Pages

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Thinking about campaigns

I have always enjoyed taking part in campaigns (I owe great debt to Eric Knowles and his Madasahatta Campaign for introducing me to their delights!), and over recent years I have set up and fought a number of mini-campaigns. For some years I have been planning an Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War, and over the past few days – whilst I have been unwell – I have been giving it some thought.

Setting up such a large-scale campaign needs a lot of preparation and forethought ... and only a fool would try to do it without first looking at what other people have done.

The first place that I looked was at Frank Chadwick's BARBAROSSA 25.


His approach was to 'bathtub' the whole thing, with both sides, the maps, and the timescale being scaled down by a factor of 25. This approach did appeal to me ... but looking at my figure and model vehicle collection made me realise that it was going to take a lot of work to go down that path.

I then spent time visiting Chris Kemp's NOT QUITE MECHANISED blog.


I've known Chris for thirty seven years, and took part in some of the very early battles that used his rules. Since then Chris has replaced his collection of 20mm figures and vehicles with equivalent 15mm-scale stuff, and his campaign continues to progress.

The third source I went to was Paul Leniston's NAPOLEONIC WARGAMING blog. It has a complete guide to running a Napoleonic campaign, and is the result of many years of experience in running such campaigns.


This information can be found here:
My preliminary thoughts are to take a similar approach to that outlined on the NAPOLEONIC WARGAME blog. As to the rules I will use to fight my battles ... well there are two possibilities; my modern PORTABLE WARGAME rules or my OPERATIONAL ART rules. I suspect that I will opt for the latter ... but that is a decision for the future.

14 comments:

  1. Bob
    Interestingly, I am considering a second book on this. For my start point I have e-mailed Martin Rapier about expanding his Race to Leningrad campaign and he has kindly agreed to let me use it as the basic engine, in return for a credit. I have already tweaked it for a similar campaign for AGC and think it ought to be possible to expand it to a representative Pz Division for each Panzergruppe and covering the first 13 or so weeks of the operation - roughly to the end of September. I am thinking in terms of a common engine for each Pz Division's progress with additional modifiers and 'special' battles to give flavour to each unit's advance. The campaign map would have intersections to allow for different strategic choices with an overall progress 'standard' to put a break on an otherwise ever growing Soviet response.

    I hope to be able to do this over spring. As usual, given what I have already written for other purposes, I believe it's 50% done and, as usual, I am no doubt overestimating!

    Cheers
    Andrew

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      It sounds like it is a very interesting project, and one that I will follow with great interest. I have considered using a campaign 'map' that has several 'tracks' that units can follow ... but at present it is still just an option that is under consideration. I had not thought about having a map with intersecting 'tracks' ... and that could certainly make it both more interesting and less rigid. Something for me to think about,

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. Hello Bob,

    I hope that you feel better soon. I wondered if the Lionel Tarr book you contributed to had any ideas in it you could use?

    All the best

    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JWH,

      I am feeling a bit better today, but still have some way to go before I am no longer suffering from the virus.

      I've read Lionel Tarr's book, and it has given me a few ideas. His campaign system seemed very dependent upon him and this would make it difficult to replicate.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  3. Nice to see you back in action and feeling a bit better. I have the same Barbarossa 25 book but never actually used it for a campaign either,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David Cuatt,

      I'm certainly feeling better than I did yesterday, but I still have done way to go before I am over the virus.

      The maps in BARBAROSSA 25 might prove useful when I get around to beginning work on my campaign. I also have Franck Chadwick's book OVER THE TOP, which contains a bathtub World War 1 campaign.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  4. Bob - we run (every couple of months) operational battles using 6mm figures and spread over 10 tables (we have access to the social club at Airbus via Deeside Defenders Wargames Club. These have been generally WW2 based although we're looking into other periods and have run one Renaissance battle (Venetians vs. French) which went well. They generally require 3 a side - a c in c and 2 sub commanders plus the referee. The tables are generally split 4 4 2 with the attackers coming on the 4 top tables and moving towards objectives on the bottom 2. We find the scale and the concept great for running very large scale battles (and we have begun the bathtubbing even further when looking at the desert in WW2 for example) to allow an even grander scale to operations. They certainly prove to be more demanding than the usual tabletop action of a couple of boards but allow true strategy to come into play.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phil Broeders,

      What you describe sounds very like some of the large-scale operational-level battles we have fought using Tim Gow's MEGABLITZ (World War II) and Richard Brooks' OP14 (World War I). Being able to fight through three, four, or even five days of a campaign can give a much better understanding of things like logistics, traffic control, maintaining a reserve, protecting lines-of-communication etc.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  5. I too have a copy of Barbarossa 25, which came with the boxed rule set of Command Decision, when I bought it in about 1990. I could never do that campaign as I have nowhere near enough early war kit. But it might form the basis for a campaign beginning, say, 1943.

    But before I got the CD rule set I found and bought a copy of CD 'Bastogne', which is more in the way of a series of scenarios, but can be played as a 'campaign' or operation.

    The Barbarossa booklet gave me the notion of 'doing' Operation Crusader along similar lines. That's when I came up with my 'offset oblongs' idea in lieu of hex grids - this being 1990/91 (thinking of the 50th Anniversary). That was to 'bathtubbed' as well, at a ratio of 1:4 rather than Barabarossa's 1:25. I was going to call it 'Crusader 4'. I got as far as the map and the orbats for both sides, but the thing died the death for the lack of kit. I had a good candidate to play the Italians, too.

    I still have kicking around somewhere most of the work I did on this concept, and may revisit it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      Whatever happens with my Barbarossa campaign, you can rest assured that it will be tailored to what I have in my collection rather than requiring a whole load of new stuff to be bought!

      I also have the Bastogne booklet, and it was what first attracted me to looking at CD as a possible way forward. I never got around to trying any of the scenarios ... but I ought to have a serious look at them again 'just in case'.

      The Operation Crusader project sounds interesting, and it is a pity that you never managed to get around to trying it out. I'd certainly suggest that you take another look at it as it might be useful as a starting point for a future operational-level campaign/wargame.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
    2. I reckon the thing might well be resurrectible as a Megablitz, Hexblitz or NQM project. I'll have a look sometime in the next few days.

      Delete
    3. Archduke Piccolo,

      That sounds like an excellent idea.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  6. The eighties feel a long time ago now, Bob :)

    Regards, Chris.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chris Kemp,

      It feels like both a long time ago and as if it was only yesterday. I still remember the impromptu WW2 game you put on at Moor Park where units moved and fought as a single entity rather than having individual models operate as separate entities. It was an experience that changed - and still impacts upon - my thinking.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete