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  • Victory Games Civil War Rules Question

    I am including a couple of posts from another site where we were discussing retreats by leaderless forces in enemy "Territory" this game. So far we are 2-1 in our opinions. I thought a few of you might know of "official" rulings or errata on this issue. I haven't been able to find any. In any case I'd be interested in how any of you played this situation. Many of the rules references are in the poster's words and are not accurate quotes.
    The two posts follow. The first post is a reply to an email with one persons reply in italics so there are actually three speakers in the two posts:

    If there are any other Victory Game The Civil War players out there ... could I get some comments on the following discussion.
    >
    > The one thing I think we do need to resolve is the following rules question. It might not matter often but it's potential impact is game breaking and so would influence play greatly. If nothing else I would appreciate your thoughts as a fellow Civil War player beyond our game. One small reason for the delay was a search for errata and clarification of these rules. I've always seen it played as retreat serves as activation. I assume it is the opposite for you. Would appreciate your thoughts or any definitive rulings that you are aware of.

    > I have a copy of the official errata if you need it. All errats is already included if the rule book you are using is marked 9/83 on back cover - lower right corner.
    > The only retreat I can recall in our game was when Jackson attacked a SP outside of Washington and that the leaderless SP received a Demoralized result which called for it to vacate the hex (in a mandated direction due to river hexside restriction [2nd paragraph 20L) and rule restriction which says you cannot retreat so as to be adjacent to the line of advance used by the force that attacked you - see example on 22L). Is this what you are talking about? Retreat is a result of combat or ZOC reaction movement and doesn't require CPs to perform.

    >
    > It makes little difference in the last retreat but I disagree with your interpretation that leaderless SP's cannot retreat into enemy territory.

    > Rule is defined in 3.5 (15R). It states clearly that there are no exceptions. A SP without a leader cannot enter enemy territory. If allowed, then the SP which was defeated and demoralized could "retreat" forward - capturing towns, VP sites, rail hexes, etc. something a defeated force on the run wouldn't do. Also, it serves to prevent the "stage coach" tactic. For example, using a good leader to move SPs into a enemy town - have the leader leave the SPs without a leader and go get more SPs - attack the next town, etc.
    >
    > I assume you are basing this on the First sentence in retreat priorities 21-R (bottom) and Rule 3.5 regarding enemy territory. While this rule states that there are no exceptions, in the same sentence it clearly states that the force cannot be activated without a leader. Retreats are moves but they do not require activation or movement points.

    > Actually, it states first that to enter a enemy hex you must have a leader and then it states in another sentence should a force later lose its leader it could not be activated for movement. The second statement is used to cover situations in which a SP is in enemy territory legally but later loses a leader DUE to Leader Loss Check. The force still couldn't move "forward" into rebel territory due to 22L. If forced to retreat due to combat, it is eliminated.
    >
    > Nowhere in the movement rules are retreats let alone retreats into enemy territory addressed. I don't believe the movement rules intended to address retreats. Also in eleven examples given for retreats and three additional listed priorities none of them refer to any prohibition of retreating into empty, uncontested, wide open enemy territory.
    > It does state at the end of the rules section that "A force that is unable to retreat due to restricted terrain or the presence of enemy forces is completely eliminated".

    By 3.5 vacant enemy territory is forbidden to a leaderless force. By 22-L a navagable river hexside is forbidden for retreat across. There is no retreat allowed in enemy territory - if forced to do so, such a force is eliminated. The movement rules do not address demoralized movement (which is involuntary) - it is explained in the combat results section.
    >
    > Terrain 3.3 and Territory 3.5 are separate rules sections. The four types of restricted terrain are clearly listed, mountain hexes, mountain hex sides, all-sea hex sides, and impassable hex sides. The only other map feature in the retreat rules that restricts retreat is navigable river hex sides. Just those five. There is no mention of territory at all.

    > Just exactly how do you think he should have retreated? So as to gain rail hexes, capture VP cities and profit from the loss of battle? Would you like to see an attack on Washington - beat the rebs only to watch them retreat forward into Baltimore instead of back the way they came? How about using a cavalry leader - run 1 or 2 SPs deep into the heart of Union territory and have the Cavalry leader leave (converting the SPs into Infantry and claiming the VPs? This was ahistorical as well - units of men were never led into enemy territory - "dropped off" fo fend for themselves while the command staff went back for more units.
    >
    > Outside of the rules it just rubs me the wrong way that 5,000 men in railway cars can move through a hex that 100,000 couldn't reoccupy after attacking.
    >
    > The provisions of 3.3 restricted terrain address movement requiring CPs - not demoralized retreat from combat. In demoralized retreat from combat it does address the fact you cannot enter prohibited terrain. For example, if you want to interpret the rules in this manner - than you must have a problem with a fort preventing movement across a river (navagable and non-navagable)? The same arguments apply. A fort with 5,000 men can prevent a 100,000 army from crossing.... No game or rules system ever covers everything they way it happened historically. Why not address other issues - how can you know where every enemy unit is located (they couldn't during the war)? How can you change the actual priorities used during the war to reflect what you think is right rather than what the politics of the day dictated? Why are you not using leaders in the order of rank priority - relieving them only after they proved their inability to lead (as happened historically)? Any
    > game has a structure and to replay the ACW the way it actually happened would be boring. Games provide structures within which both players inovate and lead.
    >
    > Now, I could be wrong - never afraid to admit that. If you wish - we can post to the site and get other opinions. However, I do not intend to get into a arguement over any rule period. If we disagree - so be it.

    >

    ---
    THE SECOND POST>

    > Gentlemen,
    >
    > An interesting question. I've played the game
    > many times and yet this question never came up. We
    > always played the situation as one where the
    > leaderless force could retreat. In practice, this is
    > a death sentence for the retreating force since it is
    > demoralized and will usually lose a SP in the next
    > Rally Phase, unless the player wishes to send a leader
    > and expend the CP's to rally. Though in reading the
    > rules carefully, I would have to agree that the rules
    > argue for elimination of the retreating SP.
    > Again, in practice, the various scenarios offered
    > in defense of the rules are very, very unlikely.
    > Units cannot retreat forward since rule 4.7 clearly
    > prohibits it- the defender cannot retreat into a hex
    > adjacent to
    > the hex from which the the attacker entered the
    > defender's hex. The leaderless force could indeed
    > possibly retreat into an enemy city or railroad hex,
    > but I don't see this as terribly harmful. Most
    > leaderless forces are of 1 SP and so a retreat will
    > usually mean their end. Sending led forces deep into
    > enemy territory and then abandoning them also ensures
    > their death since any combat will demoralize them and
    > they will not be able to rally due to lack of supply.
    > Hitting such an unsupplied small leaderless force
    > (cavalry forces are usually 1 or 2 SPs) with a single
    > SP will do them in. If the lost city or railroad hex
    > is extremely valuable, then leaving it undefended is
    > unwise.
    > In the 1993 errata, under 10.2 (40R), it is
    > suggested that such a tactic with cavalry should be
    > avoided and that house rules are encouraged to prevent
    > abuse. In my experience, such tactics are very costly
    > in the long run- the cost in valuable CPs is great and
    > the forces sent are almost always lost. I can
    > envision, however, a clever player using cavalry to
    > cut off army supply. But that is a legitimate tactic.
    > On the other hand, say that a Yankee force occupies
    > Nashville in 1863. The USA army has moved forward.
    > The occupying force (let's say that it is 4 SPs- a
    > medium force of 20,000 men) happens to be leaderless.
    > The initiative rolls go the Reb's way and he is able
    > to get an attack on Nashville. The Reb player wins
    > and demoralizes the Yank force. Should 20,000 men die
    > because the rules seem to say that they cannot retreat
    > to an adjacent open, undefended hex? Such a result
    > appears foolish to me. The concern that a retreating
    > leaderless force could temporarily convert a city or a
    > railroad hex seems outweighed by the possibility that
    > a
    > larger force is eliminated in an absurd fashion.
    > So the long and short of it is that, technically,
    > the force should be eliminated. But I would argue for
    > allowing the unit to retreat (knowing that if it's a
    > SP, it will die in the Rally Phase). If the
    > retreating player wishes to send a leader and expend
    > the CPs to save the SPs, then let him do so. My two
    > cents.
    >
    > Alex
    Last edited by Widow Maker; 09 Feb 07, 09:57.
    "Put guards on all the roads, and don't let the men run to the rear."
    Major General John Buford's final words on his deathbed.

  • #2
    My own take on it in brief is that the retreat rules never refer to territory prohibiting retreat and it was never intended to. I have never seen it played where it did. To repeat myself nowhere in 11 examples of retreats and 3 additional examples of retreat priorities is enemy territory mentioned. Prohibited terrain is mentioned but terrain and territory are clearly seperated in the rules they each have their own rules sections. With the extensive examples of retreats I just never thought the territory was a factor if it was never mentioned in any part of the retreat rules.

    Small forces in enemy territory are vulnerable under either interpretation of the rules. But a single leader casualty can cause the immediate loss of large army even after a lost battle with no loss in strength points. The complete loss of armies 20,000-50,000 (or more) in supply, in the open field, with no other significant effect on either army just doesn't seem appropriate to the Civil War.

    Now my opponent has agreed to play by either interpretation but as you can see he has his preference. We just thought we would poll other players of this game to see how they handled this grey area.
    Last edited by Widow Maker; 09 Feb 07, 10:20.
    "Put guards on all the roads, and don't let the men run to the rear."
    Major General John Buford's final words on his deathbed.

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