As the hot days of summer approach I am looking for a project to keep me cool and out of the midday sun.
At present I am considering whether it would be worth while to make new tactical maps for the next phase of my 1813 campaign.
The present PBEM campaign is going well, and I am pretty sure that the next one will also be PBEM. But I want to build up the player participation, and to allow them more choice of action.
The biggest problem is that the aim of the campaign is to produce good wargames. And the wargames will be fought using our “house rules”. These are based on a corps of six elements – four infantry, one cavalry and one artillery. The rules rely strongly on command and control, and the six elements are critical.
This is a big problem, because prevents the corps commanders from breaking up their corps, and thereby restricts their options. When the campaign moves to the wargames table command radius is also important. This is just 8” on the table. Each square, both on the table and on the tactical map, is 48” x 48”. So it is important that corps remain within one square as far as possible.
In a historical campaign the players would expect to be able to use concentration and movement to gain an advantage. This would result in an uneven and very one sided wargame using our rules. So the challenge, and satisfaction, must be different.
I have come to the conclusion that the best way to improve player satisfaction is to make it clear that the campaign is actually more similar to a board game than to a historical map exercise.
The advantage of my campaign is that the whole tactical map is a representation of a large wargames table. The player can choose his ground, and be confident that the wargames table will look exactly the same. He can also give detailed deployment orders for use on the table.
So far none have done this. I suspect that this is because I have not spelt out the board game aspect. They are using the tactical map as a historical map, and it does not work well. Because of the grid system, and the restriction to road movement only, it is difficult to concentrate and support each other.
So I am going to work on a new map which will have more interesting terrain options. I am also considering whether to allow off road movement. All of this sounds quite promising, but I will have to carry out some play testing to see what the disadvantages might be.
If nothing else, it will keep me out of the hot Spanish summer sun.