Sunday, 11 August 2013

Great Wargames

In the past I have commented on what good wargames the PBEM campaign produces.   I am pleased to report that if anything they are getting better.

I appreciate that a campaign is only interesting to those taking part, but I must confess that I have been a little disappointed at the apparent lack of outside interest in my PBEM campaign.   It has been running nonstop for four years, which must be pretty unusual if not something of a record.

The main reason for my disappointment is that it is such a great source of wargames that I wish I could spread the word more and get others to try something similar.  

Of course it is quite possible that there are many wargamers out there running their own campaign and getting just as much enjoyment out of it.   But I doubt if they are PBEM campaigns, because there is the constant need to replace commanders and I don’t see how they could do that without asking for them across the popular internet forums.

The wargame which prompted me to write about this subject is the latest in our 1814 campaign.   It started as one of those battles which hardly seem worth Wargaming because the odds are so uneven.   It started with four French corps against two Bavarian corps.   A third Bavarian corps would arrive at the start of move 5 and a fourth at the start of move 9.   Each wargame only lasts 12 moves, so the outcome seemed obvious.

At the end of move 7 the French were about to overrun the two Bavarian corps.   At the end of move 12 both sides have lost heavy casualties, both have lost more than half of their infantry brigades to rout.   It all hinges on hand to hand fighting in the central village.   The melee has gone on for three moves, each of them a draw.   One brigade is B class, the other C class, but casualties evened out the difference.   B now has 30% casualties, C has 20%.   It’s a miracle that either are still fighting.

The Bavarians have lost the northern half of the table; the French have lost the southern half.   Both are pretty well fought to a standstill.

Who would have thought that such an uneven battle could run the full twelve moves and still need one more to decide the winner!

So if any of you reading this blog have not tried fighting a campaign I would urge you to do so without delay.   For those of you solo wargamers, who find it difficult to motivate yourself, then do please try PBEM.   They can be frustrating and thankless, but the credit far outweighs the debit.


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

I always read you blog entries with great interest ... and feel very envious!

Although the Napoleonic Wars do not hold a great deal of interest for me, your campaigns do ... and you have shown how it can be done without bogging all the players down with minutiae.

All the best,


thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

Thanks for your comments.

The PBEM campaign has greatly improved my enjoyment of wargaming, due to the great battles it provides. It has also given me a whole new interest in the hobby as a whole. Hence my wish that it might become more widely used.

I also follow your blog, and I am always impressed with how many comments you receive.

I have not seen such response in other blogs which I follow, and it says a lot for your ability to establish some sort of bond with those who follow your blog.

Clearly blogging has proved an enjoyable extension of our interest for both of us in our own ways.

Long may it continue!



Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


Thank you for you very kind comments.

Blogging has been a great boost to my wargaming, and I don't know if I would enjoy wargaming half as much as I would without it,

More power to our collective wargame/blogging elbows!

All the best,


JWH said...

I have found your campaigns very inspirational. However, I have noted that it does take a bit of organising and commitment to make it pay off, so I know that, for me personally, this is not the right time to do it. However, campaigning in this manner is certainly my aspiration, when I know that I can commit to it enough to make it work - possibly in late autumn. Until then, I will spend the time making sure I am happy with the rules, models mapping and suchlike.

And I will continue to read your campaign blogs with great interest!



thistlebarrow said...

Hi John

I think you are right to put some work into planning your campaign. I think you need to have a very clear idea what you want to achieve, and how you want to achive it. Fighing battles seems to be a particular problem. That is why I planned my campaign from the wargames table back.

If time you can allow is a big problem, then create a simple easier to run campaign.

But dont delay too long. You will never get it perfect in the planning stage. Far better to start with an imperfect campaign, learn from your mistakes and then improve the design.

Let me know when you are ready to start your campaign, I would be very interested to see how you do things.

And if I can be of any help in planning it just let me know