In my earlier experience of running a wargames club I have found that it is not unusual for one or more members to lose interest if there is a break in the routine of the weekly meetings. So I was not greatly surprised to find that the same thing happened with the PBEM campaign following the two week break for Christmas/New Year.
The first was one of those failures to respond to an email, and again for the follow up email. Fortunately I had a reserve ready to step in. But I was shocked to hear that the reason he had dropped out was that he had been involved in serious traffic accident. The problem with organizing things on line is that you have very little personal contact with the players. And there is always a tendency to think the worse if they do not reply to an email. So this event has taught me not to jump to conclusions.
I was less prepared to lose another player within a week. This second one had taken part in all three of the PBEM games I have run. But for most of the current game he has been late sending in his orders, and has had to be reminded. I was about to write and ask if there was anything wrong when I received a mail from him that pressure of work had made it impossible to continue.
As always I accept that real life often makes taking part in a game difficult or inconvenient, so there were no hard feelings. If players tell me that they wish to withdraw from the campaign they are always welcome to join again at a later date. And once again I had a reserve ready to take part. He was also prepared to write a brief of his corps activity for the new player.
But I was very surprised, and more than a little concerned, to find that the game had not gone well for him at all. I have changed this campaign considerably from the previous three. The major change was to allow the corps commanders much more freedom of choice. But also there was the introduction of detachments, garrisons, sieges and lines of supply. All were in response to comments after the last campaign. All were intended to make the campaign more enjoyable for the corps commanders. But clearly they had failed in this particular case. It was clear that he preferred the earlier type of campaign.
It is always difficult to get feedback on how players are enjoying the campaign. Or what could be done to improve it. I suspect that most players do not want to appear ungrateful or negative about the campaign by offering criticism.
But I was concerned that this feeling might be wide spread amongst the corps commanders. So I have posted his comments on the forum, and asked each player to let me know how they feel about the new systems and how this campaign compares with earlier ones.
I really don’t like to change anything mid campaign. But if this feeling is wide spread then I will have to consider doing so. It’s a lot of work for everyone concerned, and I want to make sure that everyone enjoys the experience. It would not be difficult to reintroduce a greater degree of control by the two CinC, and to make the task of the corps commanders less demanding. But I don’t want to do so unless I am sure that this is what the majority of the players want.
If you would like to follow the discussion you will find it on the campaign forum at