the strategic and objective cities would help the USA get alignment loyalty back to pro-rebel alignment, which would really hurt me from a fog-of-war standpoint. If you can keep the British on their toes, running around all over the place, in 1776/1777, then once the French arrive in 1778 it becomes a whole lot easier. My biggest losses have come from attrition hits and epidemics, both of which hit me hardest when I'm moving forces around, if I were having to react all the time. And the British can ill-afford the losses, with their very limited replacements.

Anyway, it's a very interesting scenario, much like a boxing match of wearing your opponent out. I do think it's slightly broken in British favor, but this would be easily addressed by item #2. With that one small change, I think it'd be a very historical and tit-for-tat campaign.

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Field Marshal Hotzendorf
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Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:00 pm

Very insightful post Altaris. I especially agree with your second point. I have always found it interesting that the British decided to invade New York and then wait some time before moving on Philadelphia. I have always pondered how it wold have turned out if the British would have taken a portion of her New York invasion army and sent it to Philadelphia at the same time as her invasion of New York. Washington's entire army was in New York and if the British forces moved quickly after securing Philadelphia might he have been smashed in between and the revolution destroyed? Always fun to discuss these things. Cheers.

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Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:21 pm

I like being able to try out ahistorical plans (one of the many great things about playing an AGEOD game)... but, I do think they should be realistic and not unbalance the scenario. In the case of Howe's initial reinforcements, it just unhinges things to set sail with them on Turn 2, and probably shouldn't be allowed. By fall 1775, it should be gloves off do as you wish, but during spring 1775 things were still so early in their infancy it just wouldn't have been feasible. It would be like the North massing a huge army in April 1861 and storming Richmond because the Confederates hadn't started raising troops yet.

If you like "what-if" scenarios... consider this: Had the Americans lost the Revolutionary War, and stayed British subjects, slavery would've almost been guaranteed to be abolished peacefully in the 1800's when Britain stopped the trade in the Empire. The South wouldn't have dared go to war against both the North and the British Empire. And a large reason for the American Civil War was a latent disregard for a "national" government, which stemmed mostly from winning the Revolutionary War. So in many ways, the American people would've been spared a horrible national tragedy had it lost the first war.

Though it is likely the American colonies would've split from Great Britain during the Napoleonic Wars if grievances still existed. Would've been the perfect time, and in that regard, might've led to the same historical outcomes (with the War of 1812 becoming the actual War of Independence). Then again, had France not intervened in the Revolutionary War, its own revolution may never have occurred, and Napoleon may have never been a notation in a history book. It could go on and on like this, but interesting topics!

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loki100
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Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:06 am

before this game and the one vs vigabrand I didn't understand why some people on the forums felt the 1775 start was unbalanced. My only experience was a game against Narwhal and that ended in the usual disaster.

its a tricky line between realism and player freedom. Its clearly operationally realistic that the British drew back in New England and cut the American colonies in two between Philadelphia and New York. Its a matter of what their goals were at that stage and whether such a redeployment would have been agreed? More interesting, given the distances between America and London what might have happened if Howe had simply ignored political restrictions.

as it is, I think I now have an idea how the Americans can survive (but probably too late for this game) even if the British do shift to the centre. You need to find a tricky balance between forcing the British to disperse their forces while keeping yours concentrated.
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Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:51 pm

As USA, I like to have 2 Continental Army stacks, using Regulars and Militia, usually under Washington and Greene. Eventually you can get more. These are the big stacks, and protect key areas or threaten weak British positions. The light infantry I like to put into decently potent stacks, and give the British hell in whatever their rear regions are. Light Infantry perform very well in Forests and Mountains, and can really make things difficult on the British if they don't have a decent army stack around, not to mention if you're off the main road a bit it's hard for the British to reach you. The important part is to keep moving as USA, otherwise the British lock you up and eventually crush your forces when they consolidate. Sometimes they'll catch you anyway, but if you can lead the Brits on a goose-chase in rough terrain, you'll wear down their armies through attrition and epidemics. This is particularly effective in the swampy lowlands of the South (which is largely what happened historically in the South... around here in SC the Swamp Fox Francis Marion and the Gamecock Thomas Sumter both led harrying forces most of the war, despite the British having all the key areas locked up type). You don't have to "win" the battles to beat the British, just give them as much trouble as you can.

All that being said, I still think the early Philadelphia takeover needs to be nixed, just so it's not so easy for the British to take the Central States in a few turns. It'll still happen, it just shouldn't be in the first 2-3 turns.

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Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:25 am

Interesting read. Thanks.

I'm hoping you two start a new game/AAR with a house rule to slow the British.

It's too bad this game doesn't have the veteran activation option of more recent AGEod games. I think that would help simulate the early British problems.

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Wed Feb 17, 2016 4:31 pm

We're getting close to the end of 1777, and the Brits hold all Objectives except Pittsburg, which is under siege, but has a strong garrison. Brits also hold 23 Strategic cities at the moment, enough to fulfill. Depends on whether Pitt can hold out, which may come down to supply (I did build a lvl 2 depot on the way in, not sure it'll be enough to feed my forces though). Winter is about to set in, so it's going to be a brutal siege. It tried an assault but got repulsed by big garrison.

We'll see soon!

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loki100
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Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:00 am

ah, you've discovered my new secret strategy that includes not actually fighting but of hiding large armies in remote regions :)
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Altaris
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Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:22 pm

In this case, I think it's the best move you can make. Pittsburgh being way out in the middle of nowhere makes it a beast to catch!

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loki100
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Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:29 pm

Altaris wrote:In this case, I think it's the best move you can make. Pittsburgh being way out in the middle of nowhere makes it a beast to catch!


especially when you have especially large stocks of croissants provided by the grateful French nation

anyway here is a good point to record I have survived into 1778?
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Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:30 pm

That's a very aggressive campaign you've played and it's paying off handsomely. Hard to see how the Colonials come back from this, especially since the last hope of the Revolution now appears to be Pittsburgh... I am at a loss for words. :)

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Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:41 pm

We've got a nasty siege at Pittsburgh going down right now, and we're into February 1778. I really hope the fort falls soon, or the snow lets up, we haven't starved to death yet, but this last turn was a close one! Luckily the garrison Combat Power this last turn dropped from 170ish to 120ish. Either he's suffering from food shortages or epidemics... either way, maybe I'll get a lucky siege roll.

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Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:14 am

Stuyvesant wrote:That's a very aggressive campaign you've played and it's paying off handsomely. Hard to see how the Colonials come back from this, especially since the last hope of the Revolution now appears to be Pittsburgh... I am at a loss for words. :)


och its just a scratch

[video=youtube;mjEcj8KpuJw]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjEcj8KpuJw[/video]
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Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:11 am

As of April 1778, defenders at Fort Pitt show at single digit combat power now, so they appear in poor shape. We also just got a second breach. Fort looks ready to fall, which is good as food supplies are running scarce, and I've had two units simply disappear completely in harsh winter conditions.

I have to say, of all the AGEOD games, WIA is the only one that really gets sieges right. Not sure why it's so different, but his feels like an authentic siege, whereas normally sieges either seem to end ridiculously quick, or last forever with no supply issues for either side.

Altaris
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Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:10 am

I'll update with pictures later for the 1777 campaign, but quick update: Pittsburgh fell in May 1778 after a long winter siege. This puts the British in control of all objectives, but since it doesn't trigger a victory (this might be a bug in the script?) I think we're going to push on! Foreign Entry is at 77 now, and while I've likely postponed French entry until at least 1779... it's coming. And the rebels have been growing some teeth lately, particularly in the South with partisans under Thomas Sumter (the Gamecock).

I hope we do continue, I'll probably spend 1778 trying to crush the last vestige of life out of the rebellion, but should I fail, there's some chance the Rebels may come back from this brink of defeat... I think it would be fun to see how it plays out! Would be ironic if my decision not to pursue Washington's army in 1777 after capturing Boston turned out to be my undoing...

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loki100
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Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:44 am

just to say, its my idea to carry on. Altaris has 'won' - as in my game with vigabrand the end game screen doesn't seem to trigger. But unlike vigabrand I have decent territorial control in the north so some chance to hang on for another campaign season.

there is no way I can turn this round (in any conventional sense) but it'll be interesting to see how the late game plays out.

In part, as any discusion about play balance in the early years has to be set in the context of the overall game - a tricky topic in many games were the initiative shifts over time - I'd like to see just how much impact foreign intervention and the Anglo-Spanish war have on the relative balance of forces.
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Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:47 pm

I've said it before, will say it again. This is the best AGEOD game for simulating historical supply limitations. New England is causing me all sorts of problems, once I'm away from my big ports, I have a lot of trouble projecting enough supply to feed my big armies inland. There's still substantial rebel forces in New England too, and my gradual war losses are becoming ever more difficult to reinforce. I might've played a bit too conservatively in 1777 in hindsight...

Luckily, France still hasn't joined the fray. Once they do, though, it may get ugly....

I think the naval superiority contest once the French and Spanish arrive may prove quite decisive. Last time I played USA, once I was able to wrest control of the seas, I could blockade the big British ports and gradually starve them into submission. But... I don't intend to let that happen, at least not easily > :)

Altaris
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Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:40 pm

Phase 7: 1777, Forcing the Rebel's Hand

The British spent 1777 attempting to force an end to the war by showing the hopelessness of continuing to the upstart colonists. Cornwallis took a large force into New England, making short work of Washington and the Continental Army yet again, and bring Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Boston to heel. Meanwhile, Sir Grey set forth westwards from Philadelphia with a large army and set of supplies to take out the last outstanding British objective at Pittsburgh.

Cornwallis' campaign was an unmitigated success, with Boston falling easily in late summer 1777. Grey had a bit of a harder time, finding the rebels heavily dug in. The siege of Pittsburgh was a brutal winter siege, the inhabitants not surrendering until all food supplies had run out in early spring 1778 (this was a very close call, as Grey's force was near starvation itself by the end of the siege).

With Pittsburgh's fall, the British take over all objectives, and the war is won.... or... is... it??? Troubling rumors swirl of Washington and Greene convincing the remnants of the Continental Army to continue on, in the hope of bringing France and/or Spain into the war. Perhaps the British have been a bit too confident thinking the war was done...

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