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Subject: Playing through my Victory Point Games titles rss

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Paul Dodds
United Kingdom
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Berkshire
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"If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking."
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I was playing the advanced game with expansion cards and resources, no optional rules used

1861
The Union started the war in spritely fashion by raising new forces with the Army of Tennessee in Cairo and the Army of Cumberland in Louisville. All three Union armies (the Army of the Potomac in the East) began their advances. While AS Johnston in the Mississippi theatre and Beauregard in the Western theatre were doing a good job containing the Union forces, Polk in the Eastern theatre was proving ineffective against the Union commander Scott and the Army of the Potomac were able to capture Fredericksburg. The Confederate Military Advisor, JE Johnston, recommended that Davis replace Polk. He was duly removed from the Eastern theatre command to be replaced by Lee. To counter this move Scott landed the Army of the James at Fortress Monroe in the hope of advancing to Richmond along the Confederate flank. The military situation at the close of 1861 was of no cause of concern for the Confederacy. Davis was more concerned with the Union Blockade which had been legally recognised by the European Powers, although Britain and France had started to receive envoys from the Confederacy, so perhaps the situation was not beyond salvaging.

1862
1862 began with a Union reorganisation. Halleck replaced the ineffective Fremont in the Western theatre, while Scott, who had lost Fredericksburg to Lee was removed. Halleck immediately galvanised the Army of the Tennessee which was able to destroy the Confederate fortifications at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. The Army of the Cumberland was also inspired by their new theatre commander and succeeded in capturing Chattanooga, which threatened the Confederate railroad facilities at Knoxville. Disaster befell the Confederates in the Mississippi theatre when the Army of the Gulf advanced to attack New Orleans. In the fierce fighting to dislodge the Union forces the theatre commander, the able AS Johnston was killed, and the Confederates were unable to prevent the Union forces from destroying the fortifications at New Orleans. In a move that continues to baffle historians, Davis decided to replace Johnston with the disgraced Polk. More bad news arrived from the Western theatre where Beauregard was unable to prevent the Army of the Cumberland establishing an advance base at Chattanooga, thus effectively placing Kentucky under Union control. Fortunately momentous events were taking place in the East were a ferocious offensive by Lee drove the Army of the Potomac all the way back to Washington. Threatening the Union capital finally forced the European Powers to recognise the Confederacy's right to exist as a nation and wild celebrations took place in Richmond! Somewhat characteristically for the new nation disaster quickly followed on the heels of success. Lincoln responded by moving the successful Halleck to the Eastern theatre and ordering him to action with the Army of the James. Halleck continued to demonstrate his exceptional abilities as a commander and in a lightning campaign advanced all the way to the Confederate capital and destroyed the mighty fortifications there. Lee quickly recovered and forced the Army of the Potomac back to Williamsburg, but the loss of their capital's defences was a blow to the Confederacy. In retaliation Davis ordered Lee to attack the demoralised Army of the Potomac defending the Union capital. In bitterly snowy conditions Lee all but routed the Union forces, forcing them to flee deep into Maryland and Pennsylvania. Davis' calculation of the effect this move would have on the European Powers proved to be a shrewd one and both Britain and France promised to send naval aid to the Confederacy in 1863. A year of high drama for the new nation!

1863
After ending 1862 on a high, the new year started with the worst possible news for Davis: Lee had been killed defending Richmond from Union attack. Lincoln had reorganised the Army on the Potomac on the Confederate flank at Bermuda Hundred and under the irrepressible Halleck it had advanced to again threaten the Confederate capital. Lee quickly responded and drove the Union forces back but a shot from a Union sniper robbed the Confederacy of its finest commander. Hood was placed in command of the Confederate forces in the East. In the Western theatre Beauregard was grievously wounded fighting the Army of the Cumberland and was replaced by Jackson. In the Mississippi theatre Polk continued to demonstrate his inability at everything and he was unable to stop the Army of the Tennessee from establishing an advance base at Shiloh and advancing into Memphis, nor from preventing the Army of the Gulf from finally capturing New Orleans. Releasing his mistake in appointing Polk, Davis replaced him with Smith, but because of Polk's political power he was unable to remove him entirely from command. Sensing that the military situation was turning against the Confederates, Lincoln made a timely speech proclaiming emancipation of all slaves in the rebellious States. This astute political move gave pause to Britain and France who withdrew their naval support for the Confederacy. The year closed with Smith unable to prevent the Army of the Tennessee from besieging Vicksburg, although Jackson succeeded in pushing the Army of the Cumberland back from the outskirts of Atlanta all the way back its base at Chattanooga. Fortunately Confederate morale remained firm.

1864
Looking to get Jackson placed in command of the beleaguered Mississippi theatre Davis moved him to National Military advisor in the hope that this would give him the power to eventually replace Smith in that theatre. Davis was immensely relieved when the recovered Beauregard returned to duty and he was given his old command on the Western theatre. After its defeats in 1862 the Army of the Potomac had spent most of 1863 refitting and retraining. The new forces proved their worth by advancing to Hanover and denying the Confederates the Shenandoah Valley. Sheridan capitalised on this by devastating the Valley, forever denying it to the South. The Army of the Cumberland recovered from its reverses at the end of the previous year and once more advanced to Atlanta, this time destroying the city's defences. After a long siege the Army of the Tennessee finally destroyed the defences in Vicksburg, but Davis' political manoeuvres were able to place the capable Jackson in command of the Mississippi theatre with Smith becoming National Military Advisor, a role in which he was to display a surprising aptitude. This still left the Army of the Gulf threatening Vicksburg's when General Banks' daring Red River Campaign, a plan Davis had bitterly opposed, ended in disaster for the Union and the Army of the Gulf was forced to return back to New Orleans. Vicksburg was saved, but not so Atlanta. Beauregard, lacking some of his former zeal after his horrible injuries, was unable to prevent the Army of the Cumberland from capturing Atlanta and constructing another advance base there. 1864 closed with the Confederacy facing a difficult military situation. With numerous Union commanders proving ineffective Lincoln had finally promoted Grant to command of the Eastern theatre and Sherman to the Western theatre. Under their able leadership the Army of the Potomac advanced to the outskirts of Richmond while the Army of the Tennessee finally secured Vicksburg and constructed an advance base there thus closing the Mississippi river and severing the Confederacy. The Army of the Cumberland had begun its march towards Savannah. Nevertheless these exertions had cost the Union forces dearly and the people of the North were weary of the war; even with these successes victory did not seem certain. In a startling move Lincoln failed to secure his re-election and the new government immediately recognised the South's independence. That war was over and the Confederates could start the process of building a nation!

Final score: Resounding Victory - morale was 8!

Analysis: Definitely one of my luckier games of The Lost Cause. I was incredibly fortunate that I passed virtually every Nation Will check I needed to make which meant that my morale was hovering around the 6 mark for most of the game despite the hits from losing some key areas in the Mississippi and Western theatres. Some timely cards, and getting Lee in the East to run rings around the Army of the Potomac, allowed me to achieve European Recognition quite early in the game so I was able to use Commerce Raiders on the morale track quite frequently, and my good dice rolling meant that it was only returned to the resource cup once after a failed check. So my morale was a very healthy 7 going into the election. Nevertheless it still took a lucky dice roll (I rolled a 4 on 2d6) as the Union had +3 for New Orleans, Vicksburg and Atlanta, modified to +2 because of my Commerce Raiders. Keeping the Army of the Potomac out of Richmond really helped. Hood, who replaced Lee, is good for activation (2) but not for battles (-1) but I was able to offset that with the Refit and Reorganise resource. And here I did get really, really lucky as I assigned the resource towards the start of 1863 and I did not roll an natural 1 for any battle result in the East for the rest of the game! That is incredibly fluky. The last piece of luck was that Grant and Sherman didn't turn up until too late in the game to cause me massive headaches. There are 3 cards in the 1864 deck that cause them to be placed and all 3 turned up in the last 4 cards of the draw pile!
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Brad Heath
Australia
Brisbane
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Enjoying your session reports! I did one for The Lost Cause back in 2010 and also happily won. Played a few times since then but without another victoryshake

I look forward to VPG giving this their gold banner treatment in the future.
 
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Hans von Stockhausen

California
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Paul,

Nice report. I really enjoy reading these "histories". It's nice to see the South actually win one in 1864.

Hans
 
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