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Subject: Morale in different editions rss

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Jean Gagnier
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I recently got the first edition of this game, and I'm trying to play it for the first time.

Would anyone familiar with both the first and second editions explain to me why units seem to have seemingly different morale in both games? For example, in the first edition, Law has a "D" rating while in the second edition, he has a "5". Meanwhile, Anderson, also a "D", has a "4". Barksdale, a "C", has a "5". It goes on and on like that.

Were the ratings tweaked to accommodate different rules, or just tweaked for the sake of it (like, say, the very different fire combat results table)? Does that change how the game should be played if using the 1st edition with 2nd edition rules/tables, or do they make it a bad idea to play with the newer rules?

Bonus questions: First edition owners, how do you track morale? Did you write ratings on each counter? On the combat effectiveness record sheet? Not at all?
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thomas fernbacker
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To tell you the true. I have not picked up the first edition in a loonnng time.
I'm so used to playing the second edition, due to the easier unit/commander differences, map clarity and rules, rules & rules.
Now lately the GMT versions.
But sinces these are the only games I play, I'll give it a quick read through and write back.
thomas gbacw nut
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Russell Gifford
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The original TSS used the current strenght as the morale - thus, small units never stayed in the fight, and in many battles, the Union, with its different command structure, ended up awash in unrallied troops by the end of any scenario.

Still a great game, but it was clearly favoring the Rebs, whose Brigade command structure meant they could get more of their people rallied faster. (IIRC)

Thus, SPI/Mr. Berg produced the first errata, where the A/B/C/D morale system was placed into play rather quickly.

This also led to numerous articles from learned player/historians, and the differences you mentioned, and a refinement of the errata.

When the second edition came out, it had the hindsight of thousands of hours of play, some of the refinements of the GBACW years, and lots of chances to 'tweak' the morales to perhaps a more historical accuracy.

It of course suffered terribly in the art department, though the GBACW addition of hills / LOS and the the color-coded Divisions and Brigades plus the HUGE addition of the Morale on the counters made it SUPERBLY playable, and after the first few turns you stop noticing the garish color scheme for the map. (Oh for Redmond's hand on this version. Sigh).

In playing the first edition with the morale, we never bothered puttng the morale on the units. You got where you knew them pretty quickly, and it was easy enough to look up.

At least, that's how I recall it now. (Granted, it was a few years back now!)

I have tried to play the first edition with the second edition rules. It is a little challenging. But you really have to be flexible, and you really have to use MOST of the first edition rules since the slopes, etc are so different in how they look and are handled. But my experience is to simply use the second edition as a guide when you are hitting a wall in understanding what the first edition is trying to tell you....

And I did find it easier to place the morale on the CBE sheet, since I used those in later playings. (And just translated it from a letter to a number.)
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thomas fernbacker
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Thank you Russ,
I could have not said it better.
The changes did come to through alot of play testing and alot historical accuracies.
Which made the games after TSS that much easier to play.
 
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Jean Gagnier
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Well, it looks like I must trade up, then .
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Russell Gifford
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Hey - give yourself a treat - set up and try the Little Round Top scenario with the old system... It is easy enough to play, and the colors and the then-unheard of level of historical detail is what MADE TSS such a hit. Enjoy the basics, since the LOS at that level of play is not terribly important. And the Reserve rule is not so important in the first few turns, so it is quick and can be very exciting.

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Jean Gagnier
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It's already on my table, underneath the plexi, actually (and with the errata placement taken into consideration). Not only is it shorter, but it also has the unique distinction of fitting onto my table! I was a far cry from being born when this came out, so I'll consider the "then-unheard" level of historical detail a lesson in historicity.
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thomas fernbacker
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If you guys keep talking about this I'll have to set mine up and accumate myself again with this game.
Not that I wounldn't enjoy it
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Jean Gagnier
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Well, here's me taking your advice, though I don't think the fumbling Union considered much of it.

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thomas fernbacker
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Is this a first turn pic?
 
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Jean Gagnier
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If I followed the rules properly, it shouldn't! It was taken after two full turns (the clock was just moved to 1640). The Union left moved a bit since the start, but not the reserve and the north very little. The CSA's deployment is really up to the player, and its right is now advancing.

After one more turns, the CSA got really unlucky in die rolls and its left artillery is in bad shape, such that the reserve divisions will now have to penetrate the south. The union regrouped, and are now aggressively defending LRT. I'm liking this game .
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thomas fernbacker
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It sounds like your well on your way.
I've played this with TSSII and took the round top.
Historically a Union victory,
but if you play the Rebs aggressively you can take he round top.
keep the info. coming
 
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Russell Gifford
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TSS1 Little Round Top Thoughts
In my experience, this was a tough but pretty balanced scenario in TSS1. I played it more than 10 times in a few months back then. (Ah... the good old days. I got this for myself as my 20th or 21st birthday gift....)


(In fact, it was THIS very game! - so I was 21.)



Playing Little Round Top in TSS1 - IF I Recall Correctly


(click to see larger view - and you can double that size using the 'Original' setting. Use your back button to return here)

The CSA has the superior numbers early on, and they have to PUSH HARD from the first turn. Eventually, the Union Reserve is released, and they generally make the difference - If the CSA is in TOTAL control before the Union Reserve is able to get in the game, then the USA troops have to slug it out getting up the hill - a ahrd / impossible task if the Rebs are holding the hill. But if the Rebs are still not in complete control, then the Reserve can climb the hill withouth facing fire, and get into the fight. Their fresh troops can easily push the well-depleted Rebs back from Little Round Top in that case.

But that means you learn the FIRST lessons of playing TSS/GBACW here:


(click to see larger view - and you can double that size using the 'Original' setting. Use your back button to return here)

In this version, the LOS is pretty rudimentary. That gold ridge is a BIG deal. If you are not adjacent to that ridge you can't be seen by people on the other side, nor can you BE seen if they are not adjacent! Thus, with the CSA getting the first step, the defenders are really out of place, and can do a 'Strong Side Right' effort to overpower the troops on the Confederate right. But - not enough Movement factors to close, so TAKE THE RIDGE! Use the arty to hold that 'bowling alley' on the Reb Left, and take the fight to the right / middle and see what happens!


(click to see larger view - and you can double that size using the 'Original' setting. Use your back button to return here)

Weak Unionists in front - but that T6 will hurt!


(click to see larger view - and you can double that size using the 'Original' setting. Use your back button to return here)

Look how many leaders the CSA has with Hood's troops! Now try to FIND the Union leaders!


(click to see larger view - and you can double that size using the 'Original' setting. Use your back button to return here)

How many Union leaders did YOU spot? Remember, you are limited in the number of troops you can rally per turn if you are not stacked with the troops!

HUGE advantage - but only if the Rebs PRESS the Union and force them to take fire. As the rebel, you will take losses, too - but realize the Rebs will rally in a turn or so - and the Reb morale is much better, so they are also less likely to break!

So, close, shoot a LOT, especially with the lower quality Union units. They WILL BREAK and RUN,a dn that will keep the Union leaders very busy!

Let's talk tactics now:

1. Your actual 'manuver element' is a BRIGADE. Meaning, think of where your leader has to be to control everyone.If he has a range of 4, then your brigade's front is really about 6 hexes max. [And more than likely, 4 hexes is better, so you can gather the routing stragglers together - and just recognize, there WILL be people ROUTING!]

2. Plan for ROUTS, so you are not displacing other units.

3. USE the OTHER BRIGADES to 'STRETCH' your enemy out - if you have superior numbers, make the enemy move units to prevent you flanking them. [In this game, flank someone, and a 1 SP loss makes a rout very possible - but a surrounded 3 or 4 SP unit that can't rout is captured, or loses more troops in running the gauntlet trying to get away!]

4. In this game, BRIGADES generally attack en mass - use ANOTHER BRIGADE as their backup.

Some side points:
Cannons are NOT tanks. They don't move and shoot, so don't think they are rolling to the front with you if you are on the offense.

If you are on the defense, you position arty with your troops in hexes where you think the enemy will hit, and you pound the attackers in Defensive Fire, trying to kill as many troops as possible before melee.

If you are on Offense, you are NOT rolling the guns to the front line. The arty should only close to a nice hilltop / high plain, and try to CB the defending artillary that is going to hurt your attackers. (Which is why you want a hilltop, so you can see over them. Or take a bite out of any in-column enemy units trying to re-enforce the action. (You can REALLY slow them down, since in column is an enfilade, and any result moves them OUT OF COLUMN, meaning, no road rate / bonus. [Which is something to consider that I am implying here - use yoru forward troops to SCREEN the LOS from the enemy, and you might make up a LOT of ground with the troops behind the lead elements in column, thus ignoring the cost of the tree / ridge / hill / wall if they are on a road....]

So, find a nice hilltop withing 6 to 8 hexes - outside rifle range. Detail a brigade to protect them. I usually have a couple of 'artillary parks', use them when I can in the CB/distrupt the troops mode, and then advance every few turns if my forward troops are winning.

BCE thoughts:
Realize once you are within 1 point of BCE, you are going to BECOME BCE! [Disengaging from the enemy usually costs a couple of SPs, so PLAN AHEAD. You do NOT want to BCE!] You do NOT want to BCE if you can help it - you are worthless when you do. Pull that brigade out of the attack, or at least sit still and pin the units in your front when you getting close to BCE - that way IF the enemy front crumbles, your unit is STILL a threat. If it is BCE, it is a toothless tiger....

Specific thoughts on the Little Round Top scenario:
PUSH HARD as the Reb. You either take this hill, or you lose. There is no tomorrow, so don't worry about preserving your division, etc. Winning his battle makes Pickett's Charge unnecessary, since your guns on Little Round Top will control/bombard the 'Angle.'

CLOSE with the enemy - use flankers - and ALWAYS KEEP PUSHING. Use Melee IF you have the numbers (usually, that is a +3) and recognize that means risking leaders. So Be It. You are the attacker. There will be dead men on the field, and some will be leaders.

Good luck!

---Russ
 
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Jean Gagnier
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Update on my game:

At 1720, the Union had a very, very, very strong presence on and around the hill. The Rebs tried to squeeze in between Devil's Den and the Big Round Top - a big mistake. They indeed got squeezed. McLaws's division could not get there in time (I was hoping to break the Union right - I realize now there was no chance of that ever happening). They retreated, and there was never a battle on the small hill.

I'm wondering what to do with the Rebels. The Union gets so many reinforcements that the only way for the Rebels to win is to come through the Den (if they're fortunate enough to have forgetful Union troops in front of them, or if they come through the Big Round Top - which takes forever, and which the Union can counter if they see it coming. So, on one hand, they have to press fast and hard before the Union reinforces, but on the other, taking the Big Top takes forever. I'm scratching my head.
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thomas fernbacker
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Thanks for the scenario update.
I did pull my copy out to setup the round top.
I usually start the rebs first two turns with a huge arty bombardment and try to hit as many targets as possible.
Then I send in the infy. echelon, one brigade supporting the other, starting with Hood division.
Depending on how well I damaged the union, Hood gets a 1 or 2 turn head start of Mclaws division.



 
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Russell Gifford
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FYI - I posted a lengthy 'what to do with the Rebs' but it came in ABOVE your post, so I am not certain if you saw it.

The key is PUSHING HARD from the START with the Rebs, or the Reserves for the Union WILL activate, and as you say, then it is HARD to win.

You have to note the Rebel's advantages, and use them to decide your tactics:

Bigger troops, higher morale, more leaders. Temporary superiority on the battlefield.

Thus, since the rebs have the ability to choose where the attacks fall, they want to use their size, and their ability to rally more troos faster, to bring on the battle and rout a many union troops as possible. If they can get superior numbers, use Melee to hurt / break more of those Union troops.

Use the terrain to your advantage where possible. This is the hardest part for the Rebs - it is NOT good terrain for the attacker - but it isn't all that bad, either. The routed Union troops can get bottled up by it as well.

The key is to NOT lose sight of the victory objective - LRT - and what it required to win.

The hardest part of the LTR scenario for the Rebels is TIME. They don't have enough before the Reserves activate. So that also has to be a factor in your game plan!

Good luck!
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