End of Linares Campaign
My Linares campaign has concluded with a Spanish victory.
The campaign has lasted twelve days and produced five battles. The French won the first three but the Spanish won the last two.
It took four months to play the campaign, and proved to be one of the most interesting yet. This is mainly because of the new campaign rules for guerrillas, which added a new dimension to the campaign. It was also very satisfying that it had such a historical feel, and that the outcome was down to the success of the guerrilla bands.
For many years I ran the campaign as PBEM, and I loved the lack of personal control due to having ten players each commanding an allied or French army. But after a couple of years I grew bored of the same style of wargames which the campaign provided. The armies and nationalities might change but the type of battle rarely did.
This was because I allowed the players to make all tactical decisions, how else could they get any enjoyment out of the campaign. But this resulted in a very limited number of wargames. In retrospect I think that this was because most players did not last long enough to learn the necessary lessons. Most commanders only played one, or two, campaigns. They had a limited knowledge of the campaign and wargame rules, and could not be expected to choose the best tactical deployment to win the eventual wargame.
I converted to solo campaign about two years ago, and even for me it has been a long learning curve. I amend both campaign and wargame rules as a result of campaign and wargame play. This has proved particularly effective now that I play the role of allied and French commander both in the campaign and on the table top.
Most of the rule change has been to prevent me from “gaming”, both in the campaign and on the table.
In the campaign the most important influence has been supply and resupply. I allow each corps a maximum of four days’ supply. It takes at least one, and often two, campaign days to bring the enemy to battle. At the end of the battle the attacker will usually be down to one or two day’s supplies. If he runs out he is punished by attrition casualties. So even if he wins he is faced with the problem of immediate pursuit and loss of attrition. Or wait to rearrange his supplies and await resupply and replacement of battle casualties.
If he loses he is in real trouble. He still faces the problem of attrition casualties and resupply, but he has now lost the initiative to the enemy who won the battle.
It all provides an unexpected loss of control for me as umpire, commander and wargamer.
It also provides surprisingly fun wargames.