|Products||| The Guns of Gettysburg||| Tutorial||| The 8:00 AM Turn, 1 July|
In this turn, we now have both Union and Confederate units in play. Because the only Union forces are cavalry, and the Union player doesn’t intend to fight with his cavalry, we won’t have any attacks yet, but we will still learn something about them: namely how to tell when an attack can be legally made. A second major topic will be how withdrawal works. Anyway, let’s get on with the turn.
As with last turn, we start with the Turn Duration Phase. The turn start marker is updated to the 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM space. The player roles are unchanged: the Union player is still first player and the Confederate player is still second player. With both sides having fewer than three blocks in play, and with the Confederates under Attack general orders, the turn duration is doubly locked at one hour. And so we put the turn end marker in the same space as the turn start marker, making the time track look like this:
With no change since last turn regarding reinforcements (Howard, Sickles, and Slocum are the soonest expected reinforcements) we can get right to it and draw a battle token. This time, we draw a 2-strength Reynolds token. Having no compelling reason to keep it instead of one of the tokens we already have, we’ll just return it to the Token Return stack:
We are not under Withdrawal general orders, but we already know that because Buford is cavalry, he can make voluntary withdrawal moves anyway. Before getting into the mechanics of withdrawal movement, let’s consider the more basic question of whether Buford should withdraw at all. With a little thought, we might be able to think of several good reasons for Buford to withdraw, but our most pressing and immediate reason is to ensure that Buford isn’t attacked. To get started in answering that question, you will want to read step 1 in the attack procedure, Attack Declaration in Section 13: Attack Moves in the rule book.
The first requirement for an army to attack is for it to be under Attack general orders. The Confederates are. A second requirement is that a player needs battle tokens in his tray to attack, one token for each block entering an enemy position. Well, the Confederates have 8 tokens, so they have no problem there. A third requirement is that an attack against an enemy-occupied position requires a leading block with a strength of 2. All Confederate full-strength blocks have a strength of 2, so we know that isn’t a problem for the Confederates either.
With the above preliminaries out of the way, we get down to the nitty-gritty. To attack, blocks need to be a legal attack path to the position they are attacking. Attack paths are closely connected to fields of fire: in general, a block can attack an enemy block if the enemy block is in the attacking block’s field of fire, or if the attacking block is in the defending block’s field of fire. Because the Confederate blocks are in Buford’s field of fire, we know that Buford has to withdraw, but before we withdraw him, as a learning exercise let’s take a minute and examine the fields of fire of each Confederate block individually, and all the possible attack moves each Confederate block could take:
Out of the above possible attack moves, moves 2 and 7 would be attacks directly against Buford’s position. The other attack moves, to empty positions, could only be made as part of a group attack where the other block would attack Buford. (The southern block can only make moves 5,6,8 or 9 if the northern block makes move 2; similarly the nothern block can only make moves 1,3, or 4 if the southern block makes move 7.)
Once the fundamentals of group attacks are understood, I don’t think there are any surprises except perhaps for attack moves 5 and 9. For all the other moves, the attack would be against positions in the attacking block’s field of fire, but moves 5 and 9 are not. Why are those moves legal? The answer is that in a group attack an empty position adjacent to a defending block can be attacked if either the position is in the field of fire of the attacking block, or if a hypothetical defending block in that position would have the attacking block in its field of fire. We can see this more clearly if we take another look at attack moves 5 and 9, this time showing what would be the field of fire of a hypothetical Union block in the empty positions:
Anyway, with that subject taken care of, let’s move on to the actual withdrawal itself. Go ahead and read Section 14: Withdrawal Moves. There are a lot of details in the withdrawal rules, but the main thing about withdrawals is that they are about increasing separation. At the moment, Buford is in an enemy field of fire and so is at separation 2. If possible, his first withdrawal step must be to a separation 3 position (not in an enemy field of fire and not in or adjacent to an enemy position) and. After his first step, he can keep withdrawing (up to 3 steps total distance making a mounted withdrawal) as long as he keeps to seperation 3 positions. Although Buford could withdraw a long way, we don’t actually want him to. His mission is to to slow down the Confederates, and so we want to withdraw him the shortest disance we can that would be safe from a Confederate attack. We also want to continue to cover the Chambersburg Pike so that any incoming Confederate reinforcements can’t use it for road movement. Let’s take a look at the four possible withdrawals Buford could take:
If you may remember, during the set-up discussion we said that about the only way for the Union player to accidentally lose Buford would be to let a Confederate block into his rear. Well, withdrawal 1 would do exactly that, so we’ll pass on that one. Withdrawal 2 and 3 are both pretty similar, except that withdrawal 2 offers better coverage in terms of field of fire. Withdrawal 4 is rather a surprise. From a rules perspective, withdrawal 4 is interesting not only because it shows a full 3-step withdrawal, but also because it shows the effects of a dotted line of sight, which extends Buford’s field of fire from the position shown to include the large triangular area to the right. Withdrawal 4 would be an interesting choice for Buford, since if the Confederates move up Chambersburg Pike Buford might be able to harass their flank. However, it would also make it very difficult for Buford to continue to interdict Chambersburg Pike if the Confederaates follow him, as he would be pushed to the south. Given that we’ve decided that Buford’s mission is to keep Chambersburg Pike covered, we’ll pass on 4 and go with the safer 2.
We have no attacks we can make, and have no possible reinforcements. We could, however, use a march move to bring over Buford’s right block to support the left. However, we will stick with our original plan and leave him be.
With no attacks possible next turn and no reason to declare Withdrawal general orders (our cavalry can withdraw without it), we have no reason not to go ahead and declare Hold general orders again.
And so, at the end of the Union Action Phase, the situation looks like this:
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.
There is one really bad thing about being under Attack general orders: we don’t get to draw a battle token, eliminating the chance to improve our set of battle tokens. Although our tray right now though is really pretty good, as long as the Union player is able to draw tokens while we cannot, the balance of strength is going to generally be shifting in his favor. Still, we need to keep issuing Attack general orders to push back Buford, and so what we have is what we have:
We have no withdrawals to make, and as Buford has withdrawn out of attack distance, so we have no attacks we can make.
Just like last turn, we check for reinforcements by flipping our time token for the turn. This time, however, it is only a RUMOR and so we discard it. Pender is still all we have.
We have an awful lot of march movement choices here. However, most of them would depart from our plan of advancing in the gap between the Chaumersburg Pike and Mummasburg Road, forcing the Chambersburg Pike open, and keeping Pender’s blocks together. Nothing has happened that should make us reconsider that plan, so we will consider only those choices that are consistent with it:
Now there isn’t really that much to choose between these, but option 2 probably gives us the most options for next turn. (It is a good position from which to either push forward, or, if we get another division up the Chambersburg Pike, to swing further north.) Anyway, the choice of option 2 concludes our march movement.
Well, we are still trying to push back Buford, so we need to stay under Attack general orders again. That choice completes the Confederate action phase. Let’s show the situation at the end of the phase:
There was no change in the reinforcements received display: it is still 1 Confederate token vs. 0 Union tokens, so the Union player gets another objective move. Once again, as the Union player we will move the most threatened objective south:
And that completes the second turn of the game. We’ve learned about the requirements for an attack declaration, as well as about the mechanics of withdrawal. In terms of the game situation, the Union is still delaying as the Confederates advance. Until the Union gets some infantry on the board, we probably won’t see a change in that pattern.