Sunday 31 August 2014

PBEM 1814 Command Vacancy Filled

Filled indeed, and then some.   The response has been really good, the best ever.  Not only have I filled both vacancies, but I also have three reserves.

I had pondered whether it might be better to wait another month or so to allow everyone to recover from the holiday season and settle to the darker nights.   Glad I didn’t do so.

The campaign, in one form or another, is now in its fifth year.   The campaign has grown and changed during that time, but is basically the same.   That is a long time to keep the command posts filled, especially as there are now twelve of them.

During that time there have been 68 changes of commander, though quit e a few players have taken part in more than one campaign.   In fact a total of 48 different players have held a command post, including the current eight.

So it’s not surprising that I sometimes have difficulty keeping the posts filled.   Last time I asked for volunteers I only got one commander.   For this response was a surprise, but a very pleasant one.

It’s been a very quiet time on the campaign and wargaming front.    My son and his family have spent two weeks with us, as they do every summer.   The arrival of the four of them, including his 7 year old son and four year old daughter transforms our usually quiet house, and even quieter routine, the minute they arrive.

There is very little time for working on the campaign, and even less for wargaming the battles.   Our two grandchildren, like most young children, are full on and wear us out. 

This morning they all left early for the drive to Alicante airport and the flight back to UK.   The shock of their departure, and the overwhelming quiet of the house, is even more difficult to adjust to than their arrival.   We have spent the morning returning the house to its normal appearance.   Ornaments are back on the shelves and containers filled with holiday toys. 

But the silence is overpowering.   We are off to Calpe, our nearest coastal town, for a taste of hustle and bustle and to get away from the silence of the house.   No doubt by tomorrow we will have settled back into our comfortable routine and forgotten the enjoyable chaos of the past two weeks.

And if that proves difficult to adjust to, there is always Christmas with the family to look forward to.

Saturday 23 August 2014

PBEM 1814 Campaign Command Vacancy

The campaign has suffered from a run of resignations over the past month or so, with one leaving in July and two in August.   This was unusual, in the previous seven months only two players had left.   I suspect it may be due to the summer months when real life becomes more interesting and enjoyable.   Whatever the reason, three out of twelve is a lot of players to leave within such a short period.

The campaign is designed that one or two players can leave without causing too much disruption.    There are six campaign areas, each with one allied and one French commander.   So if one player leaves, the other five campaign areas carry on as normal.   If I do not have a reserve player I usually take on the command of the one who left, as I feel it is unfair to ask a new player to take on a command which is often in a mess.   Indeed that is often the reason the player leaves, or at least he leaves his command in a mess whether that is the reason or not.

Of the three who left, two were from the same campaign area, namely Wellington and Soult in the western Pyrenees.   To overcome that problem I declared that both had agreed a short truce to recover from two recent battles.     Both commands had suffered heavy casualties, so that was a reasonable excuse to allow a short break.

Each campaign day takes one week of real time to process, so even a month break would only be four campaign days.

The third player was the French commander defending central France against the Prussian advance to take Brussels.   The Prussian commander did not wish to start a new phase, and it would not have been fair to allow a new commander to take on the French.   So I have taken on that command myself until we reach a point where either the Prussian army wins, or the Prussian commander is happy to accept defeat.

It’s always a little disappointing when a player leaves the campaign, let alone three in such a short space of time.   It is, of course, completely understandable.   Each campaign phase is designed to last about three or four months, so it is not a very long period to commit.   However real life gets in the way and circumstances and commitments change.   But I am very pleased that the campaign design is sufficiently robust to overcome these challenges.

The PBEM campaign has run nonstop since April 2009.   It started as the 1813 campaign, and has gone through many adjustments and changes.   It started with two players, then four and now twelve.   It has provided me with more than five years of enjoyment running the campaign, plus Jan and I with many enjoyable wargames.  The 1813 campaign provided us with 64 battles over four years.   The 1814 campaign is much more effective is providing battles to wargame, 60 battles in 17 months.

To keep up the good work I need another two, or perhaps three, commanders.  I have posted in the usual forums to recruit suitable players.   Within 24 hours I have already had three replies.   I then send each one a description of what is involved in the campaign, so that they know what will be expected of them.   No one has been put off in the past, so I am hopeful that all three will take on a role.

If anyone reading would like to take part you would be very welcome.    There is an ongoing demand for new players, and it’s very useful of have a short reserve list.   The role is not difficult.   No great strategic or tactical knowledge is required, common sense and an interest in the period is more than enough.   In my role of joint umpire and chief of staff to each army I ensure that no one goes too far wrong.

If you would like to give it a try join the Yahoo campaign forum by clicking the link top right.

Sunday 17 August 2014

Wargame Building Project

Jan was pleased to move on to Spanish buildings.   They offer more variety than those for France, and are more attractive looking.

We already have a large collection of Hovels Spanish buildings, but they are all quite large and take up too much space on the table.   So we wanted to create a range of our own buildings which we could use with them.    

The building on the right is Hovels, the other four are our own.    All four are town buildings, but ours are two stories high and Hovels three stories.   We could not recreate the Hovels balconies, so we used different designs to add variety.
We are experimenting with outside steps for the latest model, and this shows how we made them
This is the finish result, with a few models to show their comparative size.   We are very pleased with the look so far.