The campaign is three years old this month.
It started in March 2009 with the aim of providing Jan and I with good wargames. We had used this means of adding interest to our wargames for many years, but most had only lasted two or three months before the campaign went off the rails, or I just lost interest.
We put a lot more preparation into this campaign. It would cover all of Germany and Spain and would consist of five campaign areas, each with one French and one allied army. Each army would have four corps. This would allow us to use all of our model soldiers and scenery in sequence.
The campaign would consist of a series of mini campaigns, each set in one of the five campaign areas. This would allow us to end a campaign when it had run its course. It would also allow us to use the different armies in each phase.
We completed three phases in the first year. Prussians at Madgeburg, Spanish at Tarragona and Russians at Halle. The three campaigns provided us with 14 wargames.
In 2010 we had another three phases. Austrians at Passau, British at Valladolid and back to Prussians at Hanover. This year we fought 13 campaign related wargames.
Towards the end of 2010 I started to dabble with PBEM campaigns, whilst still doing my solo 1813 campaign. I took part in two PBEM as a player and really enjoyed it, but both ended badly. Both were abandoned by the organiser/umpire as soon as a battle was reached.
This experience prompted me to try my hand at running a PBEM campaign, or to be more precise to convert my 1813 solo campaign to PBEM.
In January 2011 I started with my first PBEM campaign, also set in Hanover. It continued for eleven months and provided us with 14 wargames.
In November 2011 we started our current, much improved PBEM campaign It is set in Tortosa with a Spanish army supported by a British corps. So far it has provided four battles, and is still going strong.
So the 1813 campaign, in its various guises, has been a great success. But why should that be so, after so many previous short solo campaigns?
First was putting the campaign on the Blog from the start. I published a campaign diary at least once a week, and each battle report was published on the blog. There is not a lot of feedback, but I am aware that the campaign is being followed and feel I should present it well and find acceptable solutions to any problems which arise. To abandon the campaign and start again would feel like giving up.
Second was converting to PBEM. This provided much needed third party involvement in the campaign. Jan and I still fight the wargames, but there are now nine independent corps commanders who each contribute their own take on the campaign, and often produce consequences which I could never have dreamed up in a solo campaign.
So Happy Birthday campaign. It has given me many hours of enjoyment, and some little frustration. It has introduced me to a whole new group of online friends and both maintained and improved my interest in wargaming.
Thanks also to those of you who have followed the campaign online over those three years. This blog, which started with the campaign, has had 41,000 hits and now has 65 members. The campaign diary blog has had another 36,000. Just to know that there is so much interest is a constant encouragement to keep it going.
I am enjoying the campaign now as much as I ever had, and I would not be at all surprised to be wishing it another happy birthday this time next year.