Strategic Hex Game McClellan's Last Command (custom GCACW module) - community playthrough

Saphroneth

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Feb 18, 2017
Oh, I was thinking it was a sit down and not leave, type of game. No wonder I was confused. So in the day or two after receiving the set-up, I can PM with my own team, and coordinate each effort, and submit the response at a chosen time. I hope I am understanding this. I would initially need a bit of information regarding the map hexes, how movements are counted, etc., and what you may consider common knowledge is a blank receptacle here on my former experience.
There isn't really much need even for that, but I'll do my best to provide the most basic information.

Going from one hex to the one next to it is slightly more than a mile.

A unit can spend up to 4 points of fatigue to move, one point at a time. (Fatigue also results from doing other things.) Fatigue recovers at three points a turn, and going above fatigue 2 can exhaust the unit and result in decreased performance.

Each time a unit spends fatigue to move, it gets a number of movement points:
A Union infantry unit gets 1D6 (the result of a six sided dice roll).
A Confederate infantry unit gets 1D6+1.
Units which are being moved by their corps, wing or army commander (who can activate all units within 3 hexes of him) get a +1 bonus to their roll.
Cavalry units get an extra D6 (so Union cavalry gets 2D6 etc).
Stuart specifically gives units of his cavalry 2D6+3.

Moving through hexes costs movement points. The most normal values to know are:
- any movement between hexes along a road costs one movement point (in clear weather) or two (in rainy weather).
- going "offroad" has much higher costs

Attacking also costs movement points.

However, the only thing that really means is that it affects what you should expect from issuing your orders, thus:


An easy march should mean going about 7 miles (Union)/9 (Confederate) for infantry, and about 14 miles (Union)/16 (Confederate), for cavalry. With the unit operating as part of its corps that would be about two miles more, but this is all averages.
A normal march is about half again as much and will mean the unit is at least a little tired the next day.
A forced march is about twice as much (or more) but will mean the unit will be very tired the next day.
Pushing a unit harder than it can normally handle may result in the unit straggling and losing men.


A big part of the idea here is that you tell me what your orders are in the way that a period commander would, which is to say that you're thinking in terms of positioning much more than you're thinking in terms of game mechanics; the things which affect your decisions should be the same sorts of things that real world commanders had to think about on the operational scale, like moving units fast but not too fast.
 

Lubliner

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So for instance, I control a unit and decide to move it 3 hexes into what I feel is an advantageous position. Is this decision before or after the dice roll? If before, and the roll is 6 + 1, and I decide to move 3 as intended, do these extra strength points add up to be expended later when necessary? Regaining strength in other words.
Lubliner.
 

Saphroneth

Major
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Feb 18, 2017
So for instance, I control a unit and decide to move it 3 hexes into what I feel is an advantageous position. Is this decision before or after the dice roll? If before, and the roll is 6 + 1, and I decide to move 3 as intended, do these extra strength points add up to be expended later when necessary? Regaining strength in other words.
In the normal game, you'd decide what to do after rolling. (I linked the rules in the first post.) Movement points can only be spent for moving, though, and if you moved somewhere that wasn't at the edge of your range those extra move points rolled would be wasted.



In this concept of play-by-post, then you don't get to make any decisions during the day. You tell me at the "start" of the day what you want to happen (and how hard you want the unit to push for their march destination), and then there are two possibilities:

1) The unit reaches their march destination and collects there.
2) The unit does not reach their march destination by the end of the day (as a result of insufficient total dice rolls) and bivouacs for the night in road column.



Either way, your units can recover from some straggling if you give them a day or so to rest. If you push them hard enough though they shed men on a permanent basis, which basically means you won't see those men again in the campaign - they've been left behind by the army, are sick, etc.



Just to make this clear again, in this idea you basically give me the day's march orders and then I implement them; you're dealing with a command and control cycle on the order of a day in length. There are no decisions you'd be making "in the middle of the day", unless some kind of big battle developed when I might reduce the "time scale" if it seemed appropriate.
 

Lubliner

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Yes, you are clearing up the problems I had encountered on understanding the concept and tactical moves. Of course the idea of bunching up, or consolidating units, as well as dispersion of forces might need an explanation. For instance, a consolidated unit as a corps in a single hex space compared to a brigade size unit in a single hex space. This idea of grouping and spreading needs some explanation for me. If I wanted to move a division 3 spaces, and then a brigade one more space, from that division, is it possible, or does the dispersion need to take place as a separate roll the next day?
Lubliner.
 

Saphroneth

Major
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Feb 18, 2017
Yes, you are clearing up the problems I had encountered on understanding the concept and tactical moves. Of course the idea of bunching up, or consolidating units, as well as dispersion of forces might need an explanation. For instance, a consolidated unit as a corps in a single hex space compared to a brigade size unit in a single hex space. This idea of grouping and spreading needs some explanation for me. If I wanted to move a division 3 spaces, and then a brigade one more space, from that division, is it possible, or does the dispersion need to take place as a separate roll the next day?

If you want to detach a brigade and move it to a different position, you'd let me know and I'd do it in the most efficient way. Ditto for reattaching them.

It is not possible to combine multiple divisions into a single corps counter, but a corps can be moved as a single unit because you can have their leader roll once for the whole corps.
(This is just one of the things you don't actually need to know for what we're doing.)


The way it works, at least if I remember correctly, is that:

For splitting units, remaining movement points can be spent by all or part of a unit when it splits (so at the instant it splits then it becomes two units each with that number of move points remaining). Splitting can be done at any point in a move.

Combining units can be done for any units in the same space (so long as you don't end up with a division with more than 10,000 men in it or a brigade with more than 3,000 men in it) but actually happens at the end of the turn; any negative situation either of the combined units is in is carried over to the combined unit. (This means that if brigade A is exhausted and division B is demoralized, and they re-combine into a division, the result will be both demoralized and exhausted.)


The amount of space that units take up is like this:

There is no limit to the amount of units that can exist in a single space.
However, if there are more than 1,000 men already in a space when a unit moves into that space, there can be an extra movement cost. (Usually 1 or 2 MP).

This usually doesn't matter because all it means is that a unit moves in a column of march, like a real unit would. See below:
For the purposes of this example I have removed the strength tokens. All you need to know here is that these divisions are more than 1,000 men strong.



This is 1st Corps in their position at Bakersville.
Their orders for the day say to make an easy march towards Berlin on the Potomac.

1607808481199.png


Because the whole corps is moving together, I roll one dice for all of them at once. (This is Reynolds acting.) He rolls a four, which becomes a five because of the +1 bonus for this situation.
The first unit, Doubleday's division (in this case; I will use the 1-2-3 order of march based on which division is the first division etc. unless otherwise directed) moves five hexes towards Berlin:

1607808178803.png


The second unit, Gibbon's division, then also moves. It moves four hexes (costing four movement points) but to enter the fifth hex would cost more than one movement (because Doubleday's division is in that hex and taking up space) so Gibbon only moves four hexes:

1607805187216.png



Finally, Meade follows. He could move into Gibbon's hex or he could just stay in the third hex, and here I'll have him just stay in the third hex to form a column of march:

1607805159012.png


So the head of the Union column has moved five miles out of Bakersville, but the tail of the column is further back. This is a very nice result from the movement rules.

An easy march by a fresh unit means two activations, though, so I roll again for Reynolds. This time I get a 6 (which becomes a 7 from the +1 bonus) and I now do the same process again:

1607808263814.png



This time, though, Gibbon can also move seven hexes (going into Cramptons Gap) and so can Meade (going to the space one hex northwest of Cramptons Gap) so the whole column has moved seven hexes:


1607808336318.png


The net result of this is that 1st Corps has moved a total of 12 hexes, because that's where the head of the column had gone.
If they'd only been ordered to move to Rohersville, then they could all move to there and stop.
 

Saphroneth

Major
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Feb 18, 2017
In the hopes that it'll clarify my vision here, a big part of the concept is actually based on things like Special Order 191 (which was a real movement order).

It's not actually very detailed. It specifies the order of march (i.e. which units go first), where each formation is meant to go, and gives a rough timetable. (It's the orders to be executed on 10th, 11th and 12th September inclusive.)
That's the level of control which an army commander actually had during operational manoeuvering.
 

Lubliner

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That made sense to me. Now after that move the men are spread out about 4 miles, with each hex a mile. They have marched a total of 12 miles at an easy pace and along existing roads and a bridge, and will remain without a fatigue point against them the coming day. One question is, if I had wanted 2 of the division, such as Doubleday and Gibbon to move quickly, does this change anything else besides their fatigue level, such as number of moves? Or for instance in a coming situation, I have situational awareness of the enemy in my front and spread out off-road. This would cover my options for control of the units, as far as I know. Thanks, it sounds like it may be fun!
Lubliner.
 

Saphroneth

Major
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Feb 18, 2017
One question is, if I had wanted 2 of the division, such as Doubleday and Gibbon to move quickly, does this change anything else besides their fatigue level, such as number of moves?
If you wanted some of the corps to move more quickly, you'd give orders to them for a faster march; I'd have the whole corps move together and then have the extra activation done by the units you wanted to move faster.
Unless otherwise ordered I'd have the corps commander stay with the bulk of the corps.

If a unit activates for a third time in a turn, you start to tire them out, which can cause temporary or permanent straggling. The cure for this is a turn making easy marches or even resting entirely.
 
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So... @rpkennedy , @Luke Freet , @Gavrilo Sartorys , @rebel brit , @Ethan S. , @OldReliable1862 , @dgfred ,... what do you think? Not that much time commitment (we’re all here anyway), and a fun way to be armchair generals for a bit...
I'm afraid I'm not that skilled both in a boardgame and in my written expression to get part of it, but it still very interesting and nice to see the evolution through posts. Moreover, I've got several exams this week and cannot fully participate in this thread but you got my support anyway to continue developing the thread. I'm still having too much to learn before achieving such game level-design : first trying to finish my "memorandum" for school, then having more fun and interest to get into this Civil War project.
Best regards.
 

Saphroneth

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Feb 18, 2017
I'm afraid I'm not that skilled both in a boardgame and in my written expression to get part of it, but it still very interesting and nice to see the evolution through posts. Moreover, I've got several exams this week and cannot fully participate in this thread but you got my support anyway to continue developing the thread. I'm still having too much to learn before achieving such game level-design : first trying to finish my "memorandum" for school, then having more fun and interest to get into this Civil War project.
It doesn't involve any game-level design understanding. It basically amounts to writing the daily movement orders, and you'd have a leeway of at least a couple of days minimum.

A lot of this thread's discussion has revolved around game mechanics which the participants won't actually need to pay all that much attention to.

ED: I should also point out of course that the more people there are involved the lower the load on any individual - and the easier it would be for someone to skip a turn. (On leave in the capital, perhaps?)
 
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rpkennedy

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Saphroneth

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Feb 18, 2017
I could put together a practice session of that sort in a different module, yes. The effective choices would be:

- First Bull Run campaign
- March 1862 Overland
- Maryland Campaign (starting on September 1 for a long on or September 8 for a short one)
- Gettysburg Campaign (covering the pre-battle manoeuvre section).
 

rebel brit

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I've never played a boardgame before unless you count the strategy game 'Risk'.
Years ago I used to play computer games such as Sid Meier's Gettysburg & Take Command, Second Manassas, so with not understanding the rules of GCACW it may be better to sit this one out and like my fellow Englishman Arthur Fremantle be an observer on this occasion.:smile coffee:
Looking forward to following along and hopefully enough players will step forward to start the game .
 

Saphroneth

Major
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Feb 18, 2017
I've never played a boardgame before unless you count the strategy game 'Risk'.
Years ago I used to play computer games such as Sid Meier's Gettysburg & Take Command, Second Manassas, so with not understanding the rules of GCACW it may be better to sit this one out and like my fellow Englishman Arthur Fremantle be an observer on this occasion.:smile coffee:
Looking forward to following along and hopefully enough players will step forward to start the game .
The thing that I've tried to make clear more than once - I hope! - is that you don't actually need to know the rules of GCACW for this one.

In the first place, the more people who are taking part then the lower the burden on any individual committee member... but in the second place, you're basically giving movement orders for the most part, and in general the same constraints exist as in a real army. You don't even really need to know how the mechanics of combat work, not even when ordering attacks, just that it's better to have local superiority etc.
 

Pat Answer

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That's an idea. And maybe March 1862 Overland so as to be able to concentrate freely on the game mechanics rather than "with one eye on history," a malady I tend to suffer from. But any of the choices would work.

@rebel brit - See my earlier post to Lubliner: I haven't played board games at the 'campaign' level yet either. We can all learn together and working in teams will, as Saphroneth points out, both lessen the load and make it fun. And a tutorial run might be just the thing for cold feet.
 

Saphroneth

Major
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Feb 18, 2017
Effectively the way they'd break down would be:

First Bull Run campaign - the Union side would control McDowell's army, the Confederate side would control Johnston's army plus Beauregard's one. (This one might be a bit fiddly just because of the arrival of rail reinforcemnts.)

March 1862 Overland - the Union side would control the Union 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Corps, plus the "army level" troops like the Regulars, and would have limited control over Banks' 5th Corps. The Confederate side would control Johnston's main army on the Rappahanock/Rapidan plus Jackson's division.

Maryland Campaign - as it sounds, really. The Confederate side would control Lee's army, the Union side would control whatever components of the Union army had been released from Washington.

Gettysburg Campaign - Union side controls the Army of the Potomac, Confederate side controls the Army of Northern Virginia (i.e. not any of the secondary units in both cases, though this mostly hits the Union). In structure this one would basically amount to a race north, though both sides would have to be careful not to get caught out by the other side doing something unexpected.


If there's any particular interest in one of them then I can focus on getting that one into shape.
 

rebel brit

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Of the choices above, the Maryland Campaign looks to me like the more straight forward of the group.
Does terrain play any part, such as does heading for high ground get you an advantage.?
 
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