Tuesday, August 15, 2017

WBTS via Vassal - Weeks 17 to 20

The first winter cycle of the war is upon us.

The Union have 22 left over supply plus 175 and then 20 from captured and neutral towns.  Total 207 to go with 60 Personnel points.

The Confederates, preparing for lean times ahead, carry forward 153 supply to which they add 40 city supply, 16 for seaports and 158 for their towns.  Total 267 with 40 Personnel points.

The Union convert four 4-2 militia to 4-3 infantry, a 4-1 to a 4-3, fifteen garrison to a 7-3 and 8-3 infantry divisions, augment a 3-3 to a 10-3, raise 10 militia and 7 garrison, start building a Naval Flotilla, a Naval Transport and a Supply Train.  They have 36 supply left.

The Confederates convert 17 militia from four Departments to two 4-3 and three 3-3 infantry divisions, augment a 3-3 to a 10-3, convert 10 garrison to a 10-3 and raise 11 new militia.  They also start construction of another ironclad.  They have 144 supply remaining.

Union production is 10 Militia, 20 garrison (which goes 10 to Washington, and 5 each to St Louis and Baltimore), a 4-3 which goes to Baltimore and a 2-3 which goes to Washington and is amalgamated with one of McDowell's divisions.

Confederate production is much more substantive.  10 militia, 23 garrison, 5 strength cavalry division, two 10 strength infantry divisions (one to Memphis and one to Richmond), four 3 strength divisions that go to the other Departments and a 2 strength brigade that goes to Richmond.

Boths sides continue to fit out their ironclads.

The Confederates build a fort in Richmond.

The Union appointment Halleck to be commander of the Army of Missouri.  He says they couldn't have given it to a better man.

Jackson appears in Memphis, Longstreet pops up in Richmond.  Jackson gets the 3rd Corps that Hardee thought he was going to get.  Longstreet usurps Johnston for command of the 2nd Corps.  But wait a minute... They already have Longstreet?  Bit of glitch in the Vassal counter mix.  The existing Longstreet is really Stuart.  There also seems to be a leader missing.

Union supply is 25 using 3 rail.

Confederate supply is 23 using 5 rail.

Both Missouri and Kentucky provide militia for the Union.  The Kentucky militia are placed in Columbus and Paducah.  Halleck puts the Missouri militia into his army.

Week 17

The Confederates are sticking with their two free initiatives and will be going first.  The Union have one.  Boths sides have much to do, but very little to do it with.

My thinking is that the Confederates need bold plans, particularly while they hold the advantage in leadership.

Beauregard will attack Buell in the Shenandoah.
If Beauregard stays at Manassas he can be outflanked by the three crossings highlighted.
He has supplies and Buell does not (and he knows he outnumbers him 3 to 1)

Beauregard, in a careful force march done in stages, still manages to lose 2 strength factors.

In the West Jackson heads north to confront Lyon.  He strips Polk of his army and leaves him, and Hardee, sulking).  He will be able to pick up more militia at Fort Pillow which is a village, which will make up for the loss of one militia during a forced march.

The wagon train will hold Jackson back and so will need to go by rail.

Van Dorn fails to activate.  He was thinking of having a final go against Fort Pickens before the Union reinforcements arrive.

Longstreet is still being fitted for his new uniform, but Johnston takes the newly arrived troops at Richmond up to Fredericksburg, hoping Stuart will pull back, but he doesn't.  Magruder fails to show initiative, not that there is much for him to.

Beauregard attacks!  He is on the 251-400 column of CRT 3.  Neither side needed supplies.  The result is equal casualties (2) on both sides.  At best inconclusive, possibly a strategic win for the Union, depending on how they respond...

Burnside is ordered to Winchester.  None of the other Union commanders in the East show the slightest interest in moving.  There will be no attacks.

In what might be a successful delaying tactic, Lyon has the rail line running from Humboldt to Union City cut.  Militia is also raised in Cairo (and Washington).

Reinforcements arrive in Fort Pickens which means the Porter is now free to move his fleet to further interfere with Confederate coastal shipping and possibly even sail up the Mississippi.

Week 18

The Union get three free initiatives.  What can they do?

The Union rush reinforcements from Cairo to the siege of the Confederate fort on Island No. 10. They also send the railroad repair unit to repair the broken Ohio-Baltimore line.

Burnside wishes he could clear out Confederate pickets on his left flank.  McClellan and McDowell sit put.

Trying a new tactic, Lyon sends a forlorn hope of militia down the Mississippi to block Jackson's path.  Halleck and Banks do nothing.  More militia is raised in Cairo.

Jackson pushes the Union militia back, destroying one point for no loss.

Stuart is ordered back to Fredericksburg to join J Johnston.  Longstreet and Magruder stay in Richmond having a chat.

Von Dorn does nothing as does Polk.  Hardee is told to stay put.

Jackson attacks the Union militia wiping it out.  This has consumed valuable resources, but he has enough for one or more battles still.

Week 19

The Union have no free initiative giving the Confederates a back to back move.

Jackson advances on Union City.

Longstreet is ordered to Fredericksburg where he has a leisurely chat with Johnston and Stuart. Magruder is told to stay in Richmond.  Van Dorn heads for Mobile.

Hardee obeys his orders to stay in Memphis, Polk disobeys his to go to Missouri pointing out that he doesn't have an army.  Price, while waiting for Polk, has an idea, but doesn't act on it.

Jackson attacks the Union forces besieging Island No. 10.  It is on the 161-200 column of CRT 4. The Union have to retreat and lose 40% casualties (4 points to the Confederates 3 points).  The siege is lifted.

Lyon thinks carefully about attacking.  He has 11 factors to Jackson's 15.  However if he defends he has an extra 10 plus two River Flotillas which makes his position very strong.  Of course Banks and Halleck don't use their initiative to send him any reinforcements.  At least more militia is raised in Cairo.

Over in the East the Union generals do nothing.

Week 20

Again the Union get zero free initiative.

Johnston takes some militia back to Richmond.  Everyone else in the east stays put.

Jackson pulls back so he can resupply.  Everyone else in the west stays put.

The Union do very little.  Porter orders a flotilla to stop the Confederate coastal trade to Brashear.

The big picture in The East.  
Each side has two armies in the field which are evenly matched.

The big picture in The Gulf.
The Union are aware an Ironclad is being fitted out by the Confederates in New Orleans.
As a result they have kept out of the Mississippi.

The big picture in The West.
There are two armies on each side here as well.
More interesting is Kentucky as the rebels currently only hold sway in one centre.


Confederates lost 8 strength points while the Union lost 9.


  1. This continues to be a very interesting game. As I have mentioned before, I have never played WBtS but have some experience with Victory Games' The Civil War. Watching your play, WBtS reminds me very much of TCV. From memory (and that is a very long time ago), I recall the game being a rewarding experience. If you have an interest in giving that a try via VASSAL, I would enjoy seeing that. I would even enjoy participating! I believe VG's Civil War may have inspired GMT's The U.S. Civil War.

    1. I'm enjoying doing the write ups and it helps me keep track of the game as well, plus gives me something to share and look back upon. It's deadly engrossing!

      The only other ACW boardgame I've played is A House Divided.

      War Between The States was a game I missed when I was a teenager and so was something I wanted to play, plus having played it recently, playing it again solo via Vassal held some attraction (as in I knew the rules). I'm just blown away by how good the changes Don Johnson made to the new edition of the rules have been.

      I did see a review of some equivalent games and I think it included the two you mention. Getting the political and naval aspects to work in with supply, production and land combat must be an attractive challenge to game developers.

      I find Vassal tricky enough solo. Trying to play against an opponent would require a high degree of coordination and communication in my expectation. Obviously not impossible, but I would want to do some testing first.