Strategic civil war board game that is compelling, exciting, satisfying, doesn’t take forever to play, and either side can win.
Would the Confederacy have won its independence if you had led it? Could the North have achieved victory with less loss of blood and treasure with you in command? We’re asking for your support in completing the design and printing of a Civil War board game that will allow players to see if they can change the course of history.
We have the game parts, rules, and mechanics developed and tested, but we need help to get a polished and finalized product produced. We hope you’ll consider helping us over this last hurdle.
Unlike the tactical and operational level Civil War games out there, our game focuses on the national morale of the North and South at a strategic level. The South’s goal is to reduce the North’s national morale to the point that Lincoln loses the Election of 1864, and the North’s goal is to break the South before the elections or make enough progress toward it that Lincoln wins the election. This reflects the actual situation in the Civil War where if Lincoln had lost the election, as well may have happened had Sherman not captured Atlanta, the new Union government would have ended the long war and allowed the South to go its own way.
Our game starts in April 1864, and both sides work toward their goals through four game aspects that are simple to manage, but allow many paths of planning and strategy that can lead to victory. Both sides must produce reinforcements and arms in order to maintain and strengthen their armies. Both sides must manage and protect their transportation and supply lines to get those resources to their armies. Both sides can attempt to disrupt the enemy’s transportation and supply networks. And both sides maneuver their armies in order to fight battles, capture enemy supply centers or strategic locations, and defend their own supply centers and strategic locations. Each side’s national morale is affected by the successes and failures of their armies, but the armies cannot succeed without a constant stream of supplies and a sound strategy.
The game includes historical generals that add advantages to their armies and historical events and developments that either impede or assist the war effort of each side. We’ve randomized when these generals and events enter the game, which makes each game unique and fun.
In the tests that we have run, the game mechanics are easy to understand and execute. Because our battle resolutions are simple, but compelling and realistic, the game never gets bogged down in minutia to manage like some other strategic level civil war board games of the past. The random introduction of generals and events requires each player to deal with unexpected turns and twists throughout the game, which makes each game a unique while keeping every game plausible as a possible alternate course of events. Most importantly, the game is extremely fun to play, and both sides have a roughly equal chance of winning.
What we’ve designed is a civil war game that is balanced, exciting, satisfying, and doesn’t take forever to play. Once you get familiar with the rules, a full game typically takes between 2 and 3 hours to complete.
So, that is where we are, and here is where we need your help. What we need to get done is the final artwork, layout, and printing of a prototype. That takes money that we simply don’t have, and that is what we are asking you to help with. Thanks, and we hope you’ll support us in getting this fun game produced.
(Great question from John Bernardo) - How similar is National Morale in this game to the Strategic Will element in GMT's For the People by Mark Herman?
I wasn’t familiar with For the People (FTP) before reading your email, but I’ve read up on it now. That looks like a fun game which I’ll have to try to find a copy of for myself. In my first read through the FTP directions, there are some parallels and differences between FTP and Union Torn Asunder (UTA) that jump out at me. I’ll address your question about FTP’s Strategic Will versus UTA’s National Morale, then go over a few more things that I noticed.
Strategic Will in FTP
- is on a 100 point scale
- has many rules that affect it, ranging from small things like failed blockade running to big things like losing control of your national capital or having an entire state occupied
- has hard-set SW levels that trigger the end the game or decide a winner at the end of the game depending on the ratio of one side’s SW to the other
National Moral in UTA
- is on an 8-point scale
- effect on it is limited to things that would have made a big impact in newspaper stories of the day (i.e. results of mid-to-major battles, loss or gain of cities and strategic locations – to include capitals, and significant numbers of casualties in a battle).
- when National Morale for either side dips into a “critical” range, that side runs the chance that their governments will give into public pressure to end the war (determined by chance each turn NM remains “critical”)
- if the war lasts to November 1864, the Union’s National Morale combined with an element of chance determines whether Lincoln wins or loses the election of 1864. The result of the election will determine the winner and loser of the game.
Three other points of difference between FTP and UTA that jump out at me are movement, supplies/reinforcements, and battles.
- FTP uses pre-set, finite paths linking locations.
- UTA movement is hex-based, allowing players more flexibility in maneuvering and the possible strategies that derive from that freedom of movement.
Supplies and Reinforcements
- seems to treat these elements as important, but not a central component of the game
- has pre-set production schedules for the Union and a schedule for the Confederacy that is impacted by loss of supply centers
- having open supply lines simply means being able to trace an unbroken chain of spaces and connecting paths back to a supply center
- armies are penalized for being out-of-supply and cannot receive reinforcements
- supply and reinforcement are at the heart of the game.
- two types of supplies, managed supplies (troops, weapons, and ammo) and unmanaged supplies (everything else an army needs).
- Each side must decide on what managed supplies to produce in their supply centers and deal with unpredictable delays in production
- each supply center has unique characteristics that speed or slow the production of managed supplies
- players decide on the best (fastest and safest) way to route those produced supplies to a specific army
- players can use pre-set supply lines (rail and river routes printed on map) and also can build supply routes (wagon routes) for moving supplies
- armies are penalized for being out-of-supply of unmanaged supplies
- enemy units (armies, detachments and partisan raiders) can interdict and damage supply lines and intercept managed supplies, which they may either confiscate or destroy
- battles are resolved by adding up Strength Points for each army, making one die roll, and looking up the results
- each army has a finite amount of men, weapons, and ammunition upon entering a battle
- the length of a battle in days (and hence the resources players might expended in them) is not determined until a battle is engaged.
- Either player may choose to withdraw before the determined length is complete (which can help limit losses, resources expended, or the significance level of the defeat)
- The winner of a battle either is the player who has the highest advantage when the length of the battle is complete or is the player who remains when the other withdraws or is forced to retreat
- players decide (secretly) on how much of their armies’ available fighting force (men with weapons and ammo available) to commit to each day of battle [we’ve found this one of the most fun aspects of UTA. It sometimes leads to calculated gambles about how little or much of your available fighting forces to commit on any given day in hopes of swinging the overall Advantage level for the battle into your favor]
- the results of each day’s fighting (men lost, advantage gained, and/or forced retreat) is determined by a combination of die rolls, the size of each side’s committed fighting force, modifiers from generals, and looking up the results
Thanks again for the email. We’re going to post some of the points I mentioned in reply to you on the project site.
pledged of $6,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on August 16, 2012.
Jul 17, 2012 - Aug 16, 2012 (30 days)
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PRIVATE: You'll get high resolution .pdf files of print-and-play testing version of game as soon as successful project funding window closes. Print the game parts on card stock, cut, and play the same game our testers did.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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CORPORAL: Print-and-play of test version PLUS high resolution .pdf files of final game design. You’ll get pdf versions of the same print-and-play files that go to the printer.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
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SERGEANT: .pdf files of both testing version and final game design of both versions PLUS you get to vote on additional event cards, one each to be added to the Union and Confederate event decks. If we reach our $10,000 stretch goal, you get a copy of the final, boxed, professionally manufactured game in October or November!Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
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LIEUTENANT: pdf files of both versions, right to vote on additional event cards AND you get to vote on additional general cards, one each to be added to the Union and Confederate generals decks. If we reach our $10,000 stretch goal, you get a copy of the final, boxed, professionally manufactured game in October or November!Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
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CAPTAIN: .pdf files of both versions, right to vote on additional event and general cards, PLUS you get to submit one idea for a new Confederate Event card and one idea for a new Union Event card that will be put up for votes from other backers. You’ll suggest the events and their effects, we’ll design the card to make sure they will keep the game balanced, and your suggested events cards will be included among those other backers vote upon. If your cards are selected, you will also be mentioned as a “Design Contributor” in the game instructions. If we reach our $10,000 stretch goal, you get a copy of the final, boxed, professionally manufactured game in October or November!Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
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MAJOR: .pdf files of both versions, right to vote on additional event and general cards, you get to suggest ideas for one new Confederate and one new Union Event card, PLUS you suggest one new Confederate General and one new Union General to add to the generals decks. You’ll suggest the generals and their effects, we’ll design the card to make sure there is some historical basis for the generals’ effects and the game stays balanced, and your suggested generals cards will be included among those other backers vote upon. If your cards are selected, you will also be mentioned as a “Design Contributor” in the game instructions. If we reach our $10,000 stretch goal, you get a copy of the final, boxed, professionally manufactured game in October or November!Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
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COLONEL: all lower level awards PLUS your suggested event cards get to bypass the voting and WILL be added to the game. Your name will be mentioned as a “Design Contributor” in the game instructions. If we reach our $10,000 stretch goal, you get a copy of the final, boxed, professionally manufactured game in October or November!Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
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GENERAL: all lower level awards PLUS your suggested Generals cards get to bypass the voting and WILL be added to the game. Your name will be mentioned as a “Gold Star Design Contributor” in the game instructions. If we reach our $10,000 stretch goal, you get a copy of the final, boxed, professionally manufactured game in October or November!Estimated delivery: Sep 2012