Monday, 22 April 2013

PBEM Linz – A Good Start



The campaign has got off to a good start, with two battles within the first four days.   So Jan and I have been kept busy on the wargame table.

Now we come to the more complicated part, when the corps commanders are confronted with the problems of supply

Supply in the campaign is really simple.   Each division starts the campaign with five days supply, which is the maximum they can hold.   To resupply the division must be within 15 miles (one days march on a road) of a supply base, not in contact with the enemy and have orders to do so.

During the first phase of the campaign, which we have just completed, it was all movement.   All of the corps started the campaign with one days march between their two divisions.   The French had to decide whether to join the two divisions before they attacked.    The Austrians had to decide whether to hold with their forward division and bring up the rear one, or the opposite.

No one seems to have thought about resupply.   For three days it was all movement and fighting.   All then realised that they had only two days supplies.   Worse still some were out of supply range of their depot.   They would have to decide whether to retreat to resupply, or hold and establish a new supply depot.

To establish a supply depot is easy.   It takes one infantry brigade one full day.   The rest of the division can do what they want whilst this is going on.

When I designed the supply rules I wanted to keep them simple.   I think these are as about as simple and easy to manage as any rules could be.  Each  player is reminded at the end of each  move how many days supplies he has left.   To resupply he only has to say so in his next days orders.  Yet most players seem to have given little thought to resupply until they have almost run out.

Supply is one of those subjects you read a lot about on wargame and campaign forums.   Everyone seems to think that they should be as complicated as possible, and take into account historical logical problems.   Nothing wrong with that, but I wonder how many have actually used them in a multiplayer campaign.   And more interesting still, how the players got on with them.

The more experience I gain of running a PBEM campaign, the more convinced I become that the principle KISS (keep it simple stupid) is by far the best to follow.

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