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

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
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.?
If you are on a mountain, then you get a significant bonus, +2 (though the bonus is less significant if the attacker is also on a mountain, being +1 then, as they're not fighting uphill).

If you're defending a river crossing you get a significant bonus. (+2)
Defending a creek gives you a smaller bonus (+1).

High ground and rivers also make it much harder for the enemy to outflank you, though, which is actually the more important benefit in many cases. Outflanking can give up to a +4 bonus if a unit is completely surrounded. (Flanking units don't have to actually launch attacks to gain the benefit, pressure on the flanks is enough to grant the bonus.)

There's often a defensive advantage to flatter terrain, though. Flat terrain means that artillery can work better, and equal numbers of batteries on both sides mean the defender has an advantage.

This means that effectively the ideal defensive position is clear ground behind a significant river crossing.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Are the Cavalry, Artillery, and Infantry separated into their own units? If someone wanted to general the infantry, and another the Cavalry, and a third the artillery, is that possible?
Lubliner.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Are the Cavalry, Artillery, and Infantry separated into their own units? If someone wanted to general the infantry, and another the Cavalry, and a third the artillery, is that possible?
Lubliner.
Someone being a cavalry general is entirely possible, but someone commanding the artillery is not really practical because there's so little of it. Almost all artillery is folded into the infantry tokens, in fact in many campaigns (like the Maryland campaign) neither side has any distinct artillery tokens.


To take the Maryland campaign for an example, the Confederacy has ten infantry tokens, three cavalry tokens, and zero artillery tokens.


What I would recommend is that, in general, if a team has:

1 player - the player has to handle everything.
2 players - the players can either handle everything or split the responsibilities. This could mean having an infantry commander and a cavalry commander, or two commanders each handling half of the army.
3+ players - at this point it makes more sense to me to have an overall commander and commanders handling smaller sections of the army. (e.g. for the Confederate army in the Maryland campaign it might make sense to have a "Jackson", a "Longstreet" and a "Lee" where the Lee also controls the cavalry).
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
That makes easy sense to understand. So artillery really becomes a strength coefficient to an infantry unit and is inseparable. And this does not slow the unit down.
Lubliner.
That's correct, yes, because it's integrated into every unit - and in fact what controls marching speed in real units is not their men but their wagons - the ones which deliver them food and so on.
If a unit marches hard it can go a lot further, but this is basically "breaking away from the wagons" and they'll need time afterwards to recover partly because of that.

There are some "heavy artillery" or "reserve artillery" tokens, but they're mostly used for positional warfare (like, say, a big multi-division assault).
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Something it might also be useful to know in terms of how the game works (and how it represents real life combat) is the way you can "expect" combats to go.


The defender always has an advantage, all else being equal.

The dice rolls involved mean that there's a kind of spread around the likely outcomes. Basically, a battle fought at certain odds can result in a complete repulse for the attackers with heavy casualties, or it can result in the defenders being routed and forces back in disarray. In btween these two there's a section where both sides are mostly disrupted and exhausted by the fighting without any progress being made.

In general, in a plain head-on attack with no other modifiers, the attacker should need about 3:1 odds in the area of contact for him to be more likely to win (by which I mean make the enemy retreat). This is about equivalent to a +2 bonus going in (that is, attacking at 3:1 odds gives a +2 overall bonus; attacking at 4:1 odds gives a +3 overall bonus).

The things which affect this are:
- a slower attack with more preparation time has a bonus, a faster attack which takes less time has a penalty.
- defensible terrain gives the defender a bonus, as mentioned.
- artillery can benefit the defender, or considerable artillery superiority can benefit the attacker.
- fortifications (both permanent forts and field fortifications, the latter taking several days standing still to construct) multiply the effectiveness of a defender.
- Flanking can result in a bonus of up to +4 for the attacker.
- Attacking a demoralized enemy is easier, attacking with a demoralized unit is incredibly unlikely to work
- Any attack in the rain has a -1 penalty.
- skilled commanders give a bonus to attack or defence.
- "Assaults" where a corps commander organizes a large multi-division attack have a bonus for more prep time, and in addition to that they're the only way to get more than one division's manpower attacking in the same roll.


This is all pretty much common sense, as you can probably appreciate. The defender has the advantage that he'll win an even fight, the attacker has the advantage that he gets to pick the fights.
 

Lubliner

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Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Ok, so in an instance where both sides are in a race for Culpepper Court House, and the Yankee advance gets there two days ahead, can the general say, 'Dig-in' to make it more defensible, and how would that be determined?
Lubliner.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Ok, so in an instance where both sides are in a race for Culpepper Court House, and the Yankee advance gets there two days ahead, can the general say, 'Dig-in' to make it more defensible, and how would that be determined?
Lubliner.
The players would basically give the order to fortify. It would start once the Union troops (in this case) had recovered from their march.

They'd obviously need to move into the places they wanted to dig in, as in, the specific hex (fortifying can only be done if you're staying in one place because, well, you can't move forts around).

The basic representation is that if a unit spends the whole turn stationary (and not doing anything, like fighting) it can spend that turn digging in.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I would assume this gives it a bonus point.
Lubliner.
Actually, it multiplies the value of the entire counter's strength - both their manpower and their artillery.

A brigade of 2,000 men and 1 battery is badly outmatched by a division of 6,000 men and 3 batteries, but if the brigade is in a complete fortified position (x3) then the brigade counts triple on the defensive and so it's "as if" it consisted of 6,000 men and 3 batteries.

This doesn't apply for any attacking purposes, but it applies to all defensive purposes. It's hugely efficient, and the big downside is that basically if the unit ever moves it loses the whole defensive benefit and has to start again.
 

Lubliner

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Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Actually, it multiplies the value of the entire counter's strength - both their manpower and their artillery.

A brigade of 2,000 men and 1 battery is badly outmatched by a division of 6,000 men and 3 batteries, but if the brigade is in a complete fortified position (x3) then the brigade counts triple on the defensive and so it's "as if" it consisted of 6,000 men and 3 batteries.

This doesn't apply for any attacking purposes, but it applies to all defensive purposes. It's hugely efficient, and the big downside is that basically if the unit ever moves it loses the whole defensive benefit and has to start again.
That would make the Bull Run lines impregnable.
Lubliner.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
That would make the Bull Run lines impregnable.
Lubliner.
Which is where flanking comes in, of course. Marching around the flank of the enemy and getting into their rear with one force while another is in their front means that they have to choose - either they come out of their fortifications to manoeuvre as well, or they sit there and wait while you crush them in detail.


To take the specific example of the First Bull Run scenario which deals with the battle itself:

1607954122045.png


Going from right to left along the Confederate lines there's:

2,500 men, 1 battery at Bull Run Bridge (x2 fortification)
4,500 men at McLean's Ford and Blackford Ford (x1.5 and x2 fortifications)
4,500 men, 1 battery at Mitchell's Ford (x2 fortifications)
2,000 men, 1 battery at Island and Balls' Fords (x2 fortifications)
1,500 men and 1 battery at Lewis Ford (x2 fortifications)
1,000 men at the Stone Bridge (no fortifications)
And 8,500 men in reserve, not fortified, mostly at the right of the Confederate line

A reasonable approach here is for McDowell to leave:
2,500 men threatening Bull Run Bridge
3,000 men threatening McLean's, Blackford and Mitchell's Fords
2,500 men threatening Island and Balls' Fords
5,000 men to attack the Stone Bridge
And then take his remaining 22,000 men around the Confederate left.

This is pretty similar to his actual historical plan, of course. The idea is that the 8,000 men he has threatening the crossing points are there to pin the enemy, while his other 27,000 men are there to outflank the enemy. Johnston has to respond to the movement, and he can't completely pull out of any of his defensive positions because if he does then the "pinning" force can cross.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
It sounds like the Maryland Campaign is the one that has the most interest at the moment for a "practice run".


Should this one be done "in the open" so that everyone can see what's going on and how the process works? Or should we do it in the way it's "meant" to be, as in, each team knows only what they should until the campaign analysis at the end?

I expect the Maryland Campaign one to start on the morning of the 8th September, so if that's what we want to go with I'll set things up accordingly.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
While I get the info documents and game board set up, does anyone have a preference for which team they end up on? (If not then I'll just assign randomly.)
 
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