Sunday, 16 March 2014

Campaign Fog of War

The introduction of the new supply rules has caused some very interesting developments in the campaign.

When I designed them I thought that they were about as easy and simple as they could be.   So I was not really prepared for the amount of confusion that they have caused.

Before I converted the campaign from solo to PBEM I thought long and hard about how to create Fog of War, and to make the whole process unpredictable and interesting.  

However once I started I realised that it is not necessary to create deliberate confusion or send misleading reports or information to players.   The simple process of communication by mail creates all the Fog of War I could wish for.

I try to keep the daily umpire reports as clear and simple as possible, and to give as much information to each commander as he could reasonably expect.   Whether I get that right or not I have no idea.   It seems to work.

I suspect this is due more to human nature than to any clever campaign design on my part.

Each campaign day I have to make sense of twelve sets of orders.  I then have to update six campaign maps, and see what contacts there are.   I then have to try to resolve them, usually by a wargame.  Then I have to write six reports for each army commander, a total of 72 reports for each campaign day.   And all of this has to be done within one week in real time.  

Lots of opportunity to create a mass of mistakes and confusion there.

Then each Army Commander has to read my reports, and try to make sense of THEM.
Some do this much better than others.   Some point out errors, or want to know why something did not happen which they expected to have done so.   Others either do not read them, or simply ignore them.   All of this creates huge Fog of War and not a few problems for the commanders themselves.

It’s great that despite this most players continue to struggle with the campaign, write their orders more or less as I want them and accept my frequent comments and suggestions with good grace.  

More important almost all of them continue with the campaign at least until the end of the current phase.


MurdocK said...

You are doing all your mapping with pen & paper? -or-

Do you have a digital record-keeping system?

I use Cyberboard for the Campaign of Nations for the mapping and each 'piece' allows for massive amounts of data to be included right 'on' each digital 'game piece'. This has saved loads and loads of time in the reconciliation of each turn of action and reporting out to players the details of the campaign situation.

thistlebarrow said...

The mapping (if you mean making he maps) is with ProFantasy, a computer programme for making maps.

I use Publisher for map movement and amending the maps.

The rest is pen and paper, though kept on the computer for ease of updating.

I do not have any knowledge of computer programming, and programmes available would not fit my campaign priority of working everything back from the wargame table.

it is time consuming, I would think an average of about two hours a day. But it is also easy to amend procedures to meet changing circumstances.