Sunday 14 August 2011

PBEM Campaign Rules

The Hanover campaign is still going strong. A short time ago it looked like it was coming to an end, but unexpected battle results blew new life into it.
The current rules are a second draft, and when I wrote them I was hoping to keep the whole thing simple and short. But five months of constant campaign play has brought out some weakness. Not so much in the rules themselves, but rather what is allowed in the campaign itself.
First there was reinforcing a battle. This resulted in one campaign day per campaign move to being changed to three campaign moves per campaign day. That has worked very well, and will be kept.
Then there was the predictability of movement restricted to roads. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, and said that I was having problems finding a simple solution. I have had a number of excellent suggestions by campaign commanders, and have settled on a simple but effective solution. Each off road square has a value, rising as the terrain gets more difficult. When I receive orders to move a corps off road I roll one D6. If it is equal to, or higher than, the square value the corps moves in and can move again next move. If it is lower he remains one move, then I roll again for the next move and so on until he reaches the value. In addition any roll of 1 is ignored. So it could take a corps two or even three moves to pass through one off road square.
Now I am looking at garrisons and attacks on them. In our current rules only cavalry can be detached, and then only to recce. However the next campaign is likely to be based in eastern Spain, and will be a Spanish army against a smaller French army. The Spanish will not stand much chance in a formal battle, unless they can inflict casualties on the French beforehand to weaken them.
The French will have to hold a large area, and keep the roads open for resupply. The Spanish will be able to move more or less at will, and it will be easy to cut supply lines or attack isolated garrisons. It will also be easy to set up an ambush.
So I will need new rules to cover both garrisons and ambush.
Having received such excellent advice about off road movement, I am hoping to get some more about garrisons and ambush.
The campaign forum is proving very useful, both for me and for the players. It gives me an opportunity to keep them informed of what is happening and for them to give me feedback on anything that is not working too well. If you would like to follow the discussion on garrisons and ambush you will find it here
Meanwhile it looks like my simple, and short, campaign rules will grow ever larger and more complicated.

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