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FAQ for Stonewall's Sword: The Battle of Cedar Mountain

Info taken from various forum threads, consolidated into a Wiki page so that people can more easily find all the info in one place and update it.
List of game FAQs

Broken Swords

The Broken Swords family has several games with battles from the US Civil War and the Franco-Prussian war. Later rulebooks have modifications and corrections which players may find helpful or illuminating.
Blind Swords System

Download page at Revolution Games

The rules PDF is here:

Stonewall's Sword at Consimworld

3.2a Terrain Levels

It seems more recent printings have numbers in some hexes indicating their level, while earlier printings do not.

3.2b Terrain Features

Unfortunately the "dry" streams through hexes, which have no effect on play, have the same blue color (instead of ground colored since they are "dry") and the same width and appearance as the "flowing" streams along hexsides, which do affect play.

Hex 2612 has trees drawn on it and is named "The Cedars", but it is a clear hex.

4.1 Unit Counters

Printed values are used only for stacking limits and for the current lead unit in a stack (printed SP) and for rebuilding (printed CR). Modified SP and CR are used in all other contexts. Morale Hits (15.6) reduce both SP and CR; lack of Unit Support (15.5) reduces CR.

The rules and charts refer to smoothbore muskets as "SM" but the infantry unit counters are marked "S" - these are exactly the same weapon type.

4.8 Universal Rounding Rule

When multiple units attack together, add all their modified SP exactly, and only then round down the sum.

Nonetheless, round up when calculating artillery SP for purposes of stacking limits (6.1a)!

Although you round fractions down, it seems the minimum SP resulting from this is (at least sometimes) "C" (0.5), not 0...

6.1 Stacking Limits

Use the "printed" SP value, i.e. the currently visible SP face-up value (unmodified by any morale marker). Thus it is possible that two fresh units cannot stack (because their SP sum exceeds 8) but if one of them becomes battleworn, then its printed SP is lower and they might be able to stack.

6.1a Artillery Units

The printed rules say each artillery SP counts as 0.5 for stacking purposes; it seems you add all artillery, then halve the sum, but round up (not down, despite 4.8 Universal Rounding Rule!)

Later games in the series say each artillery SP counts as 0.75 for stacking purposes, and the PDF rules for Stonewall's Sword suggest using this. In practice, in Stonewall's Sword this means that with the 0.5 rule, the Union could stack two 6-SP artillery units to create a 12-SP attack, but with the 0.75 rule, they could not.


9.4 Special Artillery Movement and Fire Considerations

9.4b says that artillery cannot move "adjacent" to an enemy. In fact, the rules are stricter: artillery cannot move within 2 hexes of enemy.

11.2 Attack

Yes, a unit with an attack order can engage in fire combat, then move, then engage in close combat all in the same activation.

12.0 Fire Combat

Summary of attacking SP modifiers: Subtract 1 or 2 for a suppressed or disrupted marker (to a minimum of 0), then apply any relevant multiplicative modifier:
Attacking SP is halved for units at long distance, for disengagement fire (always adjacent), and for defensive fire (always adjacent).
Attacking SP is quartered for extreme distance.
Attacking SP is increased by half for artillery within 2 hexes (cannister range).

If the effective SP is 0, then the unit cannot attack, except for defensive fire vs close combat (which would use the C column).

12.1a Line of Sight (LOS)

"If an LOS passes exactly along a hexside, the LOS is affected by the most restrictive of the two hexes." Thus LOS along a hexside can be blocked if one side of the hexside is clear, but the other is at higher elevation, or has a friendly unit or woods, etc.

It is possible that e.g. a Union infantry unit can fire at a CSA infantry unit, with the LOS passing over (or along the hexside of) an intervening lower CSA unit, and the CSA infantry cannot fire at the Union infantry unit (since infantry cannot fire over friendly units).

12.3 Fire Combat Procedure

At the end of 12.3, an example starts "A Rebel unit from Ronald’s Brigade – the 5th Virginia (10-5) – is located in a Clear terrain hex three hexes from the Union 5th Connecticut (9-5)". No other units are mentioned, so it would seem that both units are unsupported (15.5). So the Union's modified CR should apparently be 4, but the example does not take this into account when resolving the attack, and instead treats it as CR 5.

12.4 Converging Fire

The Converging Fire example is confusing, because the defending rebel could have chosen the middle unit Union unit (#2) instead of the northernmost (#1) as the primary attacker, and then it would suffer no converging fire, because then the other 2 units are both attacking through hexsides adjacent to the primary hexside! Yet paradoxically if the middle unit would not attack at all, then converging fire would happen, because the target could not pick the middle hexside as the primary hexside!

This anomaly of converging fire led to a change in later games in the series, which could easily be used in Stonewall's Sword as well. In Thunder in the Ozarks and Longstreet Attacks by giving all the attacking units +1 shift instead of specifying a primary unit and giving +2 shift only to units far from it:

If a hex is targeted by Fire Combat (for any reason) from two or more different enemy units who’s LOS into the target hex is separated from the other LOS by at least one full hexside, it is subject to Flanking Fire. To use Flanking Fire on a hex, the firing player must announce all included fire attacks against the target hex prior to resolving any of them. Resolve this fire normally with all firing units involved in the Flanking Fire each receiving a one-column shift to the right. If all units in the targeted hex are retreated or placed on the Broken Track before all fire against it is resolved, any remaining firing units may fire at different targets. However, if any units remain in the originally targeted hex, all units announced to be participating in the Flanking Fire must still target that hex.

It is unclear which configurations of non-adjacent attackers (e.g. firing along hexspines from 2 hexes away) are considered Converging Fire.

13.7 Disengagement Fire

All combat units (including Artillery) can do disengagement fire.

A SP 1 unit halved for disengagement fire (and presumably defensive fire and long distance fire) still rolls on the C column. I.e. don't round it down to 0, but "round it down to C=0.5", so to speak.

(It is unclear whether a SP C unit halved for disengagement fire (or defensive fire or long distance) still rolls on the C column...)

14.2 Close Combat Procedure

Note that the defensive fire is resolved as regular fire combat (using Fire Combat shifts, and not Close Combat shifts). If some attackers remain, then their attacking fire is resolved using Close Combat shifts, and not Fire Combat shifts.

14.2a Defensive fire

Artillery can do defensive fire in close combat (but not attacking fire).

14.2b Cavalry Withdrawal

Cavalry withdrawal must follow the usual retreat priorities (e.g. be one hex farther from all attacking units, prefer toward their map edge, etc).

14.2d CRT Column Shifts

"50%+ SPs are Artillery" is indeed a *right* shift, i.e. it is good for the attackers if the defenders are mostly artillery. (Artillery was bad at defending in close combat, if the attackers survive the artillery's cannister range defensive fire.)

Thunder in the Ozarks added a 2R column shift in close combat attack for flanking, and Hermann suggests adding this to Stonewall's Sword:

Flanking Attack: Shift two columns to the right if a Flanking Hex is at least two hexes away from the Assaulting Hex in the same combat or if there are two or more Flanking Hexes involved in the same attack (regardless of their position relative to the Assaulting Hex).

15.0 Cohesion Tests

Always apply the Depletion result completely first. Then apply the Skedaddle result, based on the possibly new circumstances, i.e. the lead unit for the Skedaddle result (which suffers an MH or R result) might be different from the previous lead unit which suffered a D result and is now no longer the largest SP unit.

15.1b Panic Result (P)

Panic means that, in addition to the normal result affecting the Lead Unit, one other unit (if available) will Panic. The firing player selects one enemy unit (not the Lead Unit) in the targeted hex, or in an adjacent hex, or which retreated from the targeted hex, that has a modified CR of 3 or

The P result is not repeatedly applied; it only causes the other effects to be applied once more. I.e. change
"This selected Panicked unit then suffers the same Skedaddle Test result"
to something like
"This selected Panicked unit then suffers the same Skedaddle Test result (minus the P)"
"This selected Panicked unit then suffers the same black nonparenthesized Skedaddle Test result".

15.2 Close Combat Cohesion Test Procedure

"Retreat (R#): The Lead Unit Retreats (see 15.4) the number of hexes indicated." This is an error; in close combat, an R result affects all the units of that side, not just the lead unit. (This is correctly explained earlier in 15.2c Skedaddle Test.) In Fire Combat (15.1) an R result indeed affects only the lead unit.

15.4 Retreat Movement

Retreat priorities (e.g. closer to their side's map edge) are for each hex entered, not just the final hex of the retreat path.

The requirement to not retreat adjacent to an enemy unit has priority over retreating towards its side of the map.

It seems that retreat priorities can be summarized simply:
1. A unit cannot enter an enemy-occupied hex or an impassible hex or cross an impassible hexside or a hex already entered during this retreat.
2. If there's a choice, move to a hex not adjacent to an enemy unit which caused this unit to retreat.
3. If there's a choice, move to a hex not adjacent to any enemy unit.
4. If there's still a choice, move toward its side of the map.
5. If there's still a choice, move into a hex which won't cause overstacking.
6. If there's still a choice, owner chooses.

Keep retreating hex by hex according to those priorities until the unit is 2 hexes away from where it started, and not overstacked, or until it is broken and removed from the map (by failing a Break Test or by being forced off the map edge). As the retreating unit leaves each hex (after the first hex) it may receive disengagement fire (13.7)

It's unclear whether the friendly map edge priority intends that e.g. US prefers directly east (and can only go northeast or southeast if directly east is not possible), or whether northeast and east and southeast are all equally preferable for US.

"If a retreating unit reaches the map edge and has not yet completed its retreat, place it in Broken Box 1 on the Broken Track." Presumably artillery forced off the map edge are eliminated (as in 15.9) rather than going to Broken Box 1.

15.7 Break Test

A logical consequence of the break test rule is that a unit with modified CR 0 will always fail a break test.

15.9 The Broken Track

The long gray box example after 15.9 has an example applying a BD* result; it says "The Union player rolls one die against the unit’s printed CR"; for clarity, this should be "modified CR (which happens to be its printed CR since the unit is supported)". Modified CR is used for Break Tests (15.7).

16.2a Rebuilding

A logical consequence of the rebuilding rule is that a unit with modified CR 0 cannot be successfully rebuilt.

If rebuilding (flipping) a unit on the map causes overstacking (because the sum of the printed SP now exceeds 8), then that rebuilt unit must immediately displace to an adjacent hex that is further away from the nearest enemy unit and that will not exceed the stacking limit. Repeat this displacement, if necessary, until stacking limits are met.

17.1 Final Held Chit Play

The sequencing of final chit plays (after cup is empty) is unclear. The intention is to make the Union player commit first and then alternate.

18.1 Skirmish Order Movement

Skirmish Order withdrawing must follow the usual retreat priorities, e.g. that it must prefer going toward its nation's map edge:

22.1 Valley Vengeance Scenario

USA brigades Duryea, Tower, Hartsuff, Carroll; CSA brigades Fields, Forno, Trimble; and CSA artillery D'Aquin, Tery, Dement(a), Latimer are not used in this scenario.

Event Chits

Rebel Yell

A change in Longstreet Attacks can be applied to Stonewall's Sword and Thunder in the Ozarks: the Rebel Yell chit also increases the attacking Confederate unit's Cohesion Rating by one (+1) for the entire Close Combat sequence. This helps the Rebs survive a bit more, since an attacking unit is often unsupported when using the Rebel Yell chit. So this added increase to the CR will offset the decrease from being unsupported. It makes the tactic much more worthwhile and exciting.

Union/Rebel Fatigue

The Fatigue descriptions erroneously say to play at start of Orders Step, but in fact you play them in the Movement step, after possible play of Quick March by opponent. It will halve their (possibly modified) MP, e.g. normal 6 becomes 3, or quick march 9 becomes 4.

The Union has two Rebel Fatigue chits, but only one (not two) can be played against a given CSA activation.

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