Just received my copy... Very interesting... Here are some initial impressions, not authoritative. Some comparisons to Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815
just based on my block game experience.Two Battleboards
There are two types of battleboard, land (standard columns Left/Center/Right/reserve) & amphibious (linear: river facing bluffs; union side is river and shore, Rebel side is fortified bluffs & reserve, many advantages). Strategic Movement
Two types of strategic group movement, initiative (regular) and command (HQ); enemy can force march move after you move. In non-amphibious battles, victor can redeploy. Battleboard Options
More battleboard options and details than old "Napoleon"... assault (move into same battleboard space as enemy), Melee, flanking, encirclement... with troop morale quality (experience), morale rolls, disruption (run back to reserve to reorganize, unless your reserve area is a Mississippi River steamboat) - a fair amount of die roll modifiers to learn. Battleboard Rounds
Limited rounds on the battleboard determined by the units involved (HQ adds time). You must hold your center (compare with Napoleon). "Fire Factor"
Fighting units labeled by first initial of Naval, Headquarters, Infantry, Cavalry... and hit roll, so H5=headquarters unit that hits on roll of 5 or 6 (if unmodified). Road Movement
Four different kinds of road movement limits (like 2 kinds in "Napoleon").Artillery
Artillery different than "Napoleon", not the same sense of marching along with specific artillery sections; Artillery here comes from the powerful gunboats and Confederate bluff positions. Confederate Regiment-to-Brigade breakdown
Another cool thing: Confederate regular infantry regiments can break down to brigades on the battleboard (seems like a good idea to stretch out to cover all columns). Each brigade is 1 of the regiments strength value. When doing so, you reveal the different morale levels of the brigades.
To that end, the Confederate set of blocks includes brigade blocks of different experience levels which never appear on the strategic board. And the brigade breakdown tree is printed on the regular battleboard.
After battle, the regiment must reform, adding up the surviving brigades (which may mean a value 1 regiment).
I like this rule, seems easy to implement and probably even necessary to use the battleboards properly with sometimes a single block defending.
(I wonder if something like this would work to make a 3-column battleboard work with Columbia Games' War of 1812 overcoming typical scarcity of involved blocks?)More
More: Dummy units, Federal supply wagons, supply check at end of turn. Confederates have railroad, Feds have the river (subject to interdiction fire). Cavalry can probe towns to try to discern enemy units. Map Turn Track
Twenty turns with reinforcements marked, as well as New Moon darkness, best time for Federal ships to run the gauntlet of guns. Federal gunboats v. Rebel artillery
Federal naval units go face up on the map, with two named ships on one side, only one of them on the other (ie one sunk, step reduction). Great theme feeling. When defeated on the battleboard, rebel artillery crews reinforce Vicksburg militia. The Map
Map is colorful with emphasis on clarity and I think plenty space for point to point block arrangement. It's two sheets of large thick quality paper. The Blocks, Stickers, Dice, Box, & Rules
Blocks of good quality, maybe a mm smaller than Columbia's small blocks. Sticker sheet requires cutting, helping me realize that I may soon need bifocals. Cute Blue & Grey dice matching shade of the blocks. Generic box labeled with company and game stickers. 16 pages of rules (incl. cover and summary page, so really 14; 5 of which are battleboard rules) plus 4pg illustrated examples, two learning scenarios, and sticker advice. Rules seem to be inkjet printed, keep water away. Arrived Promptly
The game arrived quickly after my order. I'm very happy to support a small game company. It's clear that a lot of careful labor went into this. I probably made some errors above, but I hope not. I know I need to read the rules a couple more times...
Lookin' forward to playing! I hear the boarding whistle of the SS Choctaw...
edit: added Regiment breakdown info and subtitles