Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

A House Divided» Forums » Sessions

Subject: 1st Play w/Advanced Rules rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jeffrey Smith
United States
Bel Air
MD - Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just picked this up here on BGG Marketplace. I played the short scenario with the basic rules to get a feel for the game, and I wasn't too impressed. The biggest problem was the lack of supply rules, which we started using after a few turns. But I was ready for the advanced rules.

I read through the three booklets that came in the Phalanx copy of the game, and then downloaded the complete Living Rules. I took about two hours to distill every single nearly every rule, basic, optional, advanced, and advanced optional, into a three page rule book for my personal reference.

For this first "full" game I went solo, and apparently I was pretty evenly matched with myself! The game literally came down to a battle on the last turn (I didn't extend the game but ended in July 1865) in a battle for Charleston SC that came down to one reduced crack unit on each side on the last round. The South took the day and technically won the game, although from a practical standpoint they were decimated.

The Union started the game with a victory at Bull Run, but couldn't generate enough momentum to hit Richmond before the CSA was able to reinforce and dig in. The Union tried any way and ended up with significant losses, which allowed the CDA to counterattack and make some progress northward. Learning from the Union's mistake, the CSA did not rush to an assault on Washington.

Meanwhile, some progress was being made in the west and the Union managed to snag a couple southern ports. But southern cavalry raids made the supply line fragile, and the Union recruitment efforts were focused on developing a strong chain of supply down the Mississippi.

Back in the East, Lee led the charge and took the battle to the North. A slightly early Gettysburg campaign proved successful, and the Army of Northern Virginia took Baltimore and cut off supply to Washington DC, which fell after a prolonged siege.

But the northern industrial machine proved overwhelming. As Union troop strength was rebuilt and veteran forces arrived on the scene, Washington was recaptured. From this point is was a long, slow decline for the south.

Lee fell back to Richmond and put up a valiant defense, but eventually
the city fell to the Union. However, Lee managed to delay the Union just long enough to cause the western expansion to come to a standstill. Now the race was on to capture those recruitment centers. Although the CSA army was in shambles, they retreated to important cities and dug in for battle. In the end, the south held out just barely long enough for the win.

I really enjoyed this game, even though I was only playing against myself. Of course, I made many mistakes and learned quite a few lessons along the way, but I was very satisfied by the gaming experience. A House Divided may not be the final word in ACW gaming, (and I honestly don't think such a game has been produced yet), but I am very glad I picked this one up. The basic rules are simple enough to teach someone in a few minutes, and even the advanced rules are not that complicated. I found that there were many things that never even came up in this game (Confederate Naval operations, European intervention, Attacks across rivers, and I didn't even do too much unit "hopping" by river or cavalry). I guess my only complaint with the game is that sometimes battles take WAAAAYYYY too long. I didn't mind long, multi-day battles when there were lots of units deployed and reinforcements were being brought in. But there were a few times when even with only two units involved it seemed like I made two dozen dice rolls waiting for somebody to finally win. That got as little tedious. My other concern is the victory conditions. As I said, the Union had clearly defeated the south, but because that one port held the CSA won. Seemed a little strange and as the Confederate player I definitely took a gamey approach to victory by basically abandoning every city except the ports. But those are probably my only real complaints.

At this point, which is early, I think I'd rate this game a solid 7+, and if there was a slightly better combat system it would definitely be an 8 or a 9.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Friend
United States
Sierra Vista
Arizona
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jbbnbsmith wrote:
...and then downloaded the complete Living Rules. I took about two hours to distill every single rule, basic, optional, advanced, and advanced optional, into a three page rule book for my personal reference.


Great session report Jeff! Actually, a great little game review as well. I too have the Phalanx edition. It's been many years since I've played it. Are the living rules in the files section? I can't seem to find them. Is the three page reference document something you'd be willing to share?

~ Chris
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeffrey Smith
United States
Bel Air
MD - Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
friendc wrote:
jbbnbsmith wrote:
...and then downloaded the complete Living Rules. I took about two hours to distill every single rule, basic, optional, advanced, and advanced optional, into a three page rule book for my personal reference.


Great session report Jeff! Actually, a great little game review as well. I too have the Phalanx edition. It's been many years since I've played it. Are the living rules in the files section? I can't seem to find them. Is the three page reference document something you'd be willing to share?

~ Chris
Thanks Chris. You can find the living rules on the designer's webpage:
www.alanemrich.com/Games_Archive_pages/AHD_pages/ahd3.htm

I certainly wouldn't mind sharing my condensed rules, I just don't know if they would be very helpful to someone else since I didn't try to capture all the rules (I guess I overstated that in my post), only the essence of the rules and those things that I may tend to forget after not playing for a while. For example, I didn't include anything about supply because those rules were very intuitive to me.

Maybe I will go back and add a few such missing things so that they are a complete summary. That might take it to 4 or 5 pages but still much shorter than the complete rulebooks.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jan Tuijp
Netherlands
Volendam
Noord-Holland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

I even tried to put ALL the rules on ONE page.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jon M
United Kingdom
Hitchin
Herts
flag msg tools
Avatar
I had the same feeling as you about the combat rules. Way too many individual dice rolls. If you are going to have a buckets of dice combat system then at least let me roll them all at once. Having multiple rolls of a small number of dice was excrutiating. I sold my copy on the marketplace in the end.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeffrey Smith
United States
Bel Air
MD - Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jon_1066 wrote:
I had the same feeling as you about the combat rules. Way too many individual dice rolls. If you are going to have a buckets of dice combat system then at least let me roll them all at once. Having multiple rolls of a small number of dice was excrutiating. I sold my copy on the marketplace in the end.
I combined dice rolls whenever possible, and having two color dice helps a bit. As I said, I didn't mind it too much when there was a really large battle, in fact if a really significant battle came down to just one die roll on a CRT I think that would bring too much luck into the game. And when you use the leadership rules along with morale those big battles feel more epic and I enjoyed the fact that there was a lot of tension plus the whole "push your luck" aspect (should I try to defeat that entrenched crack unit one more round but risk losing my unit, or do I retreat and bring in more troops)

But yeah, some small battles take too long. But for me it wasn't a deal breaker.

I guess you could play a variation where you roll once for all attacks you make that round and then you may assign the dice to which ever units you choose. That would certainly make large battles faster and bloodier without any significant change to the rules or the outcome, but it would take away a bit from the tactical decisions of who to "gang up" on.

I don't know, I guess it is what it is and you either can deal with it or you can't. Definitely not the strongest aspect of the game but I can deal (although there were quite a few sighs here and there.)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeffrey Smith
United States
Bel Air
MD - Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jan Tuijp wrote:

I even tried to put ALL the rules on ONE page.

I saw that! Quite impressive!! But printing it on paper big enough for me to actually read was a challenge. Plus, just doing the work myself helped me to really get a handle on the rules.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jan Tuijp
Netherlands
Volendam
Noord-Holland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jbbnbsmith wrote:
[...] And when you use the leadership rules along with morale those big battles feel more epic and I enjoyed the fact that there was a lot of tension plus the whole "push your luck" aspect (should I try to defeat that entrenched crack unit one more round but risk losing my unit, or do I retreat and bring in more troops)

But yeah, some small battles take too long. But for me it wasn't a deal breaker.


This is exactly the reason why we always play with all the advanced rules. The battles really get tense that way. But to each his own, of course.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.