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16th November k/spiel on 1864 Wilderness Campaign

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16th November k/spiel on 1864 Wilderness Campaign

Post  Martin on Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:42 pm

A reminder that our next face-to-face game is on Sunday 16th November at our usual venue in bucolic Little Gaddesden.

180,000 Union and Confederate troops fight in heavily-wooded country, as Grant launches his first campaign in Virginia.  The Union Commanders will need to push deep into Virginia as fast as possible, to avoid being trapped in The Wilderness, while crossing a major river, securing their supply train and trying to defeat a Confederate army determined to prevent their advance on Richmond, and the possible end of the war.

Unless we have a very large number of attendees, all players will take the roles of General Grant's Senior Commanders and pit their skill against a chain of events managed by the Umpire team, designed to highlight the historical problems of the events of the 4th - 7th May 1864, as the Army of the Potomac under General Meade (the victor of Gettysburg) starts "the long road South".  There are a minimum of four Players needed for the game, three Corps Commanders and General Meade himself although more can be accommodated if enough people want to take part.  The challenge is to do better than your real life counter-parts in the face of all manner of problems!  During each day, most players will be separated, and in command of their corps, only communicating by courier as the would in a typical kriegsspiel.  Each evening there will be the opportunity to meet at army HQ, discuss the events of the day, and plan for the next one.

We currently have 8 confirmed attendees, which is fine.  But we could certainly fit a couple more in.

Please register your interest on the doodle link below, together with any preferences as to Union, Confederate, Umpire.

http://doodle.com/mdk9yihew78hqa6m

Martin

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Re: 16th November k/spiel on 1864 Wilderness Campaign

Post  Father General on Sat Oct 25, 2014 5:59 am

Martin,

I'd be interested in having a look at your map, in addition to the one I received from MJ1. I have created custom ACW KS pieces and I am now looking for a map to use them on. I'd like to schedule a game for November as well, but I need some lead time to decide and print a map. Would you be willing to share your map with me privately? I don't want to spoil anything if you are reserving it for the morning of the event. However, seeing as I am quite far away...

Thank you,

Neal
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Re: 16th November k/spiel on 1864 Wilderness Campaign

Post  Martin on Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:46 am

David Commerford is running this one, and I will be assisting.

I'm sure he will be happy to share, and will pass him your email. Actually he has 2 or 3 maps of the campaign. He's been going through a process of deciding which is best for our purpose.

Good luck with your own game.

Martin (J)

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Re: 16th November k/spiel on 1864 Wilderness Campaign

Post  Father General on Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:49 pm

Thank you Martin.

I have created a little website for our society and I need to build our library of resources. Officially, we include myself and Calpurnius (on here) and we have quite a few people across So Cal that want to check this out. Building up our library with maps and pieces and sharing the game with more and more people should be to everyone's benefit.

I'm also thinking of asking if we can have a little section on your forums? There's no need to split the community although I don't think our group will be posting that much. It would be really cool, IMHO, to have the world's two largest KS communities in one forum, networking and working together. Eventually, I have a crazy idea to play a KS in real time, between our people and yours. :-) We just have to resolve the logistics and decide who's losing the sleep.

Anyway, this is hijacking this thread, so I think I will start another next time I'd like to discuss anything.

I have my drop box set up, so I can share files through there. If you guys want ACW pieces, I can get you a deal.

-Neal
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Re: 16th November k/spiel on 1864 Wilderness Campaign

Post  Martin on Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:43 am

A reminder that our next game is in 2 weeks, on Sunday 16th November.  The topic is the ACW Wilderness Battle 1864.  

180,000 Union and Confederate troops fight in heavily-wooded country, as Grant launches his first campaign in Virginia.  In highly difficult terrain the Union Commanders will need to push deep into Virginia as fast as possible, to avoid being trapped in The Wilderness, while crossing a major river, securing their supply train and trying to defeat a Confederate army determined to prevent their advance on Richmond, and the possible end of the war.

Players will take the roles of General Grant's Senior Commanders and pit their skill against a chain of events managed by the Umpire team, designed to highlight the historical problems of the events of the 4th - 7th May 1864, as the Army of the Potomac under General Meade (the victor of Gettysburg) starts "the long road South".  Players will represent three Corps Commanders and General Meade himself, although more can be accommodated if enough people want to take part.  The challenge is to do better than your real life counter-parts in the face of all manner of problems!  During each day, most players will be separated, and in command of their corps, only communicating by courier as the would in a typical kriegsspiel.  Each evening there will be the opportunity to meet at army HQ, discuss the events of the day, and plan for the next one.

We have enough players, but more are always welcome.   Please register your interest on the doodle link below.
http://doodle.com/mdk9yihew78hqa6m

The game will start as usual at 11 am and run to about 4 pm, followed by debrief.

Martin (J)

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Re: 16th November k/spiel on 1864 Wilderness Campaign

Post  Martin on Sat Nov 08, 2014 5:08 pm

A final reminder that next Sunday's game is on the 1864 Wilderness Campaign.

We have 9 attendees registered, but I'm sure we could squeeze more in if necessary.

Would anyone like to bring tea, coffee, milk and sugar?  I am advised by the club treasurer that we can waive the normal game £5 fee on this occasion for the lucky volunteer Smile

Martin (J)

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Re: 16th November k/spiel on 1864 Wilderness Campaign

Post  Martin on Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:52 pm

10 now registered on doodle. Splendid effort chaps.

Plus we also have a tea monitor!

Martin (J)

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Re: 16th November k/spiel on 1864 Wilderness Campaign

Post  Martin on Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:52 pm

The game went very well, and many thanks to David for doing most of the work.

It was structured rather differently from the usual k/piel, in a number of ways.  The 5 players were all on the Union team, representing Meade and 4 corps commanders.  We also had 5 umpires.  The Confederates were umpire-driven, but followed Bobbie Lee’s plans for much of the battle.  We knew we had at least two days of battle to get through, so dispensed with the normal turn structure, and sometimes delivered messages or briefed individual players at different times.  We also moved the clock forward quite aggressively.  That fitted well with the history as it could take several hours to organise a planned attack, due to poor staff-work and the awful terrain.

The Union faced huge difficulties, as they did historically.  The command structure was all to pot, as Meade (the team CinC) didn’t command Burnside’s 9th corps.  He could only request assistance via Grant (played by the umpires).  And it was such a horrible place to fight in, which affected all actions by both sides.  Great credit is due to the players for struggling so manfully, and even seeming to enjoy it.

In structure, this was a hybrid committee game.  The players met at Meade’s HQ each evening to review the day’s results and plan the following day.  During the day, each player was on his own however, and had to fight his corps as best he could, as in a normal k/spiel.  Messages were frequently delayed by an hour or even more, and on day 2 occasionally lost as the Confederates split the Union army.

From what I could gather the players enjoyed the occasional change of pace, and the evening conferences also gave the umpires a breather whilst the players vigorously put forward their ideas to Meade.  I know some of my fellow umpires greatly enjoyed listening-in to the conferences!  I think we should use this approach in other games.

The result was a Confederate tactical victory, as indeed was the original battle.  Historically, this was not Grant or Meade’s finest hour.  But then the challenges facing them were enormous, and even with hindsight it is difficult to construct a viable Union plan.  In our game, combat was fairly even on day 1, with both Union and Confederate attacks occasionally successful but more often stalling.  Meanwhile Hancock’s 2nd Corps had almost crossed the Wilderness toward Richmond by evening.  The main problem for the Union was that A P Hill’s Reb Corps had thrust up the Orange Turnpike, pushed back a few advanced brigades of Warren’s 5th Corps, and almost cut off Hancock from the rest of the army.

At the evening conference, Meade quite correctly ordered Hancock directly back north, but this corps was to remain largely out of contact with the rest of the army for the whole of the following day.  Combat honours were again broadly shared on day 2, but the Rebs won where it mattered most.  Longstreet’s newly-arrived Reb corps largely fended-off Hancock’s attempt to either rejoin the main army, or hit the Confederate rear.  With the support of two of Burnside’s divisions, Sedgwick’s 6th Corps finally prevailed in a see-saw fight which had initially threatened its own collapse.  But it’s own LOC was imperilled by events on Warren’s front.  Hill’s Corps had again pushed back Warren during the morning, and during the afternoon drove NW up the Germana Plank road towards German Ford - ie directly across Sedgwick's rear.  As darkness fell, the other half of half of Burnside’s 9th Corps, together with a remnant of Warren’s 5th Corps, were desperately trying to hold Flat Run and preserve several thousand wagons S of Germana Ford.

A key factor in Warren’s defeat was a decision not taken by the players.  Prior to the campaign, Grant had centralised much of the normal reserve ammo trains at army level, rather than holding them at corps and division.  The theory was to reduce the length of the corps on the march, so they could both more speedily traverse the Wilderness, and also more flexibly manoeuvre, should that prove necessary.  This no doubt seemed like a good idea at the time, but in practice did not work out well when the army got into a prolonged fight.  At a key point on the afternoon of day 2, Warren’s Corps simply ran out of ammo.  It had bravely born the brunt of Reb attacks over two days, taken heavy losses, and this precipitated its final collapse.

Martin (J)

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