From: Birmingham, Alabama
I was wondering if anyone had any solutions to the following problems (I am playing as the Union vs. a computer Confederate opponent):
1) It seems very difficult to get the Rebs to commit to a fair fight, instead they always seem to be able to retreat with minimal loss when outnumbered. Even surrounding Confederate armies and leaving them with no retreat destination fails, they just retreat to one of my blue territories and capture it. Surely there must be a way to destroy tiny annoying depleted enemy armies that keep retreating? Is there a way to corner an army and force it to battle?
2) It seems impossible to defeat a large rebel army with home-field advantage. In my last game I've been attacking the Confederate eastern army at Richmond every other turn, it is always about 100,000 of my men vs. 50,000 of theirs, I have some 10+ artillery brigades they have maybe 2, sharpshooters and rapid fire guns on almost all of my brigades, and I kill twice as many men as I lose but still lose the battle and suffer 5-10k "pursuit" casualties just about every time! Is there anything someone could recommend to add to my army in order to win an offensive battle on Rebel turf?
All in all I applaud the designers on a well made game, most of the experience fits the historical reality perfectly. The gameplay is solid too though and that is also important.
It really sounds like you are playing Instant Battle which is what I usually play. I like a fast game that maybe last two nights of my time.
Response to 1.: Yeah, they really do seem to be able to get away but you have to remember, the Rebels, I am thinking, were usually more country-wise and could do that kind of thing. They also generally had better commanders in many cases. If they keep getting themselves in "out of supply" areas, though, you will eventually see them surrender in droves. I had a huge army of theirs strike up to the Allegheny/Ohio river (forget name of city - but it was on Ohio/Penn/WV state lines or so) and the whole army of about 80K fell apart and surrendered. Kentucky was union so they were really out of their area of ownership.
2. This is something I have run into many times in Instant Battle. Richmond is almost an impossible nut to crack until late in the war due to morale/weapon/leader concerns. You are almost guaranteed to lose a battle with the Rebels in IB on their home turf and less than about 3.5 to 1 advantage. I'm pretty sure I lost one battle in IB at a 4 to 1 advantage. I cannot remember the casualties, but I think even with my surrenders (which greatly angered me) I was about 1/2 of the dead/casualties as the Rebels.
Additionally on #2: My strategy in the East is the old baseball strat "Hit 'em where they ain't". If they aren't in Fredericksburg, I try and get it cheap. If I do, then I build a fort and stock it up good - 2-3 garrisons, good guns, good added attributes. Then I take the army out and see if they'll "take the bait". Almost always they send in an army to take it back, and I send in my army to beat them up on my home field and my fort "+"'s. It works pretty good. If that gets wto working well, I start taking other parts of Virginia , if possible, with the same strategy. I even had some games where they left the garrison in Rappahannock unmolested for a few turns and that gave me time to build up decent forces to send in there to fight a good home field advantage to me battle.
I hope my meandering helps you as you deal with those dastardly, cowardly rebels!!!