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Subject: For the People - The Perfect Game rss

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Vince Londini
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For the People
May 31, 2007

This was our 5th game - we didn't record the game in detail, but I'd like to summarize the ebb and flow and offer our strategy analysis.

We switched sides this time (JP=Union, Vince=Confederacy). I must say that JP perfected the Union Strategy. Yep, that means that I'm losing again (a role for which I'm apparently well-suited). The good news is that I maximized Confederate strategy until the lateness of the hour caused us to call the game (OK, I made one big mistake on the last turn, but it WAS the last turn we were going to play, after all, and I took an unnecessary gamble). More on the "perfectness" of this in the comments at the end.

1861
Unlike our previous games, "Forward to Richmond" was nowhere to be seen and both of us had hands with slightly lower OPs. My (confederate) 1st hand was all 1Ops.

JP had 3 cards that allowed him to make a brilliant amphibious attack that served as the perfect distraction against the Confederacy. 2 cards allowed him to obtain a Union Amphibious Assault modifier to +4, he then used Admiral Porter to launch an Amphibious Assault with Pope and 3SPs on Fort Gadson, which he handily won (in retrospect, he feels he might not have needed to play that 2nd card to bring the AAM to +4, since AAM caps at +3 - but this was our first game in which we executed Amphib Assaults). Pope then took Columbus, GA - destroying the resource center.

This brilliant convergence of opportunity and strategy caused me to have to divert resources to a small group in the center of the south, draining some precious SPs from Richmond.

The Confederacy formed the Army of Northern Virginia in Richmond.
The Union formed the Army of the Cumberland (AC) in Frederick, MD, and skillfully used it and the AP (Army of the Potomac) to attack the ANV (Army of Northern Virginia) in Manassas.

In the Fall turn, the lack of reinforcements really created a tight game. Manassas seesawed back and forth until the victorious ANV held and built a fort there. However with only 2SPs, ANV could have a destroyed the weakened AC at Frederick, but then been destroyed by the weak, but still capable AP. JP and I agree that I played the Confederacy as well as possible here.

1861 ended with the ANV leaving the Manassas fort to attack (but not drive out) Butler in Fort Monroe.

1862
Early in the year, the Confederacy managed to build a force in Manassas and in Richmond, but diversions to fight Pope in Georgia foiled an attempt to create a 2nd Army in Virginia.

The Union reinforcements advantage began to make itself felt and the ANV repeatedly lost precious SPs, being destroyed and then rebuilt in Richmond as the AP and AC converted northern Virginia to Union PC. During this time, AP stepped over AC (moved from Fredericksburg to Hanover) in order to attack Richmond. Fortunately for the Confederacy, AP was defeated and had to retreat to Hanover - forcing a collapse of the two armies into one. This was more of a moral boost (and a SW nuisance for JP) than a tangible source of advantage, as Hanover was still held with 18SPs - but some Union generals ended up on the turn track.

The Confederate Army of the Mississippi formed under J.Johnston in Macon, GA and eventually drove Pope back to Fort Gadson.

In the last turn, ANV attacked and destroyed Buell in Fort Monroe (who had replaced Bulter in a general Union shuffle a turn or so before), and then inflicted heavy losses on a mid-sized AC (suffered some losses during the turn, probably at about 12SPs at this point) in Hanover, but destroying itself in the process. As it was midnight, I conceded the game and we chatted about moves and strategies a bit before parting for the evening.

Conclusions
To win the full-war (1861 Campaign) the Union must conquer 10 Confederate states. Any other result is a Confederate victory (yes, there are some caveats and modifiers, but that's basically the goal). The point is that from the Confederate perspective (a new one for me), you can lose Richmond and not lose the game. Losing WashDC is much worse for the Union than losing Richmond for the confederacy (not just SW, but losing WashDC takes away the Union SP superiority).

My take on the Confederate goals (after my first play) look like:
1) Take WashDC if at all possible - do this by denying the Union control of Manassass and taking any advantage toward taking the Union Capitol.
2) Failing #1, keep Union resources tied up in the east as much as possible by opposing Union efforts to control Manassas. If at all possible (with Pope in GA, it really wasn't in this game) strike in the West to start robbing the Union of reinforcements and divide his attention.
3) When Richmond falls (and if the Confederacy can't seriously impact Union reinforcements by taking WashDC or western state capitols it's practically inevitable) fight a delaying war, falling back to Richmond, and then from state to state - trying to drag the war out so that the Union can't take the states needed to win.

Anyway, I call this the perfect game, because (as near as we can see with our limited experience and given the cards and die-rolls which seemed surprisingly even) - we both played the best game we could. Certainly, "perfect" is a bit hyperbolic. Specifically, we ran out of time to finish the war. And, I failed to recognize the point at which Confederate strategy needs to shift from denying Union goals in Manassas to fighting a delaying war (hence my continued offense in the east to the point of losing the ANV on the last turn).

The game took about 4 hours (when our late start and interruptions are accounted for). So, we're projecting 7-8 hours for a game that runs to the bitter end.

Lots of fun, we'll definitely do this again!
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JP
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Hey Vince, that was a nice write-up.

I think we can both admit that I had a pretty good hand on the first turn while you didn't. This helped me out in the long-run because it allowed me to put a general with a 2 strategy rating (can't remember who) in charge of the Army of the Potomac. Funnily enough though, it ended up being a double-edged sword, because though I could activate that army more often, the general sucked (he had an offense of 0 and a defence of 1) and usually attacked at a +1 rating due to a subordinate general.

I totally agree that the rest of the game was pretty even in terms of dice-rolls and cards.

Another thing is that I think that it would have been really nice if we could have played the whole thing to the end. A victory for me was far from likely, and you could definitely have fought with a nice delaying/defensive strategy. Too bad we didn't play out the whole thing!

My amphibious attack in the south was, I admit, a crazy game of chance, and I'm fortunate that it worked out for me! (by destroying a resource centre, and forcing you to dilute your efforts in the Virginia).

AND - did you notice how much faster our game went without all the note-taking??

Looking forward to another game.

JP
 
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Vince Londini
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Wellll....2 hours a year...that's about what we average when I AM taking notes

[After further thought and investigation]
I just looked up our 2nd session report (the first was an anomaly at 9 hours). We were on course for 2 3/4hrs per year (1 game year = 3 turns).

So, the game described in this session report took 1 1/2 hours less than Session #2 would have taken (adjusting for the fact that it was 1 turn shorter). We can't be sure how much time analysis-paralysis and beginner's unfamiliarity added to Session #2. But, the note-taking was probably quite significant.

Soooo, my opening statement is wrong. You're right, JP. Besides, I'd rather play than copy down all that data anyway


 
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Steve Herron
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One of my favorite games guys. The Columbus resource city is a sneaky one to take off the bat. When I played the Union I try to knock out Texas since it is so small then Florida. Good report. I don't know why they picked Rodgersville as the East Tennessee city (I am from E. Tn.) Jonesborough(Tn's oldest town) or Greeneville would have been a better choice. There were unioist seccisionist meetings in Greeneville early in the war and of course the home of Andrew Johnson.
 
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Vince Londini
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Thanks Steve,

Actually - funny you should bring that up, because...

...I forgot to mention that in 1861 JP played a "Union Sympathizers in East Tennessee" card to place 2PC markers!

Vince
 
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Steve Herron
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2 voters out of 3 voted down secession in East Tennessee. At the first of the war November 1861 there was a plan to burn all the railroad bridges from Chattooga to Bristol. The union sympathisers were to do the deed. General Sherman was suppost to move into the area. Sherman did not invade ( I guess he was afraid of running out of supply) and only about 6 bridges got burned. Some of the bridge burners were hanged, I think it was 5 or less. Most of the unionist hiked (were guided out) over the mountains to join the Fereral Army in Kentucy then latter Knoxville. One of the most famous guides was Daniel Ellis who lead over 5,000 men out. I was with the 8th Tennessee US Vol Inf. Reg a CW reenactment group. I thought I would share that since ET is not talked about much.
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Vince Londini
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Steve,

That is an awesome historical tidbit! So these men had to sneak out - as in a miniature underground railroad for Union-sympathizers?

Vince
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