Gettysburg: Badges of Courage

Gettysburg: Badges of Courage is a game that although I like, I’ve developed a few reservations about. On the one hand, it’s an absolutely great system, simple, yet it does a good job of emphasizing command and control, and it produces a lot of excitement. On the other hand, there were always a few details that didn’t seem to work quite right – the way the Confederacy could get hung up in Gettysburg, but once they broke through the Union had a heck of a time setting up a viable defense line on the hills which provided so little cover. Or the unrealistic way artillery was always being brought up to the front lines for point-blank fire.

Fortunately, Columbia has tried to address these issues with a simple set of “experimental” rules, rules that slightly increase the defensive value of hills, make artillery a little more vulnerable at close range, and weaken the defensive value of Gettysburg by weakening the streams. It all works very cleanly and it seems like just the level of change required to bring the game into line.

In our game, I played the Union, Charles the Confederates.

Buford had his usual bad luck defending Seminary Ridge, with lucky shots shattering both cavalry brigades at only a minimal slowdown to the Confederates. The Iron Brigade deployed into Gettysburg, but as expected the terrain was much less favorable and their flank was quickly turned and they were forced to retreat to Cemetery Ridge. A Union counterattack on the Confederate right flank threatened to annihilate a couple isolated brigades and artillery, but was stalled out not so much due to resistance as to sheer incompetence – of the 24 dice thrown over three turns of action needing a 1 or a 2 to hit, only one hit was scored. 6 precious command steps down the drain. One of the big changes in the new rules is that artillery that is too close to enemy infantry can be directly targeted by fire, which is extremely dangerous, but only if you occasionally roll hits.

On balance, the first day progressed much as it always does – the Union getting disorganized and driven back, while Confederate units drive hard and take only incremental casualties – but it did so in a more satisfying manner. The Union is still hard-pressed, but they have a substantially more viable defense line at the ridge. The Confederates can still drive hard, but they can’t wheel their plentiful and powerful artillery up to point-blank range with impunity as they could before. The Union will still be hard-pressed to actually win (as will the Confederates – the game was really designed to be played for two full game-days), but they have an outside shot – I was sitting on 4VPs as late as 7PM.

As I say, I have always liked Gettysburg, even if it couldn’t quite deliver on the outstanding early impression, and it seems like the rules tweaks might really help with a few of the technical issues. Assuming they do, the main remaining obstacle is just how long it takes to play, 6-8 hours probably for the two days to get a really satisfying game, which to me means two sessions. I still wish Columbia could provide some sensible victory conditions for the one-day game so you aren’t more or less forced to continue to the second day. I’d suggest that if you split the difference (7VP is a draw, more or less is a Confederate or Union victory), that feels about right with the new rules. Previously, the Union was desperate just to keep the VP count below 10 on the first day; now it seems like things are a bit more reasonable.

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ConQuest

I’ve been going to ConQuest, a fairly large local game con, for a number of years now. In the past, I’ve always taken the opportunity to run a big wargame – I did a Guderian’s Blitzkrieg a couple years back (which was fun), and a EuroFront game last year (which was a disaster). Kim has run Acquire and Liar’s Dice tournaments for a couple years now. The flea market is also an awesome way to sell games that are good but that have just outlived their lifespan. This year, we were undecided as to whether we would be able to go as we were considering doing a longer vacation around Labor Day, so I didn’t sign up to run anything.

We decided to stay home after all and avoid the crowds, so I grabbed the event catalog. I was thinking to get in some of the new euros, maybe a game of Downtown or Sword of Rome or Ardennes ’44, or a small OCS scenario. Much to my disappointment, the boardgame event listings were not just thin, they were extremely thin. Virtually nonexistent, really. In terms of euros, there was almost nothing. The wargame end was slightly better served, but not much – too many pet games, not enough practical ones, and not enough games with serious GMs.

I came very close to not coming at all (one of my friends was having a rather tempting “ConQuest Sucks” gaming party), but I had a lot of games I wanted to sell at the flea market. So I went.

I ended up playing a few pick-up games. I got in a game of Maharaja, which I enjoyed. In a year of fascinating games plagued by balance questions – Goa and the Exploration Track problem (worrying, but probably bogus), St Petersburg and the Judge/Mistress of Ceremonies (definitely a problem), San Juan and the various competing ideas of imbalance (all probably bogus), Power Grid and the mid-game plant problem (definitely an issue), Memoir ’44 and its ludicrously unbalanced scenarios – it’s nice to play a solid game with no obvious question marks. But you should probably bid for starting roles. I look forward to trying the Yogi variant sometime.

I then played Fifth Avenue again. I will again mention a full review is forthcoming. It went over quite well with this group (while the general response has been quite positive among groups I’ve played with, for some people it just doesn’t click).

Last game before the flea market was Alhambra, by Dirk Henn. I’ve been critical of this game in the past, and while I did enjoy this playing (I won), I’m not going to change my tune now – one player in our game mentioned that it seemed to have the “illusion of control”, which I think sums it up pretty well. We did play with one of the variants from the expansion (the Viceroy, I think), which helped a bit. It’s slow, it’s light on decision making and player interaction, but I think in the end it works, if just barely. Not in the same league as Showmanager/Atlantic Star by a far cry, but it seems a game comparable to Carcassone – your less discriminating family and friends may be engaged by that illusion of control, it’s simple (more or less), some skill is still helpful, and it doesn’t hurt your brain like Fifth Avenue sometimes does. Not a recommendation from me, but it does fill a niche I think. If you want a little substance, though, Union Pacific scores over Alhambra in almost every way.

Then, off to the flea market. I love the flea market because it allows me to unload a bunch of middling-value stuff that is too much of a hassle to list on eBay, but ends up being worth a fair amount in aggregate. This time, I liquidated over $400 worth of stuff, so that was time well spent. Some of the games that hit the door included Dos Rios, Nautilus, Rückkehr der Helden, Anno 1503, The Cotton Kingdom, an old beat-up Storm over Arnhem, my old West End Paranoia boxed set (I now have Paranoia XP, which may or may not be an improvement, but at least is hardbound), The Two Towers Kartenspiel, duplicate copies of Kingmaker and Civilization, DAK (I now own DAK II, and despite what I paid for DAK I, I couldn’t quite justify keeping two copies given what I could sell DAK I for), some old surplus GW Lord of the Rings metal … and much more I can’t remember. Some of the stuff left over at the end surprised me … I had a very good condition copy of the Storm over Arnhem folio edition, but no interest. Arena Maximus, which should have appealed more to the ConQuest crowd, didn’t go, even at an aggressive price. Couldn’t liquidate Tobruk, even unpunched and at a $5 price point. The guy who I foisted off, er, sold my copy of Phalanx’ Nero too was back this year and bought a few items, so that was good. Maybe he never played it.

The flea market layout had changed from last year, from a large open court to a single walkway with areas on the sides. Even though I sold a lot of games, I was not particularly thrilled with the new layout, as my space was extremely tight, just enough for about 3 people to look over my games at one time, which is far less than in the past. I’m sure I could have sold most of the stuff that didn’t sell if people could have simply accessed my area more reliably; too often I had people backed up who couldn’t get in. A personal pet peeve is the guy who asks if he can check something like the Fellowship of the Ring Kartenspiel that I have listed at $5, and who then sits there, carefully inventorying the components, checking their condition, reading the rules from front to back … and then simply returns it to the pile without even making an offer. In the past, this was merely slightly frustrating. Now, with so little space, it was extremely annoying – but with all the games being used, I can hardly tell people they can’t review the games…

After the flea market, my friend Charles and I played some Gettysburg: Badges of Courage. I find myself waffling just a touch on this game, but I quite enjoyed this outing. Too bad we didn’t have time to continue to a second day, because it was an interesting setup. I initially thought using the Column optional rule might be an improvement, but now I’m not so sure. It is a lot of hassle, and I’m not sure what it accomplishes is worth the hassle (it slows down the Confederates on the first day, but it also slows down the Union at critical junctures too, so it might be a wash). We played without them this time, and it was quite satisfactory.

The bottom line on the con was that on the one hand, I did enjoy the games I played, and did pretty well at the flea market despite the lame setup. The kicker though was that I was playing almost exclusively pick-up games with people who are my regular gaming buddies. Fun, but there certainly was no need to pay $25, drive the rather wretched commute, and deal with nonexistent parking to do this, we could have all just met at somebody’s house. This is not why I go to cons. I go to cons to meet new people, recruit new players, and to play more organized games in interesting formats. ConQuest desperately needed more organized gaming, perhaps a Kniziathon, or at the very least a Settlers or Acquire or Puerto Rico tournament, some scheduled eurogames, and/or a reasonably well-coordinated open-gaming area. Not to mention some wargames with reasonable playing times and more than minimal player bases (the ASL event being the only solid event run). Without any of these, the only thing that will get me back next year is the flea market.

Origins – Day 4

Gettysburg: As it turns out, I finally did get about two hours of traditional wargaming in, a pick-up game of Gettysburg that I chanced into. Late Friday I saw that CABS had finally put out two signup sheets, for Columbia games, so I somewhat optimistically put my name down.

Lo and behold, when I got in Saturday morning, someone had taken me up on my offer of a 1PM game. So I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a teaching game (my opponent had never played before and hadn’t read the rules), and we played only the first day. I played the Union, because I think the Confederacy are much easier to play your first time. For some reason, I have a hard time engaging on this game, and I had decidedly mixed feelings in the end. I probably should have treated it more as a teaching game, and cut it short at a half-day or something, 45-60 minutes. I like the Gettysburg system, but somehow playing only the first day seems to lack closure, especially for the Union whose only real hope is to extend the game into a second day – I don’t think they can achieve any kind of victory the first day. Next time I play, I definitely want to at least leave the option open of continuing if the game is close … but this is not a viable option if your opponent hasn’t even read the rules going in. Gettysburg isn’t a very complex game, but it’s complex enough you don’t want to dive in to a 6-plus-hour scenario your first go through.

Wings of War: I admit I had low expectations on this one after the Wreckage disaster (there are some similarities in the systems – distant cousins, perhaps) and reading through the downloadable rules. So many air combat games are a tedious exercise in guessing if your quarry is going to turn left or right, getting a shot at if you win the virtual coin toss, and then circling around endlessly trying to set up another guess. Oh, for some workable “tailing” or “advantage” rules. Wings of War seemed like it was going to be solidly in that somewhat uninteresting camp. This is definitely not so, however, but I’m a little hard-pressed to explain why Wings of War succeeds where so many have gone before and failed. I think it boils down mainly to good old-fashioned skillful execution. The planes are all very nicely differentiated through their maneuver decks, the fast ones vs. the maneuverable ones vs. the rotary planes that turn in one direction much better than the other, and the whole system is incredibly simple and transparent. It seems the scaling and maneuverability is just right, once you make a pass, you’ve turned around and are back in the action in no time, unlike Wreckage in which once you veered off in the wrong direction it took absolutely forever to get back into the game. The level of damage infliction is just right too, it takes a bit to inflict enough damage to knock out a plane, but no so much the game drags, and there is sufficient variance in the damage deck to make things tense. Overall, the game is extremely simple (less than 5 minutes to explain), very fast, and it seems like you’re making real choices instead of just guessing. Very refreshing, one of the best dogfight games I’ve played, and most enjoyable. I’m definitely looking forward to the next release, and might even buy a second copy of the base game to get more planes and maneuver decks.

Corsari is a rummy-type game that I got to play in the Rio Grande area, and got to play another game with Andreas Seyfarth. I was carrying around business cards with the URL of my blog at the con, and I felt foolish afterwards for not at least mentioning it, trying to convince him to check it out. I’m not a very good self-promoter, something I suppose I should try to get over. Corsari is not bad for a rummy-style game, interesting but I can’t see it being good enough to break into the mix of card games we play, so I wasn’t tempted to pick one up. If your group plays predominantly card games, though, check it out.

Middle-Earth CCG: For the past 4 or 5 years there have usually been two events for the Middle-Earth CCG, usually a pretty standard sealed deck game, and then a more off-beat game. These are run by fans that love the game and have stock left over which they are willing to share. Last year was a Fallen-Wizard sealed deck game, which almost (but not quite) worked. This year was a Balrog sealed deck game.

If we cast our minds back to 1998, the year Middle-Earth: The Balrog (henceforth MEBA) was released, you will recall it was on the heels of two rather weak expansions, The White Hand and Against the Shadow (the latter was the expansion to facilitate Minion vs. Hero matchups, a scenario which never quite worked rules-wise, and then The White Hand devolved into combo-intensive non-interactive “squatter” decks which were incredibly boring). MECCG seemed on its last gasp. What more could they possibly do? Then, ICE came up with this new set, which featured this fascinating “what-if” scenario. The Balrog was a Maia, right? A peer to Gandalf and Sauron and veteran of the War of Wrath? What if he got bored hanging out in the basement of Moria and decided to assume his rightful place in the world? And what if ICE decided to ditch the whole “collectible” tag and go with only fixed sets?

So we got this set, which was a great set and took MECCG out with a bang. It added fewer rules or new concepts than any previous set. It tweaked the game in interesting ways to make one of the most unique sets. The Balrog himself played very differently from Ringwraiths or Wizards or Falled-Wizards. Unfortunately, it was also the trickiest set to play, because the Balrog required a lot of card manipulation (moving cards between the sideboard, play deck, and discard pile) and also the greatest familiarity with the card set, because there were so many “mission” cards (card which required set up for a payoff) and comparatively few “general utility” cards. So it was a tough set to approach.

I like the Balrog. But as sealed deck, and with a couple too-inexperienced players in the mix, and getting stuck in another teaching game, the event just didn’t quite work for me (MEBA is brutal to teach with. Challenge Decks are much superior). Next year should be a better year, though, as we’ll have both the standard Sealed Deck event (which we lost this year to a scheduling snafu), and then we’ll be ditching the obscure formats for a more usual Challenge Deck tournament, which is an awesome format.

Gettysburg

After our last game, one thing I was slightly uneasy about was the relative mobility of artillery units. It seemed like artillery was too easy to use as short-range infantry gun type weapons, wheeling them right up to the front line to blast enemy positions, with no reason to use them as the long-range support that was their historical role. Fortunately, there is an optional rule for “column movement” that sounded like it should correct this minor issue, so Carl & I decided to use it this time. Since I had the Union last time, I got the Confederates this time.

As a word of advice to players playing this game for the first time, you really should play the game without this rule. I think it does help give the game a more historical feel, but it also changes the game dramatically and does make movement decisions a lot more complicated. Generally, it now is a lot harder to reposition troops. While in our first game the attacking Confederates could comparatively easily turn flanks and redeploy across the battlefield, it’s a much more painstaking and time-consuming process when they have to switch between line and column formations and can’t stack in column. Another big difference is that Buford’s cavalry has a much more meaningful chance to delay the Confederate onslaught long enough for the Union to set up strong defensive positions in Gettysburg itself.

Which is what happened in our game. The off-road terrain in the north-west corner of the battlefield is tough going, so Hill’s advance on Gettysburg can be rather slow if Buford opts to delay. Meanwhile, the Iron Brigade and others from the first batch of reinforcements were piling into Gettysburg, which is a strong position (due more to the streams & woods than to the city itself). Faced with the unappealing prospect of blasting through the city itself, and with reinforcements arriving later along the north board edge, I extended the flank to the east towards Benner Hill. This worked reasonably well in terms of extending the Union line, but in terms of winning the game, this is not the way to go. There is only one VP that can reasonably be taken to the East – Benner Hill – while in the South you’ve got the gimme at the Peach Orchard which I never took, plus then 3 more that you can threaten.

You need 5 VP to not lose the first day as the Confederates. This means you realistically need the Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg itself, plus either the Peach Orchard or Benner Hill and to inflict one more shattered unit than you lose. While Benner Hill is attractive, in the end I think the Peach Orchard is the better extra VP to go for since it has easy access to more VPs than Benner Hill. The column rules make it very tough, though. It’s a long march to the Peach Orchard, and the Union is much more likely to beat you to Gettysburg in force, requiring a massive assault to evict him.

The real strength of the Confederates, though, is their ability to do those massive assaults. Because of their monolithic command structure, they are more or less incapable of doing smaller, more scattered division-level offensives. I found this out when I detached a single division to move south; it’s attack stalled out almost immediately and the Corps commander (Hill) was too preoccupied with the situation at Gettysburg to get the attack restarted. The Union, with their much smaller Corps, are much better at these small actions. So if you’re going to attack as the Confederates, make it a big one.

The bottom line on why my Confederates came up short, though, was that I didn’t pay enough attention to keeping low-strength units out of the firing line and rebuilding them. As a result, I lost at least one extra shattered unit which was the difference. The 1VP for losing a unit is very, very big, as I said last time, and you have to be careful because these lost VPs realistically cannot be made up by taking more terrain. I might also complain about my final assault on Benner Hill which by rights really should have shattered at least two Union units, but came up appallingly short on the dice – but like most of these games, there are a lot of dice, and you win some and you lose some in that respect. Nothing I could have done about that, but I definitely lost at least one unit I shouldn’t have, and that was the margin. As the Confederates it seems you need to have that elusive, Montgomery-esque combination of aggressiveness and risk-aversion. The dice are going to go south occasionally, and you have to be careful not to put yourself in a position where that’s going to cost you a unit or two.

OK, last thing, and having played twice now my only gripe about the game is the graphics on the mapboard. We had a heck of a time figuring out when the woods are or are not supposed to be hexside terrain. When it goes right up to the hexside? When it’s clearly on both sides? The rules are mum on this point and there is significant ambiguity at times. I had originally gone with the “clearly on both sides” interpretation, but I think it retrospect that the “goes right up to the edge” is correct. Nothing players can’t work out, and it’s going to crop up at worst only occasionally – but this is a significant oversight in the rules and the board should be better.

So anyway, I quite enjoyed the game again, and still like it. Despite not being complicated, it’s still a big, substantial game and is going to take a while to play. Nice for a change from the the more modest-length stuff Columbia has been doing of late, but if you’re a Hammer fan bear in mind that this will take twice as long to play just the first day. It’s worth it though. I’ll be curious to see what the playing time settles down to on this one. We’ve been doing about 6 hours for one day, which is a bit on the high side I think, it would be nice to do one day in 2-3 hours. I’m not sure how practical that target is, though.

Gettysburg

Carl and I played our first game of Columbia’s newest release, Gettysburg. Hypothetical question: at what point will I not need any wargames from companies other than Columbia? Sure, there is still a niche for great, meaty games like Ardennes ’44, Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, Grant Takes Command, and Burma. But amongst wargames I actually get to play, Columbia has been slowly eclipsing everything else.

First impression: this is a game with a great feel. I was immediately taken with it for similar reasons as EastFront – it’s a substantial, meaty game, with a lot of blocks and rich detail, but one with very manageable rules. Far more manageable than EastFront. Simpler even than Hammer of the Scots I’d say, but you get a quite substantial game, one with lots of tactical and operational choices, one which always puts you on the horns of a dilemma, and has a very nice historical feel. Because there are a lot of units, there is great drama – the hordes of Confederates massing against Cemetery Ridge, the Union line straining and buckling but not breaking – the same sort of drama you get from EastFront, but in a more manageable package. I’d say that this gets basically everything good from The Gamer’s Civil War Brigade series in a fraction of the package size with vastly great playability. I’ll never play Thunder at the Crossroads again. Not that I would have seriously considered doing so before I got this game, but I have to think about all the CWB series is good for at this point is a baseline for maps and OOBs for new games in this series. Seriously.

To take the high level view, this seems to be a very nice blend of both strong resource management and tactical elements. On the one hand, command steps are a scarce commodity, you never have enough troops, and you have to spend your limited resources wisely in choosing where and how strongly to attack or defend, and when to hold and when to retreat. However, the game also give you plenty of interesting tactical details on how to move your units, deal with terrain, and choose your weapons to overcome the defenders.

Like most tactical and operational Civil War games, at the core of Gettysburg is the command structure. The basic unit is the brigade, which can move on its own but not attack. A handful of brigades make a division, with divisional leaders having to spend steps to coordinate fire and press attacks, and each leader’s ability to do this is rather limited (moreso for the Union). Corps leaders provide support by “refreshing” a divisional leader’s steps at critical junctures, allowing them to continue operating, and Army leaders can add steps to any unit.

The Confederate and Union armies have very different command structures, and it means they play very differently. The Union has more smaller divisions of 2-3 brigades and a divisional leader, while Corps have 3 or so divisions and maybe one attached artillery unit. Confederate divisions, on the other hand, are huge, with their own attached artillery, and Corps are larger still. While the Confederates have one outstanding Corps leader (Longstreet), in general there isn’t a huge difference between the Union and the Confederates at the Corps level … where the Confederates do well is in the Divisional leader department, where their leaders are dramatically superior to the Union. On the other hand, while the large Confederate Divisions and Corps make their focussed attacks quite potent, it also makes them somewhat less flexible. So while the Union will find it hard to coordinate the 2-3 divisions required for a counterattack, they have decent defensive flexibility because they can detach small numbers of units to hotspots and efficiently fight smaller actions while keeping formations together, a critical issue since brigades out of touch with their divisional leader can’t effectively attack anything but the most feeble opposition. And the Union corps leaders will almost always be in the right place at the right time to coordinate multi-divisional attacks, even if they aren’t brilliant at it, while the Confederate Corps leaders can be much more easily caught out-of-position.

The Gettysburg battle also has a much more interesting feel than I’ve generally given it credit for. I must be about the only wargamer my age to never have played any of the many incarnations of Avalon Hill’s Gettysburg game. Anyway, what you have here is a tiny battle (starting with just a couple divisions on the map) escalating to a massive conflagration. The Union is clearly on the defensive here, but still the tenor of the battle changes each time another big batch of reinforcements arrive. The first day is a desperate holding action for the Union, with each reinforcing division providing critical relief, but if they can hold out until evening things improve.

Anyway, probably the best I can give you here are some basic tips to avoid my fate in your first game of the Day 1 scenario as the Union (and some of these can be turned around for advice to the Confederates, of course). So here you go:

  • Do not get any units Buford’s cavalry division shattered. These are very good units, but they are hung out and the penalty for shattered units is extremely high. Do what you can to inflict some casualties, but these units’ capacity to meaningfully delay III Corps is minimal. In order to make sure they survive more or less intact, you’ll need to …
  • Play the game very differently when you move second vs. first. Turn flip-flops (where one player gets two turns in a row) are critical for you and if, for example, Buford’s division is adjacent to a bunch of Confederate units at the end of your move when you’re going first, they’ll get outflanked and wiped out if the Confederates get a double move. While you may not have much choice in the case of your critical defensive lines, your pickets should be moving out of threatened positions when facing down a potential double-move. 1VP for a shattered unit is a lot, and you’ll have your share of them when the Confederates go after Cemetery Ridge. No need to make their job any easier.
  • That all being said, as long as you are going second, you can maintain forward positions since the Confederates won’t be able to fire at/assault you unless they start adjacent. These forward positions can slow the enemy down significantly. Just keep an eye on the risks and get out when they become unpalatable, i.e., are threatening to severely maul or shatter a unit.
  • Obviously, you’ll need to garrison both Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top. You’ll probably need to send two divisions to Little Round Top before you’d like to. Just be sure to put a unit on that anonymous hill between the two positions, lest the Confederates slip between the gaps to go after Powers Hill and/our outflank Cemetery Ridge, both of which are bad, bad, bad. Any interference with the timely arrival of your reinforcements to Cemetery Ridge is cause for serious alarm.
  • Hills with Trees on them are good. Hills without Trees are OK, but you are vulnerable to being simply swept off by fire, which is not penalized by shooting up. And you are desperately short of the Artillery that can do real damage. Your guys on unprotected hills are likely going to get pasted. You still have to defend them, though.
  • While it’s tempting to simply plop the Iron Brigade down and make a position like Cemetery Hill impregnable, if you’re not using your best unit to blast stuff, you’re not getting very good mileage out of it. Keep it in the hotspots, or in reserve and throw it into the inevitable breach or counterattack. While the Confederates have a very nasty 4-step B3 early (Pettigrew), they are very short on A-level units, which have a big advantage in Melee if the number of units is small.
  • Benner Hill is not very defensible. If the Confederates want it (and they should), they’ll get it. Get over it.
  • Losing (Little) Round Top, Culp’s Hill, or Powers Hill is likely to be decisive. You can afford to lose Cemetery Hill and still hold out to the second day. Don’t get killed by trying to hold the line on Cemetery Ridge longer than possible in the face of determined Confederate assault.
  • While you certainly want to stay open to the option of counterattacking, especially if the Confederates have stripped the Peach Orchard area to go after Cemetery Ridge with everything they’ve got, you are seriously outgunned in this confrontation. Your units are not on a one-for-one basis much inferior, but the Confederates have a decisive artillery advantage on day 1 and their better command structure and division leaders means they can press the attack far longer than you can – once your leaders are tapped out (which will happen disturbingly quickly in most cases), you become extremely vulnerable. So stick to limited-objective, local (counter-)attacks. While the Confederates get 25% fewer supply points overnight, each point they get is worth significantly more than yours due to their vastly better divisional leaders. Keep this fact firmly in mind when managing attrition.

I enjoyed Gettysburg quite a bit, and look forward to our next game. I was very extremely happy with the complexity to depth ratio here. Another great thing about Columbia, I think, is that while they often do games with related systems (Hammer and Liberty, say, or Victory and Pacific Victory or Rommel and EastFront), you can never accuse them of standing still. Each game they do has a very different flavor, scale, or feel. It’s on a different complexity level, or has a greater or lesser block density, or a different strategic scope. So while Gettysburg is familiar in the abstract (the leaders are much like HQs in EastFront, melee is just like Wizard Kings/Hammer/Liberty, etc.), it still feels quite unique and different in their line. Hopefully, they’ll do a Shiloh game using the same system before moving on.