Wayne Hansen
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Springfield
Missouri
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Day 3, Gettysburg. The Confederate Army was at the "zenith of assurance". General Lee stated "The enemy is here, and if we do not whip him, he will whip us." The order is given. Attack!


Setup and start of Turn 1: The Union army arrayed in the form of a large hook. Confederate forces stand ready to begin the attack.

I wanted to give this well-simulated scenario a try using Battle Hymn. For this scenario, only a section of the map is used. I marked off the area using red cubes. Any unit forced to retreat outside of the area is instantly shattered (that did not happen in my game, although it was close several times). There are three turns, and the first one is made up of only the USA and CSA combat phases. That means no movement (other than combat related) during that first turn, only artillery bombardment and the combat that takes place at Culp's Hill.

Important Note: The units that are rotated 90 degrees to the right are not allowed to move during the scenario, outside of combat related advances and retreats.


Start of Turn 2: Focus is on the fighting that occurred during Turn 1 at Culp's Hill

The Artillery bombardments around Cemetery Ridge were largely ineffective. And the only real fighting in the first turn occurred at Culp's Hill. As you can see, the Union forces got the best of the Confederates. The CSA only forced a retreat on one Union brigade (Cutler's), which the Stonewall Brigade was able to exploit and advance. Unfortunately for them, the Iron Brigade was waiting and ultimately the SB had to retreat. With the Confederates retreating behind Rock Creek, the fighting around Culp's Hill was effectively over. South of Culp's Hill, the Confederate forces have begun moving to assault Cemetery Ridge and engage the Union forces. On the Union side, Stannard moves forward and engages with the Confederate artillery just in front of him. This leaves him exposed, but hopefully for the Union it will delay the Confederate advance.


Start of Turn 3 (last turn): Focus is on Cemetery Ridge

As you can see if you compare to the setup picture, there has already been a number of engagements that have occurred. A few Union brigades were forced to retreat, along with effectively all of the Confederates that were assaulting in the center and left. On the right, Stannard's brigade was shattered and Picket's division is charging.


End Game

What a charge! Unlike in real life, here the Confederates were able to get a toe hold on Cemetery ridge. A single CSA brigade, Kemper's, stands alone on the right flank of the ridge. However, at what cost? A significant portion of the Confederate army is shattered or outright eliminated. And the Union isn't yet out of the fight. However for scenario purposes, the game ends here.


Final Tally: Look at the difference in unit losses

Union 154 VP's vs CSA 32 VP's.
Result is a Union Marginal Victory (Historical result was Union Decisive Victory)

The taking of a victory hex, which is every hex on Culp's Hill and Cemetery Ridge, really saved this game for the Confederates. Without control of at least one VP hex, the disparity in VP's from eliminating and demoralizing units would have been far too much to overcome. In the end though, it was still a Union victory, just a b it closer than it was historically thanks to that final charge on the right flank.

This was another fun game of Battle Hymn, I really enjoyed it. I look forward to trying more. Really, any excuse to get BH to the table.
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Mike Haggett
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Riverside
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Good report, thanks for sharing thumbsup
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Steve Carey
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Excellent report Wayne, you have really embraced this game!
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Wayne Hansen
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Steve Carey wrote:
Excellent report Wayne, you have really embraced this game!


Thanks Mike and Steve. I really have. There's something about the game design, rules, and overall production that just hits the sweet spot for me. The maps and counters look fantastic, and the theme and feel of an ACW battle really comes through with the gameplay. Especially as a solo player. Although I imagine it would be just as good FtF.

It is well on the way to becoming my favorite ACW tactical game system.
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Paul Kreutzer
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A note on the map: odd that the hex orientation gives cemetery ridge a weird "W" shape, which seems to have implications for the tactics of this game. Having been to Gettysburg like half the users of BGG, Cemetery Ridge is nothing like that.
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Kevin Morgan
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I just finished this scenario the other night to a decisive Union victory. Ended up no Objectives were held by the Confederates, but the way it played out was actually pretty cool.

Armistead's brigade managed to take the copse of trees, but when they advanced into the face of Hazards Battery, failed their morale check and had to retreat. Union reinforcements activated to retake the position and gain back control. Deja Vu.

Amazes me sometimes how these things can play out the way they do.
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Matt P
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Kansas City
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Thanks for the write up. Nearly pulled the trigger last night but there are many other games I still need to play. Still looking forward to this one someday soon though.
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Nick Halme
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Re: Paul - yeah, I can't unsee that. Looking at period maps, and the Union deployment, it seems like the middle of the "W" shape here did not exist.
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Wayne Hansen
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BackIssueBacklog wrote:
Thanks for the write up. Nearly pulled the trigger last night but there are many other games I still need to play. Still looking forward to this one someday soon though.


Nearly? Many other games? No sir, this is one you need to get sooner rather than later!

Seriously though I understand how that is. Not enough money or time for them all.
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Robin Reeve
Switzerland
St-Légier
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ftstevens wrote:
A note on the map: odd that the hex orientation gives cemetery ridge a weird "W" shape, which seems to have implications for the tactics of this game. Having been to Gettysburg like half the users of BGG, Cemetery Ridge is nothing like that.
It is just because hexagons don't align like squares. Terrain will be deformed by the 60° or 120° angles.
The "W" actually represents a straight ridge.
Have you already played with a hexagonal grid or is it the first time?
Because that distortion occurs in about all hex and counter games.
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Nick Halme
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Sorry - you're suggesting that hexagonal edges necessitated that the ground be raised in those hexes, so that the forming of an extra ridge is something like a map distortion?

How is it that not all the terrain is elevated by the presence of hex grids overlaying the terrain? Shouldn't the map then be an infinite regression of raised ridges, caused by the distorting properties of the hex grid?
 
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Nick Halme
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Oh, I think I've spotted the misunderstanding.


Robin, you're talking about how the edge of a hex may appear to bend the edge into a concave shape.

However, ftstevens is actually saying that if you look at this map, Cemetery Ridge itself is a "W" shape, with three physical ridges.

[edit: maybe he is talking about the "wiggly" ridge edge, but regardless I'm surprised nobody noticed the "W" shape of the terrain itself]

But if you look at a real map, or some other wargame maps, Cemetery Ridge is actually an upside-down "L" shape, hence the famous "fish hook" deployment.

[edit: That said, hex orientation is still a sticky issue. I've played the PC version of this scenario, and because the attacker can get a 3:1 ratio of forces on some of those wiggles, I found it much better to deploy behind the hill, so that rather than form a salient I force the enemy to enter into a pocket, themselves surrounded on 3 sides.]
 
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Eric Smith
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Hex grids have grain. It is one of the basic decisions you make as a designer, which way to orient the grain. The choice here makes it harder to hold because there are more 3 hex frontages along Cemetery Ridge. But look at Little Round Top, it's easier to hold that.

Nice replay! I'm glad folks are having fun with it.

By the way, the retreat rules can facilitate a Confederate breakthrough, not likely, but it does happen.

Cheers,

Eric
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Nick Halme
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Hi Eric - while you're around, is there a reason behind the terrain feature design for Cemetery Ridge featuring three ridges? I'm very open to there being a good reason, but I find it strange at the moment and it does bother me a bit. I imagine it may have just been a misinterpretation by the (very talented) artist re: this terrain?

Re: grain, yes definitely! I know there's no way around that; you're either going to give 1/2 to a hexside or 1/3 to a hexside, and some weirdness is going to ensue. But you can understand why, despite good practical constraints, it still produces an odd feeling and an odd deployment sometimes.

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Eric Smith
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Artists don’t design maps, they illustrate them. This is my interpretation of the battlefield, I’ve been there quite a few times, I’ve pondered the maps, and, well there were weak points. Every designer approaches the problem from their point of view. This is mine.

Cheers,

Eric
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Nick Halme
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I guess what I was after was - is that what the terrain looked like; but this is a bit cryptic...

I play wargames for the history after all - but to learn it, not assume it.
 
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Nick Halme
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For those curious, this is the "traditional" geology of the ridge - it's, apparently, a "sill" of igneous diabase rock formed in the Jurassic period.



https://www.nps.gov/gett/learn/nature/geologicformations.htm

http://the-earth-story.com/post/90679981418/the-geology-of-c...

I respect your right to artistic interpretation and opinion, but please grant me the same right to question the subjective nature of rock.
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Wayne Hansen
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I'm pleased that my AAR turned into a discussion of rock formations.

For the record, I still have fun with the game even if the exact shape of Cemetery Ridge on the map is different than some people think it should be. I hope that others will feel the same way.
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Robin Reeve
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wtjBatman wrote:
For the record, I still have fun with the game even if the exact shape of Cemetery Ridge on the map is different than some people think it should be. I hope that others will feel the same way.
All (war)games connected to History have necessary abstractions.
And we all have a threshold of tolerance for the level of the abstractions used.
Battle Hymn's abstractions don't annoy me at all and I am having a lot of fun playing it too.
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Bob James
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the view of the hills and wooded areas seem to jump off the map and give a good view of higher and denser ground, it is the shading im sure, but like both maps ALOT, Alot, alot!
But alas my game is not as I was expecting, I didnt get a blonde, redhead or brunette in mine.
to bad, too sad!
 
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MARCO LEOFRIGIO
Italy
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very very good report !!! thanx, very useful
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