Saturday 28 February 2015

1813 PBEM Campaign

Busy week working on the new campaign, and still quite a bit of work to do.

My first priority is to find a way of running both the exiting 1814 campaign and the new 1813 campaign at the same time.

At present three of the six 1814 campaigns phases has ended.   Only two of them will be transferred to the 1813 campaign, and at last the work is completed of the maps and orders of battle for the two to be transferred.

It is very difficult to run two different campaigns at the same time.  Particularly as they use a completely different administration system.   Also very confusing is that the same titles are used for the various Armies, though the orders of battle differ.

I started the Southern German phase of the 1813 campaign today.   This is set in the Danube valley and features the Third French v Austrian Army.   The French are actually Bavarian and Baden corps, which in the 1814 campaign were fighting against the French!

I think I can keep track of the two campaigns, though time will tell.   I can only spend so long trying to avoid problem areas.   No doubt they will all appear promptly now that I have started the new campaign.

Monday 23 February 2015

PBEM Campaign

The past two weeks has been a very challenging time for the PBEM campaign.

The 1814 campaign has run for more than a year, and has been both very successful and has provided us with a mass of interesting battles to wargame.   However all of the administration is manual, and is very time consuming.   It was designed to provide the type of PBEM campaign which I would like to have taken part in myself as a player.

However since the Christmas break I have begun to realise that some of the players were not taking a very active part in the campaign.  I found that I had to send more reminders than normal because daily orders were overdue.   I also found that some of the orders received appeared to lack interest.  For example “the same as last time”, rather than individual orders for each corps.   Finally it soon became obvious that a few players were not even reading the umpire reports I had sent them.   Each of which takes a couple of hours to produce.   All of this indicated a general lack of interest in the campaign.

During our Christmas break I had also thought a lot about the campaign in general.   Having run for so long there were a lot of changes I would like to introduce.  Even then I had serious doubts whether the amount of work I put in was really appreciated by some, if not many, of the ten players taking part.

I decided that I would run down the 1814 campaign, and replace it with a new campaign.   I would try to keep the same level of player involvement, but at the same time greatly reduce the amount of administration required.

I announced this proposed change about two weeks ago.   Within seven days three of the ten players had quit the campaign.   Not all had bothered to tell me they were quitting.   I was already writing orders for two players who had quit last year; I would now have to write orders for five of the twelve command posts.  

Given that I had not expected these three resignations, I needed to find out how many of the remaining seven players were committed sufficient to make it worth my while to increase my already heavy work load.

I wrote to each player and asked them to confirm how many were willing to commit to another six months with the campaign.   Four were, three informed me that they would leave at the end of the current phase of the campaign.

It was now obvious that there was no long term future for the 1814 campaign.  On the other hand I felt I had a responsibility to the remaining players, even the three who I knew would leave at the end of the current phase.   I had made a promise when I started the campaign that I would not just quit and abandon it mid campaign.   I was determined to keep that promise.

For a couple of days I was close to starting the new campaign as a Solo campaign, rather than PBEM.   But I had enjoyed the 1814 campaign, despite the ongoing problem of replacing players who quit, often with no notice.

So I advertised for new commanders for the proposed new PBEM campaign.  I was delighted to get five players.   With my three current players who had committed to another six months, that gave me a total of eight players.   No quite the ten I would have liked, but certainly enough to make it worthwhile to start the new campaign.

So after a month of disappointment and concern about the future of the campaign, I am now eager to get the new campaign up and running.

However first I must run the current campaign to its logical conclusion.    There are four phases of the current campaign to complete.   As each one ends I will replace it with a phase from the new campaign.   I will also offer the commands of players no longer wishing to continue to one of the new players.

I just hope that the five new players will be prepared to wait until the previous campaigns have run their course.

Monday 16 February 2015

New 1813 PBEM Campaign

In the next few weeks I will be starting a new PBEM campaign set in 1813.
It will be a fiction campaign and not at all similar to the historical campaign
The purpose of the campaign is to provide interesting wargames for my wife and I to wargame.

It is set in 1813 because all of the major nations took part in that campaign, and all of the armies were of a similar quality.

There are five campaign areas, and each has an allied and a French commander.
The allied armies are Austrian, Anglo-Portuguese, Bavarian, Prussian and Russian.
So I will need ten players to fill the ten command posts.

Each player will command four army corps.   He will be responsible for the issue of daily orders and the control of his supply system.   The tactical map shows the exact scenery to be found on the wargames table, and he can plan exactly where he wants to fight each battle.  

There is no need for an extensive knowledge of the tactics of the Napoleonic period.   And it should not require more than one hour a week to write orders.

The campaign will be broken into eight or nine phases.    Each phase will be a strategic objective, and will be stand alone within the wider campaign.   I anticipate that each phase will take about three or four months to complete.

There is a new campaign diary blog for this campaign.   So far it has a general introduction, maps showing the campaign areas and the introduction to the first phase of the campaign, which is set in the Danube Valley.   You will find the blog here

To join the campaign you will have to join the yahoo campaign forum.   This is a notice board and point of information exchange for the campaign.

If anyone has any questions I would be happy to answer them

If anyone would like to take part they should join the yahoo group and confirm that they wish to take part in the 1813 campaign.

Saturday 14 February 2015

Tactical Map for the new campaign

 Tactical Map for Augsburg Phase of the new campaign

I spent a lot of time this week working on different options for the tactical map.   I wanted to design a completely new map, which looked more like a normal map rather than a map board.  

I tried out three different options, but none of them worked.   They looked much better, but they created more problems trying to convert them to the wargames table.   Given that the object of the campaign is to provide good wargames, and that I also want to reduce the amount of work I have to put in, that would be very counter productive.

So I have gone back to the same layout I use now.   It works so well that none of the other three options worked as well.

One of the options I looked at was to have the map wider and deeper.   But all that did was make them harder to read on the campaign diary blog.   And they also allowed the players to hide from each other more, or simply lose the other side completely.

So most of the work this week has been wasted.  Though at least  I have proved to my own satisfaction that the current map provides the best answer.

Sunday 8 February 2015

Working on the new campaign

Strategic Map for Southern Germany

I mentioned last week that I might start a new campaign.  

On Monday one of the six areas in my current campaign came to a natural conclusion.    The French commander accepted defeat, leaving the Austrians the victors.

Rather than start another phase of the 1814 campaign, I have decided to use this opportunity to test the new campaign.   If it works ok I will transfer each of the remaining five areas as the current phase comes to an end.

As a result I have been busy working on maps all week.    Above is the strategic map for Southern Germany.   The red road follows the course of the campaign between Vienna and Strasbourg.

There are nine cities on the map, and each one will be one phase of the campaign.   The first will be Augsburg, and the white outline shows the area to be covered by the tactical map.

The tactical map, which is used for the campaign movement, will cover the three centre cities.   That is Ulm, Augsburg and Munich.   The task for next week is to complete the tactical map.

Meanwhile the 1814 campaign continues, and I have to fit in work on the new campaign around updating the main campaign.   It is still producing battles to wargame, though we have finally cleared the large backlog which we faced in January.