What am I missing?

Strategic Command: American Civil War gives you the opportunity to battle for the future of the United States in this grand strategy game. Command the Confederacy in a desperate struggle for independence, or lead the Union armies in a march on Richmond.

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steevodeevo
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What am I missing?

Post by steevodeevo »

Hi folks,

I'm a huge Strategic Command fan. Back to Classic Global Conflict and WW1. I have over 700 hours in WaW and 360 hours in WiE, yet I am really not enjoying American Civil War. However as a huge fan of the series I am struggling on with it, trying to find the magic that for me has always been present in these titles.

So far for me my experience of ACW is that it is glacially slow paced, more processing of turns than gameplay, it feels turgid, combat is static and dull, I just don't get it as a game so far, yet I love SC WW1.

I am not an American and I do not have an obsessive interest in the American Civil war, although I do have a passing interest, as would any grognard worth their salt.

But I can't help but wonder as I sit doodling having played a few seconds of game and waiting minutes for turn processing, whether this title's attraction is to people fascinated by this historical period and this conflict rather than as a fun game? Am I ever going to find the magic if I am not all that fussed about this particular conflict?

From what I have played and read elsewhere, the Civil War's fascination revolves around key Battles; the topography, deployment, timings of arrivals, odds, force mix, and primarily about some ingenious and some catastrophic battlefield tactics by Generals and heroic units against all odds etc. I don't see how the SM operational model can accommodate this at all.

Yours,
Bewildered and disappointing, but still hopeful.
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Patrat
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by Patrat »

If your games feel slow and static as Union, try doing more amphibious invasions. Especially on the rivers out west. That can lead to interesting outcomes.

As Confederates it's harder to say. Maybe a large scale raid into Kentucky to try to Cincinnati. The Cumberland gap is a good place to invade from. Just like in real life.

In the east, everything is much more constrained. Just like in real life.
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Platoonist
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by Platoonist »

steevodeevo wrote: Sat Jul 30, 2022 9:50 am
I am not an American and I do not have an obsessive interest in the American Civil war, although I do have a passing interest, as would any grognard worth their salt.

But I can't help but wonder as I sit doodling having played a few seconds of game and waiting minutes for turn processing, whether this title's attraction is to people fascinated by this historical period and this conflict rather than as a fun game? Am I ever going to find the magic if I am not all that fussed about this particular conflict?

From what I have played and read elsewhere, the Civil War's fascination revolves around key Battles; the topography, deployment, timings of arrivals, odds, force mix, and primarily about some ingenious and some catastrophic battlefield tactics by Generals and heroic units against all odds etc. I don't see how the SM operational model can accommodate this at all.
The US Civil War doesn't quite have the epic back and forth tides of the World Wars. It's basically the story of the reluctant anaconda slowly but inevitably getting around to crushing its prey (and the prey gets a few licks in).

That being said, I must admit the feel of the game doesn't always quite jibe with history. Playing as the Union I often notice I'm substantially outnumbered by the AI Confederacy in the early months of the war, which is out of line with the established historical narrative of a scruffy but spunky Southern army always short on numbers. I must be facing that vast Confederate host the Pinkerton Agency was always miscounting.

Another thing is you never really feel like you have important battles fought at one sharp, concentrated point. It's more like a wide, rolling attritional offensive that oozes forward, stops, rebuilds and then oozes forward again.
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by OldCrowBalthazor »

I can only attest to MP, but as CSA, I have been able to mass out maneuver my opponents, trap, isolate, and kill their Generals and proceed on towards the Ohio River. (Army of Tennessee) circa spring 1862 and on. In Virginia, its more attrition combat but a few wily moves and proper HQ rigor, especially under General Lee, can absolutely devastate the Union forces that try to move on Fredericksburg. In SW Missouri, its usually a wild conflict. I will shamelessly say that I can prove this with a MP match I have up on YouTube. As I write this the last episode takes place in Dec 1862, and its all preliminaries till spring...when all hell breaks out on the Union.

The point is that huge expanse of this arena contains a lot of elements for strategic surprise. It need not be dull for either side, at least in MP play, where human vs human matches show this games true colors. 🤠
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battlevonwar
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by battlevonwar »

It depends on the actions of the Union and properly crippling the Southern Industry + Trade. I can attest OldCrowBalthazor that a CSA that isn't crippled by 1862-1863 will have enough units to defend herself... Even if the Union Numbers are so overwhelming being on the offensive in the Civil War Era was rather difficult. The supply goes to zilch in certain places and the South can just wait for you with Experienced Units.

In 1862 I think the South can launch an offensive again if she has "proper Finaces..." I think that there should be a nerf to shutting down her trade a little longer to allow for a more Gettysburg Antietam run for the South. Not 'too much' but enough to allow for maneuvers as properly financed she can move into Maryland, Kentucky easily and threaten the Union to such extent the Union has to react for long while. I have a guy who has me stuck in Kentucky in 1863 and is pushing in New Mexico. I have wore him down but he has tried all sorts of little tactics including Massive Indian Raids to flank Missouri and a Massive Cavalry Push in Pennsylvania that initially nearly outflanked me(it's simple though the Union quickly recovers from this if you push down on the gas pedal in production)
OldCrowBalthazor wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 2:57 am I can only attest to MP, but as CSA, I have been able to mass out maneuver my opponents, trap, isolate, and kill their Generals and proceed on towards the Ohio River. (Army of Tennessee) circa spring 1862 and on. In Virginia, its more attrition combat but a few wily moves and proper HQ rigor, especially under General Lee, can absolutely devastate the Union forces that try to move on Fredericksburg. In SW Missouri, its usually a wild conflict. I will shamelessly say that I can prove this with a MP match I have up on YouTube. As I write this the last episode takes place in Dec 1862, and its all preliminaries till spring...when all hell breaks out on the Union.

The point is that huge expanse of this arena contains a lot of elements for strategic surprise. It need not be dull for either side, at least in MP play, where human vs human matches show this games true colors. 🤠
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by OldCrowBalthazor »

battlevonwar wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 5:23 pm It depends on the actions of the Union and properly crippling the Southern Industry + Trade. I can attest OldCrowBalthazor that a CSA that isn't crippled by 1862-1863 will have enough units to defend herself... Even if the Union Numbers are so overwhelming being on the offensive in the Civil War Era was rather difficult. The supply goes to zilch in certain places and the South can just wait for you with Experienced Units.

In 1862 I think the South can launch an offensive again if she has "proper Finaces..." I think that there should be a nerf to shutting down her trade a little longer to allow for a more Gettysburg Antietam run for the South. Not 'too much' but enough to allow for maneuvers as properly financed she can move into Maryland, Kentucky easily and threaten the Union to such extent the Union has to react for long while. I have a guy who has me stuck in Kentucky in 1863 and is pushing in New Mexico. I have wore him down but he has tried all sorts of little tactics including Massive Indian Raids to flank Missouri and a Massive Cavalry Push in Pennsylvania that initially nearly outflanked me(it's simple though the Union quickly recovers from this if you push down on the gas pedal in production)
Yeah, I have to agree...a lot depends on what the Union player does, especially in 1861 through early 1862.
What I am finding, is since it's pretty hard to capture a Union FS objective (other then Fort Monroe), that the key is to destroy and drive down Union FS through combat. This has to be done starting in spring 1862 and on into 1863...a daunting prospect!

All in all, long term prospects for the Confederacy generally are pretty bleak. How I handle that prognosis is by accepting that all is lost anyway, so why not go for broke....and change the outcome, or die trying. ⚔️

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Bylandt11
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by Bylandt11 »

I feel the same as the OP. Huge fan of the SC series. But this one doesn't deliver in the same ways as the others did. Gets boring soon, because there aren't many strategic choices to be made, except for some amphibious operations by the Union (which are useful for taking out CSA ports, but hard to expand upon, because supply is bad and reinforcement is slow and risky).

Form 8-10 army groups, first hold the line and then advance across the whole front: that's the game. Diplomacy is pointless. Tech research is obvious (rush the Big Four, to which I would add Telegraph).

I made this point before: it isn't the dev's fault that the ACW was not as strategically dynamic as WW2. But perhaps this engine is not well suited for the ACW. Big battles are absent from this simulation, for instance. Side note: the Spanish Civil War would make an excellent SC title.

The Trent War and Make Georgia Howl offer two fun scenario's though.
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battlevonwar
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by battlevonwar »

Well, the Civil War was a war of attrition and there were massive battles but to let say the South win Gettysburg on the map scale in Pennsylvania would break the game. CSA Cavalry would take over every FS city up there and completely destroy the place. While historically the CSA with 70,000 men and whipping Meade with over 100,000 men wouldn't mean much. The Union would of volunteers would of turned out another 50,000 men at every single pit stop along the way to stop the CSA and the Supply would of been so horrendous there would of been no use in moving North. I think making Washington D.C. a more tempting target for the South would be interesting. And it was very much a tempting target. . . Some expected after Bull Run that the South would of marched on Washington City and there was very little to stop them. The Union really doesn't have to worry about this in game and doesn't...

After the Middle of '63 the Union usually has cut the CSA Trade, Amped up Production and is on the March to take Richmond/Tennessee and there is little counterplay. You're stretching your tiny armies to cover a patchwork of defense to score a Minor CSA Victory which is a possibility. Though that's the reality of the ACW as you say...

There are alternative strategies the South could employ. Almost gamey ones by the right player...of course I won't hint much to it here!

Bylandt11 wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 8:27 pm I feel the same as the OP. Huge fan of the SC series. But this one doesn't deliver in the same ways as the others did. Gets boring soon, because there aren't many strategic choices to be made, except for some amphibious operations by the Union (which are useful for taking out CSA ports, but hard to expand upon, because supply is bad and reinforcement is slow and risky).

Form 8-10 army groups, first hold the line and then advance across the whole front: that's the game. Diplomacy is pointless. Tech research is obvious (rush the Big Four, to which I would add Telegraph).

I made this point before: it isn't the dev's fault that the ACW was not as strategically dynamic as WW2. But perhaps this engine is not well suited for the ACW. Big battles are absent from this simulation, for instance. Side note: the Spanish Civil War would make an excellent SC title.

The Trent War and Make Georgia Howl offer two fun scenario's though.
Zeckke
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by Zeckke »

the problem, is that the map is not the right map done

Richmond and Washington are the key of the game, and the closer there are the small zone of the game

so is a big map, but useless is not where should be big with details to make flanks or movements fast.

its a slowly map
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Pocus
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by Pocus »

The initial turns are slow, give the game some time, like wait until 1862 at least.
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battlevonwar
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by battlevonwar »

I really loved AGEOD's Civil War 2, I remember fighting in Tennessee with Lee/Jackson than railing my best divisions in and forgetting to put them altogether to take Washington against a guy where it was a guarantee ... He had let it with a stack of about 2000 Strength with McDowell but you could if you bought enough rail stock go to about around the Panhandle of Virginia roughly from Nashville area and if the Union wasn't paying attention Launch in a Super Assault of 3 or 4 Corps as I remember... I just forgot to put the Corp on "All In Or Nothing or taking D.C. was a Guarantee) LOL so fun times ... The Union was heavily favored there too, as you could train infantry while the South never really did that very well and it's builds were constrained to bad Divisions after a bit.

Lee and Jackson really has issue in this game with the Rivers, I think a guy had 3 Corp, 2 Artillery vs my D.C. Defenses and never got anywhere. I simply stacked up 3 or 4 Corp behind it and gunboated him back. He really did try a tricky maneuver like that. People do have to get more creative and there are some possibilities. I do think the Port Economic System for the CSA will have to be looked over. 3 Frigates per Port basically closed 2 of the CSA Ports. Plus 3-4 Marines "usually," closes most of the others if you don't use your fleet to do that. Effectively you reduce CSA Income 25-35% in 6 months into the game.(reduced European Entry combined adding another 10-15% reduction) you just ate 40% of CSA Money... Or at least 1 year into the game this can be done not can the CSA effectively block this? I would like to see if anyone has a counterstroke?... This is very crippling as it's about the time Corps come and you really start to see Union Production hit around 1400+

For the South to fight effectively and defend into 1865 she needs money. I was getting a bit brazen with an opponent and I didn't cut his Ports, effectively blockade and he actually came back from a Unit Deficit to BARELY defeat me as the CSA. I think income has to be HUGELY balanced in this game.
Pocus wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 8:15 am The initial turns are slow, give the game some time, like wait until 1862 at least.
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by stormbringer3 »

I like the game, but it has one drawback. Too many units spawn in the Richmond and Washington area. Within a few turns there's a continuous line from the Shenandoah Valley to the coast. In that area it becomes like playing SC WWI. There's no room to maneuver like there was in history. Perhaps fewer units could spawn leaving more room to maneuver?
Bobo2025
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by Bobo2025 »

stormbringer3 wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:32 pm I like the game, but it has one drawback. Too many units spawn in the Richmond and Washington area. Within a few turns there's a continuous line from the Shenandoah Valley to the coast. In that area it becomes like playing SC WWI. There's no room to maneuver like there was in history. Perhaps fewer units could spawn leaving more room to maneuver?

I do agree with this. I feel like the most "fun" theaters are the Missouri and Kentucky theaters because there is a lot more ebb and flow and less "Western Front 1916" feel which does tend to be what the Northern Virginia from feels like. There is clearly really no sense that there is a "Northern Virginia" front and a "Shenandoah Valley" front. This is just a contiguous mess and it definately plays massively into the Union strengths of grinding/attritional warfare.
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by battlevonwar »

The issue with Virginia-Maryland is historical mind you. It is rather stale but if you rotate in Corps you can devour armies and if you use Cavalry early game you can actually flank.

Just remember something the South doesn't really have to defend Richmond forever(nor should they) as it's a losing location. The James and Norfolk-Fort Monroe make Richmond a given for the North to take.

You can relocate further South where the Supply is abysmal for the North and they will likely never grind through there it's just how long you hold Richmond in the early years.

The ebb and flow is definitely more entertaining in the West and that is where the Theater of War moves hundreds if not thousands of miles in a matter of a year or two if you count the snaking around fortifications and from Nashville to Savannah and eventually all the way up through North Carolina ... (Mind you it took Grant until 1863 to actually accomplish this and precision in order to do it, he was quite expert engineer or at least his units were to literally dig out the win early on and fight in the rougher terrain in the West)

This is the Civil War and the roads in the rural areas were meant for wagons with families not 100,000 men to march down them fully supplied. Now actually Maryland and Pennsylvania would be a little better for that huge level of an Army. It can be done but there is no 'goal' there for the CSA that is worth doing it for aside D.C. that no Union will let you have for the life of them. They'll rail everything in from the West and grind you down if you try a Gettysburg Slip through the Shenandoah !!!
Bobo2025 wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 5:17 pm
stormbringer3 wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:32 pm I like the game, but it has one drawback. Too many units spawn in the Richmond and Washington area. Within a few turns there's a continuous line from the Shenandoah Valley to the coast. In that area it becomes like playing SC WWI. There's no room to maneuver like there was in history. Perhaps fewer units could spawn leaving more room to maneuver?

I do agree with this. I feel like the most "fun" theaters are the Missouri and Kentucky theaters because there is a lot more ebb and flow and less "Western Front 1916" feel which does tend to be what the Northern Virginia from feels like. There is clearly really no sense that there is a "Northern Virginia" front and a "Shenandoah Valley" front. This is just a contiguous mess and it definately plays massively into the Union strengths of grinding/attritional warfare.
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by matt3916 »

Re "Just remember something the South doesn't really have to defend Richmond forever(nor should they) as it's a losing location."

Hmm, Tredegar Iron Works, third largest city in the Confederacy, capital of the most populous state in the Confederacy and the state that provided more troops to the Confederate armies than any other (a little over 20% of the total).

Could the CSA as an organized political entity really have survived the loss of Richmond prior to late 1864?
Last edited by matt3916 on Wed Aug 03, 2022 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by metabagel »

battlevonwar wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:40 am Just remember something the South doesn't really have to defend Richmond forever(nor should they) as it's a losing location. The James and Norfolk-Fort Monroe make Richmond a given for the North to take.

You can relocate further South where the Supply is abysmal for the North and they will likely never grind through there it's just how long you hold Richmond in the early years.
True, and this isn't obvious. I thought taking Richmond would end the game. But, you don't need to take Montgomery, Alabama. You just have to crush the CSA's fighting spirit.
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by battlevonwar »

Early loss of Richmond would of spelled a quicker doom for certain. . . Virginia was vital to the war effort for the South. Maryland/Kentucky and Missouri were also very vital and despite what we're told were quite populated locations. They were also very vital...though in game I really don't get as much a feel out of Kentucky.
matt3916 wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 7:26 pm Re "Just remember something the South doesn't really have to defend Richmond forever(nor should they) as it's a losing location."

Hmm, Tredegar Iron Works, third largest city in the Confederacy, capital of the most populous state in the Confederacy and the state that provided more troops to the Confederate armies than any other (a little over 20% of the total).

Could the CSA as an organized political entity really have survived the loss of Richmond prior to late 1864?
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by Bobo2025 »

battlevonwar wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:40 am The issue with Virginia-Maryland is historical mind you. It is rather stale but if you rotate in Corps you can devour armies and if you use Cavalry early game you can actually flank.

Just remember something the South doesn't really have to defend Richmond forever(nor should they) as it's a losing location. The James and Norfolk-Fort Monroe make Richmond a given for the North to take.

You can relocate further South where the Supply is abysmal for the North and they will likely never grind through there it's just how long you hold Richmond in the early years.
It really isn't. you never had a long contiguous line of units facing off vs each other which is what my issue was.

...and yes, once the Union gets corps it turns into a bloodbath for the CSA and grinds down massive amounts of MPP per turn in losses that the Union can eat up much, much, much easier assuming the Union is vaguely competent at blockades and seizing ports.

I'm not sure how "optional" Richmond is. Given the FS hit and Industrial center loss it causes. Usually, the collapse of the CSA happens in three hammerfalls - NOLA, Nashville and Richmond. NOLA is toast right from the get go so I can't see being too cavalier about 1 of the other 2 critical locations.
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by battlevonwar »

The Union can definitely meatgrind Virginia fast... With the James she can also amphibiously land behind the lines or use Ft. Monroe and Norfolk + NC to cut off all the forces if they should choose to stay and a smart player won't he'll leave early.

I lost 1 Union game to a guy who won a Minor Victory cause I didn't get New Orleans, Montgomery or Atlanta. The inland Objective Cities I think need to be deep enough to force the Union to go down South. The supply gets tougher and the South is better off not fighting for Virginia which yes is historical but she just can't win that way. But she has to keep New Orleans or Charleston which yeah, good luck with that.
Bobo2025 wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:57 pm
battlevonwar wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:40 am The issue with Virginia-Maryland is historical mind you. It is rather stale but if you rotate in Corps you can devour armies and if you use Cavalry early game you can actually flank.

Just remember something the South doesn't really have to defend Richmond forever(nor should they) as it's a losing location. The James and Norfolk-Fort Monroe make Richmond a given for the North to take.

You can relocate further South where the Supply is abysmal for the North and they will likely never grind through there it's just how long you hold Richmond in the early years.
It really isn't. you never had a long contiguous line of units facing off vs each other which is what my issue was.

...and yes, once the Union gets corps it turns into a bloodbath for the CSA and grinds down massive amounts of MPP per turn in losses that the Union can eat up much, much, much easier assuming the Union is vaguely competent at blockades and seizing ports.

I'm not sure how "optional" Richmond is. Given the FS hit and Industrial center loss it causes. Usually, the collapse of the CSA happens in three hammerfalls - NOLA, Nashville and Richmond. NOLA is toast right from the get go so I can't see being too cavalier about 1 of the other 2 critical locations.
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Re: What am I missing?

Post by steevodeevo »

Fascinating thread, especially for a limey who's ACW knowledge is limited, but not completely absent. I did and do have a fascination for this conflict and have read around it a bit.

Not withstanding the brother vs. brother aspects, the war on the cusp of the modern age with modern war technology and the first ever prototypes is fascinating.

But having absorbed the balanced comments, I still hold that for someone not American, not totally hooked and deeply educated on the civil war the glacial pacing and very narrow tactical (not the strategic) options make the game tedious to play. I would say very tedious and hard to stick with until, as some have said, it blossoms and becomes intriguing. I remain to be convinced that the game does become more dynamic, faster paced and exciting as it evolves as the map scale, travel times, supply and combat mechanics do not change.

Marine landings are in my eyes just broken as is, to a lesser extent, the ranged / artillery model, the map scale in relation to unit movement, force concentrations and distributions and naval and riverine warfare.

I only write this very negative post, not because I am up my own a*s or inclined to this kind of toxin, but because I am disappointed given how awesome every other game in the series, original and updated, all of which I own, are.

Reading the Dev comments, as usual the guys are refreshingly honest and self critical and have said they will make changes, however the examples of changes they provided are understandably limited by the core engine and frankly won't make a spectacular difference, in my view, to the gameplay. They can't give the US Cavalry APCs.

Furthermore the last patch, was about a month ago and of limited scope. I think we have what we have now and it's probably a delight to a Civil War history buff.

Given the quality of our Devs I will most certainly keep it installed and await patch notes with a little hope.
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