Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Campaign Hidden Movement

My new Passau campaign is a solo campaign, which is to say that I do all of the map movements and write all of the orders for both sides. I wanted to introduce some form of hidden movement, so that when I was writing orders for one of the corps commanders I restricted myself to the information about the enemy that he could be expected to know.

To explain how I try to make this work, I should first explain the two types of map I use for the campaign.

The first is the strategic map

Campaign Strategic Map

This map is used for the commander in chief daily orders. Each square takes one full day to move through. Only one corps can be in each square. At this stage of the campaign all of the eight corps are close to each other.

If one corps is ordered to move into a square occupied by an enemy corps it is in fact under orders to attack that square. At the end of the day one will have withdrawn or both will be in battle and continue to a second day of battle.

Then there is the tactical map

Campaign Tactical Map

This map contains 12 of the squares from the strategic map. For example M 25 is the Altheim square on both maps. However the tactical map has nine squares for each strategic square. Each of these squares has a number which represents a 2x2 foot scenic square. Any 3x3 squares can be set up on the wargames table. On the map above there is a battle at Altheim. The nine squares within the template have been set up as a wargames table and the game is being fought now.

On this map all corps are shown who have entered the area covered by the tactical map. 9th French corps is in Passau, which is not shown on the tactical map, and for that reason there is no symbol on the tactical map for this corps.

Now if I used this map to write orders for one of the French corps, say 12th corps, it would be hard to remember which enemy corps this commander would be aware of.

Each corps can see any enemy within three squares of them. Once one corps can see them it is assumed that they would notify all friendly commanders so all are aware of them.

French Tactical Map

This is the tactical map I use when writing orders for the French commanders. It shows the location of the three French corps shown on the above map. It also shows 9th corps as being off the map above square M 25. This is the corps in Passau, which is in the square above M 25.

However it only shows 1st and 2nd Austrian corps. This is because 3rd and 4th Austrian corps are out of sight of all French corps at present.

So when I write orders as a French commander I can only see 1st and 2nd Austrian corps on the map, and I write my orders based on that fact.

There is also a tactical map for the Austrian army, which I use when writing orders for an Austrian commander. This map shows all Austrian corps, but only those French ones within sight.

I have found that this system works very well. The French commanders are likely to seek to destroy 1st Austrian corps, which appears to be very isolated. However it can easily fall back on 3rd corps for support. Also the French are unaware that 2nd and 4th Austrian corps are now well placed to take advantage of any French advance.

This is a very simple and low tech way of introducing hidden movement to a solo campaign without the need for any complicated computer programme. I am sure that such a programme would work just as well – but I would not be able to develop one, and probably would not understand how to use it if one were already available!


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

The program you want is "Berthier" which can handle contacts, scouting, visibility etc.

The program is (I think) very simple - I also like it very much and have used it for years. The question is, if you're happy with what you're doing now though, why would you want to change?? :o))

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

PS. Berthier is free and available from here if you do wish to investigate further..

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Steve

Thanks for the link to Berthier. I have heard of the system before, and visited the site to have a look.

I like my present grid system and I don't think that would work with Berthier?

The hidden movement helps the campaign, but is not as important as having the map with the series of wargame tables on it. The whole purpose of the campaign is to provide battles, and this also provides the battlefields.

thanks again for the link



Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Paul - grids are Berthier's raison d'etre... :o)

Berthier was written to duplicate the chest of matchboxes idea that Don Featherstone wrote about in "Wargames Campaigns" - but on a huge scale...

As I say - for you it's perfect - but if you're happy with what you're doing then you don't need a program to do it... :o))

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Steve

"...the chest of matchboxes idea that Don Featherstone wrote about in "Wargames Campaigns" Now that brings back happy memories. I remember getting my copy of that book when it was first published. I never did use the matchbox idea, but I do remember thinking what a clever and simple idea.

Perhaps I will have a closer look at "Berthier" in view of what you have said.

Thanks again.


Adelaide Gamer said...

Ha. Flood of memories here too when that book arrived with the UK stamps on it.