As with most tournaments, 2022 was somewhat of a rough year with the COVID pandemic. It seemed that many of the veteran wargamers stayed away. Could not tell it when you looked at the Eurogame rooms, but a 10% drop on a 100-person event to 90 is not that noticeable, the room is still crowded.
Still, we had a reasonable crowd with 17 generals entering the tournament. As always, about 8 people were at the demo to learn about the system from Ed Beach.
The tournament format was the same as the past few years using three modules and allowing the players to select the scenarios they wanted to play. This year, we incorporated the newest release, Hood Strike North (HSN). We then also used the updated Roads to Gettysburg II game selecting scenarios from the Here Come the Rebels (HCR) and Roads to Gettysburg (RTG) modules. We dropped the Atlanta is Ours scenarios as they are very setup intensive and typically on the long side of playtime. This required players only to bring two games to play as HCR and RTG are included in the same volume.
The first round is always a lighter scenario, particularly suited for introducing the system to new players and to get one quicker game finished. We played five Here Come the Rebels from HSN (5 US, 0 CS), three South Mountain from HCR (1 US, 2 CS) – one of those was the consolation game for tournament third place, and one First Day at Gettysburg from RTG (1 US, 0 CS). Will likely keep it in to get another year of play, but I have yet to see a CS win in the Here Come the Rebels scenario, at WBC and elsewhere.
We had 14 players stay for the second round of slightly longer scenarios. To me, this is an important factor that we are getting a large number playing at least two games. We played five We Will Make the Fight from HSN (2 US, 3 CS), one Harpers Ferry – Crampton’s Gap from HCR (1 US, 0 CS), and one The Battle Continues from RTG (1 US, 0 CS).
The third round and Semifinal, and Final saw a total of three The Race for Columbia from HSN (2 US, 1 CS) and four McClellan’s Opportunity from HCR (4 US, 0 CS). Although the Union swept MAC this year, it is well like by top GCACW players and is always exciting. TRC seems well balanced also. With the reduced number of attendees compared to 2019, not enough people qualified for a full set of Quarterfinal. We had five people with two wins, so the two lowest seeds played a quick tiebreak scenario, That Devil Forrest from HSN (1 US, 0 CS). From the looks of it, that was a tight scenario.
The five players advancing were all experienced players. Doug Smith beat Paul Sampson in the tie break scenario to face Bruno Passacantando in the Semifinal. Meanwhile, Justin Rice and David Dockter faced off in the other Semifinal. Bruno and Justin were victorious to face off in the Final. Bruno as General Meade defeated Justin as General Lee in Meade Moves North from RTG. Congratulations to all for well-played games.
On the MMP front, in addition to the new Hood Strikes North early in the year, they were able to publish Skirmisher #3 to bring it hot off the presses to WBC. Then, I was told within a few hours of the first day of the vendors being open, they had sold out of all the GCACW games they brought with them.
As always, thanks to MMP for their support to this game series. In addition to publishing the games, they provided several tournament sets (maps and counters) that were used by most of us. They also provided gift certificates for the top four finishers.
Bruno was gracious enough to provide some details of his semi-final and final for those interested.
See everyone next year!
In the first Semifinal game, Doug Smith’s Union forces faced Bruno Passacantando’s Rebels in HSN scenario 2, The Race for Columbia (no bid). The Union requires 40 VPs to win, needing to get his 5 infantry divisions and 3 wagon trains within 10 movement points of Franklin.
Upon the release of Schofield’s column advancing up the Columbia Pike on Turn 2, one of Doug’s wagon trains and an infantry unit fell behind the rest of the units marching toward Columbia. Forrest was able to maneuver to hex 1117, Hopewell Church, making the passage of the third wagon train difficult due to the extra movement required when they venture off the pike. Rebel’s reinforcements were slow to arrive, the first units showing on turn 4. When they showed however, they marched quickly to Columbia and forced the Union to slowly and deliberately maneuver their units to Columbia.
Two Rebel divisions veered off to Hopewell Church and attacked the separated Union wagon and infantry unit, forcing a retreat back toward Lynnville(0423). Forrest, released from his blocking duties, galloped hard to cross the Duck River and entrenched just east of Columbia to slow down Schofield’s force. After maneuvering to flank Forrest, Doug was able to push his forces back and open the pike to Franklin. Forrest had done his job though: Hood was able to cross the Duck River at Travelers Rest and routed Whitaker to the south to Masonic Hall. There Stewart Bate and Ross were able to seal off Whitaker from the road to Franklin. Along with the wagon and infantry stuck at Ingram’s Mill (0820), the final score of 19 resulted in a Substantive Confederate win.
Final: Bruno vs Justin
The scenario for the 2022 GCACW Final was RTG’s scenario #1, Meade Moves North. Justin Rice chose the Confederates for no bid, facing Bruno Passacantando’s Union army. A Confederate VP total of 33 wins the game and the goal is primarily occupation of Gettysburg with supplementary points for Harrisburg, Littlestown, and Taneytown as well as 5 RR stations.
Turn 1: the special Union extended march modifier encourages a push toward Gettysburg without Rebel infantry interference. Stuart, however, had other ideas and rode west in an attempt to slow down the Union corps. DM Gregg took his three brigades to intercept Stuart but got too close and the Rebel leader, rolling boxcars for a 15 movement, surrounded Huey and destroyed the cavalry unit for two quick casualty losses. Kilpatrick joined the screening force and kept Stuart at bay for the rest of the turn.
Turn 2: The Army of Northern Virginia was released at the start of this turn and began marching toward Gettysburg. The head of the column (Hill’s corps) reached Cashtown by the end of the day with Longstreet just entering the South Mountain gap. Stuart opted to ride north rather than trying to break through the North’s cavalry screen and damaged the RR station at Hanover. Meanwhile, the vanguard of the Union army reached Gettysburg by the end of the day, with Sickles’ 3rd corps approaching the town, electing to stop in the hex just south of town as Gettysburg seemed too exposed to the approaching Rebels corps.
Day 3: The AoP completed their “flying wedge” defensive line south of Gettysburg centered around Sickles corps in 3702, one hex south of Gettysburg, with Howard’s XI and Reynolds I to the southwest and Hancock II and Slocum XII to the southeast. Sedgwick was still a day’s march away. Prior to attacking Sickles, Justin first probed the left side of the Union line to improve the flank modifier. The attack on Howard went off at +3, but a 1:4 combat roll meant that Howard held that crucial hex. Not willing to attack Sickles without a flank bonus, Justin elected to take Ewell around the east flank to attack Slocum. A Union cavalry force at Two Taverns (3504) was attacked and routed, but Ewell/Rodes went to F4. With Rodes in 3504 and Early in 3603, Meade marched Kilpatrick with 6 SPs around the Reb flank to provide a +3 flank. Sedgwick marched like foot cavalry to arrive in 3604 and assaulted Rodes and routed the division with 3 MV losses. Ewell attempted to escape his precarious situation. But at F4 and with a +4-flank attack coming next, Justin saw the writing on the wall even with 2 additional days remaining, conceded. Losses were 4 for Union and 9 for the Confederates. The net score of 8 resulted in a Union Decisive victory.