MGSteve wrote:I have to disagree about passing over the small +1 states in New England. Here, as on other maps, the small boni are great ways to start because the small boost they give your due can provide the troops to take the larger boni. And while California's big 9 bonus is great, it takes a helluva lot more troops to conquer it and even more to hold it. I'll go for the smallest ones I can take and always avoid states with airports, except for AK, WA and HI, until I have plenty of troops to guard against all the other airports with. Starting big is a great way to lose and starting with the smallest bonus you can take is a sure way to get a good quick leg up on the competition while they're still working on those big boni.
There may be a multiplayer game theoretic benefit to securing the smallest possible bonus in the early game. My experience on this map is limited to 1v1 games and I will speak confidently from my success in those games.
The New England territories offer the worst return in relation to the cost of capturing them. A +1 bonus in return for overcoming 2 + 2 + 5 troops (Vermont and New Hampshire) or 2 + 2 + 2 + 5 (Maine) is not good compared to most other states. In addition, the capitals of VT, NH, and CT are not highway connected and do not offer a higher potental bonus later on.
There may be some unquantifiable benefit to being difficult to reach or having fewer fronts to defend. The authors of this map saw this and left Florida, Michigan, Hawaii, Alaska, and Maine with poor bonuses compared to their size.
I agree with MGSteve that attempting to secure too large a bonus out of the gate is a poor strategy. If you have time to analyze the drop, identify a medium sized bonus (4 or fewer territories) that your opponent would be disinclined to counterattack. If it has a highway connected Capital, even better. While your opponent is having dice troubles with Concord, you can move on to multiple bonuses on multiple fronts and take home the easy victory.
The best strategy is drop-dependent. A common scenario might involve a drop in Frankfurt, Kentucky with a neutral Dayton, Ohio. In this case, take Kentucky. Proceed aggressively but not recklessly on multiple fronts while countering opponent bonuses. You will win.