GCACW 100 Play Challenge - cmontgo2 Plays 100 Games in the GCACW
Chris Montgomery
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Illinois
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I signed up for the 100-Play Challenge. Here's the link to my specific entry.

This geeklist will act as a record of my plays of games in the GCACW Series.

In addition to agreeing to play 100 games of scenarios in the series, I have also established a few additional rules for myself:

1. Games must be played against an actual human opponent. While PBEM and live via Vassal/Skype is acceptable, no solitaire plays will count unless the scenario is specifically designed as a solitaire scenario; in that case, a single play of an available "side" can be played (and counted) once.

2. Games must be actually completed, either due to concession by one of the players, or by the conclusion of the scenario. Partial plays, abandoned games, and ruined/incomplete games - for any reason - will not count toward the 100-game goal.

3. No prior plays of the game (about 12 for me) will count toward the 100-game goal. I'm starting fresh. Of those previous 12, I think I won one of them - so I'm not oozing mastery of this game by any means!

4. Teaching games against new players with one-turn scenarios will not count toward the 100-game goal, but non-teaching one-turn scenarios will count as will multiple turn scenarios used for teaching.

5. Scenarios can come from any module in the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series.

6. For keeping statistics, a scenario that doesn't provide for minor, substantial, or major victory/loss (but rather just a "win") will count as a "substantial" victory/loss.

Each geeklist entry will track a single game in progress. This header will be updated at the conclusion of each game to show relevant statistics. I'll create that table once the first game concludes.

Total Games Played

08/100

Overall Game-Play Statistics

Raw Personal Numbers for All Plays
--------------------------------
W L TOT
--------------------------------
Union 1 2 3
Confederate 3 2 5
Percent 50% 50% 100
---------------------------------


Detailed Personal Win-Loss Statistics

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
WINS LOSSES
DCSV SUBST MARGIN TOT DCSV SUBST MARGIN TOT
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Union - - 1 1 1 - 1 2
Confederate 1 2 - 3 - 2 0 2

Percentage
of Total 12% 25% 13% 50% 12% 25% 13% 50%
Games Played
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
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1. Board Game: Stonewall Jackson's Way II [Average Rating:8.47 Overall Rank:2837] [Average Rating:8.47 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
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Joliet
Illinois
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Stonewall Jackson's Way II
All Green Alike Module

Scenario 4: An End to Innocence


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: October 09, 2013
Date Ended: October 21, 2013

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 1 Turn, July 21, 1861
Opponent: Patrick Pence (Farsol)
My Side: Confederate
Opponent's Side: Union
Result: Confederate Substantive Victory (Union Concession)

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses +3
Confederate Manpower Losses +0
Objectives:
CSA Occupies Groveton, Union Adjacent -2
CSA Occupies Mnsas Jctn., Union Adjacent +3
Union Occupies Stone Bridge +2
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +0


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union 3 - - 1 - - 4
Confederate - - - - - - 0


Scenario Description: At 2:30 A.M., July 21, a Union column of 2 divisions began a flank march around the Confederate left. Crossing at Sudley Ford they were delayed by Evans. Then Johnston's brigades, who had mostly arrived the previous day, shifted over to stop a disjointed Union attack, culminating with Jackson's "stone wall" defense. Constantly arriving Confederate reinforcements turned the tide, and the defeated Union troops when back the way they came. A retreat turned into a rout and the Confederates gained a decisive victory. There were 2,708 Union to 1,897 Confederate aggregate losses; and the Union only controlled Centreville.

After-Action Report. [I take narrative license to tell an interesting story. Out-of-character comments are in italics.]



In the afternoon of July 20, 2013, McDowell called a meeting of his generals. What were once two disparate Confederate armies that he had tried (and failed) to strike in succession, were now joined together, arrayed and defensible positions all along Bull Run. It appeared that Beauregard had spread out his forces to cover all the major river crossings for five miles and more. After a brief conference that evening, McDowell decided to try and turn both of the enemy's flanks simultaneously and force them back toward Manassas Junction where terrain favored a more direct attack.

He ordered Tyler’s Division to probe the Stone Bridge on the Confederate left, while McDowell accompanied Hunter’s Division in a long circuitous night march around the Confederate left in an attempt to capture Groveton and get behind the Confederate lines. Meanwhile, Heintzelman’s Division was to make a show of marching around the Confederate right both as a distraction, and to take advantage of any opportunities that might occur. [Here, Patrick’s night moves attempted a double-envelopment -- perhaps hoping to win the first few initiatives of the game and make the envelopment complete before I could react.]

As the morning of July 21st dawned, all seemed to be going according to plan. Tyler lay across the river from the Stone Bridge and Hunter’s foremost brigade, led by Porter, was less than two miles outside Groveton. As the morning sun rose, Heintzelman’s Division made slow progress, getting confused and having to reverse columns more than once in a nest of confusing pathways and poorly maintained dirt roads. [Patrick won the first initiative. Instead of proceeding to Groveton as I expected, he activated Heintzelman . . . perhaps hoping to make a bid for Manassas Junction. Unfortunately, the movement allowance was a 1.] Heintzelman’s navigation problems continued throughout the morning. [Followed by a 2. At this point, it was appearing as if Manassas Junction was safe, since Heintzelman only had one brigade nearby, and even it was a couple hexes out.]

By mid-morning, Heintzelman had untangled himself from the forested Bull Run river valley and made the decision to march on Manassas Junction. While not necessarily exceeding or disobeying his orders, Heintzelman felt that he was capturing a lightly-defended and symbolic objective that could be put to good use as a supply base for further campaigning by the army later. Spurring his brigades into action, he marched with all haste toward Manassas Junction. [Heintzelman’s brigades force march, some of which became disorganized.]

By 9:30 AM, Johnston and Beauregard, camped at McLean House, started receiving reports of federal movement along the left and right flanks. Johnston sent Jackson’s brigade north along the banks of Bull Run to try and reach Groveton and plug the hole in the Confederate left flank at Groveton. Jackson arrived at Groveton by 10:30 just as Hunter’s divisional columns were crossing Bull Run creek into Sudley Springs. He spread out the brigade near Sudley Church along Little Bull Run. [I won three initiatives in a row, which gave a breather to send Jackson north to protect the Groveton objective and Holmes went south to stage outside of Manassas Junction – victory points in this scenario are given to adjacency to, as well as capture of, objectives.]

Tyler grew impatient waiting for further orders, and after some reconnaissance of the Confederate lines at Stone Bridge, he felt he had sufficient numbers to overwhelm the enemy there. He began a general assault around 10:00 AM, just after Jackson had passed through the area on the way to Groveton. The assault lasted for an hour, but Evans was quick to realize that he was outmanned by a large margin. When appeals for reinforcements were not forthcoming, he sent a dispatch to inform Beauregard that he was withdrawing from Stone Bridge to take up defensive positions at Groveton. [Easy federal victory, here, with a +3 modifier. Lucky for me, the roll was 3-3, so I didn’t take Demoralization or lose casualties.]

Tyler sent word to McDowell that he had captured the Stone Bridge. To solidify the gains, Tyler rode personally to Keys’s brigade and ordered him a mile past Stone Bridge to assist with any forthcoming assault on Groveton. Finding Evans dug in again, disorganized, and having what he felt to be an advantage in numbers, Tyler ordered Keys to attack from march in an effort to capture Groveton out from under Hunter’s nose. Little did Tyler know, Keys requests for assistance has been answered, and just as Keys brigade began its attack, Hunton’s 1,500 man strong brigade arrived to assist in Groveton’s defense. [I got a quick initiative, and only Hunton was close enough to send over the Keys.]

Meanwhile, along the right flank, Heintzelman lay into Holmes’s brigade outside of Manassas Junction. Holmes put up a spirited defense. He was aided in the fact that Heintzelman’s command was in disarry, and the regiments sent at him arrived piecemeal. While overall casualties were light [no in-game combat losses], the fight took the wind out of the federal sails. Heintzelman sat with his exhausted troops less than a mile outside Manassas Junction, trying to reorganize them into some form of respectable order to make the final push to Manassas Junction [[Heintzelman was done – Howard’s brigade was at Fatigue 4, unable to move further. Nonetheless, this is secured the federals some victory points unless the rebels could muster a fighting force to dislodge him.]

Across the battlefield, along the Confederate left flank, Hunter had come up against Jackson’s boys. He took a couple of hours to bring up both his brigades, and made deliberate progress to flank Jackson’s position. By early afternoon, Porter had nearly set the trap, and it was nearly time to spring it.



Elzey, who had been loading troops most of the morning at Piedmont Depot, finally got underway. An hour later, he arrived at Gainesville and heard the booming of artillery in the distance. Scouts confirmed that there were Union troops less than a mile away. Alarmed at federals this far behind where Elzey thought the Confederate lines were supposed to be, he thought that perhaps the army had retreated. But hearing battle to his front, he decided to form up his brigade for an immediate assault.

Elzey attacked with alacrity and his fresh troops hit Porter from the rear. Not expecting enemy to apparate behind him, Porter attempted to meet the threat, but Elzey closed too quickly and Porter found out about the threat too late. Porter’s regiments crumpled and fled back across Little Bull Run.



[Porter’s position, here, was perfectly set to destroy Jackson’s brigade, but two initiatives in a row for me let me bring Elzey in by railroad movement and launch an attack with *Porter* outflanked. A +5 battle ensued, Routing Porter, eliminated the flanking threat to Jackson, and kept Groveton in Confederate hands.]

McDowell was undeterred by this setback. He sent word to Miles to bring up his division along the Warrenton Turnpike, over the Stone Bridge, and hit Groveton from the east. On arrival at the Stone Brigde, Tyler advised Miles that they had already whipped Evans earlier and he shouldn’t have too much trouble pushing him out of the area. Miles took comfort from this taking Davies brigade alone, attacked from march. This time, though, Evans was ready. Though his troops were disorganized, morale was still high and with Hunton’s 1,500 men, he felt he could make a good showing.

Davies threw his regiments at Groveton piecemeal and the well-rested rebels cut them down as they came. After an hour of exchanging volleys, as casualties began to filter back to his command, Miles realized that the force to his front was not just Evans’s beat and battered brigade from earlier, but included additional reinforcements. Miles decided that he still stood a chance of taking the objective and pressed the regiments into the Confederate line ordering a general assault. Unfortunately, the rebels held their ground and cut the union boys to pieces. After an additional hour of heavy fighting in which Davies charged Evans’s position three times and failed, Miles called an end to the blood-letting and ordered Davies to withdraw. [This was a last-ditch attempt by Patrick to salvage the game, and so he made an assault at -1. Unfortunately, the dreaded 1-6 roll came up, causing the Union boys to take heavy casualties (2D) and fall back.]

Upon hearing of the stalled attack outside Manassas Junction, and having five exhausted brigades in and around the Stone Bridge and Groveton, McDowell ordered a general retreat – he would need an army with enough numbers (and in fighting condition) to defend Washington.

Final Positions . . .



Beauregard and Johnston heard the news of the federal withdrawal. History would record First Bull Run as a Substantive Confederate victory.

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. This play of the game was my first "real" win in GCACW. I had won once prior, teaching a new player the game - but against an opponent who knew the rules, this was a first.

I feel as if this scenario requires the Union to be moderately lucky and capture an objective or two on the first few activations. Needless to say, Patrick suffered from poor movement die rolling, and even worse combat die rolling . . . at least in those combats where it counted. Had Elzey not been released exactly when he was, had he rolled low movement, had Patrick rolled higher on his last attack, and on and on . . . there were many many instances where if just one thing had gone the other way, Patrick (the Union) would have been sitting in a much better position, and would have had a good shot at winning the scenario.

As it was, all the critical events seemed to fall in favor of the Confederates.

This scenario is a fun one to play. I was a bit disheartened that in the first foray into AGA that the Confederates won a battle without *any* in-game casualties. That seems rather thin to me . . . but the game was conceded. I am sure if we had played it until the end there would have been some Confederate casualties.

Overall, I think I played a decent game, but I also feel that I was strongly aided by luck. That is the nature of these one-turn scenarios, though - having played the one-turn scenario from Battle Above the Clouds over five times, I know that in this series, as the time-frame is compressed, the more critical die rolls become.

For a one-turn scenario, there appears to be a few different options for the Union attack - but I suspect these options will slowly evolve to "one" best way to approach this scenario.

I will say that I found it to be a fun, direct, and pretty "realistic" scenario - at least as far as my knowledge of the battle is concerned.

I was a bit perplexed when Patrick struck out with Heinzelman for Manassas Junction on the first couple of initiatives. Groveton was within easy striking distance and undefended.

I thought Patrick's opening moves were good ones - if forced me to choose between trying to reinforce the left flank, or sticking around to try and protect the right. Had I not luckily rolled three initiatives in a row, he would have been able to fall on one flank or the other at a large advantage.

We are immediately switching sides to play again.

Opponent Comments, If Any. Chris is right, in that this might have had a slightly better outcome (although still a Union loss) had I not conceded the game at that point. With the balance of these one-turn scenarios weighing so heavily on one or two dice outcome, it is critical to have a little bit of luck go your way. I felt that the "big picture" of the blunted Union attacks had essentially ended any possible alteration of the scenario's outcome, which is why I figured we could end when we did.
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2. Board Game: Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North [Average Rating:9.01 Overall Rank:4690]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Roads to Gettysburg II
Scenario 4: First Day at Gettysburg


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: December 05, 2018
Date Ended:

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 1 Turn, July 1, 1863
Opponent: Lawrence Hung (Lawrence Hung)
My Side:
Opponent's Side:
Result:

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses +0
Confederate Manpower Losses -
CSA Control of Gettysburg, and Union does not -
occupy Evergreen Cemetery and Culp's Hill
Above Requirement, plus CSA Control 2/3 of -
Peach Orchard, Round Top, Parsonage
CSA Control of Gettysburg, Union occupy -
EITHER Evergreen Cem. or Culp's Hill
CSA Control of Gettysburg, and Union occupy -
BOTH Evergreen Cemetary and Culp's Hill

TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +0


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union - - - - - - -
Confederate - - - - - - -


Scenario Description: This scenario simulates the meeting engagement that took place just northwest of the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 1, 1863 between advance elements of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia.

After-Action Report. [I take narrative license to tell an interesting story. Out-of-character comments are in italics.]

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. TO COME.

Opponent Comments, If Any. TO COME.
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3. Board Game: Battle Above the Clouds [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:2630]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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MODULE
Scenario ___: ___________________________


This is a placeholder for an eventual game with Rob Doane. I chose to terminate all my GCACW games (including my tournament games!) due to the birth of my second child. My opponents have been universally gracious, and I sincerely appreciate it. I will hopefully be restarting some of my old games that I saved, but some, like this one, will probably be completely new scenarios.
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4. Board Game: Burnside Takes Command [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Skirmisher No. 2
Burnside Takes Command

Scenario 1: The Lincoln-Stanton Plan


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: October 11, 2013
Date Ended: March 10, 2014

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 3 Turns, November 15-17, 1862
Opponent: Carsten Bohne (dasher47051)
My Side: Union
Opponent's Side: Confederate
Result: Union Minor Victory

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses -17
Confederate Manpower Losses +22
Objectives:
Culpepper (no LOC) +3
Brandy Station (LOC) +2
Rappahannock Station (LOC) +2
Bealeton Station (LOC) +2
Warrenton Junction (LOC) +2

TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . +16


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union 17 2 0 20 4 1 44
Confederate 22 1 1 5 0 0 29


Scenario Description: The Lincoln administration strongly favored the strategy of attacking Longstreet's corps while it was separated from Jackson's wing. The Army of the Potomac would drive on Culpeper and proceed along the Orange & Alexandria RR towards the junction at Gordonsville. A successful Union offensive would drive a wedge between the two Confederate wings and compel Lee to battle on unfavorable terms. Jackson's corps was about three days away at Front Royal and Winchester. Burnside could operate freely on Longstreet during that time, but he would have to keep his rail supply line protected against Jackson as he advanced.

After-Action Report. November 15, 1862 (Turn 1)

Taking the lead from President Lincoln’s administration, Gen. Ambrose Burnside agreed to press forward with a campaign along the Orange and Alexandria Railroad (O&A) with the aim of capturing as many miles of track as possible and using that rail line to supply the army. By all accounts, Robert E. Lee was out-manned and out-gunned, and a few tens of thousands of Union rifles should be able to capture a significant portion of the railway and use the momentum of a wave of supplies to push back the Confederates. Burnside felt that with a little luck, he might be able to bag Lee, who he knew hated to surrender the field.

Early in the morning on the 15th of November, Burnside ordered for Hooker’s Grand Division sitting along the Union right near Orleans, to move laterally against the Rappahannock and cross or assault where practicable. Franklin’s Grand Division was charged with securing the O&A from Warrenton Junction to Rappahannock Station. Sumner’s Grand Division was ordered to conduct a reconnaissance in force at the junction of the Hazel and Rappahannock Rivers near Beverly Ford. All divisions were expected to push the advance past the Hazel River and toward Cumberland.



On the other side of the Hazel River, Stuart’s cavalry scouting to the north had located the main body of the Union army and reported the work was underway for a march. Lee found himself, once again, facing a superior enemy force, and determined to grab the initiative. Without Longstreet’s large corps, and no other help or aid nearby, he dispatched Pickett’s Division and two regiments of Anderson’s Division to block the river crossings. This maneuver was reminiscent of First Bull Run, but Lee felt that using his numerically inferior force to defend the fords and bridges over the Hazel River would frustrate Union attempts, and with some luck he might be able to strike in force on a more equal footing at the critical point.

Getting the jump on the federals, he flung the remainder of Longstreet’s corps across the Rappanhannock to block the federal advance. He sent a dispatch to Hood and Ransom’s divisions over 25 miles away at Ransom’s courthouse and requested them to march with all haste to the vicinity of Bethlehem Church.

Hooker’s Grand Division advanced as ordered and brushed up against J.E.B. Stuart, who skirted their pickets and headed off to the east to see what was going on along the O&A in that direction. [Here, I violated one of the scenario rules - which I did consistently throughout the scenario. I am ambivalent about how much it affected the game . . . but there is a scenario rule that Grand Division activations cannot attack and cannot enter an EZOC. With my first Grand Division activation of the game, I violated the rule by moving into an EZOC and offering Stuart a Cavalry Retreat. I think the delay between files is why neither Carsten nor I caught the error. I am undecided on how much it affected our game, because the obvious abuse of the rule is using a Grand Division activation to either (a) completely surround an enemy unit without an initiative roll, or (b) follow up attack after attack on the same unit until you get the dice you need. I didn’t do either one of these during our game. There are two other advantages, of course. One is the +1 to movement over and above Corps Leader Activations, which may or may not have had an impact. The second is the ability to grab lots of ground without having to have an initiative roll to permit the opponent to react. Both of these things are large advantages in the game, but I lean toward thinking violation of this rule in my incompetent hands didn’t result in a significant advantage for myself, but I could be wrong.]

By early afternoon, elements of Sumner’s grand division including Howard’s division of the Second Corps and Burns’s division of the Ninth Corps ran into McLaws’s pickets. The pickets began skirmishing, and reports filtered back that about 10,000 rebels were in force along a mile-wide section of the Rappahannock with artillery support. Burnside was unperturbed at the news. Lee had always been more nimble than the Union, but Lee’s defeat just a couple of months earlier at Antietam had boosted Union morale. The boys knew now that they could whip the rebels. [It was at this point that one of Carsten’s log files had the message: “It’s getting hot along the Rappahannock!” So true.]



Upon coming up against rebel resistance, Burnside made a decision that would affect the rest of the three-day operation; he ordered all corps to proceed with caution until the rest of the Confederate forces could be located. This had the predictable effect of causing all the brigades to make almost no further progress that day. [This was probably my most-difficult decision during the game. I was handed an opportunity when Carsten unexpectedly passed the initiative to me. Most of his units were at F3, putting them exhausted after the next recovery phase. I had most of my units at only F1 or F2, and so could escape the punishing effects of extended march rolls (or so I thought!). Usually, though, EM rolls are not that big of a deal in a two-turn scenario. It takes three-turns for the EMs to really take hold. But I had a *lot* of units out of position that needed to move up. The question was, how much ground could I cover if I only received four more activations per unit? I figured I would rather fight against the rebels with them exhausted next turn, and myself at full strength. In hindsight, I probably should have pressed on (as usual in these shorter scenarios, it seems).]

The afternoon provided little progress as the Union’s units, satisfied with the ground covered, made early camp. Late that afternoon, toward twlight, Lee rode the perimeter and examined the enemy campfires. They were numerous.



November 16, 1862 (Turn 2)

At the first ebbing of darkness, as the dew fell, Smith’s Corps was the first to move. He knew he was behind the eight-ball having just come up and didn’t want to be accused of having the slows. He urged all his units on to capture sections of the O&A. [Force marched two of his three divisions, losing three manpower!] By first light, he had captured 3-Mile Station [not a VP objective] and Warrenton Junction [+2 VPs! Whoo-hoo!]. Newton’s Division was marching toward Bealeton Station.

On the Confederate left, Hood continued his rather plodding march to secure the ford at Castleton Mine. [Last turn and this one, Carsten had some pretty low rolling for Hood. He got about one mile from the ford before Butterfield crossed it. Here, I realized my error . . . getting across the Hazel River and into the southern portion of Culpepper County should have been my primary concern. Instead of moving up rear-guard units in these opening initiatives, I should have been burying the hatchet with Butterfield’s Corps to turn Lee’s flank. But I missed the opportunity. Lee I ain’t!]



Along the Rappahannock, the Union left went into action against the CSA right. Reynolds ordered an assault on Bealeton Station, being held by Anderson’s rebel division. After a couple hours of hard fighting, the Confederate lines broke and routed to the southwestern side of the Rappahannock, opposite Rappahannock Station. Gibbon’s Union division followed on the Confederate heels and captured Rappahannock Station. [All three stations northeast of the Rappahannock are now in Union hands, +6 VPs total.] While Anderson frantically attempted to get his regiments reorganized before another Union attack, he sent word to Lee that the Union had broken his battle line. Lee casually remarked about the similarities to Antietam: slow Union advance, early Union victories. “The trick this time,” he was heard to have quipped, “is not to have a river at our back.” Lee sent orders to Longstreet who was located off to the south beyond St. James Church. He requested him, “as soon as he was able” to block the approach of Sumner’s grand division and protect the CSA lines of retreat.

Out west, Butterfield’s Corps rounded the Confederate left flank opposed by Hood and two regiments from Pickett’s division. Sykes’s Union division got behind Hood’s flank and marched on Culpepper. Hood, four miles away and nearly surrounded by the remaining divisions of Butterfield’s Corps, sent what he could: one division to slow Sykes advance. [Carsten split off another Sub-unit to throw up some roadblocks. The small units were frustrating to deal with and this was the first scenario - for me at least - having to deal with the ability to create Sub-units. Carsten was very effective with them. This part of the scenario was also really enhanced by a good exchange of initiatives. The Confederates seemed to get them just when they needed them, and they were able to adjust and block all of my maneuvers. Here, again, the ability to activate Sumner’s grand division in violation of the rules, rather than each corps individually didn’t seem to make a huge difference, but it probably would have allowed Carsten to have a few more activations in between movements. Still, the tension and frustration during this portion of the scenario was great fun - and I suspect for Carsten, too.]

Lee realized the danger - nearly too late - of the Union getting behind both his flanks. He ordered his main attack force of McLaws and Pendleton to fall back and lay across the O&A rail line to await the Union advance. Lee, Longstreet, McLaws along Pendleton’s artillery arrived two miles east of Brandy Station to join Anderson’s rallying boys just as Reynolds’s Union troopers approached, fresh off their victory at Bealeton and Rappahannock Stations and expecting to run up against Anderson’s “yeller rebels”.

As he would do many other times in the war, Lee formed a line of battle and ordered an attack en echelon. For an hour, Lee’s superior firepower along with Longstreet’s corps batteries as well as his slight numerical advantage caused the Union lines to buckle, but in the end, Reynold’s line held. The federals and rebels fought one another to a standstill, and though Lee was unable to break the Union lines, he had halted the collapse of his right flank. [+2 attack, 2-3 result, +1 final. Attacker 1D, Defender D.] Reynolds’s advance was blunted, and he called back for more assistance, reporting the main body of the rebel army in force along his front.



Burnside saw an opportunity to bag Lee, and ordered Reynolds to “stick to Lee like a fly on a cow’s ear.” While Reynolds bought time skirmishing with McLaws, Burnside brought up Couch’s II Corps (Howard, French, and Hancock) as well as the rest of Reynold’s I Corps (Meade and Doubleday). Over the course of the day, Burnside worked locally around both of Lee’s flanks, trying to keep him “flypapered” to Reynolds.

But Lee was not out of the fight yet. Commanding around 6,000 rebels locally, Lee faced a force over three times his size. His position was great for artillery defense, but the sheer number of Union troops threatened to wash around his mile-long battle line and envelop him. [Here, I was just trying to take my time and surround Lee, and hopefully force him to fall back, or even better, get lucky with some activations and actually completely surround him. But I didn’t hang on to the initiative.] Lee sent out order for any nearby units to converge on his position, hoping to catch the Union with their flanks in the air. Around 4:00 PM, Pickett received these orders and marched with all haste to St. James Church, coming in contact with Hancock and Gettys’ Divisions.

Meanwhile, along the Hazel River, the Confederates were abandoning their positions to contract the battleline as word spread that the Union was across the Hazel and into the rebel rear areas. Most rebel commanders understood the backup strategy was to fall back to Culpepper, but the news came late in the day, and rebel commanders decided to make a few miles’ headway lest they end up sandwiched between elements of the Union army. While the retreat remained orderly, several scattered regiments were caught by overwhelming advancing Union forces and routed.

To the south, near Culpepper, Bayard’s Union cavalry brigade had been asked by I Corps (Reynolds) to scout south of Culpepper, and possibly occupy the town if practicable. Late in the day, Bayard traveled unmolested around The Ridge and Pony Mountain, through Cedar Grove Church, and into Culpepper. As his men settled in, Confederate infantry elements, pooped from the days marching and fighting [Fatigue 4], were also arriving on the outskirts of Culpepper, making Bayard nervous, but determined to try and hold the town for as long as possible. But against the backdrop of the setting sun, W.H. Lee’s Confederate arrived out of the east and attacked westward into the town. Bayard’s small force had set up its defensive lines rather ad hoc, thinking the days fighting was done. W.H. Lee’s attack came as a surprise, and the rebel cavalry scattered Bayard’s men after a short cavalry battle. [+4 modifier, 5-5 result = +4, DR for Bayard, fa for W.H. Lee. Bayard routs away to the southwest.]



A close up of Lee’s Predicament . . .



November 17, 1862 (Turn 3)

The morning dawned on November 17th with Lee surveying the battlefield. He had lost sleep last night debating his predicament, and the cool late fall chill hadn’t helped. He was surrounded, and consulted briefly with Longstreet. The two men were in agreement: they must attack, or be overwhelmed. [Start of Turn 3, and I really, really, really, needed the initiative, if I was going to wallop Lee. I have fatigued all my units getting them in position the day before, and Carsten had positioned Pickett so that he could make a flanking attack to escape the noose. If I won the initiative and could force Lee to rout, it would be a devastating blow, and possibly secure a win. If Carsten won the initiative, Lee would attack with an ungodly good bonus, gain some serious VPs and probably get away. Initiative roll . . . CSA. One of those really crucial moments in these games.]

Lee gave orders to attack Hancock’s division, which seemed like it would be the easiest to dislodge . . . they had done some hard fighting and marching and were likely exhausted. Pickett was in the vicinity, too, and might be able to contribute something to the attack. While the Union fellas were tired from mostly not sleeping the night before being so close to the enemy, one soldier who survived the engagement remarked, “the rebels burst over a rise, screaming and hollering like a pack of wild cats.” The fighting was less fighting and more a race. Hancock’s division, with Sumner in attendance, were unable to form battlelines before the rebels were on them. A couple of regiments made a showing of it and fired a few volleys, which likely saved many a northerner’s life. But when it was all said and done, the Union lost 500 killed, and over 2,000 missing, in the matter of just sixty minutes of fighting. Hancock’s division was scattered to the four winds, and Sumner spent the better part of the morning trying to reform regiments and brigades. It wouldn’t be until Gettysburg that Hancock would have an opportunity to regain his division’s honor. [Having won the initiative, Carsten attacked. With the flanking modifiers, Lee’s bonus, etc., it was a +6 before the roll. And the roll was . . . . a 6-1, attacker!, +11 result. 5DR* to the Union, a for the Confederates. Needless to say, I was crestfallen at the result, but it was a risk I had chosen to take when I passed out the end of Turn 2. It made for a great story, and I got over the emotional injury.]

Lee had done it again. Burnside was informed that Lee had slipped the noose and routed Hancock, and Burnside upended his coffee at the news, and spat.

Compare the close-up of Lee surrounded to the new map position . . .



Lee pressed his boys to keep moving. By 8:00 AM, Longstreet’s columns had hit Getty’s division sitting along the O&A and routed them just as easily. [CSA wins initiative again, and attacks again with Lee, hitting Getty with a +10 before the roll. 5-6, for a final +9. Attacker is “a”, Defender “2DR*”!] Upon hearing the news, an observer on Burnside’s staff later reported that Burnside had quipped, “I knew those boys were a little bit green, but I apparently failed to see the yellow in them, too.” Burnside’s self-deprecating attitude would later lead him to believe that the failure was to be found in his leadership qualities, not the men under his command - but the quote is evidence of his dissatisfaction at the time.

While Burnside was being dealt a literally demoralizing blow, Willcox’s corps got the jump on the day and rolled up many units in the center. He kept driving and driving, and most of the Confederate units he encountered were demoralized and weak. Unbeknownst to Burnside and Lee, while Lee was forcing his breakout of Burnside’s noose, the Confederate center was in shambles, and Willcox had captured Culpepper. [Here, Willcox got some really great rolls both for attacks as well as movement. He kept attacking, advancing, and moving, until he was in Culpepper.]

Lee, trying to get to Culpepper before the Union [artistic license, here], pushed Longstreeet boys harder and harder. He hit Hancock’s demoralized division again, flushing the Union out like pheasants. His assault stalled about one mile outside Culpepper when the boys simply ran out of steam. They had been fighting and running and charging since dawn, and at the gates of the prize, they just gave out. [Lee really did a number on VPs. He had routed three Union divisions for a cumulative 9 VPs. I had somewhat evened the score by hurting (and luckily rolling high) against his weakened Sub-units.] McLaws, Anderson, and Pendleton were strung out along the O&A for three miles, every one of them elated to have escaped the Union’s attempted flank, but exhausted, and nearly fought out.

Pickett, however, came rushing down the line of the O&A, met up with Lee, and promptly assaulted Sturgis’s Union division, north of Culpepper. After some sharp fighting, Sturgis and his men had had enough of the running. Hancock’s panicked and haggard troops had passed through their lines to the west, and they felt as if they were the last line of defense to hold Culpepper. The fighting escalated, but Union morale held and Pickett’s boys were mowed down, taking 1,000 casualties inside ninety minutes. Credit was later given by Sturgis to a long stone wall that provided good shelter for the federal troops. [Carsten attacked at a +1, but this time I was the beneficiary of fate. A 1-6 roll, in my favor, causing 2D against Pickett, and nothing to Sturgis. The number of combat result 6-1s and 5-1s in this game was rather silly. The odds have to have been in the tens of thousands to one. I think I counted four or five, just in the last few combats of the game.]

Lee fetched about for unexhausted, unwrecked divisions, but none were to hand. [The Confederates, pooped out, pretty much had to sit and see what I would do. Carsten had positioned his last units well to block a late-game run for objectives further to the south.] Burnside again proceeded with caution and set up a trap for Lee. This time, there was little Lee could do. Longstreet ordered his tired men back into battleline to receive a sharp Union attack, and expected his command to be wrecked beyond repair. [At this point, I had won the scenario with a marginal Union victory, but I thought it would be fun to give Lee a fighting chance to pull off a win, and/or give me a substantial victory (which I have yet to earn in this game). So I made an attack at +4 against Lee.]

Burnside, with everything in place, ordered the attack. Several divisions were ordered to converge against Lee’s position, but they all attacked out of order, and bungled the whole mess [Failed Grand Assault roll, which I have yet to successfully undertake in this game, and I’ve tried it several times.]. Longstreet quickly figured that the Union attack was only coming from one quarter instead of multiple sides has he had thought, and so he shifted his regiments to defend against the only attack facing him. After two hours of fighting, Longstreet’s men ran low on ammunition [artistic license again] and fixed bayonets for a charge. The counter-charge threw the entire Union assault into a shambles, and ended the fighting. [Well, Lee did it again. A 2-6 result, making a final combat result of +0, for a defender victory. USA 1D, Defender D.]

As the Union troopers fell back for the evening, Lee turned to Longstreet and ordered him to rouse the men. They were leaving tonight. Culpepper was a lost cause. If Burnside found him on the field tomorrow morning, all would be lost. Burnside, for his part, had performed well-above his station. While history would not be kind to him . . . he would bungle the Gettysburg campaign the following year, causing Meade to replace him. But for this short, sharp, campaign, Lincoln continued to put more trust in him to get results than Lincoln should have rightly expected.

Union Marginal Victory.

Final game state:



Union Losses: 8,500 Killed, Wounded, Missing / 11,000 Stragglers
Confederate Losses: 11,000 Killed, Wounded, Missing / 3,500 Stragglers


Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. This was one of my favorite plays of the game . . . the entire scenario felt like a "real" operation. Many of the GCACW scenarios seem to boil down to units just running all over the map to try and grab VPs without much of an over-arching strategic story (I'm looking at you, McLemore's Cove!). This scenario really felt like I was trying to conduct an American Civil War operation, maneuvering for position, and trying to get my opponent to retreat without having to fight. I found it to be great fun.

What added to the fun was that the initiatives, for the most part, ended up switching sides at just the wrong moment for the side with the initiative. This created a real run of emotional highs and lows, which are great to have experienced afterward, and frustration, while palpable, really led to a great story, I felt.

I felt that Carsten played a really strong game and I was very challenged by his positioning and maneuvering in a way that didn't feel gamey. I think the number 1-6 and 2-6 and 1-5 rolls that we had for combat was far, far, outside the norm for a three-turn game. But that made it more fun, I think - mainly because the distribution of those rolls benefited both sides roughly equally.

Overall, I think this scenario might lose some of it's replayability, since I don't know of very many other ways for the CSA player to approach the Union advance. They pretty much have to hold the Hazel-Rappahannock river crossings as long as possible, and hope that they get a couple of breaks on combat early on to slow down the Union.

I also think that perhaps I made the wrong choice to continue to accelerate the Turns. When Carsten would pass, I was very tempted to do so also . . . but in the future, I might be more reluctant to do that. The Union has more units than the CSA, and they are larger units. This advantage might be insurmountable . . . but I would have to play more to make that judgment.

The Union advantage in men and units (which translates to more fatigues) is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the Union has to occupy the objectives. So typically, they will have a 14 manpower unit sitting on a 2 VP hex, for instance. The CSA is appropriately more nimble, and therefore is able to do more with less - especially because they are on the defensive. But I just have a nagging feeling that perhaps the Union advantage might be too strong. Of course, that can't be said with any definitiveness without many, many plays, which I am not likely to obtain.

Opponent Comments, If Any. This scenario was a blast to play. Wow, it took us five months to complete (almost to the day…). At first I was intimidated by the OOB and wondered where I’d got myself into by proposing this module. In the end though, it was a necessary step up from the smaller scenarios I’d played up to then and I’m glad we did it. I totally agree with you in that this was the first scenario which felt as if two armies were moving towards one another. Beautiful…

The fact that we took so long to finish the scenario made your AAR that much more enjoyable. I didn’t remember anymore what happened in turn 1. A very entertaining read. Thanks for the time you must have poured into writing it…

As for the game, I felt that the Hazel river was my best chance at taking a stand. It was difficult to gauge just how big (or rather how small really) the units may be to still allow for an efficient defense. And there’s a lot of fords to defend. My mistake was that I underestimated how far to the west Butterfield was going to get to cross the river. One ford too few…

The victory conditions gave the impression that it was possible for the CSA to reach and hold those railway stations east of the Rappahannock. Seeing how this scenario played out, I have no idea how to accomplish this. I initially moved into Rappahannock Station and it took the Union a considerable amount of activations to clear it, but it was never in doubt that those VPs will go to the USA in the end.

The Sub-x roadblocks… Perhaps you should have bitten the bullet to attack them in force. Get big drms through the ratio modifiers and just go for it, forcing D results for the defenders. One such result would have been sufficient to allow the Union to cross the Hazel in force. Sure, you’d have lost manpower in those attacks and the extended marches, but that may be the price to pay to reach the big VP hexes further south.

The showdown between Burnside and Lee along the O&A RR between Culpeper and Rappahannock Station was epic. Getting him out of the full flank in turn 3 saw me pumping my fists. Alas, I didn’t get Lee to help with the relief effort around Culpeper due to the roadblocks you created by innovative retreats. Plus I couldn’t leader move Lee due to the EZOCs you laid around him.

In the end there still was so much to do and not enough units / activations to do it with, which felt appropriate for the CSA. Fun scenario, an opponent who got drawn into the situation as much as I, epic battles – I enjoyed this for sure and I’m glad scenario 2 is already under way.

As for how much difference the error with Grand Division activations had… I doubt that it was such a big deal. Of course getting that one elusive movement point can have a big effect, but apart from that… No. Good thing you spotted it in the end though.
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5. Board Game: Stonewall Jackson's Way II [Average Rating:8.47 Overall Rank:2837] [Average Rating:8.47 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Stonewall Jackson's Way II
All Green Alike Module

Scenario 4: An End to Innocence


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: October 21, 2013
Date Ended: October 31, 2013

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 1 Turn, July 21, 1861
Opponent: Patrick Pence (Farsol)
My Side: Union
Opponent's Side: Confederrate
Result: Confederate Decisive Victory

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses -6
Confederate Manpower Losses +2
Objectives:
Union Burned RR Station at Gainesville +1
Union Occupies Groveton, CSA Adjacent +4
Confederate Occupies Centreville -15
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -14


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union 5 1 - - 2 - 6 (8)
Confederate 2 - - - - - 2


Scenario Description: At 2:30 A.M., July 21, a Union column of 2 divisions began a flank march around the Confederate left. Crossing at Sudley Ford they were delayed by Evans. Then Johnston's brigades, who had mostly arrived the previous day, shifted over to stop a disjointed Union attack, culminating with Jackson's "stone wall" defense. Constantly arriving Confederate reinforcements turned the tide, and the defeated Union troops when back the way they came. A retreat turned into a rout and the Confederates gained a decisive victory. There were 2,708 Union to 1,897 Confederate aggregate losses; and the Union only controlled Centreville.

After-Action Report. [For this scenario, Patrick Pence and I switched sides. As the Union in our first play of this scenario, Patrick used his night marches to attempt a "pincer" move to envelop both flanks of the CSA. My plan was similar, but instead of sending one division to each flank, I decided to send one to the Confederate left and send two whole divisions around the Confederate right and attempt to force issue at the Bull Run Bridge. Having these extra units would also allow me to threaten Manassas Junction to force the Confederates to devote precious fatigues to its defense. There was a slim possibly of capturing Manassas Junction, but I did not expect Patrick to give me that opportunity.]

McDowell developed a plan the afternoon of July 20th, 1861 that called for Miles and Heintzelman’s divisions to fall heavily on the Confederate right. Tyler’s division would be devoted to the Confederate left, taking a long march around and through Sudley Springs to threaten Groveton and possibly capture Gainesville. He convened a meeting of the divisional leaders. Both Tyler and Miles felt that at least another brigade should be devoted to the defense of Centreville. Hunter - assigned with the task of protecting Centreville - felt his division was more than enough, and in truth, he didn’t expect any Confederate attempt at the town in any case. After much discussion, McDowell stuck to his original plan.

That evening, Miles and Heintzelman were tasked with beginning the 5-7 mile march to Bull Run Bridge, while Tyler was to begin his long march around the Confederate left. Tyler made great headway and arrived at Groveton in the wee morning hours to find it undefended. He had his brigades in good order, and Schenck’s Brigade dug in around the town, expecting the Rebels to come along when they got word that their flank was “up in the air”. Miles and Heintzelman, on the other hand, failed to do anything meaningful - Miles had trouble finding his brigade commanders, who as it turned out had spent the night drinking in Centreville. By the time they were located, it was nearly dawn. Heintzelman’s problems were more pedestrian . . . Howard marched the wrong direction and none of the other brigade commanders knew the area well enough to correct him. They spent most of the late night hours unwittingly marching toward Farrs Crossroads. By the time the error was discovered, it was nearly 4 a.m. and by sunrise, they had finally located the road to Union Mills. At dawn, the head of the column was only three miles from Centreville, heading in the right direction, but not in position for assault, as they were supposed to be. [I rolled horribly on two of my night rolls. Tyler rolled a six and moved like lightening, while Heintzelman rolled a two, and my last roll was a one, so rather than clog everyone up by moving Miles into Heintzelman’s stack, I moved one of Hunter’s brigades instead.]



By 6 a.m., having secured Groveton, Tyler ordered Keyes to march on Gainesville and secure the railroad. Keyes arrived at Gainesville by 6:30 a.m. and the railroad station was in flames by 7:00 a.m. [ At this point, the Union won the first couple activations, and was allowed to move unmolested in the Confederate rear.]



Meanwhile, along the Bull Run River, near the center of the Confederate line, Johnston received reliable reports of huge numbers of Union troops swarming the flanks. Johnston’s typical reaction, and one that would remain for many Confederate leaders throughout the war, was to counter-attack. He rode to Jackson’s division and urged them over the Bull Run River to march on Centreville. [Here, Patrick began to threaten the Centreville works. At the time, I was not concerned, thinking Howard’s Division able to hold the position. I also suffered from “initiative winning elation” and focused entirely on the Bull Run Bridge.]

Once Heintzelman and Miles were in place, amassed at the Bull Run Bridge, all seemed to be going according to plan despite the early-morning delays. Heintzelman took Franklin and Howard’s brigades around the extreme right flank of the Confederate line and met resistance from Holmes’s Brigade, just south of McLean House, where Johnston and Beauregaurd were headquartered. Quickly bringing up his regiments, Heintzelman led his brigades in an assault on Holmes’s position, driving off the 1,000-strong Confederate brigade after sharp fighting. [Combat die was a 5-1 at +2, for a +7 result. Holmes routs away.] At that point, Heintzelman sent word to McDowell that they were in position to flank Ewell’s CSA brigade at the Bridge. McDowell wasted no time in prompting Miles to attack across the Bull Run. [Here, I had fatigued out Heintzelman getting him into position, so I coundn’t attack from the CSA side of the river. Then I ordered the assault, forgetting about the bridge modifier until I got to it as I went through the Combat Modifiers. With the -2 for the bridge, I normally would not have ordered the assault, but it didn’t seem fair to rewind the order, and hey, I had a chance to win, despite the odds. So I carried forward with my -1 attack.]



In several hours of fighting, including many bloody charges, Miles’s Division was whipped, having lost over 1,000 casualties and the rebels had hardly budged. Despite Miles’s urging that his men could take the position, McDowell called off the attack, feeling that morale and flagging numbers were not going to be enough to take the Confederate Breastworks. [3-5 die roll at -1 was a -3 result. Defender was nothing, Attacker was 2D. Ouch!]

At this point, McDowell held good positions all over the battlefield and Johnston and Beauregaurd were feeling the pressure. While the assault at the Bull Run Bridge was on-going, two tense hours elapsed, until Ewell eventually sent word that the “Yankees to my front are whipped. Shall I counter-attack?” Johnston, now knowing that his right flank was secure, ordered Ewell to “do what you think prudent, but do not take unnecessary risk.” Ewell remarked to one of his staff officers that this order was “general-speak for ‘if anything happens, it’s all your fault.’” Ewell held position.

[Here, my attack on the Confederate right was petered out. There wouldn’t be any more action coming from the Union in that quarter. I decided to do what I probably should have done sooner - try and get a unit next to Manassas Junction. With Keyes sitting at Gainesville, I didn’t need to worry about Elzey showing up to “counter-flank” me at the bridge, and Manassas Junction held some pretty easy low-hanging VPS if I could get a unit - any unit - adjacent to it.]

McDowell decided to send a reconnaissance force to Manassas Junction to see if any Confederates even occupied the town. He ordered up the 4th Michigan Regiment for this task. They spent most of the day at a slow march and came up against wandering Confederates and stopped. [Poor initiative rolls and lack of enough of them, stopped the 4th MI in their tracks in the Bull Run River Valley south of the Bull Run Bridge. Patrick moved a brigade to block them, and being -2 tactical units, really had no chance of moving them.]

Johnston now ordered a general attack toward Centreville, now that he knew exactly where the federals weren’t. Beauregaurd rode forward with Bonham’s and Longstreet’s brigades, crossing the Bull Run and engaging Richardson’s 3,000-strong Union brigade. Richardson had been ordered to hold the Union side of the Bull Run, but his lines did not hold - after and hour and a half of fighting, he ordered a general retreat two miles north to Centreville, where he could rendevous with Burnside’s brigade. [+3 Modifier, 4-4 die roll, for a +3 result.] Richardson sent word to McDowell that the Confederates were across the Bull Run heading in the general direction of Centreville.

McDowell ordered up the 41st New York from Fairfax Courthouse to reinforce Centreville, but as the New York boys approached Centreville, the Confederates were already at the gates. [The 41st New York was in position to flank Longstreet, but I needed another activation, which wasn’t forthcoming. Instead, Patrick won the next two.]

Early’s brigade was also ordered up, and these three rebel brigades were tasked with getting to Centreville as soon as possible - and capturing it if they could. Early joined Longstreet’s boys as they formed up in ranks for an advance on Centreville. Beauregaurd took Bonham’s Brigade and pushed back the 41st New York, who’s green troops fled in disarray without hardly a fight. [+5 CSA attack, 3-3 die roll, +5 result. Defender, 1DR. Attacker, Ea.]

Beauregaurd was everywhere at once - with Bonham at the moment the 41st New York was driven, then he met up with Early and Longstreet to help with the preparations for an attack on Centreville. Beauregaurd ordered the assault, but belayed the orders once Longstreet informed him he needed more time to get his men in position. Beauregaurd informed Longstreet in no uncertain terms, he was to attack now, but the order went astray. Early attacked per his orders alone. [Patrick rolled a 5 and thought that meant he failed, but Beauregaurd is a District Leader with a -2, meaning he rolled a 3, which was only one unit for the assault. With all modifiers, this ended up being a +0 attack - the odds were in the Union favor of holding Centreville.]

Early’s earlier successes against Richardson had boosted the morale in his regiments to the boiling point. For an hour near Centreville, both sides traded blows. Just at the point that it appeared the attack would falter, and rebels started falling out of line, Early rode to the head of the ranks with a streaming Confederate flag in tow, riding for the Union lines. His staff rode hard to keep up with him, but several eye-witness accounts said that his staff were several yards behind. Upon the sight of Early’s brave show, the Confederate regiments charged with their general. The startled Union troops were, for the first time, exposed to what would become the famed Rebel Yell, and this time, like so many more times to come, they fled. [+0 modifier with the second-most dreaded roll in the game going against me, the 5-1. +4 result, Union routed (1DR), CSA advances (fa).]

Johnston, having heard word of the attack on Centreville, ordered Jackson’s Brigade to attack across Cub Run Creek. [At this point, Hunter was now surrounded for a final modifier of +3. Die roll 3-3, Union routed.]

[Before the attack . . . ]



After the attack . . .

[
]

While the attack against Centreville was ongoing, Elzey arrived by train at Hay Market. Seeing the smoke billowing up from Gainesville (the railroad station burning), he ordered the train stopped and disembarked. He formed up his regiments and advanced the two miles to Gainesville on foot. Scouts reported Union troops in the vicinity of Gainesville, and Keyes, who had not kept good control over his troops, still received word of the Confederate advance and was able to form ranks as the rebels prepared to attack. Keyes put up a good fight, but after two hours in which both sides took minor casualties, Keyes knew his objective had been won, and he retreated in good order from Gainesville. [+2 attack, 5-5 roll, +2 result. Defender, Dr, Attacker Da. Since the station was burned, the Union was able to keep the +1 VP for Gainesville.]

At around this same time, Tyler received word of the fighting around Centreville, and decided to capture the Stone Bridge to make good a retreat if the news was poor. He attacked Evans, who had been able to commit several regiments to delay his advance, but the crush of federal troops broke his lines, and Evans retreated his troops toward Centreville, where he joined Beauregard holding the city.

Cocke, having heard nothing for hours and having no orders, received word that the Union had captured Groveton. Tired of cooling his heels, he sent word to Beauregaurd that he would be conducting a reconnaissance in force of Groveton. Upon arriving, eager for a fight, he launched an attack against Groveton, but Schenk’s Brigade drove back the Confederates. [+1 attack, die roll 4-4, +1 result, Union holds the town.]

By this point, McDowell began to realize that on all fronts, despite early victories, the Union army was being driven back in all quarters. He fetched around for available units, but they were all either whipped, wrecked, or engaged. With Centreville fallen, McDowell began to worry not only for the army, but for his future military career as well. The smaller, green regiments were all that was left. Over the next hours, McDowell formulated a plan to make a last desperate attempt to recapture Centreville. Using the 3,000 green troops that had been charged with occupying retreat routes back to Washington, he sent word for them to converge at Fairfax Courthouse. Leading these men, McDowell marched on Centreville, at one point, striking cross-country to avoid Longstreet’s pickets. The battle would come down to two regiments from New Jersey, who though green, ended the day as blooded veterans.



At Centreville, disorganized and tired, 3,000 New Jerseyans formed ranks and attacked Centreville. At the same time, uncoordinated by McDowell, Tyler attacked from West, attempting to fight through Jackson to reach Centreville, but his boys were cut down in swathes, losing nearly 1,000 Union casualties in an hour. [I attempted to have Tyler attack Johnston from the west-side of Centreville to drive him back and set up a flank attack for McDowell, but Tyler’s attack not only faltered, it was a blood bath. Tyler loses 2 manpower.

McDowell led the attack, and though ultimately unsuccessful, they gave Beauregaurd’s newly-experienced units a bloody nose. [With a -2 attack, I had to get a 5-1 or 6-1 miracle roll. I didn’t. Roll was a 1-1 tie, for a -2. Due to the size of the defending force, however, the Confederates lost a manpower and became disorganized. I prayed for one more initiative, giving me one more attack roll, but again, it was not to be.]

Just after McDowell called off the attack, the tired and fatigued troops of New Jersey were hit by Longstreet’s Brigade, and spent another hour fighting off the counter-attack. After that, McDowell didn’t have the heart to send the men into the teeth of the enemy again. He ordered his staff officers to draw up orders for a general retreat to Washington, where he would dance to the administration’s tune and try to salvage what was left of his career. At this point, having one the initiative and shut down any possible Union counter-attack, it was just clean up. Patrick used an activation to grab the now-vacated Stone Bridge. The Union, being almost-nearly completely fatigued out, ended in a resounding defeat.



The final tally for the day was over 1,000 Union stragglers, and 3,253 Union dead, wounded, and missing. The Confederates lost 1,572 dead, wounded, and missing. Johnston survived the battle and would go on to serve with distinction for the next several years at the head of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. I had quite a few thoughts on this play of the game.

First, I learned that in the right circumstance, small forces *should* attack larger ones. My green, but well-led, 3 manpower units had a 1 in 12 chance of capturing Centreville. Had I won another initiative, I would have had two 1:12 rolls. For 15 VPs! Not great odds, but not that bad.

Second, when the dice are against you, the dice are against you. Patrick had many good-bonus fights, but Centreville was captured on a +0 attack. Of the attacks/assaults made in the game, the Union won two, neither of which were critical. The Confederates won *all four* attacks on their run toward Centreville, plus won Gainesville (which wasn't really necessary).

Third, high-VP objectives, should be defended "in-depth" - that is, place a garrison unit on the objective, sure, but have defensive units well out in front of the objective to slow down and fatigue out the enemy. I *sort of* had this going on, but I didn't do it well.

Fourth, largely, I made two significant errors - the first was wasting so many fatigues on the Bull Run Bridge. I thought if I had a full flank I would take it easily, but I forgot to calculate the bridge itself. I fatigued out four brigades on that maneuver, and ran a fifth one to F3. All to make a crappy -2 attack. A much more advisable approach would have been to clog up the units along the Confederate Right, while sending perhaps two brigades to reach Manassas Junction. They would have had an opportunity to get adjacent, and might be able to attack . . . but the distance makes that unlikely.

Other thoughts . . .

After this scenario has been played twice, I am toying with an idea. There are lots of complaints by newer players that Army Leaders are pretty useless . . . I was thinking, though, what about a rule that an Army or Division leader could order an F4 unit to attack, but at a -2 modifier for being fatigued. Not march, not do anything, but attack. I was thinking how I don't really think that in the presence of a general, any group of soldiers would refuse to do what was asked . . . but they would certainly not be at peak performance. Would have been nice to be able to take another swing at Centreville was what I was thinking . . . even if it would have been on very long odds.

I think in this particular play, the dice at the critical moments were pretty lop-sided. I can't see devoting more than three brigades to the defense of Centreville . . . maybe moving them up to the Bull Run would be advisable, but I am comfortable with my initial strategy.

I started the scenario with the goal of playing it to the hilt, because the adjacency rules kind of encourage that this scenario not be yielded until the last fatigue. I did that, and boy did I get walloped!

I have to say that this is a fun scenario, but I think the Union has to have some lucky early die rolls to capture position - without that, their subpar leaders will generally have lots of difficulty taking any objectives, and the Confederates seem to have a pretty easy time "road bumping" any serious advance against Manassas Junction.

Finally, I can see this scenario playing and ending in hundreds of different ways, so I think it will remain fresh. While there is pretty much only one *general* strategy for the Union (envelopment), that strategy can take many different subtle forms that are not, at first glance, apparent.

Opponent Comments, If Any. As we saw in the first foray, much of scenario depends on the turn of the dice during the 3 night marches. I admit being somewhat crestfallen when Chris had much better success rounding the Confederate left flank into Sudley Church. I could see that he was attempting the same envelopment tactic that I had tried, and had solidified his gains at Groveton. I knew pushing him away from the northwestern flank would sap most of my precious initiatives, so I was ambivalent to try that approach.

A small glimmer of hope appeared when McDowell was stopped at Bull Run bridge. As Chris indicated, I think we were both surprised that he was attempting such a tough assault. With most of his energy blunted there, I knew that the Confederate right was secure. But how to gain the points needed to offset the Groveton / Gainesville losses?

In short, I asked: WWPGTD? (What would Pierre Gustav Teutont Do?)

It seemed too juicy to pass up, and at that point, its lightly defended nature seemed inviting. So I decided to make a forceful approach up the center to try to capture Centreville and its 15 VPs. I was lucky to overcome a failed command roll (so I thought), and eject Chris' forces.

There are indeed multiple ways to place this scenario. It all depends on the initial Union probe and how aggressive the Confederates wish to be on the counterattack. Definitely rich enough to be explored, and balanced enough to reward continued use as a tournament scenario.
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6. Board Game: Stonewall Jackson's Way II [Average Rating:8.47 Overall Rank:2837] [Average Rating:8.47 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Stonewall Jackson's Way II
All Green Alike Module
Scenario 5: The Retreat to Washington


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: November 01, 2013
Date Ended:

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 3 Turns, July 21-23, 1861
Opponent: Patrick Pence (Farsol)
My Side: Union
Opponent's Side: Confederate
Result:

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses -
Confederate Manpower Losses -
Objectives:
[OBJ 1] -
[OBJ 2] -
[OBJ 3] -
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . -


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union - - - - - - -
Confederate - - - - - - -


Scenario Description: After what seemed to be a good beginning, McDowell's army was finally routed in the afternoon of July 21st by a combined Confederate attack. The Confederates failed to press their advantage, however, and the Union army retreated into Washington nearly unmolested. This scenario covers what could have happened if the Confederate army had been more active in attempting to cut off and destroy the panicked Union army.

After-Action Report. [TO COME]

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. [TO COME]

Opponent Comments, If Any. [TO COME]
 
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7. Board Game: Stonewall Jackson's Way II [Average Rating:8.47 Overall Rank:2837] [Average Rating:8.47 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Stonewall Jackson's Way II
Stonewall Jackson's Way Module
Scenario 1: Cedar Mountain


Game Play Information
Type: Face-to-Face
Date Began: November 20, 2013
Date Ended: November 20, 2013

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 3 Turns, August 8-10, 1862
Opponent: Scott Kippen (cscottk)
My Side: Confederate
Opponent's Side: Union
Result: Union Substantive Victory

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses +2
Confederate Manpower Losses -3
Objectives:
Culpepper CSA Occupied, USA Adj +9
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +8


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union 2 - - 3 - - 5
Confederate 3 - - - - - 3


Scenario Description: This scenario simulates Jackson's attempt to halt the Army of Virginia's movement towards Orange Court House, Gordonsville, and Charlottesville, culminating in the Battle of Cedar Mountain on 9 August 1862.

After-Action Report. [This game was played at BGG Con 2013. Unlike PBEM games, I can't wind back the clock to snap pictures and I can't re-check the casualty tracks for accuracy. So, as will probably be the case for many of my face-to-face plays, this AAR will be short, and not in my typical narrative style.]

Jackson's Confederate Corps and Pope's Union Army of Virginia each raced for Culpepper. Pope sent his cavalry on a forward delaying mission, and the skirmished with the Confederates all the way to Culpepper.



Jackson did his best to ward off the Union cavalry, and both sides raced to Culpepper in an attempt to seize the important objectives of the campaign.



Partially due to the Union's cavalry delaying tactics, the Union landed one division in Culpepper first. But the bulk of Jackson's corps arrived together before the main body of the Union [horrible rolling here, for Scott!] and forced the Union out of the city.

Over the course of most of the next day, Jackson took up defensive positions in and around Culpepper and skirmished with the Union army, resulting in little-to-no advantage for either side. Jackson's defensive position was excellent for protecting Culpepper over the short-term, but over the long term the Union's superior numbers could prove to be the tipping point. [See my comments below, where I thought I only needed to hold Culpepper to win . . . silly me.]



Jackson realized the stalemate was not favorable to him - the longer he stuck around was more time for the Union to bring up more formations - something that Jackson did not have at hand. In an effort to break the Union lines and send the whole crowd routing, Jackson ordered a series assaults meant to drive back the Union lines with it's ferocity. All the assaults faltered, fatiguing out both sides, but injuring the Confederates more.

Jackson, realizing he had spent most of his strength on an aggressive gambit knew he needed some time to regroup and ordered a rear guard to remain at Culpepper to delay the Union while the larger portion of his corps slipped away into the foothills of Virginia.



UNION SUBSTANTIVE VICTORY!

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. Well, this scenario was a fun one. It wasn't a teaching game, but my opponent was pretty green to the GCACW. I have to say that I had a very poor grasp on the VP conditions for this scenario. After reading them once, I figured that as the Confederates, all I needed to do is capture Culpepper and then hold it. But the victory points are set up in such a way that, in fact, the Confederates need to hold Culpepper *and* stop the Union from getting adjacent (hard to do with only three units!) *or* they can hold Culpepper and cause a few casualties to the Union.

I spent my last turn jockeying for a sweet defensive position only to realize as the turn wound down that I needed to attack, not rest on my laurels. I made a few attacks right at the end when it was far, far too late, and they were on very long odds chances of winning. The statistics held, and my long-shot attacks did not pay off - as they should not have . . . but I am waiting for that game where my desperate assault pays dividends. It is coming . . . some day.

Thanks to Scott for a fun, good-natured game, and congratulations to him on a well-deserved win. And welcome to GCACW, Scott.

Opponent Comments, If Any. None.
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8. Board Game: Battle Above the Clouds [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:2630]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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MODULE
Scenario ___: ___________________________


This is a placeholder for an eventual game with jwquinn. I chose to terminate all my GCACW games (including my tournament games!) due to the birth of my second child. My opponents have been universally gracious, and I sincerely appreciate it. I will hopefully be restarting some of my old games that I saved, but some, like this one, will probably be completely new scenarios.
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9. Board Game: Burnside Takes Command [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Skirmisher No. 2
Burnside Takes Command

Scenario 2: The Pontoons Arrive


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: March 13, 2014
Date Ended:

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 4 Turns, November 25-28, 1862
Opponent: Carsten Bohne (dasher47051)
My Side: Union
Opponent's Side: Confederate
Result:

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses +0
Confederate Manpower Losses +0
Objectives:
[OBJ 1] +0
[OBJ 2] +0
[OBJ 3] +0
[OBJ 4] +0
[OBJ 5] +0

TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . +0


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union - - - - - - -
Confederate - - - - - - -


Scenario Description: Burnside's first pontoon bridge arrived on November 25, and a second arrived on November 26. With superior numbers and the chance to pick the location at which his army will cross, Burnside had an opportunity to push Longstreet out of position before Jackson could arrive from the Shenandoah Valley.

After-Action Report. [TO COME]

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. [TO COME]

Opponent Comments, If Any. [TO COME]
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10. Board Game: Stonewall Jackson's Way II [Average Rating:8.47 Overall Rank:2837] [Average Rating:8.47 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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MODULE
Scenario ___: ___________________________


This is a placeholder for an eventual game with Rob Tokarz. I chose to terminate all my GCACW games (including my tournament games!) due to the birth of my second child. My opponents have been universally gracious, and I sincerely appreciate it. I will hopefully be restarting some of my old games that I saved, but some, like this one, will probably be completely new scenarios.
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11. Board Game: Stonewall Jackson's Way II [Average Rating:8.47 Overall Rank:2837] [Average Rating:8.47 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Stonewall Jackson's Way II
All Green Alike Module

Advanced Game Scenario 6: The Bull Run Campaign


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: August 31, 2014
Date Ended:

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 13 Turns, July 16, 1861 to July 28, 1861
Opponent: Patrick Pence (Farsol)
My Side: Union
Opponent's Side: Confederate
Result: -----

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses +0
Confederate Manpower Losses +0
Objectives:
[OBJ 1] +0
[OBJ 2] +0
[OBJ 3] +0
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ---


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union - - - - - - 0
Confederate - - - - - - 0


Scenario Description: This scenario covers the period from when McDowell's army first advanced through the conclusion of the campaign. Although the Union army had retreated into Washington by July 22nd, the scenario continues through July 28th to give the players the opportunity to continue longer if neither army panics.

After-Action Report. This report will be too long for this geeklist, most likely. It is 13 turns. So as the game progresses, I will either be creating a sub-geeklist to link to, which will have entries about the campaign, or I will condense the AAR to be of an acceptable length to be posted here. I think I might have this section just be a list of "Newspaper Articles" about each day of the campaign with a link to an in depth AAR.

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. This is/was my first foray into "advanced" GCACW -- I selected this campaign because it seemed to be a straight-forward one: low counter density, low rules overhead (for GCACW Advanced Games, anyway), and a rather compact map space (but enough for some maneuver). I am very happy to have Patrick as an opponent. More later!

Opponent Comments, If Any. To Come.
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12. Board Game: Battle Above the Clouds [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:2630]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Battle Above the Clouds
Scenario 6: Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge


Game Play Information
Type: Face-to-Face
Date Began: November 19, 2014
Date Ended: November 19, 2014

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 2 Turns, November 24-25, 1863
Opponent: Asher Diamant (adiamant)
My Side: Confederate
Opponent's Side: Union
Result: Confederate Decisive Victory

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses 18 -36
Confederate Manpower Losses 1 + 3
Objectives:
USA Occupies N2826 + 9
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -24


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union 17 1 - - - - 18
Confederate 1 - - - - - 1


Scenario Description: To relieve the pressure on Burnside's army, which was under siege in Knoxville, Grant knew he had to attack Bragg's army around Chattanooga. The battle opened with Hooker's assault on Lookout Mountain (the "Battle Above the Clouds"), and culminated the next day in the Army of the Cumberland's charge up Missionary Ridge, breaking the center of the Confederate line and routing the Army of Tennessee.

After-Action Report. [I take narrative license to tell an interesting story. Out-of-character comments are in italics. Note that this entry was played live at BGG Con 2014, and I neglected to get photographs. My notes are also sketchy, so this entry will be less thorough and have no images. Apologies for that!]

[I've decided upon an expurgated version of the game, since I have no images to share.]

On Day 1 of what became known as the Battle for Above the Clouds, Hooker attacked Confederate forces along the eastern bank of the Tennessee River where it meets Lookout Creek. The Union battery on Moccasin Point provided ineffectual fire. Hooker spent the entire day organizing his troops for the assault, but by the time his brigades were in formation, heavy fog and an overcast sky caused him to call off the attack. [Asher rolled three 6s in a row on his assault dice. This horrible run of luck was just the start.] Sherman moved with more alacrity and made attacks against the Confederate right flank just east of Boyce's station at Tunnel Hill. The attack nearly broke the Confederate line, but as the sun was setting, Sherman called off the attack for the day. [Here again, Asher had the dice fail him. It was a close-run thing, though, Disorganizing and Disordering both sides, but with heavier casualties to the Union due to the size of the attackers.] Other Union units moved into formation for attacks the next day. Bragg sent some units to reinforce Tunnel Hill, knowning that if the right flank gave out, the line could could be "rolled up".

Day 2, Hooker finally made his assault, but couldn't dislodge the Confederate defenders on the other side of Lookout Creek. [Again, with winnable odds, the dice failed Asher.] Palmer's Union Corps attacked into the swampy land across Chattanooga Creek, but the small creek and muddy ground slowed the advance and provided enough delay for the Confederate defenders to delay the advance. The Union lines reached just north and west of Rossville, but a rapid Confederate counterattack drove them back down the Rossville Road. [As with nearly every die roll this game, the battle went to the Confederate forces, allowing them to recapture most of the lost ground.] The Confederates had a little bit better than average rolls for entrenchments. Howard's corps in the center, toward the end of the day, finally stove in the Confederate center, but had lost so many men, they were unable to capitalize on the opportunity.

Having nothing further to throw at the Confederate defenders, Thomas decided to hold position and try again the next day, but he would likely need additional reinforcements, provisions, and a bit of a rest for the "tuckered out" regiments. [The scenario ended here with a Union bloodbath. See my comments below, but this Union loss had nothing to do with my acumen and everything to do with dice. I think for future convention games, scenarios with some maneuver would probably be best.]

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. This was my second play of this scenario, only this time I played the Confederates. The outcome was the same - a Confederate Decisive Victory. I have some misgivings about this scenario.

First, the Confederate player doesn't seem to have much to do unless and until the Union player breaks through his defensive line. In the meantime, with the CSA winning ties for initiative, there is usually ample opportunity to concentrate forces to meet Union attacks. I have certainly not played the scenario enough to know whether proper tactics implemented by the Union might have more success or not. I would like to play this game several more times against a well-seasoned GCACW opponent and see how he handles the Union attack. But the severity of the defeat in both plays of this game seems to indicate that unlike history, the Union will have a very tough time. If balancing is required, I would consider allowing the Union to have more initiatives at the start of the game and possibly allowing the Union to win ties during the first turn to simulate the Confederates being caught a bit by surprise. I might also consider setting a hard-limit on the different types of fortifications giving the Confederate player X Forts, and X Breastworks. This would mitigate extremely good/bad luck during the fort rolls.

Second, Asher's extremely horrible luck in rolling for assaults in the southern portion of the map nearly seemed to seal the deal for the scenario before we were even properly started.

Third, the final misgiving I have about the scenario is that the Confederate player has precious little to consider or do during the first turn of the game. It is a game of sit and wait, hope for high rolls on fortifications, and then see what the Union can do. I did shuffle around from units to min-max the combat ratios, but other than that, it was a rather boring scenario from the Confederate perspective, highlighted by tension spikes during Union combat rolls.

I think Asher approached the game much as I did my first time playing it - just hit the Confederates all along the line and see what you get lucky at. Having now had the experience from both sides, I wonder if the Union might do better to have several lower-odds combats that affect fewer of his units. More rolls would give more opportunities for those low odds attacks to result in disloding the Confederates. I would also point out that every time Asher needed another activation in this game, the dice failed him. In his one breakthrough, he would have been able to outflank one or two more hexes, but the initiative passed back to me, and I was lucky enough to dislodge him and reform the line. Had the dice been anywhere close to fair with him, I think he would have enjoyed much more success, both in combat losses and objectives captured.

Finally, I think this scenario is helpful in showing some of the limits of the GCACW system . . . the system seems to reward players and play best, when the map allows maneuver by both sides and the units are able to utilize a large portion of the map. I am willing to admit that I may be wrong, since, of course, I haven't played the game, or this scenario specifically, enough to make such judgments. But those opinions are in the early stages of crystallization, and they will be in the back of my mind in future scenario plays.

Thanks, Asher for the match.

Opponent Comments, If Any. TO COME.
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Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Atlanta is Ours
Scenario 1: The Opportunity of a Lifetime


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: January 08, 2015
Date Ended:

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 1 Turn, May 09, 1864
Opponent: Scott Kippen (cscottk)
My Side: Confederate
Opponent's Side: Union
Result:

Final Victory Point Count
Victory and defeat in this scenario is solely decided by whether the Union occupies Resaca with an infantry unit at game end or not.

Occupation of Resaca? USA/CSA?

Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union - - - - - - -
Confederate - - - - - - -


Scenario Description: This scenario is recommended for new players and as a teaching scenario. It covers McPherson's advance through Snake Creek Gap on May 9th to Resaca. His goal was to cut off Johnston's army (ner Dalton to the north) from Atlanta. Concerned about being cut off himself by Confederates moving south, McPherson lost "the opportunity of a lifetime" [quote from Sherman to McPherson on May 12th] and called off his attack on Resaca and retreated back to Sugar Valley. This is a playtest of the introductory scenario of Atlanta Is Ours, the next module in the GCACW series. Permission granted by Ed Beach to publish this AAR.

After-Action Report. [I take narrative license to tell an interesting story. Out-of-character comments are in italics.]

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism.

Opponent Comments, If Any.
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Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Atlanta is Ours
Scenario 1: The Opportunity of a Lifetime


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: January 07, 2015
Date Ended: January 21, 2015

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 1 Turn, May 09, 1864
Opponent: Carsten Bohne (dasher47051)
My Side: Confederate
Opponent's Side: Union
Result: Union Victory

Final Victory Point Count
Victory and defeat in this scenario is solely decided by whether the Union occupies Resaca with an infantry unit at game end or not. For game statistics, this will be a Minor USA or CSA victory at game end.

Occupation of Resaca? USA

Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union 3 - - 3 - - -
Confederate - - 1 - - - -


Scenario Description: This scenario is recommended for new players and as a teaching scenario. It covers McPherson's advance through Snake Creek Gap on May 9th to Resaca. His goal was to cut off Johnston's army (near Dalton to the north) from Atlanta. Concerned about being cut off himself by Confederates moving south, McPherson lost "the opportunity of a lifetime" [quote from Sherman to McPherson on May 12th] and called off his attack on Resaca and retreated back to Sugar Valley. This is a playtest of the introductory scenario of Atlanta Is Ours, the next module in the GCACW series. Permission granted by Ed Beach to publish this AAR.

After-Action Report. [I take narrative license to tell an interesting story. Out-of-character comments are in italics.]

On May 09, 1864, Union Gen. McPherson ordered the XV and XVI Corps to march on the thinly-held city of Resaca -- a small town sitting at the junction of the Oostanaula River [major], the Conasauga River [minor], and Camp Creek [creek]. McPherson sought to cut off Johnston’s army to the north near Dalton. He had credible reports that the defenders were dug in but consisted of only a few token regiments. Time was of the essence, however. Reinforcements were only a day or two away, and if Johnston caught word of this “turning movement” he would move to block it as he had been doing the entire campaign.

[Here is the setup for the scenario:]



Upon receipt of his orders, Dodge ordered his XVI Corps to strike camp and prepare for march. His divisional commanders, Sweeny and Veatch, were apprehensive that their troops, exhausted from the previous days’ march [the units begin the scenario exhausted] might not be up to the task, but despite protestations, the orders were repeated and the corps made ready. Sweeny’s scouts reported Confederate cavalry in the rough scrubland in the foothills of Mill Mountain where the Snake Creek Gap exits the range along the Snake Creek River. They lay directly along the line of march, prompting a sharp skirmish if the corps were to exit Snake Creek Gap. As the front of the march column came out of the mountains, the Confederates fought a brief skirmish and skedaddled. [Cavalry retreat with a good roll, costing the Union 1 movement point.]



Having enough information on the Union corps’ strength and marching direction, Grigsby high-tailed it to Resaca to deliver the news and took up a harassing position outside of town. McPherson rode with Dodge’s corps and as the day wore on, they gradually made their way toward Resaca, coming up against Grigsby again. [The Union rolled pretty badly on their march and were at Fatigue 3 by the time they reached Grigsby’s tiny cavalry force outside Resaca.]



Dodge engaged again, brushing aside Grigsby’s tired boys. Grigsby gave harassing fire for a few minutes, but then ordered a retreat to the south and west to scout out whether additional Union formations were on the way. [Grigsby, being a disorganized 1-strength cavalry, had a strength of 0.5 manpower. I cav retreated, hoping to beat the long-odds and sap away some of Veatch’s movement points. Since manpower losses in this scenario do not cost VPs, I wasn’t too worried about the dreaded “1” roll on cav retreat. Instead, the modifiers were -4 due to being a small force, and the retreat -- as expected -- had no effect whatsoever.] The heat and constant cavalry harassment, plus the exhaustion from the previous days’ march took their toll; Veatch’s boys started dropping out of line. [Carsten rolled poorly here for his extended march, rolling a 5 and having a +4 modifier. This Disorganized his force and drained off 3 manpower! Bad luck, here.]

Dodge marched is units the last mile to Resaca despite the bellyaching and moaning of the men. By this time it was 1:00 p.m. He wasted no time attacking the Confederate positions on the outskirts of town, but the Confederates easily repulsed the half-hearted attack. [Carsten went for the gold -- possibly trying to just obtain a D result against me for a follow-up attack with XV corps later in the day, but at a -4 final modifier, he’d have to be lucky . . . and wasn’t. Veatch took additional casualties and fatigued out.].

Sweeney promptly marched off to the east and would later be court-martialled. He claimed he became lost en route to Resaca and got as far as Calhoun, some four miles the wrong direction, before he figured out the error. McPherson (with Dodge’s blessing) would lay Sweeney under arrest with charges of insubordination, claiming Sweeney was obstructing the operation and intentionally marched the direction. At the court-martial two days later (really an informal inquest), Sweeney would receive a censure but otherwise escape any lasting harm to his performance record.



Logan’s XV corps was ordered to Resaca with all speed. Gen. Logan took the order to heart and marched unmolested from Snake Creek Gap to Resaca - covering nine miles in just three hours. McPherson met Logan southwest of town and ordered an immediate assault with the entire corps. After Veatch’s failed attack early that afternoon, McPherson was relatively certain that the town would not hold against a full attack.

The XV had their own issues. For one, the lines of attack consisted of thicky-wooded terrain that opened upon gentle rolling hills with wonderful lanes of fire for the entrenched defenders. Logan expressed doubts, but McPherson assured him that the town was not held by a large force of rebels, and Veatch had already softened them up earlier, taking it on the nose. McPherson suspected the remaining rebels to be tired, anxious, and fully aware that they faced two full Union corps. Due to the narrow frontage, Logan ordered ML Smith and Osterhaus in line-abreast, forming a battleline about a mile long. Harrow would come up behind as a reserve to push the assault through whenever a weakness was discovered. After two hours of moderate fighting, the rebel line wavered, but did not collapse.



After a brief conference, Canty - the ranking Divisional general on the scene, saw the writing on the wall. Rather than stick it out and almost certainly be overwhelmed, he ordered a fighting withdrawal out of the town. The regimental commanders of the 66th and 26th GA agreed, an while the Georgia boys held off the Union’s stalled attack, the rest of the division made good their escape. [Carsten attacked at a -1 final modifier on his last Fatigue. The combat roll would decide it all . . . a 4-1, for a final result of +2, enough to force the CSA out of Resaca and fatigue them out, ending the scenario. The scenario was exciting there, at the last. Had he rolled poorly on his march rolls, or had even a close-to-normal combat result, the CSA would have won. Typical of most GCACW 1-turn intro scenarios, it all really comes down to 1 or 2 combat rolls that decide it all.]

Final positions:



Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. This is module is still in playtest, and rules, units, objectives, and VPs can change. Also, the playtest status means that I will refrain from opinions, judgments, and comments on playability and quality. This scenario, like most of the one-turn introductory scenarios comes down to the combat die rolls . . . there are so few of them that they will generally, for good or ill, decide the outcome of the scenario. In this game, I felt there was quite a bit of tension surrounding the combat rolls. The strategy seems pretty straight-forward the Union, as well as the CSA, though Carsten and I both probably made some sub-optimal decisions. Not having to worry about casualties was liberating in this scenario; since it's always a concern in most GCACW scenarios and something that you often have to trust in the dice to decide the outcome. As always, playing against Carsten is really fun, but I often delay my turns. Thank goodness he's a patient opponent!

Opponent Comments, If Any. This was my first playtest participation ever and it was a fun experience. I'll also refrain from judgements regarding scenario quality etc., but I'd like to use this spot to thank Ed and Chris (Withers that is...) for the opportunity to participate.

As for the scenario, Chris mentioned in his AAR that he felt tension when combat rolls happened. As I recall, I looked at the initiative and movement rolls with similar tension. On certain initiative results, the CSA will receive reinforcements and I felt that their arrival will spell certain doom for the North's efforts. Luckily they never showed up.

Halfway decent movement rolls are vital to arriving at Resaca with one's attacking force still intact and fit enough to conduct their assault. There's quite some ground to cover. This happened only for one of my two waves of attack.

In the end my men nailed it with the narrowest of victories on the last roll. It was a fun ride without much maneuvering. I wonder what would have happened if I had paid more attention to that...
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Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Atlanta is Ours
Scenario 2: The Gap is Blocked


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: January 07, 2015
Date Ended:

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 3 Turns, May 09, 1864 to May 11, 1864
Opponent: Patrick Pence (Farsol)
My Side: Union
Opponent's Side: Confederate
Result:

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses +0
Confederate Manpower Losses +0
Objectives:
Union Occupies Resaca +0
Union Occupies Tilton +0
Union Occupies Dalton +0
Union Occupies RR Hexes (Poole) +0
Union Occupies RR Hexes (Hermit Spring) +0
(VPs only awarded for one of the above)

TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +0


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union - - - - - - -
Confederate - - - - - - -


Scenario Description: This is a hypothetical scenario; it assumes that Johnston had blocked Snake Creek Gap, instead of leaving it open, which allowed McPherson to come through. In this situation, Sherman would have had to come up with a different strategy, and could have sent McPherson around Johnston's other flank. This is a playtest of a scenario in Atlanta Is Ours, the next module in the GCACW series. Permission granted by Ed Beach to publish this AAR.

After-Action Report. [I take narrative license to tell an interesting story. Out-of-character comments are in italics.]

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. TO COME.

Opponent Comments, If Any. TO COME.
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Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Atlanta is Ours
Scenario 3: Battle of Resaca


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: January 29, 2015
Date Ended: July 19, 2015

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 1 Turn, May 14, 1864
Opponent: Carsten Bohne (dasher47051)
My Side: Union
Opponent's Side: Confederate
Result: Marginal Confederate Victory

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses +0
Confederate Manpower Losses +0
Objective 1 +0
Objective 2 +0
Objective 3 +0

TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +0


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union - - - - - - -
Confederate - - - - - - -


Scenario Description: The battle of Resaca was from May 13-15, 1864. The Union tried to surround the Confederates and achieve a crossing down-river, while simultaneously attacking the Confederate line of battle. The Confederates first attempted to flank the Union forces to cut them off from Snake Creek Gap, and when that failed they just tried to hold their line and prevent their retreat from getting cut off. This scenario focuses on the critical second day of the battle and players will find it full of possibilities. This is a playtest of a scenario in Atlanta Is Ours, the next module in the GCACW series. Permission granted by Ed Beach to publish this AAR.

After-Action Report. [I take narrative license to tell an interesting story. Out-of-character comments are in italics.]

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. Will put up the AAR when I have time to get it written and edited. Should be relatively quick, though.

Opponent Comments, If Any. TO COME.
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17. Board Game: Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North [Average Rating:9.01 Overall Rank:4690]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Roads to Gettysburg II
Roads to Gettysburg Module
Scenario 8: The Wagoneer's Fight


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: December 01, 2018
Date Ended:

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 3 Turns, July 4-6, 1863
Opponent: Patrick Pence (Farsol)
My Side: Confederate
Opponent's Side: Union
Result: [TO COME]

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses -
Confederate Manpower Losses -
Objectives:
Supply Wagons -
(Max of 10 VPs per Wagon)
Williamsport -
D or 1 results -
Retreat -
U Unit Occ. Wmsport. -
U Unit Occ. Hagers. -
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union - - - - - - -
Confederate - - - - - - -


Scenario Description: This scenario depicts the cavalry action in the days after the battle of Gettysburg. The Confederates needed to get their wagon trains safely to the Potomac and secure the key river crossing at Williamsport.

After-Action Report. [TO COME]

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. [TO COME]

Opponent Comments, If Any. [TO COME]
 
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18. Board Game: Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North [Average Rating:9.01 Overall Rank:4690]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Roads to Gettysburg II
Roads to Gettysburg Module
Scenario 3: Confederate High Tide


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: December 06, 2018
Date Ended: December 06, 2018

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 3 Turns, June 29 - July 1, 1863
Opponent: Solitaire (as designed)
My Side: Confederate
Opponent's Side: Solitaire (as designed)
Result: Confederate Substantial Victory

Final Victory Point Count
CSA Occupies Harrisburg? Yes
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . CSA Victory

NOTE: Per the rules of this 100-Play Challenge, since there are no parameters for Minor/Substantial/Decisive Victory, a win/loss in this scenario is "Substantial".

Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union 1 - - - - - 1
Confederate 4 - - - - - 4


Scenario Description. This is a conjectural scenario simulating a Confederate attempt to seize the Pennsylvania capital of Harrisburg. Although this plan was not implemented in reality, it very nearly was. Indeed, Ewell's II Corps at Carlisle stood ready to march toward the Susquehanna before Lee's unexpected order to rejoin the army of Northern Virginia reached it. Note: This is a solitaire scenario. The player controls only Confederate units; Union units may not activate.

After-Action Report. June 29, 1863

As the morning waned on June 29th, Ewell received a missive from Gen. Lee: “Proceed as soon as practicable with the initial plan to capture Harrisburg. As with the original standing orders, insure that your boys take all care to minimize civilian casualties and pay for their munitions and levies.”

Ewell dispatched a courier to Early, the only division in the 2nd Corps that was not to hand, some twenty-seven miles away at York, Pennsylvania along the Codoras Creek asking him to move north and converge on Mechanicsburg by July 1st. [Early starts off with a wonderful 7, then answers the next init with a 2! He’ll never reach Harrisburg in time. Or so I thought.]

Ewell’s attached cavalry brigade led by A. Jenkins had scouted the fortifications hear Harrisburg. While formidable, the defensive works were held by what he believed to be green federal troops numbering around 10,000 with more reinforcements less than a day’s march away. It was obvious they were aware of Ewell’s presence and would have called for aid by now. At 10,000, Ewell outnumbered the federals by about two-to-one, at least locally.

Here is an image of the start of the scenario:



To his mind, the largest obstacle wasn’t the federal troops to the east, but the wide, smooth waters of the Susquehanna River. Jenkins had scouted ten miles north and south of Harrisburg in the event Lee ordered the capture of Harrisburg, and the only crossings were well defended and take precious time – time he didn’t have if he wanted to capture Harrisburg before reinforcements arrived.

After calling a meeting with his two immediately available division commanders and their staffs, he ordered Johnson and Rodes to advance east down the Cumberland Valley Railroad and the Harrisburg Pike. Ewell rode with Johnson along the Railway toward A. Jenkins’ cavalry regiment camped at Mechanicsburg. Rodes took the Harrisburg Pike running parallel to the railroad. At Conodoguinet Creek just east of Hoges Run, Rodes crossed the ford to the north side to try and take Knipe’s infantry brigade by surprise. [I had to remove Knipe’s brigade first in preparation for attacking Ft. Washington at Bridgeport. Lucky for me, I rolled a 6, giving me enough movement for a full-flank on Knipe.]

By 2:00 p.m., with Johnson formed up and Rodes having recrossed the Conodoguinet at Bethel Church, Ewell ordered Johnson to commence the attack. The engagement was hardly a battle. The federals drew up in a battleline and fired off a volley and sporadic follow-up. They even held their lines when Johnson advanced in attack columns, but once Rodes’ flags were seen to the rear marching sprightly, panic spread along the Union lines and within ten minutes, the whole line collapsed. [With a +16 attack with just Johnson (Ratio +6, Full Flank +4, Tac +4, Arty +1, Prep Attack +1), the outcome was pre-determined.]



There was still some daylight left, but Ewell was supremely confident after this initial maneuver. He ordered camp. He made it clear Ft. Washington was the objective early the next morning and his commanders should expect tougher resistance. He setup his HQ at the Stonepeace Church and an aide was noted to have quipped: “Billy Yank’s reserves make the Army of the Potomac look like a proper fighting force.” Ewell replied: “We well know that a man fighting for his home fights more valiantly; they lie in comfortable fortifications. Tomorrow will be the real test of their resolve.” [After this first day, with mostly-fair fortune, I started to consider options. Doing the math, I’d need both Johnson and Rodes to get decent odds on Ft. Washington. According to the special rules for forts in the advanced game, flanks cannot be gained against forts. I considered trying to cross the Susquehanna north near Marysville, but I’d waste precious fatigues getting through Lemp’s and/or Mumma’s Gap and the best option seemed to be an attack against Yates from hex 4704 in order to get him to retreat west. Alternatively, a flank from 4704 with a division blocking 4504, but I didn’t want Yates retreating south and requiring another attack later. At any rate, spending all those fatigues to get up there, and then back, seemed a close-run thing. A bad combat roll could end it all and Early certainly wouldn’t be making it up there. Nor would he be able to assist in an attack if Johnson and Rodes were assaulting from the eastern bank. For all these reasons, I surmised I could muster a formidable direct assault into Harrisburg, provided at least two combat rolls went my way before I ran out of Fatigues.]

June 30, 1863

Early kept pushing his men and received word the night before that Ewell had cleared Stonepeace Church to make way for the assault the next day and he was asked to move with all speed to join Ewell for the assault the next day. [I ran Early up to F3 trying to get him to Camp Russell for the assault, but the dice didn’t cooperate. A 4, 4, and 2 still left me shy of what I needed for Early to really pitch in.]

Johnson and Rodes divisions mustered early the next morning and there was little talking as the men packed their coffee cups, quietly smoked, and fell into line for the mile or two march to Ft. Washington along the eastern bank of the Susquehanna. The march was made without fanfare and a grim pallor had struck Early’s men. As they formed up in attack columns outside of Fort Washington, the formidable battlements had a chilling effect on morale. [With Early out of the running, I decided to make the assault without him. I figured I could get favorable modifiers and leave it to the dice gods. Since flanks didn’t matter, I concentrated Rodes and Johnson for an Assault.]

Johnson and Rodes were to make a coordinated attack, but Johnson’s brigade commanders got itchy and the assault commenced before Rodes’ brigades had been brought up from Bethel Church. Ewell arrived on the scene to see two of Johnson’s brigades already going into action and the familiar plumes of white smoke rising in the air as the federal and Confederate artillery began firing in front of the advance. [I attempted an assault, but rolled a 5, only one of my divisions could participate. I did the math and chose Johnson. With substantial minuses, now, due to the ratio and artillery (the fort garrison also didn’t help), the saving grace was Rodes Tactical value, a +4.]

The fighting was intense for over three hours as brigade after brigade advanced and was repulsed. By early afternoon, Johnson reported that his division was wrecked and his attack had stalled. He awaited further orders. [With a +1 final modifier, the dice handed a -4, for a final result of -3. Johnson takes 2D. Defenders are unaffected.]

Ewell, frustrated at the impatience of his subordinate commanders, threw Rodes into the fray. [With Johnson failing, I launched a prepared attack with Rodes.] As Johnson made way for Rodes, a “Whooop!” rose from the federal lines with hats waving. Rodes’ formed up his bridgades two-by-two with one supporting to fill in gaps.



Early, meanwhile was stuck on the southside of Yellow Breeches Creek just outside New Cumberland where a spontaneous group of citizen militia blocked their way at the New Market bridge. Early, not wanting to create a massacre assigned two infantry regiments to advance with bayonets fixed and to fire to frighten the citizenry. After a few volleys, the militia scattered but not before other citizens had littered the roads with over-turned wagons. Sorting out the mess took much of the afternoon. [I didn’t feel that fatiguing out Early would accomplish anything. I thought using his fatigues for the next turn would be more productive when Early could actually have an impact.

Back at Fort Washington, things were not going well. Despite a spirited attack, Rodes was not making headway against the defenders. The federal redoubt was holding surprisingly well for such low-quality federal troops. [Here again, a +1 modifier, but again, too short. A 3-5 roll, with a -1 result. I decided to end the turn. All my divisions would be exhausted going into Turn 3, but Johnson and Rodes were positioned to only make assaults. Early would be the only risky proposition.]

As dusk rapidly approached, Ewell sat brooding at the Oyster Point Hotel over cigars, smoked ham, and beer, all paid for with Confederate “guarantees”.

July 1, 1863

By morning, Ewell still languished, considering. In order to take Harrisburg now, he had to repeat his assaults from the day before at reduced strength with disorganized formations. He briefly discussed whether to continue the attack. Johnson was against it, having taken the brunt of the fighting the day before while Rodes was for continuing. Around 10:00 a.m., with a headache, and sweating, he ordered up the divisions to make another run at Fort Washington saying, “Let’s get to the Susquehanna, boys – we could all use a bath.”

At around that time, Early’s division arrived, having marched that morning 6 miles to link up with Ewell. [On the first roll, Early rolls a 6 on extended march, becoming disorganized.]

While Early’s arrival wasn’t timely, the fresh troops had an invigorating effect on the rest of the 2nd Corps. Ewell ordered a general assault, and by Noon, it was underway. Johnson’s division, having had the most time to recover was asked to lead the charge again. Rodes followed up in support, while Early – having marched so far – was nowhere to be found. Brisbane and Ewen’s federals were ready as ever, but their morale was straining under a second day of fighting. The general feeling among their camp was that Ewell would strike camp after the beating the day before. This time the 2nd Corps performed with elan. [Rolled for an assault, getting a 4, so only two units could participate. I chose the two best able to deliver. Despite Early arriving, he was the worst of the three due to his reduced Combat Value. Combat result was +4, routing the federals and giving Ewell a free advance!]

Early came along behind the assault, and Ewell had the goal in sight. The corps pursued the fleeing federals right up to Harrisburg bridge, across it, and into the fortifications on the other side. Early’s men, not part of the original assault on Fort Washington, were not caught up in the ecstasy of Rodes’ and Johnson’s divisions who had won a hard-fought victory – and despite Early’s urging to get going, his brigade and regimental commanders kept their men in an orderly advance, falling far behind the rapidly advancing Rodes and Johnson. [Again, I rolled a “4” on the assault, and again, Johnson and Rodes were the best choices. All division are at F4 for the assault – it all comes down to a single roll.]

Before the assault:



J. Smith, behind the Harrisburg fortifications with 2,000 men and supporting artillery watched the fleeing Brisbane and Ewen stream across the bridge in open flight. What had seemed like a sure thing yesterday had suddenly dissolved into chaos. The wounded and panicked soldiers moving to the rear spread anxiety through the untested troops. As Johnson’s rebels swept across the bridge right behind at a full run, the federals fired in uncoordinated pockets. Said one federal soldier, “It was just pockets of units shooting, like we was firing by platoon or company, rather than firing in good order.” The ineffective fire was not enough to tamp rebel zeal and at the point of the bayonet, these green troops fell back through the town. [Unlike the previous assaults on the fort, the soldiers in Harrisburg were less numerous, and I was able to attack with two divisions again (lucky!). I also had a much more favorable modifier due to having ratio parity, artillery superiority, and of course, Ewell’s awesome 4 tactical rating. The roll was -1, for a final result of +3.]. As J. Smith fell back, the Union lines became more disorganized and more panicked and men began falling out of line, some of them running.

Ewell, dissatisfied with Early’s performance, assigned his division to establish camp and begin throwing up fortifications and protecting the western side of the Susquehanna to protect an avenue of retreat, if needed. What his men needed now was a bath and a meal and Ewell was content to rest on his laurels until he heard from Lee. He wrote: “The capture of Harrisburg has been attained, but it appears most of the politicians and leaders have fled. I have lost about 2,000 men in its capture. The federal defenders have been driven out and are disorganized, but remain in the area in strength. Assuming reinforcements arrive, I would expect federal resistance pushing up against me in the next few days. In the meantime we drink Northern rum and I will let my boys take a much-earned rest. I await your further orders, but I fear if you do not order me to move, I will have to abandon this place in the face of the federal response. I feel up in the air with a river to my back and so many federals to my front.”

Final positions:



Substantial Confederate Victory

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. When I started this scenario I was apprehensive. So much of the GCACW appeal is the unknown order of initiatives which keeps the game interesting and keeps you constantly analyzing the board as to what is *most important* to do right now amongst many competing priorities. So, taking that tension out of the game, I was concerned it wouldn’t be as entertaining as a face-to-face play. And while the game of course shines brighter as a competitive two-player experience, this scenario was well thought-out and provided interesting challenges similar to those Bridge puzzles in the newspapers. I enjoyed myself!

From the get-go, there were only two options, really, to explore. One was a “head-on” assault down the Harrisburg Pike and the other being a round-about campaign to the north, fighting Yates off the Susquehanna River crossing at Marysville. The first option – a direct assault – is appealing for its simplicity, but daunting because a few bad combat rolls and you will be all fatigued-out. The northern route has more assurance of *military* success since there is no federal fort, but it runs the risk of your divisions having failure at *maneuver*. They may be fatigued and disorganized from extensive marching to get around the back of Harrisburg. Additionally, if Yates retreats the wrong direction, he could require a second combat, necessitating an attack from 4704 into Marysville. Finally, Early has almost no chance of participating in a northerly campaign. He does have a chance to participate in the direct route if he rolls decently on his movement rolls.

Fort Washington is a tough nut to crack. First, the fort rules in the advanced game do not permit flanks against federal forts. Second, the units being forts give them significant manpower advantages. Without a coordinated 2-3 division assault, you will be attacking at 2:1 odds or worse. The best odds I had hoped for, I think, were a +2; that was with both Johnson and Rodes participating in an assault. In both of my assaults on the second day, June 30, 1862, my assault rolls only permitted a single division to participate, giving a +1. Early was a non-starter due to arriving late, and then not getting low enough assault rolls to allow all the divisions to participate. Since Early was disorganized and had no real artillery benefit, he was the no-brainer to drop, even when he finally did arrive. He had an opportunity to participate in two assaults, though, so his usefulness shouldn’t be understated, I just didn’t roll well enough (low enough) to get him into the fight.

I will probably try this scenario again heading on the northern route, just to see how it plays out.

As with everything in GCACW, the dice will determine this one when it comes to Fort Washington on a direct assault. 2 or 3 failed rolls to dislodge the Union is all Ewell has, and if the combat results are too bad, it can cause your divisions to fatigue out early, reducing your chances of having enough fatigues left for a run at Harrisburg. Note that if I had rolled a +3 instead of a +4, that would have been an “F” instead of an “f” – pushing Rodes and Johnson to F4, meaning that I would have had to assault Harrisburg with Early alone – and most-likely failing in that endeavor.

I found Harrisburg to comparatively easy to assault, mainly because I was able to muster, I think, a +4 going into that fight.

All in all, an enjoyable scenario that can be played quickly. For new players, I think this one is a good one for considering strategic options over multiple turns without having to worry about your opponent ruining your plans. For that reason, I think this might be a good scenario to run if you know the basics of the game and want to begin to learn how to address some operational matters.

I would encourage prospective players of this one to read the Federal Fort Rules carefully. The federal fort adds +2 manpower (intrinsic) and 1 additional artillery (intrinsic), and can’t be flanked at all. This brings the static strength of the fort hex to 29 manpower and 7 artillery strength. Thanks to Ewell’s tactical ability and Johnson’s 7 artillery, if you can bring both Rodes and Johnson to bear at the same time you can fight the federals on a +4, I think, which, with a tie or better roll, should let you advance without taking too much fatigue. So the assault rolls are important in this game; the difference between a +4 or a +1!

Highly recommended scenario and my first time playing this game solitaire.

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19. Board Game: Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North [Average Rating:9.01 Overall Rank:4690]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Road to Gettysburg II
Road to Gettysburg Module
Scenario 1: Meade Moves North


Game Play Information
Type: PBEM/VASSAL
Date Began: December 11, 2018
Date Ended:

Game Statistics
Game Time Frame: 5 Turns, June 29, 1863 to July 03, 1863
Opponent: Clyde Longest (BKNFAN)
My Side: Union
Opponent's Side: Confederate
Result:

Final Victory Point Count
Union Manpower Losses +0
Confederate Manpower Losses +0
Objectives:
Gettysburg +0
Harrisburg +0
Occupied Towns +0
Damaged/Destroyed RR Stations +0
Chambersburg +0

TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +0


Casualty/Straggler Statistics

COM RET CAV EXM FCM EZOC TOTAL
Union - - - - - - -
Confederate - - - - - - -


Scenario Description: As late as June 28, 1863, both the Union and the Confederate armies had little idea of their enemy's whereabouts. This scenario portrays the five most critical days in the campaign, when the armies probed blindly for each other and then clashed - accidentally - at Gettysburg.

After-Action Report. [I take narrative license to tell an interesting story. Out-of-character comments are in italics.]

Comments/Thoughts/Criticism. TO COME.

Opponent Comments, If Any. TO COME.
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