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 Post subject: HPS Game Optional Rules
PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:09 am 
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Posts: 36
Location: USA
This has probably been disussed at this forum numerous times but if it has I have either overlooked it are it was posted before I became a member of the club.
I currently own only HPS title and therefore this is directed for the experienced gamers in that title. In the games that I have played I usually let my opponent chose which game options he is comfortable with and those that he enjoys playing with. To tell the truth have never really paid that much attention to the options. My question is which options should be checked (used) to give the most acurate and historical feel for the era. I know that there will be many different opinions but would like to know which actually portrays the different battles the most historical detail aside from casualties.

Colonel Waylon H Hughes Jr.
2nd Bde. (Texas Gulf Coast Vols.)
1st Div. (Granite)
III Corps (Rough and Ready)
AoG, C.S.A.
Commandant, VMI

Waylon H Hughes Jr.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:42 am 
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Waylon,

I like playing with the following optionals activated:
1. Quality melee and fire modifiers - it gives class a and b level unis a slight edge which is realistic
2.Optional melee resolution - avoids Blitzkrieg style attacks. If playing multi player games I like using he "embedded melee rule" which replaces the optional melee resoluion rule with a player agreement to do all melees at once in their respective turns.
3. All the optional artillery rules - I think they add historical flavour.
4. Flank Morale modifier, density fire modifier, Isolation rules, night movement fatigue, cavalry skirmishers and full defensive fire also seem historically justified.
5. Partial retreats and weak zocs avoid gamey play imo.


LtCol Michael Gandt
3rd Cavalry Division
II Corps
ANV, CSA


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:45 am 
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The one optional rule allowing captured artillery that I disagree with is that the captured guns can immediately fire next turn, and usually with deadly accuracy.

I believe it should be 2 turns after caputre before they can fire, and it should be at a 50% accuracy rate.

Captain Elkin
1/3/VIII/AoS

It's just like shooting squirrels, only these squirrels have guns


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:10 am 
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Colonel Hughes,

I'm sure that you would agree that the very first option about which you should think is the mode of play; that is, <i>Turn-based play </i>or <i>Phase-based play</i>, since it is controlled from the options menu. Additionally, the <b>Weak Zone-of-Control </b>option will also drastically impact upon your tactical play. You should acquaint yourself thoroughly with these two primary decisions as they immediately impact upon the historicity of play, depending upon your own personal viewpoint.

Maj. Gen. Jos. C. Meyer
Second Division, 14th Corps,
Army of the Cumberland

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:39 am 
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Captain Elkin,

Captured artillery is made F class the same as recrewed artillery. If you play with the optional Class Fire Modifier on captured artillery do not fire nearly as well since most artillery units are B-C class. Also you have to take into account that captured artillery is normally firing at 1-3 hexes, canister range. Personally I seldom fire captured guns at anything over 6 hexes, I consider it a waste of ammo. If the battle lines have advanced that far away I'll place a small unit or a heavily fatigued unit in the hex to keep the vp points.

No matter what the artillery capture rule is a lot better than having the guns disappear when captured like they do without it. This led to a lot of gamey tactics due to the high vp value of guns, if you lost 150 men (60 vps) to capture a 4 gun battery (120 vps) it was a win for you since the guns were gone for good. Now losing 150 men (60 vps) to capture a section/battery you can't hold (0 vps) isn't worth it.

Col Hughes,

Another thing to consider is that some optional rules favor one side or the other. There was a study of the old BG options covering this at the Union War College, don't think one was ever done on the HPS games although some of the options are similar and would have the same effects on the HPS games.

If you want to look at old posts on this subject go to the Search link, put optional rules in for a parameter and make sure you check the Archived Posts.

Gen. Ken Miller
3/VIII
AoS
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:03 pm 
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I have been meaning to put a post on the War College addressing how to use the Optional rules and my recommendations on so here is my first attempt:

Optional Rules
Here's a list of them based on Gettysburg Version 1.04:
1.Manual Defense Fire - Actually selects whether play is Turn or Phased.
2.Optional Fire Results - Averages two die rolls to get casualties.
3.Optional Melee Results - Averages two die rolls to get casualties.
4.Quality Fire Modifiers - Unit quality used to modify Fire values.
5.Higher Fatigue Recovery Rates - Increases Fatigue recovery by 5x, 3x, and 1x default levels.
6.Victory points for Leader Casualties - Awards VP for killing leaders based on their ratings.
7.Route Limiting - reduces odds of routing the further units are from one that initiated.
8.Density Fire Modifier - Increases fire value against large stacks.
9.Night Movement Fatigue - Units moving at night acquire fatigue.
10.Mounted Cavalry Skirmishers - Mounted cavalry exerts a skirmish ZOC.
11.Higher Disrupted Movement - Changes disrupted unit movement from 1/2 to 3/4.
12.Optional Melee Resolution - Melee resolved in separate phase in Turn based play.
13.Alternate Fixed Unit Release - Fixed units released when enemy within 5 hexes.
14.Quality Melee Modifiers - Unit quality used to modify melee values.
15.Isolation Rules - Reduces melee strength of isolated defenders by 1/4.
16.Weak Zone-of-Control - Units may move or retreat through one hex of enemy zoc.
17.Partial Retreats - Allow some units to retreat from hex even if not enough room.
18.Automated Defensive Fire - AI conducts defensive fire in Phased play game.
19.Flank Morale Modifier - Morale increased one if friendly unit on flanks.
20.Full Melee Defensive Fire - AI Defensive fire against units meleeing at full strength (Turn play).
21.Bridge Limit and Repair - Allows bridge repaired and limits movement across until fully repaired
22.Artillery Capture - Allows capture of guns and using them against the enemy.
23.Artillery Retire by Prolonge - Allows unlimbered gun to move back one hex.
24.Artillery Ammo by Cannon - Uses ammo at rate of one ammo per gun that fires.
25.Proportional Opportunity Fire - Size of stack figured in triggering of opportunity fire.

I am going to discuss them as groups since most rules need to be paired with others to work properly. Also this helps balance out how they affect the game since some rules favor the defender and some the attacker. Also some rules while optional were added to fix very real problems and should not be optional.

First are the ones involved with "Turn" based play versus "Phased" play. "Phased" play is pretty straight forward since it is the type used in Battleground series games and hasn't changed much.

In "Phased" play you have part of the turn separated into distinct phases consisting of movement, defensive fire, offensive fire and melee. "Turn" based play was introduced with the HPS games and consists of just a single player phase in which all movement, fire and melees were executed by the current player while the games AI handled the other player's defensive fire as a type of opportunity fire. The very first optional rule, the poorly named "Manual Defensive Fire", is the one that selects this. If on the game is played in phases, if off it is played Turn based.

When you play "Phased" with option 1 on there is one of rule that works in conjunction with it. Rule 18, Automated Defensive Fire, will let the AI handle the opponent's defensive fire. It only works in "Phased" play since in "Turn" this is how all Defensive Fire is handled regardless of the setting. The main reason for using it is that in PBEM it cuts out a whole set of emails halving the time it takes to play a game. In other words it is a necessary evil when playing by mail, <font color="yellow">so use it</font id="yellow">.

In "Turn" based play the connected optional rules (12, 20, and 25) were added to fixed very serious problems with this game system. I <font color="yellow">highly recommend you use all three</font id="yellow">. First an explanation of the problem with "Turn" play. Because of the combined combat and movement in "Turn" play regiments became virtual tanks able to make breakthroughs, surrounds, overruns, and highly coordinated attacks that for all practical purposes looked like WWII blitzkrieg tactics rather than Civil War combat. This was all compounded by the very thing it was suppose to add, Opportunity Fire, which was hoped to limit units moving in front of enemy lines without any restrictions. The problem was the Opportunity Fire was halved in value to compensate for it being possible to fire more than once, was randomly fired by a very dim witted AI, and fired at ranges that mostly wasted ammo with getting hits.

So the first one, 12 Optional Melee Resolution, tries to fix the panzer blitz by separating the Melee resolution out of the combined movement/combat making it a separate phase. This means you can move and shoot to your heart's content but you have to end your movement/combat phase before going to the phase to resolve melees. No longer can you try to melee a couple of critical enemy units in the enemy line hoping they will retreat and open a whole for you to push a division through to surround the units on either side. One problem with this rule, it creates and extra step when playing Multiplayer Games. For MP games I recommend that you turn on this option but instead make a "House" rule saying the players should enforce it on their part of the move. In other words, each player will move and fire the units they control once they start executing the melees they will not move or fire any more of the units they control.

Optional rule 20, Full Defensive Fire, was added to correct the problem with the AI tending to fail to make this critical fire when units moved adjacent or would even trigger if they were already adjacent. This was compounded by the Turn based halving of defensive fire. This optional rule guaranteed that the defender would get at least one full strength shot at the enemy meleeing units before they meleed.

Optional rule 25, Proportional Opportunity Fire, was added to correct another problem in Turn play. You couldn't fire small stacks or units because it might trigger massive retaliation by all nearby enemy units. This rule reduces the probability of this happening.

The next group, rules 2 and 3, which are the optional fire and melee results rules, just take some of the randomist out of combat by using the average of two die rolls to come up with the casualties instead of one. <font color="yellow">This one is a personal choice.</font id="yellow"> If you are one of those players that swears he rolls snake eyes every time when things are critical you might want this one on. My preference is using it since on the level of this games fire resolution, 20 minutes, you wouldn't see as much variation as occurs.

The next group (4, 6, and 14) <font color="yellow">I recommend using together </font id="yellow">because they give leaders a more critical role in the game. 4 and 14 allow the quality of leaders to influence combat and 6 award VP for their loss. These need to be used together since the side with the better leaders will benefit from 4 and 14 while risking giving the other side VP for killing them, rule 6.

Optional rule 5, Higher Fatigue Recovery Rates, is a much more controversial one. <font color="yellow">I highly recommend it,</font id="yellow"> and here is why. It forces players to plan and manage their unit fatigue. The player that does a better job of pulling regiments out of the line of battle before they hit high fatigue and providing for their resting will beat a player that just fights them until they can't fight any more. This rule generally only affects longer games, more than one day, because night rates are high enough for units to completely recover from fatigue if they haven't been over fought. Without it the rule there is very little chance of a medium fatigued unit recovering sufficiently to even try so we tend to fight every man to his last breath rather than rest troops.

The next group isn't strictly related but I put them together but there is a certain synergy from using them together. These are rules 7, 8, 15, 16, 17, and 19 and have to do with the forming of lines and surrounding of units. The reason I put them together is they all address two gamey but effective tactics used in these games. The alternating defensive line where huge stacks are placed in every other hex making an indestructible wall. And, the raider who can't be killed. Using them together helps moderate some of the new gamey tactics they introduce. <font color="yellow">So I recommend the use of them together.</font id="yellow">

16, Weak ZOC, is the critical one that triggers the need for the others. The "strong" ZOC that is normal makes the alternating stacks with an empty hex between the best method of defending a line. The enemy can't slip between the stacks and the stacks are so large you can't melee them to drive them back. Turning on rule 16 limits the usefulness of the alternating hex strategy. It can only be used now if the defender is willing to retreat each turn to keep adjacent units from slipping around them. Now the defender has a reason to make continuous lines that look a lot more like what you would see on a Civil War battlefield.

Now though you have created some new problems. One of the things the alternating defense line fixed was the tendency of continuous lines to route in mass because of the adjacent route check rules. So to compensate for this you need rule 7 to allow the defender to form lines without risking having his whole army route off the field due to one route check starting a domino effect. A related one is that the defender can no longer create this huge stacks that can't be taken by melee but the attacker has no such limitation. So we need to throw in rule 8, Density Fire Modifier, to punish the attacker for over stacking his attack forces. Rule 17, Partial Retreats, also comes in here to help compensate for the advantages gained by the attacker allowing units losing the melee to not get killed by over stacking problems. Rule 19, the Flank Modifier, also helps reward the use of continuous lines by giving a morale boost to units in one.

And finally you have the really nasty one, 15 (Isolation Rules). Once you have weak ZOC you need somewhat to kill units that have become separated from the rest and are acting like tanks with radios. Hard zones made them easy to kill but now it takes a whole brigade to surround and kill one even if it's only 25 men. If left to run wild they can destroy your rear areas so you need a rule that allows them to be surrounded and removed quickly. That is what the isolation rule does. Units that get separated from their main forces are going to be forced to surrender so the player learns to keep his army together. The rule has a lot of problems but it is a necessary evil.

Artillery has always been a step child in the HPS system handled by a lot of rules that were better made for infantry and cavalry than artillery. This lead to three new options (22,23,24) that tried to improve things with mixed results. <font color="yellow">I recommend them with some reservations.</font id="yellow">

Artillery Capture(22) - This one is nice but has problems in many situations. It addressed a universal complaint that you could do like in the CW and capture a gun and turn it on the enemy. So they added this rule that allows you too. The problem was it threw off the Victory Points gained for the capture. If you destroyed a gun by fire you got VP for it and never had to worry again. But if you captured it you had to garrison the gun forever if you wanted those VP. You could spike the guns so the other side could get them back but if you wanted full VP you had to sit a regiment on top of them and hold them. If you had enough ammo you could roll up a battery behind it and shoot it but this favors the side with the most ammo (Union). Some scenarios where there is an ebb and flow of the battle this can be a problem to balance.

Artillery Retire by Prolonge(23) - was added because this was a tactic commonly used during the CW. It adds a nice flavor but I haven't used it enough to know if it has any adverse affects. Only one that has gotten me is forgetting an unlimbered battery can move and have it accidently retreat when I used the Alt key to send some other guns by it.

Artillery Ammo By Cannon(24) - <font color="red">this one I consider a must have rule.</font id="red"> It fixes probably the worse flaw in the game system and for sure in the artillery handling. It allows the player to use his one gun batteries as effective units rather than ammo wasters. No game should be played without this one on unless you know there is a reason the default doubling of total ammo won't work.

Now for a bunch of rules that just fixed flaws in the game system. <font color="yellow">I recommend all of these be used </font id="yellow">but keep in mind some may cause game balance problems for some scenarios.

Night Movement Fatigue(9) - this one was created to address the unhistoric problem of our troops making all night marches after fighting all day with no apparent affect. This option adds fatigue, usually 50 per turn, to discourage this.

Mounted Cavalry Skirmishers(10) - was created so cavalry wouldn't run into enemy units blindly and not be able to disengage. It allows cavalry to act better in its role of scouts and delayers.

Higher Disrupted Movement(11) - was added to help the defender retreat. HPS games heavily favored the attacker and it was almost impossible of even a relatively large force to make a fighting withdrawal since once a few units took disrupts they were reduced to half movement to keep their line intact. This was added to fix this.

Alternate Fixed Unit Release(13) - was added to keep players from gaming the fix units by moving around them in such a way as to not release them even though they were in plain sight at times. Also players could check the scenario and find where fixed units were so they could avoid them until they were surrounded. The five hex rule makes this much harder.

Bridge Limit and Repairing(21) - is another enhancement of the game giving the player ability to repair destroyed bridges. It also limits the type of units that can cross until the bridge is fully repaired. This is one of those realism rules that can cause problems in scnearios that were designed to prevent crossing creeks and rivers once a bridge was destroyed.


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


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:55 pm 
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I think Kennon whitehead's explanation of the optional rules is so well presented that it should be saved as a "sticky" to this forum.

MG Drex Ringbloom,
Cdr, 2nd Div "Corcoran's Legion", VIII Corps
Army of the Shenandoah
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:02 am 
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I will never use the Quality modifiers and just about refuse to play using them. I think the Confederates are somewhat overrated and the Union somewhat underrated to help fix play balance and though that may be necessary I don't like it. Also, units with a higher quality rating already have an advantage in the fact that they will recover from disruption and rout quicker so I don't feel giving them another advantage is necessary. Finally, HPS has never come out and said what the formula is for units to fire defensively but I'm pretty sure that unit quality factors in there somewhere and that gives them another advantage which I think is plenty. I'm sure you could find examples of where some such regiment or other was drilled to perfection and could fire 4 rounds a minute to everyone else's three but those are going to be few and far between.

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


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:06 am 
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Gentlemen, thanks to each of you for your replies. I knew when posting this that I would get a lot of different opinions and answeres. I want to especially thank Kenon Whitehead for his lengthy but very well put response. As Dean of Cadets VMI, I will send out a copy of his reply as an attachment to all 2009 VMI Class members. If I was unsure of which to use and how they really worked surely there are other new members asking themselves the same question. Again thanks to each of you for your replies. Keep them coming as I am interested in everyone's opinion.

Colonel Waylon H Hughes Jr.
2nd Bde. (Texas Gulf Coast Vols.)
1st Div.
III Corps
AoG, C.S.A.
Commandant, VMI

Waylon H Hughes Jr.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:20 am 
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I agree with most of what General Whitehead said.

Here are my personal preferences:

<font color="green">Ones I personally favor</font id="green">
<font color="red">Ones I don't like</font id="red">
<font color="blue">Ones that don't matter</font id="blue">

1.<font color="green">Manual Defense Fire </font id="green">- Actually selects whether play is Turn or Phased.
2.<font color="blue">Optional Fire Results </font id="blue">- Averages two die rolls to get casualties.
3.<font color="blue">Optional Melee Results </font id="blue">- Averages two die rolls to get casualties.
4.<font color="green">Quality Fire Modifiers </font id="green">- Unit quality used to modify Fire values.
5.<font color="blue">Higher Fatigue Recovery Rates </font id="blue">- Increases Fatigue recovery by 5x, 3x, and 1x default levels.
6.<font color="green">Victory points for Leader Casualties </font id="green">- Awards VP for killing leaders based on their ratings.
7.<font color="green">Route Limiting </font id="green">- reduces odds of routing the further units are from one that initiated.
8.<font color="green">Density Fire Modifier </font id="green">- Increases fire value against large stacks.
9.<font color="green">Night Movement Fatigue </font id="green">- Units moving at night acquire fatigue.
10.<font color="green">Mounted Cavalry Skirmishers </font id="green">- Mounted cavalry exerts a skirmish ZOC.
11.<font color="green">Higher Disrupted Movement </font id="green">- Changes disrupted unit movement from 1/2 to 3/4.
12.<font color="green">Optional Melee Resolution </font id="green">- Melee resolved in separate phase in Turn based play.
13.<font color="green">Alternate Fixed Unit Release </font id="green">- Fixed units released when enemy within 5 hexes.
14.<font color="green">Quality Melee Modifiers </font id="green">- Unit quality used to modify melee values.
15.<font color="red">Isolation Rules </font id="red">- Reduces melee strength of isolated defenders by 1/4.
16.<font color="green">Weak Zone-of-Control </font id="green">- Units may move or retreat through one hex of enemy zoc.
17.<font color="green">Partial Retreats</font id="green"> - Allow some units to retreat from hex even if not enough room.
18.<font color="blue">Automated Defensive Fire </font id="blue">- AI conducts defensive fire in Phased play game.
19.<font color="green">Flank Morale Modifier </font id="green">- Morale increased one if friendly unit on flanks.
20.<font color="green">Full Melee Defensive Fire </font id="green">- AI Defensive fire against units meleeing at full strength (Turn play).
21.<font color="green">Bridge Limit and Repair </font id="green">- Allows bridge repaired and limits movement across until fully repaired
22.<font color="green">Artillery Capture </font id="green">- Allows capture of guns and using them against the enemy.
23.<font color="green">Artillery Retire by Prolonge </font id="green">- Allows unlimbered gun to move back one hex.
24.<font color="green">Artillery Ammo by Cannon </font id="green">- Uses ammo at rate of one ammo per gun that fires.
25.<font color="green">Proportional Opportunity Fire </font id="green">- Size of stack figured in triggering of opportunity fire

Here are some specific comments.

As you can see, there is only one rule I flat out don't like, and that is isolation. General Whitehead has stated some valid reasons for using it, but I have found that it encourages gamey tactics to render an opposing force useless by surrounding it with ZOC. I can think of only one or two instances of that happening historically, against raw or demoralized troops. I can cite any number of instances where surrounded units fought like cornered rats. We are, after all, talking about a twenty minute interval.

I actually enjoy playing turn better than playing phases, but never play it because of the ahistoric advantage it gives to the attacker, in spite of HPS' efforts to remedy that deficiency. So optional rule#1 is always manual if I have a choice. One observation though; when playtesting we always used turn.

Optional rules 12, 20 and 25 only apply to turn play. When I indicate a preference for those rules, it means if you are playing turn.

Rule #18, ADF, only applies to phased play. As general Whitehead points out, it cuts game turns in half in PBEM. Sometimes I would actually prefer to send the extra emails. Historical Gettysburg, where Confederate ammo is a concern, is one of these. I can see how manual DF can make a big difference in a game. As General Whitehead has pointed out, this rule is a tradeoff, and I can go either way. While I'm on the subject, I hope they change the firing by stack to an optional rule; one I won't use. In several instances so far my stack has wiped out a 10 or 20 man unit when it would have inflicted many more casualties if the units fired individually.

I also can go either way on the optional tables. General Whitehead has correctly pointed out that effects would tend to equalize over twenty minutes. Conversely, the regular tables would tend to equalize over the course of a game, the longer the better, while more often reflecting the extremes and thereby adding to the uncertainty from turn to turn.

I disagree with General Nelms about the quality modifiers. I don't think elite units necessarily put forth a greater volume of fire, but that their fire was more efficient and therefore more effective. I also believe such units man for man, would have been more determined in a melee. While I'm on THIS subject, I wish HPS would apply their modifiers unit by unit. What I mean is that if a unit is attacking a flank and another unit was attacking across a breastwork in the same melee, their strengths would be modified separately and then added together for the final calculation.

I am generally pleased with the cavalry skirmish rule, but I wish they had used the infantry format. The way it is, cavalry can scout at the gallop. What I hoped for was a movement point cost of 1 to scout, just like infantry. Cavalry could still move 12 hexes down a road while in scouting mode. What we have though is still better than what we had.

I like the artillery rules but note two problems. One is that the capturing unit can fire the captured artillery as well as its full firepower. There should be firepower penalty if you are going to fire the capuring unit and the captured unit. Also, I think there ought to be a mechanism to destroy the guns, such as spiking a spiked gun a second time. And since we don't have separate crews, there ought to be victory points for eliminating the crew(either by fire or capture) as well as the gun. But these views and others have been aired before on specific artillery posts.

Speaking of artillery, I was reading "No Quarter", a book about the Battle of the Crater, and found it fascinating that a Yankee sergeant got two of the Rebel guns that were damaged when the mine was exploded back in working order, and these were the only close artillery support the Yankees had during the battle. He was awarded the CMO for this feat. Posthumously, as I recall.

General Whitehead has addressed the issue of higher disrupted movement. I would like to see it extended to routed units as well. It doesn't make sense to me that formed infantry can outrun routed infantry.

Anyway, my opinion, for what it is worth.


MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:39 am 
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Waylon, good to hear from you again;

In general, I have to agree with General Nelms (no pun intended). Although one has to be careful in generalizations (there I go again), one can surely state that if a force is basically A and B units versus C and D units the quality modifiers will definitely slant the game to the A and B side, where it already slanted to begin with (due to the ability to survive a morale check or recover from the bad results of one inherent in A's and B's. A's have roughly 40% greater staying power than C's).

The thing to remember is that in many of our scenarios these optional rules were not even twinkles in the scenario designers eyes, and using them indiscriminantly can seriously change the balance of a scenario.

If an optional rule does not pass a benefit to either side then I have no issue with it. There are many of these in the game. If it does pass a benefit then it should be used to help the side with the lesser experience in order to balance the game.







Lt Col Jack Waldron
2nd Bde/1st Div/XIX Corps/AoS/USA

"My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom." William T Sherman


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:03 pm 
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Hi Jack,

Been awhile since we had a chance to chat. See you moved up the ranks as well since we had our first battle back in May. Thanks for the reply. Have gotten a little better in my gaming but not much, if you would like to try another game get with me. Good to hear from you.

General Mihalik,

Thank you also Mike for your reply. You did pretty well answer one question as to which most of members prefer Phase are Turn at least from you point. I had never really considered either and thought that they were basically the same. With the replies that I am seeing I now understand the advatages and disadvantages a little better. I like to win a game as well as any other person but prefer the most accurate portrayal of the era. I enjou the maneuvering and set up of the forces as much as the actual battle itself. Guess seeing if my tactics would have brought about any different outcome than the real battle itself. The one observation I have made in all the battles and probable does not matter which option are turn as opposed to Phase is that casualties are way higher in the game as opposed to the casualties suffered in the real battle. Also in reading the battle report it appears to me that artillary was a lot more feared and devastating in the actual battle than is portrayed in the game. I know the Union had better guns, longer range, better equipment and probably better trained than the C.S.A. But I had the impression that the smoothbored guns were especially feared at close range, this does not seem to be the case in the game. Anyway thanks Mike and Jack for your replies.

Colonel Waylon H Hughes Jr.
2nd Bde (Texas Gulf Coast Vols.)
1st Div.
III Corps
AoG, C.S.A.
Commandant VMI


Waylon H Hughes Jr.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 3:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2001 5:01 am
Posts: 564
Location: USA
I've designed scenarios for several of JT's game engines. If I feel an Optional Rule is needed to balance a scenario, or make play out in the intended manner, then I try to state that in the scenario description.

I confess I have a 'bad' habit of making scenarios with a game experience of using the same, more or less, Optional Rules all the time. So if you know what ORs I use to play with, then its probably good to use those same set whenever you play a scenario I've designed.

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


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:30 am 
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Posts: 851
Location: Panhandle of Texas
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by mihalik</i>

I disagree with General Nelms about the quality modifiers. I don't think elite units necessarily put forth a greater volume of fire, but that their fire was more efficient and therefore more effective. I also believe such units man for man, would have been more determined in a melee.

Anyway, my opinion, for what it is worth.


MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

I really don't think the fire from elite units were more efficient or effective, what made them elite was their ability to stand and take fire longer then most other regiments. I don't think that you can find any examples of where a regiment could deliver 4 rounds a minute or were more accurate when being shot at, or very few if you do, it was the ability to stand it longer that made them elite. I think the game already reflects that with their original quality factor. If it was really more effective or efficient fire that made up the A quality units then how many would there really be? Good discussion though.

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


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:16 am 
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A couple of valid question were brought up on certain optional rules so I thought I would elaborate on my thinking:

Quality Modifiers - yes they can unbalance some scenarios but fewer than you think. Gettysburg is a good example. I suspect if you averaged out all those A-F ratings you would find the two armies by this time very equal quality wise, even the cavalry. The Rebels have a few very good units but they have a lot of real dogs. And the Union has some very highly rated brigades. Battles earlier in the war may have an advantage to the Rebel side but this is one of the few compensations the Rebels have for having significantly fewer troops in most of the battles. As to whether it reflects how well these troops did in a fight as far as fire and melee are concerned, usually high quality ratings are given to veteran troops and reflects their better performance under fire. It isn't that they shot more but that they are more likely to shoot effectively. In melee the advantage of high quality troops is more obvious. The Stonewall or Iron Brigades are more likely to stand when others wouldn't or take the position if for no other reason than to live up to their reputations. Commanders recognized this and tended to use them as shock troops. They were the equivalent of the Old Guard.

Isolation - This one always takes a lot of flak and deservingly so. It does allow gamey tactics especially on a player that has bad habits. It is deadly in Turn based play especially before the new Melee rule. Now my defense of it. It forces players to pay attention to maintaining their lines and keeping reserves. In phased play I have almost never lost a regiment to isolation except when they took a bad route (wrong direction). This was one of two purposes in adding it. To punish players for sloppy tactics like lone regiments trying to raid the enemy flanks and rear, trying to attack with a single brigade leaving its flanks in the air, in other words, generally poor Civil War tactics. There is a reason the commanders tried to hold their troops in lines with supporting formations on their flanks. When you didn't then things like Chancellorsville happened to you. Isolation rules make this possible. The other problem they are their to fix is the also gamey tactic of sending those little cavalry regiments into the enemies rear to raise havoc at little risk. Without isolation rules it takes a whole brigade to hunt down and kill a 25 man cavalry HQ guard. Once you have had some enemy regiment accidently route behind your lines then watched it recover order and proceed to wipe out most of your wagons and artillery because you don't have six units to surround it with, you start liking the Isolation Option.

Disclaimer - I do wish it was better implemented so that weren't so many gamey ways to use it. One thing that would improve this rule would be to remove the Isolation flag as soon as the player broke the isolation. The purpose of the rule was to reflect the tendancy of regiments cut off from their lines to surrender rather than fight to the last man. If a player can easily break that isolation then the unit really wasn't that isolated and shouldn't have to carry the flagging through a whole turn.

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


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