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  A Greater Victory South Mountain September 14, 1862 by  Revolution Games  The time is 1862 in the month of September. Robert E. Lee has ta...

A Greater Victory: South Mountain September 14,1862 by Revolution Games A Greater Victory: South Mountain September 14,1862 by Revolution Games

A Greater Victory: South Mountain September 14,1862 by Revolution Games

A Greater Victory: South Mountain September 14,1862 by Revolution Games

 A Greater Victory

South Mountain September 14, 1862


Revolution Games

 The time is 1862 in the month of September. Robert E. Lee has taken his Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac to invade the North. His army leaves behind a good number of men who feel that saving their states from invasion is okay, but are not too happy to invade the Union. From Lee's point of view the campaign is going well. His troops have surrounded Harpers Ferry and are about to bag the entire Union detachment there. The Army of the Potomac is once again being led by Little Mac and Lee believes he knows how slow and deliberate his foe will be. What Lee doesn't know is that one of his orders for the invasion showing where every one of his units will be has been found by Union soldiers wrapped neatly with three cigars. Little Mac sees this as the Godsend it is and declares that he will destroy Lee with this information. The gleam in Little Mac's eyes last only about a day. He is energetic enough to send soldiers to cut Lee's army in half at the gaps around South Mountain going into the Shenandoah Valley. Meanwhile the Confederates have learned that the gaps are not being held by any of their troops. So, now we have a footrace between the two enemies to see who gets there first. That is the battle that Revolution Games has given us to refight. 

 This is a game from the Hermann Luttmann Blind Sword Rules System. This is just one of the systems that Mr. Luttmann has created to replicate warfare in the mid-eighteenth century. He seems to have as many systems in use right now as some men have ex-wives. 

 This is what comes with the game:

352 5/8" Counters

22 x 34 inch Map

Exclusive Rulebook

Series Rulebook

2 Event Description Cards

2 Combat Results Table Cards

1 General Records Track

2 Player Reference Cards

2 Brigade Activations Cards

 This is what the designer has to say:

"A Greater Victory (South Mountain,1862) features two small, quick playing scenarios (Fox’s Gap and then the actions around Frosttown), along with a long scenario covering the full day’s engagement. Each scenario has its own Fog-of-War table to more accurately reflect that particular phase of the battle.

The Order-of Battle has not relied upon customary “paper strength”, but a more accurate number of effectives for each regiment and brigade, so expect some surprises here.

Taking advantage of the proven Blind Swords system, AGV has been injected with abundant history while still offering players a plethora of choices as to where and how to deploy their troop formations. Being heavily outnumbered, the Confederates must conduct a skillful defense while the Union will have to effectively coordinate their powerful brigades over brutal terrain. With the climactic battle of Antietam just three days distant, casualties at South Mountain are also an important consideration.

I want to point out that I’ve also focused the design to be an excellent solitaire study, made possible by the historically desperate position that DH Hill found himself - from forgotten rear guard to frontline army savior.

The single map (by Edmund Hudson) and counters (by Charlie Kibler) are truly excellent, and I also wanted to publicly thank Roger Miller from Revolution for his outstanding support of this project since its inception. It’s been a lot of fun to work on, and there’s much more to come!"

Steve Carey - Designer

Beautiful Map

  At 5/8" the counters are nice and big. Infantry/Cavalry units are color coded with a stripe on top to show what brigade they belong to. Artillery units have the commanders' names at the top. They also have their state pictured in the middle of the counter. So, they are nice and big, easy to read, and you will have no trouble picking them up to move. The map is very nicely done. It has good sized hexes to fit the counters. Elevation is done better than most maps and also has a trick up its sleeve. The heights are listed with a small roundel with a number inside going from one to eleven (one being the lowest ground), and the different levels are color coded. These are an excellent way to describe elevation in wargaming maps. The Exclusive Rulebook is sixteen pages in length. It is also in full color. Half of it is taken up by the rules and examples of play. The other half gives the setup for the three scenarios. The end of the Exclusive Rulebook is the various victory conditions and some player notes. Then there is an index, and on the back cover are the Fog of War Tables. The series Rulebook is also sixteen pages in length. However, it is in black and white and has no examples of play. The type on both Rulebooks is large enough to easily read without squinting. All of the Player Aids are made of hard stock and are in full color. The Event Cards are double-sided with the Union and Confederate events on one side and the Unique events on the other. There are two identical ones that are single-sided and have some of the tables and Sequence of Play on them. The next two are also identical and have the CRT, Cohesion Test, and Terrain key on them. Lastly there is another single-sided one that has the Turn Record Track, Victory Point Track, and Broken Track (for broken units) on it. There are also two smaller Brigade Activation Display for both Union and Confederate. Between the beauty of the map and the well-done Rulebooks and Players Aids there is a lot of great things in this small package.

 This is from Revolution Games:

"A Greater Victory is a game covering the key encounter at South Mountain on September 14th, 1862. It has been designed to be an historical yet readily playable regimental-scaled simulation of the twin conflict at Fox’s and Turner’s Gap. With two smaller, quick-play scenarios plus a comprehensive scenario covering the full day of action, the design offers flexible and tense situations for both players (also excellent for solitaire play). The Order-of-Battle has been researched to account for items like Confederate stragglers, offering a fresh perspective on the battle.

This is the seventh release in Revolution Games’ popular Blinds Swords series which features a chit-pull system covering the most interesting and important engagements of the ACW. New features debuting here include Brigade Activation cards so that each side can more easily gauge the status of their formations, along with a customized Fog-of-War table assigned to each scenario for an enhanced historical narrative. The series rules have also been adjusted at certain junctions to better reflect the extreme harshness of the terrain that soldiers on both sides had to contend with."

 Revolution Games describes the Blind Swords System thusly: " It emphasizes the three FOW's of military conflict: Fog-of-War, Friction-of-War, and Fortunes-of-War."

 If you have had the pleasure of playing one of the Blind Swords games, you know that this description is right on the money. These game rules have created an almost perfect balance of fun gameplay and adherence to history. It gives you the what ifs without adding dragons or anything else from D&D. Almost anything that is plausible could happen on any given turn. This in turn keeps the player always on his toes. Remember that grandiose plan you made last turn to win the game? Well, forget about it now. Playing the Confederates, you are always looking over your shoulder for those damned reinforcements. As the Union player you will be hampered by the usual 'slows' that affected the Army of the Potomac at that time. Both sides will have to deal with the very rough terrain on the battlefield. One of the biggest changes in the Exclusive Rules is the cost of terrain in movement points. To reflect the nature of the terrain a unit attacking up or down in a steep slope gets penalized when doing Close Combat (this is not in the Series Rules).

 This is the Sequence of Play:

  a. Both players choose event chits and setup draw 
  a. Union Artillery Step (move or fire)
  b. Confederate Artillery Step (move or fire)
  c. Both sides alternate “a” and “b” above until done
  d. Artillery Rally/Rebuild Step
  a. Held Event Chit Step (play any held events)
  b. Draw Chit Step
  • If Event chit, owning player keeps it or plays it, 
  draw new chit
  • If Wild chit, resolve immediately, draw new chit
  • If CIC chit, owning player selects brigade and 
  proceeds to Phase 4 or holds the chit
  • If Division Activation chit, proceed to Phase 4
  • If Brigade Activation chit proceed to Phase 4
  a. Orders Step
  b. Fire Combat Step
  c. Movement Step
  d. Close Combat Step
  e. Rally Step
  f. If any chits remain in the cup, return to Phase 3. 
  g. If no chits remain in the cup, go to Phase 5
  a. Final Held Event Chit Step
  b. Victory Point Awards Step
  c. Flip over all “Activated” brigade markers to their
  “Available” side.
  d. Broken Track Adjustment step
  e. Each player gathers all their Event chits together, 
  none are saved for following turns, and then 
  advance the Game Turn marker

 The Blind Swords System is meant to give the player the full enjoyment of playing a well-done tactical 19th century wargame. This is without giving the players a really deep micromanagement type of game. The system (as well as this game) hits the sweet spot between fun and realism for the player. The games that Revolution Games have published for the system are all excellent for dipping your toes into the system.  

 The center of the Blind Swords system is the chit pull mechanic. This alone will make sure the Fog of War enters into both sides play. As mentioned, there is also a chance to pick one of these chits: Event chit, Wild chit, Fortunes of War chit, Fog of War chit, and the CIC (commander in chief) chit. The designer, Steve Carey, had to make some adjustments of the rules because of the actual terrain of the battlefield. Because of this, the Union was not able to bring its superior numbers to bear and crush the Confederates. The battlefield is essentially split into two parts, North and South. The Union player has to remember that his 'Rally' chit is no longer used after 12:30pm.

 The game comes with three scenarios. These are:

1. Carnival of Death

2. Every Man was a Hero

3. The Battle for South Mountain

 The Victory Conditions for all three are mostly based on hex control. Each side also gets victory points for enemy units' destruction. There is also a chance for the Union player to win an automatic victory in the third scenario. I must say that the hex victory conditions in the third (whole battle) scenario are a little more complicated than just which side was the last to occupy the hex in question. 

  As the Rules state, this was D.H. Hill's finest hour. He mostly gets short shrift in many histories. His work here and at Antietam were first class soldiering. Unfortunately, he was known as an irascible man. He was put to the side because of his personality trait of always saying when the emperor had no clothes on. Considering that Lee kept Jubal Early (his "bad old man") D.H. Hill must have really known how to ruffle feathers.

  I am an unashamed fanboy of Hermann Luttmann's games and his gaming systems. So, when I found out that I would be able to review another Blind Swords System games I was very happy. When I got to play the game, I was even happier. Thank you, Revolution Games for letting me review this well-done game. A Greater Victory is on sale right now at Revolution Games. The sale price is $65 for the boxed version and $55 for the Ziploc version. That is $20 and $15 off the regular price.


Revolution Games: