Brother Against Brother Video AAR – Part 2

Continuing my Video AAR of the Blackburn’s Ford scenario for Brother Against Brother. In this episode we see my firing lines of the brigade form up (in stages) and finally get a few volleys off across the Ford and start to do some damage.

There have been some very helpful comments by the devs (Gil Renburg and Eric Babe) along with other members of the Matrix Forums, and having immediate feedback to work with on the next stage of this AAR is something I’m enjoying very much.

If you missed Part 1, check it out here

On with the action…

There are some real nuggets of information in the Brother Against Brother forums over at Matrix Games. So I’ll leave you with a few comments from the developers, that I found incredibly helpful…

One such explanation deals with the size/strength of the unit and the consequences of engaging with 350+ men in a 75 yard hex.

Eric Babe mentioned:

Regiments in their 75 yard hexes fight most efficiently when they are at a strength of 350 (I’m going from memory here…) or less; any strength in the regiment higher than this contributes to attacks at significant penalty (-50%, again going from memory).

We got most of our figures like this from sources like the 1862 Officer’s pocket manual, Hardees Infantry Tactics, or the 1863 Union Infantry Tactics, but I can’t remember where exactly this figure comes from offhand. If I remember right, the period estimate was a frontage of 100 yards for 400 men. Since regiments typically held 1-2 companies in reserve, and considering that some of the strength represents staff positions like wagoners, surgeons, and musicians, an effective frontage of 350 over 75 yards seems like a pretty good estimate based on the historical number.

So in the game, if you’ve got the room available, it’s definitely a good idea to split your big regiments into two sections once they arrive at the fight. Two sections of 300 men fight much more efficiently than one regiment of 600. Also note in the rules that it’s easier to damage regiments that are bigger than 350 strength; I think there is a 5% casualty bonus for attacking big regiments.

Gil Renburg (on Artillery)

“Well, you should study the terrain, especially the heights and vegetation. Even if the hex you plan to move to is open, if it has “tall grass” or one of the woods hexes between it and the enemy then line-of-sight will be blocked. Remaining on a height will usually be better in part for that reason, since from a hill one can fire over must LOS-blocking vegetation. HOWEVER, even from a hill one can’t fire over lots of trees, on the assumption that some trees would be tall enough to block LOS as well. So “forest” will neutralize the hilltop advantage somewhat.

In your [first] video you did make a mistake moving that battery one hex too far, since not only did you lose LOS, but the other advantage to heights is that they let artillery fire a bit farther — so by staying up on the hill you might have been one hex farther from the enemy, but that would not have meant that you would be much less effective at targeting the enemy.

The scenario/map are deliberately designed so that artillery cannot be brought close in for an attack, since historically they were firing from far away. So the frustration you and others might feel at being able to get the artillery only so far and to do just a little damage is quite realistic — the fighting at Blackburn’s Ford did not involve artillery set up in a position from which the enemy could be mowed down in open terrain. “


Eric Babe  (on Victory Hexes)

“One small note: victory hexes modify the morale breaking point during a game. If you hold a majority of victory hexes, then you get a small bonus to your army’s morale collapse value.”