$18.00
GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters: 125.47

7,470 Supporters

$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
47.1% of Goal | left

Support:

Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

For the People» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Southern Victory in FTP rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Paul Trad

Alexandria
Virginia
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Hopelessness is the Key? "It's my only Hope."

Those classic words were delivered by George Costanza to his friend Jerry, describing his best path to finding a woman.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKo2l3FFhUs

Playing as Jeff Davis becomes more difficult the more both opponents learn how to play FTP. Like all games with an initial aggressor that has to switch over to being an overwhelmed defender, this game includes all the hallmarks of that kind of conflict. As the Northern player learns how to tighten the screws quicker and more efficiently, the Southern player is left with two options each game:

1) Attack more and sustain these attacks longer,

or

2) Make light attacks into the North and fall back sooner.

I realize those statements can be defined in many ways, and cards dealt dictate much in a CDG, but the core truth is that a Southern offensive plays into a Northern victory if Lincoln is wise and stays calm.

Recently, I lost DC TWICE in one game, and still won as Lincoln. Then I played the South, never took DC(never tried) and won fairly convincingly. These outcomes suggest some very odd truths about Southern hopes for victory.

The South can either attempt to inflict a mid-war Northern Surrender, or to survive the last turn herself, but not both. The choice of one goal over the other is not only how Davis plays, but how he reacts to Lincoln's plays.

Unlike other games, where an aggressor tries to humble a more industrial/productive enemy, FTP mixes up this theme with some counter-intuitive problems, because they were historically true:

* The South is an exporter which relies on the Northern navy,

* The South has a huge coastline guarded by forts, but no garrisons,

* The South has many great leaders, but almost no army in the field,

* The South relies on forts to offset naval/troop disparities, but does not produce quality canons, the key to fortifying,

* The South begins a war of Independence, but cannot take the war to the North for a long time, even though time is against her,

* The Northern armies mobilize when the South's do, in greater numbers, in the places that need defending. They are more limited by rail capacity(sea moves included) to get at the Southern defenses, than by the armies of the South.


If these conditions are understood and agreed to be true, then one might conclude the South should have picked a better time and way to oppose Northern political developments. Since we can agree also that the war began when and how it did, maybe it is better to conclude that the South had to lose.

Essentially, they had no hope of a military victory over the North. So the question becomes, 'How long will this take?'

Mark H has answered that by placing the last game turn at Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House.

As Davis, you have to do better.

As George realizes, if you can embrace the hopelessness, there is a kind of hope in that.

In an odd way, the strength of the North can be a sort of weakness. If they stack their armies full of SPs, and stand smugly behind lots of newly built forts, attrition will eat them up. Southern armies must be formed and look like they are on the verge of attacking, but they should be dispersed, so interceptions and voluntary retreats concentrate the troops when the North finally sallies forth.

Northern naval supremacy will allow them to go almost anywhere they choose, in fairly large numbers. Once they commit, the question a good Southern leader must answer is, "Did they over-commit enough to make a land thrust Northward worthwhile?" And then, "How many troops can I lose to affect 5-10 SW for us each?"

As both players gain experience, these difficult trade-offs become more obvious. Soon, Lincoln will only send the minimum Bluebellies to take an objective, and Davis will consider but pass on most opportunities.

It is only after both players learn and then respect the other side's potential that the true goal of the South emerges - Delay.

Like most revolutions, victory in the form of conquering is only possible if the established power makes a series of miscalculations and blunders. One such blunder is to try to crush the upstart too soon with too little.

Revolutionaries rely on excellent leaders and motivated troops. These can face long odds, humiliating the dominant government's militia legions. So the South prefers an aggressive Lincoln to squander his numerical advantage early on. This needs to happen before the deaths of Southern generals tip the leader scales, reinforcements are railed to the weakened armies/sectors, and the water defenses completely give out.

A full-proof defense is not the best way to entice an early Northern offensive. Give them an opening. Then cut off and annihilate the enemy army with raids and troop concentrations. Do not pretend that the South can hold everything all the time. Davis should not entertain that kind of hope.

Once the North commits to a major offensive, use all the battle prowess of Southern leaders and men to crush this incursion. The North will eventually revisit the same area and win, but victory is not about holding. Victory is about delaying.

If Davis loses his armies after several glorious battles, and his capitol once, this is the kind of hopeless outcome that can be called a Victory.
15 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christopher Hill
United States
Wilmington
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Some nice observations, Paul.

To your comment about attrition eating up the northern armies, I just haven't seen this to be a weakness for the Union in the way you describe. It seems attrition is much worse on the Confederacy especially if the Davis player chooses to keep his forces consolidated. The Lincoln player can absorb the losses much easier due to the ratio of Union to Confederate reinforcements over time. That being said, consolidation of the Confederate forces at the right time can result in a major battle win for the South and a large SW point swing.

To me, the best way to attack with the Union is to keep the battle size to medium. This way a loss does not result in a SW swing, but it will hurt the South more in that they will not be able to replace the losses as quickly as the North. Wear em' down, protect your rear and be patient. No need to win the game in one turn.

For the Confederacy, you are right. They must be aggressive early and then pick and choose their fights carefully. If the Union player lets down his guard and loses Washington, then so much the better for Davis and the delay tactic you describe.

I have played FtP only a dozen times, so I am by no means an expert, but one of the remarkable things to me is how well balanced the game is between equally competent players.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
"Hey, Joe! Got any live ones!?", (but Joe had no grenades). The tank rumbled nearer. Johnny stuffed explosives into his gloves, burrowed deep in the muck and waited; then deftly slapped them into a greasy tread axle and spun for cover; snap-firing...
mbmbmbmbmb
Great thread here. Limited experience with FtP but definitely agree that dispersing the Southern forces and relying on interior lines to quickly concentrate around opportunity offers incrementally hopeful gains through flexibility and speed.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Trad

Alexandria
Virginia
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
kinga1965 wrote:

To your comment about attrition eating up the northern armies, I just haven't seen this to be a weakness for the Union in the way you describe.


Firstly, thanks for kind replies to both the above.

As to Attrition, I totally agree that this is a minor nuisance to the North in terms of total Strength lost over the entire game. The real limit on Northern aggression is rail capacity.

But in the short term, it behooves the South to inflict losses any way possible, as cheaply as possible, while covering their own vitals.

For each increment of Blue-coats taken out of the game, the tipping point is delayed. It is this delay, not the losses themselves, which matters.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
"Hey, Joe! Got any live ones!?", (but Joe had no grenades). The tank rumbled nearer. Johnny stuffed explosives into his gloves, burrowed deep in the muck and waited; then deftly slapped them into a greasy tread axle and spun for cover; snap-firing...
mbmbmbmbmb
Precisely. Delay underpinned every Southern hope.

Perhaps it is even true that the South must have lost the war, at least militarily. Still, it is interesting to note that the North absolutely had to win the war by taking the fight into the South while sustaining tremendous supply lines, yet the South only had to outlast the North's will to fight on while enjoying more favorable invasion routes in northern Virginia and better internal supply lines.

The South maintained a hope that with enough victories in Virginia (much could be lost in other places but not there if Northern morale and Republican incumbents were to suffer) the North would elect Southern sympathizing Democrats who could bring an end to the war favorable to the South.

The South also may have hoped that the displacement of able bodied soldiers from Northern factories would slow production levels there, whereas the plantation system of the South allowed their men to be perpetually available to fight at all times without interrupting vital production levels.

I suppose it is fair to say that, however unlikely, the best hope for Southern victory lay in the foreign political sphere, prior to the Emancipation Proclamation; that an accumulation of decisive early Southern victories on the battlefield would directly convert to foreign nations quickly recognizing the independence of the South.

The further hope that some foreign power would actually intervene on the South's behalf, disrupting the Northern naval dominance while providing the South with sustainable economic and material support for their continued delaying strategy. Even this hope is admittedly slim however because potentially foreign allies had already either outlawed slavery or were vehemently opposed to it. The South surely must lose hope as the North successfully pivots to a 'just cause' war position.

Regardless, the key to all of these Southern hopes is delay.
5 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Trad

Alexandria
Virginia
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Found this, a quote by Tecumseh Sherman:



The South is shooting from 'behind the eight-ball' and doesn't even know it, or seem to care!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.