Saturday, July 30, 2011

Here Come the Rebels! (MMP) - "The Maryland Campaign" [Scenario #7] ~ Part 1

Game: Here Come the Rebels! (MMP)
Series: Great Campaigns of the American Civil War
Scenario: The Maryland Campaign, Scenario #7 [Updated via the Skirmisher #2 rules]
Participants: Jim "HeavyD" D, Myself
Time: Sat, 7/30 ~ 10.30AM - 1.45PM

"Here Come the Rebels!" was released in 1993, the second game of the GCACW series. It picks up right after 2nd Manassas in September of '62 (Stonewall Jackson's Way). Lee is on the March, for lack of anything better to do. Little Mac has reorganized the Army of the Potomac, absorbing Pope's Army of Virginia. Lee is bound for Maryland looking to take the fight out of Northern Virginia into the fertile fields of Maryland.

There are two Advanced game scenario's in HCR, we are playing the 2nd one, the complete campaign (18 turns). Lee's Army of Northern Virginia is on the offensive. There are two maps, the Eastern one has Baltimore and Washington on it while the Western map has Frederick, Harpers Ferry and Sharpsburg featured. HeavyD will be entering the Western map with his entire Army on the first three turns. The Union forces start out within Washington with 5 Corps free to move, the rest (3 Corps) are released gradually via random event.

As released, the two Campaign scenarios were broken. They captured the spirit of the campaign but were imbalanced in the favor of the CSA player. Steve Sandy published a revised set of victory conditions in MMP's 2nd volume of "The Skirmisher", a journal dedicated to the GCACW series (both of these are must haves for fans of this game series). Most of the victory conditions are the same in this updated version, with the values changed yield a closer game where either player has a fair chance to win. The scenario rightly forces the Union player to eject the Army of Northern Virginia out of Maryland. The CSA player has a couple of valid paths to pursue as well. The historical one (Lee goes West into Maryland) as well as an interesting Eastern strategy (Lee marches towards Baltimore). The much higher VP reward for this Eastern option make it very interesting, despite the proximity to Washington and the very large AoP.

At Start Set Up
 The scenario requires the CSA player to get at least 84 Victory Points to win. There are two major ways to score victory points. County Control is checked once per turn and this is the primary way the CSA player will earn VPs. The Eastern Counties yield much higher VP rewards compared to the Western counties. Burning rail road stations is the second major source of Southern VPs. One of my observations with the Campaign games is that some of them, especially the early unbalanced ones tended to result in games that had the CSA player running around doing things instead of trying to defeat the Union Army. Thus you had a series of much smaller battles that were spread out. I have rarely scene a Campaign scenario result in a large 1-2 day battle involving nearly the entire Armies of both sides. I will say that these rebalanced efforts have done the right things to correct this problem. I can recall several recent CG's (RTG & GTC) resulting in large scale game winning or loosing battles (at least in my experience). So I am very hopeful that this will come to pass in this game as well.

The entry point for HeavyD, with the Army of the Potomac encamped in Washington

We decided to let HeavyD continue to play the role of Robert E Lee while I assumed control of the Union side. I have played this scenario several times with both victory conditions, but alas none recently so I am not really starting with anything of an advantage (except that I am much taller then HeavyD, so that might help). We are using the GCACW basic game rules (1.1, as of BATC).


Turn one see's only one Confederate Division able to move. HeavyD runs this Division straight at Frederick. Frederick is the county seat for Frederick West County and the Division (DH Hill, Longstreet's Corps) has 12SP which is just enough for control of the county. DH Hill's division marches 19 hexes (21.85 miles) in four activations and falls two hexes short of Frederick on the first turn.

Turn 2 opens with Union Command Paralysis, thus I will be unable to move any of my units, except those that HeavyD gets too close (8 hexes) to. Jackson's Corps also enters this turn. HeavyD sends them towards Harpers Ferry and I see that we are going to see a conventional Western approach for HeavyD and not the Baltimore gambit as I had secretly hoped for. Jackson's three divisions make good progress towards Harpers Ferry while DH Hill rests in Frederick, picking over the Union Depot there. HeavyD earns his first 2 VP's of the game for controlling Frederick West County.

Jackson closing in on Harpers Ferry

The Harpers Ferry Garrison
 Turn 3 starts off with Union Commitment, so I get a Division free to join the AoP (which hasn't moved an inch thus far). Longstreet's Corps enters this turn as well. HeavyD sends a couple units of it towards Harpers Ferry to enable Jackson to completely surround the forces there and start rolling on the surrender table. Longstreet and Lee take the rest of his Corp's North and East ending near the C&O Aqueduct. Jackson isn't able to surround Harpers Ferry yet. I move a Brigade from Harpers up on to the Naval Battery and start digging in there. I also start the AoP North with each of the 4 Corps averaging around 6-8 hexes on two marches. I elect to use rail movement for the 1st Corps (Hooker) and send them up towards Baltimore and then West down the B&O railway as Stuart has made his way over there and is in the midst of damaging railroad stations. DH Hill stays in Frederick resting and gaining VP's by controlling the county.

The Siege Begins

Another Union Commitment opens the forth turn, releasing another Union Division to start on the Road North. HeavyD destroys the C&O Aqueduct and continues marching Longstreet's Corps in a North Eastern direction. I am able to get some Union Cavalry in his way, slightly delaying him at the cost of one of the Regiments. Stuart falls back as the entire 1st Corps is now up from DC and is marching along the B&O Rail ling. HeavyD splits up DH Hills Division sending 5SP over to support Stuart and destroy the RR station.

Jackson is able to encircle Harpers Ferry. His units are tired and in no position to make an Assault (at least not yet), so they rest while we await the rolls on the Harpers Ferry Surrender table (right now he needs to roll a 9 or higher on two dice to cause a surrender.  I continue to march the AoP Northwest again only averaging 7-9 hexes per Corps.

Hooker's I Corps drives Stuart back along the B&O RR

Turn 5 sees Rain (Current) come up on the random events table. We also check supply at the top of the turn. Nearly all of HeavyD's units are out of supply with the exception of Stuart's Cav and DH Hill's division as they are sitting on Union Depots. This is really the perfect situation for HeavyD in relation to supply as he can afford to sit and make small adjustments to his position while he prepares to forage in the recovery phase. I am hampered by the rain and am only able to make it 2-3 hexes in his direction. Harpers Ferry holds out another turn. During recovery HeavyD rolls very well and gets most of his units back into supply, with only a few left that are not (they become disorganized as a result).

End of Turn 5 (Sept 8th)

We stopped here as we were out of time. Next session looks exciting as I am starting to get closer to Longstreet's Corps with the bulk of the AoP while Jackson is still laying siege to HF.

1 comment:

  1. As with games like "Stonewall Jackson's Way" there have to be restrictions on the Union because any group of competent generals who didn't in-fight would have prevented Second Bull Run and Antietam.