And if you never have, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
Eric and I have been talking about getting the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War system on the table for the longest time.
I've always struggled with the ACW as a genre. Not sure why but loosely the war always was elusive in my mind. Eric is a huge ACW buff so its great to play with him- he can tell you the real story as we play the game.. and the stories of the war are at times hilarious in their ridiculousness.
We played scenario 4 of Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North. MMP just released this box of goods. Comes with an updated version of Here Come the Rebels as well. And a smaller updated game of Rebels in the White House, which was released in a magazine (Skirmisher, I think). Lot of stuff in this box.
Eric took the Union and I had the rebels. Its a 1 day scenario to get you going into some of the prime mechanics of the system. Though, the system will shine with multi-day battles as there is a lot of Refitting your troops btw days- this is the operational aspect of the game.
Eric got 3 or 4 activations to start the day which allowed him to march South towards Gettysburg proper, Round Top and the environs. So, it looked right away to be the Confederate's job to dislodge him from his positions. At a key point I had set up Hill's CORP to assault Buford and his imperials. I had covered 5 out of 6 of his retreat hexes... but, he got the next activation and then was able to maneuver Slocum and Sickles south to protect Buford's rear end.
This is the situation late in the day on July 1st. You'll notice that the Union far outnumbers the Confederates in terms of division leaders and corps. But, Confederate Corps were far larger than that of the Union. The game uses a general 'strength point' system manifested in a counter underneath leaders.
Eric came over last night and we finished up the remaining activations. Most of the soldiers were exhausted and disorganized given the day's marches and exchanges.
I think the game was defined early when the Union had 3 activations in a row allowing the Union to stuff the VP hexes and maneuver their troops accordingly. Note, I'm not complaining. Its a 1 day scenario and dice are a factor. Just like in small, short ASL scenarios. The game could go very differently next time (though we are unlikely to play the intro scenario again).
This is the end of the first day at Gettysburg, July 1st. The Rebels have taken the town proper but weren't able to dislodge Slocum or Sickles from Pink Cemetery and Culp's Hill respectively. Johnson finally showed up late in the day, weary from meandering around foraging for supplies. His heavy artillery didn't factor as Slocum's men, though weary and bloody, were determined to hold the tombstones Pink Cemetery.
Fun time, Union victory.
My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
This is an excellent scenario to use to start learning. You can skip a number of the more complicated rules, including the rules about rivers, bridges, fords, and ferries, the rules about recovering from disorder, fatigue, and exhaustion, and the rules about army/district commanders.