Great Campaigns of the American
Civil War: 1862
The year 2000 brought change to The Great Campaigns of the
American Civil War (GCACW) series tournament play. Instead of
trying to pack an ever expanding series of games into a five-day
tournament it was decided to consolidate down to two events.
Additional campaign games were added for those who love truly
looonnnng games. The first tournament was titled '1862' which
encompassed four games: Stonewall Jackson's Way, Here
Come the Rebels, Stonewall in the Valley and On
to Richmond. Nineteen players lined up for the fray.
Because the series afford a multitude of scenarios, players
were afforded a choice of six scenarios from which four would
count for tournament credit The scenarios were South Mountain
(HCR), Jackson's March (SJW), Seven Pines (ONR),
Bath (SIV), Gaines Mill (ONR) and McClellan's
South Mountain. This scenario simulates Lee's attempt
to delay Union forces at South Mountain while Confederate forces
consolidated for the battle of Antietam. It is a one turn scenario
that is considered very balanced. And balanced it was. Of eight
games played, four required no bid for side selection, while
the other four had bids of one, two for each side. In the end
though, the Union took five of the eight games.
Jackson's March. This is a classic scenario that simulates
Stonewall Jackson's flank march around Pope during the Second
Manassas Campaign. Scenario rules have been changed through the
years to avoid the unhistorical tactic of Jackson moving further
east to avoid pursuing Union infantry. Player's still favored
the Rebs, bidding an average of 1.5 points for the luxury of
playing them. Confederate players were right, winning a whopping
seven games versus one Union victory. Instead of moving east,
most Rebs moved Northwest out of the reach of Union infantry.
The results were a bit disconcerting to the GM, leading him to
question if this scenario should be used for tournament play
in the future.
Seven Pines. Johnston's final battle of the peninsula
campaign, is also one of the better short scenarios of the series.
It is also well balanced, only an average bid of .12 was provided
to play the Confederates. Even that may have been a little too
much as the Union won five of the seven games played.
Bath. This is a little known scenario listed in "The
Skirmisher" and played with the Stonewall in the
Valley series. It is short, played with small units and simulates
a small engagement during Stonewall's 'Ice March' in January
of 1862. To be honest, the GM picked the scenario to give himself
a dinner break before the evening scenarios. The eight who did
play got a great game. The final tally was two victories for
each side with all close matches. If you haven't given this one
a try, do it!
Gaines Mill. Another scenario from "The Skirmisher",
this one is the opening battle of the Seven Days campaign where
Lee tries to annihilate an isolated portion of McClellen's army
cut off by a swollen river. It also happens to be one of the
best scenarios in the series. Bids varied widely, with two players
bidding victory points for opposite sides, but in the end the
Union won four of six contests.
McClellans's Opportunity. Possibly the most loved scenario
in the series, this is a massive battle that puts the Rebs at
Antietam creek with their backs to the Potomac. Generally considered
a slight edge for the Rebs, players bid an average of 1.5 to
play them. That turned out not to be enough as the Confederates
won five out of six games played.
When preliminary play ended, the following players advanced
to the elimination rounds: Ed Beach, Pat Duffy, Chris Withers,
Bruno Passacatando, Scott Spurgeon, Dave Cross, Jim Pyle and
Quarter Finals -- Jackson's March. Revenge of
the Union! After gaining only one victory in the preliminaries,
the Union won three of four matches in the quarters. Ed Beach,
Dave Cross Chris Withers and Jim Pyle took the honors.
Semis -- Retreat to the James. Ed Beach played
the Confederates in the first semi and moved quickly to almost
surround the Union forces. Dave was unable to recover and Ed
got the win. Jim Pyle played the Rebs against Chris Withers in
the other Semi. Chris played a tenacious defense and was aided
by three failed assaults by Longsreet to get the win.
Finals -- Gaines Mill. This match pitted two
of the best players of the series. Both Ed and Chris have multiple
victories in previous tournaments. Chris bid two to play the
Rebels and quickly regretted it. One of the rules of this scenario
invokes night rules to simulate the Confederates slow start on
the first day. Night came on about as soon as the rule allowed,
keeping Chris from making any major attacks on the first day.
However, he never gave up and was able to save Longsreet's Division
until the end of day two to come up with a late win. Congrats
to Chris and thanks to all that played.