Wednesday, 15 December 2010

PBEM or Solo Campaign


I have just finished the Valladolid Campaign, which is the last of the five mini campaigns in my solo 1813 campaign.

The campaign was designed to allow me to fight multi corps battles on my 6'x6' wargames table using the figures and scenery in my collection. There are five mini campaigns and each one features one of my allied armies and a selection of my French and allied armies. Three are in Germany and two in Spain. The different locations allow me to use the different buildings in my collection.

The campaign started in April 2009, so it has taken me 20 months to complete the first complete phase. It has been a great success because it has allowed me to channel all of my energies from mainly collecting and painting model soldiers to pure wargaming.

For more than 40 years I collected and painted model soldiers. Most days would find me painting for at least two or three hours. I built up a large Napoleonic collection of 25/28mm, 15/18mm and 6mm, which were replaced time and again.

Airfix has been replaced by 20mmHinton Hunt. They had been replaced by 25mm Minifigs. They had been replaced by 28mm Connoisseur. They were replaced by mostly Front Rank. 15mm Minifigs were replaced by 18mm AB. The original 6mm Heroics and Ros were never replaced, nor indeed were they used on the table much.

For more than 20 years I have wargamed on a 12'x12' wargames table. In 2000 Jan and I decided we would retire to Spain, and that we would restrict our wargaming to just the two of us. Wargaming would play a large part of our retirement, but it would be on a 6'x6' table, which is large enough for two players. So I would not need such large armies.

At that time my larger figures were a mix of early 28mm figures. My 15mm were all Minifigs. I decided that I would sell off all my collection and replace them with Front Rank 28mm and AB 15mm. I designed a new army of French, Austrian, British, Prussian, Russian and Spanish in both 28mm and 18mm. The sale of my old figures would pay for their replacement with half as many new figures.

This project took about four years to complete. I now had a large army of both scales which had been bought to plan. I knew that I would never want to face such a big painting job again, and I decided that I would convert my interest from painting and collecting with occasional wargames, to campaigns and wargames.

I spent many months planning the 1813 campaign, so that I would be able to use all of the figures and scenery in rotation. I had designed each national army to fit on the wargames table, so I knew the maximum number of figures I would have in each battle.

I now designed a set of rules which would allow me to fight multi corps battles with that number of figures. I designed an order of battle for each nation, and planned the five mini campaigns within the 1813 campaign.

I am really quite surprised that the whole thing worked. Not only did I not miss the painting, but I found the campaign wargames much more enjoyable than our earlier games.
Then I discovered Blogging. I had never done so before, but it seemed a good way to provide a permanent record of the campaign. I am amazed how much it has become a part of my hobby. It makes me stick to a routine, and adds an extra dimension to the campaign and wargames.

During the past year I have dabbled with Play By EMail campaigns, both an an organiser and a player. I have mixed feelings about them. First I tried to open the 1813 campaign to PBEM, but it was not designed for that purpose, and was not suitable.

Twice I participated as a player. Both were abandoned by the GM/Umpire without explanation or apparent reason. A few months ago I decided to see if I could redesign my 1813 to be suitable for PBEM.

This involved writing new campaign rules. I have tried to keep these simple, like my wargame rules. It is early days, but it seems to be going well so far. Certainly I am enjoying it so far.

So far I have run both the solo and PBEM campaigns. The first to provide Jan and I with wargames, the second to see whether I would enjoy the extra work required for PBEM.

Now that my solo campaign has completed its first cycle I have decided to put it on hold until I decide whether to continue on the solo track or convert to PBEM.

The 1813 campaign will continue. It works too well to abandon. The only question to answer is whether it will be solo or PBEM.

The blog for the PBEM campaign is

http://pbemhannovercampaign.blogspot.com/



2 comments:

Monty said...

This looks interesting, tell me though,how exactly does your solo/PBEM work? Are you using a specific programme or rules set to play over the net?

All the best,

Monty

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Money

Its not one solo/PBEM campaign. My existing campaign is solo. I am trying to develop a system to allow me to convert it to PBEM.

I have designed a set of simple rules, and am at present play testing them by running a PBEM campaign with 10 players.

There is a forum for the campaign, which includes all of the rules etc. You can find it at

http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/napoleonicpbemcampaign