Sunday 29 November 2015

The Next Campaign

My PBEM campaign is still running, but it is down to two campaign areas from five.   It is still providing battles for Jan and I to wargame, but obviously less now than previously.   So I need to decide what will replace it.

It is tempting to try something completely new, or to return to an abandoned project.   For example some years ago I fought a series of wargames based on Wellington’s Battles.   I enjoyed it, and considered doing something similar for Napoleon’s Battles.  But the latter were much bigger affairs, unlike the manageable battles fought in the Peninsula.

I then tried a series of campaigns based on Napoleon’s campaigns.   I started with Italy, with a campaign loosely based on 1796.   It worked quite well, but soon departed from history.   This decided me to attempt a fictional campaign, and the start of the (then) solo 1813 campaign.

I have spent most of the week considering how I could refight Napoleon’s campaigns, and decided that it would have to be fictional.   Given the soldiers and scenery I have in my collection it would have to start after the Italian and Egyptian campaigns.  

I don’t have a problem fighting the 1805 campaign with late Napoleonic period uniforms, but the size of the armies is a problem.   I have no intention of starting collecting and painting new armies, so my existing collection will have to make do.

Reluctantly I have come to accept that my current 1813 campaign is the ideal vehicle to produce interesting battles to wargame.  The whole campaign is based on my table size, soldier and scenery collection.   So it looks like I will stick with what I have, but convert is back to a solo campaign

It will also give me the opportunity to use my 18mm collection again.   Since the start of the PBEM campaign I have used the 28mm collection, because I wanted to post a visual battle report of each battle.   28mm is easier to follow than 18mm, at least with my photographic skills.

So next week I will look at how I can convert the current campaign from PBEM to solo, and in doing so reduce the amount of administration and rekindle my enthusiasm.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Converting to Windows 10

It’s been a difficult week as I struggle to convert from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Living in Spain we rely on our computers to access UK television and have a desktop, laptop and media centre all inter connected.   We have a “computer man” locally who sorts out any problems we may have, as anything more than typing and loading photographs is well beyond me.

I had hoped to get one computer upgraded, whilst relying on the other two.   However this was not to be.   The first was returned, but proved to have errors which I don’t really understand.    The second was returned and later discovered to have different, but just as annoying, problems.   Meanwhile the third had been removed to upgrade to Windows 10.

You would think a “computer man” would be easy to contact.   But email, skype calls, landline and mobile phone messages were all ignored.   In consequence I have been without any computer for most of the week.   Its only when this type of thing happens that you realise how much you depend on it.

I had foolishly anticipated that a simple upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 would be simple and straight forward.   How wrong could I be?

At present I have one of the three working well.   One has gone wrong again (for the second time) and the third is being upgraded.   Each upgrade seems to take about ten days.

Like all of my friends, and I suspect all computer users of a “certain age”, I hate change.   I have no idea why Windows ever had to upgrade from XP.  I understood how to use it and it could do everything I needed.

My particular problem with Windows 10 is that I cannot seem to be able to resize photographs.   That sounds like a small problem, but in fact is causing me a lot of trouble.   I have four current blogs, one of which I update each day.   This one only requires one photographs for each blog, but others can have up to twenty on a single blog.   When they are resized they seem to load without any trouble.  But full size the blog keeps rejecting them.

I have spent hours on Windows Forum, and even communicating with Windows direct.   Everyone is very helpful, but no one seems to have a solution to the problem.  

So hours and hours of frustration.

But I guess with what is going on around the world my problems really are pretty insignificant.   Perhaps so, but that does not stop them from being annoying!

Sunday 15 November 2015

The Beginning of the End of the PBEM Campaign

It is with some regret that I have decided to run down the long running 1813 PBEM campaign.   

I started the campaign in September 2009, and have run it nonstop since then.   It has provided us with almost every wargame we fought over the past six years.

However recently I have found it increasingly difficult to keep up my enthusiasm and interest.   The battles have become ever similar, particularly the smaller one v one corps.
There are six mini campaigns in progress at the same time.   Recently there seem to be either no battles at all, or too many.   Ideally there would be two battles to wargame.   One on the table and the second waiting to be fought.   But when there are four or five it becomes necessary to pause the campaign until we can clear the backlog of wargames.

Then there is the ongoing difficulty of replacing commanders.   With twelve command posts someone always seems to be leaving and needing replacement.   Over the years there have been 84 players taking part, some for considerably longer than others.   A small number have remained for more than a year.   A larger number have left before their first phase was completed.   Most have taken part for one or two campaign phases – about 6 months.

I have been considering either reorganising the campaign, or just end it and create a new one.   Recently we have had a backlog of battles to wargame, and I find myself not really wanting to recommence the campaign now that the backlog is cleared.

I will do so, and I will complete the current campaign phases.  But I will not replace them once they have ended.

This will give me the opportunity to design a new campaign whilst running down the current one.  I am not sure how the new campaign will look.   The current one is very well suited to producing the type of battles Jan and I like to wargame.   So the new campaign will retain those characteristics.   But it will definitely be a solo campaign.   At least to start.

So for me it is very much the end of an era.   I am grateful to all of those who have contributed to the campaign over the years, and I hope that they enjoyed it as much as I did.