BLUE vs GRAY: THE CIVIL WAR CARD GAME
STRATEGY TIPS
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UPDATED 1-27-99

Alls' fair in love and war. With that in mind, we present our guarded secrets. But not all of our secrets! We'll add a few each week until our brains are drained.
JOIN US
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Got any suggestions about how to "whup" your opponent? E-mail us at [email protected] and we'll have a look. 
SCURVY TRICKS
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If you're playing the SOUTH, you've got your work cut out for you. When playing the NORTH, don't get too cocky. There are a few maxims for BOTH SIDES as well. Some of the best tips are in the PLAYER'S HINTS section.
SOUTH
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FINISHING STRONG
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If you want play a slow and steady strategy (my favorite), draw as many cards as possible. Defend important cities, but attack rarely. Counterattack only if the odds are good. Hoard appropriate enigma cards (e.g., Rebel Yell). Then, press hard, last minute counterattacks, beginning shortly before the 1864 Elections. This will disrupt the Union’s plans and may force him into careless risks, and turn the entire war around. But if you have played an aggressive South the whole game, you will probably lack the punch to pursue this strategy.
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QUICK VICTORY
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The best way to win early is to invade the Eastern Theater. You’ll need a 2-initiative commander in the East. Take Harper’s Ferry. If you lose, simply call off the attack and regroup. If you win, press on to Harrisburg, bypassing Baltimore. You can do this one city per turn (slower, but surer) or you can shoot for it all at once, relying on the element of surprise. Success gets you three objectives: two cities plus severing his railnet. This alone can be enough for a CSA Diplomatic Victory.
SUPPLY
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Hang tough. The yanks get more strength per card than you. But they will be drawing only two cards per turn for most of the game (taking the remainder in supply points), and you will be drawing three (or even four). Remember, you don’t have to conquer him, you only need to survive in one (tattered) piece long enough for the North to get sick of the war.
MISSISSIPPI
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Defend the Mississippi River vigorously, but don’t stake a large army to defend it if it would be surrounded (as at Vicksburg). You can afford to lose the Mississippi. But you can’t afford to lose the Mississippi plus a large army.
NORTH
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TIME
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General Strategy: Attack only when you have a 50-50 shot on the red die roll for the first few (four to five?) turns in the game. Draw as many cards as possible. Then, when your army is nice and big, draw only two cards per turn to make your deck last as long as possible and to provide supply for your massive offensives. Remember: even “useless” cards are a godsend to the North simply because they make his deck last longer.
(We had a joke USA Enigma card on this theme: “Siamese War-Elephants” No effect on the game. May be replaced or discarded. [Legend has it that the King of Siam offered Lincoln some of his finest war-elephants to champion the fight against slavery. The president politely demurred, which seems a shame; it would have been a sight. One wonders what Sheridan might have done with them. Or Forrest.])
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BLOCKADE
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If you suspect the rebels threaten to go on the offensive in the East and you have two naval squadrons in play, move both to the Eastern Theater to create a full blockade (which is a Northern Objective). That way, even if the South takes Harrisburg, your Score should not drop to the point where the Brits intervene and you lose the game. (However, if you are not under such threat, post your second naval squadron to the Western Theater to control the rivers, etc.)
PRODUCTION
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You must reduce Southern production or you will lose. Always have at least a partial blockade. You can’t afford to have the rebs drawing five cards a turn. Occupy the Mississippi River as soon as possible. It is usually the quickest, easiest way to cut southern per-turn production to less than four cards.
CROSS THEATER ATTACKS
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Take Lynchburg and Cumberland Gap, if the opportunity presents itself. Success will allow cross-theater attacks in either direction. (Historically, northern armies retook Cumberland Gap, but they never got as far as Lynchburg).
BLUE MOUNTAIN/SICKNESS
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Have as much supply as possible available when you play “Blue Mountain Boys” and the “Freedom Sickness” so you can make maximum use of the opportunities they provide.
JOHN BROWN'S BODY
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Attack until you are totally depleted. Then, pull out your “John Brown’s Body” card and, next turn, restore everything just after the rebs commit to counterattacking what they thought were depleted armies.
VICTORY FROM DEFEAT
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Don’t despair! It can get very frustrating to lose a series of battles. But you have great resilience. And the next die has yet to be rolled. You can get back all (most of?) your bad luck with a lucky, well-timed grab of, say, Richmond or Atlanta.
KENTUCKY
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Don’t get greedy: Always play whichever Kentucky Map Card comes up first!
BOTH SIDES
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RESERVES
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Try to play the other guy for a sucker by the adroit use of reserves. For example, withdraw a weak unit to fool your opponents to withdraw unit(s) of their own--then start adding reserves. There are many variations on this theme.
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CAVALRY
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Keep a lone cavalry unit in play to guard your supplies.
PLAYER'S HINTS FOR BOTH SIDES
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WHEELING, WV
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Chris Harrington (CAPT.): If Wheeling goes pro-South and you can occupy Harper’s Ferry, your Eastern Theater forces can strike across theater boundaries against the unfortified western cities of the Union heartland.
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YOUR HINT HERE
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E-mail us at [email protected] and we'll have a look.
YOUR HINT HERE
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If your strategy hint passes muster here at Q.E.D., we'll post it on this page and promote you in our own private virtual army. The more hints that make it online, the higher up in the ranks you'll go. Good luck, privates.
YOUR HINT HERE
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Don't tease rabid dogs.
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GOOD LUCK
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Copyright 1999 Q.E.D. Games, Inc. All rights reserved.  BLUE vs GRAY: THE CIVIL WAR CARD GAME and the term ENIGMA are TM Evan Jones.