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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:56 am 
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Gentlemen,

I thank you for your comments, one and all. I believe that what this comes down to <i>for the moment </i>is individual choice. Whether turn-based or phase-based the player who cares about realism in his simulations has a lot of things to juggle.

I do appreciate the fluid nature of the turn-based system and the potential ability of one's units to take multiple opportunity fire during the opponent's movement. Both of these things are elements of realistic combat from the Civil War period. But so is the ability to mount an effective defense! And a number of officers have made comment to the fact that the turn-based method heavily favors the attacker and that defensive tactics suffer as a result. And that, of course, is exactly <i>my</i> problem. It seems to me that the players who elect to remain in the turn-based mode will eventually, out of a sense of sheer survival, begin to excessively adopt the ahistorical, offensively weighted tactics that are rewarded over the defense and become insulated from that particular reality of Civil War combat. I found myself doing exactly that in my most recent contests, and did not derive any great satisfaction from it. But that was my personal take on the issue, one that is steeped in a lifetime study of the Civil War.

I am reminded of the classic scene in the film, Gettysburg, wherein after explaining the tactical plan of assault to Pickett, Pettigrew and Trimble, Longstreet has dialog with the spy, Harrison, over what will happen to the assaulting troops as they draw nearer to the Federal line on Cemetery Ridge. Longstreet recognized the power of the defense, having experienced the defense he himself had helped to mount at Fredericksburg, and worried over the gamble that was about to occur that afternoon. The point here is that Meade did not rush his army about, assembling as many strike teams that he could and throwing them forcibly against Lee's positions in melee after melee. Meade had created a defense, a very strong defense, one that did not worry about using only half of its firepower or that might not fire at all depending upon a "percentage order!"

Perhaps that's an unfair analogy. But I could have used Johnston's defense of Resaca as a mirror example. Each example does reflect an important element that contributes to <i>my</i> personal choice. I fully recognize that that particular element is not shared by many club members, and I am totally appreciative that the game system is deep enough in its construction to allow a choice at all! We all play these games for our individual reasons. But no one plays these games for long if they don't enjoy them.

I must also thank those who took the time, Bill Peters, D.S. Walter, Gilbert Collins, and Kennon Whitehead, to correctly point out to me the differences involves in the MDF/ADF combinations. I also thank Jim Wilkes and Gary McClellan for setting me straight about the limitations of the game systems. That's what makes this organization, the ACWGC, such a great place in which to wander about, state an opinion and hear the discussion. Thank you!

Col. Jos. C. Meyer



Col. Jos. C. Meyer,
4th "California" Brigade,
"Cumberland Sabres" Cavalry Division,
14th Corps, Army of the Cumberland


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:21 am 
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Joe
One more salient point that has been gotton away from- you CAN play with manual defensive fire!! I have done so upon occasion. I play mostly VERY long games so I am more of a person who savors the games so the extra files are not a big deal( yes I have done the three day battle with ADF Off!!) If you find an opponent who does not mind fighting the Battles for long periods of real life time then have at it with ADF off!![8D][:0][^] It DOES change the Battles.

Colonel Tony Best
Army of Georgia


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:38 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Jim,

The 14 guns I was talking about were in reference to a posting, Full Melee Defensive Fire in new system, (Aug. 10th) made by General Laub. The situation he described was not specifically appropriate to my comments, but obviously had a direct bearing upon the current faults of ADF. The tactical situation was generic to the complaint.

<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

quite right - I'm the knucklehead who didn't protect his arty well enough. Although, in my defence, they were on a hill <i>behind</i> my lines several hexes, but a cav unit that I had no idea about came from behind some woods and nailed them - thought I had the front ZOC locked down, knew there were troops over there, but certainly didn't know he had 2 cav regiments that could reach that far that quick. The attacking regiment won't be able to make it back to their lines, so it was essentially a suicide mission of sorts, but knocking out those guns is probably worth the tradeoff, because they were wreaking havoc on his infantry...[:D][B)]

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General Jeff Laub
Union Chief of the Army
ACWGC Cabinet Member
http://www.geocities.com/laubster22/UnionHQ/


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:25 am 
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The main complaint with phased play is that units can advance across open terrain, in the LOS of multiple enemy units, especially artillery, ending the phase in hex not in LOS, without suffering any casualties. I well remember the outraged posts concerning this "ridiculous" lack of realism when we all played the BG games.

Alas, the Turn based play of the HPS titles has only substituted one set of "ridiculous" circumstances with another. As someone else in this thread pointed out realism goes out the window when you turn the computer on. It's a game, after all, and there are inevitable trade offs between historical realism and playablity. All of this has been said innumerable times before.

What I would suggest, is that "phased" play could be made more "realistic" by reducing the movement factor by half for units in LOS and in range of an enemy unit. In other words, a moving unit once it enters the LOS of an enemy unit and is within firing range of that unit, the moving unit loses half it's remaining MPs. It's somewhat akin to what happens to units that move into the hexes covered by skirmishers.

In Turn based play, perhaps the engine could be tweaked to make opportunity fire more likely and/or include some sort of MP reduction to the moving unit.

Melee was the exception not the rule. Most Civil War battles were primarily firefights. In both phased and turn play there are far too many melees.



BG Michael Burns, CSA
2/1/III/AotM


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:44 am 
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I think people are losing sight of the realities of Civil War combat. Yes in phased play a unit could cross in the open and find cover somewhere before making contact that was either out LOS or gives them significant modifiers like forest. This is the old "Panzer Bush" problem that occurred in "modern" war board games and triggered the invention of "opportunity fire". What they are forgetting is the scale and time interval of this game, 125 yard hexes and 20 minutes of time. For a unit to take advantage of avoiding fire while moving it has to stops at least 250 yards from the enemy. This means the hex people want to have opportunity fire at was 250 to 375 yards from the firing line. Civil War troops were trained not to waste their ammo at such ranges. They only carried 40-60 rounds which could be fired completely in less than 20 minutes. They rarely fired at such ranges. Even artillery held their fire unless they had an abundance of ammo on hand. And it was generally ineffective at such ranges.

The "modern" war "panzer bush" problem is different. Tanks and infantry practice an overwatch tactic where one group would move forward quickly to a covered position while another provided cover fire. In this situation opportunity fire is of great importance.

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


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:35 am 
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I disagree. Yeah, looking for opfire at 5 hexes for infantry is a bit much (ok, alot much)

But on the other hand, if an enemy infantry unit tries to march across a field at 5 hexes in front of a large combined battery, I expect them to pay for it.

I still contend the best solution is to give opfire a higher chance of Disrupting units.

Major General Gary McClellan
1st Division, XXIII Corps
AoO,USA


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:01 pm 
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How about 10 minute turns and halving the movement points? This would reduce blitzing somewhat on the single turn side and reduce the ability to move in and out of LOS as easily on the phased side. Jena of the Napoleonic games has 10 minute turns and reduced movement and has become highly regarded because of it.

Lt.General Dale Lastowicka
4th Brigade, 1st Division, VIII Corps, AOS

Games:
Battleground: Gettysburg, Shiloh, Antietam, Bull Run, Chickamauga
HPS(PHASED PLAY ONLY):Corinth, Ozark, Franklin, Peninsula, Vicksburg, Atlanta


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:10 am 
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Could not opportunity fire be available even if a phased game is played. It could be listed as an option to select at the game start. The Nappy games have and option "No opportunity fire against skirmishers" so I have to believe this could be done.

Lt General Jon Thayer
III Corps
Army of Northern Virginia

jonathanthayer@bellsouth.net


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:19 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Jon Thayer</i>
<br />Could not opportunity fire be available even if a phased game is played. It could be listed as an option to select at the game start. The Nappy games have and option "No opportunity fire against skirmishers" so I have to believe this could be done.

Lt General Jon Thayer
III Corps
Army of Northern Virginia

jonathanthayer@bellsouth.net
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Yes they could. As long as they don't make the mistake they made in implementing in "Turn" system of using Opportunity Fire as a substitute for normal Defensive Fire. It was the halving of the fire power and the assumption that firing multiple times at a moving target at half strength at some random range was equivalent to firing once at an adjacent unit at full strength.

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


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:09 am 
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Dale:

I couldn't help but notice your comment about the ten minute turn thing. I'm dead against that suggestion. One of the reasons I hate the Colonial games is the ridiculous 5 minute turn!

Playing a game like Brandywine with five minute turns is insane. I can't imagine Gettysburg done the same way.

No, the answer isn't changing the entire game system to make 'opportunity fire' work. It's either to get it to work or abandon it entirely. I'm in favour of abandonmemt.

I do agree that the attacker should be able to disrupt a lot more than presently is the case however.



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


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:34 pm 
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I think in phased based play you could still have opportinity fire at half strength and then the defensive phase at full strength. opportunity fire seldoms hits that many men and the real result would be that a unit would disrupt here and there.

Lt General Jon Thayer
III Corps
Army of Northern Virginia

jonathanthayer@bellsouth.net


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:07 pm 
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As memory serves, the Brandywine scenario is 48 turns, there are many ACW scenarios that are far longer. If there is a problem with the playability of Brandywine, it's not in the 5 minute turn, but in the sheer number of counters. In that case though, it's just that it's hard to use the same engine to cover the main actions of the Continental Army like Brandywine, but also do Cowpens or King's Mountain. Those battles would be silly at the scale used in the ACW games.

Anyway, the 10 minute turn idea isn't so much to solve the "OpFire" dilemma, as it is to cut down on battlefield mobility. If a unit can only march 4 hexes in line as opposed to 6, that changes the dimensions of the battle considerably on all sides. Is it a good change? Honestly, that is as controversial over at the NWC as Phased/Turn play is here. Some swear by it, others loathe it with an unholy passion.

In a way though, shortening the turns (or leaving the turns the same but lowering overall Movement) would provide a partial solution for the problems caused by both forms of play under discussion here.

The great problem with "turn" based play is the opportunity to use mobility to break down a line and exploit it, and the weakness of defensive fire only exacerbates that problem. However, the ablity to do this is heavily depending on mobility, the ability to rush troops to a position in a heartbeat and hit the enemy line. Less mobility lowers the risk of this.

Likewise, the great risk of Phased play is the ability of the attackers to move their units with absolute impunity, manuvering against a static enemy line that literally can do NOTHING but watch the enemy moves. Any error in deployment, any dangling flank is left vunerable. Shortening the movement again lowers the ability of the attackers to take advantage of this.


<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by gcollins</i>
<br />Dale:

I couldn't help but notice your comment about the ten minute turn thing. I'm dead against that suggestion. One of the reasons I hate the Colonial games is the ridiculous 5 minute turn!

Playing a game like Brandywine with five minute turns is insane. I can't imagine Gettysburg done the same way.

No, the answer isn't changing the entire game system to make 'opportunity fire' work. It's either to get it to work or abandon it entirely. I'm in favour of abandonmemt.

I do agree that the attacker should be able to disrupt a lot more than presently is the case however.



Bg. General Gilbert Collins
Army of Alabama
III/I/2nd Brigade
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Major General Gary McClellan
1st Division, XXIII Corps
AoO,USA


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:36 am 
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It's common knowledge that the Civil War was that great conflict that finally made the superiority of defense over the attack conclusive.

Certainly by 1864 with the examples of the fortifications utilized in the Atlanta Campaign, and at the siege of Petersburg this was proven. Petersburg begins to resemble the great trench warfare of World War II.

My whole problem with 'turn based' play is that it completely defies this proven fact. Turn based play demonstrates the superiority of the Attacker over the Defender. This is wrong, false, ridiculous and has nothing to do with history.

Sure, phased play isn't perfect, but it's completely in line with the period and the way battles were fought. IT DOES demonstrate the superiority of the defense over the offense.

If turn based play doesn't demonstrate this, then it's wrong plain and simple.

Members may like it, defend it, play it and further it's cause, but it's wrong and does disservice to the period.

I would much rather concentrate on correcting the deficiencies of the hexagon grid which has been a mainstay of board games and some computer games now for over 48 years!

One of the things I can't understand, that has not been corrected is the 'every other hex' defence. We all do it, it's even recommended by designers and game players, but it looks absolutely ridiculous.

I would like to see a line that covers every hex and has units IN every hex touching each other, as a battle line is in real life. The hexagon grid is something we have to live with I grant you, but surely we could have modifiers that would punish a-historical tactics that presently we are all using.



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


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:30 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by gcollins</i>
<br />
One of the things I can't understand, that has not been corrected is the 'every other hex' defence. We all do it, it's even recommended by designers and game players, but it looks absolutely ridiculous.

I would like to see a line that covers every hex and has units IN every hex touching each other, as a battle line is in real life. The hexagon grid is something we have to live with I grant you, but surely we could have modifiers that would punish a-historical tactics that presently we are all using.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

I think the only way you will ensure an every-hex defense is to do away with zones of control. After all, a 125 yd gap is quite a gap! I think the board games like Terrible Swift Sword had rules to allow extra fire against units moving through a zone of control, but the movement could be done. I believe skewing the melee results in favor of the defender and flank morale modifiers have done a lot to encourage solid lines, and so has weak ZOC to a lesser degree. Now I find I will normally deploy in solid lines rather than every other hex like I used to do in Battleground. The exception is if I have to cover a large front with a small force. Then I will use the alternate hex deployment.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:00 pm 
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Mike:

I certainly like the idea of defending every hex, and in my play these days I'm trying to get back to that. But the HPS system with the hex grid inherently doesn't REWARD such behavior. On the contrary you are penalized for doing so.

I would like to see a +mod for the defender when both flanks have units adjacent to them. In that way there would be a reason to defend every single hex. I think presently there is a penalty if you don't have a unit on one flank but I can't be sure of that. I can't seem to find any of the minutia type points in the rules.

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


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