Friday, 15 October 2010
1806 PBEM Campaign
About two months ago I got involved in an 1806 PBEM campaign. My interest was in trying to develop a set of "stand alone" rules which could be used by campaign players and avoid them having to learn the complicated rules being used by the umpire.
For this project to work it would be necessary for the player rules to interface with the umpire rules. I did not have a copy of the umpire rules, but was assurred that they did indeed interface.
We set up a campaign to play test my player rules. I opted to play the role of Napoleon, as this would be the most challenging roll and would give me a real feel for how well my player rules were working. It all went well for a month or so, and then the cracks began to appear. It soon became obvious that some major aspects of the umpire rules were not included in the player rules I had devised. I suggested ending the campaign, as the whole purpose of the campaign was to play test the player rules, and they clearly did not work anymore.
The other players, and the umpire, wanted to continue with the campaign. I agreed on the understanding that my rules would no longer be used, and the umpire would answer any rule questions raised. More and more of the questions went unanswered.
Two weeks ago the campaign reached the stage where the first battles would be fought. The umpire promised that they would be resolved within a few days, then a longer delay and finally silence. Despite a request for confirmation of what is happening, no reply only silence.
Its beginning to look like he has abandoned the campaign. No reason or explanation, only silence. Of course there may be a very good reason for the silence, it may be real life getting in the way again. But what a pity some umpires will not take a few seconds to send an email to the players to explain what is happening.
Apart from an attempt to make my 1813 campaign work as a PBEM, I have only been involved in two other PBEM campaigns. And each time this has happened. Perhaps I have been unlucky, but it does make me wonder how many other campaigns have ended in a similar way.
Its such a shame, because in both cases the umpire obviously put a lot of work into the early stages of the campaign. I suspect that resolving the battles just proved too much, and it was easier to walk away from the campaign than to explain what had gone wrong.
It has not put me off PBEM, but it has put me off taking part in one run by someone else.
I am working on the next stage of my 1813 campaign, and am again considering whether I could make it into a PBEM.
The problem last time was the lack of suitable maps. Now that I have ProFantasy I can solve this problem. However I am still uncertain whether I want to put our wargames at risk by opening the campaign to PBEM.
The whole reason for my 1813 campaign is to provide Jan and I with good wargames. It works extremely well in this respect. However it does get a little boring running the whole campaign myself, and it would add another dimension if there were outside players to do the map moves. The problem is that they would not want to have even handed wargames. They would be looking to bring superior forces to bear. And that scenario does not result in an enjoyable wargame.
We are still busy with the Valladolid campaign, so there is no rush. I have almost completed the maps for the next stage, which will be set back in northern Germany possibly around Hanover.
The other option would be to go for a seperate campaign. I have already worked out a set of rules, which include a method for resolving battles without fighting a wargame. But I am not sure that I want to devote the amount of time that would be necessary. Particularly with my earlier experience of the tendency of some PBEM players to just disappear.
Anyway that is what will be occupying my thoughts this weekend.
Whatever you are doing - have a nice one!