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"Grand scale, suggestions on handling forts" Topic

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American Civil War

649 hits since 12 Jan 2018
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gamer1 Inactive Member12 Jan 2018 8:30 a.m. PST

Okay boys and girls, as a labor of love I have been putting together a board game to do the civil war, each turn 3 months, move by division, etc. Have done some play testing, folks like it, still messing with the mechanics. I am struggling with how to simple but realistically handle the various forts, both in size and type.
Example, some forts were your tradition "brick and mortar" while others were mainly earth works and trenches. Some had small garrisons and some at least at times had huge garrisons(Monroe & Fort Donelson). As most of you know different forts proved more difficult to capture than others regardless of what type and how large the garrison.
Any suggestions on how to represent this? How do I show Donelson fell much easier than say Fisher, even though Fisher had a much small garrison? Should a forts firepower/defense be based strictly on its type, position and number of guns, or should the size of the garrison also count?
If it helps, currently my mechanics give each fort a "rating" of levels. The tougher the fort, the more levels that have to be silenced/knocked out. I also limit the number of extra troops that can be in the fort based on its levels since the levels roughly represent the size of the fort although I admit this does not always give a historical representation either and the fort gets extra defense for having an "oversized garrison"? So any thoughts??? Thanks.

saltflats192912 Jan 2018 10:05 p.m. PST

Use the strength of the fort as a force multiplier.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Jan 2018 4:37 a.m. PST

Are you dealing strictly with historical forts (i.e. the ones that actually existed)? Or can 'new' forts be constructed in the course of your campaign? If it is historical forts only, you can get some idea of their strength/effect by their actual performance.

donlowry13 Jan 2018 8:42 a.m. PST

There were forts, and there were fortified camps -- two different things. Forts were pretty small, with small garrisons. Fortified camps were large enough to hold multiple brigades, maybe more. Donelson started as a fort but grew into a fortified camp. (It fell so quickly because the Confederates tried to break out; if they had stayed put there would have been a prolonged siege, until their supplies ran out.)

Then there were fortified cities, which were, in effect, large fortified camps: Vicksburg, Washington, Richmond, Petersburg.

I think saltflats has the right idea: force multiplier -- but how large a force can it handle? (which could grow as time goes by).

Hey, if it was easy, I would have done it myself a long time ago.

gamer1 Inactive Member18 Jan 2018 1:22 p.m. PST

Been away for awhile, thanks for the ideas. I didn't think about forts vs fortified camps, a good point. Yes you can build new forts, obviously these would most likely be the earth entrenchment type rather than a brick and mortar one.
Hadn't thought of the force multiplier system but not sure that wouldn't lead to "gaming the system" since it could allow a relatively cheap fort to help a much larger force than would be realistic. I might let forts give X extra firepower and give x levels to show the strength of the historic ones. Then, besides allowing the chance for a large(corps+)force a chance to "dig in" for a small bonus BUT allow the player to spend extra time and resources to gain extra protection for the force if it stays in the same place to represent the extra commitment to building up protective works of various types.
Yes a tough issue to fairly represent, so many different variables.

Personal logo Buckeye AKA Darryl Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2018 7:05 a.m. PST

Donelson's actual garrison was small, a few regiments, a couple of which has been pulled out for the Confederate assault on the 15th. Most of the southern troops were in works outside the fort. Donelson never fell due to some storming of works, it fell as the leadership failed to understand that the breakout on the 15th was mostly successful, and instead of pulling all their troops out, they retreated back to their starting positions.

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