Sunday, 22 November 2015

Converting to Windows 10

It’s been a difficult week as I struggle to convert from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Living in Spain we rely on our computers to access UK television and have a desktop, laptop and media centre all inter connected.   We have a “computer man” locally who sorts out any problems we may have, as anything more than typing and loading photographs is well beyond me.

I had hoped to get one computer upgraded, whilst relying on the other two.   However this was not to be.   The first was returned, but proved to have errors which I don’t really understand.    The second was returned and later discovered to have different, but just as annoying, problems.   Meanwhile the third had been removed to upgrade to Windows 10.

You would think a “computer man” would be easy to contact.   But email, skype calls, landline and mobile phone messages were all ignored.   In consequence I have been without any computer for most of the week.   Its only when this type of thing happens that you realise how much you depend on it.

I had foolishly anticipated that a simple upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 would be simple and straight forward.   How wrong could I be?

At present I have one of the three working well.   One has gone wrong again (for the second time) and the third is being upgraded.   Each upgrade seems to take about ten days.

Like all of my friends, and I suspect all computer users of a “certain age”, I hate change.   I have no idea why Windows ever had to upgrade from XP.  I understood how to use it and it could do everything I needed.

My particular problem with Windows 10 is that I cannot seem to be able to resize photographs.   That sounds like a small problem, but in fact is causing me a lot of trouble.   I have four current blogs, one of which I update each day.   This one only requires one photographs for each blog, but others can have up to twenty on a single blog.   When they are resized they seem to load without any trouble.  But full size the blog keeps rejecting them.

I have spent hours on Windows Forum, and even communicating with Windows direct.   Everyone is very helpful, but no one seems to have a solution to the problem.  

So hours and hours of frustration.

But I guess with what is going on around the world my problems really are pretty insignificant.   Perhaps so, but that does not stop them from being annoying!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Beginning of the End of the PBEM Campaign

It is with some regret that I have decided to run down the long running 1813 PBEM campaign.   

I started the campaign in September 2009, and have run it nonstop since then.   It has provided us with almost every wargame we fought over the past six years.

However recently I have found it increasingly difficult to keep up my enthusiasm and interest.   The battles have become ever similar, particularly the smaller one v one corps.
There are six mini campaigns in progress at the same time.   Recently there seem to be either no battles at all, or too many.   Ideally there would be two battles to wargame.   One on the table and the second waiting to be fought.   But when there are four or five it becomes necessary to pause the campaign until we can clear the backlog of wargames.

Then there is the ongoing difficulty of replacing commanders.   With twelve command posts someone always seems to be leaving and needing replacement.   Over the years there have been 84 players taking part, some for considerably longer than others.   A small number have remained for more than a year.   A larger number have left before their first phase was completed.   Most have taken part for one or two campaign phases – about 6 months.

I have been considering either reorganising the campaign, or just end it and create a new one.   Recently we have had a backlog of battles to wargame, and I find myself not really wanting to recommence the campaign now that the backlog is cleared.

I will do so, and I will complete the current campaign phases.  But I will not replace them once they have ended.

This will give me the opportunity to design a new campaign whilst running down the current one.  I am not sure how the new campaign will look.   The current one is very well suited to producing the type of battles Jan and I like to wargame.   So the new campaign will retain those characteristics.   But it will definitely be a solo campaign.   At least to start.

So for me it is very much the end of an era.   I am grateful to all of those who have contributed to the campaign over the years, and I hope that they enjoyed it as much as I did.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Campaign Backlog

Campaign battle set in Spain

I aim to complete one campaign move each week.   And over the previous six years I have pretty well achieved that timetable, with breaks for holidays.

However this week I have had to impose a campaign pause in order to clear a backlog of battles to be wargamed.   It is only the second time that I can remember having to do so.

The aim of the campaign is to provide battles to wargame.  I have designed it to do so, without causing this type of problem.   However the direction of the campaign is in the hands of the twelve commanders and they decide where and when battles will be fought.

I have recently made drastic changes to the campaign, which has resulted in this backlog.

First I changed the tactical map so that the towns were further apart north to south.   This makes command and control more difficult, but it also is more likely to provide more smaller battles.

Second I changed the victory conditions for each campaign phase.  Previously a commander had to take, and hold, the city in the centre of the map.  But he also had to defeat the enemy army.   This resulted in the more cautious commanders taking a long time to concentrate their army and then moving very slowly to battle.

The new victory conditions are to take and hold the city for five campaign days.   This rewards the more aggressive player who makes a dash for the city.  It also makes it dangerous to take too long to prepare the attack.   Because if it then fails there is not time for a long recovery and to plan a second attack.

I have also set the number of days for each campaign phase to ten, with the option to extend it to twelve.   Previously there was no limit.

The result is a spate of battles to be wargamed.   And because four of the six campaign phases started at the same time, the initial battles all happen on the same day.

All six campaign phases run to the same timetable.   It is possible to have one or two days between the six phases, but no more than that.   The campaign diary, which includes daily updates on each campaign phase, is published three days after completion of that campaign day.   This ensures that by the time the detailed map is published on the diary blog the information will be three days late.   But it does mean that all six phases have to work to the same timetable.

Still, better to have too many battles to wargame than none at all.