Sunday 28 October 2018

Getting Started

“Napoleonic Wargaming” was my first blog.   I started it in March 2009 as a record of my wargaming activities.   I had no knowledge of blogging, other than having read a few blogs online.  

When we moved to Spain in 2006 I had a whole new wargame project planned.   I had decided not to buy or paint any more figures.   Instead I would now wargame with them.   The new project would require that I reorganised all of my 28mm, 18mm and 6mm armies into armies representing all of the major powers of the Napoleonic Wars.   There would be an Austrian, British/Portuguese, Prussian, Russian and Spanish army.   Plus five French and allied armies.

By 2009 the reorganisation was completed and I was planning a comprehensive wargame campaign which would provide battles to wargame.   I was also writing new wargame and campaign rules.

I wanted to record the progress of this project, and a blog seemed like a good way to do it.   I would have a permanent record and could make it available to other interested parties as it would be online.

I wanted the blog to cover all aspects of my wargame activities, but I also wanted to be able to recover each entry in the future.   So I needed some sort of index.  I found that other bloggers were very helpful and full of useful suggestions.    

I did not have any clear plan of how often to publish, but I see that in the first nine months I posted 140 entries.   This would remain by far the highest number of annual posts.

Over the next three years the numbers decreased until 2013 when they settled on 52.   A weekly post would become the norm.  

Most of the posts would concern the campaign, its organisation and progress.   But there would also be a section devoted to scenery plus reference to my other blogs as they appeared.

My posts have never resulted in much comment.   I am not sure why this should be so.   I would have thought that most of what I posted was of general interest.  Particularly scenery, campaign and wargame rules, and visits to battlefields.  However I was aware from reading other Blogs that this was not unusual, and I was not particularly discouraged by it.

I soon discovered Amazing Counters, which allowed me to record all visits to my blog, and to exclude my own.   This was a great encouragement as I could see on a daily basis how many people had read my comments.   Unfortunately they seem to have disappeared lately, and I do miss being able to check my visit numbers.   Perhaps I will have a search on the web for a replacement.

Meanwhile I discovered that the blog itself generates a record of visits.   I am not sure whether this includes my own or not.  However I am quite impressed that the current number is 228562.

Even more supportive is the number of Followers.   It is quite a responsibility to know that 115 people bother to read my comments.   It also makes me quite determined to post regularly.   It suits me to post each week, but I am also encouraged as I do not want to disappoint those who take the trouble to check what I am doing.

“Napoleonic Wargaming” would be the start of many blogs, and I will look at another one next week.

Sunday 21 October 2018

To Blog or not to Blog

Why Bother

Yesterday I sat down at the computer to write this week’s blog entry, and for the first time I could not think of anything to write.

Normally inspiration comes as soon as I sit down.   I have never planned subjects in advance, always relied on finding something suitable when I needed it.   But it did not work yesterday.

I would not say that I lost any sleep over the subject, but early this morning I had two new ideas.    The first was the line which is the subject of this week.   I will not disclose the second, I will keep it until I have a blank computer screen again!

I am not sure when I started writing a blog.   I think it was this one, and according to the history over on the right the first post was on 27 March 2009.   But when I looked at that one the opening sentence was “since my last post….”    So clearly there was an earlier one, but I can’t seem to find it!

Not that it matters in the least.   Suffice to say that it was quite a long time ago.   Since then I have written 690 posts and have had 227,305 page views.   That is a lot of writing, and a lot of reading.

But the question raised is “why bother”

I have no idea why anyone else would want to write a blog.   I am not really sure why I do.

I have always been inclined to record what I do.   I have kept a daily diary for more than 50 years.   I write an entry every day, but rarely bother to read them later.   I have taken to using a five year diary, and find that I do look back on the previous four years.

I have collected photographs for even longer.   They are stored in large photograph albumns going back to the 1960s and beyond.    Since the early 1970s every family holiday has been recorded and filed in an albumn.   Not only photographs, but also tickets and cards.   Plus a written record of each holiday.

I suspect that writing a blog is just a natural extension of this type of behaviour.

The purpose may be to record and share, but the enjoyment comes from simply doing it.  

Over the next few weeks or months I will consider the development of my blogging experience.  

Saturday 13 October 2018

Rivers in Wargames

Bayreuth Campaign Map

In any campaign, even a fictional one, major rivers are going to play an important part.   As in real life they are obvious natural barriers which give a huge advantage to the defending player.  

When I designed my campaign I wanted to show all of the major European rivers on my maps.  But I did not want them to give too much advantage to the defending player.   To this end I gave them more bridges than might be found on a historical map.   You will see from the above map that there are bridges in nine out of eleven river map squares.   On the campaign map corps can only cross river by using a bridge.

At this stage of the campaign 2nd French corps has crossed the river Saale and cut the main Russian supply road (the red road) just above the town of Kulmbach.   The town is still held by the Russians.   1st Russian corps has been ordered to engage the French and open the supply road.   If possible they will cut the French off from the west bank of the river and thus cut their supply line.
The battle of Kulmbach

This map shows the wargame table created from the campaign map.

When I designed the campaign, and wargame rules to fight the subsequent battles, I wanted to be able to use all of the table.   As a result no square is impassable.   Infantry and cavalry can ford all rivers.  They move at half movement rate and are unformed until they have completed crossed to the far bank.   Artillery can only cross by using a bridge.

At the start of this game the French have cut the Russian supply road and are about to attack Kulmbach (walled town in the centre).   1st Russian corps will advance between the river and the town and try to cut the French off from the bridge top left.  If they are able to do so, and the French unable to take Kulmbach, they will have won the game.   They will also have cut the French off from supplies, and 2nd French corps will have to surrender.

2nd French corps are part of the Young Guard, and as such good quality troops.   1st Russian corps is a mixture of medium and poor quality troops.   However the Russians have the advantage of 17 brigade, which is the garrison of Kulmbach.  They must remain within the walls of the town, but they are stronger than the garrison of an open town.

This type of wargame illustrates the advantage of campaign driven games.   The scenario is a little unusual, as are the objectives.   The French are unlikely to lose, but if they do the consequences are dramatic.

It also illustrates how rivers can be used as a tactical, rather than a strategic, barrier.   If the river could only be crossed by a bridge it would be impossible to get the whole French corps back to the west bank.   As the first brigades started to cross the remainder would quickly be overwhelmed by the increasingly stronger Russian corps.