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Subject: Seeing the Elephant rss

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Heikki Elsilä
Finland
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Hello,

I'm an old wannabe wargamer but new to this game and its tremendous detail. Being an ACW/Gettysburg fan, I've played a couple of them on board in my youth, including AH's Gettysburg (awfully bad), Johnny Reb III (yes, I physically made Gettysburg for miniature battles!) and XTR's Fateful Lightning (pretty good play, god forsaken map!).

Now this is something new and extremely detailed for me, which I regard as a good thing. The downside is, I'm forced to play solitaire (not much wargaming here, let alone ACW stuff), and so I have to figure it all out by myself.

These are all kind of practical questions, which may seem dumb to you grognards but have always been a question mark for me:
1) How do you manage to keep track on which units have done their thing (fired and/or moved), as there are no markers for this?

2) How do you store/organize your stuff? Do you manage too keep the counters inside the original box, or do you have other arrangements?3)

3) How do you physically keep track on written orders anyway (on a notepad paper as suggested)? Is there some format you suggest?

And for the game itself:
4) If on "Move" order and deploying at destination, how do you keep track on which WAS the area of defense the Command arrived in case of units are repelled from it? In other words, how can you tell which is the "lost ground" you can recapture and which is you cannot advance (under "Move" order, that is)?

5) If on "Move" order and seeing that the enemy is already deployed at the ordered target area, do you continue moving in column onwards? Even with LOS? Or do I miss something here? I know there is an Initiative for commanders to deploy, but is that the only way to stop them moving to their deaths?

I could go on and on, especially about the order system (which I've never experienced before), and I think I will. But for now, let's keep it tight.

Best regards,
Heikki
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Brandon
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Elsilhe wrote:

1) How do you manage to keep track on which units have done their thing (fired and/or moved), as there are no markers for this?


I don't actually mark them; I just go corps by corps, division by division, brigade by brigade. So then I just have to remember that, ok 1 Corps is done, 2 Corps 2rd Division is done, 2 Corps 3rd Division I need to finish the 2nd Brigade.

Some people use tile spacers] to mark fired/moved units, since they're quite cheap to get in bulk.

Quote:
2) How do you store/organize your stuff? Do you manage too keep the counters inside the original box, or do you have other arrangements?


I just keep everything in small baggies. For the Union, I have one Corps per baggie. For the Confederates, I have one Division per baggie (and Corps artillery in a separate baggie). I don't know if it's the best way but it works for me.

Quote:
3) How do you physically keep track on written orders anyway (on a notepad paper as suggested)? Is there some format you suggest?


I use a notebook and I follow the general format given in the rulebook. I've tried making it a bit more tabular but I haven't found any revolutionary way to write them.

Quote:
4) If on "Move" order and deploying at destination, how do you keep track on which WAS the area of defense the Command arrived in case of units are repelled from it? In other words, how can you tell which is the "lost ground" you can recapture and which is you cannot advance (under "Move" order, that is)?


Your best bet is looking at their previous orders. However, more generally, remember the time period. They were going to be orienting themselves according to major landmarks. So, defensive orders would probably have said something like "hold such-and-such ridge". So, your defensive position that you can counter-attack to regain would probably be defined in this sort of "fuzzy" way. Your units can retake the general area that they were supposed to defend, but they just can't make any meaningful advance beyond that. There's no hard rule for what would be meaningful in this case, just don't let your units run wild.

Quote:
5) If on "Move" order and seeing that the enemy is already deployed at the ordered target area, do you continue moving in column onwards? Even with LOS? Or do I miss something here? I know there is an Initiative for commanders to deploy, but is that the only way to stop them moving to their deaths?


Hmm...yeah it's not really specified, is it? I think technically this situation shouldn't arise. Move orders are not for sending your troops anywhere near the action. Generally I think you would march them up to the rear of the front lines via Move orders, deploy them, and then issue some Attack orders to have them assault the enemy position. Even if there is no enemy where you want to send them, you should still be able to get a sense of whether or not it's a risky position; likewise, you should have an idea as to whether or not the position is already under your control or not. If it's under your control, and there are no troops already defending the area, the area should supposedly be safe enough to move troops there in column. If there are troops already defending, you would move the arriving troops to their rear. If it's not under your control, or the control is contested, you would only move them there by Attack orders.

Also remember that per 10.4a, you can also use Attack orders for short movements to avoid having to go into column. So if you Move to a guaranteed safe position, deploy, and then issue Attack orders to move to the risky position (even if it's under your control at the time of writing the order, so you're not actually planning to assault), you don't have to worry about accidentally running into the enemy.

With all that said, yes, there's still maybe the rare chance that the situation could arise. In those cases, especially since you're playing solo, I would just try to do whatever seems most reasonable and in accordance with the spirit of the game and the spirit of the history. Yeah, use initiative as Dean (the designer) says below. However, I wouldn't be surprised if there were at least one example in history of troops in column being surprised and not being able to deploy in time (I was just watching the ACW film Gods and Generals the other day (not a good movie in my opinion...) and there was a bit in there about making sure the troops learned how to deploy quickly and efficiently because if they got caught in that position, it would be their deaths.)

Anyway, don't worry too much about the rules on your first plays. Best to start pushing counters around and learning from your mistakes. If you haven't already, I recommend starting with some of the smaller scenarios, since the orders system doesn't really come into play in most of them (too short). Once you're really comfortable with the flow of the rest of the game, you can step up to a larger scenario with orders, fluke stoppage, and all that fun stuff. Have fun!
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Dean Essig
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Hi!

Elsilhe wrote:
Hello,

1) How do you manage to keep track on which units have done their thing (fired and/or moved), as there are no markers for this?


Usually working your formations by organization (Division for the Confederates and Corps for the Union) and working from one side to the other keeps things straight.

Elsilhe wrote:

2) How do you store/organize your stuff? Do you manage too keep the counters inside the original box, or do you have other arrangements?3)


Countertrays like GMT sells or small ziplock bags work. I like the units to be subdivided down to at least the same levels above (Division and corps), though going another level further (Brigade for the Rebs, Division for the Union) is helpful.

Elsilhe wrote:

3) How do you physically keep track on written orders anyway (on a notepad paper as suggested)? Is there some format you suggest?


My orders are very simple... a line above the order with the needed stuff for acceptance (time sent, time arrival, leader ratings) and the the next line (usually only one) would be what it is you want them to do.

Elsilhe wrote:

And for the game itself:
4) If on "Move" order and deploying at destination, how do you keep track on which WAS the area of defense the Command arrived in case of units are repelled from it? In other words, how can you tell which is the "lost ground" you can recapture and which is you cannot advance (under "Move" order, that is)?


That's usually pretty obvious (once you get hit, you are keenly aware of it). Not so much a matter of you can go into this hex, but not that one... but rather a self-imposed understanding of what you are trying to do (take something back vs. push to have more).

Elsilhe wrote:

5) If on "Move" order and seeing that the enemy is already deployed at the ordered target area, do you continue moving in column onwards? Even with LOS? Or do I miss something here? I know there is an Initiative for commanders to deploy, but is that the only way to stop them moving to their deaths?


Initiative is the key there if you plan a march that ends up hitting the enemy. Once you play some and maybe have that happen to you, you'll give enemy formations a respectful distance in your orders. Accidents happen, but allowing 10 or more hexes from the enemy on an approach march will keep them limited.

Dean
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Chris Friend
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Regarding 1 and 2:
1. I'm strictly a solo gamer so I keep all counters facing the same way. When I move them, I turn the counter 30 or 45 degrees. After movement turn them all back upright again. Then I do the same for combat. I also use those 1/4" wooden cubes in various colors as "reminder" markers for various things, key objectives, victory point hexes etc.
2. Most common thing I store counters are the good old GMT trays for units and if necessary to get everything back in the box I'll use the little bags for game markers.

Yeah I know. Sheer genius. No one has ever thought of doing these things before I came up with them.
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thomas fernbacker
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Hi Heikki,
First let me say you've a really great game there.
I've played a few of these games, both with original and new rules.

1 Keeping track of units played, I start with one brigade and go left to right or right to left, unit by unit
If there is no command finish markers in a game I use blanks

2 Storing game parts, I'm anal


Then I lay the box flat
The game in pic is a play test of another ACW game

3 Keeping track of orders LCfV, Its a very tight game meaning the designer Dean Essig did his homework. Try not to think too much into the "Order System". The orders are pretty much laid out for you in the scenario's.
In the smaller scenarios you are subject to taking or keeping an objective.

4 Keeping or holding your Destination, read read read, is the best way I can explain it.

5 STOP or you'll get what happen to Howards corp below.


I believe the above was due to an early Rodes div arrival.


I've got a few sessions on here from different games in the series including LCfV

Enjoy
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Heikki Elsilä
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That was quick! Thank you all for the answers!

Me having not played the game yet (and so wanting to do it perfectly from the first time around) is the probable reason why I take the rules "too seriously".

When talking about orders, what I read between the lines is that it really isn't about nitpicking and arguing about "why the hell did you move your unit into that hex as you are clearly still on Move order!", but based more on a common sense; if you are on defense, there's no penalty in taking better ground one hex away (as long as you won't be hurting anybody and such). At least I hope you agree :)

@thomas7163: So you CAN stop as you wish, while on Move order to a specific location? What a relief, if only I had figured that out! :D

@DeanEssig: I really love the rules composition and the notes/historical info you have put into them. Your approach to Longstreet at Gettysburg was... well, an eyeopener! :) Poor Pete...

This tells me something about the game developer when he answers to these kinds of noob questions. "No man's left behind" kind of sense. I really appreciate this. Be sure, I'll have more questions for you once I get started... But for now, thank you for the best Gettysburg game ever made! (while not played, I can see it from the ruleset).

@the rest of you: Thanks again, especially for the practical info. I have done something right then, because I have used (or tried to) the same methods as you :D Only drawback here is that I have no game supplier here, so ordering some containers abroad feels like a large pain in the ass. So:
1) generic markers to the bags
2) armies to whatever a fishing supply store has to offer. Or in ice cube molds, as I've done before. But that's the final option!

-Heikki
 
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thomas fernbacker
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If your not going to make an objective you have to do a change order.
Get familar with 10.4 thru 10.8, 10.7 Ending Orders
Remember to define "Road Movement" vs just moving your pieces, what "Formation" are the units in?
 
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