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Offline Tripoli

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Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« on: November 10, 2019, 02:52:39 PM »
I’m going to be starting an AAR in Ageod’s Civil War II (hereinafter CWII) I will be playing as the Union.  I have very little experience in this game, so I will doubtlessly make a lot of mistakes along the way.  Before I start the game, I prepared an assessment of the battlespace, which is posted below:

 
Analysis of the Battlespace

Significant Characteristics of the Battlespace Environment:  The Area of Operations is geographically huge-the entire 3.119 million square miles of the continental United States.  Confederate territory alone is almost one million miles in area.   
This area is roughly divided in roughly four theaters which are partially geographically isolated from each other. These theaters are the Eastern, the Western, the trans-Mississippi, and the Far West.  The Eastern Theater consists of the States of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and parts of Pennsylvania.  It is largely separated from the Western Theater by the Appalachian Mountains, which act as a barrier to large scale military operations.  Only a rail line running between Baltimore through Harper’s Ferry and on to Ohio and a second line running through northern Pennsylvania allow for significant military movement between the Eastern and Western theaters.  The CSA territory in this theater can only be entered from the north, through Virginia, or the south, via a march around the bottom of the Appalachians.  (https://erenow.net/ww/theamericancivilwar/6.php)

Image 1. The Theaters of the Civil War


   
Geographically, The Eastern Theater is the smallest area, amounting to only 118,280 square miles (if all of Pennsylvania is included). However, it contains some of the densest concentrations of population and industry for the CSA.  It has the highest density of railroads, ports and roadways. It also features the capitals of both the Union and Confederacy. The Eastern Theater has a narrow and very defensible border between the USA and CSA.  Here, the front is merely 125 miles long along the Chesapeake-Washington DC-Shenandoah axis, widening to 167 miles along the Chesapeake-Richmond-Shenandoah axis.  Further, the rivers in this area run generally in an east-west direction, perpendicular to the north-south axis of attack, giving a defender a series of defensive positions from attacks from the north or south.    However, the defensive advantage of the Eastern Theater is partially mitigated by the long coast lines, which gives the superior Union navy the ability to extend the Confederate defenses through amphibious operations.   Additionally, the presence of a relatively dense railroad network and numerous seaports eases the problems of supplying a Union army in this theater.

Image 2. Railroads Ports and Strategic Cities of the Confederacy. Note: I've modified this image to include the Strategic Cities (denoted by stars) and the CWII port sizes (denoted by numbers indicating the size of the major and surrounding ports as denoted in the game)




The next theater is the Western Theater.  It is largely separated from the Eastern Theater by the Appalachian mountains and the trans-Mississippi Theater by the Mississippi River.   It is much larger than the Eastern Theater, with a total area of 315,364 square miles.  The road and rail network in this theater is relatively under-developed. This, in addition to its size makes movement and supply of large military units difficult, and restrict most large military formations to operations along these rivers or the few rail lines that region.

 However, the Mississippi and Ohio rivers offer excellent transportation routes along the northern and western borders of this theater.  Additionally, unlike the east, the rivers in the west run in a generally north-south direction, allowing them to act as avenues of advance, rather than obstacles.  Rivers such as the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers offer a LOC into the south eastern portion of the Confederacy.  Additionally, the long coastline opens up the possibility of significant Union amphibious flanking operations.
 
   The third theater is the trans-Mississippi.  It is geographically very large amounting to 576,955 square miles (if the entirety of Kansas, Texas and Louisiana is included) and largely undeveloped, having few significant population centers, ports, rail lines, roads and navigable rivers. This underdeveloped transportation system will limit the size of forces in this region. However, the lack of almost any militarily important objectives will limit the need for such large military formations.    Only to the extent the region impacts transportation along the Mississippi River does the region become militarily significant.   

The Far Western theater lies west of the 100 degree latitude and is generally separated from the trans-Mississippi by both its large size, undeveloped transportation network and the Rocky Mountains.  It and consists of the territories of New Mexico, Colorado, parts of Texas, the Dakotas westward to the Pacific Ocean.  There are no military objectives in this region.

 Overall, the South lacks large cities, and most that it has are deep within its territory or otherwise difficult to seize. Only Richmond lies within easy reach (Image 3.  See also Image 2, showing the location of the Strategic Cities).

Image 3.  Urbanization of Population, 1860.



  The absence of large centers of population and industry mean that the CSA can trade space for time, and require the Union to either make long, attrition-producing marches or travel along rivers.  It also creates logistical difficulties in traveling over such long distances. ( https://erenow.net/ww/theamericancivilwar/6.php; https://eh.net/encyclopedia/the-economics-of-the-civil-war/)

Political Geography

At the start of the game, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana and Texas have seceded.  In the game Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas will also seceded according to the historical timeline.  Presumably, the Arizona territory will also secede, as it did in 1862.  The border state of Kentucky is neutral, and cannot be entered at game start.  However, the border states of Missouri and West Virginia can be entered.
 

CWII tracks to public support for the union on a regional basis.  The screen shot uses darker areas of blue to show higher levels of support for the Union, and darker areas of grey to denote support for the Confederacy.  Notably, most of Missouri is grey, indicating strong support for the CSA in that state.  The western shore of the Chesapeake, including Washington DC and Baltimore, also display pro-confederacy sympathy.  Conversely West Virginia is decidedly pro-Union, and sections of east Tennessee and section of the Tennessee River extending into northern Alabama have pro-Union sympathy. (Image 4).

Image 4. Political Loyalty by Region (Darker Color of Blue=Pro-Union; Darker Color of Grey=Pro-CSA)



 
The CSA has a higher national morale (100) than the Union (85).  Moreover, the CSA morale has to be reduced to 20 to trigger an auto victory, as opposed to the Union, which must be reduced to only 40. 
At the game start, the foreign intervention score is only 2, meaning that at the start of the game, the CSA will have a difficult time in convincing European powers to assist them.

Economic, transportation, manpower and population

The Union has a decided advantage over the confederates in terms of manufacturing capability.  In 1860, the value of manufactured goods in the North was 11 times that of the south.   In CWII the CSA has half the rail capacity and 67% of the riverine transportation capacity.  The Union has approximately 3.5 times more male military age population than the Confederacy.   

Summary:
   In summary, the Confederacy enjoys more political support, allowing it to suffer more defeats before losing the war than the Union.  It is geographically large, with a dispersed population and industry, allowing it to trade space for time.  In contrast, the Union has a much larger economy and pool of manpower, allowing it to build a larger military.  Its naval advantage will allow it to open up the entirety of the confederate coastline to attack, as well as allowing the Union to by-pass or flank Confederate defensive positions.

Strategy

Based on this analysis, I will be following a modified Anaconda Strategy, similar to that proposed by Gen Scott in June 1861. The Anaconda plan called for a full blockade of the Southern coastline and control of the Mississippi River, isolating Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana from the CSA.  Like Scott, I will seek to initially blockade southern commerce.  Because of the weakness of the Union fleet, initially this blockade will have to be a distant blockade in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, while the Union Fleet is built up.   This blockade will probably intercept no more than 15-20% of CSA commerce.  As the navy is built up, I will establish close blockades (in order) of the Chesapeake Bay, New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, Wilmington/Outer Banks, and Mobile.  This will necessitate building a blue water fleet approximately 4-5times larger than my starting navy.  Additionally, a brown water riverine fleet will need to be built up for use on the Mississippi.  Because of the time it takes to build these ships and their importance in the Union offensives building the navy will be a priority for the first few months of the war. 

I will try to avoid a major attack in the eastern theater in 1861.  This is primarily because the Union needs to build up its army and navy and the necessity to avoid loss of political capital from any defeat.  Additionally, delay means that the Union troops can be better trained and organized to maximize the chance of military victory.  In CWII, the Union is unable to form divisions until October 1861, and and Corps until early 1862.  These formations provide combat bonuses that will help minimize some of the southern military advantages.  These bonuses, combined with the larger Union army I can build after building up the Navy, will help maximize my chances of victory.  While I will engage in no major offensives I will try to secure the B&O rail line from Baltimore to Ohio along the Harper’s Ferry/Clarksburg/Marietta line to open up this LOC between the Eastern and Western Theaters.  I will also try to seize Mananas to cut the rail line to the Shenandoah, and use this position as a starting point for a future push to Richmond. 
 

In the West, I will first focus on building up an invasion army to seize Kentucky and move into Tennessee sometime in the fall.  I am guessing that the Confederate armies in this region will be relatively small, so a number of small division-sized Union forces should be able to seize key terrain without too much fighting.  I will also try to force the confederates out of Missouri by December 1861, in order to open up the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers down to Cape Girardeau.  In Missouri, the Western armies will focus on securing Kentucky, and the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers down to Memphis. 
« Last Edit: November 10, 2019, 02:58:06 PM by Tripoli »


Offline Tripoli

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2019, 02:53:40 PM »
I’m going to be starting an AAR in Ageod’s Civil War II (hereinafter CWII) I will be playing as the Union.  I have very little experience in this game, so I will doubtlessly make a lot of mistakes along the way.  Before I start the game, I prepared an assessment of the battlespace, which is posted below:

 
Analysis of the Battlespace

Significant Characteristics of the Battlespace Environment:  The Area of Operations is geographically huge-the entire 3.119 million square miles of the continental United States.  Confederate territory alone is almost one million miles in area.   
This area is roughly divided in roughly four theaters which are partially geographically isolated from each other. These theaters are the Eastern, the Western, the trans-Mississippi, and the Far West.  The Eastern Theater consists of the States of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and parts of Pennsylvania.  It is largely separated from the Western Theater by the Appalachian Mountains, which act as a barrier to large scale military operations.  Only a rail line running between Baltimore through Harper’s Ferry and on to Ohio and a second line running through northern Pennsylvania allow for significant military movement between the Eastern and Western theaters.  The CSA territory in this theater can only be entered from the north, through Virginia, or the south, via a march around the bottom of the Appalachians.  (https://erenow.net/ww/theamericancivilwar/6.php)

Image 1. The Theaters of the Civil War



   
Geographically, The Eastern Theater is the smallest area, amounting to only 118,280 square miles (if all of Pennsylvania is included). However, it contains some of the densest concentrations of population and industry for the CSA.  It has the highest density of railroads, ports and roadways. It also features the capitals of both the Union and Confederacy. The Eastern Theater has a narrow and very defensible border between the USA and CSA.  Here, the front is merely 125 miles long along the Chesapeake-Washington DC-Shenandoah axis, widening to 167 miles along the Chesapeake-Richmond-Shenandoah axis.  Further, the rivers in this area run generally in an east-west direction, perpendicular to the north-south axis of attack, giving a defender a series of defensive positions from attacks from the north or south.    However, the defensive advantage of the Eastern Theater is partially mitigated by the long coast lines, which gives the superior Union navy the ability to extend the Confederate defenses through amphibious operations.   Additionally, the presence of a relatively dense railroad network and numerous seaports eases the problems of supplying a Union army in this theater.

Image 2. Railroads Ports and Strategic Cities of the Confederacy. Note: I've modified this image to include the Strategic Cities (denoted by stars) and the CWII port sizes (denoted by numbers indicating the size of the major and surrounding ports as denoted in the game)
https://i.imgur.com/jAy2SS1.jpg


The next theater is the Western Theater.  It is largely separated from the Eastern Theater by the Appalachian mountains and the trans-Mississippi Theater by the Mississippi River.   It is much larger than the Eastern Theater, with a total area of 315,364 square miles.  The road and rail network in this theater is relatively under-developed. This, in addition to its size makes movement and supply of large military units difficult, and restrict most large military formations to operations along these rivers or the few rail lines that region.

 However, the Mississippi and Ohio rivers offer excellent transportation routes along the northern and western borders of this theater.  Additionally, unlike the east, the rivers in the west run in a generally north-south direction, allowing them to act as avenues of advance, rather than obstacles.  Rivers such as the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers offer a LOC into the south eastern portion of the Confederacy.  Additionally, the long coastline opens up the possibility of significant Union amphibious flanking operations.
 
   The third theater is the trans-Mississippi.  It is geographically very large amounting to 576,955 square miles (if the entirety of Kansas, Texas and Louisiana is included) and largely undeveloped, having few significant population centers, ports, rail lines, roads and navigable rivers. This underdeveloped transportation system will limit the size of forces in this region. However, the lack of almost any militarily important objectives will limit the need for such large military formations.    Only to the extent the region impacts transportation along the Mississippi River does the region become militarily significant.   

The Far Western theater lies west of the 100 degree latitude and is generally separated from the trans-Mississippi by both its large size, undeveloped transportation network and the Rocky Mountains.  It and consists of the territories of New Mexico, Colorado, parts of Texas, the Dakotas westward to the Pacific Ocean.  There are no military objectives in this region.

 Overall, the South lacks large cities, and most that it has are deep within its territory or otherwise difficult to seize. Only Richmond lies within easy reach (Image 3.  See also Image 2, showing the location of the Strategic Cities).

Image 3.  Urbanization of Population, 1860.

https://i.imgur.com/1IYhtKa.jpg

  The absence of large centers of population and industry mean that the CSA can trade space for time, and require the Union to either make long, attrition-producing marches or travel along rivers.  It also creates logistical difficulties in traveling over such long distances. ( https://erenow.net/ww/theamericancivilwar/6.php; https://eh.net/encyclopedia/the-economics-of-the-civil-war/)

Political Geography

At the start of the game, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana and Texas have seceded.  In the game Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas will also seceded according to the historical timeline.  Presumably, the Arizona territory will also secede, as it did in 1862.  The border state of Kentucky is neutral, and cannot be entered at game start.  However, the border states of Missouri and West Virginia can be entered.
 

CWII tracks to public support for the union on a regional basis.  The screen shot uses darker areas of blue to show higher levels of support for the Union, and darker areas of grey to denote support for the Confederacy.  Notably, most of Missouri is grey, indicating strong support for the CSA in that state.  The western shore of the Chesapeake, including Washington DC and Baltimore, also display pro-confederacy sympathy.  Conversely West Virginia is decidedly pro-Union, and sections of east Tennessee and section of the Tennessee River extending into northern Alabama have pro-Union sympathy. (Image 4).

Image 4. Political Loyalty by Region (Darker Color of Blue=Pro-Union; Darker Color of Grey=Pro-CSA)
https://i.imgur.com/TMTx3PM.jpg

 
The CSA has a higher national morale (100) than the Union (85).  Moreover, the CSA morale has to be reduced to 20 to trigger an auto victory, as opposed to the Union, which must be reduced to only 40. 
At the game start, the foreign intervention score is only 2, meaning that at the start of the game, the CSA will have a difficult time in convincing European powers to assist them.

Economic, transportation, manpower and population

The Union has a decided advantage over the confederates in terms of manufacturing capability.  In 1860, the value of manufactured goods in the North was 11 times that of the south.   In CWII the CSA has half the rail capacity and 67% of the riverine transportation capacity.  The Union has approximately 3.5 times more male military age population than the Confederacy.   

Summary:
   In summary, the Confederacy enjoys more political support, allowing it to suffer more defeats before losing the war than the Union.  It is geographically large, with a dispersed population and industry, allowing it to trade space for time.  In contrast, the Union has a much larger economy and pool of manpower, allowing it to build a larger military.  Its naval advantage will allow it to open up the entirety of the confederate coastline to attack, as well as allowing the Union to by-pass or flank Confederate defensive positions.

Strategy

Based on this analysis, I will be following a modified Anaconda Strategy, similar to that proposed by Gen Scott in June 1861. The Anaconda plan called for a full blockade of the Southern coastline and control of the Mississippi River, isolating Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana from the CSA.  Like Scott, I will seek to initially blockade southern commerce.  Because of the weakness of the Union fleet, initially this blockade will have to be a distant blockade in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, while the Union Fleet is built up.   This blockade will probably intercept no more than 15-20% of CSA commerce.  As the navy is built up, I will establish close blockades (in order) of the Chesapeake Bay, New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, Wilmington/Outer Banks, and Mobile.  This will necessitate building a blue water fleet approximately 4-5times larger than my starting navy.  Additionally, a brown water riverine fleet will need to be built up for use on the Mississippi.  Because of the time it takes to build these ships and their importance in the Union offensives building the navy will be a priority for the first few months of the war. 

I will try to avoid a major attack in the eastern theater in 1861.  This is primarily because the Union needs to build up its army and navy and the necessity to avoid loss of political capital from any defeat.  Additionally, delay means that the Union troops can be better trained and organized to maximize the chance of military victory.  In CWII, the Union is unable to form divisions until October 1861, and and Corps until early 1862.  These formations provide combat bonuses that will help minimize some of the southern military advantages.  These bonuses, combined with the larger Union army I can build after building up the Navy, will help maximize my chances of victory.  While I will engage in no major offensives I will try to secure the B&O rail line from Baltimore to Ohio along the Harper’s Ferry/Clarksburg/Marietta line to open up this LOC between the Eastern and Western Theaters.  I will also try to seize Mananas to cut the rail line to the Shenandoah, and use this position as a starting point for a future push to Richmond. 
 

In the West, I will first focus on building up an invasion army to seize Kentucky and move into Tennessee sometime in the fall.  I am guessing that the Confederate armies in this region will be relatively small, so a number of small division-sized Union forces should be able to seize key terrain without too much fighting.  I will also try to force the confederates out of Missouri by December 1861, in order to open up the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers down to Cape Girardeau.  In Missouri, the Western armies will focus on securing Kentucky, and the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers down to Memphis.

Offline besilarius

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2019, 04:15:28 PM »
Thanks for attempting this massive AAR.  Looking forward to your complete success.
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2019, 10:17:39 AM »
I for one, aside from thus subscribing to the thread, am trying to figure out what Tripoli meant to do in reposting everything in followup...  ::)
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

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Offline Tripoli

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2019, 11:20:59 AM »
I for one, aside from thus subscribing to the thread, am trying to figure out what Tripoli meant to do in reposting everything in followup...  ::)

I have two good explanations for the double posting: 1) You can never get enough AARs on the US Civil War   :) and 2) After I posted the first section of the AAR, I was invited to have it made into a front page article.  I reworked it a bit to meet the high standards of the Grogheads front page,  and it was reposted.  I probably should have taken the original post down.  But then again, you can never have too many postings about the US Civil War......

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2019, 04:47:14 PM »
Congrats on that, btw!  :bd:
Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Strategic Werewolf Axe-chopping Simulator video AAR!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline Zardoz02

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2019, 05:41:39 PM »
Wow what a well-timed AAR!  :smitten: I'm just gearing up to play CW2 but not being American and not knowing that much about the war (apart from knowing not to charge guys hiding behind stone walls...) I need to do a fair bit of reading first. AGEOD games are not toys and jumping straight in is unlikely to end well.
The effort will be worthwhile but. The AGEOD system is well suited to the extra-military sides of wars like this. The national morale captures the starting dynamics perfectly it would seem.

Offline Tripoli

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2019, 05:45:13 PM »
Wow what a well-timed AAR!  :smitten: I'm just gearing up to play CW2 but not being American and not knowing that much about the war (apart from knowing not to charge guys hiding behind stone walls...) I need to do a fair bit of reading first. AGEOD games are not toys and jumping straight in is unlikely to end well.
The effort will be worthwhile but. The AGEOD system is well suited to the extra-military sides of wars like this. The national morale captures the starting dynamics perfectly it would seem.

I'm going to try to put some historical references in the AAR.  Some of them may be useful to you.  AGEOD games are a bit of a challenge, and I'm very new at CWII, so I will doubtless make a number of mistakes.  Unfortunately, that's how the US fought the Civil War: a lot of trial and error, especially early on.  I do like the strategic depth that this game has.

Offline Zardoz02

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2019, 08:50:51 PM »
I see the need to read up on the subject first before I try to play. Everybody tells me to read Shelby Foote but he's a bit... verbose...  :pullhair: Anyway the blow-by-blow description of battles doesn't really help in AGEOD games as I'm sure you know - what today would be called the "geopolitical level" is what matters.

I've looked for something closer to "Civil War for Dummies" and come up with this:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/483932.Shades_of_Blue_and_Gray


Offline al_infierno

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2019, 09:10:04 PM »
Really digging this AAR.  In fact, reading up on this inspired me to spend some more time with English Civil War and I gotta say that the AGEOD system is finally clicking with me.  (Mostly my fault for not realizing this entire time about the Group/Corps mechanics  :2funny: )

Keep it up!  :clap:
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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2019, 09:11:26 PM »
ACW 2 Is the best simulation of the war strategically I know of and maybe the best AGEOD title of all as well. Alea Jacta Est is also very well designed for the Roman Empire era but lacks a Grand Campaign-- it would be like 10,000 turns long to play. ACW 2 Also plays very differently depending which side you play, as it should. Very challenging as the South.  O0
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Offline Tripoli

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2019, 09:26:39 AM »
I see the need to read up on the subject first before I try to play. Everybody tells me to read Shelby Foote but he's a bit... verbose...  :pullhair: Anyway the blow-by-blow description of battles doesn't really help in AGEOD games as I'm sure you know - what today would be called the "geopolitical level" is what matters.

I've looked for something closer to "Civil War for Dummies" and come up with this:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/483932.Shades_of_Blue_and_Gray

One good book on strategy is the one I mentioned in the first part of my AAR: "How the North Won" by Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones.  It is  authoritative (I think it is used in several "graduate-level" courses on the subject, but unlike most graduate level material, it is very readable.

« Last Edit: November 15, 2019, 09:28:13 AM by Tripoli »

Offline besilarius

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Re: Civil War II (Ageod) AAR
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2019, 04:24:03 PM »
Zardoz, although it is dated, Bruce Catton's The Civil War.  Very readable by a master of the history.
“Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don’t find out until too late that he’s been playing with two queens all along”.  Terry Pratchett.

During filming of Airplane, Leslie Nielsen used a whoopee cushion to keep the cast off-balance. Hays said that Nielsen "played that thing like a maestro"

Tallulah Bankhead: "I'll come and make love to you at five o'clock. If I'm late, start without me."

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