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"Best Campaign Rules (paper)?" Topic


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Grande Quartier General Inactive Member23 May 2011 8:42 a.m. PST

Wanted to bring folks in on the discussion…What is the best set of paper operational level rules for Napoleonics you have used, and why? Perhaps they are your own…or published. (We are thinking of ease/playability of record keeping/umpiring, realisim of simulation outcomes, types of maps/movement,and battle interface (how well they take you from the operational to the grand-tactical level, and then to tabletop) Thoughts anyone?

arthur181523 May 2011 8:56 a.m. PST

The Generalship Game from Paddy Griffith's Napoleonic Wargaming For Fun [Ward Lock, 1980; republished by John Curry's History of Wargaming Project].

Simple point to point movement on self-drawn maps – or you could use the maps from Vae Victis games.
Easy to play because the rules are simple and reflect army commander's perspective – no micro-managing.
Umpiring is not too onerous because of simplicity of systems.
Minimal record-keeping.
Can be used with any set of tabletop rules you prefer, if you want to play engagements as wargames; or you could use Paddy's rules for sieges and/or battles you don't want to play out in detail.

thistlebarrow2 Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2011 9:11 a.m. PST

I have designed my campaign to work back from the wargames table, rather than the other way around.

The tactical map covers an area of 60x60 miles divided into 12x12 grid squares. Each square is a representation of a scenic board which is used to produce the wargames table. So transfer from map to table, and back, is easy.

The campaign is designed to produce wargames. There are four corps per side, and my table is suitable to hold sufficient model soldiers to fight battles up to four corps per side.

I would describe the rules as "old school". They are still in development, and player experience in each campaign calls for fine tuning.

The campaign administration could be done on four sheets of A4 paper. I keep it on the computer, as it is easy to update and access. But it could easily be done on paper.

You can find the rules and the maps on the campaign forum at

link

And see the combined campaign diary/battle reports on the blog at

link

Although the campaign is designed to provide wargames, it could easily be adopted to fight a historical campaign.

I Drink Your Milkshake Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2011 2:20 p.m. PST

I don't use a map. Instead I built a deck of cards.

Each player draws a card and that card will do 1 of 4 things.

Player will receive or lose VP's. EX:(Key Fortress Seized: gain 1VP, Lost Orders: lose 1VP) ect.


Player will receive or lose Reinforcements from the Reserve force pool. EX:(Dysentery: roll 2d6 in attrition dice and lose that amount, Reserves Mobilized: add 6MI to reserve force pool, Force March: gain 1VP lose 3LN inf from reserve pool)

Engagements(oh yeah! 1809 campaign btw). EX:
(Hunting Davout: (A) 600pts (F) 350 pts CinC: (F)Davout (A)Charles
Wing Co: (F)Lefebvre (A)Rosenburg, Hiller
Notes: No guard units allowed, Bavarians)

Battle Cards(held in hand played in any battle)
EX:
Stolen March: Commander receives an extra 1d6 on command roll, when played
Charge!: blah blah
Sappers: blah, blah

You get the idea. Saves me from using a map and all the other headaches associated. And it is fun. The battles are resolved in under 2 hours(Sam Mustafa's LGG)….then back to the campaign.

If you are done playing for the day(you could resolve a campaign in about 2 sittings 12-14 hrs) you just leave the scrap paper that tracks your forces and the cards alone. Easy cleanup. I absolutely love it.

The key is a points system for buying forces, a FAST battle system, and some good card ideas.

I plan on making future campaigns such for every year, and a peninsular one spanning 4 or 5 years. Should be fun.

Personal logo Gonsalvo Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2011 4:44 p.m. PST

Theater of War by Brent Oman works well. It may be a bit abstract, and is designed to work primarily with Piquet supplements, but does what it sets out todo – generate campaigns that are usually resolved within 3 – 5 tabletop games and use the players existing forces.

Having said, that, for a more traditional map campaign, we have made great use of the old Warplan 5/5 system from 30 years ago – have a campaign going on right now using it, in fact!

Phil Dutre25 May 2011 7:36 a.m. PST

Campaigns that have rules by themselves often fail IMO because of the additional overhead. It's usually not worth the trouble UNLESS you have a bunch of really dedicated players (but I've never encountered these conditions in 20+ years of wargaming).

The most succesful campaigns have been those being run by an umpire, who decides everything at the campaign level based on matrix arguments. While some players may find this a very subjective system, those are the campaigns that last.

Old Bear Inactive Member25 May 2011 9:49 a.m. PST

For me the ultimate in Napoleonic campaign wargaming is to use it in conjunction with Empires in Arms (either the board game or the computer version). However, this requires excessive dedication as the game is a beast in terms of size and the demands it makes on the players. But if everything else is in place, nothing will beat it, IMHO.

COL Scott0again Inactive Member25 May 2011 12:00 p.m. PST

Personaly I still like the old school C.S.Grant rules. He used a hand drawn map but could use a reproduced one set out in squares. Each player tracks what forces he has in each square and uses the movement distances each campaign move told his opponent where he had forces, although not what kind or how many.

When two opposing forces meet in a square then a battle is set up as per the forces in the order of battle and the terrain as the map shows.

It can get more detailed if you want to start talking long duration campaigns where regions and towns are worth points for building or rebuilding forces. Also figuring the mix of dead vs wounded and how long until the wounded return to duty.

So simple for a short campaign, and complicated for a longer campaign. But it does not require an umpire to run.

I Drink Your Milkshake Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2011 7:58 p.m. PST

Total agreement with Phil. Never completed a campaign and always ALOT of extra rules too remember.

thistlebarrow2 Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2011 1:49 a.m. PST

I have been playing a solo campaign for many years, and it worked a dream. About 18 months ago I decided to convert it to PBEM, and it has proved much harder than I imagined.

I think the most important thing in a campaign is to have a clear objective of what you want to achieve. In my case it is to produce good wargames. You must then ensure that all prospective campaign players know in advance what this objective is, how the campaign will be run and exactly what is expected of them.

Despite all of this, you will still lose players due to "real life" getting in the way. For most PBEM players the campaign will always be a low priority, and the administrator must be aware of this. Therefore the campaign must be able to adapt to loss of players.

I have also been trying to write simple "old school" campaign rules. This is very challenging. Many players will simply not read the rules. Others will read them like a lawyer. A bit like Napoleonic wargame rules really.

My rules so far have developed into an outline of what is allowed. But more important they contain examples of how I want orders and messages written. I found this to be critical in a PBEM. Eight players produce eight sets of orders each move. The administrator has to produce one master move from that detail. Even with an example of orders in the rules I find that some of the orders I receive are very difficult to understand, or are missing vital instructions. Obviously a PBEM campaign requires a dedicated administrator/umpire.

Finally I have found that many PBEM come to grief when a battle has to be fought as a wargame. If this has not been well thought out in advance you may find you do not have the table or model soldiers to fight the size of battle produced. Even if you do, you need to keep the players informed of the battle in an acceptable way. The winner will always be happy, the loser much less so. Many battles will be so uneven that there is no point in wargaming them.

I overcame this by desiging the campaign from the size of table and model soldiers I have available. I also designed the campaign map to be a series of wargame tables, so transfer from the map to the table and back does not present a problem. Finally I play the role of both French and allied CinC. This allows me to manipulate the campaign to keep it flowing and prevent collapse too soon.

After 18 months I have still to finish a campaign to my satisfaction. We are on our third attempt, and have reached move 14 so far. During that time we have fought four battles. So far so good.

Its not easy to make any campaign work, and it is considerably more difficult when it is PBEM and involves players previosly unknown to the administrator. But it is well worth the effort. It does require a lot of work on the part of the administrator. And like most things in life, it is a pretty thankless task. Personally I get a lot of satisfaction in making it work. And it does provide the best wargames I have ever fought.

If interested you can check the campaign diary blog here

link

Grande Quartier General Inactive Member26 May 2011 9:45 a.m. PST

In the second paragraph you mention the clarity of purpose for your campaigns… If I understand you, you are saying your purpose is to produce "good" wargames, but I'm not sure what that means. Do you mean realistic, exciting, decisive, evenly matched, manageable in scale..something else? Do the players proceed with the same objective, ie, do they issue orders attempting to produce what you mean by "good", or do they have stated campaign objectives they try to satisfy, and if so, are the objectives the pbem players have at their disposal designed in a way to allow for the "good" games to take place, or does an umpire or someone else have to manipulate events/moves or something in order to acheive that goal? Just not sure what you mean by "good". This seems to me a critical point in the design.

Your statement that "many battles will be so uneven there is no point in wargaming them"… Does that mean you have another method for resolving these encounters to get a result without the need to set up the table, or something else? I sort of thought that the players would be trying, (if not always succeeding!), to acheive just such an advantage. How do you account for those battles where say, the hideously outnumbered force is decimated, yet, say,delays the winner enough to allow their other forces a strategic objective (one or more such events seems to be a big factor in many actual campaigns)…Thoughts?

Grande Quartier General Inactive Member26 May 2011 9:48 a.m. PST

BTW Gonsalvo that Warplan 5/5 looks like a really solid place to start for fictional campaigns..awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Grande Quartier General Inactive Member26 May 2011 9:52 a.m. PST

Anyone have experience with the "Follow the Eagle" campaign game. I have it, but getting in to it, it seems like it may need some tweaking to work well (maybe some spreadsheets/formulae or something for the record keeping..I don't know. Seems like it has posibilities? Anyone?

thistlebarrow2 Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2011 11:27 a.m. PST

GQG

By "good" wargames I mean games that are enjoyable and fun to play. With most wargame rules this means that they have to be reasonably matched. This does not mean that all games are the same. Terrain, quality of commanders and troops, orders of march carried over from the campaign map – all of these things will provide challenging problems.

This is achieved by making the players responsible for the strategic map (campaign) play. In the campaign they are corps commanders, so their problems are those of corps commanders. They have a limited objective, for example take or hold a village. The map looks exactly the same as the wargames table, so they can select a good defensive position or a bad one.

In the role of CinC for both sides I allocate their objectives. In this way I can ensure that four corps do not concentrate against one corps. Equally I can attempt to concentrate three corps against three corps.

Although the objective of the campaign is to provide "good" wargames. The role of the campaign players must be interesting and challenging. Otherwise they will just pack it in. One of the major disadvantages of PBEM is just how easy this is to do. Fortunately I have only suffered this problem twice – but it was very disappointing when it did happen.

Each of my campaigns is a mini campaign within a much larger campaign. The main campaign is Germany and Spain 1813. The mini campaign is Blucher's attempt to take Hanover from Davout. Its similar to Waterloo. 2-4 corps size battles to start, loser concentrates for 1 or 2 larger battles and finally one big "Waterloo" style battle to end the mini campaign. All achieved within 2-3 months real time. So a limited commitment by the players and hopefully not too many drop outs.

When I fought "conventional" campaigns in the past, even with members of my local club, they always ended in disappointment. Either players would just lose interest. They wanted to fight wargames, not spend hours and hours moving symbols on the map. Or they were forced to fight a battle in which the numbers were so uneven that they did not have a chance of winning. Great fun for the winner, not so much fun for the loser. Worst the result was a sort of Jena campaign. Lots of map moves, followed by one disappointing battle, followed by the end of the campaign.

All of this only applies if you want to provide "good" battles. If your objective is to fight a historical campaign, then you must design the whole campaign to that end. But my experience has shown that the major flaw is when battles have to be fought. I know from bitter experience how disappointing it is to spend weeks moving my corps over the map to achieve a brilliant strategic result, only to have the campaign end as soon as a battle is declared. This has happened twice, both times without any reason or excuse. Another disadvantage of PBEM.

It takes a lot of planning and hard work to set up a campaign. A little more thought deciding just what you want to achieve with your campaign may make the difference between disappointment or satisfaction.

Grande Quartier General Inactive Member26 May 2011 12:47 p.m. PST

tb2
"In the role of CinC for both sides I allocate their objectives. In this way I can ensure that four corps do not concentrate against one corps. Equally I can attempt to concentrate three corps against three corps."

Please excuse me for saying this, i mean it only constructively…The above seems like a very artifical construct that would not be very popular with a lot of wargamers.
Do you have umpired battle victory conditions that culminate in the campaign?
I mean to say, suppose 2-3 corps from side A find themselves meeeting in an advantagous position with say 1 corp from side B. Would you assign battle objectives and points? For example:
"If side B is able to delay side A from exiting a majority of its units off the table before x o'clock they achieve a minor strategic victory worth 5 campaign points" That is just an example, and there are many creative or obvious situation dependent variables to use- casualty ratios, hold the town, seize the bridge etc, etc.
I have heard this done to make those types of battles enjoyable for everyone, as even the disadvantaged player can "win" by preventing some enemy objective or obtaining an objective of his own.
I wonder if something like the above would be better to keep the player interest piqued, as well as resemble Napoleonic Campaigns more…
I mean, a retreat done well can be a "win" and prelude to another situation in which there is another set of victory conditions. I would use the Waterloo campaign as a well known example of this. What do you think?

thistlebarrow2 Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2011 1:12 p.m. PST

GQG

My campaigns are decided on the wargames table, that is the whole essence of the campaign. It is not an attempt to recreate a historical napoleonic campaign, and therefore of course it is artificial. It would not suit everyone, and certainly not anyone who wants to play a historical Napoleonic campaign. But it does work. It does achieve the desired objective. Has done for many years.

There is no need for victory conditions. When two sides meet on the campaign map the battle is transferred to the wargames table. The wargame is fought and transferred back to the map, complete with wargame casualties, which now become campaign casualties.

The campaign mechanism is very simple. You really do get what you see. The campaign map is a large wargame table.

The campaign works because it achieves its primary aim – to provide enjoyable wargames. I assume that it also works for the corps commanders, because most of them have been playing in the campaign for almost a year.

But it does not replicate historical Napoleonic campaigns. That is not its purpose.

I am not sure whether the type of campaign you suggest would keep player ingterest piqued. It has not done so in the few campaigns I have taken part in. Certainly it would resemble Napoleonic Campaigns more. But as I explained earlier – that is not MY objective.

I am sure that there are other's who have made historical campaigns work well, and no doubt they will contribute their experiences.

All I can offer is my experience, and try to explain what has worked for me.

Hope it was helpful?

Grande Quartier General Inactive Member26 May 2011 1:37 p.m. PST

Yes, thanks. I was offering that however accurate or fictional the orders of battle are, however accurate or fictional the map is, and however accurate or fictional the objectives are, the play would not need to "replicate" historical campaigns, but would need to re-create the flavor, essence, style and application of Napoleonic warfare at the strategic and tactical level to be more engaging. It is quite ok to be after something more like a game than a simulation of the period, if that is what one prefers. If players are happy with that, no problem at all! Whatever works.

spartan6613 Oct 2013 2:44 a.m. PST

Warplan 5/5 is impossible to buy. Does anyone have any idea if it has ever been re released or copied?
Mike

Sparta13 Oct 2013 3:08 a.m. PST

We are currently playing a PBEM campaign of the Marengo campaign 1800 based on the map from the OSG game Napoleon in Italy (the old version). 10 players, I umpire. The game is base on one turn days, with the logistics drawn from the boardgame, with various adaptions. The players know their own forces – somewhat :-) – and makes their orders based on reconnosaince. So far it has been great. The game is a game in itself, so that we obviously want to have wargames played with minis, but the maneuver and communication of the campaign is just as enjoyable. The great thing is how players lhave to adapt to the logistics and how they influence decisions such as: forage or draw supply, concentrate or march dispersed.
The games we get from this have the added value of not being balanced, that is the whole purpose of a campaign – to add greater numbers to a vital point. The interesting thing is that the players make their oen victory conditions in the battles – is it worth for me to defend this ground as I can now see he has gotten reinforcements. the best battles I have played are usually the ones where one side is fighting to make an escape from superior numbers – but ypur rules for the tabletop has to be able to support it.
As we get further along, I hop to give some updates on the, but players are still to much in the dark for anything to be made public.

Rod MacArthur13 Oct 2013 3:29 a.m. PST

Thistlebarrow2 wrote:

In this way I can ensure that four corps do not concentrate against one corps.

But such concentration of force is a basic principle of warfare, and should be the aim of any commander. Whether at a strategic level, or tactical level, you beat the enemy best by concentrating a larger force against a smaller part of his army, probably by holding the larger part of the enemy at bay with a smaller force of your own. You can then swing your reserves to do the same to a different part of the enemy army.

That is what all great commanders have done throughout the history of warfare, and Concentration of Force is taught as one of the Principles of War to officer cadets today.

Rod

Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2013 4:06 a.m. PST

Thistlebarrow has written previously that the main aim of his campaign is to produce interesting wargames for him to fight on the tabletop, and although well aware that concentration of forces is a basic principle of real warfare, he is prepared to prevent it to produce exciting wargames.

Regards

Rod MacArthur13 Oct 2013 6:58 a.m. PST

Whirlwind wrote:

Thistlebarrow has written previously that the main aim of his campaign is to produce interesting wargames for him to fight on the tabletop, and although well aware that concentration of forces is a basic principle of real warfare, he is prepared to prevent it to produce exciting wargames.

Understood, but to me a good wargame is one which presents the same decision dilemas as faced by real commanders. I would try to do the same on a wargames table, even in a theoretically balanced game, by using reserves to throw weight against one part of the enemy at a time. It may not always succeed, but it is sensible tactics.

Still everyone to his own.

Rod

hagenthedwarf13 Oct 2013 10:06 a.m. PST

Warplan 5/5 is impossible to buy. Does anyone have any idea if it has ever been re released or copied?
Mike

Check: TMP link

I have seen the complete set once on the internet.

OSchmidt15 Oct 2013 12:44 p.m. PST

Phil Dutre has hit the nail on the head. Most campaigns I have seen fail on one cardinal point. You wind up playing a game to get to play a game. That is, you have to go through the campaign game to get to the table top. Too much work.

I used to be an avid designer of these things andI always found out that

1) They didn't work because

2) The players didn't want to do the even minimal work to manage their sides

4) They didn't work because no one read the rules or read them only partially and expected the GM (me) to do the whole thing.

So I want to the idea of simple narrative campaigns. Each side gives me their orders for the next move. Everyone gets ONE simple order and that is that. I then compare their orders and determine what happened, and set up a battle (or no battle) for next time. Thus if one guy says "I want to advance and attack the enemy in his position." and the other guy says, "I want to send out a foraging expedition>" I determine what battle happens and where. We all play the battle which forms the new base of a situation for them to give me orders from their experiences of the last battle.

It works. No one complains, everyone's happy.

Murvihill16 Oct 2013 9:29 a.m. PST

I came up with a different sort of campaign. I took all the battles that occurred in Europe, put them on a map in the correct general location the battle happened, then attached each battle to at least two nearby battles, giving preference to battles from the same campaign. the idea is that the two campaigners fight a historic battle, the victor marks the battle for his side and the loser retreats to an unfought battle. If the loser has an adjacent battle he's already won he can retreat through that battlefield to a different unfought battle. The idea is to trap your opponent in a battle where your side has already claimed all the adjacent battlefields. The loser is the player who can no longer retreat.

Hopefully that makes sense. It would require some research before each battle on the historic strengths, a map and victory conditions that allow both sides to win. The advantage is that campaign paperwork is limited to one map of the various battlefields. If anyone is interested I could probably post a sample map later on today.

M C LeSingeDew17 Oct 2013 6:42 a.m. PST

Murvihill: Splendid concept. Well done.

All: Arguably the skill in Napoleonic (or any?) warfare is to assure that you have more force at the point of contact than the enemy. As such the campaign is the game with miniatures only being resorted to when near equal forces blunder into one another.

In that sense the players should be prepared up front for the notion that tabletop combat is secondary to maneuver.

If the "campaign" is really must meant to be a scenario generator for table top battles, narrative campaigns are very useful as are rolling tabletop map games (along the lines suggested by the late Mr. Featherstone), or even something as simple as dividing the opposing armies into "corps" and randomly determining which opposing corps collide will all fit the bill.

Bob

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2013 10:25 a.m. PST

That is the reason we play campaigns, to generate a tabletop battle, with some context.

I've developed a mini-campaign process that seems to please folks. You take any campaign and cover a twenty by twenty square mile area around the historic battlefield the day before the battle[s]. While we have done a number of campaigns, Jena and 2nd Manassas are our favorites.

The idea is to grid off a map by half-mile squares, starting the troops where they would have been 24-48 hours before the historic battle. With 1/2 hour-1 hour of play, something that can be done over email or the phone, battleship style [we like the hidden movement and a crude set of scouting rules sorta like 'Battleship'] we have units meet, battle commenced. Reinforcements are easy to calculate, the time of battle and the battlefield is in enough detail that it can be chosen to some extent and easy to create the board for [at 50 to 100 yards to the inch, 1/2 mile squares form up into the table top.

Bill

hagenthedwarf18 Oct 2013 8:46 a.m. PST

All: Arguably the skill in Napoleonic (or any?) warfare is to assure that you have more force at the point of contact than the enemy. As such the campaign is the game with miniatures only being resorted to when near equal forces blunder into one another.

It is which is why a well designed miniatures campaign has to be designed slightly counter-intuitively. In real life you want to maximise your advantages; in the wargaming world you need to minimise the differences. I work back from the shape of battles that are to be fought out to ensure how the armies are designed to produce such a battle and how the results feed into the next round of events.

M C LeSingeDew18 Oct 2013 9:36 a.m. PST

"Well designed" surely is a matter of opinion. Horses for courses.

"I work back from the shape of battles that are to be fought out to ensure how the armies are designed to produce such a battle and how the results feed into the next round of events."

Which is the same as saying you are crafting a linked scenario generator and not a campaign as posited in the OP.

EDIT: @Mcladdie, that's the stuff!

Sparta19 Oct 2013 5:59 a.m. PST

Murvihill: You nailed it. For me the camåaign is a fun thing by it self, that can generate some of the most interesting tabletop games with asymmetric forces. A battle of withdrawal is actually fun, a walkover is not – the umpire must decide what is transfered to the tabletop.

NedZed19 Oct 2013 2:56 p.m. PST

Mike (and anyone else),

Email me if you would like me to send you a PDF of the Warplan 5/5 booklet.
nedz AT mindspring DOT com

– Ned Zuparko

hagenthedwarf22 Oct 2013 2:36 p.m. PST

"Well designed" surely is a matter of opinion. Horses for courses.

"I work back from the shape of battles that are to be fought out to ensure how the armies are designed to produce such a battle and how the results feed into the next round of events."

Which is the same as saying you are crafting a linked scenario generator and not a campaign as posited in the OP.


Err …no. Not much value in discussing realism and so forth but if you want that then I would suggest Kriegsspiel; Two Fat Lardies will sell you a copy.

What was asked was:

What is the best set of paper operational level rules for Napoleonics you have used, and why?

Which was qualified by:
(We are thinking of ease/playability of record keeping/umpiring, realisim of simulation outcomes, types of maps/movement,and battle interface (how well they take you from the operational to the grand-tactical level, and then to tabletop) Thoughts anyone?

The only campaign design for Napoleonics that I have ever done used Corps as a building block to ensure that the two sides that would meet on a battlefield would be roughly similar in size. The map was a network of roads (taking one corps at a time so advance on parallel roads) linking points backed up with simple logistics, limited intelligence and reconnaissance rules. My point of counter-intuitive is that for wargamers you need two equal sides who want to fight whereas in real life you want to manoeuvre or stack the numbers in your favour. Work back from the desired end product (appropriate battles) with clear victory conditions that should provide six to eight battles.

le Grande Quartier General Supporting Member of TMP22 Oct 2013 7:36 p.m. PST

I've been thinking about a way to reward both good operational maneuvers that bring a superior force to the battlefield, AND make the game both playable and enjoyable for the side with an inferior force. Perhaps assigning point values in such a way that an inital operational points victory can be lessened by the inferior side meeting certain objectves on the table-making it worth playing out every secenario, perhaps because there would be a final campaign tally where every point counts toward victory or defeat…anyone done anything like this and/or have some ideas?

Corporal ExEP Inactive Member24 Oct 2013 7:53 a.m. PST

We had a very successful campaing using a point system for armies. In our rules we found that a 2 to 1 advantage resulted in a slaughter. We worked out a formula to reduce this advantage sufficiently to make playable games. The results were then readjusted. It produced lopsided but still playable battles.

Idler203 Inactive Member19 Dec 2013 11:47 p.m. PST

I was quite taken by Old Bear's (above) comments:

"For me the ultimate in Napoleonic campaign wargaming is to use it in conjunction with Empires in Arms (either the board game or the computer version). However, this requires excessive dedication as the game is a beast in terms of size and the demands it makes on the players. But if everything else is in place, nothing will beat it, IMHO."

I had been thinking along similar lines myself and not that the computer game of Empire in Arms has an 'export to tabletop' function which seems just the sort of bridge we need between the two worlds/systems – computers to handle the set up, maps, hidden movement, spotting and logistics and then the tabletop, if you want it, to resolve the matter in some detail. However Old Bear's advice does come with some warnings. It would be good to know a little more what excessive dedication means? I suppose generally wargamers handle 'excessive' quite well.

I have experimented with Matrix Games Crisis on the Danube which is their other Napoleon operational game that allows you to 'export to tabletop' but I did not find this particularly satisfactory

OSchmidt20 Dec 2013 6:26 a.m. PST

Phil Dutre hit the nail on the head. Large campaign rules impose on players the need to play one game to play another. I've trashed the 40 year quest for them. Now I use a simple narrative syste- 4 pages, only need to read once. If you can't understand it then you should consider saving string as a hobby. You have to write a simple sentence though..

Bandit20 Dec 2013 9:00 a.m. PST

Right now my regular group is playing an ACW campaign that I am umpiring. We use the Shenandoah Campaign System with a few modifications to allow an umpire (the system was designed as a double-blind). Moves are conducted by e-mail, both commanders have a map with numbered road dots, I send them a spreadsheet with their units listed at their current positions, they reply after having filled in an order and a destination. Normally a tabletop battle occurs whenever forces collide but with an umpire things can be a little more nuanced.

The rest of the group outside the two commanders are not assigned to a side, rather they just show up for the tabletop battles and roll dice for who they will play for. We then play out the tabletop battle.

For the two commanders the game is the campaign while for the other players the campaign just gives the tabletop game purpose.

If you're playing a campaign just for the purpose of playing tabletop games then honestly I think it'd be easier to use a force generation system and set victory conditions that reward not sacrificing your force unnecessarily.

Cheers,

The Bandit

Ottoathome Inactive Member21 Dec 2013 7:09 a.m. PST

My American Civil War Campaign is made up through a use of many of the unique strategic attributes of the war.

First off the whole is placed in a semi-Imagi- Nation setting as the two antagonists are General Sterling Silver Service of the Onion Army of the Passaic, and General Holden Mahjohnson of the Cornfederate army of Missabama.

The orders of battle of both sides however are fairly close to the proportions of the two sides, and mean that in a straight up fight the Cornfederates would get slaughtered.

The game does not have a map. It is run on a flow chart. low-chart. With the loops, cast structures, and conditions determining the paths. These choices determine the modificatins to the order of battle, mostly of the Onion (Union) forces which bring it down to where the Cornfederates have a decent chance at a table top gme.

There are two major strategies to either side. These are "Offensive in the East" and "Offensive in the west." Each major strategy has two sub-variants. Anaconda Policy, On to Richmond, March to the Sea, Shift to the Peninsula, Raid on Harrisburg, March to Santa Claus, Stonhead's Valley Girl Campaign etc. Below that other choices and ploys all have places.

The game is won by length. The only realistic Southern Strategy was to prolong the war till the North gave up, so the whole things goes on points, and battles won and lost, and those strategic turns where the North can't or doesn't make an offensive count as one point to the South etc.

The whole thing leads to choosing a battle. There are 10 battles in the East and 10 in the West. The person making the offensive (in east or west) gets to choose the battle of his choice from the appropriate list. Winning or losing the battles can modify the flow chart so that certain choices, strategies and ploys can't be used. For example, if the South Looses the Battle of "Vicki's Burgers" they can no longer use their Artillery Reserve in the Order of Battle. If the Onion army loses the battle of Grittysburg they can no longer use the strategy of "Shift to the Peninsula. Some like the "Battle of Fredericksburg Of Hollywood" mean that the Southern Belles can no longer get the delicate unmentionalbles and lingerie to welcome their John's Home again, causing a grace crisis in Cornfederate Morale which prevents them from using the "Rebell Caterwaller" in battle to demoralize the Onion troops. The Rebel Yell in this alternative history to the Civil War is "Fiddle De De!"

A lot of the political factors are submerged through the use of the aspects of soap opera through the rivalry of Generals Service and MaJohnson, and their fiance's for the Confederacy Miss Fidelia De Leigh,(Fiddle De Dee) and Mis Belle Starbucks.

The whole campaign assumes the Southern article of faith that the war was NOT fought over slavery but was a deliberate attempt of the North to destroy the Southern Way of Life, emblamized by "Magnolia's Mint Juleps N' Griz."

M C LeSingeDew21 Dec 2013 8:41 a.m. PST

Another method that I don't think has been yet mentioned is a simple way to give a pretense that the campaign game is important while still giving good tactical battles.

In this setting you use a tactical map and move forces about etc as with any other campaign game.

Here's the twist.

Before the start of play you have a standard campaign force, say 20 units for larger games, 10 units for smaller games.

The players each get 20 (or 10) units to move about the map.

This force is a "floating" force. Every timer there is a battle the stronger force gets the whole OOB, while the weaker force gets a proportionally weaker version of the standard OOB.

Losses are not tracked after a battle. The stronger force always gets the full OOB and the weaker correspondingly less.

You can still get the odd 10-1 scenario but if the out numbered player feels he cannot win then he just retreats and you avoid table top combat altogether.

HistoryWargaming27 Dec 2013 3:36 a.m. PST

Donald Featherstone often played a short 15 minute 'campaign' game prior to a table top battle. His last book, wargaming Commando Operations, has a short example for the ACW.

Basically each side has a short brief and objective. They then manouvre on a hand drawn map and when within contact distance the table is set up and the game begins. Any forces not starting on the table top arrive as reinforcements before half way through the game.

Lfseeney Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2014 9:16 p.m. PST

Wonder if using something like Columbia's Block games would work better?

link

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