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Drums of War: An All-CPU Playtest of the Civil War

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@Willthescout7@Ich_bin_Tyler @OrangeP47

As the director of a Civil War Museum, I am VERY interested to see how this plays out.  It's one of the areas (other than the Independence Era) I'm most excited to play and see how it develops.

I'll volunteer to help out in anyway that I can with this play through.  I know you are doing mostly CPU play through, but if you need an extra human player to cover, please consider me.

I'm not currently playing any of the other test games and recently turned in the last of my graduate work for my Master's, so I have some spare time on my hands this summer.


Edited by matthewyoung123
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Hello and welcome! Thank you all for coming along for this adventure with us. Hopefully this is exciting to read and follow as the other playtests.

First a brief overview of the state of the nation.

  • William Henry Harrison, war hero, is President.
  • John Tyler, a former Senator, is Vice President.
  • The Cabinet is composed of generally competent individuals including Sec of State Daniel Webster, Sec of Treasury Thomas Ewing, Sec of War John Bell, and Attorney General John Crittenden.
  • Senior General Winfield Scott and Chief Admiral Isaac Hull lead the armed forces. Under them serve Zachary Taylor, Robert E Lee, Robert F Stockton, Matthew C Perry, and David G Farragut.
  • The Supreme Court is headed by Chief Justice Roger B Taney and contains six Andrew Jackson appointees. The current breakdown is 5-3 Dem with 1 vacant seat.
  • Whigs control 16 Governor's mansions to Democrats 10.
  • Whigs control both the House and Senate with small but comfortable leads (28-24 in the Senate and 115-93 in the House).
  • International relations are neutral to hostile with most countries.
  • Domestically things are fairly calm and there are no current crises.
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Deaths and Retirements

The Agrarians

  • William H Cabell dies of pneumonia.

Conservative Democrats

  • Richard Henry Wilde retires for family reasons.

Popular Sovereignty Democrats

  • Joel Poinsett dies of pneumonia.

Free Soil Democrats

  • AR Gov Archibald Yell retires satisfied with the work he's done and wants to consider other things (@OrangeP47 need a new AR Gov).
  • Executive career track James E English retires for personal health.
  • Phillip Allen dies of dropsy.

Moderate Democrats

  • Buckner Thruston retires disillusioned with politics.
  • Samuel Fowler retires to allow a new generation to enter national politics.
  • Graham Fitch dies of typhoid.

States Rights Whigs

  • John Pope retires for undefined reasons.
  • George WP Custis retires to become a university president.
  • DE Gov William B Cooper dies of cholera (@Willthescout7 need a new DE Gov).

Wall Street Whigs

  • John Sloane retires to become a lobbyist.
  • William Appleton retires for undefined reasons.
  • John Taliaferro dies of tuberculosis. 

Moderate Whigs

  • MD Gov William Grason retires for family reasons (@Willthescout7 need a new MD Gov).
  • CT Sen Jabez Huntington retires satisfied with the work he's done and wants to consider other things (@OrangeP47 need a new CT Senator).
  • Chief Admiral Isaac Hull died in a fight.


  • James Bell retires to be a lobbyist.
  • Joseph Hopkinson died of tuberculosis.

Conscience Whigs

  • William Jay retires and was allegedly pressured out.
  • Lemuel H Arnold retires and was allegedly pressured out.
  • Supreme Court Justice Smith Thompson dies of dysentery. (@Willthescout7 need another nominee for the Court).


Edited by Ich_bin_Tyler
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First thing, welcome @matthewyoung123 to the playtest. He'll be helping out and taking charge of the moderate factions.

Second, new Sr Admiral Matthew Perry gains military leader and +1 admin for this new post.

General Events @Willthescout7 @OrangeP47

  • Business Speculation- An increase in business speculation can be either a boon or a burden for the economy. Rolled a 5. Economic stability increases by 1 (Now at a solid economy)
  • Relations Deteriorate- Some say the president is ignoring foreign affairs for the sake of domestic policy. Rolled Spain and then rolled a 1. Relations with Spain decrease by 2. They are now between Enemies and Hostile.
  • Studying Demosthenes- We might have found the right person for a keynote speech. Arthur MacArthur Sr (oh boy...) certainly has a way with words! Arthur MacArthur gains debate.
  • Major Drought- A major drought in Michigan is destroying agriculture and threatening to spark fires. Should we use federal intervention to help out in the recovery?
    • Will Pres Harrison: A) Send disaster relief or B) Refrain from disaster relief? (Action to Moderate Whigs)
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"The National Whig"

June 13, 1840. 

Philadelphia, PA- Admiral Isaac Hull was reported to have been killed in a bar fight yesterday.  The suspects have not been identified.  Other patrons claim the men "insulted the reputation and integrity of the US Navy" to which Hull took offense.  According to witnesses, the hero of the War of 1812 then defended himself after one of the assailants struck him.  The Admiral managed to knock down three men, but suffered a fatal blow to the head with a heavy candlestick from a fourth assailant.  The suspects fled the scene and have not been captured.

Funeral arrangements for Admiral Hull have not yet been announced, but President Harrison proclaimed that, "Hull was a national hero.  He was a great leader, and the Navy will miss his presence very much."  There is some talk amongst members of Congress of having the Admiral "lie in state" at the capitol building in Washington DC.

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Before President Harrison makes a decision about the drought, the eggheads in the cabinet get to weigh in. Sec Webster ( States Rights Whigs) and AG Crittenden ( Anti-Masons) can each suggest a resolution to the drought. Since Harrison is pliable, he must accept the recommendation of the majority or may choose if tied.

Edited by Ich_bin_Tyler
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President Harrison sends the aid and doesn't impact the budget but neither does he get a nice election boost in the Midwest.

MI Gov J Wright Gordon (Wall Street Whigs) also gets a chance to respond. Does he A) Send aid or B) Refrain from relief? Unfortunately, he has a 1 Gov ability so he can't succeed no matter how much he wants to. He does avoid the potential party preference penalty for not sending aid.


Moving on to scripted events!


Edited by Ich_bin_Tyler
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Scripted Events @Willthescout7 @matthewyoung123 @OrangeP47

Texas Wishes to Join the Union- Independent Texas, led primarily by US citizens, is desiring annexation to the United States. However, the Northern states--whether they oppose slavery or not--do not want another powerful Slave State to enter the Union. Abolitionists are angry that Texans reintroduced slavery into a Mexican territory that had been slave free. Southerners as well as some Northern Democrats with business or political ties to the South are pushing for immediate annexation. Settlers are eager to fill the large future state. (Note: This can only be avoided 3 times [assuming it has been avoided once since it occurred first in 1836-38]). 

  • Pres Harrison choose A) Avoid taking up the issue of Texas annexation for now or B) Call for Congress to vote on Texas annexation.

The Maori Tribe Cedes Territory in New Zealand to Great Britain- Great Britain has compelled the Maori to give up land in New Zealand. [no action]

Great Britain Occupies Hong Kong in China- Great Britain's influence over Chinese trade and the Chinese monarch has allowed it to occupy Hong Kong. Will all of China be next?

  • Potential decline in relations with the British was avoided. 

Half the World's Coffee is Now Made in Brazil- Brazil dominates the Coffee Industry (Yum)

Immigration Surge- A variety of issues in Europe--economic, political, and demographic--has seen a surge of immigrants arriving to our ports in recent years. While immigration will certainly fill jobs where employees are needed, they're likely to bring some customs that many of our voters find unwelcome. 

  • RW Populists +1 in next elections, Agrarians and States Rights Whigs also gain +1 in next elections for having the Nationalist card.
  • Revenue/Budget meter unaffected, Domestic Stability decreases by 1 to Mass Protests, Quality of Life meter is unaffected.
  • Pres Harrison responds with, "We know not what problems or benefits this will bring."

Narciso Lopez Liberation Movement in Cuba- There's an independence movement in Cuba to free the island from Spain. Narciso Lopez would certainly accept our help in throwing Spain off their major Caribbean Island; however, doing so would certainly upset Spain, and possibly lead to war. Our politicians are conflicted. We wish to reduce European influence in our Hemisphere, but our expansionists know that our best chance for taking Cuba for ourselves is if it belongs to a European power. In this sense, the revolutionaries are taking land that could potentially be ours. 

  • Pres Harrison choose A) Refrain from helping the Independence Movement. We could upset Spain and we might want it for ourselves; or B) Let's reduce Spanish influence in our hemisphere. Support the movement.

Skull of Human-Like Species Known as Neanderthal Found in Germany- Anthropologists in Germany believe they have found ancient skeletal remains of a species that resembled a human. However, the differences are such that it could not be a human. The debate on exactly what this Neanderthal is will be hotly debates for some time. 

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40 minutes ago, Ich_bin_Tyler said:

Scripted Events @Willthescout7 @matthewyoung123 @OrangeP47

Texas Wishes to Join the Union- 

  • Pres Harrison choose A) Avoid taking up the issue of Texas annexation for now or B) Call for Congress to vote on Texas annexation.

Narciso Lopez Liberation Movement in Cuba-  

  • Pres Harrison choose A) Refrain from helping the Independence Movement. We could upset Spain and we might want it for ourselves; or B) Let's reduce Spanish influence in our hemisphere. Support the movement.


CPU President Harrison has, indeed, some difficult choices to make regarding foreign policy.  Looking at the overall picture, CPU Harrison decides it would be better to try and bring TX into the Union and calls upon Congressional leaders to take a vote on the annexation of the Republic of Texas.

Furthermore, seeing Lopez and his forces try and battle for independence reminds the CPU President of America's struggle for independence from a European power, and he recalls leading his own personal battle at Tippecanoe.  He also solidly believes in the Monroe Doctrine.  Despite the current strained relations with the Kingdom of Spain, and the possibility of reducing them further, CPU President Harrison sees that his Whig Party could benefit greatly from supporting Lopez and reducing Spanish influence in the New World.

CPU Harrison selects B on both options.

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Regarding the Annexation of Texas, the public supports Harrison in this regard. Domestic stability increases by 1 (no longer in a crisis). Annexation will be voted on in Congress and worth double points.

Supporting Lopez, however, has greatly upset the Spanish crown. Relations with Spain drop to the lowest (enemies). Regarding the implementation of this new Cuban policy, Sec of Navy Badger critically succeeds (rolled a 1) in organizing the Navy and the logistics of the support. Sec of War Bell, on the other hand, fails to coordinate and the implementation is unsuccessful. Harrison has military expertise and admin of 1, so the blunder roll occurs as normal. The die roll is a 1, so party preference moves one away from the Whigs (perfectly neutral) as the public begins to question the efficacy of the current administration. The event says if blunder on option A potential war with Spain, which doesn't make sense when that option is the non-intervention option. So, I'm just gonna roll for war with Spain since option B was blundered. War with Spain was averted with a roll of 79 (needed 25 or less). 

Edited by Ich_bin_Tyler
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Lingering Phase

Economic Stability, Military Prep, and Honest Government increase by 1 due to legislation. Domestic Stability falls, again, to crisis mode due to legislation.

The current tariff did not affect the meters and is only 4 years old, so no changes on that. 

Sec of War Bell and Postmaster Gen Granger both successfully impact the Military Prep and Honest Gov meters.

There are more politicians in the government with integrity (24) than controversial (9). Honest Gov roll is a 6, increasing by 1 again.

Overall, the economy is booming, the armed forces are slightly prepared for a potential impending war with Spain, the people are protesting (who knows about what), and the public trusts their government with corruption at moderate levels. 


Gov Charles McDonald of GA gains 200 points for the state leading in agriculture and plantations.

Gov Robert Letcher of KY gains 100 points for the state leading in mining.

Gov John Davis of MA gains 200 points for the state leading in maritime and manufacturing. 

Gov William Seward of NY gains 100 points for the state leading in finance.

Setting the Convention Delegates @Willthescout7 @OrangeP47 @matthewyoung123

Nashville, TN has been selected as the location of the 1844 Democratic Convention. Gov James Polk (Popular Sovereignty Democrats) will set the convention delegates.

New Orleans, LA has been selected as the location of the 1844 Whig Convention. Gov Andre Roman (States Rights Whigs) will set the convention delegates. 

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1 hour ago, MrPotatoTed said:

Flagging @vcczar for awareness.  (This is regarding the scripted event for Lopez' cuban revolution).

I’ll have to look at the even to see my rationale and I can’t get into the files yet. Could have meant to put another option to trigger that. An error wouldn’t surprise me considering how much I had to multitask between my other jobs or getting yelled at for working too much. 

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