The Union Preserved ...
A House Divided made its triumphal return as a Century
event in 2012. While we only had 21 generals on the field of
battle, three of the four previous champions took the field.
As in previous years, we used the basic rules and the 10-turn
1861 scenario. Few players expressed any interest in using optional
rules or longer scenarios. We did make two changes to the format.
First, we added bidding to determine choice of side. Second,
we gave players the option of using a die roll averaging system
for the critical "march" die roll on each turn. Bidding
for sides seemed to be well received. The majority of games resulted
in a final bid of 1 victory point to play the Union. On the other
hand, relatively few players chose to use die roll averaging.
However, those players who chose to use this luck equalizing
option felt that it was a positive addition to the game.
In previous years, the game has proven to be extremely well
balanced. It has also been the case that the Union tended to
win more games between novice players while the confederacy won
more often between experienced players. This pattern did not
continue in 2012. The Union only won a third of all games played.
One general trend was that the Confederate players were far more
aggressive than in the past. It appears as if the Union players
were often unnerved or at least thrown off of their game by this
aggressive stance. It is also noteworthy that the Confederacy
won the majority of games in the first two rounds but from the
Round 3 onward, the Union was back to winning its share of the
games. So, this overall disparity may have simply been a case
of the players being a little rusty and taking a couple of games
to brush up their skills. On the other hand, these tournament
statistics may call into question the wisdom of assuming that
you should bid to play the Union.
The Final was played between two past champions, David Metzger
and Phil Rennert. David began with the traditional "Battle
of Bull Run" but then employed an extremely aggressive western
strategy by moving Union armies down the Mississippi valley and
through Kentucky down to Nashville. Phil responded by gathering
his main Confederate army in Chattanooga as a threat to the Union
advance. However, he quickly turned the tables on the Union by
rapidly moving his army by rail towards Richmond in an attempt
to capture Washington. David was forced to halt his western advance
and focus on reinforcing his eastern army. David was able to
regroup and entrench a sizable Union army at the critical Manassas
Junction crossroads. In an effort to isolate Washington, Phil
made an all out frontal attack on the entrenched Union Army.
While the Confederates held an initial substantial advantage
in numbers, the Army of Northern Virginia was unable to break
the Union entrenchments and the steady stream of reinforcements
from Washington, Harper's Ferry, and Front Royal turned the tide
of battle. The Confederacy saw their last hope disappear on the
bloody fields of Virginia and surrendered shortly after the second
battle of Bull Run. Thus, for the first time in three years of
tournament play, the Union was preserved and government of the
people, by the people, for the people, did not perish from the
Edward Rader and Terry Coleman
Linus Park and Allen Joslyn