Sunday, 10 January 2010

Getting back to normal

An empty wargames table is a most unusual sight in the Leniston household. We are returning to normal after two weeks spent in UK for Christmas with the family. As I cleaned the wargames room this morning I realized that it is one month since we last had a wargame.

It’s partly to do with the PBEM campaign forming the core of our wargaming now. The first PBEM I ran we had a move every 24 hours, and it was quite unusual for any of the eight players to be late submitting their orders.

The second game was much more complicated, and I decided not to have such a strict time table for orders. The sequence is that the two commanders in chief issue orders to their corps for each day. The day is divided into three moves. Each corps commander sends me his orders, which I plot on the master map. I then send them a recce report of what they have spotted. They then issue orders for the next move, sending a copy to the commander in chief to keep him informed.

I thought that this would speed things up, as the general objective was decided by the commander in chief and the corps commander only had to react to his cavalry reports and say which map square he wanted to move to next. However it has not worked out that way.

With six corps commanders there is always at least one who is late sending his orders. Having sent the cavalry reports I wait for 48 hours before sending a reminder, and then a further 48 hours before asking the commander in chief to confirm what he wants his corps commander to do. I copy this to the corps commander, and have always received his reply before the commander in chief. But it still means a delay of four days. So most moves now take one week instead of one day.

Over Christmas I did not send any reminders. Even I realise that most people have more important things to do at this time of year. We were due back on 2 January, but our flight was cancelled due to the weather conditions in UK and it was 4 January before I sent the reminder. Although I have asked for a standard layout for these orders, one of them was too general in nature, and I had to ask for confirmation. That was two days ago, and still no reply.

So a month has slipped by and no wargame. I could of course have set up a small game for Jan and me to play, but due to Christmas I have also got out of my normal routine. And I find that it is easy to let things slide. I have the excuse that I wanted to keep the table clear as I expected the next campaign game to be in play by now. But the real reason is that I also found other things to do.

I am quite sure that we will shortly be back into our usual routine of a couple of moves each day. However it is another thing to consider when this current PBEM campaign comes to an end and I have to decide whether to return to solo campaigning or not. The involvement of other players makes for a much more interesting campaign, but it completely defeats my original objective of providing good wargames when I want them. I am spending a lot of time trying to resolve these two opposing objectives, but without any success yet.

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