Friday, 16 August 2019

A simple campaign system (Part 3): Some initial rules

Before I even began to draft some rules, I decided to enhance the colours I had used on my campaign grid as the original looked rather anaemic!

The draft (and incomplete) rules that I have written are intended for solo use, but should be easy to amend so that they can be used by several players operating in cooperation or in opposition.

  • Movement:
    • Infantry and Artillery move 1D6 grid areas per turn.
    • Cavalry move 1D6+1 grid areas per turn (but 1D6 grid areas per turn if accompanying Infantry and/or Artillery).
    • River Boats move at 1D6+2 grid areas per turn.
    • All movement is made through the face a grid area unless the grid areas only touch at a corner, in which case the movement is made through the corner of the grid area.
Two examples of Permitted Movement.
Two examples of Prohibited Movement.
    • Any unit that ends its move in an Event grid area must throw a D6 and read the result from the appropriate Event Table.
    • Any unit that passes through an Event grid area treats the grid area as if there was nothing in it.
    • No unit may enter or pass through a Location grid area as part of a normal move. It must stop an adjacent grid area, throw a D6, and read the result from the appropriate Location Table.
    • River Boats that enters a Cataract grid area must stop and throw a D6.
      • If the D6 die score is 1 or 2, it may not move next turn.
      • If the D6 die score is 3 or 4, it may not move for two turns.
      • If the D6 die score is 5 or 6, it may not move for three turns.
  • Event Table:
    • 1 = Grid area is empty. Proceed unhindered.
    • 2 = Supply problems. Do not move next turn.
    • 3 = Supply problems. Do not move for two turns.
    • 4 = Supply problems. Do not move for three turns.
    • 5 = Enemy forces are in an adjacent grid area. You may fight them next turn or try to avoid them.
    • 6 = Enemy forces have ambushed you. You must fight or retreat one grid area.
  • Location Table:
    • 1 or 2 = The location is empty. It may be occupied next turn.
    • 3 = A small enemy force occupies the location. You may fight them next turn or try to avoid them.
    • 4 = A large enemy force occupies the location. You may fight them next turn or try to avoid them.
    • 5 = A small enemy force occupies the location. You must fight or retreat one grid area.
    • 6 = A large enemy force occupies the location. You must fight or retreat one grid area.
As I was drafting these rules, I realised that I will also have to develop some terrain generation rules for when battles take place, but initially I wanted to see if the movement system will work, and if the Event and Location Tables concept is worth pursuing for solo games.


  1. Bob,
    This reminds me (or has similarities with) a simple SCW campaign I devised for the early "column" period during the drive to Madrid. This had a series of linked boxes with limited choices and usually featured a choke point where routes converged. Entering a square had a random event of friends, enemies, supplies or nothing. Supply was dealt with by assigning a random number of supply tokens (tiddlywinks). To move 1 square took 1 token, 2 squares 2. IIRC winning a battle was rewarded with a token (or maybe a random number) otherwise it was a random event. Should a column run out, there was the option of starting again. The Nationalist forces were pre-determined, while the Republican militia were randomly generated for size and support weapons. Each turn, there was a chance of another militia column forming based on number of squares controlled by the Republicans, less the number controlled by the Nationalists. Usually 10 squares / boxes. Passing through (moving 2 squares) did not control the box passed through, only when in occupation following any battle. It gave the challenge of advancing quickly to engage or a slow advance with the risk of enemy numbers increasing. Like the real thing it is very close to "colonial" style warfare. I ran it a few times both solo and with players. It gave a good mini-campaign which generated battles in a strategic context, while being relatively simple and quick to play but still providing choices for the player. I think I will need to dust them off a give them a go. They did appear in Abanderado magazine as "Columnar Adelantar" although my Spanish was pointed out as incorrect by a native speaker.

    1. Neil Patterson,

      I like your design ideas, particularly your supply token idea - which I may well copy or develop for my own campaign system - and the way random enemy forces could be generated to oppose the advancing Nationalists,

      The fighting during the early months of the SCW lends itself to the sort of semi-Colonial campaign system that you have outlined in your comment.

      All the best,


  2. Hi Bob,
    As I look at your colored grid squares I'm imagining a Sudan type scenario with River Craft (Gunboats) and Land movement (Columns)...with your random contingency it all seems very straight forward and very workable. Best wishes with this. Cheers. KEV.

    1. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      Cheers! You've got the idea of what I hope to achieve with this simple campaign system.

      All that remains to be done is the play testing!

      All the best,


  3. I'm really enjoying this series of blog posts. The design process in engaging and thought provoking.

    Is there a reason that you decided to use a square grid as opposed to a hex grid or just point to point?

    A possible variation on the supply tokens, consumption could vary depending on the distance the force is from its supply source (home base, depot, etc.). For example: 1-5 squares distant uses one token to move, two to battle, 5-10 squares distant uses two to move and three to battle.

    1. William Stewart,

      I'm very pleased that you are enjoying this series of blog entries. I'm certain enjoying the mental exercise I'm getting from doing the design work and writing up my ideas.

      I began using a square grid because my laptop - which I took with me on our recent cruise - does not have a drawing program. It does have MS WORD, and I was able to draw grids using the 'TABLE' function.

      Thanks very much for the supply token idea. It has been added to the list of ideas that I might 'borrow'!

      All the best,


  4. Replies
    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      Wait until you see the results of my first play test!

      All the best,


  5. Bob - I think this is a great idea and has sparked me thinking on how I can use this concept for some of the 'imaginations' campaigns that I am planning

    1. Ian Dury,

      Cheers! I am hoping that other wargamers will take this idea and develop their own versions.

      Once I've written my PORTABLE COLONIAL WARGAME book (which will include my simple campaign system), I hope to use it with my own imagi-nations.

      All the best,



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