Recommend
63 
 Thumb up
 Hide
95 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Lost Cause Mythbusters: misconceptions that creep into Civil War strategy games rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Designing a playable and historically accurate strategy game covering the American Civil War is a major challenge. This difficult burden is not made any lighter if the game's creator includes elements which clash with historical reality. Rules that seem to add spice to the design might leave a sour taste after these potential inaccuracies are digested by a knowledgeable player.

Two specific elements are going to be discussed in this article: the potential for Confederate recruitment in the border states and the possibility of European military intervention in the conflict.

The Myth of Confederate Recruiting

Some games offer the Confederate player the opportunity to recruit new units in the border states of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri if the Rebels return to these areas after the Union player has driven them out during late 1861 or early 1862. Historical events do not support this rule structure.



When Lee entered Maryland in September of 1862 he issued a proclamation calling on the citizens of that state to throw off the "foreign yoke" of Yankee domination and join the Confederate cause. Unfortunately for Lee the people of Maryland (particularly in the western regions were the Rebels were operating) showed little inclination to participate in this glorious new experiment. The idea of marching with Rebel army did not offer many temptations to southern sympathizers. Lee's veterans were described as "a most ragged, lean, and hungry set of wolves" by one observer. While the Confederate soldiers impressed many with their obvious competence few recruits chose to serve under the Stars and Bars.

Bragg entered Kentucky in the summer of 1862 pulling wagons loaded with 15,000 extra rifles to arm the expected flood of new recruits. Bragg discovered that most of the men in Kentucky were not ready to risk anything on the Confederacy. A few came forward but in Bragg's own words "Their hearts are evidently with us, but their blue-grass and fat cattle are against us." By October he was writing "Enthusiasm is unbounded, but recruiting is at a discount."

The situation in Missouri was much more fluid. Large numbers of men with Rebel sympathies did join the various partisan groups operating in the state. Many of these guerillas were willing to launch the occasional raid or operate in the Union rear areas. Relatively few choose to serve in the ranks with regular Confederate troops during the later years of the war. When local hero Sterling Price began his 1864 Missouri raid he had around 12,000 men (many inadequately armed) and returned with about half that number. The state of Missouri did not function as a recruiting center for the Confederate army when Rebel forces appeared in the region.



It might be important to mention the operations of Confederate cavalry leaders like Forrest. While these generals often returned from a successful raid with new recruits the situation is quite different. Young men in search of adventure and glory might be likely to join a glamorous cavalry unit; the enthusiasm of these boys for solid service in the ranks of the infantry was much lower. In addition, the total number of recruits gathered in these operations was not significant.

The Myth of European Military Intervention

Some games provide European military units that move onto the board following a decision to intervene on behalf of the Confederacy by the great powers of Europe. While these colorful new units might add flavor to a game the concept of foreign brigades or divisions advancing alongside the gray ranks of the Rebels borders on fantasy.

Even during the darkest days of the relationship between the United States and Great Britain in 1861 and 1862 the British government was aiming for a diplomatic solution. As Lee moved north toward Washington and Baltimore in the fall of 1862 the sympathetic Lord Palmerston was proposing a joint declaration by Britain and France that would recognize the independence of the Confederacy and offer mediation after an armistice was declared.

By 1862 the French had already sent troops to Mexico. No matter how enthusiastic Napoleon III might have felt about the Confederate cause he could not risk making a move without the support of Great Britain. Since the British planned to convene a sort of "Council of the Americas" and did not favor a military option there would be little need for France to send soldiers across the Rio Grande into Texas. The joint declaration (perhaps supplemented by European warships conducting convoys into southern ports through the newly broken blockade) would probably have rendered such military action unnecessary.

There is another important consideration: would the fiercely independent Rebels have welcomed foreign troops on the soil of Dixie? In the 1860s the southern people were not generally known for their warm feelings about European immigrants and foreigners in general. Few nations really welcome the presence of alien soldiers... the Confederate States of America would have been willing to accept European support but might not accept the decision to allow European troops to come ashore in New Orleans and Charleston.
45 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew Heath
United States
Galesburg
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice work, Pete. Somehow fit a human opponent in the box of your upcoming game and I'd be happy to buy it!

pete belli wrote:


Rules that seem to add spice to the design might leave a sour taste after these potential inaccuracies are digested by a knowledgeable player.


Quick solution - Don't let Brian Morris play!

Quote:
Some games offer the Confederate player the opportunity to recruit new units in the border states of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri if the Rebels return to these areas after the Union player has driven them out during late 1861 or early 1862. Historical events do not support this rule structure.


Quote:
Some games provide European military units that move onto the board following a decision to intervene on behalf of the Confederacy by the great powers of Europe.


Not nice to talk about people behind their backs!
(Which games would these be?)
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Somehow fit a human opponent in the box of your upcoming game and I'd be happy to buy it!


Thank you for those kind words.

Quote:
Which games would these be?


Sorry, but I won't be mentioning any specific titles. I am extremely reluctant to make negative comments on BGG about any other wargame designer's work.



Thanks again for the comments.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark D
United States
Lansdale
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm all for busting lost cause Myths, but on these I must make a few points to the contrary.

Although Western Maryland wasn't exactly friendly to the Confederates, that the ANV paid for supplies with Confederate money didn't exactly sit well. The reason I see the possibility of in game Confederate recruiting and converting of Maryland is the Baltimore Riots and Lincoln having to intervene to end the Maryland secession meeting.

In Kentucky the question is what happens if the Confeds don't break Kentucky Neutrality. There might have been more popular support for them if the Union entered the state first.

Although I haven't had any games where European Intervention is a possibility unit wise, the way I've seen it implemented in destroying the union blockade makes sense. Abstractly the foreign units can be seen as the equivalent of Arms/War Goods for Cotton. That the South has men who can fight, but doesn't have the ability to arm them. I think that if the South had taken Missouri, Kentucky and held North Va, or won a major battle on northern soil it could have gotten recognition.

I think in all three cases, it comes down to Sunshine Patroits. Had the South looked like it could win, then Politicians in the border states had a reason to switch sides. With the Confederate ideal of "States Rights" meaning more power to state legislatures and governors then it wouldn't have been surprising to see states switch sides if the South had taken an extreme advantage.

I think the real problem with the Lost Cause comes in the gross overrating of Southern Generals compared to their Northern Counterparts. Outside of Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, Stuart and Forrest, I believe that the Northern Generals were just as bad as the Southern. The only major victory in the West involved Longstreet's corps leaving North VA and joining up with the AoT before the North could counter the move.

Also, there was the Kentucky Orphan Brigade which fought the whole war for the south and was known for being some of the fiercest fighters in the west.
15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
flag msg tools
designer
Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
badge
Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good post and very true. I must add that my recent research found that one reason Price invaded Missouri in 1864 is that at least 3,000 Missouri boys had joined his army after the successful raids of 1863 and early 1864. He had so many new recruits that he could arm all of them. So I think a game where the rebels enter the border states and win a victory could be a reason for recruits joining.

Like I said, great post, but I thought I'd add that.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you for the insightful comments.

Quote:
The reason I see the possibility of in game Confederate recruiting and converting of Maryland is the Baltimore Riots


Good point. Confederate supporters were more numerous in eastern Maryland. After 1861 they did not often translate their thoughts into deeds, however.

Quote:
it comes down to Sunshine Patroits. Had the South looked like it could win, then Politicians in the border states had a reason to switch sides.


Another excellent point. During the invasion of Kentucky in 1862 Bragg wrote that the people were waiting for him to drive the Yankees away... then the locals would come forward to support the Confederacy.

Quote:
Although I haven't had any games where European Intervention is a possibility unit wise, the way I've seen it implemented in destroying the union blockade makes sense.


Right. Foreign Intervention = Blockade Broken.

Quote:
I think the real problem with the Lost Cause comes in the gross overrating of Southern Generals compared to their Northern Counterparts.


Quite correct. Entire books could be written on this subject! Please see my recent "Johnston vs. Johnston" thread on BGG for a lengthy discussion.

Quote:
the Kentucky Orphan Brigade which fought the whole war for the south and was known for being some of the fiercest fighters in the west.


Yes indeed! A famous unit that illustrates the divided loyalty of the Bluegrass State.



Thanks again for a fine contribution.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
I must add that my recent research found that one reason to invade Missouri in 1864 is that at least 3,000 Missouri boys had joined his army after the successful raids of 1863 and early 1864.


Good point. The return of Sterling Price to Missouri was inevitable... throughout the entire war Price was drawn there like a magnet.

Quote:
So I think a game where the rebels enter the border states and win a victory could be a reason for recruits joining.


Possible... although even after Bragg and Kirby Smith routed the Union forces defending eastern Kentucky and occupied the state capital the number of Kentucky recruits was minimal.

Missouri is a special case. As I mentioned above the idea of being a part-time bushwhacker under the loose discipline of a guerilla leader was often more attractive to the young men of Missouri than service with the Confederate regular army.



Excellent contribution.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ernest Schubert
United States
Polk Township
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I think one of the factors contributing to the problems with recruiting in the border states...

Early on, leading up to the war, there was some question as to just how much resistance there would be to the movement for Southern Independence. Even those who assumed that there would be some armed conflict predicted that 'all we have to do is give them Yankees a good woopin' and they'll soon tuck tail'. In other words - a short sharp clash, followed by an early peace.

Once it was clear that the war would go on for some time, and that the outcome was more unclear than believed... there was significant risk associated with taking up arms. The states that had already seceeded were commited - they understood that their only hope to survive the war intact was to fight to win. That defeat would lead to a terrible accounting.

Had the Confederacy been able to win some decisive battles on northern soil, the tide may have turned, both in terms of border recruitment and foriegn support. But so long as the outcome of the war was unclear - the uncommitted would choose to remain so.

I think, when you set out to design a strategic level game covering the American Civil War, you face the same problem that comes up when covering WWII at a strategic level. Unless you 'tweek' historical fact to some extent, you end up with a game where the outcome is a forgone conclusion. The South was, absent some outragous good fortune, not going to win the war. If you leave everything in place - Lincoln's determination, the North's superiority in materiale and population, general willingness of the Northern population to support the war...(if somewhat grudgingly ), lack of foreign support for the Confederacy... Jeff Davis will have a very tough row to hoe.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Barton Campbell
United States
Jersey City
New Jersey
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Confederacy had an extremely difficult time recruiting soldiers from the southern states, never mind border states as I recall. Nor did they want to draft their soldiers (infringement of states rights you know).

3,000 soldiers from Missouri? Drop in the bucket, considering that most southern states contributed 20,000+ each to the Northern cause (and all volunteers).

Yes, pete belli, your quite right about your points but ... if you want to be historically accurate there's really no point in making a game. The idea that the Confederates could have won the Civil War is a bit of a fantasy in itself. So I don't see anything wrong with giving the southern player some incentives to take a more aggressive approach or the designer and players having some fun with history as optional rules for example. There could be a designer's note, "There was very little chance of the French or English actually contributing soldiers to the southern cause but for those players who would like to explore the possibility ... "

I have seen those European intervention rules and, personally, I never use them.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Conroy
United States
Winchester
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kazadvorn wrote:
I think, when you set out to design a strategic level game covering the American Civil War, you face the same problem that comes up when covering WWII at a strategic level. Unless you 'tweek' historical fact to some extent, you end up with a game where the outcome is a forgone conclusion. The South was, absent some outragous good fortune, not going to win the war. If you leave everything in place - Lincoln's determination, the North's superiority in materiale and population, general willingness of the Northern population to support the war...(if somewhat grudgingly ), lack of foreign support for the Confederacy... Jeff Davis will have a very tough row to hoe.


I believe that this is the crux of the matter when dealing with ACW games. Rules regarding Boarder state recruitment ( A House Divided ) and forein intervention ( both A House Divided and The American Civil War ) are put into these games for balance. Additionally you will usially find these rules in the "Optional Rules" section so you can play without them if these rules somehow manage to unbalance the game in question.

Yes both possibilities were slim but they were possible so they get tossed in. You will also note that A LOT of "bad for the Union" stuff has to occur for forein intervention to become a reality. The capture of Washington, a major victory on the battlefield, etc. so it could be said that Dixie is well on the way to victory anyway when forein intervention comes about.

Sorry, I did name names as far as game examples, but I wanted to give a point of reference.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Lucey
United States
Ellington
Connecticut
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I guess it depends on how important playing a consim is? Both of these situations I believe were historically accurate (possible) events that just did not occur. They could have occured so its not like introducing tanks into the ACW battlefield. I don't really find a problem with the addition of events that could have occured but did not actually happen when you are re-creating an event driven GAME.

I rather enjoy having 'what if' situations available to me when playing a game. As long as they are historically accurate options I think the possible event occurances just add more flavor and possibilities to explore new strategies while playing the game. The only reason I like The Mighty Endeavor from SCS for instance is for the ability to have different landing sites then Normandy. Would that qualify as a 'myth' under the premise of this discussion?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Pariseau
United States
Tulsa
Oklahoma
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bartman347 wrote:
So I don't see anything wrong with giving the southern player some incentives to take a more aggressive approach ...


This is a good point. If you take away the lure of recruiting, are there other mechanisms in place to keep the Confederacy from simply "turning turtle"? That might be its best option, but can make for a dull game. (See The Price of Freedom: The American Civil War 1861-1865.)

Pete, the game in your pictures looks very interesting. Is a publisher looking at it?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
flag msg tools
designer
Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
badge
Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Missouri is a special case. As I mentioned above the idea of being a part-time bushwhacker under the loose discipline of a guerilla leader was often more attractive to the young men of Missouri than service with the Confederate regular army.


These regiments were formal units, even if discipline wasn't up to snuff. They fought in pitched battles like Westport. But I think you are right, it isn't enough to win a battle; you have to occupy a region. Price's men basically controlled south-central Missouri throughout early 1864, which is where many of these men were recruited before the invasion.

Quote:
3,000 soldiers from Missouri? Drop in the bucket, considering that most southern states contributed 20,000+ each to the Northern cause (and all volunteers).


In Lee's army sure, but Price's army numbered 12,000 and his enemies had no more than 20,000 men in any given location. The estimate is only 3,000; it could be as high as 5,000. Point is that in the Trans-Mississippi 3,000 troops is a lot of men. The biggest army to ever operate west of the Mississippi was Banks, with roughly 30,000 in 1864, but some think that if Taylor had only 3,000 more men he would have captured Banks at Monett's Ferry.

On that note I want to see a strictly Trans-Mississippi game that will allow players to really explore the war out west.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Constantelos
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Two books about lack of unity in the South:

State of Jones
http://www.amazon.com/State-Jones-Sally-Jenkins/dp/038552593...

Lincoln's Loyalists
http://www.amazon.com/Lincolns-Loyalists-Union-Soldiers-Conf...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Pariseau
United States
Tulsa
Oklahoma
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sbconstant wrote:


My favorite on that subject:

The South vs. The South
http://www.amazon.com/South-Vs-Anti-Confederate-Southerners-...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
You could always have time traveling South African white supremacists arm the South with AK-47s


Forget the rifles... I think 100,000 pairs of high-quality modern hiking boots would have won the war for Robert E. Lee.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Once it was clear that the war would go on for some time, and that the outcome was more unclear than believed... there was significant risk associated with taking up arms.


Good point. An outstanding contribution.

Quote:
I think, when you set out to design a strategic level game covering the American Civil War, you face the same problem that comes up when covering WWII at a strategic level. Unless you 'tweek' historical fact to some extent, you end up with a game where the outcome is a forgone conclusion.


The military outcome might seem inevitable (although that is certainly open to question) but the political and diplomatic arenas offered some hope for the Confederacy... in my opinion.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
if you want to be historically accurate there's really no point in making a game. The idea that the Confederates could have won the Civil War is a bit of a fantasy in itself. So I don't see anything wrong with giving the southern player some incentives to take a more aggressive approach or the designer and players having some fun with history as optional rules for example.


A valid point! I agree that the Confederate player must be kept at a high level of involvement throughout the game. I think optional rules with designer's notes are acceptable... but I would rather see some added depth to the basic game that does not require stuff like European military intervention to be grafted on to the design.

Quote:
I have seen those European intervention rules and, personally, I never use them.


They appear to be a "quick & dirty" solution to a complex political/military problem.

Thanks for the comments!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
You will also note that A LOT of "bad for the Union" stuff has to occur for forein intervention to become a reality. The capture of Washington, a major victory on the battlefield, etc. so it could be said that Dixie is well on the way to victory anyway when forein intervention comes about.


Excellent. This is the place where some games wander off into the wilderness. Once the Confederacy gains European recognition the game is essentially over. A delicate balance between military, political, and diplomatic events must be carefully crafted in the rules. At some point the planets might align and the Rebel player will be declared the winner. This outcome might occur in 1862, 1863, or even 1864. Game over. Let's set up those blocks and play again!

Good contribution.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
I don't really find a problem with the addition of events that could have occured but did not actually happen when you are re-creating an event driven GAME.


Yes, this does make the game more entertaining. This is a reliable design technique.

What I'm trying to say here is this: there might be subtle methods that a game designer can use that do not require the employment of historical gimmicks.

Quote:
The only reason I like The Mighty Endeavor from SCS for instance is for the ability to have different landing sites then Normandy. Would that qualify as a 'myth' under the premise of this discussion?


Great question. My answer would be an emphatic "No!" because in my Civil War game (as well as in other ACW titles) the Union player has the option of making amphibious landings at several points along the coast. If the Federals do not attack New Orleans in April of 1862 is the entire game invalid? Of course not. If the Allies land at Calais or Brittany in 1944 (to use a WWII example) is the game transformed into science fiction? No.



Thanks for the comments.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
If you take away the lure of recruiting, are there other mechanisms in place to keep the Confederacy from simply "turning turtle"? That might be its best option, but can make for a dull game.


Right. Great question. The Confederate player must be deeply entranced during the entire game so he or she will not lose interest. If the magic spell is broken ("Hey, if I entrench everybody and do nothing I might win!") then the game will sink into a quagmire of boredom.

The American Civil War (to state the obvious) was a political struggle. The center of gravity (to use a bit of Clausewitz) for each nation was public opinion. A successful game must offer each side a chance to hack and slash at the enemy's political structure as well as the enemy's armed forces. Davis was trying to create and maintain a new nation... he couldn't afford to let states like Tennessee or Mississippi go in order to shorten the front. A well constructed game will force the C.S.A player to keep the Rebel flag flying over as much of Dixie as possible until very late in the contest.

Quote:
Pete, the game in your pictures looks very interesting. Is a publisher looking at it?


Thank you for the kind words. I have been contacted by a reputable publisher but at this point everything is open to discussion.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
I want to see a strictly Trans-Mississippi game that will allow players to really explore the war out west.


cool

thumbsup
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks to Steve and Peter for the book suggestions!

The so-called "Republic of Jones" was featured in the Ken Burns PBS series.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ernest Schubert
United States
Polk Township
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmb

The crux of the matter, in designing a strategic level Civil War game...

Try to determine what events might 'break the will' of the Union. I think that is the focus of the design...

The Confederates were never going to occupy the Union states... that wasn't the goal at all.

So, we'd be looking for some criteria for generating a 'crisis' in the Northern States...

What about Lincoln? Could his mind have been changed regarding the preservation of the Union? Or would he have to be removed from office? Could public opinion have forced his hand? Would congress have ever refused to support the war effort?

You would have to figure out some events/criteria that would influence the north... They would have to be variable - so that neither player would be really sure what set of circumstances might trigger the capitulation of the north.

That's one of the problems you see in certain WWII East Front games - the victory conditions are clear to both players - the Germans must control Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad (for example)... but this makes it too simple for both players - the Soviets need only to deny one city to the Germans to stave off defeat...

Same in ACW games - the south must occupy Washington DC... ok... now we know the whole game... it's almost like the old Afrika Corps routine...
The whole game boiled down to whether the Germans could take Tobruch...
The best odds a German player could get against Tobruch were 2:1... assuming that the German preserved his best units - and the British player preserved his best units... and those units were involved in the final battle. So the whole game could be dispensed with... just set up the designated units in and around Tobruch, and roll the die once on the CRT.

So...

Question 1... Could the Union's 'will to fight' have been broken?

Question 2... What events - alone or in combination - would have caused this to happen?

Question 3... Can these events be reasonably caused to occur, within the framework of the game, without bending reality too much?
6 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the insightful response!

thumbsup

I'll try to break the reply down in small, easy to manage bites.



Quote:
Try to determine what events might 'break the will' of the Union. I think that is the focus of the design...

The Confederates were never going to occupy the Union states... that wasn't the goal at all.

So, we'd be looking for some criteria for generating a 'crisis' in the Northern States...


Exactly right.

Quote:
What about Lincoln? Could his mind have been changed regarding the preservation of the Union?


No. In spite of Lincoln's periodic bouts with depression his will was strong. Lincoln had tasted defeat in business and politics and recovered from these early setbacks. Lincoln burned with ambition and the desire to achieve great things. He would never quit now.

Quote:
Or would he have to be removed from office?


Yes. After the 1864 election... or by assasination during the war.

Quote:
Could public opinion have forced his hand?


Perhaps. If the northern governors lost their will to win... if the cash bounty stimulated recruiting halted and the draft failed... if the Northern financial system collapsed... if the majority of the loyal population grew weary of the war... put two or three of these elements together and a "perfect storm" in the form of a political crisis could occur.

Quote:
Would congress have ever refused to support the war effort?


Not while the Radical Republicans held the reins.

Quote:
You would have to figure out some events/criteria that would influence the north... They would have to be variable - so that neither player would be really sure what set of circumstances might trigger the capitulation of the north.


The effects would be cumulative... a steady drip, drip, drip of bad news that would eventually undermine the Lincoln administration.



Once again, that was a superb post!

More on this later...
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.