Tuesday, January 9, 2018

WBTS via Vassal - The End

Charleston, where the war started and is yet to reach.

Charleston is the last remaining city that is free from siege and connected to the "rest" of the Confederacy.

There are rumours of a Confederacy in the far west, but even if true it is of no consequence.

The three remaining Confederate seaports are heavily blockaded, but a trickle of supplies still gets through Savannah and Charleston (thanks to Northern free trade advocates no doubt).  This provides 10 supply.

Atlanta under siege.

Major City supply from Atlanta collapses due to Union presence although New Orleans still seems to be contributing.  It provides 30 supply.

There remain eight towns and one other city (the aforementioned Charleston) still connected to the Confederacy.  They provide 36 supply.

There is still 10 personnel points coming in with the draft.

The Confederates have lost all their current Departments and so production expected this cycle is lost due to there being no active Departments.  That is 10,000 garrison troops and an ironclad lost.

Beauregard's army.

The Confederates can luckily can relocate one Department this cycle.  That could go to Cheraw, SC, and support the armies in the Carolinas, but the troops at Atlanta and New Orleans have to supply themselves and therefore have only another four weeks before they must surrender.

New Orleans is well and truly isolated.  The additional ironclad which was expected is lost due to lack of widgets (an enterprising Southerner had sold them to a company trading out of New Jersey).

Johnston thinks Grant's terms of unconditional surrender are very generous and accepts, although Forrest wants to fight on.  He escapes by dressing up in a sheet and pretending to be a ghost, riding off into a long dark night.

It gets scarier when you add the pointed hat.

Wheeler thinks Sherman's threats to burn Atlanta to the ground are preposterous and he burns Sherman's letter.  Unfortunately the burning letter falls on a pile of newly printed Confederate banknotes that catch fire quickly engulfing Wheeler's HQ that just happens to be located next to a wood pile, ammunition factory and tinder store.  It had been a very dry summer and fall and there was a strong wind blowing... Atlanta is quickly reduced to ash.  Wheeler blames Sherman as it was his letter that started the fire after all.

Atlanta sometime after the devastating fire.

Beauregard considers coming to the rescue of Atlanta.  He could send Taylor by rail, but that would take two weeks.  It also assumes that the Confederates get to move first.  It seems a futile gesture and would leave the Carolinas at the peril of the Northern aggressor.  He is also conscious that the war started in Charleston, SC, and if it continues the war could well end up there.  He does the unthinkable and surrenders.  He later finds a winning lottery ticket in his pocket.

A very poorly staged recreation of Beauregard finding the winning lottery ticket.

The End


War Between the States is a monster game.  It strikes me as an excellent recreation of the strategic course of the American Civil War.  It has been immensely enjoyable to play solo using Vassal.  I am sure I made some mistakes (not identifying the need to match the new generals with the casualty chart was probably the main one - there should have been 2 star generals), but all in all I think it worked out well.

The Confederates came very close to winning, but after the loss of Lee and his army at the point of victory, it was perhaps inevitable that they would lose, although this wasn't a given.  A bit more partisan activity could have delayed the Union efforts substantially, as would more scorched earth retreating.

I'm tempted to go back and see if the Union can make an early capture of New Orleans.  I think not if the Confederates take immediate precautions.

The only part of the game that didn't work for me were sieges.

If it was possible to play with the strengths of the various forces hidden then it would be a whole different game again.  Although I think it would then be necessary for players to keep detailed intelligence reports on enemy troop compositions. It would also be fiddly with the counters based on my previous face to face playing of this game.  I think the uncertainty of getting generals to attack recreates this somewhat, however it was possible for the Union to make sure thing attacks with their navy on rebel held forts once they knew the troops stationed in them.

Donald Johnston's 2016 revisions have made this an even better game.


  1. A monumental undertaking and one I enjoyed. I especially enjoyed the humor woven in to explain the unseen.

    Great stuff!

    1. Thank you Jonathan. Your comment is much appreciated and I'm glad you enjoyed the posts.

  2. Fascinating narrative of a whole war. Quite entertaining, too.

    1. Thank you. I must admit I enjoyed crafting the posts. When I first started blogging I stated that to me a good game was one that produced a narrative as you played. With WBTS this was certainly the case for me and I just had to "get it down". It magnified my enjoyment of the game and also helped me recall what was going on in between sessions.