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The Halls of Montezuma» Forums » Variants

Subject: Jefferson Davis's Mississippi Rifles rss

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Davis Stringer
United States
Terry
Mississippi
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From my post on one review on this forum (by gittes - Sean):

"One of the things that attracted me to this game was the state volunteer units. I've always found Orders of Battle very interesting and knowing what all units and who all participated. Examples I love are like the small Brigade of Infantry regiments from Florida in the ANV, the Iron Brigade, almost exclusively the only Midwestern units in the Army of the Potomac, and the one Virginia Unit, an artillery battery(Botetort), in the Vicksburg campaign as almost no Virginia units were sent to the Western Theatre except for a few early in the War (there were some in the Forts Henry and Donelson campaign) and of course Longstreet's Corps (which contained plenty of Virginia units) reinforcing just before Chickamauga.

That brings me to this. I was born and raised in Mississippi so naturally you are right!!!! Shouldn't the Mississippi Regiment be better!? Well, of course!!!! I'm biased of course, but historically they were, as you note, very effective, even decisive once alongside an Indiana Regiment I believe. And I love that the image the designers chose to be printed on the State Volunteer counter is in fact the uniform of the Jefferson Davis's Mississippi Rifles. I did kind of scratch my head when the Mississippi Counter basically was just like any ordinary State Volunteer Counter..."

I have to tell y'all up front that I tend to be one extreme or the other when it comes to variants. I am an "aesthetic perfectionist" so I'm loathe to want to write on counters, boards, cards, charts (although I'll do the latter sooner than any of the others), etc. and thereby deface them. I call it "uglying it up" as in "I don't wanna ugly up that gameboard by writing on it." Speaking of that, I did write on the charts of this game, though not the turn record card and I did bring myself to write "Response" on cards #74 and #77 with nice blue ink, though that made my head hurt. I tend to want to be a minimalist on revisions/variants if it means cluttering my game up in one way or another with a bunch of hand written stuff or stuff that doesn't match the other stuff properly. Print out and add a card to the deck? Ummmm, no freakin' way unless it's gonna look and feel exactly like the others. Or you have the other extreme, where I dive in with all kinds of research and basically reinvent the game turning it into some kind of monster or dadgum simulation or both. An example is how I have "translated" Empires in Harm, a huuuuuuuuge variant of Empires in Arms, into the scale and game engine of the Charge the Guns/Advanced NIE versions of Napoleon in Europe. It works well, but is a gargantuan complicated Beast with hundreds of turns. I doubt I'll ever be able to play it other than solitaire.

But here at the Rio Grande looking across at Old Mexico I think I don't want to mess with this game too much. I have NOT played this game yet and will do so at least three times with the existing living rules before considering any house rules. Having digested some reviews and the rulebook twice, I'm not sure that the U.S. Army is going to be historically effective enough and/or the Mexican Forces too effective to reflect history. I'm not sure I believe the Mexicans could have won militarily, similar to the South after certain points in the Civil War. Perhaps the Mexican should be more about outlasting the American will to fight, which is already an option available to them, rather than truly being able to take it to the U.S. toe to toe. But this remains to be seen after a few plays. If it seems the Mexican Army is too effective I have 3 ideas to curtail that somewhat. But if you're trying to balance a game or make it not seem like a real stretch historically then you don't want to go any further than is absolutely necessary so as not to unbalance it on the other side. I'll save those for a later post after I have a few plays under my belt. I plan to the play three times with the game as is. If the Mexicans win all three, well then, it'll be time to consider some rebalancing ideas. If the U.S. wins 2 of 3, well, I probably won't change a thing. If the Mexicans win 2 of 3, I'll play a 4th game. If U.S. wins it, then okay. If Mexicans take 3 of 4, I could be back to considering those 3 revisions. We'll see. But for now, here's how I would represent the Mississippi Rifles, whether the game needs it or not. You decide because depending on the way it's implemented it could serve to tip the balance of battle back toward center just enough. I don't know yet, but if you've played several times, you might. And you may want to try it just for historical feel.

The easiest way to give a nod to the contribution of the Mississippi Rifles (which I'll just abbreviate MR from here on out) works within the existing rules and requires no doctoring of the counter. In effect, you will be giving a slight combat boost back toward the U.S. by adding a 5th "officer," Jefferson Davis. The difference is that he doesn't have a counter because his bonus is simply attached to the MR counter and he cannot be used as "Chief of Staff." He is only used for the so called "Field Command" effect, yielding a Firepower (FP) bonus AND the MR must be the lead unit, even if on its one step side. Again, with this I'm just looking for additional historicity and a slight adjustment toward the U.S. with minimal effect on existing rules, so this cannot be cumulative with assigning Grant, Lee, Jackson, or PGTB to "Field Command." If one or more of them is included in the space they may only be assigned to "Chief of Staff" unless the MR are not chosen as the lead unit. Likewise, Jeff Davis is unaffected by Mexican play of "No Future Glory" card. Instead, because there are a few blank counters in the mix, pick one and write "Jeff Davis WIA" or something to that effect on the it. Should the MR be eliminated, place the MR back into regroup but put the "Jeff Davis WIA" counter somewhere on the U.S. side of the map sheet with the Supply Phase/Gulf Squadron/Replacement bunch or near to the regroup stash or whatever will help you remember it because if the Mississippi unit is pulled again it will simply act as any normal volunteer unit. There is one other consideration, especially if in the end you will be using this to try to balance battle slightly back toward the U.S. side. It is possible to play the whole game (or several even), without even pulling the MR counter. So, if using for balance there needs to be a way to get it into play. If the unit idea is placed in any reprint, they may want to consider a response card but that's another idea. For now, I would say do it this way: After the at war units are added to regroup, the U.S. player may, upon pulling a state volunteer unit (and I don't mean to include the Mizzou Arty and the like--just for the "militia" units), substitute the MR counter (if not already in play nor has already been put in play and subsequently eliminated) by sacrificing one space on the PW track. So, yes that means the U.S. can do it for free if PW is at 35, but then again, the U.S. player probably really needs the MR that's the case!

So, officially unofficial in the simplest terms possible:

-The MR come into play normally or the U.S. Player may substitute the MR for another drawn state volunteer counter by moving PW one space (although still not past 35) in the Mexican Player's favor.

-The U.S. player may use the MR, regardless of steps remaining, as the lead unit in any battle in order to use Jefferson Davis for "Field Command" to roll the die for extra FP in the battle, but may NOT also assign Lee, Beauregard, Jackson, or Grant to this role per normal rules for officers. If another officer is participating in the battle, he may only be used as "Chief of Staff" unless the U.S. Player chooses not to place the MR as the lead unit.

-Jefferson Davis nor the MR are affected in any way whatsoever by the Mexican Player's use of the card "No Future Glory."

-If the MR are eliminated, place the counter back into regroup normally, but place the "Jefferson Davis WIA" counter on the table or map sheet in a way to remind the U.S. player that if the Mississippi state volunteer counter is ever returned to play that it will function as a normal state volunteer unit.


You can stop here if you like. But if you feel any further rebalancing is needed and/or you want to recreate the situation of the MR at a battle like Buena Vista, try adding this to the above written material (all of this applies of course only if the MR has never been eliminated):

-If at full strength, the MR is also considered to be a "committable" unit, but while it does take a step loss normally, its FP is NOT doubled. Instead, it has the following effect:

-Both players make their efficiency rolls normally. Then the U.S. Player may either re-roll his/her own efficiency die or force the Mexican player to re-roll his/her efficiency roll. No matter which player made the re-roll, the U.S. player then decides which of the two results (between the original or the re-roll) will be used for the battle.




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Mark Gilbertson
United States
Duluth
Minnesota
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... wow, what a wonderful contribution. Your post greatly enhances my enjoyment of this neat little game, Thanks Davis !!
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