Sunday, 19 October 2014

Spanish in Wargames

The Spanish (left) are about to lose another battle
I have always had a Spanish army in my wargames collection.   They have very colourful uniforms, and it’s hard to run a Peninsular campaign without them.   But they have always proved a problem on the tabletop.   Historically they were defeated in battle after battle.  Even Baylen, their one victory against the French, was more a series of French blunders than Spanish generalship.  

Jan has always liked commanding them on the table top.  If she was defeated it was no more than could be expected with a Spanish army.  If she had any limited success it was brilliant tactical skill.   But that was when we fought one off games, or when our campaign was solo.

With a PBEM campaign a real player is commanding the Spanish army.   Although he may relish the challenge at the start of the campaign, it must become pretty discouraging to face defeat after defeat.   We have lost more Spanish commanders than any other nation, including in the campaign phase that has just finished.

As a result I took over command of the Spanish army in mid campaign.   They were already in a mess, and I suspect that the previous commander had given up because he could not sort them out.   So it gave me an opportunity to run see how they would get on with the sort of tactics I felt they should use.

In our campaign the Spanish have four corps, plus a British corps in support.  The French have four corps.   So the combined Spanish/British army have a considerable numerical superiority.  However they only have three cavalry brigades against the French four.  And the Spanish troops are pretty low quality, both for morale and combat.

My tactics did not work.   It took too long for me to concentrate the Spanish army, and the French commander continued to attack, attack, and attack.   The campaign finished with the Spanish losing five battles out of five.

Last week we had a long and interesting discussion on the PBEM forum about how best to use the Spanish.   A lot of the suggestions were historically correct, but would not work in a campaign which was designed to provide interesting battles to wargame – not to refight the actual Peninsular campaign.

But it did help me to examine my intended rewrite of the specific Spanish rules.   There will be three main changes.   First the gunners will be B class, same as the French.   Second the Spanish will not have to detach brigades to garrison depots, and those depots will be positioned to allow more flexibility to the Spanish deployment.  Third, if necessary, the Spanish casualties will be replenished faster than the French.

Not sure how all of this will work out.   In the past I have changed the rules to solve one problem, and found that I have created an unexpected different one.   But it has been an interesting exercise, and I am looking forward to seeing how it works out.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Wargaming Building Project

We have quite a collection of Hovels Spanish buildings, but most are too large for our town footprint.   They are fine for stand alone farms or for a set piece as part of the village.   But we wanted to be able to place three or four buildings on each town section.
So Jan has started work on larger buildings which could be used as either part of a village, or a farm building.   
The more she makes the better they get, and she is not very happy now with her earlier buildings

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Recruiting for the Campaign

Each week I post battle reports and campaign updates on the Campaign Diary Blog.   I also post a short description of the post on the campaign forum.  This is just to notify followers that there is a posting on the Diary Blog.   I have recently tried to make this post a little more interesting than just a bland statement that there is a new post.

I currently have two reserve players, so I am not actively recruiting.  But I decided to copy the forum post to the wargame forum I follow.    As often happens, there was no response on any of the forum.  But there was a large increase in visitors to the Campaign Diary Blog.   This has led me to hope that there might be a pool of interested readers, and prospective campaign commanders.

So I intend to post regularly on that forum with a short, and hopefully interesting, update on the campaign.   In this way I hope to expand knowledge and interest in the campaign, and to provide a pool of future commanders.

There is, of course, the risk that it might result in some negative comment.  It is a sad fact that most followers of wargame forum are, like myself, a silent majority.   Those who do post tend not to be particularly interested in actual wargaming.   Most posts express the writer’s interest in the latest wargame rules, or deal with orders of battle or uniform details.   And those which result in the most posts are often part of long running, and bad tempered, disagreements.

So my plan may well not work out the way I hope.   But it is worth a try.  If it does result in a wider knowledge and interest in the campaign then it could well secure its continued progress.   At the very least it should raise the profile of the campaign for a short time.

Wish me luck.