Monday, 14 May 2012

Change of Gera Campaign Orders

The campaign is less than two weeks old, and I have had to change the orders system already.

In the previous campaign the corps commanders wrote orders at the start of each move.  This worked well, but it meant that they often had to write similar orders again and again as their role in the campaign was not changing.  This was particularly so after the loss of a battle when they had to avoid contact for the next day,  or when they had long distances to march to reach a concentration area.   From feedback that I received after the last campaign this was unpopular. 

So I changed it to daily order writing for this campaign.  I would still have three moves per day, and I would still send them a report at the end of each move.  But they would only have to write orders if there was a change of circumstances.   It all seemed so easy in theory!

As soon as I received the first day's orders it was clear that it was going to be much more complicated than I had anticipated.   I am not sure whether this was because I did not explain it clearly enough, or because some of the players just could not grasp how it should work.

After a short, but frantic, exchange of mail it was obvious that it would not work.  So I decided to revert to the previous system of writing orders for each move.   I decided to change the system at the end of move 2, and ask them to use the new system for move 3.

To make it easier for them to understand I wrote a set of orders for move 2, using the orders they had already written for the whole of the first day.   I then sent them each a copy so that they could agree that I had understood what they wanted to do during move 2, and also so that they would have a template which they could use to write their orders in future.

This seemed to have caused even more confusion.  

I started the campaign by asking each corps commander to confirm the initial deployment of his three divisions.  I confirmed that this would count as move 1.

I then asked them to write their orders for the first day of the campaign.  There would be three moves during that day and they would count as move 2, move 3 and move 4.

I then changed the system, wrote new orders for move 2, but based on their own orders, and sent it to each corps commander so that they could confirm that was what they wanted to do.   This in turn resulted in an exchange of mail.  

It has taught me a good lesson.  NEVER change the system during the course of a campaign.  Always wait for the next campaign to introduce any changes.  

The delay is allowing me time to finish off our Waterloo wargame.   I thought that  we would have to cancel it again, because it appeared likely that there would be at least one campaign battle/wargame during either move 2 or move 3.  I think that is still likely, but the delay due to the new orders should allow us to finish Waterloo first.

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