Altaris
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:20 pm

AAR - Altaris (CSA) vs Durk (USA) - Modded AACW (1-week Turns)

Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:14 pm

Myself and fellow member Durk have decided to play a modded version of AACW with the following changes in place (mod was built off beta 1.16 RC 10a version):

1) Turns have been set to 1-week turns (48 turns a year rather than vanilla 24 turns a year). All necessary adjustments to compensate for time change have been made, except that supply usage has remained the same, therefore limiting how far units can travel from their supply lines by effectively half.
2) Entrenchment level increases are much slower now. They max at 1 in 1861, 2 in 1862, then build up pretty quickly throughout the rest of the war to max out at 8. The aim is to avoid the heavy trench warfare that tends to occur early in the war (though it is still possible later in the war, particularly in 1864+ years).
3) Mobilization options are reduced until March 1862. Neither side can use either Partial or Full Mobilization until March 1862. At that time, CSA can use either, and USA can use Partial only. USA can use both starting in March 1863.
4) Redeployment of generals can only be used to send generals from the capital to a destination region. This is to avoid "teleporting" generals while still allowing for ease of deployment for initial generals.

I will be writing this AAR in monthly increments (each entry will cover 4 turns).

Altaris
Posts: 1483
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:20 pm

April 1861

Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:42 pm

[SIZE="4"]April, 1861[/size]

[SIZE="2"]General Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson[/size]
When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the
scabbard.


The Civil War begins with Confederate troops from Charleston, SC laying fire on the Union garrison at Fort Sumter. A small brigade of native South Carolinians takes control of the fort, while the remainder of the original Sumter assault force is quickly packed by rail and sent West, where the state of Missouri may be a determining power between the two sides in the near future.

Two weeks after the initial hostilities, Virginia enters the war on the side of the Confederacy, signaling a sharp escalation in the war's scope. The Federal arsenal at Norfolk is quickly taken by brave Virginian militia men, and the crossroads at Manassas is eyed closely by both sides, promising to be a scene of contention in the near future.

The Objectives Screen

[ATTACH]17087[/ATTACH]


The taking of Ft Sumter

[ATTACH]17088[/ATTACH]


Norfolk is seized by Virginia militia, yielding a great gain in big guns and heavy arms for the Confederate cause

[ATTACH]17089[/ATTACH]


Benjamin McCullough races a force to Memphis, TN. This force will cross the Mississippi with all haste, in an attempt to persuade Missouri to remain aligned with the Confederate cause.

[ATTACH]17090[/ATTACH]
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Altaris
Posts: 1483
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:20 pm

May 1861

Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:15 pm

[SIZE="4"]May, 1861[/size]

[SIZE="2"]General Albert Sidney Johnston[/size]
We may be annihilated, but we cannot be conquered.


Most of the action in May has been centered at Manassas Crossroads in Virginia, and throughout Missouri, where Union General Nathaniel Lyon has brutally suppressed pro-Confederate sympathizers. Most of southern Missouri is now squarely in the Confederate camp, but the Union holds the upper hand militarily and is in firm control of St. Louis.

When I moved the original Ft Sumter attack force out west, I always intended to keep them open for potential Missouri action. I believe this is the best use of this force, as 200 CP can make a huge difference early on determining the fate of this border state. In early May, McCullough arrived with his troops in Charleston, MO, and I decided to send him sneaking through the hills towards St. Louis. Going this route gives this force two options, depending on what the Union does: 1) if Lyon goes after Jefferson City and/or Rolla, it can be used to make a sneak attack on St. Louis, or 2) if Lyon stays put in St. Louis, it can interject the rail line between the capital and Jefferson City/Rolla. Both present good opportunities at minimal cost (though obviously the capture of St. Louis is most preferred).

Manassas saw a heroic hold out for just over a week of a lone militia unit against overwhelming odds, but alas, the force surrendered after taking heavy losses. But before the Union could consolidate it's hold over the vital rail lines, Confederate reinforcements arrived on the scene. A tense standoff has begun in this region, and is not likely to be resolved until the major armies of both sides are ready for action in late June.

The Objectives Screen

[ATTACH]17096[/ATTACH]


A lone band of militia heroically stave off a large Union force, but are forced to surrender the next turn.

[ATTACH]17092[/ATTACH]


Gustavus Smith rapidly rails into Manassas in an attempt to stall the Union advance into this critical junction.

[ATTACH]17094[/ATTACH]


Nathaniel Lyon has secured Missouri, but at the cost of popular support in the southern parts of Missouri...

[ATTACH]17093[/ATTACH]


Meanwhile, as Lyon makes the typical Union move to suppress the CSA hold on Missouri, McCullough's troops are set on a sneak path to assault St. Louis.

[ATTACH]17095[/ATTACH]
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veji1
AGEod Guard of Honor
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Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:19 pm

Great AAR, looking forward to more of it ! keep it coming !

veji1
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Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:20 pm

Why don't you merge the Cav and the Bartow brigade with some leaders ? it increases their overall PWR.

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Citizen X
General of the Army
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Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:33 pm

Nice move with McCulloch. I am quite surprised that he has kept so much cohesion.
"I am here already.", said the hedgehog to the hare.

Altaris
Posts: 1483
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:20 pm

Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:02 am

Citizen X wrote:Nice move with McCulloch. I am quite surprised that he has kept so much cohesion.


If you notice, I'm following the rail line up to St. Louis, which drastically reduces the cohesion loss. Between rails and river, I don't think that force has moved through more than 2 or 3 non-rail/river regions.

I think it's an interesting and useful use of the Ft Sumter force. Moving up this route puts a real threat on St Louis, and even if it only manages to keep the Union holding forces back at St Louis, that can be a big win, both in Missouri and helping defend the upper Mississippi.

After wracking my brain, this seems the best use of that force. They can't get to VA fast enough to be of major use there, so I tend to send them out West, and this seems the path where they can be of most use.

Altaris
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June 1861

Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:36 pm

[SIZE="4"]June, 1861[/size]

[SIZE="2"]William Howard Russell[/size]
Little did I conceive of the greatness of the defeat (at Bull Run), the magnitude of the disaster which it had entailed upon the United States. So short-lived has been the American Union, that men who saw it rise may live to see it fall.


Manassas and St Louis continued to be the primary focus points in June, though the conflict in Virginian is quickly spreading throughout the state.

St Louis briefly fell into the hands of the Confederacy, when McCullough's sneak force surprised the small defending force and drove it out of the city. But military control couthld not be established around the city, and the attempt to drive the remaining Union forces from the region failed, ending with McCullough's prompt retreat. With intel showing large concentrations of Union troops railing into St Louis, the prospects of retaking the city look slim. It was a bold move, but one that does not seem meant to be.

Virginia has been mostly good news for the Confederacy.

On June 24th, a huge battle occurred at Manassas, where, despite being outnumbered nearly 3 to 1, P.G.T. Beauregard's Army of the Potomac inflicted an immensely embarrassing defeat on assailing Union forces, with the North suffering losses in the neighborhood of 10,000 to a measly 2,000 Southerners. This win has done much to boost morale throughout the Confederate states.

This huge win occurred just days after forces under Stonewall Jackson took the depot at Harper's Ferry by a surprise attack, resulting in the surrender of the entire garrison without a single Southerner being lost.

Meanwhile, Union ships were spotted off the coast of Williamsburg on the Virginia peninsula. The single brigade that was rushed in to defend the coast could not repel the landings, but did inflict serious casualties upon the enemy before retreating.

The Objectives Screen

[ATTACH]17105[/ATTACH]



McCullough's force takes St Louis... but loses it just as quickly!

[ATTACH]17101[/ATTACH]



Stonewall Jackson takes the garrison at Harper's Ferry by surprise, forcing a surrender without suffering a single loss!

[ATTACH]17102[/ATTACH]



The Battle of Manassas, a huge win for the Army of the Potomac!

[ATTACH]17103[/ATTACH]



Union General Mansfield successfully lands forces at Williamsburg, on the Virginia peninsula, albeit with heavy losses.

[ATTACH]17104[/ATTACH]

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veji1
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Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:55 pm

keep it coming, and it would be interesting to get comments from you as to the impact of your mod on gameplay so far, things your or your opponent did that you wouldn't have done without this mod.

For example I am surprised by the lopsided nature of the losses in Manassas. In a regular game I could have put it down to entrenchment : Beauregard being in level 3, etc.. but in your mod, surprising..

Altaris
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Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:15 pm

I was surprised by the lopsided losses as well. He had to be overstacked to the gills with that force, whereas I was very careful not to overstack. So performance wise, it would've been closer to a true match-up of 20K vs 30K after the -35% penalties are taken into consideration. Overstacking is no joke, especially at the really high end.

I did have lvl 1 entrenchments and Beauregard is a good lvl 4 defensive general, that makes a big difference on frontage abilities. General activation may have had some to do with it too.

Overall, I'm liking the mod so far. The biggest impact I'm seeing is that it's much harder to sneak attack the other side and actually drive them out of the region as quickly. That's a good change, I think. Even when the enemy is driven out, 7 days don't usually allow the attacker/invader to take enough MC away from the other side to deny rail capability, meaning that the other side gets a chance to react and rail in reinforcements.

Rails and rivers are even more important now, as 7 days don't allow much time to move in any other fashion. Also, with supply remaining the same, it's *really* difficult to go more than 1 region from rail/river lines, without taking major supply reserves with the force. That's a good change too, IMO, helps avoid the deep raiding situation tremendously.

veji1
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Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:53 pm

Might make interior lines for the CSA a much more significant advantage. interesting.

veji1
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Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:22 pm

If it worked for the AI, it would make it more interesting as well, the AI having this annoying habit of going for sneaky moves to get closer to an objective, sneaky move that it thinks are clever but that actually lead to complete isolation away from supplies and speedy destruction or attrition just one or two turns down the road, thus ruining a perfectly fun game ( the infamous let's go all the way to Lynchburg than turn hard right to Petersburg and since Richmond is defended end up in Norfolk that the Union AI does every single game once a sort of stalemate is established in northern Virginia...).

Altaris
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Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:45 pm

I have no idea how the AI would react with these settings. My gut instinct says it would probably be *more* suicidal, but I haven't tested it at all.

veji1
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Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:05 pm

Anyway, back to the AAR, what are you going to do with the McCulloch forces ? Are they assigned to the Missouri theater or are you going to try an aggressive move on Kentucky fairly early ?

Altaris
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Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:30 pm

After discussing with my opponent, I have agreed to let him read this AAR, which means I have to keep operational matters under wraps while they still pertain to the current situation. I do have plans for this force, just can't speak of them yet ;D

veji1
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Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:56 pm

Ok, where is the rest of it ? Are you trying to say that you have a life beside the game ? Pff.. Come on keep us posted !

Altaris
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Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:06 am

veji1 wrote:Ok, where is the rest of it ? Are you trying to say that you have a life beside the game ? Pff.. Come on keep us posted !


LOL, got to actually finish July before posting an After-Action-Report of it! :neener:

We're going at a pretty leisurely pace, 1 turn a day most days, occasionally two. We're both busy with other games in the tournament and other activities, so it'll probably be a while going.

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Coldsteel
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Location: Saint Louis, Mo

Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:06 pm

VERY interesting read so far. . . .looking forward to future update, I am.
Pour it into em boys! Give em the Cold Steel!

Altaris
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Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:53 pm

I'll update over the weekend for July. We had some big battles at Manassas, Union took some heavy hits and losses, particularly in the last turn.

That's one thing about 7-day turns... prolonged attacks over multiple turns is a bad idea, as cohesion recovery rates are pretty slow. I like that fact, but it takes some getting used to from the 15-day norm.

Altaris
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July 1861

Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:25 pm

[SIZE="4"]July, 1861[/size]

[SIZE="2"]Robert E. Lee[/size]
It is well that war is so terrible, we should grow too fond of it.


July was a very good month for the Confederacy. Several bloody battles occurred at Manassas, with the South coming out on top each time but both sides taking heavy losses. We both were cycling in reserves as fast as we could, and judging by the closeness of the second battle, I believe it was only the timely arrival of Magruder's force in the third battle that kept the CSA ultimately in control of this key junction. Most of the success here can be attributed to Longstreet's fantastic defensive capabilities and the deadly heavy artillery under Huger's watch. These abilities can make a very potent defense even against heavy odds.

In the Shenandoah Valley, Union light infantry under Patterson represent a threat to our flank, I don't like to leave these guys around to grow into a bigger thorn. So I sent Jackson with a potent cavalry command on a daring raid to cut the rail lines coming into the Shenandoah from West Virginia, and subsequently sent Smith in to smash the force before it could build up to full strength. The operation was a big success, seriously undermining Union strength in this quarter.

Out West, Sterling Price fought a desperate defense to keep Springfield out of Lyon's hands. Lyon, very extended from his supply lines, came close to breaking Price's force in the first battle, but we held. After the initial battle, Lyon's cohesion must've been very wracked, as we held a substantial CP lead afterward.

These turns showed two big changes with 7 day turns.

First, it is very often that even when a force retreats, it doesn't actually have time to get out of it's original region within 7 days. This means that even a retreating force can often be stopped from leaving the region it was in. That's not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion, and while it may seem open to exploit, the retreating force is normally suffering from low cohesion, and it's often not advisable to fight with such a force. I think this happened with the USA, where the retreats from Manassas were cancelled and a new attack ordered, only to get repelled with heavy losses.

Secondly, and related, cohesion regain very noticeably takes time. In 7 days, far less cohesion is regained than in 15 days. I saw this with my own forces, where even when victorious in defense, they would be pretty worn out the next turn, and need 3-4 weeks/turns to get back up to full strength. I think that's a good thing too, will allow for battles of attrition to be viable if the attacker is willing to devote the resources to do it.

The Objectives Screen

[ATTACH]17132[/ATTACH]



The Battles of Manassas. Both sides were wearing down badly after the end of July, but Magruder's timely arrival saved the day for Confederate forces.

[ATTACH]17134[/ATTACH]



Though outnumbered, Sterling Price and his ragged militia band stave off attacks by Lyon while I desperately seek to get quality troops to Missouri's defense.

[ATTACH]17133[/ATTACH]



Jackson makes a bold raid to cut the rail lines supplying Patterson's forces in the Shenandoah Valley, the Smith moves in to inflict heavy losses.

[ATTACH]17135[/ATTACH]



The Confiscation Act fills the Confederacy with a strong morale boost. Following this and the sound military victories, the entire South throws it all into the war effort.

[ATTACH]17136[/ATTACH]

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veji1
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Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:34 pm

Interesting. It seems to me that the not having tome to retreat could be quick a problem, leading to defeated armies being engaged again and again to destruction, while one of the main characteristics of the ACW was actually how little victorious army could manage to exploit their victories, almost always having to let the losing side get away quasi unbothered. Completely the opposite of the napoleonics when the pursuit of the losers accounted for a big part of the losses of the loser.

I am waiting to see how this develop when it is actually the smaller defender that loses, but can't escape. faced with a bigger for he might be eventually anihilated, which would be unhistorical.

Altaris
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Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:44 pm

Well, the retreat has to be manually canceled, so it's not possible to "trap" the enemy this way unless they cancel the retreating movement themselves. It does lead to more situations where the victor has a chance to attack against the retreating unit though. I haven't had many situations where I could test this out yet, as I didn't feel strong enough at either Manassas or Springfield to launch a counter-stroke. But it did allow a pursuing attack to be made in the Shenandoah against the Union forces there.

I don't know of any regions that take more than 7 days to reach, so usually on any 2nd round of attacks, the retreat will complete that turn anyway.

My plan when I run into this situation and I want to make sure I get away is to put my units on the lowest retreat setting for defend, and put them on Evade Combat, and see how it pans out.

These same types of situations come up in vanilla settings too, when an attacker is victorious very late in a turn. It just happens more often on 7 day turns.

veji1
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Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:51 pm

In summer it might be of limited consequence, but during mud with the slow movement.. let's say that it looks like something to watch out. Great AAR otherwise.

Altaris
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August 1861

Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:56 pm

[SIZE="4"]August, 1861[/size]

[SIZE="2"]Robert E. Lee[/size]
It is glorious to see such courage in one so young.


Lots of action in August, both good and bad for the CSA. In Northern Virginia, the battles were mostly in the South's favor, with McDowell's forces taking heavy losses, while Palmerston's forces were driven out of the Shenandoah Valley.

Sterling Price finally drove out the exhausted Union forces under Lyon's command, though the Missouri Confederates were also tired out after weeks of battle and unable to inflict a decisive defeat. We fully expect to see Lyon's forces return once they've regrouped.

Of greater concern, a Union force landed at Morehead City in NC. They defeated the initial defending troops on the beach, but before taking the city, reinforcements arrived to keep the city and harbor safe. I'm racing Magruder and further reinforcements down to NC, if we can't keep the Union from establishing the beach-head at Morehead, we'll at least contain them from expanding further.

As August closes, the Union launches a surprise attack on Kentucky. This promises to see major action in September. I wish I had a few more turns, as some brigades I had slated for KY have yet to finish building. But I do now have a good garrison with coastal guns at Donelson, and fair forces at Nashville and Memphis ready to rail forward where needed. Should be interesting to see how it plays out...

The Objectives Screen

[ATTACH]17169[/ATTACH]



The last of the Battles of Manassas. Both sides have become so tired that casualties are fairly low.

[ATTACH]17165[/ATTACH]



Two battles at Morgan, WV. Smith inflicts heavy losses on the exhausted Union forces trapped in the Shenandoah.

[ATTACH]17166[/ATTACH]



The Union lands at Morehead City, but reinforcements keep them from establishing a beachhead.

[ATTACH]17167[/ATTACH]



The Union launches a surprise attack on Kentucky! This promises major action in September out West!

[ATTACH]17170[/ATTACH]

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Altaris
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Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:41 am

September update coming soon (hopefully tomorrow), we just finished up the first week of October, and divisions are making their first appearance.

Overall, I'm fully enjoying this mod. Mostly the entrenchment reduction is making the big difference. I actually feel like I'm having to make some tough choices as the CSA on what to defend and what to let go.

Where I can match the USA in odds ratio of 1:1.5 to 1:1, I don't really have a lot of problems defending, but after that, it gets pretty shaky. Whereas typically racing to lvl 4 entrenchments makes it fairly easy to hold ground up to 3:1 odds. I tried that at Bowling Green this past turn, and got utterly slaughtered by a fairly average Union general. His 600ish CP to my 200ish CP ended with a crushing loss against the CSA. But at Columbus, KY, Polk defeated a fairly evenly matched force headed by Grant, so I wouldn't say defense is overly week by any means.

So far, the entrenchment levels really feel just right.

veji1
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Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:47 am

Well I suppose it makes sense : As the war progressed and the Union progressively got its massive numerical advantage to bear, the south had to learn how to defend efficiently while having inferio numbers and became more adept at entrenching and fortifying..

The key though here will be to ensure that the entrenchment level changes don't lead to a snowball effect where even moderate numerical superiority leads to unstoppable offense. Hopefully the very slow rate of cohesion recuperation slows that down.

Keep it coming Altaris !

Altaris
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:20 pm

Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:38 pm

Yeah, that's something I'm keeping an eye on, and a valid concern. So far, it's been pretty reasonable.

I really think once Corps enter in, it'll be fine. The CSA is pretty effective, especially on defense, at having a solid interlocking Corps system (and the Union's is pretty poor in most cases, especially on attack). My bigger concern is pre-Corps (especially once Divs come available). But I think that's of minimal concern since the CSA can effectively give up ground in VA if they have to, and with reduced entrechments, have a chance to get it back later.

In this game, Durk's been very aggressive with attacks (some I've told him I thought were ill-advised), and I've been able to make him pay for it. However, I've taken some heavy losses too, definitely more than I would've in vanilla with lvl 3 or 4 entrechments.

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Longshanks
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Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:34 am

I am most intrigued by the reduction in entrenchments and will be following that part closely.

It seems that you are having particularly violent, bloody battles for so early in the war. But that could be easily explained by player behavior (all out attacks, very aggressive play, etc), as opposed to lack of entrenchments.

Altaris
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Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:08 am

It's definitely a noticeable difference without high level entrenchments. Hard to tell the exact effect in this game now, as the Union has taken a very heavy beating (morale is now around 125 to 65 CSA vs USA). I'll say that I didn't feel overly strained on defense, there were 1 or 2 attacks that were very close, and I had to really keep close eye on my forces and cycle in fresh troops regularly, but it was reasonably manageable. The difference that did jump out to me was that I couldn't consistently beat back 2:1 odds with a single stack turn in and turn out, which was promising.

In short, I definitely felt like it was an improvement. Whether it's open to exploit or not is hard to say. I really think Corps will make it manageable once they come online. Corps are so good at MTSG in home ground/defense that they'll create the necessary fall-back for a holding ground. I still have question marks around the early 1861 game, but that's wrapped up in this one (we're in Nov 1861 now and winter is setting in).

The 7-day turns are interesting. We did have a few turns of mud where retreating units were open to a 2nd attack due to 7-day turns not giving them enough time to retreat. When counter-attacks were launched, they weren't overly damaging, though they were good chances for getting some extra general promotions. I think setting to B/G defense settings would keep a retreating army from getting battered too much in this manner.

We had an amphib operation where the Union landed in the NC marshes at Morehead City using the new distant unload option. I did see him off the coast a day or two before he landed, and was able to rail in a single brigade to keep him from establishing a firm beach-head. He then got mired down one region in, and after a few rounds, have to evac the coast. It all felt rather natural to me, I wasn't able to immediately stop him from landing, but I felt like I had some options to out-maneuver him in the swamps.

I'll get around to updating the AAR over the weekend, been quite busy the last few days. This game is probably sliding away from the Union at this point, though the Union is always rather resilient at making comebacks.

veji1
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Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:47 am

About the blooy battles, it does raise the question, not new in this game, of the cohesion level of the different units. I always thought that there should be, a bit like for entrenchments, a cohesion curve with hard caps (except for maybe a few Elite units, where the Elite attribute adds +10 or so cohesion points). If in summer 61 the max cohesion level of units was 55 or 60, the battles would be less bloody, then let cohesion go up by increments so that there is no more hard cap in summer 62.

Basically it would be nice to have shorter battles with more elements routing on both sides, regardless of who is winning or not, at the beginning of the game. This low cohesion would aso make exploitation attacks, which could be a problem in a 7 days turn game, that much harder...

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