The U.S. Civil War: Learning how to play the opening round


I’ve long wanted to play a sophisticated U.S. civil war game.
As an owner of The Civil War, published by Victory Games, I was fascinated by the detailed rules.  So fascinated, the game went untouched and never played thanks to those same rules.  Decades fly by before a new generation takes its place, its The U.S. Civil War, published by GMT Games.  After weeks of reading rules and watching Gettysburg and Gods and Generals, I wasn’t going to shy this time.

I’ve set up a solo-game with the paper rule book on my left and reading the .pdf of the latest published book on my laptop to my right.  Documenting as much as I can, I journal my moves and reference sections from the rule book.  Strategies will be questionable, the decisions reckless and naive.  All is important is I learn how to play the game and have some fun!

The best way to learn how to play the game is to play the game.

Editor’s note: I began the game shortly before going on holiday.   With work and stress-of-life waiting for my return, I never got back into the session.  Sadly, there will never be a round two.  However, maybe these notes will benefit someone navigating their first round on their first game.

This is a Basic 1861 Campaign game using the published rule book of May, 2017.  Mistakes will be made.

Setting up the campaign game (S4.1) starting at 1861

First Player: Determined by Initiative roll (4.1.1)

Union and the CSA both roll a 5.  Each get a special action card.

CSA rolls a 3, the Union rolls a 2; a difference of 1.  (4.1.3)
Each side will play 1 action in each of the three theaters.

Setting up the CSA counters as defined by the set up board for a 1861 strategy.

Confederate places an arsenal using Random States Table (14.5)

Rolled a “2” for Florida.
The Arsenal must be placed in a friendly-controlled Confederate Resource Hex. (14.5)
CSA chooses Tallahassee, FL-4730

CSA places its 11 militia

FL: Tallahassee to protect the arsenal
VA: Fredericksburg
TX: Houston
AR: Little Rock
AL: Montgomery
MS: Corinth
LA: Vicksburg
GA: Augusta
TN: Clarksville
SC: Columbia
NC: Raleigh

Setting up the Union counters as defined by the set up board for a 1861 strategy.

At Start Errata: Wheeling, WV (hex 1337) starts with a Union control marker and Union WV militia. (S1.1)

Each side gets a random Special Action Cards.

Skip Reinforcement,
Skip Strategic Movement,
Skip Leader Management phases

West VA is CSA
KY is Neutral
MO is Union Controlled

Place Blockade and Status Track Markers

1861 Union Naval Control: In the Basic Game (only), Union Naval Control, Amphibious Assaults and River Transport DOWN the Mis­sissippi are prohibited past hexside 2415/2516 prior to Turn 4 (1862).

1861 Naval Ramp Up: Details restrictions through Turn 3.

1861: Slower pace: Turns 1 – 3 there are only 3 Action phases.  Turns 2 and 3 each side draws only one Special Action Card.

New Madrid: Nothing may enter New Madrix hex (2515) while KY is neutral.

Railroad Interception: Turn 1 allows J. Johnston may attempt a two-hex Interception with 2 SP.

Turn 1 CSA: Action in East
Considering moving a SP out of Richmond, it would have destroyed the fortification there.  (10.0)
1 SP from Staunton, VA takes the rail to Manassas Junction with General Beauregard.  (5.4.2)

Turn 1 CSA: Action in West
Polk abandons his fortifications and takes 2 SP invading Columbus, KY.  KY joins the Union. (17.1.4)

Turn 1 CSA: Action Trans-Mississippi
Builds an Entrenchment at Springfield, MO.   Part of a larger plan for maneuvers in MO.

Turn 1 CSA: Special action ANY played
General Price with 1 SP moves to take Tuscumbia, MO.

Supply Segment
CSA forces occupying towns in MO are considered in Limited Supply.

Turn 1 Union: Action in East
1 SP from Philadelphia takes rail to Harper’s Ferry.

Turn 1 Union: Special action card EAST played
Leaving 1 SP behind in Pittsburgh, Gen McClellan takes rail into Grafton, WV.  CSA loses a RP.

Part of the Union’s plan to swiftly take WV.

Turn 1 Union: Action in Trans-Mississippi
General Lyon moves to take Tuscumbia.
The river flows through the middle of the hex and can be ignored a barrier to movement.  (5.8.4)

Attacker: Union, with 1-star General Lyon (2-1-5) with 2 SP
With 2 SP, Union rolls 1d6.
DRM: +2 Attacking General

Defender: CSA, with 1 star General Price (1-1-4) with 1 SP
With 1 SP, CSA rolls 1d6.
DRM: +1 Defending General

Outcome:
Union rolls a 6 + 2 DRM = 8.  2 of CSA SP are eliminated.
CSA rolls a 3 + 2 DRM = 5. 1 of Union SP is eliminated.
Union takes Tuscumbia with Lyon commanding 1 SP.
Price is displaced.  (11.2.4)

End Phase (19.0)
No changes to unit or game status.

Other questions raised during game play:

Q: What divides the three theaters?
A: Section 2.1.1

Warsaw would have been a better choice for Confederate expansion in Missouri.

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