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 Post subject: Campaign Gettysburg Proposal
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:56 am 
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Posts: 1642
Location: USA
We have never really taken advantage of the Campaign Editor to create our own Campaign choices and scenarios. I am making this post to see if there is any interest in developing a specialized Campaign since it is a lot of work. And, what direction it should take. So here is a description of my thinking, I'm looking for feedback.


The full Campaign Gettsyburg is quite time consuming to get through because of all the various scenarios and their outcomes, but does a good job of randomizing the final battle. The Historic battles of Gettsyburg like Historical 1 or 007 set up the battle well but tend to lead to the same results since we know them so well. Also, the Battle itself isn't very balanced. The Rebels have the worse command rating they ever had in battle and the Union has 20,000 more troops to stomp them into the ground with.

So what I am proposing is to develop a one battle Campaign game. I would use the Campaign Editor to create a much more complex set of decision trees to allow both sides to alter how the Grand Tactical situation is leading up to the battle. The final scenario selection would still be one of the many available in the Campaign Game that includes the area of Gettysburg but you wouldn't have to go through 5-7 battles like Brandy Station and Winchester to get there and there would be enough FOW introduced that both sides would be in the dark about what was happening. This could be further enhanced by editing the scenarios included to use some of the new rules that are now available.

For example, the Campaigh currently gives a number of decision trees leading up to battles around Gettysburg and Pipe Creek. These ones like:

Seeking the enemy
The Forces Converge
Decisions with little information
Seek the enemy
Rebels in Pennsylvania
The fight is joined
Move to contact
The Time is now

What I would like to do is identify the better more balanced scenarios from these and create a new branch tree leading up to the final battle. Examples of Confederate decisions on the first level might be:

Concentrate at Chambersburg then advance.
Advance by Fairfield
Advance by Cashtown
Advance from the north

I would like to aim for at least a two level decision tree. First some major choices by both sides as to how they will approach Gettsyburg and then how they will weight their deployment. A lot depends on what existing scenarios I have to choose from.

Decisions that have to be made on the scope of this project include how balanced versus historic should it be? The Historic Gettysburg heavily favors the Union, how do we get things back in balance? Should we?

Should we limit ourselves to Gettsyburg scenarios or include Pipe Creek?

There are probably many more questions to be raised and problems that will need solutions but first there is the question of interest. This would be a lot of work and would require some volunteers to do things like identify and rate scenario files, etc. If its a project only three people end up using it isn't worth the effort.

So lets hear some feedback.

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:46 am 
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Location: United Arab Emirates
Hi,

as I have never played an HPS campaign game, I can only offer my experience from board gaming, where we did a variant on this based on the La Bataille-series from CoA.

We made up a strategic map of N France, Belgium and part of Holland and Prussia, made a general "Order of Battle" for all nations from where the Overall Commanders for each side made their own division of forces into both historical and non-historical Corps and detachments etc.

Then all agreed on general victory conditions, mostly based on the following parameters:

- The general force ration Allies vs French
- Geographical objectives (politically influenced, such as Paris, Brussels etc)
- LOC to important rear areas (all) and sea ports (Britain)
- Time span, when a decisive battle had to be fought in order for the French to press the Alies for peace before their newly mobilized forces could be brought to bear. Then France would have lost anyhow.

The strategic campaign moved blindly over the strategic map with an umpire actualy carrying out the movements and reporting back to the commanders any events, possible sightings etc. Each turn was one day and that made coordination cruicial, as large bodies of troops otherwise would become fatigued by waiting while being alerted etc.

Dumps and magazines also limited how much you could concentrate forces without consuming supply, which could be very hard when you engaged in battle to find out that most of the reserve ammunition was too far away and that the troops were exhausted because of being out of supply..

When troops clashed and the both sides decided to engage, the Corps commander of the affected troop assumed over all command, unless Nappy or Nosey were present themselves. The other players (Corps commanders of other corps, Nappy et al) became subordinates to the engaged corps/ wing commander.

Battles were fought on the normal La Bataille maps, not only the 1815 ones, but the others too. Losses were recorded and divided into casualites and stragglers. Depending on the general outcome of the battle, a larger or smaller number of the units (brigades etc) gained experienced, as decided by the umpire.

When doing tactical battles, your own unit counter(leader) also played an important role, as your "performance" was recorded by the side's overall commander - you got "bravery points" for taking parts in assaults, rallying units etc and also "cowardice points" for not succeeding rallying troops, having units break while being stacked with them etc. This added a very fun parameter, as you had to balance between survival and trying to get a good final ranking!
A dead hero is a useless hero... In that respect, you could win the game even when being on the losing side.

As the tactical battles were blind, you normally had a very vague idea of the size of the enemy force, which led to many interesting small unit actions.

I assume that this will not work automatically with tese games, but if one had 1-2 umpires willing to do some paperwork and keep the records, it should be possible to construct a corresponding campaign using the HPS games and their battle editors.

Alow for recovering stragglers by rest, adjust values and OOB accordingly when setting up the next battle, that should work.
Will take some teething problems initialy, but it would be fun giving it a try!

Fld Lt Lars Magnus
SS Bn/ 1/ III/ AoG/ CSA


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:32 pm 
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The HPS system is rather limited as compared to the board games where you can rewrite the rules and scenarios at will as long as you have a map and counters. In HPS the OOB and the MAP are fixed. You can edit and create your own scenarios but it is a time consuming process. Creating any process for carrying forward results from one battle to the next outside of the default method within the Campaign engine requires manually editing unformated text files.

That is why I proposed a limited solution that would only reduce the player's knowledge of where troops were rather than rewrite the scenarios. I do plan to make some changes to make the battles play a little better but probably not as drastic as I did in my alternate 007 Scenario.

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:10 pm 
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Hi, General,

I have thought about something like this but never implemented it. I think the bottom line is a battle of Gettysburg with real fog of war. What that means in practical terms is uncertainty as to the where and when troops arrive in the battle area. Maybe the battle area itself as well.

I have considered the possibility of using the campaign branches to give the player more control of the outcomes. For example, you could use one campaign branch to deal with orders just to Ewell's Corps, while perhaps your opponent's options just deal with Reynolds' Corps group. There is no real scenario, just a one-turn draw, but the results of the matrix determines a scenario group where the entry time and location of Ewell's and Reynolds' units have been generally determined. The scenario group will be further refined as you do the same with the other two major units on each side. Then you can also make entry random to add further to the fog of war. And the actual Gettysburg map is huge, so once units are on the map you have a lot of flexibility as to where they go. Which is where objectives come in. You have to give everybody something to fight over.

The problem, as Rich Hamilton warned, is that you might have to end up making a whole lot of scenarios to cover all the branches. As I recall, that is what Doug Strickler did. I never did download the extra scenarios, but I think they numbered in the thousands.

My problems with the historical battle deal mostly with what I perceive as ahistorical and unbalanced ammunition restrictions for the Confederates. I never did look at the command ratings, but given the performances of Ewell, Hill, Rodes and Heth, it was probably the poorest showing of the leadership of the ANV since the Peninsula. But the predictability of the arrival times and locations of all the units certainly detracts from the battle as well.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:58 pm 
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General Whitehead,
I would be very interested in designing a campaign, so long as I had some help. The thought of designing all the various outcomes is intimidating to say the least, and to do it alone would be unthinkable. If you wish assistance in this project, allow me to aid you, as I have some experience designing scenario's. We may be able to work in various different forces, using the various different OOB's available in the game, including DH Hill's Confederate IV Corps, allowing for a more balanced final scenario against the combined Yankee Army.
your ob'dnt servant,
<salute>

Lt. Col. Nick DeStefano
4/4/IV/AotM
"Morgan's Kentucky Wolf-Pack Bde"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:06 pm 
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General, most of what you say is true. Developing all new scneario would take far to long so I only plan to use existing ones. That is where I would need help especially if we could get hold of a copy of Doug's extras. Someone who have to identify them and help group them as to type and balance.

One of the key decisions is whether to say historic or go to what if. As you observed the historic scenarios are not balanced and can't be and still be historic. My view is to go ahistoric so the battle is fightable by equal players. I see the problems of the scenarios as:

Stuart isn't there on day one. I think the absence of Stuart was the simgle most important cause of the defeat. Without him Lee is forced to make the limited decisions that lead to the battle where it was and the result that couldn't be avoided when a weaker army attacks a stronger. Using scenarios that include Stuart leading the army gives the Rebel player flexibility.

The ammo problems are another thing that unbalance the game. Eventually I would like to edit the scenarios and increase the number of wagons for the Rebel but with version 1.04 we have a number of ways to address this problem without major changes. One is cutting rifle range to four hexes to cut down on the wastage. The artillery ammo problem is addressed by the one gun one shot option.

The other problem the Rebel had, poor leadership, is harder to address since you can't change the OOB.

FOW can be addressed though. The custom Campaign branch tree using the techniques you described is one. The other is the use of weather rules to cut LOS down to something less god like than 70 hexes.

A lot can be done as long as people don't expect the result to be a slight variation on the historic battle. The historic battle will always end up the same result between equal players.

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:19 am 
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These ideas are exciting and should be pursued but you couldn't call it "Gettysburg". Think up a new name for the conflict.

BG Drex Ringbloom,
Cdr, 2nd Div "Corcoran's Legion", VIII Corps
Army of the Shenandoah
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:26 am 
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I'll offer a bit of negativity although I think that the idea holds merit.

Balanced is a relative word. Having played both sides, I've noticed that the Rebs generally call an imbalance in their favor as balanced and the Yanks do the same (the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence). Good luck trying to achieve it.

The more that I read this, the less it sounds like Gettysburg and the more it sounds like a brand new battle (not campaign) that just happens to use the Gettysburg map.

I have a distaste for using different options in my battles (my problem/preference that is not shared by everyone) so I probably wouldn't try the game more than once (if that). I would view the different 'built in rules'/adjustments as imposed options that I would forget about and then they would bite me.


Lt Gen Ned Simms
1/1/VIII/AoS/USA
Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
VMI Class of '00


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:19 am 
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I think that any attempt to make new scenarios/options etc. always have merit. Whether the endeavor pans out is always up to conjecture.

I think the amount of effort/thought put into these scenarios is quite hefty and I applaud any that do so.

The GB map is HUGE and allows for many what-ifs.

<b><font color="gold">Ernie Sands
General, Commanding, Army of Ohio
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ACWGC Records Site Administrator
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:30 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 nsimms</i>
<br />I'll offer a bit of negativity although I think that the idea holds merit.

Balanced is a relative word. Having played both sides, I've noticed that the Rebs generally call an imbalance in their favor as balanced and the Yanks do the same (the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence). Good luck trying to achieve it.

The more that I read this, the less it sounds like Gettysburg and the more it sounds like a brand new battle (not campaign) that just happens to use the Gettysburg map.

I have a distaste for using different options in my battles (my problem/preference that is not shared by everyone) so I probably wouldn't try the game more than once (if that). I would view the different 'built in rules'/adjustments as imposed options that I would forget about and then they would bite me.


Lt Gen Ned Simms
1/1/VIII/AoS/USA
Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
VMI Class of '00
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

That is always the problem when one tries to deviate from the "Historic" Gettysburg to something more balanced. Anyone who plays the full Gettysburg Campaign has basically decide to have an ahistoric battle. And, that is why I posted to verify interest in what will really be a "short" Campaign leading to Gettysburg. It will give you access to the alternate scenarios that the Full Campaign does without spending a few months playing battles like Winchester.

Now regarding Balance. Historic Gettysburg by any measure is extremely unbalanced. The I have defeated opponents as the South but it is more because they get discouraged by their first day loses are so high and forget they get two more Corps in the second day that almost out number the remaining Rebel army after the first day figth by themselves.

To list the obvious Union advantages:

20,000 more men
Better leaders (look at Lee, Ewell adn Hills ratings) and more of them (very handy for rallying).
Far more artillery and ammo to use it.
More small arms supplies.
Superior quality on average and more cavalry.
Quality of troops on average at least equal (this is usually the Rebels edge)
20,000 more men
20,000 more men

I'll happily take anyone on in one of the three day versions of "Historic" Gettsyburg as the Union. I do love to use those guns and not being on the receiving end of them.

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:40 am 
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I tend to agree that once you change unit composition and dispositions, arrival times, and allow considerable deviations from the circumstances that caused the Battle of Gettysburg (BoG), (such as map size,) that you no longer are fighting the BoG. unless it happens by accident. It becomes a made-up game that is a possibility that was, but no longer pretends to be historically accurate.

I am quite okay with a new campaign game named such as "The Pennsylvania Campaign," or more accurately because of possibilities of fighting elsewhere, something like "Lee's Second Invasion" or "The ANV Goes North."

BG Ross McDaniel
2nd Bde, 3rd Div, III Corps, AoG, CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:47 am 
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Don't get hung up on the name. The current "Campaign Gettysburg" leads to things like a third Manassas and a battle for Pipe Creek depending on choices people make. I just plan to cut out all the inbetween battles you have to fight to get there. These battles are fine in what they do but it makes getting to the final battle wherever it ends up take a year of player's time. No statistics are kept but I wonder how many people started a Campaign Gettysburg at Brandy Station and how many eventually finished the last battle of the series?

What I propose is to cut out all the front end and go directly to the final using the Campaign Engine to make the lead in choices.

The Campaign Game never was an historic recreation of the Battle of Gettsyburg. If nothing else your troop levels would be different due to losses in the earlier scenarios even if you picked historic paths all the way to the July 1st battle. Those who want to play "Historic" Gettysburg should always choose one of the "Historic" scnearios. However, between equal opponents the CSA side will lose because the factors that contributed to that loss occurred before the first shot was fired.

As for what to call it, it doesn't really matter. We can call it the "Campaign to Suppress Northern Aggression" or my favorite "Campaign to Kick Meade's Butt".

The real question is "Is there enough interest in having this alternate Campaign to justify the time it will take to develop it?" Unfortunately, I am not seeing enough interest to undertake the work so far. There's got to be more than 2 or 3 people interested to justify the work.

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


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:39 am 
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General Whitehead,

I would surely appreciate your effort!



Captain Michael Gandt
2nd Cavalry Brigade
3rd Cavalry Division
II Corps
ANV, CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:54 am 
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Kennon,

If writing a special scenario/campaign depended upon people playing it, then none would ever be written. You just have to do it for the love of the game. The Norris-Frost tweeks to the BG series were extremely popular in the forums but either they weren't played much or the people who tended to play them didn't register them. The most played Norris-Frost version registered was the Battle of Gettyburg with 12 people having registered it (it was won 8 times by the Rebs so had it fooled with the balance of the battle?) and I think the next most played Norris-Frost scenario (Perryville) was registered 7 times. You'll never know anyway because the current DOR games does not list the special scenarios that have been written and people are so confused about how to register the HPS campaign scenarios that they usually aren't that accurate/specific anyway.

You can make your scenarios/campaign available at Gamesquad and then you can see how many people download it but you'll never know if any of them ever played it (1 feedback on the whole board). That's probably why those of us who have written special scenarios don't continue because it is a downer to put that much into something and not even know if it was ever played, much less enjoyed.

Getting feedback before you undertake a project is good but the only qauge of interest that matters is your own (and any help that you get).

Lt Gen Ned Simms
1/1/VIII/AoS/USA
Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
VMI Class of '00


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:40 pm 
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I second that emotion. You build a scenario because YOU want to, not because others will like or even play it. I got many scenarios all over the place, and have heard next to nothing in feed back. (Even those that shipped with published games.) That's okay though, I just like making scenarios, and will continue to do so.

MG Al "Ambushed" Amos, Commanding Officer
4th "Amos' Ambushers" Bde, 1st Div, XX Corps, AoC, USA


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