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Subject: AAR for Chancellorsville from S&T 218 rss

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Steven Bucey
United States
Lancaster
Ohio
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Todd and I got through Afternoon of May 3rd (9 of 21 turns) before the pain was more than I could bare. Our disintegration levels were about the same at 25, and I was sure I could recover 5 more that turn (baring an Impetuous result), but we had issues.

I setup the II corps near the spot at Falmouth instead of with Hooker across the river, and then Todd used the Historic setup Joe supplied. Getting a good roll for the Union I corps and seeing that the CSA screen was light I pushed them across the river, though both II and VI were frozen in place. The area around Fredericksburg quickly turned hot as both I and VI corps did start to coordinate getting across and threatening CSA positions there.

Near Chancellorsville itself was the spot that proved most interesting. I started the XI corps commander just out of range of Hooker, and that corps was actually able to swing wide towards Todd's Tavern and eventually push east and cross the small stream there. But that was about the only real good thing that happened there for me. Hooker got the Fallback result three times during the game.

Now, I understand that the Union had real command control problems, but the result here was one of the bulk of the Union army strung out along the roads and trails between Todd's Ford and Chancellorsville house, vibrating back and fourth like a slinky. The corps commanders alternated between the two extremes. Eventually I started doing some odd things to minimize the damage, such as looking for the right unit to move first to block roads to prevent to many units from moving to far – the rules for road march preventing a unit from moving into the same hex with another friendly unit. But I couldn't do anything about the corps commanders. A couple of turns I spent a lot of time rolling for the command of a lot of individual divisions.

Finally, about morning of May third I did the following. On that turn I got Hooker in command and left him across the ford, while the corps commanders rushed back to try to recover the situation against the CSA. Luckily, Lee had failed to roll a single brilliant maneuver, and a few lucky combat results had left the CSA forces disrupted and unprepared to take a lot of advantage of my problems. I also had earlier moved the corps commander of the II corps into the hex with Hooker, since his own leadership rating was an F also. This accomplished two things. First, I was able to claim him as being activated by Hooker and avoid the disintegration penalty, and I was actually able to accomplish something useful with the II corps. They and the Confederate I corps squared off across Scott's Ford, if nothing else stretching the CSA line that much further.

But I had had enough. I was playing games with the system instead of playing against Todd. It didn't feel right, didn't look right, and just wasn't what I was expecting.

I want to like this system as it has a lot of interesting things. I notice that the Original boxed set of Empires at War does not have a Fallback Command result. If I were to try this again, at the very least the Fallback result would have to be toned down (maybe one hex instead of a wholesale rout from the front), though even then I'm not sure that that type of result is actually 'historic' for this battle. The Union command structure was terrible, but the entire Union line didn't alternate between wholesale route and advance.

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James D. Williams
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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You are correct, sir!
Interesting situation on the board, artillery, OB, skirmishing, terrain, and Fredricksburg, Marye's Heights, Engineers, separately activated units charging forward, no doubt, but a Union player must be prepared to try to "game" the system....and all those die rolls! Yeesh!
But brigade/regimental level CW players should be used to die rolls.
 
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