wrlertola
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Surprised by surrender

Sat Aug 20, 2016 3:37 am

1775-1783 Whites of their eyes campaign playing vs. AI as USA. Doing the September '75 turn and noticed that the Brits in Boston had opted to move into the city, had Washington adjacent with sizable force and decided to take the risk of moving in blue/blue with avoid combat special order set. No combat occurred when the area was entered and was shocked when I saw that the Brits surrendered 35 units w/ gain of 230 vp's when doing the October turn. They must have been locked in place and also had the misfortune of the evacuate Boston event not firing previously.

Decided to continue the game to see where it would lead and its been interesting though not very eventful '76 due to a late end to the winter of '75 and an early onset of winter in Oct. '76. Leslie & Grey have formed one huge army at New Haven and have moved against Washington over several turns and has opted to retreat three times in a row before combat including away from Manhattan (where I was hoping he'd fight), subsequently lost the city and depot that I'd built to their assault.

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loki100
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Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:58 am

Boston can be a trap for the British for a few reasons. One is it actually has low supply (no depot at start) so its hard to sustain a full army in decent supply there. The other is there is no effective retreat path. In a recent PBEM I lost an entire army and a lot of VP etc when the Americans attacked and won - the battle was not decisive but my army couldn't retreat (I still had my revenge in the end but that is a different story).

For a human player you learn to deal with the problem - some opt (rather gamily) for early full evacuation (I think this is out of the spirit of the scenario myself), others will do a lot of force tailoring so what is left is strong (in the city) and in decent supply (so no risk of a surprise surrender roll). All a lot harder for the AI to manage.
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WIA Burning down the Houses; Wars in America; The Tea Wars

wrlertola
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Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:19 pm

I got caught with Gage and some troops still in Boston in my last game with GB... Gage was locked when the Americans decided to attack and was bounced back and forth between Boston & the Heights until his troops got wiped out.

When do you feel the evac. timing wouldn't be gamey?
I don't usually finish the complete evacuation until October, bringing the remaining troops under Gage to either Manhattan or Philly.

Looking at the events, the Expeditionary Force can arrive starting in May '75 with 50% chance and the British may evacuate from June onward if the Exped. Force is present in Boston.
In reality they evac'd in March '76, in the game they'll always be gone before that.

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Durk
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Sat Aug 20, 2016 8:51 pm

I too play with history in mind and usually try to stay within broad parameters of history, but I am not certain I agree with the proposition that an early evacuation is gamey. As long as the British withdrawal leads them to Nova Scotia, it is pretty darned historical.

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loki100
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Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:18 am

Durk wrote:I too play with history in mind and usually try to stay within broad parameters of history, but I am not certain I agree with the proposition that an early evacuation is gamey. As long as the British withdrawal leads them to Nova Scotia, it is pretty darned historical.


I think the issue is that most British players don't do that (which I agree is realistic) but pull the Boston forces south which allows for early capture of New York-Philadelphia. Its that in turn that makes the scenario very pro-British once a player works this out. I think my recent PBEM with Altaris explores this pretty well.
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

wrlertola
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Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:44 pm

Wonder what the AI would do if I modded the event to evacuate only to Nova Scotia, guess I'll try it and see. Also start a new game and do it myself :D

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Durk
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Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:46 pm

loki100 wrote:I think the issue is that most British players don't do that (which I agree is realistic) but pull the Boston forces south which allows for early capture of New York-Philadelphia. Its that in turn that makes the scenario very pro-British once a player works this out. I think my recent PBEM with Altaris explores this pretty well.


I do agree. The 1775 and 1776 starts are still very popular with players. These are the house rules I am currently using, developed with jointly with another player:

Some players have found the 1776 scenario has grown stale because a 'best' British play has emerged for both the 1775 and 1776 Campaigns assuring British victory between two relatively equal players, the following 'house rules' are offered for your consideration. Certainly players can do just a few or all of these suggestions.
The historical justification for the house rules flow from the British attempt to use diplomacy early in the war, only later undertaking the chore of conquering a continent.
1) Spain does not come further north than St Augustine. But the Gulf and Mississippi Basin are wide open.
2) Hard activation is used. This is the option which means non-activated generals and their forces may become locked.
3) For both British and Americans, the numerically strongest force must be led by the 3 star general ranked first in seniority (Usually, Gage, Howe, Clinton ; Washington)
Only armies led by a 3 star general may have more than four generals in the stack.
Armies led by a 2 star general may have no more than three generals in the stack.
If a force/stack has a 1 star general commanding, the force may have no more than two 1 star generals total to provide command.
4) Burgoyne's force must go to Canada (other British forces can join him) and he can start immediate hostilities against the Colonial forces from Canada (e.g. he can attack south from Canada at any time since hostilities have already commenced there)
5) British forces will focus on one of four major Colonial cities in 1776 (Boston, New York, Philadelphia or Charleston)
6) If Howe stays in Boston, any other British forces arriving in 1776 will go to Boston, Halifax or Canada.* Boston becomes the staging base for British forces in 1776.
7) If Howe decides to leave Boston, he will return to Halifax where he will remain for 4-6 months (more on this later).* If Howe leaves Boston, other British forces that arrive by sea in the game prior to his return to the Colonies will go to Halifax or Canada.
8) There should be a time uncertainty as well as a location uncertainty for when the British forces come back from Halifax.* The British player will roll a 6 sided dice keeping the result secret.* 1-2 means the British will return in 4 months, 3-4 means the British will return in 5 months and 5-6 means the British will return in 6 months.* For example, if the British evacuate Boston in the March turn and the British roll a 4, the British can then leave Halifax in the August turn.
9)* Once the British gain control of one of the four Colonial cities, they will establish a North American base of operations in that city/region for the duration of 1776.* They can extend control a single region in all directions from the region of the base of operations.* If attacked by Colonial forces in 1776 in their base of operations or adjacent region, they can extend control further to two regions from the base of operations.
10) A general state of war will exist in January of 1777. If the Colonial Army attacks any of the regions adjacent to the chosen British Staging City, then general state of war exists from that moment.
11) Cornwallis and any British forces arriving in the South may attack and secure Wilmington, Charleston or Savannah. If a southern base of operations is established in 1776, the limitations of (9) & (10) will govern the southern base as well.
Issues with the house rules: The British will have supply challenges the first year. Our solution was to allow the British to use supply wagons to build depots and to expand outward from the limitations listed in (9) until they sufficient supply to*survive*the winter of 1776-1777.* It would be useful feedback for players who try these house rule to determine if this is a good game balancing mechanism or if it ruins the pleasure of play.
Hard activation is used. This is the option which means non-activated generals and their forces*may*become locked. This is really the most historical option even though many players hate the seeming loss of control. These house rules are founded upon balancing the game with two experienced players. Hard activation is the key way of achieving this balance, by putting to lower initiative British leaders in charge. Once the war develops and the superior initiative British leaders gain promotions, the Americans have had time to develop the Continental Army.

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Durk
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Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:47 pm

wrlertola wrote:Wonder what the AI would do if I modded the event to evacuate only to Nova Scotia, guess I'll try it and see. Also start a new game and do it myself :D


Given the popularity of play against the AI, if you successfully mod the British evacuation to Nova Scotia, posting your solution would be widely appreciated.

wrlertola
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Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:18 pm

Thank you for those house rules Durk, I'll use them.

I modified the 1775 Boston evac event in the Wars In America/WIA/Events folder (your path may be different) after copying (Ctrl a then Ctrl c) to a notepad file (new notepad file Ctrl v) and saving the notepad file as Boston evacoriginal in a place where you'll remember that it is ;) . Then open the event (not the notepad file) and scroll down to where you read the following (it's not far down):
Actions

SelUnqUnit = Sir William Howe
RemoveCuUnit
GenMsg

SelUnqUnit = ClearTheRegionList
SelectFaction = $GBR
AddToRegList = $Manhattan;$Manhattan;$Maggohy;$Dorchester;$Norfolk
PickFromRegList
GenMsg

Look at the line reading AddToRegList = $Manhattan;$Manhattan;$Mahoggy;$Dorchester;$Norfolk
Change it to AddToRegList = $Nova Scotia
Save the file. Note that you can also just add this ;$Nova Scotia to the end after $Norfolk in order to add the possibility of Nova Scotia and keep the other possibilities.

When the British evacuate they will go to Nova Scotia if that is the only one listed. Caveat: I am testing a game and they left in October '75 and now in December '76, haven't seen any of those troops back as of yet. The Northern Army & Central Army both showed up in '76, at New Haven in July and Boston in November respectively. I don't know if this is because I have HARD activation on but I'll try it on the next lower setting if they don't show up. I'll see about sneaking a privateer into the adjacent sea zone of Nova Scotia (green/green/avoid) and get some info in the spring of '77 in the current test run.

If you want to restore the original you can just type in the original text on the proper line in the event itself or cut & paste it from your notepad file into the 1775 Boston evac.sct file in the events folder.
BTW for some reason it looks like there is a space between l and the k in Norfolk in this post but there is not.

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lodilefty
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Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:12 pm

When we developed the evac event, we tried to evac to Nova Scotia, but then the AI failed to do anything with the forces there. In the "early" AGE games, the AI was pathetic [actuall worse than thart] at amphibious ops.

If I had time, I'd rewrite the evac events into two steps:

1. Evac all to Halifax, but LOCK all for several turns to keep the AI from dispersing the force.
2. After several [random?] turns, do the as-written "choice logic" to move the force from Halifax to the locations listed in the original.

To be "cute", you could to a "enemy forces evaluation" on the target regions, and choose the "weakest" target....
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wrlertola
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Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:35 am

That sounds great. I'll have to figure out how to lock the units for however many turns but the second part using the as written "choice logic" seems that it wouldn't be difficult to implement with a set date. These scripts would have to be placed in the 1775 Campaign.sct file.

Still working on this...

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