Yesterday I met Olli on the fields of battle. Setting was the independence war of the America, fought with Liberty. The game’s been a bit in the shadow of Hammer of the Scots, I’ve only played it once. Back then I felt the game was a bit messy, I didn’t get the rules well.
Now, armed with the new 1.02 rulebook and perhaps more thorough understanding of the rules, it went better. We had problems with the fleets and most of the updates in the 1.02 rulebook are about fleets, so perhaps it’s not a miracle.
Last time I did very poorly as the Brits, holding at best 20 supply points (30 are needed for British victory, while the Americans win if Brits hold less than 12 points). Olli played the Brits this time and did much better. At best he had 26 points — not enough, but better than me.
I got lucky with the French entry: they decided to intervene in 1776, the first moment possible — and this was with the optional rule, which makes the French entry harder in the early years! I got lucky there, but it took me few years to get the French do something useful. In the end they did conquer Québec and the West Indies, which was very important.
It was a tough fight, but got easier for me all the time. At some point the Brits started to lose units, while I lost mere militia. There’s no chance I’ll trade militia for British warships, so no prisoner exchange happened in the end half of the game. That was brutal and we decided that in the next game we’ll use the optional rule that allows forcing a prisoner exchange with a supply card — just to make the game more fun to play. Of course, the prisoner situation was part of my tactical genius of defeating good units while losing the very sucky militia.
One thing I learned was indeed that militia is no good. I wonder if they caused a total of four hits during the whole game, even using the honourable shot rule (militia gets C2 instead of C1, but must run away). Olli used his generals with riflemen really well, as they would roll four times C3 and four times C2 before my militia gets a chance to do anything. However, C class units are only fast when they attack C units, so adding some ships or dragoons to defense forces really helps dealing with those kinds of attacks.
The fighting was mostly centered on the northern big cities. I deserted most 1-point towns are tried to focus my defenses on the big cities. As it happened, my crucial defense forces were one turn late three times and I managed to lose Charleston, Philadelphia and New York… Winning the already-lost cities back is quite difficult, but I did it, in the end.
So, I’m still waiting for the first British victory. This time it wasn’t far and perhaps if the French hadn’t intervened so quickly, it would’ve been different. That remains to be seen — the next battle is scheduled next week.