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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:50 pm 
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Club members who've played stand alone scenarios or campaign games from JTS/HPS Campaign Gettysburg owe their experiences to Douglas Strickler. Doug was the designer of that remarkable game package. He was also, most recently, a member of the club, being the late commander of the 4/2/I/AotW, until he passed away this past April 13th.

https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/columbia-sc/douglas-strickler-7822002

Doug's passing is also mentioned at the John Tiller Software website. (http://www.johntillersoftware.com/Team.html, which reads as follows.

Doug was the chief public defender for South Carolina's 5th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Richland and Kershaw counties. In that post, he supervised more than 50 lawyers and other staff. Known for his 12-hour work days, wrote a widely used manual on S.C. criminal laws, S.C. Criminal Offenses and Penalties, and was regarded as an authority on numerous areas of crime and punishment. He served on the board of the S.C. Commission on Indigent Defense, the agency that oversees public defenders around the state. Doug was a tremendous contributor to the Civil War Battles team over the years not only publishing the Campaign Gettysburg title, but also doing all the mapping work for Antietam, Overland and the yet to be published Valley Campaigns. His efforts yielded mappings of most all the East Coast Civil War battlefields and surrounding territory.

Campaign Gettysburg was my first purchase of the Campaign Civil War series, one over which I have always marveled for its size, complexity and depth. It is easily one of the best buys for the money and served to launch a very robust series. Through the years as I both played and examined the game, I became interested in how the designer had come to produce such a prolific number of possible "What If" scenarios. And it wasn't until Doug again became active in the club, around October of 2015, that I had a chance to actually converse with him one-on-one. I had e-mailed him with an update to his forum access terms and took advantage of the opportunity to initiate correspondence. I’ve included the most interesting and revealing parts of some of those messages below, which I hope will give you some insights to the construction of the Campaign Gettysburg title and Doug’s remarkable thinking.

**********************************************************************************************************************************

10/31/2015, Meyer to Strickler

On a personal note I must ask you if you are the same Doug Strickler whose name appears so frequently among the JTS/HPS Campaign Civil War series? If so, I should very much like to speak with you from time to time about your work.

11/03/2015, Strickler to Meyer

I am indeed the same Doug Strickler to whom you refer. After Gettysburg, mostly just support by way of mapping for other projects. I’m happy to discuss whatever you would like, whenever you feel like it.

11/03/2015, Meyer to Strickler

I have been very much intrigued, Doug, with the Campaign Gettysburg package from the first time I explored it. It remains the flagship offering of all that followed, and has not been equaled in its depth since. No other developer offered so many intriguing ‘What-If’ scenarios and campaign trails. Gettysburg certainly lends itself to a lot of alternate history speculations, and you appeared to have richly plumbed those pathways. And no other developer went so far in any of the other titles as to provide so many variants for each of the scenarios created! I do not believe that many other club members are actually aware of that depth. Your work is simply mind-boggling in that regard, and presents the players with an almost infinite number of scenario selections. My first question to you would be how on earth did you strike upon that approach and what impelled you to follow through with it?

11/03/2015, Strickler to Meyer

Last things first. From my first involvement with constructing alternate scenarios for TalonSoft’s Gettysburg title, I had wanted to blow things wide open by removing the artificial constraints of the historical battle maps, and to a lesser degree OOBs. John let me roll with it from the first touch I put on my map making for Gettysburg – he came out with the map making utility in response to my desire to go big. That came so fast that I know it was something he was just holding on to. Please remember that my development on Gettysburg spanned over 5 years, so there was this at the beginning of John’s work with HPS!

The alternate scenarios just flowed naturally from that same desire to free things from being shoehorned into “the same old lines of play”. I was programming in Quick Basic back then, and decided I would just try to generate minor and major variations by using a modular approach to constructing scenarios. Most of the variations within a particular scenario deal with arrival times/locations. It was a hoot, and John was most patient in giving me free rein to run with this. So, in a sense, the huge maps fed the need for varied scenarios.

Of course what I really want is a monster game covering the Eastern theater – I’ve never been the same since getting hooked by GDW’s Drang Nach Osten and its follow ups.

12/08/2015, Meyer to Strickler

I'd like to take a relatively compact addressment of a CG scenario and find out a few things. The scenarios I've selected are #'s 103 and 104, The Crisis Is At Hand I (var. 5)_W.scn and The Crisis Is At Hand II (var. 13)_W.scn, respectively.

The major difference between the two lead scenarios, as far as I can discover, is that the former allows the Union side a tighter arrival order for all reinforcements and a more straggled and strung out order for all Confederate reinforcements; while the latter is reversed. The map and OOB's for each side appear to be the same, including the starting locations for all of the onboard units in each scenario. I certainly understand and appreciate the operational thought process that created these two lead variants. I call them lead variants because each of them subsequently have five, campaign sub-variants. For 103 we have sub-variants 103_12, 103_13, 103_15, 103_21 and 103_24. For 104 we have sub-variants 104_7, 104_13, 104_22, 104_23 and 104_24. I can only surmise that these sub-variants harbor some additional tweaking of what you referred to as "arrival times/locations." Is that true? And is it also true that these campaign sub-variants are randomly selected within the campaign environment?

And how on earth were your scenario variation ID numbers generated? The ID numbers seem to suggest that #103 (var. 5) was the fifth of five scenarios considered, and one is suggestively led to ask what happened to campaign sub-variants 103_6 through 103_11? These variant numbers must have a true source of selection somewhere within what you call your scenario generator. Is that true?

Leaving the 103/104 scenario family, which is relatively small and compact, aside for the moment, there are many other scenario families of much greater size! The scenario 3 family, Second Battle of Winchester (!Historical 3, 003), harbors campaign sub-variants 3_1 through 3_53, inclusive! That's 56 total variations! Are they all tweaked as to reinforcement locations and arrival times, or did you program other variables into them to give them such a span?

Finally, I want to ask you what battle name you would give to the 103/104 scenario family if it had been an actual Civil War battle? Your "Crisis" label is evocative to the prospective player of what may be encountered, but not actually succinct enough for an actual battle name. I bring this particular point up as it is equally evocative to give a "What-If" scenario a "What-If" name, something directly relating to the simulated action, but equally unique unto itself within the entire CG collection and totally credible as an imaginary battle honor upon a CW battle flag!

12/08/2015, Strickler to Meyer

Total scenarios generated were 19,993. All were not included due to space limitations on the CD, though there was a download site at one point to get them all. I just had the computer randomly select no more than 5 variants for each scenario.

Both 103 and 104 each had 27 variants. I would just have a base scenario – on map units, then construct variants for arrival of reinforcements. The ultimate number of variants depended on how many discrete changes I made for reinforcements. I had to stop myself several times when I found myself generating variants numbering in the 100’s – actually I just checked – it looks like scenario 168 has 1152 variants. I had to make myself stop as the process got easier and easier as I went along, and the lure of multiple variants got almost irresistible.

So here is the construct for 103.

BASE SITUATION – NORTH:
THE NORTH: The army advances north screened by the full Cavalry Corps. The move from Virginia has been long and arduous. As the cavalry probes north, 6th and 5th Corps, the lead elements of the main body, follow, moving up the pike from Westminster.

BASE SITUATION – SOUTH:
THE SOUTH: The army has been converging on Gettysburg with some elements moving that direction as early as June 27th. By the 29th the Second Corps is based around the town, screened by the cavalry division - the last elements of which arrived after dark on the 28th.

These are constant through all the scenarios. Cavalry for each side is on map. Rebs have Second Corps, and Yanks 5th and 6th.

VARIATIONS – NORTH:
(103_1, 103_2, 103_3)
The rest of the army follows, advancing through Westminster. Tight march discipline prevails, and the remainder of the army moves as an endless stream of men and equipment.
(103_4, 103_5, 103_6
The rest of the army follows, advancing through Westminster. Despite the best efforts of the army some straggling has occurred and the main body is somewhat strung out as it moves north.
(103_7, 103_8, 103_9)
The rest of the army follows, advancing through Westminster. The march north has been a disaster of coordination. The army is strung out all the way to Washington at the time contact is being made with the rebel force.
(103_10, 103_11, 103_12)
The rest of the army follows. Half the force advances via Westminster, while the other half moves east toward Taneytown before moving north. Tight march discipline prevails, and the remainder of the army moves as an endless stream of men and equipment.
(103_13, 103_14, 103_15)
The rest of the army follows. Half the force advances via Westminster, while the other half moves east toward Taneytown before moving north. Despite the best efforts of the army some straggling has occured and the main body is somewhat strung out as it moves north.
(103_16, 103_17, 103_18)
The rest of the army follows. Half the force advances via Westminster, while the other half moves east toward Taneytown before moving north. The march north has been a disaster of coordination. The army is strung out all the way to Washington at the time contact is being made with the rebel force.
(103_19, 103_20, 103_21)
The rest of the army follows. The force advances via Westminster, Taneytown, and Emmitsburg. Tight march discipline prevails, and the remainder of the army moves as an endless stream of men and equipment.
(103_22, 103_23, 103_24)
The rest of the army follows. The force advances via Westminster, Taneytown, and Emmitsburg. Despite the best efforts of the army some straggling has occured and the main body is somewhat strung out as it moves north.
(103_25, 103_26, 103_27)
The rest of the army follows. The force advances via Westminster, Taneytown, and Emmitsburg. The march north has been a disaster of coordination. The army is strung out all the way to Washington at the time contact is being made with the rebel force.

VARIATIONS – SOUTH:
(103_1, 103_4, 103_7, 103_10, 103_13, 103_16, 103_19, 103_22, 103_25)
By the afternoon of the 29th 1st and 3rd Corps are nearing Gettysburg, marching from Chambersburg. None too soon it would appear, as the past few days of skirmishing with Union cavalry is forgotten with the appearance of long columns of blue clad infantry. The two corps are concentrated and have made good time.
(103_2, 103_5, 103_8, 103_11, 103_14, 103_17, 103_20, 103_23, 103_26)
By the afternoon of the 29th 1st and 3rd Corps are nearing Gettysburg, marching from Chambersburg. None too soon it would appear, as the past few days of skirmishing with Union cavalry is forgotten with the appearance of long columns of blue clad infantry. The two corps are concentrated but have not made as good time as the command hoped for.
(103_3, 103_6, 103_9, 103_12, 103_15, 103_18, 103_21, 103_24, 103_27)
By the afternoon of the 29th 1st and 3rd Corps are nearing Gettysburg, marching from Chambersburg. None too soon it would appear, as the past few days of skirmishing with Union cavalry is forgotten with the appearance of long columns of blue clad infantry. The two corps have had trouble with straggling during the long marches and are spread along miles of road, delaying their entry.

So you can see, you have 3 variations on the avenue(s) of advance of the Union reinforcements, each with 3 variations on how concentrated they are. Each is paired with the 3 variations for the Rebs which only deal with how concentrated they are, the arrival location stays the same.

104 features the same variations, except the Confederate axis of advance, and arrival location is via Fairfield rather than Emmitsburg.

WINCHESTER
SOUTH - Advance up Front Royal, Rodes from Berryhill to Martinsburg, Rodes to Winchester via Berryville Pike c. 3 p.m. Jenkins to cut off Union retreat. Same with Rodes via Summit Point Road. All of these repeated with main advance up the Valley Pike. Same with advance up both Front Royal Road and the Valley Pike. The advance is up Front Royal, Valley, and Millwood. No Rodes to Berryville.
NORTH – Berryville to Winchester 10 a.m., there later in the a.m., there mid afternoon, not till after dark,

There are then a set of scenarios that has Milroy withdrawing, and a fight occurring around Williamsport and Martinsburg with Rodes who has pressed north from Berryville. (Scenarios 40 – 53).

So again just mixing and matching reinforcement times, and axes of advance.

Not sure on your naming question for 103/104. Each of these should lead to an action around Gettysburg with the Confederates in a defensive posture, I think. What the players do with their forces could lead to other areas for combat. There is certainly enough flex that things could develop at other locations on the map.

I hope this has addressed your questions. Please don’t hesitate to follow up if necessary.

**********************************************************************************************************************************

I wish that I had followed up with Doug and continued to explore the depths of his thinking about the Campaign Gettysburg game package. Blink once, they are there; blink twice and they are gone. Doug Strickler was one of the most prolific individuals I have ever met.

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General Jos. C. Meyer, ACWGC
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Commander, Army of the Tennessee
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:15 pm 
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Epic!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:00 pm 
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For anyone who is interested, here's the 20,000 scenarios Doug refers to for Campaign Gettysburg:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/JohnTillerSoft ... ttyscn.zip

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:11 pm 
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Thanks Rich.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:40 pm 
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20k?! Impressive is a total understatement.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:33 pm 
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Very sorry to hear that Mr Strickler has passed.

R.I.P. Sir

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:48 pm 
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Godspeed Sir.....

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:03 pm 
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A great loss to the gaming community. What a body of work, very impressive and well done.

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