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"Snappy Nappy Winter 1807 Campaign in a Day: GM sums it up!" Topic

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Gonsalvo14 May 2016 10:07 a.m. PST

A really interesting post by James about the hows and whys behind the creation of this great "Campaign in a Day event, based upon the Winter of 1807 (Eylau Campaign)


Relationship between the player maps and the actual tables used.


Simplified sketch map of the same

James gives the scenario specific rulers, his analysis of how the the game went and why. There is also a log of all the messages that players sent during the game.


James' overview of the Campaign at about the midpoint:

At 14:20, I surveyed the tables, marking the forces on a map (see photo – cannon indicate major battles, infantry stands indicate a screening force). There were major battles at:
- Table U (Bischofsburg) – Davout & Sedmoratzky,
- Table H (Heilsburg) – Ney's battle,
- Table D (Marienburg) – Bernadotte's battle,
Screening forces at:
- Table E (Elditten) – Allied screening forces
- Table J (Jankovo) – French screening Lt Cav
- Table N (Neidenburg) – French screening Lt Cav

All on the blog at:


HangarFlying Inactive Member14 May 2016 3:07 p.m. PST

This is extremely fascinating. How did you regulate the pace of the game so that everyone was on the same turn, as opposed to one table being on turn 2 and another being on turn 4? What was the process of delivering messages—how did you determine how much delay between delivery and receipt, and are the times in the blog real time or game time?

Gonsalvo14 May 2016 6:57 p.m. PST


Ah, but that's part of the key – we do NOT coordinate the moves after the first one or two. If you think about it, it would be impractical as a move with combat could take 20 minutes vs a move on an empty table taking a minute or so. That certainly takes it out of being a strict simulation, and more of a Gestalt model.

But, you know, the thing is… it works! Players face challenges similar to those confronted by their historical counterparts – finding the enemy, discerning their intentions, trying to prevent the enemy form doing the same, establishing a plan of operations and modifying as circumstances dictate, the vital role of communications (and the havoc wrought by vague messages and orders, misspelling similar sounding place names, delays, etc. There is a place for tactical excellence, and for knowing when to fight and when to retreat. The C-in-C's role in coordinating the actions of your sub commanders is vital. For the Berthier in us, even parallel avenues of advance often matter.

As far as messages, 15 – 20 mins is a typical delay; shorter if the commands are very close, longer if they are distant and/or the path is contested. James and I discussed that could probably be shortened to 10 minutes on average. Often the messages from the C-in-C are received by players as a bit of a nuisance – they are often out of date, and take time to answer, and distract one from the matters at hand. Famously, in one of these events, A French commander, deeply embroiled in combat (and losing same) received yet another pie in the sky directive from Napoleon. Upon delivery, he contemptuously crumpled it up and dropped it on the tabletop, unread! Despite this, the communication between players is often vital to success. The times on the messages are all real time.

HangarFlying Inactive Member14 May 2016 7:31 p.m. PST

So, essentially, each table is running on its own turn sequence?

Gonsalvo15 May 2016 3:34 a.m. PST

Yes, that's right. See the "Deployment Zone" rules for what happens when you enter a table that already has troops on it. This was an important innovation of James' that is simple but very helpful.

HangarFlying Inactive Member15 May 2016 7:21 a.m. PST


marshalGreg16 May 2016 5:41 a.m. PST

Pls do this at a Historicon!


Russ Lockwood16 May 2016 10:40 a.m. PST

The Deployment Zone mechanic (by James) really added to the multi-table concept. The use of tables as the spots worth fighting over is another clever concept by James. It really opens the campaign up in terms of area covered.

Besides splitting up the battle among separate tables, the real-time aspect of NOT co-ordinating turns also takes away the helicopter viewpoint of the gamer. Admittedly, this is speeding up "marching" -- although I would call it being uncertain of where the enemy was to begin with and then finding out he was a lot closer than believed.

That certainly takes it out of being a strict simulation, and more of a Gestalt model.

Exactly. It creates situations where you as a commander need to adopt new plans on the fly.

For example, a French Corp showed up on my "flank" on the battle of Marienberg table. My bad. I should have sent a light cav brigade off table to see what was going on (like Ney did at the beginning of the game).

But I got caught up in trying to do a flank march and cut off Bernadotte's retreat. At this detached force's MOST vulnerable point, a French Corps showed up. A few turns later, a French Cav Corps shows up. Chutney! Then another and then another French Corps showed up. Finally, Napoleon and the Imperial Guard showed up. Really starts to press your ability to adapt your plans…

This happens pretty much every multi-table SN game, which makes limited knowledge of enemy positions enjoyable. It works for both sides.

Excuse me…I've got to find out what was happening elsewhere from where I was battling -- especially the messages. These really give you an idea of player state of mind at different times.

Gonsalvo16 May 2016 10:11 p.m. PST

Marshal G.

I am seriously considering Historicon 2018, or perhaps 2019 for one of these. 2017 is too soon to paln it out adeqautely, especially with a local event in the planning stages already. I would need to talk with the Convention coordinator, as it would probably take up one of the big rooms for a whole day. Still, if they could devote as much space to the (admittedly magnificent) Pirate game a few years back, they could probably do it for something like this. There's also PLENTY of open space in the dealer area in recent years – although noise could be a problem.

marshalGreg17 May 2016 6:38 a.m. PST

I have sent a PM


Decebalus17 May 2016 6:42 a.m. PST

It is really wonderful, what you are doing.

Three questions:
- How do you play, if only a part of a command leaves the table? Ex: Half of Davouts corps leaves table A and would cross to table B, but the other half is still fighting on table A. Davout cannot split himself.
- Is it really necessary to have 15 tables prepared before. Couldnt you let two commands meet at a map and then built the table in a hurry? Or have some standard east prussian tables ready, that you use for what ever location the fight is on?
- I noticed that some players had a long time nothing to do (Murat)? Wouldnt it be better to have some reserve commands only commanded by Napoleon/Bennigsen and only be used after they were put into a fight (and then handed over to a player).

Gonsalvo17 May 2016 6:22 p.m. PST

1) A Corps Commander has a Commnand radius – in this case we used 18" for everyone, which was very generous to the Russians (see James' discussion of that issue). If your troops are all in one log March column we consider the in command regardless. Similarly if a Corps is transitioning from Table A to table B we don't worry about it much either. BUT, if you're dropping of detachments, those detachments will have limited ability to respond to threats etc; agau see Jame's discussion of scenario specific rules – we were more generous than the base SN rules are.

If a Corps were splitting itself into two substantial parts, each with its own mission on different tables, then the table without the C-in-C is going to take the Out of Command penalties for sure. Not usually a wise idea. I THINK Lestoc may have done this briefly when he "sneaked" into Jankovo to relieve Gradudenz.

3) You could certainly do with fewer tables – * or so woukld still make a pretty decent game, especially with fewer players and larger tables. The real point of one of these Snappy Nappy Campaign events isn't necessarily about the tactical fighting, although that will be the experience of some players (Ney, Davout, for example), but rather the full spectrum of Army and Corps command – making plans with incomplete information, communicating concisely but effectively, the thrill of entering a new table and fining three enemy Corps there (Ney), formulating a plan to use your forces to best advantage. Often time the Corps that does the LEAST fighting is the most decisive at the end of the day, as it';s the one coming in on your rear!
3) The C-in-C is usually VERY busy running and coordinating the overall movements of the army, and is best if they have no command at all or a small elite command (as we did this time). Since the troops have to be physically moved (and that DOES take time, even if it is relatively quick on a table with no enemy), he can't handle several corps even pre battle. If your object is just to fight it out tactically, play a big battle with SNappy Nappy – Like Borodino, Dresden, or Wagram – it will fit on a 6 x 12 table! We may do just that as a different sort of game in November.

Russ Lockwood18 May 2016 6:51 p.m. PST

You can always limit the number of tables. It's just less maneuvering. More tables equals more variables for movement, more swirling fighting, and more paranoia about your line of communications.

If you have three tables (call them Left, Right, and Center), you pretty much will know where everyone is on turn 1. If you have 13, you've got to do what commanders had to do -- scout, make contingency plans, communicate, and adapt your own plans when surprises occur.

In this game, Ney really threw us Russians for a loop when he showed up on our STARTING table on turn 1. Later, I wandered into the wrong Rollbahn by taking the wrong road! Even later, I was monkey in the middle as corp after corp showed up to surround me on three sides.

You might be able to do tables on the fly if you had a couple players, but when 15-16 gamers get going, I think the umpire might have a difficult time creating a table on the fly in the middle of the campaign -- and make umpiring decisions with existing battles. I've umpired many a campaign. It's fun, but frenetic. I can't thank James, Peter, and everyone in CT enough for putting on multitable campaign games where I get a front-line command to game, not umpire. It is really so cool to maneuver across multiple tables!

Full disclosure: I wrote the rules.

If you haven't read Peter's BlundersontheDanube blog, that's a good place to start. Also, Alan runs a marvelous Yahoo group that has lots of info, OOBs, errata, etc.

HappyHussar25 Oct 2017 12:13 p.m. PST

Very nice!

Sgt Steiner29 Oct 2017 12:48 p.m. PST

Super stuff

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