Sunday, 5 May 2013

March to the Sound of the Guns


Map showing corps operational areas


I’m pretty pleased with how our PBEM campaign allows fighting campaign battles on the wargames table, and moving the result back into the campaign.

In my limited experience of taking part in PBEM this has always proved a major problem, indeed caused all three campaigns that I took part in to end without comment from the organisers.

I designed my campaign from the wargames table up, and I suspect this is pretty unusual.   The whole campaign is designed to fight wargames on my size table using my size armies.

There are six corps commanders, three per side, and a different player takes on each role.  I try to make it as interesting and challenging as possible, and to allow them as much freedom of choice as possible.    I also encourage them to support each other, and here lies a major problem.

You can see the three corps boundaries in the map above, French on the left and Austrians on the right.   Each square on the map is the same as one square on my wargames table.   The table consists of nine squares, three wide by three deep.    The map has been carefully designed so that I can create a wargames table from any combination of squares.   But it does mean that my maximum table is three by three squares.

Each corps has two divisions, and the corps operational area is three squares deep.  So there should always be at least one free square north or south.    This is to allow for an adjacent corps to send one division to “march to the sound of the guns”.   This would be the only time that a corps commander is allowed to move out of his area of operations without the permission of the CinC (me).

To be able to do so, it must be included as an option in their current orders.   It will take one campaign move (four hours or four wargame moves) to react, and they must be able to reach the battlefield the same day.   So they would need to be very close to the battle at the start of the move.

I try to keep the campaign rules as short and simple as possible, but this means that not everything can be included.  

In previous campaigns this tactic was used quite often, but not at all in the current campaign.   I am not sure whether this is my fault for not making it more clear to the players.   I have done so in the past, but there are new players in this phase of the campaign and perhaps they were not around when it was discussed.

Anyway I have posted an explanation on the campaign forum, and will include it on the next set of campaign rules.

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