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Subject: Questions on the rules (version 3.0) rss

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Strelnieks *
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I am very impressed by this game. Unlike some people in the other thread, I really like the board as well as the pieces and everything. I think the rules show some evidence of haste, however. Anyway, I've been going through the rules and have collected the following questions or requests for clarification.

4.5 / 6.63/ 9.52 Cadres

The whole thing with "cadres" and "replacement pool" could use some additional wording here or there to really tighten it up.

Q 01
I understand the rules to mean that there is no particular difference between units that have never been in play and units that have been eliminated during the current game. There are no yearly or other "force pools" (to use a term common in other war games).

Q 02
Drafts. If that is the case, however, that means that calling a draft means forfeiting a victory point for zero, two or four replacement points, of which I am getting 48 (at the very, very least) each year. That seems odd. So going back to Q 01, perhaps I can only add units to my "force pool" (dead units available as replacements) by draft.


5.33 "attack at -1 speed"

Q 03
Is there a particular reason why this is formulated this way instead of simply having it cost two movement to enter an enemy occupied hex?


5.41 Pontoon Bridges

Q 04
The terrain rules (2.2 "SEAS") say that there is no movement other than sea moves downstream of the head of navigation. That rule seems to make perfect sense and my impression is that it should stand.

But in the "NOTE" at the end of the pontoon bridge rules it mentions a case of being able to build a bridge downstream of the head of navigation. This leads to absurd consequences – like building a pontoon bridge from Hartfield across the Rappahannock – two miles wide at its narrowest point from that hex, or at the mouth of the Potomac, which is about four miles wide.

Q 05
Does the hex with the head of navigation itself count as upstream or downstream from itself?

Q 06
A move across a pontoon bridge costs two strategic moves if the hex being moved to is "enemy (whether occupied or not)". That could use some clarification, I think.


6.31 Retreat Hexes

"Pending battle" seems clear to me, but when writing game rules, I would tighten this up a bit – "A hex where a battle this turn is yet to be resolved" or something like that.


6.5 Outflanking

Q 07
Can you outflank into an empty space? It would appear to be the case that you cannot do this. If, for example, in the diagram on page 7 the Confederate cavalry had tried to outflank left, would that have been allowed? The Union has a right flank intact – it is engaging the Confederate left. But it has left the Union line right empty. I assume the Confederates cannot outflank in that direction. If they can, it results – by my reading – in an immediate route, since it would be occupying unopposed a position in the enemy line (6.33).

Q 08
If there are entrenched and non-entrenched units in a position, and that position is attacked by outflank, I assume that the +1 applies only if the specific unit attacked is the one that is entrenched. That is what the rule seems to say, but this could use clarification.


8.4 Sea Invasions

Q 09
The second paragraph says an invading unit cannot be combined with a land attack on the same hex, but can reinforce adjacent battles. This seems very odd. I can land a Union infantry unit at Aquia Landing and have it enter a battle at Dumfries, but by invading Aquia Landing, I prevent a Union unit from entering Aquia Landing from Dumfries.

Is this really the case? If so – why? Does this rule prevent some absurdities I have not foreseen?


9.31 Leader Supply


Q 10
Can we assume that the "HQ Supply" mentioned in the NOTE and "Leader Supply" are the same thing? (HQ supply is perhaps a relic from an older version of the game?)


GENERAL QUESTIONS

Q 11
Can this new version (3.0, "kickstarter") be used together with Sam Grant? Or are the unit sizes/scales somehow different? There is no mention of Sam Grant in the rules.

Q 12
Somewhere online I found a mention of 1-step Confederate units, added to the Confederate side to make the CSA forces appear more menacing. That seems like a great idea, but that would appear to not be the case in this game. True, or have I missed something?

Q 13
Not having played, I have the impression it would be an _enormous_ strain to get any sizable force from Chancellorsville in the spring turn to Gettysburg in the summer turn. Even assuming a straight move with no Union units standing in the way, and not taking the hsitorical route through the valley and descending on the battlefield from the west and north, it would cost five moves - completely depleting Robert E. Lee's four steps and some other leader by one step, or force marches - and then supplying the force north of the Potomac would drain any other leader completely.

Q 14
I can't find it anywhere in the rules any more, but I thought I saw somewhere that there is a difference between the filled circles (non-major towns) and empty circles (like Mount Vernon), the latter being historical sites. Is it intentional that Mount Vernon is marked as being of historical interest only (the empty circle) and Monticello as a settlement? I have never studied these sites, so perhaps Monticello really was a town back then.

Strel
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Mark Kwasny
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Let me try to offer some answers to your questions.

Q 01
I understand the rules to mean that there is no particular difference between units that have never been in play and units that have been eliminated during the current game. There are no yearly or other "force pools" (to use a term common in other war games).
Correct

Q 02
Drafts. If that is the case, however, that means that calling a draft means forfeiting a victory point for zero, two or four replacement points, of which I am getting 48 (at the very, very least) each year. That seems odd. So going back to Q 01, perhaps I can only add units to my "force pool" (dead units available as replacements) by draft. Your first sentence is correct. The draft is an emergency action when you are willing to give up a VP to have a chance of a free cadre or two.

Q 03
Is there a particular reason why this is formulated this way instead of simply having it cost two movement to enter an enemy occupied hex? It works that way. Either wording seems equally good to me.


Q 04
The terrain rules (2.2 "SEAS") say that there is no movement other than sea moves downstream of the head of navigation. That rule seems to make perfect sense and my impression is that it should stand.
But in the "NOTE" at the end of the pontoon bridge rules it mentions a case of being able to build a bridge downstream of the head of navigation. This leads to absurd consequences – like building a pontoon bridge from Hartfield across the Rappahannock – two miles wide at its narrowest point from that hex, or at the mouth of the Potomac, which is about four miles wide. You can only build a pontoon bridge downstream of the Head of Navigation if you control all of the ports on the river. In that case, you can consider a pontoon bridge as the use of local boats.


Q 05
Does the hex with the head of navigation itself count as upstream or downstream from itself? I am not sure why this would matter. The rules seem clear as to where and when different types of movement can be used on rivers.


Q 06
A move across a pontoon bridge costs two strategic moves if the hex being moved to is "enemy (whether occupied or not)". That could use some clarification, I think. The rules for hex control say that a hex is either friendly or enemy. If there is an enemy unit, it is enemy. But if it is empty but in enemy home territory, it is still an enemy hex.
"Pending battle" seems clear to me, but when writing game rules, I would tighten this up a bit – "A hex where a battle this turn is yet to be resolved" or something like that. But as you say, “pending” is clear as well.


Q 07
Can you outflank into an empty space? It would appear to be the case that you cannot do this. If, for example, in the diagram on page 7 the Confederate cavalry had tried to outflank left, would that have been allowed? The Union has a right flank intact – it is engaging the Confederate left. But it has left the Union line right empty. I assume the Confederates cannot outflank in that direction. If they can, it results – by my reading – in an immediate route, since it would be occupying unopposed a position in the enemy line (6.33). There is another thread on this. The rule calls an Outflank move an ‘engage’ move so the enemy flank position has to be occupied be enemy units. So an outflank move cannot rout an enemy army immediately because the flank position will not be empty. As for outflanking to the left, no the cavalry could not do that since the enemy right flank is empty. I suspect there is an omitted sentence in this rule, however. In play testing, an outflank move could only be made into an engaged enemy position.


Q 08
If there are entrenched and non-entrenched units in a position, and that position is attacked by outflank, I assume that the +1 applies only if the specific unit attacked is the one that is entrenched. That is what the rule seems to say, but this could use clarification.
An entrenchment covers the entire position, so all friendly units are entrenched if in a position with a friendly entrenchment marker.

Q 09
The second paragraph says an invading unit cannot be combined with a land attack on the same hex, but can reinforce adjacent battles. This seems very odd. I can land a Union infantry unit at Aquia Landing and have it enter a battle at Dumfries, but by invading Aquia Landing, I prevent a Union unit from entering Aquia Landing from Dumfries.
Is this really the case? If so – why? Does this rule prevent some absurdities I have not foreseen? Yes, that is the case. It was very difficult to coordinate local land forces with an arriving amphibious invasion. On the other hand, if forces arrived by amphibious movement, they could then march out and join another nearby battle. That does not seem out of line to me.


Q 10
Can we assume that the "HQ Supply" mentioned in the NOTE and "Leader Supply" are the same thing? (HQ supply is perhaps a relic from an older version of the game?) Yeah, older versions had HQs. An HQ is the same as a leader.


Q 11
Can this new version (3.0, "kickstarter") be used together with Sam Grant? Or are the unit sizes/scales somehow different? There is no mention of Sam Grant in the rules. No, they are different scale for map and units and RPs and several other incompatible rules.


Q 12
Somewhere online I found a mention of 1-step Confederate units, added to the Confederate side to make the CSA forces appear more menacing. That seems like a great idea, but that would appear to not be the case in this game. True, or have I missed something? Older versions had “brigades” for the CSA. They were 1 step units that basically served as decoys. The new version does not have them.


Q 13
Not having played, I have the impression it would be an _enormous_ strain to get any sizable force from Chancellorsville in the spring turn to Gettysburg in the summer turn. Even assuming a straight move with no Union units standing in the way, and not taking the hsitorical route through the valley and descending on the battlefield from the west and north, it would cost five moves - completely depleting Robert E. Lee's four steps and some other leader by one step, or force marches - and then supplying the force north of the Potomac would drain any other leader completely. It can be done over Spring and Summer quarters using two or three leaders combined. There is a long thread earlier on this topic that explored different viewpoints on this very issue. I unfortunately do not remember the name of the thread.


Q 14
I can't find it anywhere in the rules any more, but I thought I saw somewhere that there is a difference between the filled circles (non-major towns) and empty circles (like Mount Vernon), the latter being historical sites. Is it intentional that Mount Vernon is marked as being of historical interest only (the empty circle) and Monticello as a settlement? I have never studied these sites, so perhaps Monticello really was a town back then. Historical sites are just there for interest. In addition, small circles without numbers basically serve no game function either.


I hope that helps.
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Strelnieks *
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mvkwasny wrote:
Let me try to offer some answers to your questions.


Thank you very much! Yes, it helps.

mvkwasny wrote:

Q 03
Is there a particular reason why this is formulated this way instead of simply having it cost two movement to enter an enemy occupied hex? It works that way. Either wording seems equally good to me.


I have read the rules to dozens of wargames and "-1 speed" is strange wording. The "speed" of the units does not really change. But this does not result in any change.

[q="mvkwasny"]
Q 05
Does the hex with the head of navigation itself count as upstream or downstream from itself? I am not sure why this would matter. The rules seem clear as to where and when different types of movement can be used on rivers.



I'll have to pack out my map again and see if I can construct a situation where it matters, but it seems like in the case of building a pontoon bridge - where building one downstream requires certain conditions to be met - this might matter.

mvkwasny wrote:

Q 06
A move across a pontoon bridge costs two strategic moves if the hex being moved to is "enemy (whether occupied or not)". That could use some clarification, I think. The rules for hex control say that a hex is either friendly or enemy. If there is an enemy unit, it is enemy. But if it is empty but in enemy home territory, it is still an enemy hex.


So the term should be "enemy controlled," I take it.

mvkwasny wrote:

Q 08
An entrenchment covers the entire position...


Aha! The rules should specify that.

mvkwasny wrote:

Q 09
Yes, that is the case. It was very difficult to coordinate local land forces with an arriving amphibious invasion. On the other hand, if forces arrived by amphibious movement, they could then march out and join another nearby battle. That does not seem out of line to me.


Okay, that seems counter-intuitive to me, but I can live with it.

mvkwasny wrote:

Q 13
Not having played, I have the impression it would be an _enormous_ strain to get any sizable force from Chancellorsville in the spring turn to Gettysburg in the summer turn. Even assuming a straight move with no Union units standing in the way, and not taking the hsitorical route through the valley and descending on the battlefield from the west and north, it would cost five moves - completely depleting Robert E. Lee's four steps and some other leader by one step, or force marches - and then supplying the force north of the Potomac would drain any other leader completely. It can be done over Spring and Summer quarters using two or three leaders combined. There is a long thread earlier on this topic that explored different viewpoints on this very issue. I unfortunately do not remember the name of the thread.



Okay, but presumably that would have been about the older version of the game. If the rules haven't changed dramatically, however, that thread might still be of interest. I'll search for it.

Thanks again!

Strel
 
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Mark Kwasny
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I agree that there are some rules that could have perhaps been worded better and more clearly, but then I suspect that can be said of pretty much every rule book out there!

As for logic and counter-intuitive rules, there are a couple that strike me the same way, but when I play the game, it works (at least for me!). So if the game as a whole works well together, I am willing to suspend historical logic on occasion. For the Civil War, there probably should not even be a Sea Invasion option. The Confederates were already evacuating Norfolk when the Union troops began to arrive. And I cannot recall another amphibious invasion in Virginia during the war. So I think they wanted to prevent such landings from becoming too powerful or too lethal. With the skirmish rules as written, an Invasion is a skirmish, which limits its effectiveness and deadliness. At least that is what I suspect motivated the rule.

The earlier thread that discussed whether there are enough activations to recreate a campaign (in this new 3rd edition) such as the Gettysburg campaign of 1863 is titled "3rd edition - a few comments" and can be found currently on page 4 of this forum (sorry I am not tech savvy enough to put a link in here!).

Concerning downstream and the Head of Navigation, it could affect where such a pontoon bridge can be built. The rule for pontoon bridges says "downriver" of the head of navigation, so I would interpret that to mean a normal pontoon bridge can be used AT the Head of Navigation itself without the requirement of controlling all ports on the river. At least so far in my games, the rules have been pretty clear on where Sea movement and pontoon bridges and sea supply can all be applied.

You asked abut cadres and eliminated units in your first post, I believe. All units not on the board are in the force pool. There are no additions to the pool during the war (except for leaders, where Sheridan and Grant are added to the pool later in the war).

I have played into 1863 now twice with two different opponents and the feel of the game is (for my tastes) very good. The rules work as written (though I think there are a couple that may be leading to unintended consequences and might, I hope, be revisited soon).
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Strelnieks *
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mvkwasny wrote:
I agree that there are some rules that could have perhaps been worded better and more clearly, but then I suspect that can be said of pretty much every rule book out there!


Yes, completely air-tight rules are rare. But: I have the impression that the rules aren't "clean" the way, say, Avalon Hill rules used to be. They used to have occasional holes and ambiguities, but the per-page rate was very low. They were very "legalistic" or "lawyery" in their use of terminology and anticipating questions by someone looking something up. The BL rules seem a bit more rushed - terms changing or left ambiguous (until later), historical commentary or playing advice mixed in, crucial information for the rules not in the rules columns, but in the third "commentary" column, for example. But I think that at the end of the day, it is probably pretty much all there in the rules.

mvkwasny wrote:

For the Civil War, there probably should not even be a Sea Invasion option. The Confederates were already evacuating Norfolk when the Union troops began to arrive. And I cannot recall another amphibious invasion in Virginia during the war.


Right. There was some down in the Carolinas, but none in Virginia, if I am not mistaken. Completely taking away the threat of invasion might have some effect, however. I'll have to play before I can comment much more on this.

mvkwasny wrote:

The earlier thread that discussed whether there are enough activations to recreate a campaign (in this new 3rd edition) such as the Gettysburg campaign of 1863 is titled "3rd edition - a few comments" and can be found currently on page 4 of this forum (sorry I am not tech savvy enough to put a link in here!).


Thanks. I'll go check it out.

mvkwasny wrote:

You asked abut cadres and eliminated units in your first post, I believe. All units not on the board are in the force pool. There are no additions to the pool during the war (except for leaders, where Sheridan and Grant are added to the pool later in the war).


Right - that is how I understood your first response.

mvkwasny wrote:

I have played into 1863 now twice with two different opponents and the feel of the game is (for my tastes) very good. The rules work as written (though I think there are a couple that may be leading to unintended consequences and might, I hope, be revisited soon).


I am looking forward to actually trying it. Looks like a great game.

Strel
 
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Strelnieks wrote:

Q 07
Can you outflank into an empty space? It would appear to be the case that you cannot do this. If, for example, in the diagram on page 7 the Confederate cavalry had tried to outflank left, would that have been allowed? The Union has a right flank intact – it is engaging the Confederate left. But it has left the Union line right empty. I assume the Confederates cannot outflank in that direction. If they can, it results – by my reading – in an immediate route, since it would be occupying unopposed a position in the enemy line (6.33).


The rule says "engage," so the enemy position may not be empty. But note: what if the USA right flank position in the example were NOT empty? Suppose a single blue block was advancing to join the attack? Then technically by the rules, the CSA cav COULD outflank it. This would cause "rules havoc" because the outflank could remove the single blue block, which would rout the USA even though all their positions are intact. I'd add a rule that unit may not outflank past engaged positions.

Quote:
Can we assume that the "HQ Supply" mentioned in the NOTE and "Leader Supply" are the same thing? (HQ supply is perhaps a relic from an older version of the game?)


Yes, HQ = Leader. I think "supply" is a bad word choice here though because it suggests that the affected units are now in supply, which means they should be able to add steps and cadres. I think all it really means is the leader has prevented his units from taking the 1-step hit, but they are still out-of-supply. If they truly are in supply, then you have the anomaly of completely surrounded units adding steps.

Quote:
Can this new version (3.0, "kickstarter") be used together with Sam Grant? Or are the unit sizes/scales somehow different? There is no mention of Sam Grant in the rules.


Sam Grant's rules for rivers, ports, water travel are very different. For example, every river hex in SG is a port, and an enemy unit on a river blocks river movement, which is not the case in BL.
 
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shilinski wrote:
[q="Strelnieks"]
Sam Grant's rules for rivers, ports, water travel are very different. For example, every river hex in SG is a port, and an enemy unit on a river blocks river movement, which is not the case in BL.


Now, if only the river/water rules are different, there may be hope. It was my undrstanding that the BL 2.0 rules could be played in combination with SG to make a larger campaign, with units transfering between theaters. It would be great if SG is revamped as well as BL or if BL 3.0 can still be played with a western theater game.

It would seem to be a law of the universe that every attempt to make a series of games with the same system HAS TO include pages and pages of exceptions or differences between every game, essentially making the series only thematic, but not "systemic." I know of no exceptions, but I haven't been deeply involved in the hobby since the 1990s, so perhaps I have missed some. (I realize it is a cost factor, dealing with printing large map sizes, but one thing that used to bug me was when game series like "Great War in the East" or "Advanced Third Third"/"Rising Sun" used different scales on the different maps. That "hides" a core difference between the theaters.)

Strel
 
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Chris Rice
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In a separate thread I mentioned that the designer of Sam Grant has already submitted an update of the game to bring it into line with the new edition of Bobby Lee.

Whether Columbia pursues this remains to be seen.
 
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Phil Miller
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There was a set of combined rules for v2.0 of Bobby Lee and Sam Grant which I downloaded from their web site a while back. (PM me if you want a copy and I'll email you the PDF)

I am sure once the updated Sam Grant is released, they will publish a new combined rule set.

-Phil



 
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Stan Hilinski
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PhilFromIT wrote:
There was a set of combined rules for v2.0 of Bobby Lee and Sam Grant which I downloaded from their web site a while back. (PM me if you want a copy and I'll email you the PDF)

I am sure once the updated Sam Grant is released, they will publish a new combined rule set.


The trouble with those combined rules is the writer did not understand the differences between each game's naval rules, so it turned out to be a little of this and a little of that, and it gets none of it right. It's best if those combined rules were forgotten.
 
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Phil Miller
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shilinski wrote:
PhilFromIT wrote:
There was a set of combined rules for v2.0 of Bobby Lee and Sam Grant which I downloaded from their web site a while back. (PM me if you want a copy and I'll email you the PDF)

I am sure once the updated Sam Grant is released, they will publish a new combined rule set.


The trouble with those combined rules is the writer did not understand the differences between each game's naval rules, so it turned out to be a little of this and a little of that, and it gets none of it right. It's best if those combined rules were forgotten.


That's unfortunate, even the game description here on the geek claims it can be combined with Sam Grant "so that both theaters of the Civil War can be played out at the same time."

-Phil

 
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Stan Hilinski
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I don't know if the goal of the combined rules was to let you play both games at once. I think someone thought it would be "better" if the rules were combined, but I don't remember for sure so check them out if you want to play both together. They are no longer available at the CG site, but you can find them in the Files section of the Sam Grant BGG page.
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John M
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shilinski wrote:
I don't know if the goal of the combined rules was to let you play both games at once. I think someone thought it would be "better" if the rules were combined, but I don't remember for sure so check them out if you want to play both together. They are no longer available at the CG site, but you can find them in the Files section of the Sam Grant BGG page.


Let me chime in here...

At one time I owned Bobby Lee and Sam Grant and noticed that most of the rules for both games were the same but there were some discrepancies in the way each game handled certain things. It's been a long time so I don't remember exactly what those differences were...

I pitched the idea to Grant about consolidating the rules for both into one rulebook. He said someone else was working on the same thing, so he put me in touch with that gentleman and together we worked to combine the two rulebooks. We were not allowed to actually change any of the rules, only combine them and eliminate discrepancies.

We provided the finished document to Grant, who reformatted and posted it on their site.

The goal of the rewrite was not to allow you to play both games at once; you could already do that, IIRC. The rules for that were either in the Sam Grant rules or on Columbia's site.

I'd like to think the rewrite was a successful project. If, as someone mentioned above, the naval rules don't seem quite right then you can blame me. Hey, they seemed correct at the time!

Anyway, that's just a bit of background on how the combined rules came to be.
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