Shannon McNamara - Dec 8, 2009
1. Put at least one SP into each of your permanent fortress markers. The sooner the better as the navy can start moving on them as early at turn 4.
2. Consider building fortresses for the cities you know are going to be your last hold outs in a particular state. Consider NOT building them all, leaving one or two not built. Yes, you will probably have to pay more for it as your supplies dwindle but it lets you react to Union attacks in unexpected areas.
MY FAVORITE LOCATIONS: Chattanooga, New Orleans, Springfield, MO (if I can get it) and a city in Texas (but only if we are playing with the Far West option as it makes TX worth 14 points and only if the Union is hitting it hard with naval attacks)
3. Try to send suicide runs early on into the West and East. In one game I had a 2SP force with DH Hill invading Illinois. I went up into the empty cities around the capitol and just started taking them and the Union player had to decide whether to spend CPS to not only stop me but also reclaim his cities. I also did a run in PA and then went into Dover and took the whole state, making sure to leave SPs in the more valued cities. Isolation almost worked but his navy saved the day and opened a route just before we tied out.
Anyway, my point is that if the Union doesn't set up a naval blockade in the West or an SP wall in the East the CSA should take advantage of it. Yes you will probably lose all those SPs but if you take lots of RRs and cities you get victory points and the Union typically has to spend its own CPs taking them back and that's less CPs to be used in CSA territory.
However, NEVER take an army with you. Remember, this is a suicide run.
Ground commanders are required over cavalry typically, too, unless you are just going for isolation victory points.
4. One of your top three moves . .. maybe even your first if it's in the very first phase . . . is to take Springfield MO. You have a two to one lead and a chance to sock it to Lyon. Move the force a bit around Springfield before attacking b/c if you need to perform a second attack from Fayettville the force can just reach Springfield and you don't want them going through a demoralized force. Once you take it you can pulse SPs into Springfield and consider building at least a fort, maybe a fortress. The Union player will have to decide whether to let it go or throw himself against your walls. Even if he takes it tremendous CP resources are typically spent. In my last game I had a fortress there with a ton of good commanders and 7 SPs. The Union player had to make the Trans his number one theatre for the first few turns and while he was going to eventually take it I probably would have had time to send some forces to take the more northern cities of Missouri. Yes, another suicide run but if he only has one SP there I should be able to take it with three men. And, worst case scenario, is that I cross over into Illinois if he isn't blocking the river with his navy.
5. SPs can take neutral cities in neutral territories on their own. Do that for Grafton and Charleston in WVA. Also, consider doing it for Mill Springs as you can reach it from Knoxville, TN. You can also then use that SP to pulse four more hexes into Frankfort and Lexington.
6. Build at least a fort in Memphis.
7. Consider building a fort in the swamp hex between Memphis and Madison. You will get lots of hexside shots if the union navy tries to attack Madison. Also, further down on the Mississippi River you will notice there are certain hexes that will give a manned fort 3 or more shots. Put forts there to slow down the navy. In the last game my opponent was playing the CSA and he had great defenses at New Orleans and Memphis but once Memphis fell it was easy pickings. By turn 16 there was nothing city wise to take along the Miss River and its tributaries.
8. Be prepared to take your cities and territories back with either a large ground force or, if the Union didn't leave anyone there, with cavalry. It's fairly easy to take territories from the CSA but holding it is another story. In another game the Union player moved his navy out to take Memphis and New Orleans. I took back Memphis with ease but New Orleans was going to be a pain. That's just the way the dice went as I was more focused on Springfield and suicide runs into Illinois and Penn/Delaware before he blocked me off.
9. If the Union is using a river as it's only supply line go around that force and try to build a fort to cut them out of supply. If they are using a RR and don't have lots of cavalry start using your own to take it back. Why do you think the CSA has so many two point cavalry commanders and the Union only has two who don't even come into the game as soon as yours?
10. Be aware of the Union navy being able to cut you out of supply and even cross. To counter that don't put your armies in such areas or be prepare to have an SP on each side of the river crossing so that you remain in supply and can still move about. It is more important to cut the Union out of supply and then attack
11. The CSA has so many great commanders that its three active armies should easily have a +4 tactical bonus or more. It's not a bad idea to have your other commanders in key locations because a '1" or "2" on the dice is usually not a good thing, even when the odds might be in your favor. The Union armies are lucky if they have a +2 or more in their armies and that is rarely the case except for maybe one army on the field.