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Sam Grant» Forums » Variants

Subject: Variant May 62 scenario rss

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Niko Ruf
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(cross-posted from the Columbia Games website)

I got permission from Grant to post my homebrew scenario for May '62 on BGG. Here is a link:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/41983

The scenario begins a few weeks after the battle of Shiloh. Both sides have consolidated their forces. The Confederates are still in a control of Corinth, and the Union has a very large force concentrated nearby.

You'll note that I could not identify all of the division commanders, so I'd appreciate any help you guys can give to fill in the blanks. Also, the location of cavalry and artillery is a bit of guesswork, as my sources only deal with overall troop strength. BTW, I'm not at home right now, but I'll post a list of the books I've used to build the scenario later.

From my playtesting experience, the game tends to develop in a historical manner. The US player has two basic choices: he can attempt a concentrated drive on Vicksburg, but that is likely to bog down, or he can send a detachment east towards Chattanooga to force the rebels to spread out as well. The latter is what happened, although Buell was unwilling or unable to advance very fast. Given that the Union must rely on overland supply to advance, the Confederates have plenty of opportunities to threaten their supply.

The scenario is an attempt to fix some problems I have with the official February '62 one:

1. The map scale is a bit too coarse to do the "river war" around Ft. Henry and Ft. Donelson justice. In a sense, the "scale" of the war did increase after Shiloh, as both sides adopted the corps system.

2. Confederate forces in the official scenario are very strong, meaning the US needs very lucky die rolls to achieve their historical momentum. I went with more conservative estimates for troop strength, and I think the result is better.

3. The emergency reinforcement rules lead to all kinds of wonkiness. If the CSA player uses them, he gets paradrop-like reinforcements worth several months of regular production exactly where he needs them. This is bound to stop any US advance dead in its tracks, because no matter how well the Union player did so far, he is now outnumbered in a critical location. And if the rebel player does not use them, there aren't enough VP left in the game for the Union to win after September 63, IIRC (count them!).

In my scenario, the corps of Bragg and van Dorn are included with starting forces and VP are adjusted accordingly. As I also suggest granting 3 VP for emancipation, the Union has a chance at victory until early 1865.

4. The BL scenario for 1862 begins in May as well, so it is easier to combine the two games for a grand campaign starting in '62.

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The only house rule I suggest for playing this game is to ignore increased cavalry firepower. Making cavalry better and cheaper than infantry just seems wrong.

I'd be interested to hear of any experiences with the scenario.
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Niko Ruf
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Here is the list of books I've used as a basis for the scenario:

(1) James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, Penguin Books, 1990.

This is not a detailed treatment of the ACW in the west, but possibly the best single volume treatment of the entire conflict, including its political background. It was also my introduction to ACW history. Highly recommended.

(2) James M. McPherson, The Atlas of the Civil War, Courage Books, 2005.

A handy guide to the major battles and campaigns of the ACW with maps.

(3) Steven E. Woodworth, Nothing but Victory, Vintage Civil War Library, 2006.

A history of the Union Army of the Tennessee. Very interesting read, too.

(4) Larry J. Daniel, Days of Glory, Louisiana State University Press, 2007.

A history of the Union Army of the Cumberland.

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I also have Autumn of Glory by Thomas L. Connelly, which details the history of the Confederate Army of Tennessee from late 1862 onwards, but unfortunately I could not locate a copy of its prequel Army of the Heartland which deals with earlier events.

So unfortunately, my sources are a bit Union-centric, but they did yield sufficient facts to build a scenario. If you have any corrections or additions, please let me know.
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