Friday, 5 November 2010

1813 PBEM Campaign


Its just as well that I allowed a full week to do each campaign day, because that is how long it has taken.

My role in the campaign is that of Chief of Staff to each player, whether Army or Corps commander.

At the start of each move I send each corps commander a report confirming the location and condition of his corps and any contact with the enemy. A copy of this report is sent to each commander in chief, together with a map showing the location of each corps and contact. They also receive occasional reports from agents behind enemy lines.

There are two maps in use in the campaign. The tactical map shows towns, rivers, roads and mountains. This map is used for the commander in chief report.

The second map is a wargames map. This shows the exact terrain squares which will be used if a battle is fought. This map is used by each corps commander to plot his daily moves. This allows him to choose the type of terrain most suitable to his plans.

The first week has gone well. The commanders in chief sent their orders to me, and I sent them on to the corps commanders after I had checked that they were in accordance with the rules for writing orders.

The corps commanders then wrote their orders and sent them to me. I again checked them against the campaign rules, and returned them for amendment as necessary. There were only a few minor errors, which is only to be expected with a group of players using a new system for the first time.

My rules and outline for the campaign are going well - at least so far. I have not had to change anything as a result of the first days sequence.

I am playing around with how best to record each days orders and movements. At present I plot them on two master maps, one tactical and one wargeme. I then amend the French and Prussian master maps, which show what each side would know. These are then used to write the chief of staff report for each player.

I have no idea how the "fog of war" is working for the players. This is one of the most difficult things to get right. They must know enough of the enemy locations and intentions to be able to plan their daily movement. But there has to be sufficient "fog" to allow for some nasty surprises. I will not know how well that has worked until we finish the test play and I get their after campaign reports.

Its been an interesting week for me, and I hope it has for them too.

I am also working on some way that I can publish a campaign daily diary, without giving too much information about the enemy. I have alreay done the first day, but will not publish until they have sent all of their daily orders to me and it is too late for them to react. I will publish a copy of the map on the next PBEM campaign update.

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