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Gettysburg (125th Anniversary edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First Play of 1st Day Scenario - Solo rss

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Tim Wasson
United States
Montgomery
Texas
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Got my copy of Gettysburg 125 today, and wanted to give a report on my initial impressions.

Rules consist of just a 2 sided sheet - easy and quick to read. Not too many counters, and OoB was easy to set up quickly, less than 10 minutes and I was not hurrying by any means. I played without any house rules or variations.

It took right around a bit more than hour to play out the first 8 turns. After the first three turns it really sped up, and I was focused on the battle and not the rulebook. I played solo, and the game worked well.

I'll admit I was rooting for the Confederates, but I decided before hand that I was going to play the Union a bit conservative and the Rebs a bit pushy but not overly risky, and generally stuck to that mindset throughout the play.

When you set the OoB up, you think the Union has it in the bag - so many units. Then you start fighting battles and power of the CSA units just steamrolls the Union. Not a single Confederate unit was eliminated, while over a third of the Union units left the board in ignominious defeat.

During the game, it felt like the Union was back on it's heels, although there was this nagging feeling the entire time that the Confederates really need to move a bit quicker than prudence might suggest in order to actually achieve the victory conditions, which as far as I can tell was predicated strictly on control of key hexes on the board.

The combat resolution was quick and easy - Add combat factors of attacking units, add combat factors of defending units, modify defending factors for terrain, and roll a D10 for each side and add that side's combat factors to the die roll. Too big a difference in the rolls will result in step losses. Ties go to the defender which felt fine during the game.

One oddity is that retreating units can retreat into an enemy ZOC. Without that it there would have been some more Union eliminations, which in my opinion would have detracted from the tenseness of the game. It's the pushing back and forth, not the unit eliminations, that I enjoyed. It felt like the positional tactics were more important than the die rolls, which I found satisfying, with enough chance to make me think twice before I attacked.

The only time units are allowed to stack is when there is a general with them to coordinate them. It's a small thing but it actually does influence the game, and units without a general are at a noticeable disadvantage because you can't really create a spearhead without stacking. Without generals, the interlocking ZOCs blunt your attacks.

A small nit is the artillery - it seems to play just like weak infantry. I didn't find myself really considering any distinguishing characteristics of artillery when I planned my movements and resolved combat.

Here's a pic of the final board state:



In the end, the Confederates failed to meet their victory conditions, which by definition is a Union victory, although I'm not sure how anyone's interpretation of the position of forces before and after the battle could call it anything but a Union loss.

To summarize, it's a quick-playing, easy to learn wargame that is more than a luck-fest, and captures what I think is a quintessential flavor that permeates the Civil War - that no matter how badly it goes for the Union, there is always that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that time is not on the Confederates side....

I'll be playing it again!
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Rob
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It's been a few since since I last played this, but I'm pretty sure there are advanced rules for artillery, which treat them a little more realistically.
 
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Tim Wasson
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Yeah, I think I missed something on artillery. I'm going to check into that and see what I can find.
 
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Gary Logs
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There' some optional variants in THE GENERAL 29-4 that may be of interest and some further material in 25-5 with a replay and an expansion.


http://www.vftt.co.uk/Games/Avalon%20Hill/00%20The%20General...

http://www.vftt.co.uk/Games/Avalon%20Hill/00%20The%20General...
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Tim Wasson
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Thanks Gary, I've printed out those sections of The General that you mentioned.

The first link provides a great set of rules that seem to address a lot of the 'artillery is just weak infantry' that I experienced. I'm going to set up the game again tonight and replay with the expanded rules.

I also realized I had counted my victory points incorrectly, failing to give one point for each eliminated unit. Based on that count, the Confederates had 16 points, and the Union just 5, so a Confederate Victory after all.
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Tim Wasson
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I've gone through the two General articles that Gary suggested, and I've put together v1.0 of my own house rules that fuse ideas from those two articles, plus parts of the optional rules in the Battle Manual.

The rules format is numbered to fit with the original rules, and I'm playing my first game with it.

The purpose of the variant is to address the 'artillery and cavalry play like weak infantry' feeling I got in my first play. A secondary goal was to solve the INFANTRY STACKS OF DOOM that the Confederate player wields with the stock ruleset.

I'm through 4 turns into the Day 1 Scenario on a playtest, and wow is it different now! MUCH more positional strategy, Devin and Gamble are able to slow the CSA without horrific losses, and just such a cool puzzle now. Lines have formed up, everyone is jockeying for position, it feels a lot more like a horse driven civil war battle than Hitler invading Poland.

Here is the map at the end of turn 4:




Anyway, I'll post another AAR and the ruleset when I've run it through a couple times.

Thanks to everyone for input!

Tim
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