Wednesday, 8 July 2020

New 1813 Campaign Progress

Brunswick Region

We have managed a lot of test play on the new campaign, and it soon became clear that major adjustments were necessary.

I had planned that the area for each campaign would be one of the military regions.  Each region has nine districts, and each district would be a wargames table.   But it soon became obvious that this was too great an area to fit on a 6x6 foot wargames table.   For example from Hannover to Hamburg was one wargames table.   But in fact this is 150km.   Much too far even for a fictional campaign.

So I decided to make each district a campaign area.  But to do so I would have to divide the district into nine towns/villages.   And each one would be a wargames table.   The map above shows how this works for the Brunswick region.

Each square on this map is a wargames table and one days movement on the campaign map.   The distance from Hannover to Hamburg is three squares, which is three days march.   50km a day is still stretching it a little, but is easier to accept than
150 km a day.

Most of them are much shorter.  For example Hannover to Brunswick is 60km, a very reasonable 20km per day.

The second problem was the new supply system.

I had planned to limit each campaign phase by restricting each corps to seven days supplies, without the option of resupply.   This seemed reasonable in theory, but did not work in practice.   Each army had to spend time to establish a depot to bring forward their supplies, then wait to issue them.   It made any advance impossible to support.

So I have planned to revert to the previous system of supply.   Each corps will start with four days, plus one day in depot.   Each depot will collect one days supplies per day.   Each army will have a reserve corps of four infantry brigades to garrison depots.  So each army can have a maximum of four depots, one for each corps.

Just completed the reorganisation, and hope to test play the first campaign this week.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Start of Brunswick Campaign

North Germany Map

The first campaign of the new concept will be set in Brunswick.   By coincidence this was also the location of the first campaign phase for the last reorganisation, back in February 2016.  

I have made a new map for North Germany, which looks a little better than the very practical one I have used to date.   It looks similar to the one I used with the previous system, but it is completely different.

There is no north coast detail, because each square on this map represents one 2x2 foot scenic square on the table.   This is the map I will use for the higher level grand strategy I plan to create.   But in keeping with my main aim of building everything from the table up, it is in effect just like a very big wargames table.   All of this map could be transposed to the table, but you would need a table 54x18 foot (27x9 two foot squares).

You can see that each corps will be represented on this map, plus the extended supply system.   The main base for the French army is Osnabruck, which is also the main supply depot.   There will be lines of supply running to each corps.   Osnabruck Region is the French rear area, Berlin Region for the Prussians.

With this map it will be possible to do any necessary post campaign redeployment, plus sieges.   I am not sure how much I will develop this new side of the campaign, but I am really pleased that I now have the option.
Brunswick Campaign Map

Because this is the first phase of the new campaign, both armies enter from opposite sides of the map on day one.   Both armies have four days supply, with a further three days in the depots of their rear area.

Both armies have occupied the towns nearest to their rear area.   If halt for one day they can establish depots in each town.   They can then bring forward supplies, continue their advance and still remain within supply range.

However 13th Polish corps (bottom left) have moved through Hildesheim towards Goslar.  In doing so they have moved beyond their supply depot at Detmold.  They have gained a tactical advantage, but have only three days supplies left.   If they do not position themselves within 3 squares of a supply depot by the end of those three days they will start to lose attrition casualties (10% of one brigade each day).

So you will see that there are interesting new tactical decisions in this new campaign concept.   The aggressive attacking player must lose in the end, unless he can also plan his supply system.

And things can only get more interesting after the first battle.    The loser will find themselves forced to retreat for at least one day, throwing all of their supply plans into confusion.

Should be interesting

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

1813 Campaign – Test Campaign

Germany Strategic Map

It has taken a long time, but we are finally ready to give the new campaign system a test play.   It is about six weeks since we completed the last campaign phase.  This has been by far the longest break in the campaign since it started in 2009.

When I started I thought that it would take a week or two.  I already knew what I wanted to do, and expected that I would just have to alter the existing maps.  But a bit like decorating the house, the more I did the more I realised I still had to do.   In the end I have had to redesign all of the campaign maps and rewrite the campaign rules.

It soon became obvious that the well tried campaign phase system would not work with the new concept.  This was disappointing because this has worked so well, and is a vital part of the previous concept.   Each of the five campaign areas have a stand alone campaign in sequence.   At the start of the mini campaign both armies are full strength and fully supplied.   A complete fresh page for each campaign.

The new concept will be an ongoing campaign in each of the five campaign areas.  The length of the campaign phase will be restricted to seven days.   Each army will start the phase with seven days supplies.  They will not receive any supplies during the campaign phase.  When they run out of supplies each corps will start to receive attrition casualties (10% of one brigade each day).  

The test campaign will be set in the Brunswick region of North Germany. At the start of the campaign both armies are deployed along the border of the region.   In future campaigns they will be in the same positon that they finished the last campaign.   Or at least the positions they were in after compulsory morale moves at the end of the campaign.
Brunswick Campaign Map 
The campaign map looks very similar to the previous campaign.   However it covers a much bigger area.   In the previous campaign each of the nine towns on this map would have been a campaign phase.   In this campaign they are one wargames table.

I expect the campaign to follow the same course as the previous one.   Both armies will have to establish depots (corps must be stationary for one day) and bring forward supplies from depots off map.

The main difference will be the seven day limit on each campaign.   The objective is to defeat the other army, simple as that.   Each corps will start with four days supplies, and new depots will have to be established within supply distance (three squares) by then or the corps will have to retreat to resupply.

There will be a constant balance between trying to hurt the enemy, whilst protecting your supply chain.   The side that gets this balance right should win, providing that they can also win the critical battles.

I am really looking forward to seeing how this test campaign works out.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

1813 Campaign – New Maps

New Map of Germany
I had hoped to be able to fit the new military districts into the existing maps.
But this has not proved possible.   So I have had to make new maps.     

Germany is divided into three campaign areas
These are outlined in white

North Germany – 1st French v Prussian Army
Central Germany – 2nd French v Russian Army
South Germany – 3rd French v Austrian Army

Germany is divided into 9 military regions and 81 military districts.
The 9 regions are outlined in red
Each region has 9 districts
One square is a district, and also a wargames table
New Map of Spain
Spain is divided into two campaign areas
These are outlined in white

North Spain – 4th French army v Spanish Army
South Spain – 5th French army v Anglo-Portuguese Army

Spain is divided into 7 military regions and 63 military districts
Each square on this map is a military district, and also a wargames table
Each military region consists of 9 squares
Old Map of Europe

More Maps to Follow
Germany and Spain are the two most important maps, because that is where the current campaign is fought.  

I will also have to make a new map of Europe.   And before I can do that I will need to make one for France and Italy.    Now that I have worked out the best layout I am hoping that this will not take too long.   

However in the past the biggest problem has been trying to align France with Germany and Spain.  

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

1813 Campaign Supply Rules

Until now the supply rules have been designed to force both armies to take steps to provide and protect their lines of supply.

Each corps starts the campaign with four days supplies, which is also the maximum that they can carry.   To resupply they have to halt, avoid the enemy and be within one day’s march of a depot.   As they advance they have to establish depots so that they do not have to retreat to resupply.

All of this was designed for a series of one off, stand alone, mini campaigns.  At the start both armies had sufficient supplies for four days, plus one days supply in their depot.

The new Regional Military Command system requires a change in this stand alone, mini campaign system.   However I still need a system which will bring a natural end to each mini campaign.

I am testing a new supply system which should bring about this result.

At the start of each campaign phase each army will have sufficient supplies for 10 days.   This translates as 40 days supplies (10 for each of the four corps).   As now, each corps will start the campaign with four days supplies.   The remaining 6 days per corps will be held in their depot.   This depot will be the nearest town to their location at the start of the campaign.

It will no longer be necessary for a corps to detach an infantry brigade to form a garrison.  I have found that these detachments add nothing to the wargame, and just reduce the number of figures available to wargame.

However as they advance, or retreat, they will have to establish depots to resupply. Each corps can establish as many as they want.  To do so they must halt in the town and avoid contact with the enemy for one day.

This means that each campaign will last a maximum of ten moves.   There will be a clear campaign objective, usually to take and hold a specified town.  

I have found with the wargame that having a maximum number of game moves (in this case 12) really applies the pressure to the attacker.   In my games it tends to take four moves to move within artillery range, four moves for artillery fire and the final four moves to move into contact and decide the outcome by musket fire and melee.   If the attacker allows too many moves for artillery fire he will run out of time to reach the enemy and fire and melee.

I am hoping that this principle will also apply to the campaign phase.   

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Campaign Map to Table

Campaign map of North Germany

This is the first attempt to run a campaign using the new maps, and to transfer a battle from the campaign map to the table.

This map is used for planning, and will be the one I use to introduce the new higher level of command to the campaign.

It covers the area of North Germany which will be used by 1st French Army and the Prussian Army.

Each square is a military district, and will also be a wargames table.   Nine squares (3x3) are a military region.

Arnhem region, on the left, is the staging area of the French Army, and contains their main depot at Arnhem

Berlin region, on the right, serves the same purpose for the Prussian army, and their main depot is at Berlin.

The Prussians have entered Hamburg region, in the centre, which will provoke a French reaction.   They have deployed one corps on the border as a covering force, and to give them warning of a French attack.   Their main strength is in the centre.   This is to enable them to react to any attack, but in particular one on Hamburg.

The French plan is to attack Brunswick (bottom left).   They have deployed one corps in each district along the border, to force the Prussians to do the same and to hide their intention.   3rd French, 4th French and 13th Polish corps will all cross the border at the same time.   Napoleon, with the 1st Old Guard corps, will support the Polish corps to take Brunswick.
Campaign map of Hamburg Region

This is the map which will be used for the campaign movement and diary.  It looks very similar to any of the existing campaign maps.  It is the same size and shows very similar terrain.  It also uses the same sized corps symbols.

The Prussian deployment is the same as on the map of North Germany.   3rd, 4th and 13th French corps are shown just off map and will enter at the start of the campaign.   Napoleon and the Old Guard corps are behind 13th corps.
Wargames map of Hamburg Region

This is the map which is used to transfer the terrain from the campaign map to the wargames table.  It is exactly the same as maps I currently use.   Each square is the same as in the Campaign Map of the Hamburg Region, but it shows more clearly what each 2x2 foot scenic square will look like on the table.  In the top right of each square is a number.   This is the number of the scenic square which will be used to make up the wargames table.

So far all looks quite good.  I think the maps will work, but only play testing will determine the truth.

However I now have a further task.   In the current campaign all of this map would be used to fight the campaign phase.   This was because it covered such a smaller area.  However in this campaign I will have to devise a way of restricting the contest to just the Brunswick area.   Or at least determine the outcome of the campaign phase to the capture of the Brunswick area.  

This will be done by limiting the amount of time both armies have to determine the winner.   At present I am working on limited supply for each army, so that they have perhaps 7 days to take and hold the objective, in this case Brunswick.

This first campaign will quickly determine whether all of this works in practice or not.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

1813 Campaign Maps

Simplified map of Germany showing Military Regions

This is the latest map of Germany, showing the nine regions and 53 districts (top left is open sea).   Each square is a wargames table.

Before this reorganisation each of these squares would have been nine wargames tables.    Each one would have been a stand alone campaign phase.   However when I tried to replicate this again the resulting map was much too large and too complicated.

The result of this change is that each square represents a much larger georgraphical area, as well as a much larger wargames area.

Previous map of Germany showing Military Districts

This is the map used I used during the current campaign.   Each square represented a campaign phase or 9 wargame tables.

In the new campaign each square would represent a 2x2 foot scenic square on the wargames table.   Nine squares (3x3) will represent a wargames table.  Nine squares will also represent a military district.

This map will better explain the major difference between the old and new campaigns. 

I am currently working on how to transfer this new scale and concept from the campaign map to the wargames table.   This is the really difficult part, and has caused me to scrap the previous seven attempts to revise the campaign.