Friday, 11 February 2011

Too Many Battles

French move out of Helmstedt
The PBEM campaign is working too well!
We are only on the second campaign day, and already there are two battles/wargames to fight. As the whole reason for the 1813 campaign is to provide Jan and I with wargames this is good news. However it has happened on the second day of the campaign, and that caught me unprepared.
The big advantage of the solo campaign was that I could manage it to provide games as and when I wanted. I could also do four or five campaign days in an hour or so. So the early part of the campaign, where there is a lot of marching to and fro, could be handled very quickly.
By contrast the PBEM campaign movement is VERY slow. Just one campaign day can take a whole week to process. This is largely due to my attempt to increase the decision making of the corps commanders, and add to the “fog of war” for the two commander in chief.
The campaign daily process works like this
CinC sends me orders for their corps commanders
I calculate how long they will take to reach their destination and send them to the corps commanders with any necessary delay
The corps commanders send me their orders for their brigades. They also send any messages for the CinC or for another corps commander.
I work out the movement on the map, and decide whether there is a contact. If there is I set up a wargame which Jan and I fight. To keep everyone interested whilst we are fighting the wargame, I publish a move by move battle report on the campaign diary blog.
I then write a chief of staff report for each CinC and corps commander. This will include any intelligence gathered by cavalry patrols, the current order of battle, and any supply problems and such like. The one for the CinC will only contain information from spies or other friendly town mayors. The one for the corps commander will be much more detailed. Attached to the report are any messages from other commanders now due for delivery.
The corps commanders then send me their daily report to the CinC. This will be based on the chief of staff report I have written, plus any suggestions they might have to exploit local conditions.
I calculate how long each will take to deliver to the CinC, and place them in the appropriate chief of staff report folder.
The campaign daily sequence is now complete, and I ask both CinC to write their orders and send them to me.
Because all of this takes so long to process, I require an optional “one off” type wargame to keep Jan and I occupied. At present this is a series of wargames based on Wellington’s peninsular battles, with the imaginative title “Wellington’s Battles”.
When the new PBEM campaign started I set up the latest battle, based on Salamanca. I expected we would have at least two or three weeks to wargame it, before the campaign produced its own battle to be wargamed. On the second campaign day I was presented with not one, but two, battles!!
It only took a few days to complete Salamanca, and now we have set up the first campaign battle which is a one corps per side engagement at Helmstedt. The “fog of war” is already having its effect. The French commander had ordered his corps to vacate Helmstedt on the very day that the Prussian commander had ordered his corps to attack the town. It could never have happened with a solo campaign, and is already proving the superiority of the PBEM campaign.
You can follow the battle report here

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