CWB Random Events

by Thomas Prowell

Players familiar with later titles in Rich Berg's GBACW serieswill know how random events add more chaos and fun to Civil War paperbattlefields. It is an idea that one can easily adopt as an optional rule toThe Gamers'' CWB series. I think that matching random events with theCWB' s command rules creates the best game system for capturing themilitary history of the era.

The process is simple; each turn, as the first action of his CommandPhase, the phasing player checks for a random event. He rolls one die.If a 1 results, he checks the Random Event Tables. There are two Random EventTables in play, one "standard table" and one exclusive to each game. For arandom event, the player rolls two dice on the Standard Random Event Table.Results on this table may direct him to roll an additional die and consult theGame Random Event Table. If the random event specifies certain conditions andthese do not exist, ignore the Random Event for this turn do not generateanother in its place. Otherwise, follow the instructions below the table.

A final note: these Random Events aim to work with the full battle, "campaign"treatments of the CWB titles. Some of the events may unbalance or beinappropriate for the shorter scenarios. Also, the use of some variants (thosereplacing Bragg as commander in Barren Victory, for example) may render certainevents irrelevant.

Standard Random Events Table

2 Leader Casualty
3 Game Table
4 Order Lost
5 Game Table
6 Delay Reinforcements
7 Game Table
8 Advance Reinforcements
9 Game Table
10 Loose Cannon
11 Game Table
12 Panic Check/Loose Cannon

Standard Random Events

Leader Casualty - Select one of the player's leaders (infantry orcavalry, division, corps or army commander) from the map at random (use anymutually acceptable procedure, such as placing all the leaders in a cup anddrawing one). Roll one die: on a roll of 1-2,that leader is killed; on a roll of 3-6,that leader is wounded. The leader' s current location does not matter nor doesthe proximity of enemy troops; this event covers such actions as friendly fireor non-combatrelated injuries. (For the curious, there is only a 1 -in-216 chance per turn of this event happening, and even then some unlucky divisioncommander is usually the recipient. Yet somehow, the Confederate army lostRobert E. Lee to this event in our last Bloody Roads South game. The Wildernessclaims yet another Confederate leader at the hands of friendly fire. Shades ofJackson's ghost!)

Order Lost - Consider one random aide-deliveredorder currently in transit lost and disregard it. The army commander mayreissue the lost order in any friendly Command Phase.

Delay Reinforcements - If the phasing player should receivereinforcements this turn, he gets them next turn instead. Alternatively,if using a variant where players must roll 10 or greater on two dice to receivereinforcements, the player may not roll to bring any reinforcements on thisturn.

Advance Reinforcements - If the phasing player should receivereinforcements on the next turn, he receives them this turn instead.Alternatively, if using a variant where players must roll 10 or greater on twodice to receive reinforcements, the player automatically receives anyreinforcements for which he is eligible to roll this turn. He may not receiveor roll for reinforcement groups for which he is eligible to roll beginningnext turn.

Loose Cannon - The phasing player must randomly select one infantrydivision or cavalry brigade (chosen by a mutually acceptable random means, suchas blind selection). The selected command becomes a Loose Cannon this turn; thenon-phasingplayer may write an order for it as if the command were attempting to obtaininitiative and rolled a "2".

Panic Check/Loose Cannon - If playing a game with army status rules andpanic checks, the phasing player must check his status. If it is a I or 2, hemust conduct a Panic Check. If those rules are not in play, the playerundergoes the Loose Cannon procedure above.

Game Tables

The die rolls on the Game Random Event Tables will usually producedifferent random events for the Union and Confederate sides. Explanations forthe random events follow with each table. If a "once only" event occurs afterbeing put in play treat it as no event if it recurs.

Thunder at the Crossroads

3-4Conf: Lee is too Polite
Union: Meade is too Cautious
5 Conf: Faulty Reconnaissance
Union: Command Politics
6 Conf: Stuart Arrives/ Leader Wakes Up
Union: Corps Leader Casualty

Heat/Rain - If you roll this event between the noon and 5:00 p.m. turnson July 1-3,then heat is in effect until the end of the next 5:30 p.m. turn, just asin the In their Quiet Fields game table. If this event occurs anytime on 4July, rain is in effect (apply 4.1 from the TatC rule book) through theend of the game.

Lee is too Polite - Ewell and Hill, new to corps command, were unused toLee's gentlemanly ways of leading the army. When this event occurs, considerall aide-deliveredorders from Lee to Ewell or Hill that have not yet arrived to be Force 0,regardless of the original issue force. Furthermore, if Lee wishes to issue anorder to either of those two commanders this turn, the order must be at Force0.

Meade is too Cautious - Meade was extremely cautious at Gettysburgbecause he was new to commanding the Army of the Potomac. When this eventoccurs, Meade may not issue any complex orders this turn or the next. Thisevent does not apply if Meade is not in command of the army.

Faulty Reconnaissance Confederate scouting fails at a crucial time. Ifthe Confederate player has a force using Dave Powell's optional Hidden Movementrules, that force must reverse the order and subtract MPs from its accumulatedtotal until the accumulated total reaches zero (page 30 of the Second Edition,Revised standard rule book). Once at zero, it may try moving out again.However, if the Confederate player does not have a force using surprisemovement, but has one moving in column along a road, one randomly selectedforce nearly takes the wrong turn. That force may only move as far as the nextfork in the road, whereupon it must halt in place until its next turn (while itfigures out which way to go).

Command Politics Infighting within the Union command rears its uglyhead. Application of this event depends on who the overall army commander isbetween Meade, Hooker or McClellan:

Meade commands the Army of the Potomac: If Hancock is leading the armydue to the death or wounding of Reynolds, the highest ranking Union general onboard (Sedgwick or Slocum) takes offense at Meade's slight, pulls rank andtakes control of the army until Meade arrives. Also, Howard is now subject tothe loose cannon corps commander rule applied to Sickles. Alternatively, if youcannot apply the preceding, consider Sickles a loose cannon this turn per 2.9from the TatC rule book.

Hooker or McClellan command the Army of the Potomac: Ignore thepreceding. Instead, Hooker or McClellan are hesitant to act and may not issueany orders this turn or the next.

Stuart Arrives/Leader Wakes Up (once only)-If youroll this event before the 1 1:30 a.m., 2 July turn, then Stuart arriveswith his cavalry (H-Cav,C-Cav,F-Cav,2 x Cb[5]). If the event occurs after 11:30 a.m., 2 July, then choose one under-performingConfederate leader (Ewell, Hill or Lee with a command value of 1) at random,and turn him over to his better side.

Corps Leader Casualty (once only)-The Union had an unusually high number of corps commander killed or wounded atGettysburg. If this event occurs, select one Union corps commander at randomand subject him to the Leader Casualty random event from the Standard RandomEvent Table.

August Fury

1 -2Heat
3-4Conf: Longstreet Waits
Union: Hatch Takes Command
5 Conf: Evans Takes Command
Union: Pope is Confused
6 Conf: Stuart's Ruse Works
Union: Variable Reinforcements

Heat - Heat is in effect until the end of the next 5:30 p.m. turnif you roll this event between noon and 5:00 p.m. See the In their Quiet FieldsGame Table.

Longstreet Waits: If the date is 29 Aug. and Longstreet has a complexorder from Lee that is currently in delay status, consider that order canceledas if Longstreet had rolled initiative to cancel it. Additionally, Lee may notissue Longstreet an in-person,verbal complex order this turn.

Hatch Takes Command (once only) - At the beginning of the game, a veryill Rufus King commands the Union 1-3vdivision with a command value of 0. (It will be necessary to create a counterfor King.) When this event occurs, replace King with Hatch (the divisionalleader in the standard August Fury order of battle). Hatch also serves as areplacement leader for King if he is killed or wounded. See the Designer'sNotes of the AF rule book.

Evans Takes Command (once only) - If the Confederate ERw separatebrigade has been assigned to H-Rw(Hood' s division) or a division commanded by a Replacement Commander, thenEvans pulls rank and takes command of the division. Evans has a command valueof 2. If this event applies to Hood' s division, remove Hood from play and usehim as a replacement if Evans is killed or wounded. Lee or Longstreet mayrestore Hood to command by detaching Evans, but then E-Rwmay never again be attached to any division in Longstreet' s wing.

Pope is Confused - Pope's misunderstanding of the developments going onaround him paralyzes him. The Union player may not use Pope to issue any ordersthis turn or next. Division and corps leaders may check for initiative asusual.

Stuart's Ruse Works - Stuart delayed Porter's march on Gainesville byhaving his cavalry troopers drag logs behind the horses to raise dust and makeit appear large numbers of Confederates were present. If this event occurswhile the Confederate has a cavalry brigade with orders to screen the army'sflank or delay the enemy within 8 hexes but out of LOS of a Union unit,then that Union command (no larger than a corps) cancels its current orders andassumes a "no orders" state.

Variable Reinforcements - McClellan hurries troops to the battlefield.This event introduces some of the variants presented as Union options. If theUnion player has already chosen the option, then this event may be irrelevant.Otherwise, the Union player may receive the reinforcement at a reduced victorypoint cost. The Union player may decline the reinforcement, but must statewhether he wishes to do so now.

If this occurs before 5:00 a.m., 29 Aug., McDowell finds his corps. McDowell,3vHQ and 3v Supply arrive this turn at Entry Hex E. 13v and 2-3vlose their Initiative restrictions. This costs no victory points.

If this occurs between 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., 29 Aug., McClellan sends 6pCorps (option 4). The Union player may start rolling to bring this corps onEntry Hex F at 9:00 p.m., 29 Aug. He must roll a 10 or greater on two dice. Herolls every turn until the corps arrives. This reinforcement costs 4 victorypoints, but for each hour 6p Corps is late the VP cost decreases by one to aminimum of 0.

If this occurs between 10:00 p.m., 29 Aug. and 8:00 a.m., 30 Aug., McClellansends 2p Corps (option 5). The Union player may start rolling to bring thiscorps on Entry Hex F at 8:00 a.m., 30 Aug. Again, he must roll a 10 or greateron two dice for the Corps to arrive, rolling every turn until the corpsarrives. This reinforcement costs 5 victory points with the cost reduced by onebut for each hour 2p Corps is late.

(A quick side discussion: The variable reinforcements event might not sit wellwith some players. It is my opinion that August Fury leans against the Unionside, and they need all the help they can get. While I am on the subject, letme share some ideas we have used to balance this game:

1. Allow the Union player to use off-mapmovement between Entry Hexes D and E. It takes cavalry and leaders 2 turns tomove between the two, infantry and limbered artillery take 3, and wagons take4. This gives the Union player more options regarding Porter.

2. The Union player cannot select variant options 1-5before the game. Instead, leave it to the Random Events Tables and McClellan'sgood graces to decide if 6p and 2p corps arrive. As for 2v Corps, Pope mayissue orders to Banks to move to the battle any time after 4:00 a.m., 29 Aug.To determine the order arrival time, count from Pope to any southern Entry Hexand add two turns. Once Banks accepts his orders, the Union player may beginrolling [needing 10 or greater on two dice] to see if he arrives after acertain number of turns. If Banks' orders are entry at Entry Hex C, the Unionplayer may start rolling 4 turns after acceptance. If the Entry Hex is D or E,he starts rolling 6 turns after acceptance. The Confederate player receives 6victory points if Banks enters on 29 Aug.; he gets 4 victory points if Banksarrives on 30 Aug. If the Union player brings 2v Corps on at Entry Hex C, theVP award increases by 3 points. This gives the Union player the flexibility tocall for Banks as needed in response to events on the battlefield.)

Barren Victory

1-2 Confusion / Chill and Fog
3-4 Conf: Piecemeal Commitment
Union: Rosecrans' Map
5 Conf: Bragg Sulks
Union: Panic Check
6 Conf: D. H. Hill Resurgent
Union: Advance Reinforcements

Confusion/Chill and Fog - If this event occurs during a day turn, thePhasing Player suffers from confusion in the ranks, brought on by movingtroops in the dense woods. This effect is similar to that used for Union troopsin Bloody Roads South. During the Rally Phase of this player turn, Shaken andDisorganized units in non-roadforest hexes must be stacked with a leader to recover morale automatically.Units without leaders must roll a I or 2 on one die (as if they were Routed) toimprove their morale state. Handle routed units normally.

If it occurs during a night turn, chill and fog are in effect. Chillcancels the +2 DRM for nighttime straggler recovery for both sides the rest ofthe game. Also, fog will cover the battlefield on the morning of 20 Sep.Visibility will be no more than 5 hexes until the fog lifts at 8:00 a.m.

Piecemeal Commitment - Any Confederate commander with a command value of2 or less that accepts a complex order (or enacts a delayed complex order) thisturn does so in piecemeal fashion. Only onehalf of the brigades (rounded up) ineach division of the force accept the order this turn. Each separateremaining uncommitted brigade receives a D1 status order to commit. TheConfederate player may choose which brigades become committed this turn andwhich are delayed.

Rosecrans' Map - Poor intelligence and an inadequate map hamperedRosecrans' knowledge events at Chickamauga. He often tried to deduce thesituation by the sound of firing. This became more difficult as the fightingraged. When this event occurs, all Union new order acceptance checks this turnreceive an additional column shift to the left.

Bragg Sulks - Furious at his subordinates, Bragg rides away from thebattlefield in disgust. When this event occurs, Bragg and the Army HQ must moveeast of Chickamauga Creek at least 15 hexes from the nearest Union unit. Braggmay not issue any orders until the Confederate player rolls a I or 2 on one diein the Delay Reduction Segment of the Command Phase. After Bragg is free fromthis "command delay," he may not leave the HQ hex until he rolls a second Ior 2 in some later Command Phase.

Panic Check - If Confederate units are on or west of the Lafayette Road,Rosecrans must immediately check for panic with an Army Status rating of 2 orhis status, whichever is lower. If Confederate units occupy any of EntryHexes G. H. 1, J. or K, then he must check panic with an Army Status rating of1.

D. H. Hill Resurgent - If the Confederate player has not yet broken thearmy into two wings but is eligible to do so, Bragg puts aside (for now) hishard feelings regarding Hill and includes him in the reorganization. TheConfederate army may now reorganize into three wings (left, center andright), with Longstreet, Polk and Hill each in charge. Each wing must includethe commander's original corps, and may include either Walker's orBuckner's corps as well (thus, each wing may include no more than 2 corps).In this three-wingorganization, treat each wing as a "super-corps"structure, similar to Longstreet' s in the standard game; it is not necessaryfor Polk or Hill to issue orders to subordinate corps leaders. The Confederateplayer may not use the two-wingstructure unless one of Longstreet, Polk or Hill is wounded or killed.

If the Confederate army is already in two wings, then Hill feels slighted. Heis now subject to the loose cannon corps commander rule. If he rolls a 2 on theOrder Acceptance Table, consider the order distorted and the Union player maywrite a loose cannon order for him (similar to the rule applied to Sickles inThunder at the Crossroads). If Hill is serving under Longstreet, thenLongstreet must issue orders to Hill as Polk does to his subordinate corpsleaders.

Advance Reinforcements - Rosecrans reacts more quickly to Thomas ' srequest for reinforcements on the first day in summoning his divisions. Applythe Standard Random Event Table result.

Bloody Roads South

1-2Forest Fires
3-4Conf: Unfinished Railroad Discovered
Union: Burnside is Released
5 Conf: A. P. Hill Becomes Sick
Union: Griffin's Temper Gets Out of Hand
6 Conf: Longstreet Comes Up Early
Union: Butler Threatens Richmond

Forest Fires - The Non-PhasingPlayer may select a Wilderness hex containing enemy units that received fire inthe preceding Fire Combat Phase. The top unit must take a Morale Check. If theunit receives a retreat result (ignore the presence of artillery or breastworksfor this determination), it must vacate the hex and place a fire marker in thehex. Thereafter, no unit of either side may enter the hex as long as the firemarker is there.

Fires may spread or burn out. In the Game Turn End Phase of every hour turn,roll one die for each fire hex. On a roll of 1, the fire spreads to a randomlydetermined adjacent Wilderness hex. On a roll of 6, the fire burns out and youremove the marker. If fire spreads to a hex occupied by units, those unitsdisplace one hex and worsen by one morale state as if they had been "routedthrough". Wilderness hexes containing roads and trails are subject toforest fires.

Unfinished Railroad Discovered (once only): If the Confederate playerhas not yet discovered the Unfinished Railroad, consider it found. This eventoccurs regardless of whether the Confederate player currently satisfies theconditions for discovery.

Burnside is released (once only)-If not already released, Burnside is now free from the movement restrictionsimposed in 3.3aof the BRS rule book.

A. P. Hill Becomes Sick - Each time this result occurs, the Confederateplayer rolls one die and divides the result by two, rounding fractions up.Reduce A. P. Hill's command rating by that amount. If Hill's command ratingfalls below 0, remove him from command and replace him with one if his divisioncommanders or Lee (BRS 4.1 d). Optional: Players may wish to have Hill startthe game with a command rating of 3.

Griffin's Temper Gets Out of Hand (once only)-If the Union 1-5division engages in combat and Grant and Meade are stacked together,then Brig. Gen. Charles Griffin rides back and curses Meade for a lack ofsupport. Grant promptly orders the man incarcerated for insubordination.Replace Griffin with a Replacement Leader.

Longstreet Comes Up Early (once only)-If the Confederate player rolls this on or before the 10:00 p.m. turn on 5 May,Longstreet receives his summons to come up without being delayed. TheConfederate Player may bring Longstreet and I Corps on board at midnight, 5May, or at 2 a.m. if using BRS 4.5b.

Butler Threatens Richmond - Special: If the Confederate player hasnot taken option 4.5a (Pickett's Division), the Union player must roll thisevent twice (in the period specified) in order for it to take effect. Ifthis occurs between 6:00 a.m., 6 May and noon, 7 May inclusive, then Butlerovercomes his natural inertia and moves on Richmond. The Confederate player mayhalt Butler by moving a division off map using any primary road.

If the Confederate does not move a division off map before the end of thegame, the Union player scores 2 strategic victory points.

If the Confederate player moves a wrecked division off map, the Unionplayer scores I strategic victory point.

If the Confederate player moves an unwrecked division off map, theConfederate player scores 4 tactical victory points.


1-2Acoustic Oddities / Thirst
3-4Seeing the Elephant
5 Conf: Bragg Sulks / Smith Sulks
Union: Buell is Unhorsed
6 Conf: Bragg and Smith Act in Concert
Union: Thomas Takes Initiative

Acoustic Oddities/Thirst - The Battle of Perryville occurred under astill wind that limited the travel of sound (which partially explains Buell'scurious lack of reaction to being attacked) in near-droughtconditions. When this event occurs during a day turn, the Phasing Player maynot make any Initiative Checks this turn. When it occurs during a night turn,the +2 DRM for nighttime straggler recovery is concealed for all units, bothsides for the rest of the night, unless they are stacked next to a ChaplinRiver or Doctor' s Fork hexside.

Seeing the Elephant - Perryville marked the first combatexperience for a number of units, particularly on the Union side. In addition,there were a depressing number of cases of friendly fire and mistaken identity(one famous incident nearly led to Polk death or capture). When this eventoccurs, the Non-Phasingplayer may select any enemy unit; that unit must immediately undergo a MoraleCheck and apply the result. Alternatively, the Non-Phasingplayer may select any one enemy leader; that leader immediately undergoes aLeader Casualty Check (i.e., he is killed on a 2 or wounded on an 11 or 12).

Bragg Sulks/Smith Sulks (once only)If Bragg commands the Army of Mississippi: Similar to the "Bragg Sulks"result in the Barren Victory Game Table, Bragg rides off. He and the Army HQmust move to a building hex, preferably on the east side of the Chaplin River,at least 15 hexes from the nearest Union unit. Again, he may not issue anyorders until a 1 or 2 roll in the Delay Reduction Segment, and he may not moveuntil a second I or 2 in some later Command Phase. E. K. Smith may giveorders to Hardee and Polk while Bragg is sulking, but with a two column shiftleft on the Order Acceptance Table.

If Beauregard commands the united Confederate armies, Kirby Smithresents Beauregard'spresence and imagines undertaking independent action. Smithis now subject to the loose cannon corps commander rule. If he rolls a 2 on theOrder Acceptance Table, consider the order distorted and the Union player maywrite a loose cannon order for Smith (similar to the rule used for Sickles inThunder).

Buell is Unhorsed (once only)-Buell falls off his horse and comes up lame. Buell and the army HQ must move toa building hex, preferably on the west side of the Chaplin River, at least 15hexes from the nearest Confederate unit. Once there, he may not leave that hex(unless displaced by Confederate units moving within 3 hexes), and he flips tohis "0" command value side. Alternatively, Thomas may become commander of thearmy (with a "4" command value) once he is on board, at a cost of 5 victorypoints.

Bragg and Smith Act in Concert - Bragg and Smith finally agree on acourse of action. When this event occurs, both Bragg and Smith may spendup to 15 command points issuing orders this turn; the restrictions of 3.4 fromthe Perryville rules do not apply.

Thomas Takes Initiative - Thomas, if functioning as Buell'ssupernumerary, may issue an order per 2.3 of the Perryville rules as if herolled initiative (2.3 from the Perryville rule book). Alternatively, ifany Union corps commander has been killed or wounded, you may name Thomas tolead that corps with a 4 command value. When Thomas functions as a corpscommander, he may no longer roll initiative to issue orders.

Embrace an Angry Wind

1-2 Chill
3-4Conf: Hood Sleeps
Union: Schofield Receives New Orders from Thomas
5 Conf: Hood is Manic
Union: Wagner Gets Drunk
6 Conf: The Wonders of Discipline
Union: Wilson Rides Again

Players should not use the Hood Addiction Table and Random Eventstogether when playing EAW. (That would be slamming poor ol' Hood a little toohard!) Instead, most of the events on the Hood Addiction Table are here wherethey will occur less often. It is my opinion that, hilarious as the HoodAddiction Table is, it is a tad extreme. For example, when using the AddictionTable there, is a 74% chance that Hood will fall on his sword and leave Forrestthe army before the end of the campaign game. Hood was eccentric at Franklin,to say the least, but he was not that far gone. I feel the EAW Game RandomEvent Table produces more historically valid results by muting the AddictionTable.

Chill - If this occurs during a night turn, chill is in effect.See the Barren Victory Game Table.

Hood Sleeps - When this event occurs, consider Hood to have fallenasleep or gotten stoned on Laudanum. Either way, he may not issue any ordersthis turn or for the next three, except if he should become manic ordecide a disciplining assault is necessary (Random Events 5 and 6 below). Onthe fourth turn from now, Hood returns to his (relatively speaking) normalstate.

Schofield Receives New Orders From Thomas - A courier from Nashvillearrives with new victory conditions for the Union player. Toss out the victoryconditions he currently holds; select his new conditions if the Union playerdoes not hold any Spring Hill town hexes. You may not select Option 3 if theConfederates already hold the Harpeth River bridges.

Hood is Manic - Apply the "Manic, Bad Version" result from the HoodAddiction Table.

Wagner Gets Drunk (once only)-Wagner hits the sauce and his division immediately receives a loose cannonorder written by the Confederate player. Only 2-2-4and 3-2-4are subject to the loose cannon order. Release 1-2-4as an independent unit and free Wagner from the requirement to stack with anyof his brigades. However, this will leave the Union player unable to command 2-2-4and 3-2-4.Once Wagner accepts new orders (either by initiative or command), he sobers upand must return to command. The 1-2-4also loses its independent status and must return to within division commandradius.

The Wonders of Discipline - Apply the same-namedresult from the Hood Addiction Table.

Wilson Rides Again (once only)-James Wilson, the Union cavalry commander, performed unusually poorly duringthe Franklin campaign; in other efforts he was much more successful. If thisevent occurs, he wises up and his Command Rating is increased