Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Careful what you wish for

I have complained recently about the size of the games produced by the PBEM, and how I would prefer them to be larger.  I reorganised the orders of battle for the latest phase of the campaign to make each corps three times larger than in the previous one.   This would allow us to fight wargames with about 150 figures and three guns per side.   This is about right for 28mm on our 6x6 foot wargames table.   The campaign map is designed to allow one division per square, and three squares makes one wargames table.  

I had anticipated that there might be more than one battle at the same time, and we would have to fight them as separate wargames.

I had not anticipated that on the second move of the campaign all six corps would attack each other and that we would have to fight three wargames at the same time.   Worse still they all started at noon, so there would only be eight moves before nightfall.  A normal battle would have 12 moves, which is just right to allow an approach march, deployment and the actual battle.   With only eight moves it is likely that neither side will have won a conclusive victory by night, and a second day’s battle would be required.

The map above shows the position of the divisions just before the battles start.   The white outlines are the battle areas, and each will be set up as a wargame.

Fighting the three battles will be a logistic challenge.   Each table will have to be cleared to set up the next battle.   If a second day is required the same table will have to be set up and the figures put back in their position at the end of the previous days battle.   The table will be no problem, as each scenic square is numbered, but the position of the divisions will be difficult to recreate.

But the biggest problem is the long break between writing orders for the six players.   When a battle is being fought there is no need to write move orders, because Jan and I command the figures on the wargames table.   If only one battle is being fought the two commanders are interested in following the outcome on the campaign diary.   The commanders not involved continue to write movement orders for their corps.   But if all six corps are fighting at the same time there is no need for anyone to write orders.  And the delay is three times as long for everyone.

Despite the problems I am looking forward to fighting such a large battle.  We will be fighting over an area 18 foot by 6 foot, but on a table 6 by 6 foot.  

If nothing else it will be a real test of the campaign system and the ability to fight the largest possible battle.   I would prefer that we had a more gradual build up with a couple of single corps v corps battles.

At the end of the three battles it will also be difficult transferring the result back to the map, and still maintaining the one square distance between friend and foe.  I have not really worked that one out, much too busy planning the three battles.

Like I said in the heading – be careful what you wish for!


  1. 'next day' battles do not have to have all the troops in exactly the same positions.

    Wagram is a good example of this where whole corps were moved (not very far) in order to take advantage of perceived weakness in the enemy lines.

    Take a photo of the end of battle and get the casualties right. The lines will automatically 'pull back' at nightfall and only the very frontmost (in contact) brigades would likely stay anywhere near each other. The rest of the army positions can be adjusted (as near to where they ended) so that the next day of battle will have a difference to the one before...

  2. Hi MurdocK

    The photo will not be a problem as I publish a battle report with photos, and I always include one of the table at the end of the game.

    I keep a record of all casualties, which go into the campaign stats. So that will be easy.

    And I agree that a period of reorganisation and redeployment would naturally take place during the hours of darkness.

    I am not so sure that the players will accept a redeployment which they may feel would rob one of them of an advantage that they had at the end of the previous game.

    But I don't see any other way around it. And a redeployment would make for a much more interesting second day of battle.


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