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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:41 am 
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Rich- I guarantee that 90%+ of the members here at the Mason-Dixon find your support of these games to be of the highest calibar!![:)] In an open forum one always finds those whose only actual input into our hobby is whining and criticism.We beseech those that actually DO things to ignore this minority!![;)][:D]

Colonel Tony Best
Army of Georgia


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:53 am 
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Rich, I am sure it gets old hearing so many negative criticsm's of your work here at MDT. It is my frim belief that 95% of the folks in this club are deeply grateful to you and the other designers for all incredibly hard work you guys have poured into the games. These games are second to none in playability and historical accuracy. They have provided us all with a tremendous opportunity to play out some of the greatest battles of history. I regret that I have not been vocal enough in my support in you and the other designers. Please understand how appreciated your efforts are. Not only are you producing high quality games you are doing so in a very timely manner. Please take any negative critcism in stride and understand it is a minority viewpoint.[;)]

Regards,

Lt. Gen. Ed Blackburn
I/I/VI/AoS
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"Forward Bucktails"


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:56 am 
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I'd like to add my appreciation of what Rich does, especially his responding to comments and questions here. I think the way in which our feedback is taken on board and reflected in relatively speedy updates/improvements is one of the great features of the series, and it seems to me that Rich is probably the busiest of the designers in this regards.

Lt. Gen Niall Murphy
4/2/VIII Corps, AoS


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:38 am 
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Posts: 148
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Rich, I would like to endorse the sentiments of Colonel Tony Best, Lt. Gen. Ed Blackburn and Lt. Gen Niall Murphy. Along with others you produce and support these games to a <b><u>really high standard </u></b>and long may you do so.

Regards,

<b><font color="black">Colonel John Sheffield,</font id="black"></b>
1st Brigade <b><font color="red">[Fighting First]</font id="red"></b>
2nd Division,
XXIII Corps
<font color="orange">Army of the Ohio.</font id="orange">
<font color="red">U.</font id="red"><font color="white">S.</font id="white"><font color="blue">A.</font id="blue">


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:42 am 
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I appreciate the help and support Rich has given and agree with the last 4 gentlemen. Thank you Rich

LTC. Charles Babb
COLD STEEL!
6th Brigade,3rd Division
XXIII Corps
Army of the Ohio


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:14 pm 
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Rich Walker</i>
Now, when the next patch is released I will introduce consolidated rebel batteries as I have already done for my next title. I will also offer at least one variant of the historical Antietam with sections.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">Don't do it. A return to the 4 Gun CSA battery vs 6 Gun USA battery formula is a step backwards from the otherwise fair and equitable Corinth model.

Why?

Because, Mr. Tiller's hardwired fire calculation forumla (i.e., Range + Modifier + #Gun FIRE = Fatigue / #Gun Loss) always resolves all friendly sections / batteries stacked in a hex - even when thought to be combined into a single 'large' attack - as multiple <i>separate</i> - individual - attacks. Thus one on one, anytime a single Yank #6 gun battery fires, it statistically generates a 50% increased Fire factor over any #4 CSA battery.

This was ultimately determined to be unfair way back when. And, yet, now here we are . . . talkin' bout going forward into the past? [V]

Now I sympathize with anyone's desire to form single large integer battery formations! I really do, dammit! But, WE can't do it with John Tiller's game, because he employs a stale, inflexible, fixed, dated Fire formula routine that skewers to favor single large interger (i.e. 6 Gun USA battery) fire attacks vs a smaller (i.e., 4 Gun CSA battery ane/or 2 gun section / 1 piece) fire attacks.

Unless, Mr. Tiller rethinks this baby formula, there is NO alternative that is FAIR to all combatants, other than to breakdown <i>all</i> batteries on both sides of the Mason-Dixon.

Exhibit C

Question: How many 2 gun / 1 piece CSA artillery sections, firing individually as they must (because Mr. Tiller made it thus) over the course of a single defensive / offensive fire turn, are needed to provide a "1" Gun Loss vs a single 6 Gun USA battery?

Answer: A plethora! [:(]

Question: How many 6 gun USA batteries are needed to knock out a 2 gun CSA section in a single defensive / offensive fire phase?

Answer: 2

That is, in one consecutive defensive / offensive fire turn two 6 Gun USA batteries netted the following results: "Fatigue," "1" Gun Loss, "1" Gun Loss, "Fatigue". (Range=9, Modifier= -20) - Turn 5, Cedar Mountain.

In the CSA defensive fire / offensive fire turn, three 2 gun sections and 1 piece returned fire on above (2) USA batteries, netting the following results: "Fatigue," "No Effect," "No Effect," "No Effect," "No Effect," "Fatigue," "No Effect," "Fatigue".

Fair?

Why is this so hard?

Fld. Lt. D. Shoeless, CSA
Secretary of the Cabinet (Ret)
1st Tenn Provisional Army


<center><i>From a certain point onward there is no turning back. That is the point that must be reached.</i> --F. Kafka</center>


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:15 pm 
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I ran the following test.

I stacked two Union 6 gun batteries( 1st NY batty B and 4th U.S. A&C)
vs.
Jackson's Btty of Ewell Div 6x 2gun batteries and a 1 gun, in all 7 units that equal 13 guns. I left off one 2 gun unit of Jackson's Btty.

I placed them 5 hexes apart and fired by the stack. Clear terrain and the Union fired first.

Results:
Union lost 10 guns and I fired the rebels until destroyed, so they lost all 13.

At one point, it was one Union 2 gun battery versus 2 rebel 1 gun batteries. But alas, the 2 gun defeated the 2x 1 guns.

In short 10 vs 13

Although the rebels lost, the ratio of 1.3 v 1.0 isn't bad.

I guarantee that if you fire whole stacks, you will do better than firing individually.

BTW, all playtesting is done in single turn mode. Multi-phase play may differ and I can't vouch for the play balance.


Lt. Col. Richard Walker
I Corps
Army of the Mississippi
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division
"Defenders of Tennessee"


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:00 pm 
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OK, I ran a second test for kicks. The same setup, but I let the rebs go first. This time I fired on only one Union battery until destroyed. At the end, the Union lost all 12 guns and the rebs had 3x 2 gun batteries still on the board.

And again I fired by the complete stack.

So tactics can change the result, and a little luck.

My point is simple. The heavy Union 6 gun batteries are not always the overwhelming power. But it will take large rebel stacks that must fire all at once at a single target. Use terrain wisely, although my test ran on equal elevation and in the clear.

Lt. Col. Richard Walker
I Corps
Army of the Mississippi
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division
"Defenders of Tennessee"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:35 pm 
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Rich Walker</i>

To be sure, I make mistakes and try to correct them as they are pointed out to me.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">We're all in the same boat if only because we're all only human. Sometimes, a Light Crusier comes to mind - heavy on the guns, light on armor? But, not to worry. <blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">As for educating others on how to edit and create new and existing files, I have (before this post) already accepted the invitation from John Newton to do just that.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">Good.<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">As for <i>Campaign Antietam</i>, I will do as I have already said. I will alter the OOB to include consolidated rebel batteries and will also create more scns that use union artilery sections.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">One Step Forward. Two Steps Backward. (I wouldn't do it - not because I don't sympathize with you Yanks who desire to employ Mr. Tiller's hardwired 6 Gun (USA) vs 4 Gun (CSA) Fire Integer advantage, but because it simply isn't about scenario balancing - it's about balancing Mr. Tiller's problematic hardwired formula.)
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Finally, I want to express my sincere disappointment with the tone of your recent and past posts. Frankly, I find them insulting. It's only out of my willingness to improve the games and show my appreciation to the buyers and fellow hobbists that I respond. I try not to engage in negative comments, but your constant negative and patronizing comments are offensive.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">Rich, I appreciate your sincere disappointment, yet willingness to be frank. Thanks.

Now, I trust you will extend the same liberties to another. ==Denny

Fld. Lt. D. Shoeless, CSA
Secretary of the Cabinet (Ret)
1st Tenn Provisional Army

<center><i>From a certain point onward there is no turning back. That is the point that must be reached.</i> --F. Kafka</center>


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:51 am 
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I'm watching with great interest the discussion about Union Six Gun batteries versus Confederate sections. I think 'Shoeless' and 'Rich' have presented good arguments for the pluses and minuses of each system or 'way of doing things'.

One thing that bothers me about the whole discussion, no matter what side of the coin you are on is this. Both methods describe situations where, (in paraphrase) it is best to 'mass all of your guns and fire on one battery'.

Gentlemen, both Union and Confederate batteries did not fight that way. In fact it would be clearly impossible to co-ordinate that kind of fire. I believe it was used once at the battle of Antietam whereby a few Union batteries co-ordinated their fire in order to knock out particular Rebel batteries. But authors are rather silent on 'how' this was done?

Several batteries stretched out for several hundred yards are going to have one heck of a time co-ordinating their fire with shouted command from Gun batteries, with smoke obscuring the field to say nothing of targetting.

Also, at present it is perfectly possible to co-ordinate fire on a particular battery from say Oak Hill at Gettysburg and the Lutheran Theological Seminary, some miles away. Hey.....this is the age horse galloping messengers not two way radio.

What has this got to do with sectional batteries? Plenty. While at present we cannot prevent that degree of co-ordinated fire we can help reduce it by eliminating sections. Even sections spread out over one mile is stretching the historical point as to co-ordinated fire.

I for one, have always been in the "single battery camp". Yes, the old system wasn't perfect and their were compromises. But when sectional guns were introduced a whole host of new problems were introduced into a system that was fairly clean before.

I hate single guns blocking a forest road and slowing down a whole column. With an entire battery I could live with it but these sectional guns drive me crazy, to say nothing of the number of extra counters you have to move.

Another point about those sectional batteries that I have mentioned before is that it now encourages players to use them completely in an a-historical way. They can be split up all over the battlefield without any regard to their historical designation or organization.

Let's see now. Ok "Fredericksburg Artillery". Lt. Simpson you take the single 5.5" howitzer and move it over to Oak Hill. Lt. Thompson you take the 2 12 lb. Napoleons and go with Longstreets flanking column down to Round Top. And oh, Lt. Hazard you take the Parrot rifle and place it somewhere with the other 'round up' of other Parrots from every other battery in the Army of Northern Virginia and help in the long range fire.

An exaggeration. Of course, but completely within the capability of the new sectional batteries. This was not possible before.

By all means, sectional batteries were perfectly acceptable for the smaller campaigns such as on the Corinth disk, but please, for the large battles ala Gettysburg, Antietam, Chickamauga let us have individual batteries NOT sections.



Bg. General Gilbert Collins
Army of Alabama
III/I/2nd Brigade


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:17 am 
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Way to much time is being spent on this issue IMO. Yes there may be a slight statistical advantage for the Union artillery due it's larger batteries. Yes, combined firing of the batteries on single enemy batteries is not historical. There are going to be trade offs in these games as well as elements of play that are not historical. The games have to be made playable and have some balance. Perhaps a poll needs to be done on these issues since some of you have strong feelings. Perhaps the issue is simply being blown out of proportion because some folks are very vocal in their opinions.

In general I am against overly tweaking the system as I think the mix is about right. Although the mechanism may not be historical I think the results are. The Union artillery enjoyed a fairly significant advanatge in effectiveness in general in most of the battles of the Civi War. The Confederate infantry enjoyed a moderate qualitative advanatge and a significant advantage in leadership and cavalry quality (at least in the first three years of the war). I think these facts are reasonably well portrayed in the current system. In all honesty the mecahnism is of less concern to me than the result.

Lt. Gen. Ed Blackburn
I/I/VI/AoS
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"Forward Bucktails"


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:15 am 
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I suppose my tactics more resemble the Germans at Jutland, then the normal ACW arty fire, but we play not to recreate the exact same historical result, rather we try to use historical situations and change history.

It's not a purist method, but it is fun IMHO. And the main purpose of these games, as I have always said, is to have fun while maintaining the historical flavor.

Tactics are a matter of choice.


Lt. Col. Richard Walker
I Corps
Army of the Mississippi
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division
"Defenders of Tennessee"


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:35 pm 
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The problem comes in in the imbalance created by one side having 1 and 2 gun units versus the other having 4-6 guns units. Two things happen when you have this mix. First if you place a rebel stack a few hexes from a union stack both having equal number, say 12 guns. The Union stack will always wipe out the Rebel. Why? Theirs are two 6 gun batteries while the Rebel will be 6 to 12 sections. During Offensive fire yes they will hit just as hard as the Union by firing as a stack. However in AI Defensive fire which most people use the Union guns will continue to hit hard. The Rebel guns firing individually will rarely get a hit because of their low Fire Factors.

The second problem is stacking. For the Union I usually but together 20 gun stacks. They usually can kill a gun every time they fire. The Rebels are limited to eight sections. Rarely can they put together a large enough stack for a sure kill.

The important point here is both sides need to have their Units organized the same way, sections or batteries.

Now for how artillery was used.

Before the start of the Civil War guns were always mixed. The prescribed organization for field battery was 2 12lb Howitzers and 4 6 Lb guns. This was done to give the battery flexibility. With the addition of rifle guns they changed this mix to include 4 Napoleon and 2 Rifled. This gave the battery the tactical flexibility to handle many different situations. The guns themselves were always placed as sections (2 guns) not as a battery.

This changed with McClellan's reorganization of the artillery in 1861. Major Barry, chief of artillery, recommended that one third of the artillery be Parrott rifled guns and the remainder 12 lb Napoleons. And, that they be organized into batteries of six guns of the same caliber but never less than four guns. Similar caliber was done more to simplify supplying them. While batteries were assigned to artillery brigades these were logistic organizations not for fire coordination. It wasn't until later that guns were organized into battalions or brigades for coordination purposes.

Tactically the guns were placed and aimed by section. While the battery commander usually kept his guns together they were deployed by twos. It wasn't unusual for sections to be sent off on separate assignments. A good example of how they were used in mixed battery are the first artillery shots fired at Gettysburg. Pegram seeing some enemy troops near Marsh Creek ordered the Fredericksburg Battery (2 rifles and 2 Napoleons) to unlimber the rifled section on the road and fire into the woods to the left of the pike.

On the Union side it was Calef's battery (6 rifled) that deployed on McPherson's ridge. Lt. Roder's section was deployed on the right side of the Pike. Sergeant Newman's section was deployed on the left side of the Pike. Pergel's section was deployed behind Herbst Woods in support of the 8 NY about 600 yards south of the other guns.

While the Union in particular tended to keep their guns together in battery they did not hestitate to split them into sections if they needed to provide support to troops spread out. The Rebels routinely deployed by section since only at the section level did they have consistent calibers. They used the gun section that was appropriate to the tactical situation and sent the other ones to the rear.

LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
1/1/III AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:31 pm 
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Hi Kennon,

<i>The problem comes in in the imbalance created by one side having 1 and 2 gun units versus the other having 4-6 guns units. Two things happen when you have this mix. First if you place a rebel stack a few hexes from a union stack both having equal number, say 12 guns. The Union stack will always wipe out the Rebel. Why? Theirs are two 6 gun batteries while the Rebel will be 6 to 12 sections. During Offensive fire yes they will hit just as hard as the Union by firing as a stack. However in AI Defensive fire which most people use the Union guns will continue to hit hard. The Rebel guns firing individually will rarely get a hit because of their low Fire Factors.</i>

I already proved in my self-run test that your above statement is not correct? Have you tried it? Set it up, I was very specific. The test I ran was played in single turn mode.

Also, I will say again, the rebel batteries are not sectionalized per se, rather they are placed according to historical tube type. There are many rebel 4 gun batteries and several 3 gun. Perhaps, even a 5 gun. And even though the guns have less FP vs. the 4 or 6 gun Union guns, they provide much more flexibility, and less damage is done when a "Crew Killed" is a result.

In Short, there are pros and cons.

But again, I will appease those that are disappointed. I will create more Antietam sceanrios with sectionalized Union arty and add to the OOB consolidated rebel batteries. So "maybe" everyone will be happy.

And again, with a little effort, players could edit these games to meet their own needs.

I have won many historical Antietam games as the South, so I'm satisfied that the game is balanced. But skill will always play a crucial part. A superior Union player will likely defeat a rebel player in most cases.

If I could put money on a game, I would put one of my playtesters (Alex) against anyone here as the south and feel as secure in my money being well won. Remember Tim Roth's character in <i>Rob Roy.</i> His first first was a huge victory, but everyone thought he would lose because of his appearance.


Lt. Col. Richard Walker
I Corps
Army of the Mississippi
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division
"Defenders of Tennessee"


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:54 pm 
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After watching the progress of this thread I think much of it goes back to the original issue that was giving me problems: That being units in a stack firing combined. What prompted my first post was that in two Antietam games both my opponents would fire all the units in a stack together and thus limited my defensive fire. I just don't think is simulates in any realistic manner actual fire combat. Yes, we play games but I find issue with the tactics based on the premise of, "Hey, if I fire all my units together, the defender whon't be able to hit me back" to be extremely "gamey" Many of the points made in this thread as well as most others show a slant to the side of the player, either Union or Confederate, that generally gives and advantage to their side. Yankees don't like quality modifiers, Rebs want batteries for their guns instead of sections. These are two examples. My original post came from my experience playing both sides at Antietam. It just does not make since that 950 men can fire at a target containing 500 men and 100 fire back. The whole issue of creating massive stacks of cannon just to ensure a hit each shot is basically exploiting the engine to advantage. This then leads to the division of camps much like we have seen in the NWC. Once group of players want as realistic a representation of the battles as possible, and the other wants a game.

Lt General Jon Thayer
III Corps
Army of Northern Virginia

jonathanthayer@bellsouth.net


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