Category: Civil War, The

The Civil War: 1861-1865, Victory Games

The Guns of Gettysburg – A Boardgaming Life Review

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By Michael Stultz

Designer: Bowens Simmons

Publisher: Mercury Games

Confederate forces invaded the United States of America in the summer of 1863 during the waning days of June. Just two months prior at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Lee’s army had defeated the Army of the Potomac, one of several defeats inflicted on the Union. Lee reasoned that now was the time for a bold strike that might win the war for the South, or at least, procure necessary victuals and potentially gain the recognition and support of one or both of France and England. The Confederate rank and file were confident and self-assured as they struck north in the waning days of June 1863. It was the high-tide for General Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia. The aim was simple: requisition supplies and disrupt Union invasion plans. Lee’s army desperately needed this in the face of an increasingly critical scarcity of food and basic material; and strategically, taking the war onto Northern soil would put the Confederates on the offensive outside their own territory. So, march they did. In the first three days of July, a momentous battle was fought where no one had planned to engage, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In those three days, two armies and two nations collided in violent combat. And in those three days, one nation died, another triumphed.

That’s the history. And if you want to replay history using scripted movements and positions, playing across a hexagonal grid, you will not likely enjoy Guns of Gettysburg, designed by Bowen Simmons and published by Mercury Games. But if you are looking for a unique design that takes you into the action of those three days, this is a candidate well deserving of your time.

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Glory III – After Action Report

by Tom Thornsen

Designer:  Richard Berg

Publisher: GMT Games

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“Awesome Bob” and I have both had this game in our collections for some time and finally decided to break open the box and try the system.  I have played Richard Berg’s “Triumph and Glory” system for several years for Napoleonic warfare and this looks to be a simpler version of it directed to the US Civil War.  This is the third game set in the series, so we figure that the bugs have been worked out by now.  The rules certainly seem simple enough, so we could get right down to action.  We spent a couple of meetings playing the other game in the box on the battle of “Cedar Creek” just to get our mechanics worked out.

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The Civil War: Cavalry “Stone Wall” (Strategy)

“Cavalry Stone Wall” in The Civil War


Technique for Delaying an Enemy Army on the Move


Overview

Even though The Civil War,  published by Victory Games, is a strategic/grand operational level game, the clever movement and reaction rules make maneuver a more important aspect of the game than is usual for titles on this scale. Often times a key objective will be won without firing a shot, as one army or the other finds itself outmaneuvered and dangerously exposed and decides to wisely give up the objective to “fight another day”. This article offers a technique for effectively screening an enemy Army that does not have any Cavalry leaders present.


The Cavalry Stone Wall

An army’s Cavalry is the best source of information on enemy troop movements and can be used to great effect as a raiding force to destroy enemy supply depots and deny control of critical rail junctions. Cavalry, when properly used in this game, can also be quite effective in inhibiting movement of enemy forces. Given the right conditions a 1 strength point force under a Cavalry leader can halt the movement of an enemy army many times its own size.


The Civil War: 1861-1865 Strategy

Consider the following case:

Three contiguous hexes, in a straight line, identified as hexes A, B, and C, such that hex B lies between hexes A and C (see figure 1).

  • A 5 strength point Confederate Army, containing a Cavalry Leader, in hex C
  • A 20 strength point Union Army, with no Cavalry Leader, in hex A.
  • The Union force in hex A moves into hex B, attempting to either draw the Confederates into a fight they can’t win or, failing that, to bypass them entirely and drive deep into Mississippi.

The Confederates reaction needs to both preserve their small army, and prevent the rampaging Union army from driving any deeper into the South.


The Civil War: 1861-1865 Strategy

The Confederate Army in hex C executes a successful partial reaction (see “Partial Reaction Movement”, under rules section 9.3) by sending only the Cavalry force of 1 strength point and Cavalry Leader Forrest into hex B.

Since the reacting force is considered to have arrived before the force that caused the reaction, the reacting Cavalry force is considered to be the “defender”. Additionally, it is eligible for “Retreat Before Combat”, due to the fact that the moving Union force has no Cavalry Leader (see figure 2).


The Civil War: 1861-1865 Strategy

This, according to rules sections 4.1 and 10.1, will cause the “screening” of the moving force, thereby halting its movement.

And the best part of the maneuver is that the screening Cavalry unit can then retreat back into the hex with the Confederate army, regaining its original position (see figure 3).

Perfect.


The Civil War: 1861-1865 Strategy

Well, almost perfect. The retreat before combat maneuver can only fail if the commanding Cavalry leader fails his leader loss check by being killed or wounded.

There is only a 16.66% chance of this happening since 1-star leaders are only killed/wounded on a roll of 4 or 5 (rolling two dice), and 2-star leaders only fail on rolls of 3 or 4 (see figure 4). So the risk is minimal when weighed against the benefit.


Summary

In this example, a 5-strength point army completely stonewalled the movement of a much larger force with minimal risk to itself. You should always retain at least one Cavalry leader with each of your armies to prevent your opponent from running you into the “Cavalry Stone Wall”.

The Civil War (House Rules)

House Rules for Victory Games’ “The Civil War”

  • NSPs without Naval Leaders – Naval Strength Points (NSPs) without Naval Leaders present CANNOT transport a ground leader by himself (i.e. without troops). However, such ground leaders may be moved by Sea Transport, by spending Command Points in the appropriate theater.
  • Ground Leaders Commanding Navies – When ground leaders command naval strength points, you must spend their initiative rating in Naval or Discretionary Command Points (not theater command points as when they are commanding ground troops).
  • Leaders Without Troops – If a leader and one strength point occupy a hex at the end of a turn and the force is demoralized, the strength point will be eliminated, leaving the leader alone in the hex. The leader must immediately be moved to the turn record track for the following turn. Although it’s not exactly the same conditions, the “Movement of Leaders Alone” subsection of rules section 3.2 is clear about the prohibition of leaders being alone in a hex.