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Author Topic: Scenario design for the opening hours of Gettysburg  (Read 529 times)
Norm
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« on: 01 December 2019, 04:22:30 PM »

I have been looking at the opening hours of the Gettysburg battle, immediately in front of McPherson Ridge and been playing around with both 12mm and 28mm with Black Powder II rules.

Blog Link
http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2019/12/working-on-mcpherson-ridge-scenario.html
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paulr
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« Reply #1 on: 01 December 2019, 06:39:34 PM »

An different approach to Gettysburg  Wink

A really interesting small scenario extracted from a much larger battle Smiley

Also an interesting discussion on how the timing impacts the game tension (consider this phrase borrowed)
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mollinary
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« Reply #2 on: 01 December 2019, 07:22:04 PM »

Thanks for posting the link. As Paul says, it is always interesting seeing someone wrestling with the complexities of scenario design. I think those who donít try it, donít really get how complex and challenging it is!   Many years ago I spent a lot of time analysing Gettysburg, both as a whole and day by day.  I was struck  by how few casualties were suffered by both sides in these early Day 1 encounters. As I delved deeper, it seemed to me that the reason was twofold. Firstly, the Confederates did not know they were in a race, and therefore did not press as hard as they might have. The real power of the US cavalry in delaying the Confederate advance on Gettysburg was not so much the scale of casualties they caused, but that they forced their opponents to deploy off their line of march, and advance through the fields. Their breech loading carbines were not particularly effective in causing casualties, but their skirmishing tactics of steadily dropping back through their supports, and forming new lines, before the Confederates could come to grips, brought the whole advance to a grinding halt.  By the time the Confederates brought up sufficient force, including artillery, to push through, Union infantry support had come up. It was that which brought the advance to a stall, and brought on the proper engagement. Because wargames rules tend to concentrate on casualties to achieve results, it is rather difficult to reproduce such delaying actions effectively. Certainly, I have never found it!
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mad lemmey
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« Reply #3 on: 01 December 2019, 07:33:55 PM »

Buford, the real hero
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Steve J
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« Reply #4 on: 01 December 2019, 09:05:50 PM »

Nice to take a part of such a big battle and make an interesting scenario out of it.
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Norm
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« Reply #5 on: 01 December 2019, 10:56:33 PM »

Thanks - This is actually a cut from a slightly bigger scenario that I did a couple of years ago, which widened the table to include Davis' 4th Brigade, which entered the board left of Archer and fought on the other side of the rail cut and road.

I ran the game with a modified version (for hexes) of Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames. LINK
http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2015/10/1-hour-wargames-big-battle.html

This time, taking a very narrow view of just one brigade against the ridge was interesting and useful as a small table / small battle exercise, but more than that, just putting the focus here has made me really think about the cavalry role. Black Powder seemed to do a good job on the cavalry, though as mentioned, in a small game like this, a few wayward dice can be the real driver of the game.  In the game, two results caused cavalry regiments to pull back a full move and that just played into the picture of cavalry falling back as part of a fluid response to the enemy advance.

The accounts that I have read give the sense of a cavalry ambush, letting their surroundings count as cover against fire (not assault) also added to the feel. 

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paulr
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« Reply #6 on: 01 December 2019, 11:55:43 PM »

...it is always interesting seeing someone wrestling with the complexities of scenario design. I think those who donít try it, donít really get how complex and challenging it is!   

Well said, they also donít get to see how rewarding it is when a scenario works Smiley
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Steve J
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« Reply #7 on: 02 December 2019, 07:04:07 AM »

Scenario design is always a bit of a tricky thing. I've found it really helps if you know the ruleset being used when you go about setting it up. A piece of terrain in the wrong place, one extra unit etc can make a big difference. Sometimes the only way is to run the scenario several times to iron out the vagaries if die rolls, tweak forces etc. It then becomes even harder IMHO when you use another ruleset, as the rules themselves may throw up situations that simply wouldn't occur with other rules.
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Norm
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« Reply #8 on: 02 December 2019, 08:14:12 AM »

Yes, designing some 'scripting' in, such as the order that units will make it to the ridge is almost bound to unravel with differing rule sets and if the scenario hinges on that design principle, then a 'generic' scenario for multiple rule use probably needs other factors to become deciding factors - even with Black Powder, the rolling for going into Command see see how many order you can execute carries so many variable that within a few turns a game can open up into something beyond a scenario designers intention.

I'm really quite interested in exploring that idea. A simple scenario like this without too many parameters may be a useful tool to examine rule differences rather than seeking to get a good game on that occasion - if that is the exercise!
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mad lemmey
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« Reply #9 on: 02 December 2019, 09:27:56 AM »

If you need Gettysburg opening hours...
https://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/hours.htm
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Steve J
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« Reply #10 on: 02 December 2019, 10:13:45 AM »

Will, time to get you blue or grey coat... Wink Grin
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mad lemmey
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« Reply #11 on: 02 December 2019, 10:57:31 AM »

I thank you!  Grin
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Dave Fielder
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« Reply #12 on: 02 December 2019, 12:37:45 PM »

I can see a replay in Bloody Big 'Bristol' Battles beckoning, haven't had the ACWs out for a while now.
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Chris Pringle
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« Reply #13 on: 02 December 2019, 12:59:22 PM »

Nice post, Norm. Lots of good comments here.

I agree it's interesting to examine a delaying action. Zooming right in on McPherson Ridge as you have done is one approach. Naturally for BBB I went the opposite way and zoomed right out: my BBB Gettysburg scenario covers all three days (while still being playable in an evening). I'm quite proud of it - I have US friends who live near the battlefield, know the battle well, yet said after fighting it with BBB 'oh, now I finally get it'.

Anyway, to get to my point: by zooming out, you not only discover the tension on the Confederate side between whether to shake out in the woods (driving Buford back methodically but possibly too slowly) or try to charge down the road (risking both heavy casualties and failure); you also discover the tension for Buford between fighting hard to delay and preserving his force for later.

In my scenario the latter tension is abstracted. At the end of the first day, the US player may choose to withdraw Buford (as happened historically). If he doesn't, or if Buford's force has been destroyed, the off-table cavalry action at East Field is more likely to go Stuart's way, with the risk that instead of Kilpatrick turning up for the Union on Day 3, the Confederacy gets some rampant cavalry.

My scenario is in the BBB files at groups.io for anyone who's interested:
https://groups.io/g/bloodybigbattles/files

I can see a replay in Bloody Big 'Bristol' Battles beckoning, haven't had the ACWs out for a while now.

Excellent, looking forward to that!

Chris

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http://bloodybigbattles.blogspot.com/

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paulr
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« Reply #14 on: 02 December 2019, 11:28:31 PM »

Naturally for BBB I went the opposite way and zoomed right out: my BBB Gettysburg scenario covers all three days (while still being playable in an evening). I'm quite proud of it - I have US friends who live near the battlefield, know the battle well, yet said after fighting it with BBB 'oh, now I finally get it'.

That is a real compliment not only to the scenario but the rules as well Applause Applause Applause
It sounds like you are justly proud of the scenario  Smiley Smiley Smiley

This is one of the real strengths of historical wargaming, it can lead to a much deeper understanding of the battles and the challenges faced by the commanders
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