Scenario 4. "We will make the fight"

First of all, this scenario should have been called Last Chance for Victory. If they are going to name one of the scenarios after another wargame (Here Come the Rebels), they should have done the same for all.

This is a two-turn scenario that tries to set the stage for the Battle of Franklin, which had one of the largest assaults of the war: 20,000 men (40 manpower points).

In the historical campaign Hood needed to defeat the Union forces before they reached Nashville. This had to be done while the US was on the retreat and CSA still had the operational initiative. In the game, US infantry divisions and wagons need to end the scenario within 13 road/pike hexes of Nashville. But the US can't just flee at maximum speed because of a 40 VP penalty if a Confederate unit enters Franklin on day one of the scenario.

40 victory points seems like such an insurmountable loss to the Union, it might as well be an automatic CSA victory if they take Franklin the first day. Even a Union marginal victory is out of reach in this event.

The GCACW system has a problem forming large battles. They are hard to set up because both players must tacitly agree to a big battle, and the system penalizes stacking. So big battles hardly ever occur in GCACW. A house rule to aide stacking for battle is to ignore the movement point penalties for entering a friendly-occupied hex unless entering a hex containing another active unit. (Thus the movement point penalites would only occur in a multi-unit leader activation.)

Scenario as history?

Despite the initial scripting, and requiring the USA to defend Franklin on day one, there is no way this scenario will ever play out historically. Even if a CSA player tried to do what Hood did, the CRT will not generate the historic casualty numbers before the CSA reaches Fatigue-4.

In the game-as-history section of the HSN rules, the low-end estimate for Hood's losses on November 30 is 7,000. This is equivalent to 14 manpower points, which can't be replicated in the GCACW system. For example, a "-4" attack result with 70 CV would only lose 10 manpower.

Hood admitted to 4,500 casualties (nine manpower points) but who doubts that he low-balled the number? How about a shoot the moon special victory condition: the CSA player wins immediately if he can rack up 10 CSA assault losses on Turn 1.

+1 assault bonus for Hood? 

There is no historical basis for improving Hood's CRT result. The assault at Franklin was one of the worst of the war: the Pickett's Charge of the West. Instead, dump the Hood bonus and allow the CSA to make one free grand assault on game-turn 1 with any CSA infantry units (Fatigue-3 or less) within Hood's command range. But the CSA manpower loss must be doubled!

Confederate flanking march?

The CSA can easily bypass Franklin in this scenario (instead of making attacks in clear terrain without artillery support). Hood did not consider this feasible after the Union slipped away from Spring Hill. Was the Harpeth River more of a barrier than depicted in the scenario?

Confederate movement and tactical advantage?

Every game in the GCACW series includes a Confederate bias in movement rolls, extended march modifiers, and tactical ratings. These made sense in the eastern theater in 1862 only. There is no historical justification after that.

Confederate cavalry confusion?

CSA cavalry is halved when it comes to blocking Union lines of communication (in the victory conditions), but they are at face value for creating a covered flank hex. Their ZOCs will block or divert Union retreats.

Wagons, oy!

Any simplicity gained by not having supply rules is lost in the detailed and unclear rules for Union wagon trains. These have been clarified in the errata. It would be simpler to just say that a wagon's combat value exists only when the wagon's hex is being attacked. At all other times it has a combat value of zero: it can never attack and has no effect in creating or cancelling a covered hex.

21 Nov 2021: I was soundly defeated as the Union in the first round. Hard to see an answer to a Confederate encirclement strategy. There 18 games of this scenario being played in the first round of the tourney. So far the Rebs are 5 and 1.

31 Dec 2021: The first round ended with the CSA winning 11 of 18 games: 7 of 9 in PBEM, but only 4 of 9 in live play.