We have just returned from a week holiday in the UK with the grandchildren. This is the only time that we have a complete break from the PBEM campaign. I notified all of the players, I caught up on the administration and we even managed to finish the last outstanding wargame before we left.
Even after such a short break it takes a little time to get back into the campaign. Checking my email I could see that all twelve orders had arrived and were waiting for my attention.
I was quite hoping for a battle to wargame, and I was not disappointed. The very first set of orders resulted in a full battle, which is four corps per side. Just the thing to get us back into our routine of one or two wargame moves most days.
The second set of orders produced another battle. That is not a problem; in fact it’s quite nice to have one battle in reserve. A battle normally takes one week to wargame, but that is if it takes the full twelve moves. It is not unusual to finish much quicker, and it’s nice to have a reserve.
The third set of orders resulted in yet another battle. Three battles to wargame mean a delay in the campaign for all players. I publish a campaign diary of the whole campaign, so it’s necessary to keep all six campaign areas more or less in step with each other. Three battles mean I have to put the whole campaign on hold until I wargame at least one of them.
I was half expecting the fourth set of orders to produce one more battle, and I was not disappointed. But I was getting a little worried. We had just returned from a full week break in the campaign, which is very rare. I have a strong suspicion that when a group gets out of the routine of sending orders and receiving reports, there is a danger that they will start to lose interest and look around for something else to fill the time. So I would rather not have three battles waiting, let alone four.
I was quite nervous opening the fifth orders. And, of course, it resulted in another battle. This has never happened before. Over the past twelve months of the current campaign I have never had more than three battles waiting to be wargamed.
It was almost a disappointment to open the sixth set of orders, and find that they did not result in a battle.
It would seem that wargames are not unlike the proverbial “number seven bus”. You wait for one to come along, and then they all arrive at once.