Monday, September 12, 2011

Game and a Movie: Gettysburg

This summer I had the pleasure of visiting the Gettysburg National Battlefield Park with my 11-year-old son. I had been there before when I was about his age and remember bits and pieces of that vacation, but I've wanted to go back for quite a while.

It just so happens that one of my favorite games is Avalon Hill's Gettysburg (1988). It's a simple war game that plays rather well. I've enjoyed it over the years and always played in the tournaments when I was able to attend AvalonCon (93, 94 and 96).

I also enjoyed the movie "Gettysburg" and am now rewatching it. It's preachy, but it is pretty comprehensive and I like that it was filmed at Gettysburg. I didn't know that until I was watching it again this last time and noticed how familiar the surroundings looked. I figured they either had to film it on site (but how would they film around the modern buildings, monuments, and statues?) or they did a good job making it look like Gettysburg. I looked it up on-line and did confirm that it was filmed at Gettysburg. I also liked how they used re-enactors to play the parts of the soldiers. What a treat for them!

Soooo...I am combining the two by watching the movie and playing the game almost simultaneously. I want to pay close attention to the movie so I plan to watch one day or half day of the movie and then play that same time period on the board.

I am using cyberboard to replay the game. I haven't used cyberboard in a long time so most of my early game was spent figuring out the interface. It's easy to use, but the help file is lacking. For example, I had trouble figuring out the different between a "compound" move and a "plotted" move. I eventually found it on-line. I like the idea of cyberboard. I have a friend who swears by it and it's a great way to play the game solitaire without getting the pieces out or worrying about the cat launching a devastating surprise attack.

So I started the game and only made it through the second Confederate turn. I thought with the Union I would play the delaying strategy so I can give my troops enough time to take the high ground (the "very good" high ground - those familiar with the movie will get that) while I plan to play an aggressive strategy with the Rebels - push, push, push and possibly flank. If the Rebels can take the high ground and control the roads after the first day, they'll be in very good shape.

You can see that, for the Union, so far so good...Devin and Gamble held and Wadsworth was able to reach town. It's easy to lose the cavalry early (only 1 combat factor each), but I placed them in woods (Gamble was on a woody hill) and that helped. I lost both battles but only had to take one step loss. Union is up next and has reinforcements coming in. I think I am going to form a line just north of town to hold the confederate army until the union reinforcements can arrive to take the hills. After that, it's just a matter of them fending off confederate attacks. We'll see how it goes.

And since this is a new blog maybe I'll make "game and a movie" a recurring theme.