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  Sid Meier's Antietam!
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Tips & Tricks

This page has something for everybody, new players can learn the basic strategy they need to know, regular players can solve their problems here and gain a few helpful tips.

If you have a question concerning this page, the tactics or anything else than e-mail the administrator.

Understand Your Troops

Its important to know the difference between the two armies. Difference? Yes, there is indeed a difference between "The Army of the Potomac" and "The Army of Northern Virginia" if we look at the troops.

The Confederate "Army of Northern Virginia" was commanded by some of the finest officers that America had ever produced, under the command of Robert E. Lee with corps commanders like Longstreet and Jackson, division commanders such as Hood and AP Hill, Brigade commanders like Toombs and Law. The troops were good too. You'll find a lot of veterans and elite troops in the game.

The Federal "Army of the Potomac" also had some fine officers like Hancock and Reynolds, "The Army of the Potomac" was commanded by George McClellan who had been relieved of command one time before the battle started due to his caution when on the attack. The Union regiments were of a lower quality then the Confederate Regiments. Most Union troops in the game are trained troops, and green troops will also appear in the scenarios, but there are also veteran, crack, and elite troops like Gibbon's "Iron" Brigade, Meagher's "Irish" Brigade, Berdan's Sharpshooters, and Phelp's Sharpshooters.

It all comes down to this :

  1. The Confederates have fewer regiments than the Union army. Many regiments had been merged with one another in this game because they were too small for the game. This means that the Union can extend their lines farther than the Confederates and gain the flank. However, they Union troops have to cross Antietam Creek to get to the rebel positions.
  2. The CSA is usually in an attacking role. I'm sure you've played Burnside's Bridge and discovered it is a pain to attack a set position from downhill. You can save yourself time and aggravation if you can get the flank and role up that line.
  3. There a few bridges and fords that the Yanks can use to cross. The ones to the north are undefended, but the ones to the south are very well defended. The CSA is usually in an defending role. I'm sure you've played Burnside's Bridge and discovered it is a good position to defend once your men are dug in with artillery support. You can save yourself time and aggravation if you can hold the bridge until A.P. Hill's Light Division arrives from Harper's Ferry.
  4. In this battle, the Rebel Army has been downsized greatly. Many of it's men were on leave or deserted. But, because of this, Firaxis has added a "Elite" fighting status for southern units so they can defend against the greater numbers of the Union army. Also, at this point, the Rebs did not have much artillery.
  5. The artillery batteries they did have were mainly mixed together of older, outdated types of artillery. But, still, not that you have the "canister" feature for artillery, these close range guns could be helpful at times. If you have some close range batteries, place them at a point in the front line where they are well defended. These batteries are not expendable, don't waste them.


Basic Tactics

Sometimes you spot an enemy Brigade on the other side of the woods in Maneuver column. You have the chance to get his flank without him seeing your troops in the woods. Those situations can appear more often if you use your commanders to scout. Scouting is important, you do not want to walk into an ambush do you?? When having the commander selected push shift+r and your commander will move a whole lot faster. But be careful which commander you use. When scouting, there is always the chance that an officer will be wounded. Some commanders have a superb or legendary rating. If these officers are wounded it can severely damage the rate at which the rally routed troops.

Knowing where to fight is one of the most important things that will determine an outcome. If you have the chance to grab the wooded bouldered high ground do so. You should try to avoid having to attack from lower elevation and the reverse is true. Defend from higher ground if at all possible.
Use the woods to your advantage. A regiment can be routed by an ambush from a regiment hidden in the woods. Believe me on this one, I have been on the receiving end to many times for my own comfort. Warning: don't quick time the troops into position if you are a long way away. The ground may be great but you won't be able to hold it if you've worn out the men's morale by a hard march when the enemy comes and says boo to you.

A straight battle line is a good battle line. A straight line gives a morale block to the regiments in line. A morale block can be added for each flank covered left, right and rear and helps eliminate flanking fire as well. I have found that, what I call a "closed flanks" battle line is good for concentrating fire on a smaller enemy force. To achieve this battle line, you must press the maneuver column button. After your brigade goes into maneuver formations press battle line. As they move into battle line, quickly press brigade halt. As you'll be able to see, there is no open area between regiments.

The flank is the key to victory in SMA if you can flank an enemy regiment the battle is half won. Nothing beats a good flanking maneuver to really hammer an opponent.

Artillery is for me the biggest enigma on the battlefield. I have had my batteries wipe out an entire regiment with one volley, ah what a beautiful site it was, and I've seen them hammer away at a regiment with out doing a single morale block of damage. As best I can tell only three things really affect the damage artillery does.

  1. Range. The closer the better. Nothing like a good canister shot to break up an attack. But the closer you get the greater the chance of casualties which can really hurt you since every artillery casualties is 3 points to the enemy so you have to be careful.
  2. Angle. This goes back to the flanking attack. If you can get some cannons in enfilade position you really can make your life a lot easier. It causes great stress on enemy regiments and can make them closer to rout with each volley.
  3. Height. The higher your artillery is the better. This "plunging fire" as it is called, can again, easily rout enemy units and cause heavier casualties.

So where do you place your artillery?? I prefer to place my close-range artillery (Howitzers, 6-pound Smoothbores, 12-pound Napoleons, and sometimes mixed batteries.) Right up on the front line with the men with the canister option on. As for long-range artillery (20 and 10-pound Parrot rifles, 10-pound James rifles, 3-inch Ordinance rifles, and some mixed batteries.), I like to place them on the high ground, further away from the fighting, where they can do the most damage.

Cavalry for me delivers a lot of bang for the buck. Unfortunately/fortunately for us, cavalry doesn't play a big role in Antietam. I have very seldom been able to use Confederate and Union cavalry during a battle. However, if there is a hole in your line forming, and Calvary is nearby, they can be used to plug the gap until reinforcements arrive.
What are cavalry best for :

  1. Scouting. The cavalry does this very well due to its speed in column or better know as mounted and being able to move in skirmish without losing morale. However, skirmish lines fall back easily, so you may want to "stack" them up to hold off enemy troops longer.
  2. Chasing Artillery. For whatever reason the computer does two amazing things with his artillery.
    1. Leaves it unguarded a large majority of the time
    2. Limbers and moves location in a very short period of time

Since the cavalry is the fastest unit on the field. I use them to chase artillery all over the field and if I'm lucky, capture the guns and rack up some casualty points.

      3. Flanking. Another nifty benefit of being able to
      move fast is you can take your men out of line. Mount them up.
      Swing around the enemy, and attack them from a flank.

Union Tactics

Union regiments tend to be smaller, some of them seem to be ridiculously small, but on the whole have more troops then the Confederates. With a greater number of Brigades and Regiments you have to micro-manage a bit more than with Confederates.

In Sid Meier's Antietam each regiment can only fire at one regiment. The Union has more regiments. Lets say your going against one of the big regiments like 118th Pennsylvania and in his way are 300 Rebel soldiers. But instead of one regiment it is divided into two 150 man regiments. It doesn't look good for which ever regiment the 118th decides to pick on but that 2nd Union regiment isn't being fired upon which leaves it free to ease on around and increase it's angle of attack which increases the firing effectiveness. If you can get to a flanking position your regiment's firing effectiveness goes up 5 times. This means if you got our 2nd regiment onto the 118th's flank those 150 men act like 750 men firing at the 118th Penn. This evens up the fight pretty quickly.

Having more regiments than the CSA allows you to extend your lines farther making it easier to gain a flanking position and then rolling up their lines. Of course you have to worry about a breakthrough in your lines which happens all to often for my comfort. With the double line formation you can manage your men's stress level better. When one unit gets tired you can use fallback while pushing the reserve unit forward. With these two tactics you can usually wear down the Confederate army quickly because while you can have a few regiments resting or not being fired upon and the Confederates are almost always fighting.

Another advantage the Union has is an abundance of artillery. These batteries often give the Union that little edge needed to soften that position or stop an attack in it's tracks.

No, I am a Union fan and mainly play the Union. Here is one tip that I have found out. The greater number of Union regiments, no matter what the skill, can eventually overpower the smaller Confederate regiments.


Confederate Tactics

As said before, the Confederates have smaller but highly skilled regiments. A Confederate regiment can stand in action for a long time except when flanked during battle. Jeroen Hill is a Confederate fan and most of the time he plays them but he has also played with the Union to find out the advantages of both sides. It is true that Union has more regiments but he has found several tactics which can be used with the Confederates.

  1. Confederate regiments are perfect for detaching and skirmishing alone because they are so strong.
  2. Even when moving up slopes, the Confederate Brigades can capture the enemy positions cause of their extra morale blocks.
  3. Due to the firepower flanking isn't always necessary but it still is a wise move.
  4. The Southern commanders are often better then the Union officers and because of their quality they boost morale all over their Brigade while the Union commanders sometimes cant boost the morale of the Regiments on the flanks.



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