I publish the battle reports from the PBEM campaign on the campaign diary blog. The blog itself has just passed 32,000 individual hits, and when the battle reports are being published gets between 20-60 hits each day. There are only eight players in the campaign, so obviously a lot of the visitors are not taking part.
One of the players recently queried the battle report regarding a cavalry melee. The entries on the blog are never more than one or two days old, so I could remember what happened. But I wanted to check the report to make sure that I had the details right. It was then that I realised how complicated and technical the reports actually are.
When I first started to publish the battle reports they were much less detailed. They were part of a solo campaign then, and I just wanted a record of the wargames we had fought so that I could read back through them in the future. I assumed that anyone else who read them would not really be interested in a lot of detail.
But when the PBEM started I wanted the players, and particularly those involved in the battle, to be able to follow each step. As the battle reports became more detailed, I started to put a reference to the rule concerned in notes at the end of the report. This has led to a lot of visits to the wargame rule blog, which is currently at more than 12,000. Not bad for a set of “house rules” only 18 months old.
Having concluded that the present report are too complicated, I posted on the campaign forum to ask whether readers would prefer the present complicated battle report, or a more descriptive and less technical method. Given the number of visits to the campaign diary I was surprised to receive only two replies. Worst still one was in favour of the present system and one preferred a less technical style. Presumably the remainder did not care much for one or the other.
Given that there is a considerable amount of work involved in the current reports, it hardly seems worth the extra effort for just one reader. So when the new campaign starts I will use a more descriptive, but less time consuming, method.