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 Post subject: AAR WbtS Gen. Whitehead vs Gen. Collins
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:41 pm 
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Location: USA
<center><b>AAR
War Between the States
Lt.Gen. Whitehead (CSA) vs B.Gen. Collins (USA)</b></center>

<b>The Beginning</b>

Having played two games, one as the Union versus the AI on Easy and one as the South versus the AI on Easy, I went to war with Gen. Collins, who as done a few more practice games. I immediately found that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. The game against the AI is a bit different from playing a real player, the most obvious difference being fewer units and fewer leaders. After one false start where we didn’t have our game versions matched up (they have an update out so be sure to install it) in which my only Theater Commander, Gen. Cooper, got drunk and fell in the James River and drowned leaving the Confederacy in a terrible position, we got things going again and the war was on.

<b>First some general observations about strategy and the game:</b>

The Union Political status is the key to the game. They must maintain a high enough level of points to get pass key decision points in the game. The first is “Emancipation Proclamationâ€


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:42 pm 
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<b>Jul 1861</b>

The dastardly Yankee’s seized most of West Virginia and all of Missouri whose turn coat inhabitants promptly went over to the Union. The few Rebel troops in Western Virginia are driven out. Kentucky is neutral so serves as a buffer for now. I quickly shift troops to New Orleans, Memphis and Northern Virginia to stop any immediate invasions. The coast is tougher. Some areas have sufficient population to generate militia to throw the enemy back if they land but there are many regions that don’t plus most need fortifications and troops that I don’t have. I do move forces to Norfolk and build a fort there.

This first turn forces me to face the first hard decision the CSA player has to make. What to do about my command situation. I have Gen. Cooper in Richmond as my Theatre Commander. He is relatively good but may drop dead at any time, drinking problem I think. Johnson and Beauregard are my two Army Commanders in Virginia. Neither are great nor up to Theatre Command. In the West I have A. Johnson. If I promote one to Theater Command then I will have to promote a mediocre general to Army Command. If I don’t fill the spots I hurt my Initiative chances as well as reduce the number of Political Points these commanders generate (you get each turn PP equal to the sum of your Commander’s political ratings). I decide to try to get by without the appointment.

I also decide to start some Raider production (this is separate from normal production so the AI doesn’t control it in this game). I plan to make a total of four ships over the coming months. This is an iffy call. It cost the South 31 supply to produce one. Over the long term they will cause 2-3 political points of damage to the North every turn but it is difficult to judge how much value you get for the investment. I compromised and built some but not a lot.

In other areas I am creating cavalry and calling up leaders and trying to get organized for the coming invasions.

The Union of course makes their first Draft. The Draft costs them 50 PP but it’s a must for them to raise their armies quickly. It will also give them more than twice my numbers very quickly. Before everyone points out the Union didn’t have a draft in 1861 be aware that it’s a simplification. In the game the cost of producing Militia changes with each year of the war. So declaring a Draft in 61 or 62 reduces the cost of Militia to 6 population points for two turns. This will be followed by four turns where it will cost the normal population points plus 3. In 1863 this cost changes to 12 and in 64 to 18. So the low cost in 61 and 62 reflect that these are really calls for volunteers not drafts. The normal population cost for militia changes each year. For the North it is 18 in 1861/62 which is why the calling of the Draft is so important. In later years it keeps going up to 24 in 63 and 30 in 64/65. This is why Black recruitment is so important to the Union later in the game.

The South on the other hand has no draft just the normal recruitment. Its numbers are 9 in 61, 6 in 62, 12 in 63 and finally 18 after. Considering the South’s smaller population pool you can see from 63 on the CSA losses the ability to make new units. What little they have will go to repairing damaged units.


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


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:13 pm 
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<b>Aug 1861</b>

Both sides are nibbling at each other. The Union is probably waiting for the second month of their Draft to yield its results and moving their piles of men into position. They drive my last outpost still in W.Va. territory out by taking the region of Franklin. I got one of those lucky activations where a lone Leader gets initiative even though far from any commanders. Out in Arkansas my little command crosses into Missouri and takes Srpingfield.

But the big action and most dangerous for the South is a Union amphibious landing at Galveston. Texas is an important source of both trade and men for the South. I have a leader and two militia units defending. The Union invades with two brigades (about 4,000 men). And this triggers the save the South rule, Militia Mobilization. Anytime the enemy first attacks a Region with a population center it will cause a Militia Mobilization equal to twice the population plus the number of resources in the region. For Galveston this is two more militia units giving me 8,000 men who drive the Yankees back into the sea. Militia Mobilization is the only thing protecting most of the South’s coast right now until I can raise enough troops for garrisons and leaders to organize them.

I prepare for more amphibious landings as best I can. I move Beauregard down southward so he can command a small force for reaction to any invasion along the East Coast.

One of the “learning curveâ€


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:10 pm 
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Location: United Kingdom
Thanks for posting this. Sounds like a fascinating game.

Image
[url="http://homepage.ntlworld.com/a.r.barlow/acwgc/acw.htm"]General Antony Barlow[/url]
[url="http://homepage.ntlworld.com/a.r.barlow/acwgc/western_theater.htm"]Commander, Western Theater, Union Army[/url]


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:14 am 
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Kennon
Great AAR!!

Now-is the game fun? Especially as the South?

Colonel Tony Best
Army of Georgia


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:05 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 tony best</i>
<br />Kennon
Great AAR!!

Now-is the game fun? Especially as the South?

Colonel Tony Best
Army of Georgia

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

The South sweats blood.[:D] There is a reason Jefferson Davis deteriorates physically throughout the war.

Since most battles take place during the CSA's reaction phase, the Rebel player gets to watch the graphic depection of the results of battles most of the time. This is fun and nail biting as you watch individual results and the bars indicating who is winning go up and down. They need to find a way to let the other player see the replay of this rather than just the text results.

The down side of the CSA is that you rarely want to go on the offensive. The only ones you will probably do are attempts to retake a region by taking advantage of interior lines to concentrate. It is highly unlikely you will consider any of Lee's offensives into Maryland unless you are already winning.

To simulate most of the type offensives the South went on in the West they give the Cavalry the ability to raid and scout deep into enemy territory. Unlike other strategic games this takes place as part of movement but at the end of the raid the cavalry returns to its original start location.

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


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 6:24 am 
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<b>Oct 1861</b>

Unfortunately for me the Yankee Western Armies must have gotten all the initiative they needed. Massive forces move into Kentucky capture most of the remaining areas and worse driving me out of the key area of Paducah. Gen. A. Johnson’s small army doesn’t stand a chance against the 2:1 odds and is easily driven back. Worse one of my potential leaders, Gen. Bragg, is wounded.

To make things worse the Union lands in Pensacola easily driving off the one Militia brigade defending the Region. Winter has started with things turning bad for the Confederacy.

Leaders in this game can be killed or wounded during battles and sometimes they just get mad and resign for a while. The likely hood of it occurring is based on luck and a health factor. Seems some leaders are accident prone. In Bragg’s case he was wounded and will return after a short delay of a few months.


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


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:56 am 
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by KWhitehead</i>
<br /><b>Oct 1861</b>
Worse one of my potential leaders, Gen. Bragg, is wounded.

In Bragg’s case he was wounded and will return after a short delay of a few months.

LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
1/1/III AoM (CSA)
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

I don't know, Kennon, losing Bragg might be a <u><i><b>GOOD </b></i></u>thing. [:D][;)]

Regards,

Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn
CSA Chief of Staff
3rd Bgde, 3rd Cav Div, II Corps, AoA

God Bless <><


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:38 am 
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Excellent summary there Kennon!

Ok, a few comments from the Union point of view in this person to person game of Gary's 'War Between the States' (here in WBTS)

At the outset I would like to point out that Union play and Confederate play are quite different in this game as opposed to the HPS tactical system. In HPS the Union and Confederate armies are quite similar in makeup, and the unit capabilities when you get down to it are virtually the same. By that I mean that a Union or Confederate infantry are each going to have 12 mps in line no matter what happens. The same goes for cavalry and infantry. Generally speaking Union artillery will tend to be better but in the end both armies are the same.

While superficially this is true for infantry, cavalry and artillery in WBTS, it is not true for the way the game works. Leadership and activation is everything in this game. The movement capability of your troops is going to depend on leadership and activation and so is combat.
This makes game play entirely different than HPS and accents the differences in the armies not the similarities.

OK, some particulars of Union play. Kennon has given a very lucid description of Confederate play so I will try not to repeat the same informatio for the Union, but players must keep in mind that some of the problems that the Rebels must face, also face the Union, particularly initiative.

One of the first things the Union must do is secure the Border States as quickly as he can. Lincoln understood this clearly and stated that 'to lose them is to lose the entire game'. Missouri and West Virginia are not too difficult to secure. On turn 1 where certain leaders are automatically activated, take advantage of it and secure Missouri and West Virginia.

Kentucky is an entirely different case. As in the actual war, Kentucky had declared herself neautral and threatened both North and South to stay out of her territory. Gary has built in a great little subsystem to simulate the dilemna both sides had regarding this most important state. To make a long story short he has devised a kind of matrix probability chart that will trigger a random event when one party invades the state.

In practice this means that it is very risky to invade Kentucky in July of 1861. This is because if you invade too early, there is a better chance the state will go over to the other side. August is still risky but less so than July. By September with Kentucky's position being so critical to eventual success both parties should be seriously looking at invasion and to the devil with the consequences. The Kentucky dilemna makes the early part of the game critical, interesting and very exciting. Incidentally, Kentucky had southern sympathies and the odds that Kentucky will join the confederacy are slightly in her favour. Historically the Confederacy added Kentucky's star to her flag but Kentucky provided troops to both sides.

As Kennon pointed out the Union Navy's Invasion capability is tremendous and powerful. But it is a two edged sword. Remember, you still have to have initiative to marshal those invasions and if you don't have initiative where you need it, nothing is going to happen. The other thing is that with initiative being so important you have to prioritize to a large degree. Do I make that naval invasion down to New Bern North Carolina, or do I marshall the Army of the Potomac for an attack at Manassas? Or should I do both? Would marshalling one and not the other insure success? If I launch both will it be a catastrophic blow to the Confederacy or will this insure failure of both expeditions?

It takes a lot of resources to mount a successful Naval invasion and there is no guarantee of success. Hitting a larger population centre may give you more political points if captured, but it also insures a stiffer defence because Confederate militia automatically appear at any threatened point and militia size is dependent on population.

In our game I launched a successful invasion of Pensacola and closed down the port. But I accidentally missed a mouse click and sent the invading forces all the way back to Washington! So watch those mouse clicks as there is no 'undo' button.

That's it for now, I will add commentary as our game progresses and like Kennon's comments will be based on information from several turns previously as to not compromise our game.

In closing though, I think this game is a winner and definitely should be added to the club's roster of games.


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


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 2:10 am 
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<b>Nov 1861</b>

This is a good month. Nothing bad happens to me. I shift Beauregard with Early in tow south into the Atlanta region to see if he will get initiative and be able to reach Pensacola. I would like to retake it but can’t afford to expose too much of the East coast to invasion.

Note for future: They couldn’t reach. One of the gotchas of Winter campaigning is there is an automatic +1 tagged on to movement costs for a region. This significantly reduces the reach of reaction troops unless rail lines (which don’t suffer the penalty) are available. Trying to figure who can move to where is complex in this game. For one thing the number of movement points a force has is very dependent on its leader. Unlike HPS with fixed total movement points for each type and very specific movement costs for entering various terrains, WbS it depends. For example the base movement of infantry is one and artillery is two. Unlike HPS having one MP does not mean you get to at least move one hex or in this case region. If you don’t have sufficient MP’s you don’t move.

Well it doesn’t take much time glancing through the terrain cost chart to see a unit can’t move anywhere. The cost to enter clear terrain is 2 and for mountainous its 5. So how does anyone get anywhere? Luckily your friendly leader makes you march a lot faster. Every leader has what is called “special skillsâ€


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:04 am 
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One thing I did early in the game was to call up the draft. I did this in July of 1861. A lot of people over on the Matrix Board were recommending it as a good strategy.

I had already done it against the AI and sure enough you certainly get lots and lots of units. In a game against the AI I think I would still go with this strategy.

But in a person to person game, I'm not so sure. I do have lots of units but I DO NOT have enough leadership to command them all. This wasn't as much of a problem in the AI game but definitely comes into play here. My armies are larger than the command structure to efficiently move them.

I think this is a good thing, and goes to show all of the hidden nuances of the game that we have yet to discover. Now the draft does cost you, and in an AI game those 50 political points you lose don't seem too much. But in this present game I sure wish I had them now.

The confederates have won a large battle in the east at Manassas. Fortunately for me it was counter balanced by a large Union win in the west at Humbolt. This would have triggered the "Emancipation Proclamation" had I the 1000 Political Points. Unfortunately for the Union I"m a bit short in that department. So I have learned an important lesson - those Political Points ARE important - even 50 of them.

I have still have not been successful in getting any large force to land of the Confederate coast. The islands have all been secured but an attack on New Orleans would be a pipe dream at this point.





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


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:31 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 thing I did early in the game was to call up the draft. I did this in July of 1861. A lot of people over on the Matrix Board were recommending it as a good strategy.

I had already done it against the AI and sure enough you certainly get lots and lots of units. In a game against the AI I think I would still go with this strategy.

But in a person to person game, I'm not so sure. I do have lots of units but I DO NOT have enough leadership to command them all. This wasn't as much of a problem in the AI game but definitely comes into play here. My armies are larger than the command structure to efficiently move them.

I think this is a good thing, and goes to show all of the hidden nuances of the game that we have yet to discover. Now the draft does cost you, and in an AI game those 50 political points you lose don't seem too much. But in this present game I sure wish I had them now.

The confederates have won a large battle in the east at Manassas. Fortunately for me it was counter balanced by a large Union win in the west at Humbolt. This would have triggered the "Emancipation Proclamation" had I the 1000 Political Points. Unfortunately for the Union I"m a bit short in that department. So I have learned an important lesson - those Political Points ARE important - even 50 of them.

I have still have not been successful in getting any large force to land of the Confederate coast. The islands have all been secured but an attack on New Orleans would be a pipe dream at this point.





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

One thing about calling for the draft as soon as possible is that even though you don't have commanders for all of the resultant militia you can put them in regions with AC/TC and they will have a chance to train up to regulars without being attached to a commander.

General Mark Nelms
6/3/IX/AoO
"Blackhawk Brigade"
Union Military Academy Instructor
Union Cabinet Secretary


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:43 am 
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<b>Dec 1861</b>

Pensacola is abandoned! I am not sure whether this was due to attrition or accident. Gen. Collins indicated he isn’t sure what happened either. I guess to make up for it the Union makes a landing at Norfolk and tries to take the port. Unfortunately for them most of Gen. Johnson’s army has initiative and moves by rail to support the garrison. The Union is driven if off after a short fight.

Pensacola highlights one of the curses of winter. Movement is restricted with an additional cost of 1 MP per region unless you have rail. I have units active all around Pensacola but not one can reach to take the undefended port. I move Beauregard adjacent and risk the East coast.

<I wish I had more men than commanders, I wish I had commanders, I wish I could feed them, I wish I had cruise missles to take out those ships.>[:D][:D][:D]


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


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:45 am 
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<b>Jan 1862</b>

The New Year brings some success but a dark cloud as well. Pensacola was not reoccupied. Probably the Yankees moved their transports away and are delayed a turn while they move them back. Beauregard marches in retaking the region for the South.

The dark cloud is the Union calling for a new Draft. This means they are preparing for major offensives I am still out numbered by over 2:1. It may be 3:1 if I can’t raise militia faster. 1862 is the best year for the South recruitment wise. The cost of Militia drops to 6 PP’s. Things will never be this good again but it’s only for one year and it will take time to raise and train them. The question is will I survive long enough for it to happen.


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


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:28 pm 
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Gentlemen,

Thanks. [}:)] After these short posts, I now realise I MUST have this game. {Al, puts it on the top of his birthday list.} [;)]

MajGen Al 'Ambushed' Amos

The Union Forever! Huzzah!


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