|Products||| The Guns of Gettysburg||| Tutorial||| The 7:00 AM Turn, 1 July|
Before we start on the first turn of the game, go ahead and read Section 5: Sequence of Play. When you do, you will see that the first thing in each turn is the Turn Duration Phase, so that’s what we will go ahead and do.
This phase, as its name suggests, is about setting the turn duration for the current turn. Now is the time to read Section 7: The Turn Duration Phase. As stated by the rules, our first order of business is a bit of bookkeeping: we need to update the turn start marker on the time track. For the first turn of the game this means putting the turn start marker on the time track on the 7:00AM to 8:00AM space.
Next, we figure out who is the first player and who is the second player for the turn. Now, legally, either player can be in either role, but the Confederate player starts in the role of second player, and unless he declares Withdrawal general orders (something he very much does not want to do), he will stay second player for the whole game. The Confederate player does not mind this at all. As second player, he gets to control turn duration, which is a powerful thing to be able to do. At the start of the game though, it is not such a powerful thing, because until both armies have at least three blocks in play, the turn duration is locked at one hour per turn. And so the first turn is one hour long, which is indicated by putting the turn end marker on the same time track space as the turn start marker: 7:00AM to 8:00AM. Once marked, the time track will look something like this:
Having completed the Turn Duration Phase, our next order of business is the First Player’s Action Phase. Since the Union player is the first player for this turn, we’ll be taking the Union point of view in our discussion of this phase.
Since you’ve already read the rules for the sequence of play, you know that the first order of business in this phase is drawing a battle token. For the rules on this, read Section 8: Drawing Battle Tokens. Because we cannot keep all the tokens we draw, we will need to be able to make intelligent choices regarding which tokens to keep and which to discard. To this end, it helps a lot to have read the sub-section Artillery Organization and Attacks, which is at the very beginning of Section 13: Attack Moves. There is one other thing that can help us as well: as we may recall, there is an odd little rule in step 5 of Section 4: Tokens and Set-up:
“During play, a player can always peek at whatever is currently the top token on each of his own reinforcement token stacks. (he does not have to reveal them to his opponent).”
Now, if there is one thing the rules are infested with, it is “no peeking” provisions, so being invited to peek is a novelty. Before looking at our tray, let‘s peek at the reinforcement tokens on the top of our three queues (Emmitsburg, Taneytown, and Baltimore):
Thanks to this peek, we know three of the commands that will arrive sometime in the first 24 hours of the game. Now (finally) let’s draw a token from the battle pool and take a look at it: it is a 2-strength Sedgwick artillery token. If we take a look at the token we just drew and the tokens already in the Union tray, we can classify them according to when (now vs. sooner vs. later) we might expect to get the organizationally matching blocks that would enable use to play them. We can use this classification as the basis of a policy for determining which token to keep and which to dump: preferring now to sooner and sooner to later. Because we think it likely that we will be able to play the Sickles token before we will be able to play the Sedgwick token, we’ll keep Sickles and dump Sedgwick:
Before moving on, a couple things are worth noting: First, it is important to be aware of the fact that the Sedgwick token we just dumped was only returned, rather than expended: the difference is that while an expended token is gone for a good, a returned token will be eventually returned to the battle pool, where it can be drawn again later, so don’t mourn the “loss” of the Sedgwick token; we’ll probably see it again. Second, the sooner-is-better-than-later policy we used is just one possible basis for preferring one token over another; there are others and a sophisticated strategy shouldn’t just depend on one criterion for deciding which token to keep and which to drop. The inadequacy of our policy is made evident by the fact that it couldn’t even tell us which of the four “later” tokens to drop. As it happens, I just dropped Sedgwick out of a preference for unique tokens over duplicates. You can decide for yourself whether unique-over-duplicates is a policy you want to emulate.
After drawing a battle token, the next order of business is movement, but we have no reason to move Buford’s blocks (we just set them up) and we have no reinforcements to bring on. So we’ll just sit tight. Our position is unchanged from set-up (Union fields of fire shaded blue):
At the end of our action phase we need to declare general orders for the next turn. This is a good time to read Section 6: Declaring General Orders. Now that section isn’t long, but it is a thicket of special cases. Try not to worry about it too much: they will all make sense in due course. Right now, the applicable special case is that we have to declare “Hold” if one player or the other has no blocks on the map. The Confederates don’t have any blocks on the map, so “Hold” it is.
With the First Player Action Phase completed, now it is time for the Second Player to take his action phase. The Confedeerate player is the second player, so let’s begin, and switch to the Confederate player’s point of view.
The Confederate player, like the Union player, starts with a battle token draw. Same process applies: we get to peek at the top token on each entry queue, and we can use that information to help decide what tokens to keep and what to return:
Now, as the Confederates we really know quite a lot about the order of our reinforcement arrivals, since we not only can see the top tokens on each queue, we also know the corps order at the Chambersburg entry point. Because of this, we know that we probably won’t see any presence from I Corps on the first day. (Although it isn’t impossible — you never know.) Most of the 1 July fighting will fall on III and II Corps. Of the two, III Corps comes in at the same entry point and is the easiest to collect (important for the use of Corps artillery), while II Corps comes in rather scattered, and requires some effort before it can be collected. Anyway, let’s draw a token. Our initial tray, by the way, is really pretty darn good. We can evaluate it the same we evaluated the Union tray, but we’ll define ”Now” a little more liberally since we have no blocks in play yet. For us, “Now” means any token we can play as soon as our first block arrives, no matter what block it is. Anyway, we drew an Early token, so we’ll keep it and dump the McLaws token.
Incidentally, we haven’t yet shown where the returned battle tokens go. The locations of the token return stacks for the opposing armies are shown below:
After drawing our battle token, we next do movement. Now movement is executed in a specific order by type: Withdrawal, Attack, Reinforcement Entry and March, the order of which can be remembered by the acronym WARM. With no blocks in play, we can’t make any withdrawal or attack moves, so we can just proceed with the next type of movement: reinforcement entry.
Reinforcements are tied to the time track tokens. You should have already read the rules section on reinforcement entry during set-up, but now we see the system in action. The first thing we do is flip our time tokens for the current turn to check for reinforcements. As it happens, the time token is a Chambersburg arrival token:
As we already know, the top token on the right-most queue for Chambersburg is Pender, so Pender is now available. To indicate this, we get Pender’s blocks out and place them near the reinforcement entry area. We also get rid of the Pender token on the Entry Queue stack and take a peek at the next token on that stack. It is Anderson. At this point, the situation looks like this (Union fields of fire shaded blue, the Chambersburg entry areas shaded red):
Before performing Pender’s entry move, let’s take a moment to think about Pender’s options. First, Pender doesn’t have to enter right away. If he were to wait off map, he would gain the option of transferring to another entry point next turn. If he does come on right away, he could enter and swing left (north), enter and drive right up the Chambersburg Pike, or he could enter and swing right (south). Pender could also pursue any two of the above: with two blocks available, he could split them and do one operation with one block and another operation with the second block. A great deal could be said about these options, but this is a tutorial and not a game strategy essay, and so we’re just going to pick one: Our plan is going to be to keep Pender’s blocks together and try and push up the gap between the Chambersburg Pike and the Mummasburg Road, trying to open up both roads for later reinforcements to use. Given this, Pender enters off-road as follows (Union fields of fire shaded blue, Confederate fields of fire red, and areas in both Union and Confederate fields of fire striped red and blue):
Now, Pender can’t make any march moves. Pender’s blocks are in Union fields of fire, and blocks can’t make march moves out of positions in enemy fields of fire. (There is also the fact that Pender’s blocks have already moved by reinforcement entry this turn.)
With movement completed for the turn, the only thing left in this action phase is to declare our general orders. Now, since we want to drive Buford back, and we can’t do that unless we’re able to attack, we’ll declare Attack general orders for next turn. (If we were to declare Hold general orders, Buford could just stay put since we couldn’t attack him.) This completes the Confederate action phase. Let’s show the situation at the end of the phase:
Now is the time to read Section 16: Objectives Phase and do what it says. Only the Union player is active in this phase, so we will act as the Union player here. According to the rules, for each hour of the turn, we take any arrival tokens off the time track and put them on the Reinforcements Received Display. With only one hour and one arrival token, this is pretty easy. If for that hour there are more Confederate tokens than Union tokens on the display, the Union gets an objective move. In this case, there is one Confederate token and zero Union tokens, so the Union player gets an objective move. The updating of the Reinforcements Received Display and subsequent objective move is shown below:
And that completes the first turn of the game. Just between set-up and this first turn, we’ve already covered quite a bit of how the game works, but we do have some pretty big topics still to cover: namely march, attack, and withdrawal movement. We’ll start to fill these in with the 8:00 AM turn, which is coming up next.