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A Fearful Slaughter: The Battle of Shiloh» Forums » General

Subject: GBACW vs CWRSS comparison rss

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James Crowley
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I'm torn, on a time available to play basis, between purchasing a title in GMT's GBACW series and MMC's CWRSS series.

Reading the rules for both highlights many similarities and, of course, many differences.

Like as not , I will probably play solo for the most part and am wondering which series lends itself better to that.

Has anyone played both systems enough to quantify one series over another?

Cheers

Jim
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Arnaud COLIN-VILLECROIX
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Well, for tactical matters, both systems are quiet close (different weapons types, a.s.o). The true and deepest difference lies in their respective command systems. CWRSS's is the written orders' taken from its sister serie CWBS, which remains the most realistic in the world concerning command problems (will my officers fully and acurately obey my orders or not?).

GBACW serie has a major problem : it's activation-cheat-based. The idea itself can be interesting (in the other CW GMT serie Glory, for example), but there are just TOO MANY of them to draw in a single turn. There can be four activations for the same division in a single turn at a brigade level and for a battle like Gettysburg or Chickamauga, the whole counters are really too many to draw and slow far too much the game! Now, for little battles (1 st Manassas or Gringo! battles), it works nicely, though.

Personnaly, I chose Dean Essig's system and bought the old GBACW games from SPI, SDI and 3W S&T eras. I also own GMT's ones for collection but I already know I will never play 3DOG or River of Death for instance, because of the problems above. Now you have a SIMPLE GBACW rules booklet for GMT. I shall give it a chance one day but I already know that I will surely prefer a regular practice of the Gamers'/ MMP CWBS & CWRSS boxes. By the way, Essig's system has a few versions and all games remain compatible where Berg's system has knwown three or four different states (especially under GMT) which makes painfully the choice of rules or charts to play.

Two last important things : GMT CW games have not a lot of scenarios compared to Gamers' ones (which even include variants!) and you have a unique and once again realistic morale status system in CWBS and CWRSS that miss in Berg's products.

Untill MMP publishes all previous GBACW already published battles (and they will never all), I will have to play those old SPI/SDI/S&T games of old time with GBACW, but for the GMT ones (except for Gringo! and -maybe- both Manassas), I will sell them one day or another, I'm afraid.

By the way, next CWRSS will be about Antietam (I shall then have to sell my Gleam of Bayonets box...) and next GMT will be Dead of Winter, developped by Dave Powell, one of the most appreciated CWBS and CWRSS designer! Maybe he will bring new subtleties to Berg's system and designing philosophy???
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Richard Berg
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"There can be four activations for the same division in a single turn at a brigade level and for a battle like Gettysburg or Chickamauga, the whole counters are really too many to draw and slow far too much the game! Now, for little battles (1 st Manassas or Gringo! battles), it works nicely, though."

Except that this simulates the type of things that happen during a battle . . . Chaos reigns supreme, something many gamers do not like. And activating more than one division at a time was only a possibility, not a probability. Again, something many gamers do not like.

Then again, Shiloh is not a battle that is available using the present GBACW system.

Both systems are fun . . . all depends on what you like to do.

RHB
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Arnaud COLIN-VILLECROIX
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Hi Richard,
Nice to read you! Of course, the main point is about personnal choice and taste, I agree! It's just I prefer your older sets of rules, which, though they gave maybe too big a control over battlefield, allowed a faster and smoother play.
Best regards!
 
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William Byrne
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I sold off my five CWBS games, finding them unplayable for two reasons which I believe apply equally to the Regimental Series:
-- The command rules seem to mirror the reality of the ACW well, but are not fully developed. For instance, if a formation is given orders to attack, what constitutes an attack?
-- Writing precise enough rules to pass muster with any potential opponent is a tricky business. What happens when you get to the end of the game and reveal those orders? Unless you've worked out an agreement in advance, there are simply too many ways to go wrong.

Besides the rules, I didn't care for the bookkeeping, the small map hexes, or the map & counter graphics.

GMT's GBACW, by contrast, is my favorite system. The maps and counters are beautiful. There is no ambiguity when it comes to command. Bookkeeping is minimal. The chit-draw activation system, while occasionally producing blowouts for one side or another, usually generates nail-biting tension instead.

I suppose CWBS/CWRS would work for solitaire play or for the Civil War scholar interested in working through the whys & wherefores of a given battle, but I prefer an opponent other than myself, and do not play so much to understand history as to rewrite it.
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Chris Montgomery
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This post is old, old. I know. But for future readers, I think the Civil War Brigade Series (CWBS) and its Regimental Sub-Series (RSS) are playable solo - but since it is not meant to be played that way, you will have to "forget" what your "opponent" ordered during his turn (and forget the pending orders that have not been Accepted, yet) when you write your orders. That can be tough.

Contrary to the previous poster, CWBS and RSS are much preferred to the GBACW - again a matter of personal taste, but I just enjoy the rules and the delayed orders.

Mr. Berg is correct: GBACW simulates the chaos of battle and the unknown order with which units will move, or whether they will at all.

CWBS handles this much differently, but less abstractly.

As for the justified criticisms regarding orders writing (outlined above), I can only say that it's never been a problem for my opponents and I. The general understanding I reach prior to play is that if you are ordering a unit to move into "unknown" territory - territory that is not behind your main line - the order is automatically Complex. Orders for movement or defense in an already occupied or traversed area (where the enemy is presumed not be) are Simple.

Orders writing doesn't take very long, either. It should be understood that players should follow the spirit of the orders that are written and should probably keep it simple. If a player wants to write long, complex orders, then they should be expected to follow them "to the letter" and not deviate later. This game is not one that should be played by players with a desire to "win at all costs."

The great thing about the CWBS, for me, is that the game tells a great story that is fit for the history books. Why didn't Ewell attack on the right flank? He either never received the order or kept delaying as his regiments were drawn up - maybe they couldn't find all the regimental commanders soon enough, or maybe Ewell didn't want to obey the orders, so he delayed, hoping different ones would come through . . . You can fill in the pieces after the game is over, but in any case, it's a GREAT story. And EVERY GAME is that way.

Cheers to you all. And happy gaming.

Chris
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