Thursday, May 21, 2009

Theatre of War Campaign

Of late, I have begun the common (and ultimately futile) quest for the perfect set of horse and musket campaign rules. I've always liked the system from Piquet, Theatre of War, but it is designed as a two-player system. As such, it is one of the most entertaining systems I have encountered. It is not for the Piquet-uninitiated, however. A fairly solid grasp of Piquet concepts and mechanics is required (not to mention the main Piquet rule set) before one can even hope to get a grip on this system. I have long pondered how I could do two things with Theatre of War: 1) adapt it for multi-player gaming; and 2) adapt it for use with email correspondence. The first is not difficult to achieve but the second more so. The system is based (and relies completely) on card decks, as are all Piquet systems. This works well when gamers are face to face but is more difficult to manage when playing by email. To add another layer of potential complexity, I wanted to incorporate aspects of Field of Battle, another Piquet product. FoB shares much with classic Piquet but is a more streamlined version. For reviews of FoB, look here and here and here and....well, you get the gist of it.

Long story short, I began hammering out some versions of what I thought might work as hybrids of Field of Battle and Theatre of War. I even roped a good friend into testing one of these versions, playing the strategic moves via email and the tabletop battles in person. This is one thing I hope to document here.

First of all the rules: link

Next a map to use:
This map I lifted from an old Eckmuhl board-game from who-knows-where.

I wanted a quick play-test of the system, so the armies involved weren't of paramount importance. In the OBs listed here, you'll see a French army, led by the big guy himself, facing a combined Austrian and British force, commanded by Archduke Charles. I have no army sufficiently large to take on my French army so I needed to combine two of them. My first impulse was to combine my Prussians and Austrians but I have several new units in my British force that I wanted to see some action. Thus, the Austro-British army of 1809! Purists may now file out of the theatre slowly.

Next up, the opening moves!

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