Sunday, 8 July 2012

Gera PBEM Campaign




We have finally finished the three battles and resumed the campaign proper.  

The wargames, plus short holidays, have taken seven weeks to complete.  It’s a long time between order writing, and I was expecting some teething problems getting back into the routine.  I was not disappointed.

For Jan and I the campaign is fast moving and time consuming.   Every day I work on the campaign, though not always the current phase.   I spend a lot of time working on new maps, and adjusting wargame and campaign rules. 

When there is a battle we try to fight one wargame move each day.   This may not seem a lot, but it is not just a matter of the table top move.  I also have to take photos at the start of the move, and one of each division involved.  I then have to type up the battle report.   It all takes about two hours each day.

One battle takes twelve moves, so allowing for real life it takes about two weeks to wargame.   This is a long time between order writing, so to keep the players involved and interested I post one move on the campaign diary each day.

So after three battles fought during the same campaign period the campaign players had a six week break between writing orders.   I was quite expecting there would be problems getting back into the 48 hour turn around for order writing, and I proved to be the case.

The campaign system is that I send each player an umpire report on the previous period or in this case at the end of his campaign battle.  This report consists of a map showing his locations and enemy divisions in contact.  It also confirms his supply state and his casualties.   When he receives this report he then has 48 hours to write his orders for the next campaign move.  

It would be hard to make the player task any easier.   Even if he has not kept up with the battle report on the campaign diary blog, he still has all of the information he needs in the umpire report.     If he is unable to write his orders for any reason he only has to let me know, and I will write them for him.   Despite this there is always one or two players who fail to send in their orders on time, and who require a reminder.

This time there were two players who failed despite the reminder.  When this happens I normally assume that they have lost interest and replace them.  But because of the unusual break in the routine I sent a second reminder.   To my surprise both replied immediately.  

So my concerns that I might well have to replace one or two players after the seven week break has proved unfounded.   All are still on board and the campaign is entering a very interesting phase where most of the corps have casualties and the corps commanders have to make some difficult decisions.

2 comments:

MurdocK said...

Systematize your after action reports.

There are things that the players need to know and there are 'fun bits'

Get the technical need to know out of the way fast with a formatted report and then leave room for your 'fun bits' or storyline stuff commentary.

Likely it will cut down on the time used in reporting.

thistlebarrow said...

What do you mean by "systematize your after action reports"?

More important what do you mean by "fun bits"?

The move by move battle reports are designed to allow Jan and I time to fight the wargame, and to fit a life in around the campaign!

I am never sure whether the battle reports have the balance right or not. I publish what I would like to see if I were a player.

I have asked for comments and suggestions from the players over the past two years. Most do not respond, those that do seem to like it as it is.

Any suggestions you have would be appreciated