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Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.
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Author:  Malcolm Hunt [ Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

J. Ferry wrote:
"The north doesn't need a good general, just a competent butcher."
Yup, his name was US Grant.


That was exactly my thought, compared to the Union generals that went before that sentence sums Grant up perfectly.

Author:  Digglyda [ Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

Malcolm Hunt wrote:
J. Ferry wrote:
"The north doesn't need a good general, just a competent butcher."
Yup, his name was US Grant.


That was exactly my thought, compared to the Union generals that went before that sentence sums Grant up perfectly.


Not in a tactical sense. Grant was just as wily and cunning and always seeking to use diversions and feints and imagination in planning his battles. He was probably more subtle in his handling than some of his previous commanders. His tolerance of casualties became apparent in the bigger picture.

These are grand tactical scenarios ...it's a tactical game engine. The Union has next to no chance of winning a stand up fight between equal forces whatever methods it employs and I find that all good planning and handling of forces on a tactical level is irrelevant.

It's a good job I play Chess 'cos I find a dogged application of et practices: regardless of terrain or timing is the answer to most situations.
My "command" is of no importance and that can't be right?
Corinth was fun, Ozark was fun, Franklin & Vicksburg were fun? Overland isn't 'cos the Union is having to employ operational and strategic superiority to win the tactical fight.

Author:  Deano [ Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

Digglyda wrote:
Overland isn't 'cos the Union is having to employ operational and strategic superiority to win the tactical fight.


I'm sorry but I really don't understand your issue. The historical reality of the game makes it no fun for you? Is that correct?

I'm involved in two games and having a blast! I'm maneuvering all over the map and having a grand old time. I really would like to understand the problem.

Do you just not like the historical setup or do you believe it is so unbalanced as to make it no fun?

Regards,

Deano

Author:  Redlegger [ Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

I have to agree with Deano.

I am having fun all across the board in my games.
Even the ones where I have been "smoked" in.
Good club members and a fun gaming system.
The superiority of the CSA units does not intimidate me, even in an numerically even fight.
For it then falls to the commander to achieve the victory through other means than a grinding battle.

And when as a Union Commander one can break the will of the vaunted CSA in such a fight, so much the better, oh do not wish one better trained man more, for the poorer trained of a victorious army the greater share of honor!

Even in Chess, before one can apply the application of superior numbers, (or simply to have the initiative), to achieve an inevitable success, one must place themselves in a position to succeed.

And that is what these battles come down to, even in historical ones where individuals know primary objectives, unit dispositions, and reinforcement schedules.
I say so what, I will do what I want to, and if you are going by what someone else did 150 years ago good luck with that.

Nope, I am fine with the overall game design and have no problems standing up to an Army of "A" troops, for in the end I am a Free Born Man of the U.S.A. fighting for a righteous cause, and that is all that I need, (well, good club members which are in abundance).

Respectfully to all.

Author:  Digglyda [ Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

There are exceptions, there must be. The OOB's differ somewhat so I assume there must be scenarios that do play out with a greater sense of balance.
But I'm finding that Reb opponents are using a widespread high quality as cart blanche to launch purely offensive tactics right from turn 1 and that my Union forces are just a big sponge set to soak up all the damage and still (hopefully) have enough extra numbers to win out in the end.
Repeatedly being ejected from good defensive positions by frontal assault. "A" & "B" versus "D" & "E" will pretty much guarantee a result in the tactical sense.
Good timing, good terrain and good tactics are generally a waste of time for the Union.

"Move offensively & fight defensively": THAT was the whole reasoning of civil war era combat wasn't it?

Compared to the other games in the series I think the balance of playability got messed up here (though for very good reasons).

I said before in another post: Reb elevated quality means it is possible to make a Picketts charge type assault in the game. Low Union quality on the other hand mean is is impossible to make a Fredericksburg type attack in the game.
Picketts charge was a couple of hours. The attack at Fredericksburg was all day long. Yet according to many opinions the elan & quality of Reb Infantry was much greater than Union equivalents? I don't think so.
These are tactical games and It's my opinion that this one "spoiled" the tactical balance for the sake of playability.
Numbers is the bottom line of Union victory and that just shouldn't be the case when playing with the benefit of hindsight. There is simply no point for me to risk anything imaginative as it's been reduced to a business of attrition.

Author:  Neal Hebert [ Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

General Wilkes <salute>

"There is simply no point for me to risk anything imaginative as it's been reduced to a business of attrition"

Isn't that what the Overland Campaign was?

Highest regards,

Author:  John Ferry [ Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

I have always had the greatest respect for the courage and fortitude of the Northern soldier. Whatever other conclusions are made about Overland, the ratings assigned to Northern regiments should NEVER be seen as my opinion of the courage of those regiments. The regiment which I reenact, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, fought at Cedar Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Atlanta Campaign. It never retreated except to avoid being cut off because the rest of the line had retired. It was as good as any regiment of the Iron Brigade or the Stonewall brigade. Their losses at Cedar Mountain were 30%, 50% at Antietam and 50% at Peach Tree Creek. Their courage is all the more remarkable because they were from peaceful farming communities rather than from the overall culture of violence south of the Mason-Dixon.
The comparison of Pickett's Charge to the Fredericksburg assaults has no merit. Pickett's Charge was one massive attack, which in the course of an hour or two failed in its attempt to crack the Union line. It was a testament to the courage of the Southern soldier and the tenacity of the Union soldier. At Fredericksburg, elements of at least seven divisions tried over the course of the day to take Marye's Heights, one at a time, one after the other, a testament to the discipline of the Union Soldier and to the stupidity of his leaders. A massive attack on Marye's Heights would have lasted no longer than Pickett's, and probably would have had the same results, but who knows.

Author:  Deano [ Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

Digglyda wrote:
But I'm finding that Reb opponents are using a widespread high quality as cart blanche to launch purely offensive tactics right from turn 1 and that my Union forces are just a big sponge set to soak up all the damage and still (hopefully) have enough extra numbers to win out in the end.
Repeatedly being ejected from good defensive positions by frontal assault. "A" & "B" versus "D" & "E" will pretty much guarantee a result in the tactical sense.


General Wilkes {salute}

Ok I can both see and understand that point unless you are playing Wilderness games. I would expect that in the Wilderness. If not I can see your issue. I agree that would not be too much fun.

I however have not see that in my Overland games. My opponent can be aggressive if he finds a local advantage or a counterattack opportunity, but from an overall perspective I have found the initiative rests with me. What I have found is he is just able to hang on to a position, forcing me to maneuver around his right. To me that is both realistic and fun. It seems to me Grant had a much tougher job that we might appreciate.

If on the road to Spotsylvania I am subjected to relentless attacks I would not like that. But that is not what I'm finding in playing the game. I am finding a fun and realistic result. I am finding a very fun game. I have not played a Wilderness yet. LOL

Thanks for responding. You answered my questions and I appreciate it.

Regards,

Deano

Author:  KWhitehead [ Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

Sometime I will have to see if someone will play me as the Reb so I can take a look at the Union side. I am so far not finding the Union as having any problem stopping the Rebels. However, I do play phased play with all options. Turn play may change this since it does favor offense. Different option combinations may also change things.

My observations of the Wilderness so far is the Union easily stops the Rebels on day one. The combination of reduced fire effects due to woods makes forcing a line to break by just fire difficult. The lower stacking limit of 800 makes it easy for the Union to put together un-meleeable stacks. The difficulty of moving limits the ability of the Rebels to shift to find a flank and makes it easy for the Union to use their numbers to extend around the Rebel flanks.

In my current game both my Corps just bounced off the Union line. Losses were about even but in the Wilderness even losses for the Rebel is losing. I backed off and now both sides are digging in and extending flanks trying to for the Union turn the Rebel line and for the Rebel prevent the line from being turned. Assuming the Union doesn't succeed the game will be a Draw. Only if one side or the other makes a head on attack will it change. Still waiting for day two to see if Longstreet's arrival changes things.

While this is in line with the historic outcome, it will probably present a problem for the Rebel in a campaign because the casualties are so low. When you are out numbered 2:1 you can't win taking equal loses.

Author:  pierred [ Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

digglyda your aol email address is being bounced. Please check or unsubscribe to this topic.

Author:  John Ferry [ Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:39 am ]
Post subject:  results of Overland analysis.

Gents:
In my opinion the most interesting Wilderness battle is #109. I engineered it so that there is no opportunity for either player to pursue that ad infinitum tendency of players to continually try to get around a flank.
Although the Confederate should try to assume a defensive position well forward, so that he can trade space for time, there is no reason for him to pursue an offensive strategy, especially without Longstreet and Anderson. (In case you missed it there is also a what if with Pickett showing up) I am playing that scenario as the reb right now, and with dark coming on, I am hanging on by the skin of my teeth, and I doubt Longstreet will be up in force in time to stop Hancock.
I do not know of any way to fight the Wilderness scenarios with the casualty outcome that happened historically. There is a book coming out in May that aims to blow some holes in a few of the commonly accepted "facts" about Overland. I may have to go back to the drawing board. Brett Schulte put me on to the book. Its premise is that Lee's army was not as weak as thought, and also that its casualties were much heavier than the 20,000 supposed.
If casualties were lower, for both sides, these battles would last longer instead of being commonly ended early because of losses. I can think of other situations where a reduced casualty option would actually improve the game--such as Longstreet's July 2 attack. Confederates rarely achieve what Longstreet did because they run out of men.
J Ferry
2Lt 2/20th Corps
Overland co-designer

Author:  Digglyda [ Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

pierred wrote:
digglyda your aol email address is being bounced. Please check or unsubscribe to this topic.


Very sorry. Profile amended to include correct details.

Author:  Malcolm Hunt [ Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: results of Overland analysis.

J. Ferry wrote:
There is a book coming out in May that aims to blow some holes in a few of the commonly accepted "facts" about Overland. I may have to go back to the drawing board. Brett Schulte put me on to the book. Its premise is that Lee's army was not as weak as thought, and also that its casualties were much heavier than the 20,000 supposed.


Could you please tell us the title and author of the book, it sounds like one I would want to add to my collection.

Thank you.

Author:  John Ferry [ Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

Lee's Army During the Overland Campaign: A Numerical Study
by Alfred C. Young III
(due out in May. I already ordered it on Amazon)
J Ferry
2Lt 2/20th Corps

Author:  bschulte [ Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.

John's email asking me the name and title tipped me off to this thread. I had almost forgotten I hadn't yet purchased this one, but I've done so now and I'm looking over the game as we speak. This book is extremely interesting to me. From what I can gather, the author spent decades looking through newspaper casualty lists and the Compiled Service Returns of Confederate regiments to determine pretty exact (as exact as you can get for that time period anyway) Confederate numbers. Now without having seen the book yet, I'm sure he had to guesstimate in places, but I really think this may be one of the five or so most important books to come out about the Civil War this century. It may change the way we think about the Overland Campaign.

For those of you who want something along similar lines, try Steven H. Newton's Lost for the Cause: The Confederate Army in 1864. Instead of looking at the trees, it takes on the forest and states that the Confederacy had many thousands more men available at the start of the 1864 fighting than commonly believed. Newton's main thrust seems t be that these resources were poorly utilized, sitting in backwaters which didn't need defending instead of helping take on the Union's main armies.

PS I've noticed some mentions of the Confederates having no chance after Gettysburg in this thread and others about the game. That's Lost Cause rhetoric started by Jubal Early and others almost immediately after the war ended. Don't believe it. I've spent a good deal of time reading through the Southern Historical Society Papers looking for Siege of Petersburg articles for my web site (linked in the sig below), and it is very interesting reading.

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