SQUARES - The Civil War Battle Game

Comments, Questions, and Answers

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General Overview Questions
How many people can play at once?
Typically 2 - you may find creative ways for more than 2 to play, but the basic game is a two player game

How long does a typical game take?
1 to 1.5 hours

What are the different unit types in the game?
Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery

Are there any expansions to the game?
No. (But, if anyone has ideas - send'em in. We're thinking about putting some together for the Player's Guide).

Can the game be played solitaire?
Yes, but not as well as with 2 people. You would probably want to randomize the defender options in this case.

What does a PASS represent?
A PASS represents an increased amount of coordination needed to accomplish more complex or time consuming military actions; such as moving an organized unit into a wooded area (without them becoming completely scattered).

What is the game scale?
Game scale is a concept that doesn't apply in the traditional sense to this game. A single turn may represent a few minutes or a few hours, depending on the overall situation. Time is a function of how much can be done before your opponent can react. The distance or physical space is likewise not to be thought of in conventional terms. The spaces on the board were designed as much from Command and Control considerations as they were from physical or geographical factors. Given these disclaimers, it may be safe to assume that a single game represents the passage of approximately 6 hours, and that the game board represents an area of approximately 1 to 2 square miles. Each Infantry unit represents roughly 1500 men (a brigade), each Artillery unit represents a battery of 6 to 10 guns, and a Cavalry unit represents about 300 mounted troopers.

Detailed Questions
Blue artillery is in B1L and is attacked by Gray Cavalry in B2L supported by Cavalry in B1CL. Is this a Flank attack, if so can the artillery try to make a retreat (by the flank rule), or (by the retreat rules) forced to stand and be eliminated at no loss to the attacker?
The flank retreat is only available "if possible", and since artillery can not retreat if attacked, such a retreat is not possible, therefore it must STAND and be eliminated.

Blue artillery is in B3C and is attacked by Gray infantry in B3R supported by artillery in B2CR. The attacker chooses option 1 and wants to retreat both attacking infantry and supporting artillery piece. Is blue artillery eliminated because of the no retreat rule for artillery or allowed to retreat because of the attacker's supporting artillery's retreat, which states defending "unit" is given second chance to then retreat?
Technically, the artillery is given a second chance to retreat, but since artillery cannot retreat if attacked, the second chance still results in the artillery unit having to STAND.

The rules say that if a unit I attack retreats I "MAY" enter the vacated square of the enemy. In another place I find where it says that I "may 'optionally' enter" the enemy's vacated square. Does this mean if it it doesn't say "optionally" I MUST do as it says or I may do as it says if I choose to.
Advancing into a square vacated by an enemy unit you attacked is always optional (provided your attack was supported, and the attacker is not artillery). If your attack is unsupported, then you may NOT advance into the vacated square. The use of the term MAY is meant to imply that you have the choice (you MAY or MAY NOT depending on what you want). The advance is not considered a separate move, but a continuation of the attack, and your option to advance (or not) must be exercised immediately (before your opponent's next turn).

Why do Infantry retreat all the way back to their reserve area? Why not just back one or two squares?
Retreats represent more than just the moving of an organized military formation from one location to another. Generally, retreats represent the temporary disintegration of miltary cohesion as a fighting unit. This may be caused by a number of factors; running out of ammunition, stragglers, skulkers, or having too many troops separated from the main body (lost or panicked). Moving the retreated unit back to the reserve portrays the time and effort needed to reform the unit. Typically such a re-grouping would require the nucleus of the unit (i.e. the commander and his staff) to withdraw far enough from the enemy to both resupply all his troops and to gather them up in safety.

Why do Cavalry get to retreat just one square? And why can't Cavalry STAND (like Infantry)?
Cavalry units had a different kind of discipline and military training than Infantry; they were in some regards better organized as a unit. Or perhaps a better way of viewing it; they were more use to being disorganized than Infantry. Hence, Cavalry could regroup faster and more efficiently than Infantry, and were not as affected in their fighting ability due to running out of ammunition (for a variety of reasons; for pro-Cavalry fans it was because they had their sabres to fight with, for anti-Cavalry types it was because they didn't have much fighting ability anyway). Cavarly can't STAND (except in some very limited situations), because it wasn't done. There are some historical exceptions to this "fact", such as Buford at Gettysburg, but the prevailing practical doctrine had Cavalry running away from more fights than standing and fighting. There was a reason one Confederate General offered a reward for a corpse with spurs on.

Why can't Artillery retreat if attacked? And then why CAN they retreat if used as support? And why can't Artillery attack?
Artillerymen would not bother to limber their guns if under a severe attack; they would just run. The more dedicated men may take time to spike their guns, but that's it. The Artillerymen will retreat, but the guns are lost in the process. Artillery may retreat as a supporting unit, because they are not under attack, and the gun crews can limber the cannons and withdraw them to safety (the attacking unit will cover for them). Artillery cannot attack (except other Artillery) because Artillery was simply not used for that purpose; it was not part of the military doctrine. Any attempt to use Artillery for more than attack support proved ineffective. (see Lee's bombardment of Cemetary Ridge prior to Pickett's Charge). This is also the prevailing rationale for the "Second Chance" retreat option in the rules.

Why do retreating Cavalry displace other friendly units, but retreating Infantry do not?
This is one of those seemingly illogical events in war that is hard to explain, especially using 20th Century military thinking. This rule was put in because historically that is what happened. Infantry retreating through other friendly units would be met by jeers and taunts from those other units without much concern (by those other units) for "why" the Infantrymen were fleeing. There was no great disruption nor panic generated in such an event. On the other hand, if Infantry were suddenly taken upon by retreating Cavalry, their reaction would be quite different. For whatever reason, psychological or the shear disruptive nature of "panicked" horses, Infantrymen would scatter; hence a retreat and hence regrouping was needed.

What is the rationale for allowing an attacker and supporter to both retreat and eliminate the defender?
Attacking and supporting units that retreat have basically exhausted themselves both physically and from their ammunition. When both the attacker and supporting unit retreat, it is due to both units mutually supporting each other in an attempt to destroy the enemy (as opposed to taking his position).

Why can't attacking Cavalry use an attacker retreat option? (but supporting Cavarly can retreat)?
Attacking Cavalry are assumed to be charging, and hence placing themselves right in the middle of battle. This makes it impossible for a supporting unit to cover their withdrawal from the attack. Supporting Cavalry are not assumed to be charging, but rather only making feints and threats so as to distract the enemy unit being attacked.

On Infantry retreats: can a retreating Infantry unit pass THROUGH a square occupied by *friendly* units on the way to the reserve area? The main rules page was ambiguous (to me ;) ), but the "Questions & Answers" page seemed to indicate that they *could* move through occupied friendly squares.
YES - Retreating Infantry may pass through a square occupied by *friendly* units.

On attacks into the reserve area: enemy units attacking the reserve area *do not* physically enter the area until after *all* opposing units have been destroyed & removed- correct? In other words, I stand off one square, make an attack into the reserve, remove the opponent's piece (his choice) and continue until empty- I hope I got that right.
Yes - of course you must wait until your next turn to continue (assuming your opponent doesn't do anything to prevent you from continuing).

In attacking is there any way you can prevent the loss of your attacking unit? Because the way I see it you lose your attacking unit when the enemy stands.
For an unsupported attack this is true - if the defender STANDS, both are gone. In a SUPPORTED attack, the attacker gets the options when the defender STANDS; as the attacker you can exchange units (attacking unit or supporting unit for the defending unit), you can retreat either the attacking or supporting unit with no loss to either side, OR you can do the more popular thing and eliminate the defender and retreat both the attacking AND the supporting unit. Note however there are restrictions on which type of units can retreat and when, as well as which type can attack another type.

Return to the: SQUARES - The Civil War Battle Game Page or Go To: DVGC HOME or the DVGC NEWS PAGE or just ORDER NOW
copyright 1995, G. Myers, all rights reserved - however read the LEGAL CONDITIONS

"SQUARES - The Civil War Battle Game" is the trademark of Deer Valley Game Company, Mesa Arizona

photograph courtesy of Library of Congress - Falmouth, Va. Aides de camp to Gen. Joseph Hooker: Capts. William L. Candler, Harry Russell, and Alexander Moore. Timothy H. O'Sullivan, photographer, April 1863. (LC-B817-7552)