Campaign considerations

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rbodleyscott
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Campaign considerations

Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:08 am

DanielS wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote:
DanielS wrote:Just to confuse things there were several diffrent schools of thought regarding the Harquebusiers.........

Tilly regarded Harquebusiers as unfit for serious duty on the battlefield, he prefered cuirassiers for battles and Croat style cavalry for harassing the enemy. Wallenstein on the other hand liked arquebusiers quite a bit to begin with, proably because he focused on "stomach strategy" rather than decisive battles as Tilly did. Harquebusiers were cheap and easy to raise compared to Cuirassiers so you quickly got a sizeable force of cavalry to controll wide areas and their revenues.
And when the enemy mostly had Harquebusiers as well then the choice was not so risky. However after the failure of his unarmored caracoling Harquebusiers Wallenstein learned the hard way about the limitations of that type of cavalry.
So he quickly introduced armour and abolished fthe use of carbines & caracols.
The rules reflect this dilemma on the tabletop. Unfortunately, this means that, in the light of hindsight, like the historical generals, most players (given the choice by their army list) may prefer not to use Harquebusiers much. (Especially as the strategic factors do not come into the equation).
Good to know that that part of history is reflected, any set of rules meat to recreate battles will by their very nature exclude most of the strategic factors which shaped armies as much or even more. As our little metal men don't have to endure "rainy marching in the painfull field" full cuirassier armour is not much of problem yet by 1645 even elite units like Alt-Piccolomini wanted to get rid of their last suits, carbines may not have been all that effective in a large scale battle but in the "small war" they had their place, hence you find the Lt-Col of Alt-Piccolomini requesting that 20 men of each company be equipped with this "usefull and needed" weapon.
Last edited by rbodleyscott on Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:10 am

DanielS wrote:Good to know that that part of history is reflected, any set of rules meat to recreate battles will by their very nature exclude most of the strategic factors which shaped armies as much or even more. As our little metal men don't have to endure "rainy marching in the painfull field" full cuirassier armour is not much of problem yet by 1645 even elite units like Alt-Piccolomini wanted to get rid of their last suits, carbines may not have been all that effective in a large scale battle but in the "small war" they had their place, hence you find the Lt-Col of Alt-Piccolomini requesting that 20 men of each company be equipped with this "usefull and needed" weapon.
Yes, we miss a lot of nuances by not playing all of our games in a campaign context. Wargames campaigning has always been one of my greatest loves, but campaigns only work really well when you have an umpire who is willing to devote a large portion of his spare time to running them.

Computers are something of a substitute, and I have in the past published campaign management software - though it is sadly now long out of date, being a DOS program.

My intention over the next few years is to have another go at developing a campaign management program that will allow decent wargames campaigns to be run without anyone having to devote their life to them.

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Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:11 am

pcelella wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote:My intention over the next few years is to have another go at developing a campaign management program that will allow decent wargames campaigns to be run without anyone having to devote their life to them.
I keep hoping that we'll see sometime in the near future an "official" Osprey/Slitherine campaign publication. Just as was originally for casted.
It has not yet been decided whether this will come in the form of a book or a computer program. I favour the latter. The idea would be to write it so that it can link in with both FOG tabletop games and FOG PC games as desired by the user.

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Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:11 am

hazelbark wrote:I too love campaigns. The problem i have foudn with them is once one side figures out how to concentrate excessive force at one point it just starts mopping up the board.

I ran a naval ship of the line campaign. The english player kept dispersing his fleet and getting 3 SOL mauled by 14. So suddenly the "weather" and "misunderstood orders" kept forcing the english fleet to concentrate. Then he would disperse them. "weather" would force him together.

Also it is easy to get campaigns focused on logisitics.

So I have found a series of campaign-ish battles works better

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Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:12 am

Skullzgrinda wrote:
hazelbark wrote:I too love campaigns. The problem i have found with them is once one side figures out how to concentrate excessive force at one point it just starts mopping up the board. ...Also it is easy to get campaigns focused on logisitics...
Same experience. It is miserable to try to fight some absurd uber-horde that represents every able bodied man of an entire people concentrated on a single field, OR to keep track of wagons of fodder, amphorae of wine, or even mere caravans. Both extremes result in broken games.

The old hex map board game solution was to simply limit how many units could be 'stacked' in a given location. This is simple and effective, but does preclude historically justified troop concentrations for short periods, whether due to bottlenecks or intent. An interesting compromise would be to provide for some sort of escalating attrition risk as too many troops are concentrated in any location. This could be as simple as the mechanisms for for a flank march, but applied to all BGs. What would constitute "too many" units might be tied to the nationality's camp hygiene standards and logistical sophistication at the time. eg Romans from the Late Republic through the 4th century AD could concentrate more units without risk (or at a reduced risk) than a Foederate Roman army, which in turn could concentrate more troops than a Vandal or Limigantes horde.

This would create an incentive to spread troops out as they usually were historically, but allow large concentrations for a brief campaign or offensive, as they were from time to time - often for decisive engagements, Gaugamela, Adrianopolis, etc.

A computer program would make this much easier, and could even keep track of areas which were stripped, laid waste, or tainted with typhus, dysentery, glanders etc. All in all, good incentives to keep troops reasonably disperseds.

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Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:13 am

pcelella wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote:It has not yet been decided whether this will come in the form of a book or a computer program. I favour the latter. The idea would be to write it so that it can link in with both FOG tabletop games and FOG PC games as desired by the user.
I hadn't thought of it, but I love the idea of a computer program for running a campaign. That would make all the GM book-keeping a breeze. And if it is keyed into the tabletop and computer games, that is ideal.

Peter C
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Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:14 am

DanielS wrote:I think that the "über-horde" problem stems from the fact that all too often large armies get all/most of the benefits of their size but few of the problem they would have suffered from both on a campaign level and on the battlefield. (At least in the 'Renaissance'/'Early Modern' period. On the strategic level a large army would often move slower, not only because of the intertia in a large body of troops, campfollowers and train but because the size required much more time be spent of foraging and rasing 'contributions' unless one could draw supplies from depots. If the supplies fail then you will find yourself in serious trouble more quickly and disease will both break out easier and kill more of your troops because you couldn't find good quarters for them. (Cramped quarters made it possible for an epidemic to wipe out large parts of an army, in the winter of 1621-1622 the Swedish army in Livonia saw losses of 50 to 75% in the infantry regiments due to these being forced to spended the winter in overpopulated quarters)

So having the larger army main could and should be a problem, in 1563 the Danes massed some 25000, possibly even 28000 Landsknechts and Reiters for the conquest of Sweden, not only did this huge army do significant damage to the Danish province of Halland as it move through it but it also proved unable to go more than a short distance across the border before supply problems forced a halt. So all the Danes gained for their huge expense was the captured of a border fortress and the financial problems created by hiring so many mercenaries plauged the Danes until the end of the war. In constrast the Danish commander Daniel Rantzau was repeatedly able to penetrate deep into Sweden with much smaller armies some 5000-7000 men strong.

There is also the problem that some of the "tools" which a weaker force could use to overcome the disadvantage in army size on a tactical level are missing or or not fully implemented in many tactical level rules.
For example fortifications are often too easy to assault and overcome for a larger army, particularly as the army level morale rules often simply look at the size of a an army or wing which makes it fairly risk free to indulge in sustained assaults.
In real life commanders often regarded full scale earthworks as impossible to overcome, particularly if positioned on good ground, and the assaults that were tried often proved them right ( Bicocca 1522 or Alte Veste 1632 springs to mind). Whatever success was gained tended to be Pyrrhic (Freiburg 1644). Making sustained assaults was to invite disaster if carried out too obstinately as Horn found out at Nördlingen 1634.

The problem is of course translating the history into a fun and rewarding gaming experience, which is easier said than done to say the least.

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Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:15 am

DanielS wrote:The problem is of course translating the history into a fun and rewarding gaming experience, which is easier said than done to say the least.
True, but this sort of analysis is very helpful towards developing such a system.

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Post by hazelbark » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:59 pm

In game terms, I found a good mix with combining the old Diplomacy game with DBA.
Diplomacy 1 block = 1 army. max 1 army per area. Each other army block could "support" offensive or deenseive another block.

Translate to DBA
Each army = 12 stands. Each support = flank march of 3 stands. Eventaully we allowed scaling up to BBDBA which is functionally double or triple size.

So in FOG terms.

1 block = 800 points
Each supporting or reinforcing block equals 3 BGs.

While an extra 3 BGs to one side is a big advantage. It still allows a game that probalby wouldn't be worth playing at 1400 points verus 800 points.

Bascially you limit the massing in one place. You factor out and equalize the attrition by reseting the point levels.
There is still a big advantage of concentrating force, but not absolute victory.

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Post by hazelbark » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:41 pm

Another thought that was a suggestion from flames of war. Apparently they are tired with peole showingup witht he perfectly constructed 1600 point army. So they just are randomly changing the army size.

You could do something like an army suffering attriction loseing 3D6 of points. And the defending army gains that many points.

Not huge swings but some level of impact.

OR an amry that lost its camp last game is -24 points this game.

You need to have penalties that don't make who ever wins the first game just then has a series of easy crushing victories afterwards. That may be historical, but not fun.

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Post by nickdives » Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:00 pm

The South Somerset Wargames Group are currently nearly at turn 5 of a 1638 TYW campaign. So far well run by Martin and well "attended" which are both campaign problems - those not well run, or not well "attended" are doomed to failure. At then end of any battle even the winning side will be minus a few units and depending on how well the logistics are played their next game could be a disaster because they run out of supplies!

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Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:39 am

bertalucci wrote:The Perfect Captain website has a mass of Campaign ideas and systems for vaoius periods covered by FoGR & FoGAM. (All free)
Which in my view can work well without massive time investment

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Post by bertalucci » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:43 am

bertalucci wrote:The Perfect Captain website has a mass of Campaign ideas and systems for various periods covered by FoGR & FoGAM. (All free)
Which in my view can work well without massive time investment
But you will use up loads of printer ink and cardstock!

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Post by Spartacus » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:37 am

Slightly off the beaten track here but have any of you ever used any of the old WRG publication "Scenarios for Wargamers" with FOG rules ?
It had some very useful situations in it.


http://www.figuren-modellbau.de/scenari ... games.html
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Post by shadowdragon » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:54 pm

Spartacus wrote:Slightly off the beaten track here but have any of you ever used any of the old WRG publication "Scenarios for Wargamers" with FOG rules ?
It had some very useful situations in it.


http://www.figuren-modellbau.de/scenari ... games.html
Yes. I've done 2 "campaigns" which I posted on the FOG:A&M AAR pages:

The first was a Richard III versus Henry Tudor (3 battles - Merevale Abbey, which is near Bosworth and two near Shrewsbury):

viewtopic.php?t=15053

The second series was 3 games on the same terrain with Persians versus Athenians, Thessalian and Spartan versians of a classical Greek army.

viewtopic.php?t=18074

The latter series was pretty much an impossible task for the Persians, but it was played solo so no one's feelings got hurt. However, it was very interesting to refight battles over the same terrain. By the third game I began to really understand the intrinsic strength of the defensive (Greek) position. I would do it again but probably with different armies instead of three variants of the same army lists.
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Post by shadowdragon » Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:25 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
pcelella wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote:My intention over the next few years is to have another go at developing a campaign management program that will allow decent wargames campaigns to be run without anyone having to devote their life to them.
I keep hoping that we'll see sometime in the near future an "official" Osprey/Slitherine campaign publication. Just as was originally for casted.
It has not yet been decided whether this will come in the form of a book or a computer program. I favour the latter. The idea would be to write it so that it can link in with both FOG tabletop games and FOG PC games as desired by the user.
I would very much look forward to that in either form, but I agree a computer program would be preferable to ease the accounting part of a campaign. :)

I've got Early Achaemenid Persians, Classical Greeks (including Syracuse), Early Carthaginians and, most recently Neo-Bablyonians. Eventually I'll have Late Dynastic Egyptians which, hopefully, would coincide with your campaign program and I'd be set for a 550BC campaign.

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Post by pcelella » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:48 pm

shadowdragon wrote:I would very much look forward to that in either form, but I agree a computer program would be preferable to ease the accounting part of a campaign. :)
Of course, I'm enough of a fan that if a book and computer program were released, I would probably purchase both :)

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Post by berthier » Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:03 pm

For a multitude of Napoleonic and ACW campaigns I have run, point-to-point maps worked well. The connecting lines (or transportation lines) were designed to be roughly 1/2 day march apart. Each transportation line could handle a certain number of troops during each phase of the day based upon the ability of the commander who was controlling the force moving down the road.

On more than one occasion, we had commanders gather too many troops at a city at one time and then be forced to retreat without having the command ability and road capacity to move them all at one time.

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Post by hazelbark » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:43 am

I also think the point to point represents a lot of what was historical.

"go down that road until you this town."

Then once opponents start to meet it expanded out from there.

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Post by rbodleyscott » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:48 am

Here are some (rather old) thoughts of mine on computerised campaigns:

http://www.byzant.demon.co.uk/comsimul.htm

Apologies for the poor formatting of the lists.

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