Sunday, 20 July 2014

New Campaign Strategic Map

Strategic Campaign Map for 28 March 1814

This is the new campaign map showing France and part of Spain.   It covers the whole area of the PBEM 1814 campaign.   The oblongs in white are the six campaign areas, with the armies shown as coloured squares.

The top oblong shows the area covered by the Roermond campaign phase.   This is the area where the Prussian army has invaded France and First French army are trying to stop them.
The star indicated that a battle has taken place.    Each square is 15 miles square, or one days march

For some time I have been trying to find a way to give the twelve army commanders an overview of the whole campaign.    This is not vital in order to take part in the campaign, and some may not be at all interested.   However I wanted those who are interested to be able to see how their campaign area fits into the whole and what is currently happening in other parts of the campaign area.

Each campaign day I post a campaign summary.  This consists of the master tactical map for each of the six campaign areas.   It shows the location of each of the corps, plus depots and any combats.   It is normally posted too late to give away any secrets.

Tactical Map of Roermond area for 28 March 1814

The Tactical Map is three by three squares on the Strategic Map.   Each square is 5 miles square, so there are three squares on this map for each square on the larger Strategic Map.   This map shows the location of all corps at midnight on 28 March 1814.   Again the star indicated that a battle has taken placed.   Each square on this map is identical to a 2 foot square scenic square on the wargames table.

The campaign diary was published on the campaign diary blog on 11 June 2014.   By that date all campaign orders had been received for 30 March 1814, and the umpire report issued.   So it is unlikely that any information could be gained from the map which was not out of date.

I have added the Strategic Map to all of the 27 previous campaign diary entries, so it is now possible to follow the history of the whole campaign, as well as the individual campaign areas.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Wargame Building Project

The latest is a second farm for use in France or Germany.   In most of our campaign wargames we have one town and either two farms or one farm and one village.

The buildings and walls are designed to be used together.
However as they are free standing the farm house could be used as part of a town

That is the last of the French or German type buildings for the present
Our next project is some Spanish town houses

Sunday, 6 July 2014

All or Nothing

We have just returned from a week holiday in the UK with the grandchildren.   This is the only time that we have a complete break from the PBEM campaign.  I notified all of the players, I caught up on the administration and we even managed to finish the last outstanding wargame before we left.

Even after such a short break it takes a little time to get back into the campaign.   Checking my email I could see that all twelve orders had arrived and were waiting for my attention. 

I was quite hoping for a battle to wargame, and I was not disappointed.  The very first set of orders resulted in a full battle, which is four corps per side.   Just the thing to get us back into our routine of one or two wargame moves most days.

The second set of orders produced another battle.  That is not a problem; in fact it’s quite nice to have one battle in reserve.   A battle normally takes one week to wargame, but that is if it takes the full twelve moves.   It is not unusual to finish much quicker, and it’s nice to have a reserve.

The third set of orders resulted in yet another battle.   Three battles to wargame mean a delay in the campaign for all players.   I publish a campaign diary of the whole campaign, so it’s necessary to keep all six campaign areas more or less in step with each other.   Three battles mean I have to put the whole campaign on hold until I wargame at least one of them.

I was half expecting the fourth set of orders to produce one more battle, and I was not disappointed.   But I was getting a little worried.   We had just returned from a full week break in the campaign, which is very rare.  I have a strong suspicion that when a group gets out of the routine of sending orders and receiving reports, there is a danger that they will start to lose interest and look around for something else to fill the time.   So I would rather not have three battles waiting, let alone four.

I was quite nervous opening the fifth orders.   And, of course, it resulted in another battle.   This has never happened before.   Over the past twelve months of the current campaign I have never had more than three battles waiting to be wargamed.

It was almost a disappointment to open the sixth set of orders, and find that they did not result in a battle.

It would seem that wargames are not unlike the proverbial “number seven bus”.   You wait for one to come along, and then they all arrive at once.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Happy Birthday 1814 Campaign

The campaign is one year old, more or less.   That is to say the first post on the campaign diary blog was posted on 22 June 2013.   Obviously the work on the campaign started earlier, not to mention recruiting the twelve players to fill the role of CinC.   But as there is no record of when all of that took place, the official birthday is 22 June 2013.    Which is a coincidence, because that is also my birthday.   Or at least the 22 June part is.
I must admit that I am very, very pleased with the campaign.  It started with the objective of providing Jan and I interesting wargames to play.   Well it certainly achieved that aim.   In fact it has provided us with 49 wargames, including the current one.   Not quite one a week, but pretty close.   And the standard of wargame has also been very good.   It has often produced battles which we would not have chosen, and they have always proved interesting and challenging.
I keep a record of when each wargame starts and ends, and I can see that throughout the year there has always been a campaign wargame on the table.    Most have taken no more than the target one week to complete.   Obviously some have taken much longer, but only if we have been on holiday.
My aim was to achieve one campaign day each week.   We are on day 31, so we have obviously failed in that objective.   But there are good reasons.   Not least having to fight each battle as a wargame.   When there is one battle per campaign day it works quite well.  But there have often been two, three or even four battles to fight in one campaign day.   This has resulted in putting the rest of the campaign on hold whilst we fought the wargames.   Then we have had holidays throughout the year, and that has also eaten into the one day per week objective.   Everything considered I think 31 campaign days in 52 weeks is a pretty good achievement.
The whole campaign is a “pen and paper” affair.  The administration is not in any way computer assisted, other than being typed and stored on the computer.   There are twelve sets of orders to be processed each campaign day, and twelve umpire reports to be written to keep the commanders updated.
I would not say that it has been hard work, but it has required two or three hours work most days.     I no longer paint wargame figures, I now wargame with them.   So the campaign has filled the hours that would previously been spent painting. 
Most important it has been a labour of love.
Thanks to all those who have taken part in the campaign over the past year, and to those who took part in the earlier 1813 campaign.   Without your support it would not have been possible.   Your contribution has kept my interest in the campaign alive, and made me determined to celebrate a second birthday in twelve months.