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Subject: Preliminary Views rss

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June Hwang Wah
Singapore
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(Cross-posted from my website)

Background
Stonewall's Last Battle is an operational level wargame on the Chancellorsville campaign of the American Civil War. The game is played on a large paper map with each hex representing 1 mile across. Units are generally divisions, with some Confederate units able to break down into brigades. Every turn is one day.

Description
The sequence of play has players roll to contest for initiative, with the winner being able to take a move. The amount of activity the activated units are permited is limited by the amount of fatigue it can tolerate. Generally a unit can have 5(0-4) levels of fatigue. When a unit activates, it increases its fatigue level by 1 and gets a random number of movement points with which to perform actions such as movement and attack.

Leaders allow multiple units to activate and move at the same time, and this can be very useful in making coordinated movements before the enemy can react. Leaders also enables units to attack more effectively, by enabling them to attack together.

Once the activation is complete, another initiate roll is made. If a player does not wish (or cannot) make a move, he may pass. His opponent then has the option to take an action, or pass. If he too passes, the turn ends.

Victory
Victory is determined by victory points. VPs are awarded for the elimination of enemy strength points through combat, control of specific sites on the mapboard, and destruction of certain railroad hexes.

Comments
I really wanted to like this one. The randomness (order of activation and number of MP per activation) simulates the uncertainity of command during that period well.

However, I find the number of counters needed to record the state of a unit burdensome. A unit is represented by a counter as well as up to 3 additional informational counters: (1)strength counter which doubles as a organised/disorganised counter, (2)fatigue counter (which records the fatigue level which ranges from 0 to 4), and (3)demoralisation counter (levels 0-2). In addition, a unit may be normal or exhausted. Keeping track of the state of a unit results in a huge stack of counters on the map. We may use off-map record tracks, but correlating the unit with the record track makes it unfeasible for all but the smallest games.

Also, I tried one or two basic scenarios with a friend, and found it woefully imbalanced. For scenario 1, the Confederate player simply sits in his trenches and waits for the Union player to wear his forces out attacking. Maybe we got it wrong, but there appears little the Confederates can do wrong.

Also, there are additional rules on the internet that changes the artillery rules significantly. But I am not well-acquainted enough with the game to have concrete thoughts on it. But I guess it favours the defenders(Confederates).

 
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Eric Hays
United States
Leawood
Kansas
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You might want to try the player aids posted on the GCACW website http://www.gcacw.com/PlayAids.htm. These greatly reduce stacking.
 
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June Hwang Wah
Singapore
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Great! Thanks!
 
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