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 Post subject: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:49 am 
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I just called a game of Overland (non club game). As a player of many games and scenarios I see that all the CSA has to do is build Trenches at the key crossing points and there is no way that the Union exits the map to get a victory. With only one exit hex in the south its just a matter of delaying them long enough to stop the exiting of Union units from happening.

So if the Union tries to fight down the long side of the map all the CSA player has to do is delay him long enough to get Trenches built (by fresh units - took me 3-4 turns using a Union brigade ... I built two such hexes with two stacks of infantry in column during the Night turns) and the Union is going no place. Artillery fire was hitting for no losses on the CSA units. Same with infantry.

I guess I am missing something here but even if Grant and Meade maneuver down the east side of the Anna river the road network works in the CSA favor and they can easily send "teams" (read: brigade) to built Trenches at all of the crossing locations long before the Union arrive.

There is no reason at all for the South to try and build a line (like my opponent did) up in the north. It was a nice line and there is no way I could have breached it but its not a great location at all. I outflanked it and let it die on the vine. Better to just scoot south and blow bridges and build Trenches (again, with Fresh units).

For now I am going back to Chickamauga and more of the "Open Field" games. For me the jury is still out on Overland. Far too many units to maneuver around only to find the few crossing points bristling with CSA artillery and infantry sitting in a Trench. I am thinking that the Petersburg game will be similar.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:08 pm 
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3 possible problems:
1. The trench value is maybe a bit too low and so trenches get build to quickly. Value is 45 and 10 points can be reached each turn with maximum stacking, that seems OK over night as that means at least 5 hours of rest are lost building such a trench hex but over the day it means building a trench in just 100 minutes.
2. Correct me here but the North Anna river was crossable not only at bridges or fords(or else I don't know why I see Ewell's corps on maps defending against the North-Eastern bend of the North Anna river), if possible crossing points are added by dotting damaged bridges along the river the Confederates will have it hard to cover them all. That would also be a nice counter to the quick trench building, with the PDT values in the scenario a bridge can be repaired to led infantry cross in no time.
3. Last but not least the missing command delay, with an optional command system that adds delays to major shifts in the lines done by the army commanders any initiative of the attacker might play out much stronger as the defender can only react with a certain delay to the attackers actions. That would help a lot with additional crossing points.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:57 pm 
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I've never been completely clear about what the bridge building capabilities of the Union forces were meant to reflect. Grant's Overland forces were more than adequately supplied with pontoon trains and engineering units, which certainly meant that they could rebuild a bridge at a road or rail road crossing point. But could (should) those same units, added to the OOB with reasonably structured rules, be able to create additional crossing points away from the existing road and rail crossing points? Obviously pontoon trains just can't take off cross-country . . . or should they to some degree? I could see making a case for a pontoon unit utilizing a levee road, even one set back from the stream some two or three hexes, and then turning in to start construction.

And once integrated into the game would not those same pontoon units be able to double up for an assault boat crossing as happened at Chattanooga?

I've mentioned it before, so I'll say it again. John Ferry has provided us with an incredible game package, one that historically spans an extremely dramatic and evolutionary campaign. Such a herculean effort was bound to be saddled with a number of anomalies. The game package is too rich to be disregarded and can certainly be upgraded and tweaked to become an even richer and satisfying offering in both individual scenarios and campaign formats.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:14 pm 
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Bridge repair is pretty straightforward and hazardous in the face of artillery fire. Yes, the Union can definitely rebuild bridges. They just have to do it either when no CSA artillery/infantry is around or at night. Being in column in full sight of the enemy means a lot of losses.

Maybe I am wrong - correct me .. but I dont see how the kind of trench you see at the siege of Petersburg and Richmond could be built in the field in under anything less than a day without proper lumber mill facilities. Now if its just a long ditch in the ground I can sort of understand. But some of that ground has to rocky. Maybe not as bad as what you find in New England or Pennsylvania but still - digging a long trench say 60 yards long would take an enormous amount of time.

I had a trench dug in 4-5 night turns. Just seems like the trenches should take much longer to build.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:42 pm 
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Regarding the Trenches, there was a change in the FWWC series regarding defensive works and the designer made them more like to be build but also halved the benefit of them. That any trench that is build in the Overland scenarios isn't comparable to the defensive works of Petersburg or to long standing defensive positions like those around Richmond is clear. So the question is if the trench benefit should be lower for how quick a trench is build or if the benefit should be kept and the time lengthened for such a trench to be build.
Not sure what values are used in Petersburg but in this scenario trenches give -50% on fire while breastworks also give -50%, it makes me wonder if both together result in the defender be save of any damage by fire.


Joe Meyer wrote:
The game package is too rich to be disregarded and can certainly be upgraded and tweaked to become an even richer and satisfying offering in both individual scenarios and campaign formats.

No doubt about that, but for it to happen we must finally get a feedback section for all the games that the club covers. We have to make it as easy as possible for any designer to take a look at the feedback but also to draw a conclusion out of the feedback. And for this a separate section with sub-boards for each game is the way to go, that will not only establish easy access to feedback but by being a forum any feedback can be discussed and can be brought to a conclusion that the designer can implement.
Colonel Peters can surely say a few words about how good that works in the NWC.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:57 am 
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Colonel Peters,

You don't mention whether you are referring to the full Campaign or one of the scenarios.

A number of scenarios have problems. Which side depends on the scenario. This is natural because most of these battles were decided by the maneuvering that took place before the engagement.

However, in the full Campaign there is no way the Rebel can win. Doesn't really matter on the entrenchments because a reasonably good Union player will never attack an entrenched line. The map is large enough to go around. Which is how Grant broke every entrench line after he killed a lot of his soldiers trying to take the entrenchments.

I can't say that for certain because I have never had a campaign last more then 3 to 7 days. The Union can easily wipe out the ANV in that time unless it starts retreating on the first day and doesn't stop until it gets to Richmond. It might be possible for the ANV to make an entrenched line strong enough around Richmond to stop the Union but I have never seen it tried so don't know.

Also, I believe you can edit the factors used for entrenchments in the pdt file if you want to change them back or use something different. You just have to find an opponent willing to use the altered values.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:09 pm 
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C. Hecht wrote:
No doubt about that, but for it to happen we must finally get a feedback section for all the games that the club covers. We have to make it as easy as possible for any designer to take a look at the feedback but also to draw a conclusion out of the feedback. And for this a separate section with sub-boards for each game is the way to go, that will not only establish easy access to feedback but by being a forum any feedback can be discussed and can be brought to a conclusion that the designer can implement.


You've mentioned this before, Christian, and even went to the trouble of posting a proposal for it in the Questions For the Cabinet sub-forum, where a lot of other proposals lie unanswered! I'm all for it and think that its long overdue.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:41 pm 
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@General Whitehead
Looking at the topic title I'm sure Colonel Peters means scenario 305-640523_N.Anna_A5.scn and not a situation in any campaign.

@General Meyer
Correct, my proposal is still in discussion, at least I hope so.
http://wargame.ch/board/acwgc/viewtopic ... 21&t=20759
Maybe Colonel Peters can drop some words there as I'm sure a section similar to my proposal works rather good on the NWC.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:43 am 
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KWhitehead wrote:
Colonel Peters,

You don't mention whether you are referring to the full Campaign or one of the scenarios.

A number of scenarios have problems. Which side depends on the scenario. This is natural because most of these battles were decided by the maneuvering that took place before the engagement.

However, in the full Campaign there is no way the Rebel can win. Doesn't really matter on the entrenchments because a reasonably good Union player will never attack an entrenched line. The map is large enough to go around. Which is how Grant broke every entrench line after he killed a lot of his soldiers trying to take the entrenchments.

I can't say that for certain because I have never had a campaign last more then 3 to 7 days. The Union can easily wipe out the ANV in that time unless it starts retreating on the first day and doesn't stop until it gets to Richmond. It might be possible for the ANV to make an entrenched line strong enough around Richmond to stop the Union but I have never seen it tried so don't know.

Also, I believe you can edit the factors used for entrenchments in the pdt file if you want to change them back or use something different. You just have to find an opponent willing to use the altered values.


Hi Kennon,

Its the North Anna var. 5 scenario. See the scenario list I posted. Its pretty far down the list but you should find it.

I agree, my opponent built a line and I just ignored it and bypassed it. I didn't recon the scenario enough to realize there were four Union corps arriving so in the end I called the game. Non-club game and Don V. was cool about it. We are going to swap sides. I want to show him that you can just block at about 8 points in the south on that map and the Yanks cant do a thing about it.

BTW - not moaning and groaning here .. just doing an analysis on it and I know I have been wrong before. Dont mean to come off negative on the game. After all there were trenches in the Wilderness all the way down to Richmond and Petersburg. This part of the war was more like WW1 ....

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:40 am 
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I rarely play the scenarios or the Campaign linked scenarios because they usually are very one sided. The North Anna one I haven't played against an opponent so difficult for me to comment on. But like a lot of the scenarios it makes assumptions about what each side will do and probably overlooked one side saying I am not going to try to win just prevent the other from winning. In other words, they assumed the CSA player would try to defend the N. Anna and the 500 point VP behind it. The exit hex seems to be thrown in there in case the Reb does a poor job of that. But it doesn't anticipate the Rebel player giving up any chance of victory by withdrawing to the S. Anna and defending it.

It looks like the N. Anna can be easily turned on the Rebel left by seizing Jericho Mill's bridge and the fords around it if they actually work (run into a lot that weren't really crossable). Once across the Rebels must either fight in the open or give up the VP. This will give the Union a draw if the Rebels retreat without a fight. The Union might be able to turn it into a Minor Victory if they catch any Rebs or can use their artillery. Two and half days are a long time for some good cannon work.

I also suspect the Little River line can be turned unless the Rebel put substantial forces there on their left.

From your description I assume from what you saying that you would go deep south and build fortifications covering the S. Anna crossing that would stop the Union. But the Rebel play could never get better than a Draw with that tactic and a methodical Union player probably could turn it into a Minor Union Victory just using artillery.

The only thing that might change things and I would have to test it to see if it is possible is to concentrate the Union artillery across from one of these fortified bridges and see if it can damage the Rebel units. If they can they can force the crossing. If they can't then they are stopped.

But it is why I like to play the Union in most of the Overland games, they usually are unbeatable. The Reb might get a draw but seldom any better unless the Union player decides to slaughter his troops trying to take fortifications like Cold Harbor.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:29 pm 
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If anyone tests artillery one should be aware that the mortars won't show up in the ingame PDT.
So if someone wants to find out how strong the are he has to check the PDF file directly.
My explanation why they won't show up in the ingame PDT is that the range 1 fire value is zero.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:54 am 
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Well, we tried our best. But honestly we couldn't think of everything or every strategy. We asked for some limited bridge building (pontoon units) or something similar but didn't get it. There was much discussion about the time it took to build entrenchments. Lots of historical research and I think John Ferry went out in his back yard with a shovel. In the end, it was probably a compromise -- the confederates need to be able to build entrenchments quickly given their numerical disadvantage. I think it works. We also tried to get the ability to build abatis but didn't get it. It would have been nice to have trenches gain modifier points over time until they are fully complete, but didn't ask for it. The simple solution is to modify the scenario to add crossing points or objective points that would nullify the confederate strategy of retreat.

I am involved in the big monster scenario mp and we are now on turn 224 -- the yanks have a minor breach in the west side Richmond defenses but they haven't broken through or out. The south hasn't given up hope yet. Also, I am playing the "on to cold harbor" scenario -- another big maneuver scenario with a similar flaw -- the confederates can retreat behind the chickahomany river and score a victory without a fight. Naturally, I modified the scenario with additional objective points north of the river so that Lee has to defend the country north of the river but he still gets to choose his ground. Fun.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:03 pm 
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Wasn't it mentioned somewhere that timed objectives are to be added by WDS?
I'm just not sure if it was for the Petersburg game or any of the Panzer Battles games.
I guess these could lead to defending certain positions longer to gain points but after a certain point in time they can be abandoned as they won't yield anymore points, by this a confederate retreat right from the start isn't so inviting anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:33 pm 
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No, not for Petersburg. Game play changes are minimal in Petersburg.

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 Post subject: Re: North Anna var. 5 - Overland Game Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:44 pm 
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Yea I think that was on the To-Do list.
Sorry didn't want to raise an wrong hopes.

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