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Our 2nd Group start - in addition we had a pair of two player starts.

This time the above mentioned variants.

Normally Hill would be in charge, but the five Brigades variant beefs up the force by 3 big changes - five large regiments, Archer replaced by Cooke and Hill by Ransom.

Ransom is to stay on the Pike until he gets to West McPherson ridge Top on the Pike - something that does not happen in the recon force - all we have is these two brigades and some artillery to engage Caleb's batteries on W. Mcpherson Ridge near Herbst Woods and Buford's cavalry.

The open order dismounted cav is heavily armed, mobile and dangerous and elusive to pin down - but they need to keep Cook and Davis at bay - for the taking of one hex of Lee's Lane (2.2h, N30.33 to N36.33) will set General Lee's Awareness to On Fire, seriously upping the tempo of CSA Operations for the rest of the day.

All previous attempts to handle this by the CSA were 'historical' - they engaged Caleb's batteries, approached with Davis and Archer (the stumbling two steppers of hesitant 0 leaders they are) to push the Cav back and MAYBE get to Lee's Lane to have Lee become On Fire on Day one.

This time we have a 3-4 Leader,Cooke, with more power instead of Archer.

The strategy Stuart advised Van and I to try (Stuart Martin could not stay that day) - place the cavalry on 20.23/21.23 to instead put artillery fire ONLY on the Cav and ignore Caleb's guns.

To help minimize Caleb and enhance Ransom's Recon, he told us to switch Cooke and Davis positions.

Well, it worked rather well!

The artillery came down, took those hill tops after a successful initiative roll for the battalion, and Cooke took his Big Brigade and scared some Cav into some fire lanes - we would kill one SP on the 10:15, two more on 10:30 to see the Cav vanish at 10:30. Caleb's batteries tried to better assist but succumbed to rifle fire from Davis's boys. They even got into the line to help and mostly died trying, for as you can see below we were able to setup a pretty good hit for 11 AM.

Cooke's Brigade was chewing up Cutler in the RR woods while keeping Iron Brigade busy with the weaker Davis.

In this picture you can see that situation about to unfold.



Our artillery would occupy W. McPherson's Ridge to help Davis and secure better Cooke's flank.

At 11:30 we had to suffer Davis collapsing with morale losses due to hot action from Iron Brigade.

Meanwhile with 11:00, 11:15 and 11:30 Cooke and Cutler have a sharp fight, causing mutual moderate losses slightly in favor of the CSA.

At 11:45 I decided to Skedaddle the Recon In Force - it has no real objective except to possibly get to Lee's Lane - which is not easy.

Iron Brigade in Great shape would have destroyed Davis, Cooke pushing in more would have been nice, but it would not matter to the only real objective - coming out of this beating up some of Cutler/Iron while escaping with minor losses.

Only blowing the Cav away so fast permitted this.

The batteries had stayed put for one turn on W. McPherson's ridge to rear guard, and they did well - they got away unharmed after seeing Davis and Cooke off towards home.

Our Teacher, Don Evans, LOB PhD holder and playtester watched his pupils become a real problem on the gaming table.

Over all a very satisfying action.

Gotta say the group we have together for our LCV play this summer along wit this great game are providing some of the best gaming experience ever.

It truly is a great game system.
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Notice: I edited this thing for typos and better verbiage after it got approved.

----------------

Lesson's Learned:

1. The overall lesson of LOB, like so many Essig designs, is that the defender does not do well just sitting around - he must press counterattacks to hold the line and the deployments to protect against breakthroughs.

Specific to Recon In Force

There is one objective you can achieve here - N26.27 - you reach that and you can get Hill (or Ransom if using the Five Brigade variant) and 3rd HQ there, then in the future when Lee gives that 3rd Corps Orders, you are free to get the 3rd Corps Commander and HQ off of Chambersburg Pike, greatly freeing up route options.

That is a big deal - allowing the gamer to shift the future thrust further south, easing the next significant task the CSA needs to accomplish - get at least one of the hexes we call "Lee's Lane" under your control - N30.33 to 36.33 as described in 2.2h - do that before 4PM and Lee is On Fire instead of Not Sure that day. His order delivery delay changes from 4 turns to 1.

---------

The Reynolds Lives Variant is a powerful one with the following effects if used alone - the Union stuff is going to arrive much faster and orders are going to be flying, making the CSA have a difficult time.

Five Brigades is there for balance.

--The additional firepower given 3rd Corps makes taking "Lee's Lane" a near sure bet - the number of regiments goes up enough to add spacial and force pressure to make the historical defense by I Corps a bit risky. Cooke adds mobility to the other wise pair of 0 leader foot draggers providing a better chance of getting in the way sooner.

Further, the balance of power could be such that the CSA is in pretty good condition to keep going - especially if the Army Orders are far forward - like to Long's Lane at the base of Cemetary Hill

My choice was to "Lee's Lane"/Seminary Ridge anchored between RR Woods and McMillian Woods, inclusive, out front a few hexes.

This would allow a skedaddle to occur and respite as we wait for the CSA forces to complete Attack Recovery - which might be a long time coming.

My Choice of Army Orders was due to the past games not using these variants. Beyond Seminary seemed about all you could do. Next time my orders will be much further along.

=================

Then we have the Bluford Rules - 2.2a - and the resulting absence of Gamble's boys south of Fairfield Road.

Their is much written on CSW about that, but to summarize:

a. The 3rd Corps HQ restriction - even if he stays on Chambersburg Pike, the Command Radius down to the furthest regiment from a brigade commander puts that out 28 hexes - just south of McMillain Woods.

Should that restriction be lifted (reaching N26.27 with the HQ) and the proper Army Command be in effect (say, to Cemetery Hill/Ridge as Lee's First Order per 2.1d Urged to Action), the CSA can send people well into the zone where Gamble had his cav on picket duty.

Dean Essig chose to remove those per 2.2a so that the Cavalry would not become super rat patrol/tanks as they do in other games - the are open order, fast well armed and brave fellows that in a player's hand are dangerous.

I am considering house rules on this:

--No Attacks or Moves by the CSA south of Fairfield - lifted after "Lee's Lane" falls.

--Or any movement south of Fairfield would have to roll for MPs like the Zero CV Brigade Commanders do.

------------------

Historically, the CSA did not know what was out there and imagined more - the recon up to this point was poor - you know, the old gamer problem of we have too much of a god like view rears its head.

I like what Essig does with this game with his Day One rules to recognize these realities - the man did his research.

One thing the LOB or CWB player is tasked with by Dean and his fans is to depend on intent and a bit on the reality we cannot easily simulate - all that Fog and the information poor/personality driven nature of command back then combined with a society based on a type of Chivalry.

The challenge is not all wargamers think like that and that those that might or would don't know the history as well.

For us, it all works out very well - we have group of talkers AND listeners, and all of us willing to play competitively and cooperatively in games like this.
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Björn Engqvist
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The historical day 1 start with all the constraining special rules, while I'm sure it is historically correct didn't strike us as a very interesting gaming situation for either side. Introducing these elements seem to make it more entertaining at least.
 
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Another addenda - an oversight on my part.

Those Lobotomies I mentioned above for Early and Rodes - well, after meeting the conditions to take "Lee's Lane" that is no longer true.

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