The game begins with Don Bernardo de Galvez’s army of 5,000 having just landed on the mainland. How many forces actually are present is decided in a special phase during the initial set-up wherein that portion of the Spanish army that sailed from Havana must run the gauntlet of the Red Cliffs Fort guns. Hence, the starting forces for Spain are likely to be different for each game played as units and leaders are eliminated or delayed in their arrival. Once these forces are ashore, the Spanish player faces some hard choices. Does he send forces to take out the Red Cliffs Fort, to protect his turn 7 Spanish and French reinforcements from having to run the same gauntlet, or does the Spanish player immediately begin construction of the siege works, to achieve the longest possible bombardment before the coup de main?
The British player is outnumbered, but must employ his small forces in aggressive and often risky raids to slow down siege construction, wear down Spanish morale and worry the Spanish lines of supply. Getting a small force into one of two Spanish stockades can be devastating for the Spanish. Thus, though numerically superior, the Spanish player has much to do and protect, and will often be spread thin by a well-conceived series of raids. Giving the Spanish too many siege turns to bombard your three forts and/or permitting the Spanish to launch the coup de main with high army morale is likely to spell disaster for the British player.