Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
 Hide
3 Posts

Barren Victory» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Jewel in the CWBS crown rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Dan Taylor
United States
Berryville
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Just Another Washed Up Wargamer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Barren Victory is the fourth game in The Gamers (now MMP’s) Civil War brigade series. It covers the battle of Chickamauga, starting from the initial Union attack at Jay’s Mill and finishing a day later. Units are all brigades or leaders.

If the reader isn’t familiar with the Civil War Brigade Series as a whole, it might be wise to check a more general review of the series at some other location before looking at this game's specific review. This review will assume general knowledge of the series’ concepts and ideas, and will seek to review the game’s specific ideas.

The counters are clean and understandable, but pale in comparison to later offerings from the company. The unit counters uniformly display their commander’s name, organizational position and morale/fire level on the reverse side. The leader counters are likewise drab. The map is serviceable but like the counters not quite as nice as modern offerings.

The special rules for the series are short, covering 3 pages and mostly dealing with the command structure of the two armies. Bragg took the unusual step of reorganizing his army after Longstreet’s arrival, and Rosecrans’ complete trust of Thomas meant he could command up to two extra divisions from other corps. This can create some very interesting possibilities, especially for the Union. (Thomas' command of nearly half the Union army combined with his init of 4 makes for a force with rapid reaction.)

The two armies are similar, though for the first (and possibly only) time, the Confederates outnumber the Union by a slight margin. Both sides have their zero leaders and their 4s, although the Union’s Rosecrans (2) is much better than his counterpart, Bragg. (0) The Confederate corps are much smaller than their larger Union counterparts, an odd shift from previous games set “back east.”

The terrain is almost uniformly wooded, though lacking the penalizing “woods rules” from the next game in the series, Bloody Roads South, maneuvering a line of battle is still tough regardless. Most fights will occur along the many roads crossing the battlefield as they provide the only reliable way to feed reinforcements to a fight. The southern part of the battlefield is a little more open and has larger clearings, albeit split by the creek.

The opening situation finds two divisions from the Union army about to attack a lone Confederate division, though soon both sides will throw additional reinforments into the fight. The Union army must defend its southern flank in order to allow its divisions to arrive from the south during the first day, while simultaneously avoiding being cut off from its northern flank (the road to Chattanooga). Confederate reinforcements arrive also, and the battle gets hairy. Both sides have the opportunity (and requirement) to attack and defend as the battle see-saws back and forth.

Barren Victory is one of the best, if not the best, game of the series. The CWBS command system for once perfectly captures the battle (Thomas and Longstreet move quickly and decisively with initiative, Polk and the other Union corps commanders do a lot of sitting) and players will have to plan ahead in a shifting tactical situation. The forces are roughly even, also, given that the Union must defend 3 widely scattered areas and have slightly less forces.

Despite its graphical shortcomings, Barren Victory is an excellent addition to the CWBS series and well worth searching out.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Taylor
United States
Berryville
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Just Another Washed Up Wargamer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree in spirit, if not with your particular choices. The series isn't for everyone (not said snobbishly, just that the idea of playing this odd not-entirely-competitive-game for hours might not appeal to everyone), but for those of us interested in in it there's no substitute for written orders.
3 
 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.