Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Napoleon Surrenders

Well I certainly spoke too soon when I expressed my pleasure with how well the PBEM 1814 campaign was going.

The next day I received the campaign update. The "fog of war" cleared and I could see that my army was outnumbered everywhere. My victory over the Prussians of the previous (campaign) day was overshadowed by the sudden appearance of large allied armies all within one days march of my scattered army.

I had planned to follow (my understanding of) Napoleon's tactics for the 1814 Campaign. I would attack and try to destroy the heads of the Prussian and Austrian columns as they came within marching distance. My understanding is that the Prussians were rash and rushed ahead, but became worried when Napoleon put in an appearance. The Austrians moved very slowly, and did not coordinate their movements with the Prussians.

Our campaign started off in some confusion, with a lot of difficulty comparing the size of the French armies with what was known of the allied armies. Then suddenly the "day of decision".

As soon as I got a clear picture, it seemed obvious to me that the French could not possibly win. Not only that, but the longer the campaign went on, the worse it would get for them. The two allied armies which were within one days march both outnumbered my whole army by almost two to one. And there were large allied reserves close, but not yet identified.

We agreed an immediate French surrender. There seemed little point in wasting more time on a campaign which could only end in a massive French defeat.

However the good news is that Carlos and I have agreed to create a new campaign. Or rather we have agreed to work together on formulating rules which would provide an enjoyable and fast moving campaign.

From the two PBEM campaigns which I ran last year it became obvious that my solo 1813 campaign was just not suitable for a multi player PBEM campaign. However I did enjoy running it, and it gave me a lot of ideas for a future campaign.

The problem is that I just do not have time to run two campaigns at once. And my 1813 campaign provides our daily wargames, so that must have priority.

Carlos has agreed to run the campaign and resolve the battles. I will set up the campaign rules and objectives. I will also play in the campaign, as that is the only way to see whether the rules are working or not.

The aim is to end up with a campaign which is very user friendly. There will be a simple set of rules for each player, which will require the minimum of work to comprehend. The complicated rules for running the campaign, and resolving the battles, will only be known and understood by the umpire.

Clearly the most important part will be the interface between the player and the umpire. This is why we have to run a test campaign to see what works and what does not.

I have asked for volunteers on the Campaign of Napoleon Forum. I am looking for about four players who will not only play test the rules, but also let me have their reactions and suggestions.

If the whole thing gets off the ground I will start a new Forum for everyone taking part in the campaign, and anyone else who might be interested.

Now this is a project that I am really excited about. But I know from previous experience that good intentions don't always result in good results.

I will keep you all informed of progress.

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