Club Philosophy and Responsibilities
The American Civil War Gaming Club (ACWGC) has hundreds of members who are all here to have fun, meet fellow gamers, and enjoy a competitive battle. Some really appreciate the role-playing aspect of the club and the friendly banter back and forth between the sides. Others are here more for the gaming challenge of playing a human opponent on what is, essentially, a complex computer board game. Nonetheless all members, you may safely assume, are your brothers-in-arms and can be counted upon to act like gentlemen both during the games and in the emails you exchange. Some members keep a dozen or more games going at all times while others simply play when they have the time and may go weeks or months between games based on real life circumstances (you may interpret that to read “when the spouse or kids allows them to play”). The general meeting place is the Mason-Dixon Tavern (MDT) where the members spend their time asking questions, looking for opponents, and enjoying the incessant bantering between the sides. Furthermore, the Club is a very international group with members from many different countries (Sweden, New Zealand, Spain – just to name a few). It can be most enjoyable to meet different people through the club and to learn about their history, culture, and beliefs while sharing some of your own stories and ideas.
Commentary: The Club is a great place to meet friends who share the same wargaming and/or historical interests as yourself. I do, strongly, advise all new members to wade slowly into the Club and gaming by playing just one or two games at a time until they better understand the time commitment that turns can sometimes take. In a short/small scenario a simple turn can take just a minute or two. On the other hand, a large scenario with hundreds of units to move and strategies to consider can take 30 or more minutes easily. Based on your individual circumstances and preferences the time that each turn takes may, or may not, be an issue. But it is wise to start slowly and not end up a month into your career in the club with more turns than you can handle each night. This can quickly lead to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and the Club may soon feel more like a burden than a relaxing way to spend some free moments. It is best to start slow and increase your gaming in small amounts until you find a right balance for your situation.
Once you are a Member in the ACWGC you are allowed full use of all Club forums and websites and will have an equal say in the maintenance and direction of the Club. Your continued Club Membership is reliant on two different things. First, of course, your desire to continue gaming and having fun with your fellow Members, and second, mustering when requested to by your commanding officer. A muster call, sent via email usually a few times a year, is simply a way for leadership to find out who is still actively gaming in the Club and who might have silently drifted away over the months. A missed mustering will not get you removed from the rolls but your army commander will attempt to reach out to you a number of times over a few months to check on your continued Membership in the Club if you are unresponsive.
There is a whole section in the official Club Rules dealing with Leaves of Absence, Discharges, and Reinstatement. Feel free to peruse it if you like but the Club’s leaders understand when real-life causes people to leave for an indefinite period of time due to unforeseen circumstances. Communicating such things to your army commander will help with the administration of the Club. Even if this is not possible you will still always find the doors open to you when, and if, you return at a later time.
In short, all you need to do to remain a Club Member is to communicate your desire to remain in the Club. There is no minimum gaming requirement to hold a place in the Club.
The Club also expects its Members to treat each other respectfully and to play the games honestly. Winning and losing should be secondary to the enjoyment of the games as a whole. Because of this any cheating that takes place puts your continued Membership in the Club in jeopardy and also causes a ripple effect as the honor system that we all use is just a little weaker than before.
Although we greatly admire thinking outside of the box and taking chances in the realm of Civil War gaming we do still have a few rules we ask Members to follow.
Like any other Club we have a set of Club Rules we play by in the ACWGC. These rules can be viewed at anytime by visiting the Club’s homepage and clicking on the link there. The most important section to review is Section 5.0 on Gaming – listed below. This section contains the only rules enforced by the Club regarding battlefield conduct in the games. The rules are few but must be followed by Members to insure a fun and fair gaming experience by all.
5.1 Battlefield Conduct. The following rules should be followed in all club sanctioned games, unless there is prior agreement of all those engaged negating them.
5.1.1 Wagons will not be used to cut off enemy retreat.
5.1.2 Lone officers (that is, any number of officers not stacked with at least one cavalry, infantry, or artillery unit) will not be used in front of your lines as scouts to determine the position of enemy forces. Positioning any officers on high ground behind your lines to better view the battlefield, however, is perfectly acceptable.
5.1.3 Lone officers (that is, any number of officers not stacked with at least one cavalry, infantry, or artillery unit) will never be used to cut off an enemy retreat. (Sometimes it may seem your opponent has done this, but there may be an unseen enemy unit exerting a ZOC on the hex.)
5.1.4 Withdrawal of all (or a substantial portion of) forces from the battlefield, unless specified in the scenario as a victory condition, will cost the withdrawing player a 2-step reduction in the level of victory. Removal from the map of individual units, routed behind enemy lines by the game engine, is allowed. (This rule is waived in the case of campaign scenarios.)
5.1.5 Routed units will not be moved in such a manner as to cut off an enemy retreat deliberately by the player. Units moved by the computer are exempt from this restriction.
5.1.6 If conducive to a routed unit’s survival, the unit should be moved towards their own lines (except when such a move would violate item 5.1.5 above).
5.1.7 All club members will treat each other with courtesy.
5.1.8 Club games should be responded to in a timely manner. (“Timely manner” to be determined mutually by the players involved.)
188.8.131.52 If for some reason this cannot be done it is the duty of the player who cannot do it to inform his opponent of his inability. If this is not acceptable to the opponent then the player should either concede the game at the current level of victory or find a level of victory mutually agreeable to his opponent. In the absence of an agreement take a 2-step reduction in the level of victory currently enjoyed. (An early resignation – in writing – by one side is always scored as a Major Victory for the opposing side and a Major Defeat for the resigning side.)
184.108.40.206 If one player leaves the Club, becomes inactive, or simply stops responding for weeks at a time, the remaining player may treat the game as a Major Victory. It is normal protocol to first check with the superior officers of the opponent before declaring this type of victory.
5.2 Violations In the absence of prior agreement, should an officer believe his opponent has violated any of the sections of this code he should first address his concerns with his opponent.
5.2.1 If this fails to bring satisfaction, the offended officer should discreetly bring the apparent violation to the attention of his own AC (chain of command is to be bypassed in this instance), who will open negotiations with the AC of the offending officer.
5.2.2 Should the offending officer be found in violation of the code, an appropriate discipline will be determined by the two AC’s. At NO TIME will either the charge, the inquiry, or the results be made public knowledge.
5.3 Mirror Matches
5.3.1 Definition A mirror match is a game that is played twice, with the two opponents switching sides for the second game. The two games of a mirror match may be played at the same time.
5.3.2 OBD Points. Points will be awarded for both games of a mirror match. If the match is between officers of different military groups, full points will be awarded. If officers from the same military group are on opposite sides the games of the match will be considered maneuvers and the points awarded divided by 2. (Exception: Tournaments approved by the CoA’s of both military groups may use mirror matches that count as regular battles even though, during certain matches of that tournament, two officers of the same side may end up facing each other.)
5.4 House Rules. Many officers prefer specific ‘house rules’ when they play. All house rules are optional and must be agreed to ahead of time by both players. The Club does not require that any optional rules (either house rules or those provided within the games) be used.
If you have any questions you can ask your VMI Instructor or any of the staff here at VMI.
Violating the Club Rules will not get you lined up and shot against the wall. Every Member, if they are honest, will probably admit to having inadvertently violated them on occasion. This is more common with House Rules as players sometimes forget about rules agreed upon before a game if they have, perhaps, been playing it for months without issue. A gentle reminder of a Rule is almost always fully sufficient to have your opponent correct the issue as soon as possible. If you feel the player is intentionally violating the Rules repeatedly you can always request a game termination and simply “move on” or, if you feel the actions deem it necessary, alert your Club officials of the issue and let them suggest a possible resolution to the problem.
Using the Mason-Dixon Tavern
The ACWGC Members use the Club Forums to communicate and find opponents. You will want to bookmark the page for quick access in the future.
One of the forums admins will contact you soon after entering VMI to help get you setup with an account at the forum. He will provide you with an ID and a generic password to use.
Once you are logged into the MDT you can edit your profile to make it more interesting. Every post that you make on the ACWGC Forums should have a Signature attached to it. But writing out your name on each post is ridiculous, right? There is a simple fix for that!
The FIRST thing you need to do is make sure you are signed on to the ACWGC Forums under your Username.
SECOND you need to click on the User Control Panel (or the UCP for short) in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
THIRD you will then be directed to the UCP. Feel free to explore the UCP and its many options once you arrive. To specifically change your signature, click on "Profile" in the Options Menu on the left-hand side of the screen.
FOURTH a new drop-down menu will appear under "Profile". On this menu click on "Edit Signature".
FIFTH your signature box will now appear. Type in your rank, name, and your organization exactly as you want it to appear on the Forums. After typing in your name hit "Preview" to view it as it will look once you Submit it.
SIXTH if your satisfied with the way it looks - click "Submit" and you are all done!
Remember, you can add different font colors, images, font styles, sizes, and other things to your signature. For more information click here.
The Opponent Finder Forum
You are ready to play and only need an opponent to step onto the field of honor with you – but where to find them? The most common way to look for a fight is to make use of the club's Opponent Finder portion of the ACWGC Main Forums. There you can chose the particular game sub-forum in which you are interested, log in and make a posted challenge! You'll want to be as specific as you can, making sure to completely identify yourself and in stating the game and scenario you want to play. Let your potential opponents know if you're looking for a single- or multiple-player contest. Sometimes you'll find an opponent already looking for the match in which you're interested. After you've posted, it shouldn't take too long before someone takes you up on your offer. But if not, try expanding your gaming options. If you are seeking to play only the Battle of Fort Donelson, and are finding no takers, then you might want to expand your request to anything from HPS Shiloh. You should also include your personal email to be reached at. But because of computerized spammers and such it is highly recommended you place your email in some sort of code. Preferably something along the lines of reb<AT>gmail<DOT>com. It may seem silly but it might save you from getting spammed by some bot looking to sell you a gold mine in Indonesia.
Opponents may come from anywhere in the club. A game between two Confederates is considered a “maneuver” while a game against a Union opponent is a “battle.” More on the differences of that later but the main thing is that you can play any other member as many times, or as few, as you like. The goal of the club is to help people forge new friendships while also partaking of a fun hubby in a healthy spirit of competition.
You will, hopefully, receive a few email challenges or replies directly on your posted thread. If you are having trouble finding opponents feel free to ask anyone at VMI for assistance or even your commanding officer once you are assigned to an army.
Commentary: Over time you will discover some opponents you really enjoy talking to in emails and some who you simply are not suited with. Some members prefer little interaction outside of the turn itself while others enjoy a lengthy discussion on the war, movies, historical events, sports, women, beer, politics, travel, and so on. The important thing is to find other members who suit your style. I have played some opponents, off and on, for a decade and still find new things to talk about. Meanwhile, other members I have played I have battled once and decided that was enough and moved on. Once you find a few good opponents to play you will discover yourself spending most of your time playing them. That being said, never be afraid to expand your circle of opponents whenever possible!
Basic Optional Rules
Even before starting a Game you must first discuss which Optional Rules to select with your opponent. The list seems long and daunting but the majority of players in the Club are very flexible on these. Below is a screenshot of the Optional Rules for HPS Gettysburg.
Generally, a starting place for the negotiation of the Optional Rules is that all boxes are checked except for the first – Manual Defensive Fire. The other most common rule to uncheck is Artillery Capture. But let us take a quick look at all the Optional Rules.
Special Note: For a much better understanding and a more complete explanation and demonstration of these Optional Rules see the Advanced Training section of the VMI Curriculum.
Here’s a quick idea of what the optional rules do:
1. Manual Defensive Fire – Actually selects whether play is Turn or Phased.
2. Optional Fire Results – Averages two die rolls to get casualties.
3. Optional Melee Results – Averages two die rolls to get casualties.
4. Quality Fire Modifiers – Unit quality used to modify Fire values.
5. Higher Fatigue Recovery Rates – Increases Fatigue recovery by 5x, 3x, and 1x default levels.
6. Victory points for Leader Casualties – Awards VP for killing leaders based on their ratings.
7. Rout Limiting – Reduces odds of routing the further units are from one that initiated.
8. Density Fire Modifier – Increases fire value against large stacks.
9. Night Movement Fatigue – Units moving at night acquire fatigue.
10. Mounted Cavalry Skirmishers – Mounted cavalry exerts a skirmish ZOC.
11. Higher Disrupted Movement – Changes disrupted unit movement from ½ to ¾.
12. Optional Melee Resolution – Melee resolved in separate phase in Turn based play.
13. Alternate Fixed Unit Release – Fixed units released when enemy within 5 hexes.
14. Quality Melee Modifiers – Unit quality used to modify melee values.
15. Isolation Rules – Reduces melee strength of isolated defenders by ¼.
16. Weak Zone-of-Control – Units may move or retreat through one hex of enemy ZoC.
17. Partial Retreats – Allow some units to retreat from hex even if not enough room.
18. Automated Defensive Fire – AI conducts defensive fire in Phased play game.
19. Flank Morale Modifier – Morale increased one if friendly unit on flanks.
20. Full Melee Defensive Fire – A/I Defensive fire against units melee at full strength (Turn play).
21. Bridge Limit and Repair – Allows bridge repaired and limits movement across until fully repaired
22. Artillery Capture – Allows capture of guns and using them against the enemy.
23. Artillery Retire by Prolonge – Allows unlimbered gun to move back one hex.
24. Artillery Ammo by Cannon – Uses ammo at rate of one ammo per gun that fires.
25. Proportional Opportunity Fire – Size of stack figured in triggering of opportunity fire.
26. Mixed Organization Penalty to have a -1 morale modifier applied to units in the same hex with units from different brigades.
27. Extreme Fog of War - the visibility highlight only displays from friendly occupied hexes and any units in terrain other than a clear field have their numbers completely hidden.
Fighting Battles and Maneuvers
There are numerous types of engagements that you can play in the ACWGC and which are registerable at the DoR.
To begin with the most popular type of game in the Club is the traditional “Battle” between a Confederate Member and Union Member. These battles offer the full allotment of points as distributed according to Club Rules and help add to the flavor of the Club by keeping the two sides in constant competition.
A “Training” is only used at the start of your Membership for your battle against your instructor. You will receive 30 points at the conclusion of the Training and a promotion to Lieutenant within the Club.
A “Maneuver” is defined as an engagement between two Members from the same side in the Club. The Club Rules only distribute half the usual amount of points for these games. These games are nearly as popular as full “Battles” as many Members play their friends regardless of the side they are technically on. But to rack up points a little quicker the “Battle” option is preferable.
A “Multiplayer” game is defined as a game with more than two players involved. These games are also very popular with the more social Members of the Club who like the challenge of trying to coordinate with other players to achieve a victory. These games can take any type of format you can organize (1 vs. 2, 2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3, etc.) but the most common is the two on two format. Points are distributed equally to the participants at the same rate as a traditional “Battle.” Playing a “Multiplayer” game is a fun experience and should be attempted at some point. The process of how to rotate turns and email them is the same as in a regular game except that the turn is not closed-out before sending it to an ally. Only after the final player has moved from your side will he then close the turn and send the file to the other team. Further directions on this are easily attainable from any Club Member, the MDT, or from your commanders. These games do take much longer to complete because of the added file exchanges between players. Before engaging in a “Multiplayer” game be sure that the other participants are ready to go the distance and/or that a contingency plan is in place should a Member go on vacation at some point or need to leave the game.
“Moderator-led Games” are unique and, I think, the most challenging. They can be organized in many different ways and contain any number of Moderator pre-determined rules and stipulations for the participants. These games are not very common and require an active Member to organize the effort and enlist participants. To compensate the moderator of such a game they will receive double the points of a single player of the winning side (with the approval of both CoA’s to distribute the extra points).
Lastly, there are “Campaign Games”. The HPS/JTS games allow for a campaign series of games joined together. Each game in the campaign is to be filed separately. Players engaged in “Campaign Games” will earn the score for each individual game completed. Although not as popular in the club, for reasons I will state, these are still fun games which offer a unique challenge. The disadvantage to “Campaign Games” is that they can stretch into hundreds of turns which can take a very long time to complete. Further, there is no encryption in a “Campaign Game” so you are at the mercy of your opponent’s honor to not open the gaming file on your turn to scout your troops. Further, while some campaign scenarios are balanced and fun, others are very imbalanced and can be a chore to play with so many disadvantages. Single scenario games offer you the ability to pick and choose which scenario to play (usually one you have examined beforehand to judge its playability) whereas in “Campaign Games” you are stuck playing whichever scenario you are given by the computer program.
Win, Lose, or Draw
The Victory Dialog is used to view the current victory conditions. This is located on the top toolbar of the game under the “Info” drop down menu. It will look something like this:
To quote the User’s Guide:
Each scenario has a First Side determined by the Parameter Data of the current scenario. Victory conditions are always calculated relative to that side resulting in a victory level for that side. The victory level for the other side is the opposite result. For example, if the Union side is first and gets a Major Victory, then the Confederate side suffers a Major Defeat, and so forth. The total number of Objective Points for the first side is displayed. For each side, the Losses of each side in terms of Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, and Supply is listed together with the Point Loss corresponding to each type of loss. The point range associated with each victory level is displayed in the Victory Values field. The total points awarded to the First Side is based on the Objective Points held by that side, minus the Point Losses for that side, plus the Point Losses for the enemy side. This calculation results in the Total Points value. This value is compared to the Victory Values to determine the victory level. If the Total Points is less than the Major Defeat value, then the First Side suffers a Major Defeat. If the Total Points is greater than the Major Defeat value but less than the Minor Defeat value, then the First Side suffers a Minor Defeat. If the Total Points is greater than the Minor Defeat value but less than the Minor Victory level, then the battle has resulted in a Draw for both sides. If the Total Points is greater than the Minor Victory value, but less than the Major Victory level, then the First Side has won a Minor Victory. Finally, if the Total Points is greater than the Major Victory value, then the First Side has won a Major Victory.
If the Optional Rule awarding Victory Points for Leader Casualties is selected in the current battle, then these points are included in the Losses display and included in the calculation for Total Points. The points assigned for a Leader Casualty are calculated as follows:
• The Leader’s Command value is converted into a numeric value using the assignment A = 6, B = 5, …, F = 1.
• To this value, the Leader’s Leadership value is added using the same numeric assignment.
• Depending on the command level of the Leader, the value is multiplied by a factor:
Army Leader; Factor = 4
Corps Leader; Factor = 3
Division Leader; Factor = 2
Brigade Leader; Factor = 1 (no change)
• Finally, the value is modified according to how the Leader became a casualty:
Killed; No change
Wounded; Value is halved
Captured; Value is doubled
game on pause indefinitely, hoping to return to it later, or to call it a Draw as a sign of camaraderie between Members.
At the end of the game it’s result should be registered at the DoR so the points can be distributed to the participants.
If the game does go the distance the end result will be reflected in the “Victory Dialog” box and the winner determined after the final turn is completed.
The Club Rules for the awarding of points for a completed game are: (I apologize in advance for the headache coming):
220.127.116.11 - Basic Formula. Normal games (identified as ‘Battles’) will receive base points equal to the sum of the Scenario Length Modifier (SLM), plus the Result Modifier (RM), plus 1 additional point for the winner. If two or more players join forces in a multi-player game, all involved will earn all points. (Points will not be divided among players of a side.) There is no limit to the number of Engagement Points an officer may earn in any given month.
a) Scenario Length Modifier (SLM) = Number of Completed Turns divided by Four (# Completed Turns / 4).
b) Result Modifier (RM) = (Number of Completed Turns times the Win/Loss Result (WLR)) divided by 100.
c) Win/Loss Result (WLR)
1) Draw = 0 points
2) Minor Victory = +1 point
3) Major Victory = +3 points
4) Minor Defeat = -1 point
5) Major Defeat = -3 points
d) Example: Calculation for a Major Victory after 30 completed turns.
1) Winner’s total = SLM (30 / 4) + RM ((30 * 3) / 100) + 1
or SLM (7.5) + RM (.9) + 1 = 9.4
2) Loser’s total = SLM (30 / 4) + RM ((30 * -3) / 100)
or SLM (7.5) + RM (-.9) = 6.6
Commentary: Gees. Bottom line is that the longer the game you play the more points you earn. A maneuver against a fellow Confederate earns you points as well but that convoluted calculation listed above is halved for maneuvers. The points awarded gap between losing and winning is also not as significant as you may imagine. This makes the outcome less important than the experience and fun of playing. Enjoy your games! Let the points take care of themselves over time.
At the conclusion of the game either participant may close the battle at the DoR (it can only be closed once). With the closing of the battle the DoR automatically distributes points to the participants and the game is over.
For more information on using the DoR please see the courses dealing with that department directly.
Few games reach their actual time limit in the scenario before they come to an end. More often one player or the other will concede a defeat and the players will end the game at that point. If, as an example, your army is wrecked and you are simply not capable of continuing the battle with any aspect of redemption than you may want to resign at that point (like laying the King down in Chess). Almost all opponents will be sympathetic with your plight, having been there themselves undoubtedly, and graciously accept your surrender. On occasion one may be upset because they were having such a good time wiping the floor with you that they want it to continue. But this is a very rare circumstance. Usually when one player resigns the other will respect their decision and congratulate them on a battle fought honorably. There is no real proper etiquette for asking for an end to the game aside from emailing your opponent and telling them you have no choice but to capitulate to their forces. This results in a Major Victory for your opponent.
If you must resign from a game for any other reason (real-life issues) you should inform your opponent and expect to receive a Major Defeat as a result. Although I have noticed many players will offer to put the
The ACWGC uses Officer Battle Dossier (OBD) points to determine rank in the Club. The OBD points are awarded for games played, Club administrative work, and other Club services rendered. These points are displayed and distributed at the DoR. Also, within the DoR is the “Field Promotions” link under the Reports menu. For more information on the DoR see ACWGC 152 Registering a Game at the DoR.
Once you click on Field Promotions you will see your own OBD point total and a list of the points required for rank advancement in the Club. Pulling from the Club Rules the needed points are listed below for promotion:
4.1 Military Ranks and Requirements. Rank is determined by accumulated Officer Battle Dossier (‘OBD’) points and club service (as approved by the Cabinet).
a) Cadet - 15 points (approval of Training Academy Commandant required).
b) Second Lieutenant (special case, by CoA appointment) - 15 points (approval of CoA required)
c) Lieutenant - 30 points (approval of Training Academy Commandant required).
d) Captain - 45 points (no Cabinet approval required).
e) Major - 60 points (no Cabinet approval required).
f) Lieutenant Colonel - 75 points (no Cabinet approval required).
g) Colonel - 150 points (no Cabinet approval required).
h) Brigadier General - 300 points (Cabinet approval required).
i) Major General - 450 points and Division Command or higher (Cabinet approval required).
j) Lieutenant General - 600 points and Corps Commander, RO, Chief of Staff to CoA, AC or TC, Academy (UMA, VMI)/War College Commandant, or higher (Cabinet approval required).
k) General - 800 points and Army Command, Academy (UMA, VMI)/War College Commandant, RO, TC or COA (Cabinet approval required).
Within the Field Promotions tab you can be automatically promoted when you achieve the next required rank level by clicking on the “Open Message” when it is available at the bottom of the page. Automatic promotions will take place until you reach the rank of Brigadier General at which point you will need Cabinet approval for further promotions. After you reach the 300 point mark and click on “Open Message” an email will be sent to your commanding officers alerting them of your achievement. The Cabinet will then pass eligible promotions at their next meeting. Promotion beyond the rank of brigadier requires additional Club services – such as volunteering for a divisional command or chief of staff work.
Over the years I have seen people reach the rank of full General within a year and others stay below the general ranks for years. Nonetheless, regardless of rank, all Members are treated equally and the military ranks have little actual value in the Club. Your advancement all depends on how much gaming you do and how much volunteer work you do for the Club’s administration. Your participation and gaming in the Club is the key to our continued success and longevity.
Starting a PBEM Training Game
Your first battle in the ACWGC will be a training maneuver against an instructor at VMI. It does not matter if you win or lose but only that you show an ability to use PBEM and a willingness to observe our standards of fair-play and sportsmanship. Feel free to ask any questions you have to your instructor at any time.
The Training Game
Your instructor will select a training scenario based on the games you own. But for this tutorial I will use Gettysburg as that is the most common game people own in the Club. Whatever title you are using the basic instructions are exactly the same.
The one I have chosen as an example is “Historical 1.1.2 Oak Hill.” This is a 6-turn game in which the sides are evenly matched and that can be played quickly.
1) Go to the Gettysburg game and open it up. Under the Help drop down menu on the toolbar you will click on the “About” option which will then bring up a screen displaying the version of the game you are currently using. For Gettysburg it should be version 3.0. If this is not what you are currently using you must go to the John Tiller Updates site and install the latest gaming patch. If you have any questions about how to do that let your instructor know. Otherwise the directions to do so will vary based on your operating system and the browser you are using.
2) After checking that you are using 3.0 you will want to make sure that the “PBEM Encryption” option is selected as well. You can view this under the “Settings” drop down menu at the top of the game.
3) After making sure you are using 3.0 and that the Encryption Setting is on go to the “File” drop down menu on the top left and select “Selection…” to bring up the “File Selection Dialog” of the Gettysburg game. Then select “New” for status, then “Play-By-E-Mail” as the mode, and lastly “!historical 1.1.2 oak hill” as the File to play. Then click “OK”.
4) Next you will see a “New Scenario Dialog” box appear. In this you will select “Rebel” as your local side, then check the “Fog-of-War” box, and then click on the “Rules…” box on bottom. The “Optional Rules Dialog” box should mirror what you see below here with each box checked except for Manual Defensive Fire. After that you will be directed back to the “New Scenario Dialog” box where you will click “OK” to start.
5) In this particular scenario the Confederates move first. You will conduct your movements, firing, and any melee actions before advancing to the end of your turn. Once you do that the following message will appear on the screen.
6) After clicking “OK” a new “Save As” box will pop up prompting you to Save the file. I suggest naming the file first with two exclamation points, then with the initials of yourself, followed by an underscore, and then your opponent’s initials and the name of the game you are playing. An example is seen below (JR for Johnny Reb). We use the exclamation points just because it keeps your files on the top of the saves list easier than if you named them starting with a letter (since the list is populated alphabetically). But really you can name it whatever you want. It’s just a recommendation. After creating the file click “Save”.
7) After clicking save a new box will pop up named “Key Dialog”. Here is where you will select your password for the game. This is a non-changeable or recoverable password so make it easy to remember! I use numerical codes for all my games but you can use whatever works for you. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Just a singular number or letter will do. But it is up to you. Just make sure you remember it or write it down if necessary.
8) Finally after selecting a password and clicking “OK” you will see a final “PBEM Message” informing you the file is ready to be emailed to your opponent
9) After this point, once again, the directions to send the file change based on your computer and operating system. Use a new email message to attach the file to and then it along to your instructor to complete the turn. The game file will be located within the Gettysburg game folder on your PC and then within the “Saves” subfolder within that.
From this point you are playing the “waiting game” as you await the return of the gaming file from your opponent. Use this time to review the other VMI lessons or to play against the A/I to better hone your skills. The rule of thumb in the club is to try and return every turn within 24 hours – though VMI instructors are asked to give top priority to training games.
Let us speed ahead to when you receive the first file exchange from your instructor and what to do with the file.
1) You would first save the file to your PC (overwriting the previous file) and then place the file in the Gettysburg folder under the “Saves” subfolder again. From there you would reopen the Gettysburg game and return to the “File Selection Dialog” box. From there you would now select “Old” as the Status, “Play-By-E-Mail” as the Mode and then double-click on the file to open the game.
2) The first thing you will see is the “Key Dialog” box again prompting you to enter your password to open the file.
3) After entering the password you will see a “Replay Message” box offering you the chance to watch the enemy replay of the turn. By hitting “Yes” you will see any moves, firing, or melees, the enemy makes within your line of sight.
Commentary: Replays are a debatable issue with some players. I have known great players who never watched a single replay and others that will record them with their iPhone or screen capture device so they can actually rewatch it multiple times to dissect a turn completely. Whatever works for you, right? Replays can take a very long time to sit through in some scenarios but do relay valuable information. It is a completely personal call whether to watch them all the time, some of the time, or never.
4) After watching the battle replay a new “Replay Message” box appears telling you the replay has ended. By clicking “OK” you will initiate a new turn for yourself.
5) Following the same saving and sending instructions as you did before you may proceed along with the games next turn.
If you have any questions, as always, feel free to ask.
Registering a Game at the DoR
For your training maneuver with your instructor you are required to register your game at the Department of Records. The ACWGC uses the Department of Records (DoR), located at http://acwgcrecords.net/, to record games, distribute points, promote eligible officers, and more. Once your training is underway you will be given an account at the DoR in order to register the training battle. To do so you would follow these steps:
1. Go to the Department of Records website at http://acwgcrecords.net/.
2. You will then enter your username and password as sent to you by your instructor and/or the commandant of VMI. Once logged in you will see the following set of options:
3. Before moving on take a brief moment to click on the bottom link “Instructions for Using This Site.” It will answer many questions you may have and will explain more about the DoR than you will read here. The DoR is an interesting place to explore if you ever have the time or inclination to do so.
4. For now though you will want to select option 1 at the top to Register a New Game on the DoR.
5. You will be taken to a new screen with a drop-down menu asking you which game you are currently playing. Click on the drop-down menu to select the game you are playing with your instructor.
6. After selecting your game you will see the following screen with a number of drop-down menus. You would select yourself as the CSA member in the scenario and then your instructor as the USA member. You would then select the scenario you are playing. Lastly, where it asks to select battle type, you will select “VMI Training.” To finish registering the game you would then scroll ALL the way down to the bottom and hit “Submit”.
7. After submitting the game you will see a confirmation telling you the game has been added.
8. That’s all there is to it. Let your instructor know you have registered the game. For all future club games the procedure would be the same.
Note: The only time you would ever use “VMI Training” is this one instance. In the future all CSA vs USA member games are registered as Battles and all CSA vs CSA games are listed as Maneuvers. In future games with Members the Member who issues the challenge, generally, registers the game. But there is no set rule for this. Confer with your opponent about this and be sure only one of you registers the game. If a game is double-registered simply contact your Army Commander or a Member of the Cabinet to fix the issue.
Posting a Training Report
One of the responsibilities of a VMI cadet is to post at least one training report at the VMI Mess Hall Forum at the ACWGC Forums site. To do this just follow the steps below.
1. Go to the ACWGC Forums at http://wargame.ch/board/acwgc/index.php. From there you will log in to your forums account with the information provided to you by your instructor and/or the VMI Commandant.
2. After logging in you will see a number of Club forums to explore and look through. All cadets are restricted from posting anywhere outside of the Confederate Forums on the bottom of the forums list. The VMI Mess Hall forum is the place where you will want to post your battle report.
3. After entering the VMI Forum you will see other reports from past cadets to view. Feel free to read any that you like.
4. To post on the forum you will click on “New Topic” on the top left of the forum.
5. A new window will appear where you can enter your report. Be sure to include a title on the top and a few brief sentences or comments about the game. When you are done just hit the “submit” button at the bottom of the page.
6. Your report will now be posted in the VMI Mess Hall! You will have completed your assignment once that is done.
Why do we ask this? Just to make sure all new members have access to the ACWGC forums and can post there without issues. That’s all.
Ending Games at the DoR
Once your training game has been completed with your instructor you will need to end the game at the DoR.
1) Return to the Department of Records at http://acwgcrecords.net/ and log in to your account.
2) After logging in you will see the main menu of the DoR. You will select the second option to “End a Current Game.”
3) You will then see a screen asking you which game you would like to end. You will select your current training game with your instructor. You will also fill in how many turns were played, the winning side of the game, and what the victory level was for that side. After that you will hit “Submit” at the bottom.
Your task is now complete! The game is closed and the points distributed to the participants. In the future you can repeat these steps to end other games you are engaged. A game can only be ended once so be sure to put the information in correctly. Worst-case scenario is that if you make an error you can contact the DoR admin or your Army Commander to have the game deleted and then reregistered correctly.
If you are curious to see your Gaming history or Officer Battle Dossier (OBD) you would return back to the “Front Page” (main menu) and click on “Reports.” You will then see a number of different options to explore within the DoR. Feel free to look around the DoR as it contains a lot of data – some interesting, most, not so much. But the DoR is our storage bin for games played and records and is a great asset to the Club! Be sure to use it when you are gaming to receive your points.
The games come with a wonderful getting started file that can be viewed by going into the game’s file folder and opening up the file called “Manuals”. Within that file you will find a “users” PDF document within the Manuals folder. Below is a picture of what you should be looking for to access this:
Because I am using a Windows 10 PC your view might be different than mine based on your operating system. But the idea remains the same.
Ken Miller and others just released an updated User’s Manual within the Gettysburg game which will become the standard with the next batch of game updates. This is a really well done tutorial on how to play the game. I usually like to add commentary or additional ideas to what the manuals say (or don’t) which you will find here at VMI.
For any basic “how do I do this?” questions I encourage you to either ask your instructor or look at this file for a breakdown of how to play the game.