Friday, 27 March 2009

Making a campaign map

Since my last post I have completely reorganised my approach to wargaming. As we play so often, I need a simple way to produce new games. I have tried various types of campaign, but all were too complicated, and required much too much paperwork.

I decided to go back to first principles. I wanted a campaign which would allow me to use all of my wargame figures, and all of my scenery. It must also provide battles which would fit on my 6' x 6' wargames table.

I bought a road map book of Europe. I photocopied each page, and highlighted the motorways as main supply routes. I also highlighted major rivers. I then shaded mountain and forrest areas. Finally I divided each page into 1" squares. Each page was 280 x 200 miles, and each square 10 x 10 miles. This meant that my campaign map would at least have major towns, rivers and mountain ranges in correct relation to each other.

I then drew each of these pages on A4 pages, which were gridded with 20mm x 20mm squares. I did this to give me more squares per page than 1" x 1" would have done. These were numbered across the top of the page, and down the side. This gave me a grid for the whole of Europe. I transferred main cities and towns of the Napoleonic period, main supply routes and rivers. These maps were now my Strategic Maps for the campaign, on which the various corps and armies would march to war.

But how to produce wargame tables? A new series of maps would be needed.

My wargame table is 6' x 6'. My scenery consists of 2' x 2' MDF squares, on which I have modelled simple hills and drawn roads and rivers. There are 20 wooden squares, and those which do not have hills have different combinations of roads and rivers on each side. There are 6 hill sections, so there are 14 double sided sections with roads and rivers. This gives me 34 different options. More than enough to give me a wide selection of possible wargame tables. The scenery has been kept simple to allow me to use every inch of the table without model soldiers falling over. The roads and rivers are suitable for both 28mm and 15mm figures.
Each of the scenery squares are numbered (1 to 20). Those not in use on the table are stored underneath.

My second set of maps would be Tactical Maps. Again I used A4 paper, and again drew 20mm x 20mm squares. Each square would represent one of my 2' x 2' scenery squares. This A4 page would give me 12 wargame tables, three across and four down. Each wargame table would have 3 squares accross and 3 down. Each table would represent one map square on my Campaign Map.

I cut 34 card squares, each 20mm x 20mm. On each one of these I drew the outline of one scenery square. With these I planned my Tactical Map. Using the original Road Map, Strategic Map and on line maps such as Google Earth, I checked the type of scenery on each square, whether it was cultivated, hilly, had rivers or woods. I used the card squares to recreate a wargames table based on this information and, when happy with the result, drew this on my Tactical Map. I made sure that no piece of scenery was ever used twice within 3 squares, and in this way I now had a map covering an area of 30 miles by 30 miles with rolling scenery squares. Each wargames table (that is 3 x 3 squares) had a town or village.

So how did it all work. I will cover that in my next posting.


  1. Welcome to the world of wargame blogs.

    Your campaign system sounds well thought out, and I look forward to seeing how it and your blog develop.

    Your terrain system also sounds interesting, and although I do not wargame the Napoleonic period, I look forward to seeing it and your armies in action.


  2. Nice ideas for tracking campaign movement and laying out tables. Keep the ideas coming!

  3. Allow me to echo Bob's comments.

    I would also request that you share a photo of each sort of map (particularly the tactical one) so that we can visually see what you're describing.

    Like Bob, I don't play the Napoleonic period, but that doesn't mean that I am not interested in your experience.

    -- Jeff

  4. Hi Bob

    Thanks for posting.

    I have already replied by email, but I have just figured out how to post a reply on here!!


  5. Hi Steve

    Sorry for delay in replying.

    The campaign is very easy to put together, and works well in play. It can easily be adapted to any period or set of rules.

    Thanks for your comment


  6. Hi Jeff

    I have since put copies of all the maps on the blog.

    Thanks for your suggestion



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