AoS vs ANV Challenge – the Valley Campaign of 2002-04




In May 2002, the Army of the Shenandoah marched into their namesake valley and were met by the Army of North Virginia. In what has become, a 2-year campaign of 4 major engagements, the participating commanders engaged each other using two standard and three custom blind scenarios by Dave Litton. The overall format for this was developed in conversations among Rob Love, Den McBride, Mike Smith, and myself in early 2002.


The format for the Challenge is unique in that half the members of each Army play the opposite side from their normal games, and individuals earn “points” for both their Army based on the overall victory level and points for themselves based on their performance relative to all others playing the same side in the scenario.


The Challenge will end when one Army achieves a sufficient margin of overall victory. We currently have completed 75% of the round 4 matches and the overall result is a DRAW. The ANV has had sufficient points on a couple of occasions to claim victory, but the AoS has comeback to even up the overall result.


To date, 33 AoS and 33 ANV Commanders have participated in 70 matches. Rounds 1 used two standard blind scenarios, Round 2 was a multi-player engagement (2 commanders per side) with a custom scenario, Round 3 used an innovative Cavalry scenario involving a union gold shipment through Pennsylvania, Round 4 is currently in progress, with some interesting objectives and arrival situations.


In Round 2 we added a little sharp shooting contest with some extra points for the commander that took down the highest point officers, in Round 3 we did a similar thing but only for captured officers – a “sharp saber” contest, and in Round 4 we count everything (except Col Anon) in an “officer round-up” contest.


The format and the results offer some interesting insights into the strategies and tactics of the participants as well as “game engine balance”.


The table below summarizes the results, including Round 4 games currently completed:




                                    AoS                                                     ANV


                        Major   Minor    Draw                            Draw      Minor      Major               Total


As Yank            10            2            6                                  5            3            10                    36

As Rebel            9                           2                                  5            2            10                    28


I’m sure there are many “insights” one can draw from the above I’ll offer mine.


The relative number of “yank” to “rebel” results seems pretty historical.


The ANV advantage could be the result of more experience playing the games. For Round 1 we ranked players based on their club points, the ANV players had a total of 9500 club points to 6800 for the AoS. In subsequent rounds players were ranked based on prior performance, with similarly ranked players engaging each other.


60% of the games have resulted in major victories, virtually identical when looked as “yank vs rebel” or “AoS vs ANV”.  I would have expected more Draws and Minor Victories so I assume most players have adopted the motto of  “death or glory”!


The web site has more information and links regarding participants, game results, individual leaders, etc.


I’ll let the participants comment about the experience, but feedback suggests that people have very much enjoyed the custom blind scenarios, the opportunity to engage new opponents, and a format that allows one to fight not only for individual results but team victory.


Lt Gen Bob Breen

Independent Light Brigade, VI Corps, AoS

VI Corps motto: “Where we lead, the Army follows”