Monday, 14 November 2011

Successful conclusion to the Hanover Campaign


When I started this campaign in March 2011 I expected it to last about three months. Eight months, and 45 moves, later it ended in grand style. It was my third attempt at running a PBEM, but the first one I felt confident enough to include as part of my two year old solo 1813 campaign. It would prove a much greater success than I had dared to hope.

The first PBEM was an attempt to run the solo campaign using exactly the same rules, but handing control of the two commander in chief and eight corps commanders to player I had never met and recruited over the internet. It came as no surprise that it did not work well. It ended early and in a shambles. But I did learn a lot of valuable lessons. Most important was that I could not just hand over control of the whole campaign and expect it to work. I would have to keep control of the direction of the campaign and I would have to ensure that if a player dropped out it would not throw the campaign into disorder.

So for the second PBEM I played the role of both commander in chief, and restricted PBEM command posts to corps commanders. It worked much better, but I soon found that the solo campaign rules did not allow sufficient choice to make it enjoyable and challenging for the corps commanders. Again I learned a lot of lessons, and now felt it was time to try a “proper” campaign.

The Hanover campaign was the result. It worked smoothly from the start and the players obviously enjoyed it because five of the original eight remained with it to the end. By sending an umpire report to each player at the end of each move I could keep control of what was happening. And if a player dropped out I could easily replace him by taking command myself until I found a replacement. The umpire report was an update on each corps at the end of each turn, and it contained everything needed to take command of the corps.

Our purpose in running the campaign was to provide good wargames for Jan and I to play. With each solo campaign I could manipulate each move to produce the size of battle I required. With a PBEM this was not possible. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the wargames it did produce were much more challenging and fun to play than the ones I had arranged myself. And most presented unusual circumstances which I would not have considered would provide a good wargame, but in fact did.

The campaign blog played an important part in maintaining the momentum of the campaign. I published a short summary of each campaign move and a very detailed move by move account of each wargame. When a battle was being fought I would publish one move each day. This meant that both the players and I had a 12 day break from the campaign movement. It also allowed Jan and me to find time to fight the wargame. And as something was published each day it meant the players had something to read each day. It worked very well.

I feel I can say that, because five of the eight players from the Hanover phase have signed on for Tortosa in Spain, which is the next phase.

The final post on the campaign diary blog is a summary of the campaign. This consists of a map for each day of the campaign, plus a brief description of each day. This is the first time that the players have seen what the other corps were doing on a day to day basis. By clicking on the first map on the summary it is possible to do a sort of slide show of all 15 maps.

The summary is a good way to get a feel for what the campaign was all about. If interested you an find it at

http://new1813campaignhotmailcouk.blogspot.com/

No comments: