Monday, June 22, 2009

New Napoleonic Campaign

After the quick end of my last Napoleonic campaign with Vidal, I decided to go ahead with another campaign project that I've been puttering away at for a while. This one's a little more ambitious but quite different in approach. I was able to find some wonderful maps built with Campaign Cartographer, a CAD-like program used guessed it... build maps. I have the program and I was planning at some point to produce some campaign maps for point-to point movement but these were shown on TMP as a part of another Napoleonic campaign and the creator graciously allowed me to use the map for our campaigns. He has created several maps to cover all the major campaigning areas in Europe and the one chosen for our current campaign attempt is below.

The purple and yellow lines are the general starting positions of the French and the Allies, respectively. Our campaign will be based loosely on the 1813 campaign in Germany. Our group's 28mm Napoleonic collection is quite large but doesn't reflect the 1813 orders of battle well, except to show that we have French, Russian, Austrian and Prussian contingents. The campaign is large enough that I could have used the historical OBs and when a battle is fought we could merely plug in our units to fulfill the necessary on-table OB. I could give a whole host of excuses why I didn't do this but it's sufficient to say that for this part of the project I was rather lazy. I decided to use the OBs of the forces we have and make them reflect the general 1813 situation (although, as I write this I'm rather regretting this decision....maybe there's time to go back and re-work the OBs...hmmmm?). There is another reason for the ahistorical OBs. As the game-master and map steward, I didn't want to get too bogged down in the logistics of moving all the icons on the map the historical OBs would demand. Granted, I use Photoshop and that allows me to streamline the process enormously. But this is our first test of the new rules (more of them in a moment) and I thought that smaller OBs would be better to try them out.

A sample of the unit icons used on the campaign map.

As for the rules, these are again another try at merging Piquet's Field of Battle and the campaign system Theatre of War. Vidal and I were able to fairly easily play the card system in ToW via email (although it could be awkward and clunky at times). We were able to do this because there were only two of us and we both have extensive experience with Piquet products. The concepts and mechanisms were familiar to us and there was little time lost in mis-interpretations. For my current attempt, I wanted more players and unfortunately, I have yet to come up with a comfortable method of playing a ToW-based campaign via email with more than two players. So, the current attempt at campaign rules uses some basic FoB and ToW ideas and mechanisms but the initiative rolls have disappeared and the campaign and battle decks have been separated and altered alot. You can see them here (file name FoB_ToW_1813_rules_2.1). I should note that I make little or no attempt here or in the rules to explain basic Piquet philosophies or mechanisms.

Unfortunately, I can't publish the OBs for the campaign but I can show a sample of the order submission form that I created for players to submit their moves etc each turn. This is a simple Excel spreadsheet that utilizes drop-down selections for ease of use. At the beginning of each turn, each player will receive an updated map and this form with any pertinent information. The players simply input the necessary movement and order information and email the file back to me.

So, it's off to the races and hopefully we'll see some interesting battles. The players are currently preparing their initial deployments and moves. Hopefully, by the end of the week the first campaign turn will have been made. Tally-ho!

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