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Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Martin on Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:39 pm

"David James (son of Marechal Murat) has taken up one of the vacant Spanish army roles."

Traitor!  And after all I've done for him (in the sartorial sense).

Murat

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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:47 pm

I had concerns about giving him command of a French corps in case Murat and that corps developed a very efficient and un-interceptable form of communication! Cool

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:08 pm

Having considered this some more, I decided tonight I am going to set the end of turn 5, early August, at 23:59h British Summer Time on 14th September. Thats this Sunday. 3 days. That is 2 weeks since I opened the turn, so ample time for everyone to issue orders and write letters.

Apart from Berto no-one has told me they are on vacation so I am assuming none of you are, hence time to get this turn finished!

I can sense the game stalling and I need to keep a certain momentum going.

Murat - regarding Madrid I will get the timing of events resolved properly there, so no need to panic that you've heard nothing. If the people attending your conference haven't replied, just assume a 'yes' answer to all your proposals and push on.

I'm sorry but I can't hold the game up for the slow players all the time, it isn't fair on those players who respond quickly and who invest a lot of effort in writing letters and role-playing, etc.

Thanks everyone.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:26 pm

Turn 5 is complete. A couple of players missed the orders deadline and their forces didn't move. I think 14 days is ample time to look at the game e-mails and reply, I'm only asking for about an hour's effort each turn, unless you begin writing letters and these take only a few minutes each.

It seems a few people took vacations during this turn, but no-one gave me the courtesy of letting me know so I could put the game on pause.

If you're going to be away for a significant chunk of the turn time (turns are usually about a week and a half) then please let me know. I'm pretty much on the ball with most things but my telepathy powers are lacking so if you don't tell me you're away I won't know and I have no way of interpreting the lack of response to e-mail chasers for orders except with mild frustration! Smile

Thank you very much to all the players who submitted their orders well within time this turn and who have since been waiting patiently for some progress.

Anyhoo, with my grumpy librarian act out of the way, there's a series of micro-manouvers going on around Madrid at the end of the turn which may or may not result in a battle. It should take another day or two to finish those off. If no battle, we'll press on with the next turn, late August, very soon. You'll be able to recognise the new turn start by a long post here closing turn 5 with a newspaper summary, then an e-mail in your in box with your updated OOB and troop locations, plus any local/private news for you.

Teaser: there have been some shocking and potentially campaign-changing events in early August... not one but two important fortresses have fallen! Also the Spanish Juntas are awakening with full (in)effectiveness! The regional and in particular the Central Junta at Seville are the army C-in-Cs. They may not comprise military men but they do have full military authority.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:13 pm

Turn 5 is complete. I'll try to get everyone's updated OOBs and such e-mailed over the next 24 hours.

I'm away for a few days for a long weekend in France and will be back by Monday evening, so you won't get any replies from me until then.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:17 am

E-mails with sitreps and updated OOBs have gone out to all players. Turn 6 - late August - is underway. I'd like to have this turn concluded in about 10 days unless we get any battles, so do please be prompt in writing letters and sending me your orders. As always you can make adjustments if late news conflicts with what your forces were doing.

I am away for a long weekend from tomorrow midday-ish. I'll have my laptop but will quite possibly be too drunk busy to keep a check on progress. If that's the case I'll get cracking on responses on Monday evening.

Thank you all.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Sep 18, 2014 2:19 am

The list of which nation controls which settlements has been updated in the rules:

http://forum.kriegsspiel.org.uk/t714-campaign-rules#6411

In early August the French are at rock-bottom, collecting taxes from only 10 settlements in Spain. Less than 10 settlements under control indicates a complete failure of the campaign. Due to the tax collection rates so far and the balance of lost and won battles, the French are losing.

Sitting in Madrid is not working. Killing Spanish soldiers is not working. To win, the French must hold territory.

This has been a public service announcement.

_________________
The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Father General on Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:42 am

I am recovering from a computer crash and will be getting back up to speed this weekend. My SOW is deleted, so I'm not 100% sure how to get that back on here. Will review everything and get orders out by Sunday evening.

I really gotta stop visiting those hardcore scripture sites, they can really smite your hard drive.

-Neal
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:10 pm

The second half of August appears to have been especially hot and sunny as some heat-madness looks to have struck a few generals! As well as the first battle for the British on Portuguese soil vs Junot's corps, we probably will have up to four more battles this fortnight.

North of Barcelona a Spanish force under Vives is attacking near Hostalrich against part of the new corps of General Reille. I am awaiting an e-mail reply from Sean on whether a battle will occur or not.

In the north, around Bilbao and Miranda its possible we could have a battle. I am awaiting news from Sam regarding his army's moves there.

Around Madrid things are coming to the boil and a major battle seems inevitable this turn. There could even be two. I await some input from Sven and Morsey on some details of what their forces are doing

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:29 pm

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

Where we are with the campaign at the end of turn 6, end of August.

The campaign has hit a few lumps and bumps in the last few weeks. On the players side of the fence we have had some unsatisfying battles; these are my fault as I thought we would get major actions in each case but the commanders of one side or both chose courses of action that meant we had some disappointing encounters with not much happening. I had got a sense from people in the map process that battles would result but when it came to the MP games people were more cautious.

I dislike it when this happens as much as I know you guys find it unsatisfying - its a waste of a Saturday session, doesn't especially progress the campaign and you probably think I'm lacking in umpire skills not to double check with players before hand that they really are going to fight rather than fall back or otherwise avoid action. I agree with these views if you hold them - I should always check with players what their intentions are on the battlefield. My bad, quite a serious bad as it means players begin to have doubts if the camapign is working correctly - or in a worst case even worth playing.

On my side of the fence my enthusiasm and self-confidence has taken some heavy blows in the last couple of months because a lot of our regular players have dropped out of the map campaign. I am still somewhat bugged by this when it happens because the campaign really is not that demanding and you can get by with giving it only an hour or two hours attention per week, and usually if turns are held up because battles need to be fought, much less time is needed.

I am sure that almost everyone really can in fact find an hour a week to devote to this. Doing so is vital to the success of the game because by dropping out, my task becomes much harder and the whole group of almost 20 people suffer a loss of detail/enjoyment/continuity/whatever. This comment is beginning to sound like sour grapes
as though I blame those who really don't have time for hurting the campaign. Of course family and work must always come first, and if you genuinely are a busy person I'll of course respect that. I would like to say though that the game doesn't require as much time as you may think. I don't need flowery language and long letters from you to other players - a 1-liner saying what you want to write is enough. I can use a pro-forma to dress up your communication into an in-character format to save you time.

Second item on my side of the fence is my new job. Good news for my financial and mental well-being after a long period of unemployment but bad news for the campaign. Its a busy job and during it I cannot check e-mails or the webforums or do any computer work so this past 2 to 3 weeks my time to run the campaign has fallen off dramatically from 100% at the middle of September to around 15 or 20% of my day now. Processing of post battle reports and data and most critically, sending out information packs to new players have been delayed. I can only apologise for the slowness of some of my answers recently, I used to reply to everything within a day. Not any longer.

Rather unfortunately this lack of personal time also led to me making some bad judgement calls ("I made a decision, and it was... wrong. It was a bad call, Ripley. It was a bad call," as Carter Burke said in "Aliens") regarding battles and some map movement incidents. I have also been a bit ratty in some e-mails too.

I can only apologise for this recent behaviour.

Moving on to the techy issues in the campaign I sense a growing frustration in one team of players commanding armies that always get beaten. Its not surprising, its natural to want to win, or at least be given an even chance in games like this. However, looking historically at how the Spanish armies behaved, they always bounced back, by some amazing internal resilience that other armies did not seem to have, in Spain a battle lost would put an army out of commission for a few weeks but soon it would be back as good as before. The Spanish, as the war went on, even seemed to get stronger and especially their artillery. Given that they habitually lost lots of guns in lots of battles I am not sure where they got the extra guns from but I suppose the major arsenals in Cadiz, Valencia, Seville and Santiago were making the bloody things at an incredible rate. Gunners often ran away so there wasn't much need to train new gunners and gunnery officers, it was the horse teams, transport and cannon they managed to replace fast enough to keep their armies supplied with enough artillery.

So my message to the Spanish players is - don't become shy of losing a battle. I thought the decision by Castanos at Sesena was a fatally bad move. Its one reason I made that game an MP scenario - because I was convinced he would push north towards Madrid; had he got a part of his army between Murat and the capital it would have been a very different result from what occurred but I suppose players are naturally wary now of risking any battle with the Spanish armies. My point here is you should not. You should bite the bullet and fight. The French cannot easily reinforce their armies in Spain while the Spanish can, so there is little reason not to fight, especially in such a critical situation as we have (had?) around Madrid. There are second line Spanish forces forming, more armies will be raised. Don't be afraid to fight.

In addition to that, the Spanish players should take heart from the fact you are winning this campaign easily at the moment because the French are making no attempt (around Madrid) to suppress the rebellion. They've drawn back into a tiny area immediately around the capital which is a move of political suicide and will end the campaign with at the very least Murat's dismissal! An extremely strongly worded letter from Napoleon himself explaining what the Emperor wished was received by the Marshal recently (my attempt as umpire to prompt him that disaster was looming) and he still chose to follow his own strategy. Eek. The French must attack and occupy towns and cities and territory to win. They must occupy whole provinces! So the Spanish team need not look at taking Madrid, you need only look at consolidating your gains and let the French stay behind the Tagus and Guadarrama.

I am going to manipulate the Portuguese situation so we get a Convention of Cintra event. I need to do this because if I do, I can release significant British forces to begin to move east. I think the campaign needs this in order to create some fresh battles with different troops and to make the French redeploy some assets to face them. There is no Junot player so this isn't a damaging event for him. Junot's corps can rejoin the war from France at a later date as it did historically.

There's been an unhappy incident recently with me not making it crystal clear that the MP battles we play may use any map NSD have produced. Players should buy all the add-on packs. I always promote this because the SoW game is so damn good and I feel we should support Norb and his team by buying their add-ons rather than use modder-made maps. I realise though that some of you simply don't have the money to buy the add-ons. I can only ask that you do when you can afford them - all of them are brilliant. However recently a battle was fought and the player commanding one side could not play because he didn't own that map pack. To clarify the situation, this campaign is a vast mountain of work for me. It generates many battles and I try to make them both interesting and design them to be fought over terrain that at least feels like it fits the location we're in. Thus I will always use any map I can to design a scenario on. Don't feel bad if you don't have it - other players do and they will command 'your' troops. If you as C-in-C can't make an MP game, its your duty to write up a battle plan and put it in the private forum so the players who do play can work to your strategy. On the flip-side I cannot design games around what map-sets players own; it would be both too much effort and too limiting on what maps we can use. I am very sorry this incident occurred and that I did not handle it more sympathetically - I can only plead high stress levels due to workload, etc as noted above.

The strategic situation around Madrid and how I've been allowing it to progress is something that concerns me. I have allowed too many micro-decisions by both sides with orders coming at me for periods not greater than every 48 hours at times. I know I said that I'd always let reactive orders be issued if something occurred in the turn but the depth of reactive orders around Madrid has got to a level where I think its not right. I want the campaign to be painted with a broader brush than this. I am thinking hard about altering how I manage the map moves at a macro level and while I want players to be able to respond to a changed situation I want to limit this to one event per two weeks. I also had the original simple design idea in my head at the beginning that armies would move, meet, fight and the loser would then retreat. That would close the turn. Activity of an administartive nature below the scale addressed by the campaign would prevent armies moving again and fighting multiple battles in a turn. I definitely do not want the game to go into that kind of territory. This again has been a mistake of my making in the last 2 turns especially around Madrid. I take full responsibility for it, but it is going to change, starting right now post-Sesena.

There may be a few other minor technical issues as well, but these points are my chief concerns right now; especially the "fun battles" and the "no more micro managing map moves" issues. I hope to bring in some events and mechanisms that will address both.

On the plus side while we have had several players leave the map command side of the game, I'm pleased to say that new names have come forth to replace them all, and the game is now a host to several new members of the group. This being the case, and so that they enjoy the campaign, I do not propose to temporarily halt the game but to continue it, perhaps at a less intense pace. If we can pace it so that some weeks we don't have a campaign battle I hope other community members will write scenarios for stand-alone fights, using other periods (ACW, 1745, Marlburian).

This ends this political broadcast on behalf of the Game Umpire Party. Comments are welcome.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  WJPalmer on Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:07 pm

First, thanks again for all your hard work in putting this together. It is no easy task attempting to recreate history on such a vast scale, but I have to say you've come as close as anyone to pulling it off! At the heart of the campaign is the challenge you face to create conditions where players are motivated to act in a reasonably historical manner for something approaching the same reasons faced by the 1808 cast of characters. With few small exceptions, I think that is exactly what is happening. Anyway, you deserve congratulations for the success so far. Try not to feel too discouraged when it doesn't work out exactly as planned. Recall that those 1808 personalities also tended to the eccentric side!

I offer whatever apologies are warranted for Castaños's decision at Sesena to withdraw back on his supplies. I'm aware that channeling Marshal Kutuzov didn't make for an especially satisfying day for any of the players. By way of explanation, at that moment the choice seemed appropo to a leader not only hungry for victory, but also conscious of his personal career, his men and especially his Junta "bosses" -- who would, no doubt, frown at the wholesale destruction of the Army. This seemed a highly likely outcome to me had the order been given to offer battle in place. Of course, early on direction could have been given to shove the army north toward Madrid, but the way I understand the supply rules, the Army of Andalucia, even had it successfully broken through Murat to the north, would very soon have found itself gnawing on boot leather and horse meat. ;-)

In any event, it was a learning experience.

Ron/Palmer/Castaños

P.S. You, Kevin, and Pepe performed admirably in your roles. Nicely done!
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Martin on Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:30 pm

I agree with Ron on just about everything.  

This is quite the most ambitious campaign I have ever participated in.  You have put in a huge amount of work, Diggers, and overall I feel it's working extremely well.

It's in the nature of campaigns that they are going to throw up lop-sided battles.  That's after all what the map commanders should be striving for.  In their favour, of course!  And not all level-odds battles are going to make for enjoyable games.  I think we will all get better at recognising situations when the result is best left to our esteemed umpire, rather than playing a game.  I think your idea of getting the generals to share their plans for each battle is an excellent one, which should minimise the risk of an unsatisfactory battle.  

I would also echo Ron's point about not getting too discouraged when things don't go as planned.  I suspect both French and Spanish players have astonished you at times with their eccentric behaviour, but if this campaign diverges from history, I don't see that as a bad thing.  And the real commanders on both sides made lots of mistakes too.

Martin/Murat

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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Hannibal on Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:54 pm

I want to repeat everything Ron and Martin have said.

This campaign is HUGE and I think overall it is running very, very well, especially considering all the issues you have encountered, such as map players dropping out and MP players lacking maps.

I know I'm a French player so I can afford to say this ( Razz ) , but I'm finding the campaign a lot of fun; you've packed so much historical detail, roleplaying opportunities and strategical scope in a way that is groundbreaking for many of us.

I understand Spanish frustrations with losing every battle, but I suspect their forces are getting better and better and strategically, this campaign is proving very difficult for the French as well, as the latest news bulletins can testify. I think victory is very, very much up in the air for both sides.

I don't mind continuing the campaign at a slower pace and I'm sure both French, Spanish and umpire players will get better at this innovative system as we go along.

Speaking of map players dropping out, should we do a small recruiting drive? I *might* be able to write up a small AAR written as King Josef's account of the last three months of the war, complete with pictures and everything, if that would assist...?

Josh/Josef


Last edited by Hannibal on Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Uncle Billy on Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:59 am

I too agree with what has already been said. You are doing a great job in managing this campaign. I am sure it must be a formidable challenge. I think you can speed things up and make your life easier by not bothering with fighting hopeless battles. If the object of the fight is just one army defeating the other in a straight up fight, then there will not be much point in creating a scenario and trying to recruit players when there is no question of the outcome. We have plenty of experience now with hopeless endeavors. For Spanish vs French, the Spanish side will need greater than 2 to 1 odds, probably closer to 3 to 1, to have any chance. So if that condition is not present when the two sides collide, I suggest you just roll the dice to determine how badly the Spanish side is defeated and we move the campaign along. Either that or fast forward the campaign to a time when the quality of the troops are more equal.

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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Leffe7 on Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:46 am

I agree with the comments above.
This campaign is HUGE. I would never even try to run such a detailed operation ;-) Thus many thanks to Digby for managing it.
I'm sorry to have dropped out from the map command. I was supposed to be Junot. I found it difficult to get a clear picture of the situation out of the very detailed mail reports, needing translation to the campaign map. I am more comfortable as a Floater player. I can even play Spanish underdogs if needed.

Some feedback on the battles I played:
- The scenarios were well designed and accurately documented in the forum. It looked like the campaign map player involved wanted to position his troops where they started the battle.
- What was lacking for me was a battle briefing per side before the battle. I would expect this from the campaign map player some days prior to the battle and to be displayed in the sides forum (Overall objectives, tasks for each division, orders depending on how the battle goes, like when to retreat). It was more than once when a player took command of a side and had to give ad-hoc instructions on-the-fly minutes before launching the game. Slowing down the pace of the campaign might help to have enough time for such briefings.
- I can't put my finger on it but sometimes I had the impression that the scenarios were too restricted, pre-determined or micro-managed by design. This creates less options for players but also more work for scenario-design. I am looking for fun and interesting battles, created from the context of a campaign and having an impact on how the campaign continues.
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Ike on Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:50 pm

Allow me to join the chorus of praise, Mr. Digby. You are managing, coordinating and administering the campaign in the grand manner as well as in a way which produces interesting battles and frightening nail-biting while waiting for map turn results to arrive. Thank you, sir!

I agree that more battles can be decided by using your referee dice - whatever method you choose is fine with me of course - and that there ought to be some guidelines for doing so, whether you tell us what they are or not. That you have such a procedure and that you have the guidelines will assist you in streamlining your role and easing a bit your administrative burden. I am at fault for not producing a battle briefing before an MP game and will correct that immediately. A short briefing where you have started the "Battle of ..." post will work, I believe with commander's intent, enemy forces, friendly forces, and map situation parts can help our team achieve victory. heh. I am still selling at a local flea market on Saturdays and Sundays and will be for the foreseeable future, so it is essential and important that I do that for each of "my" battles. "I will do better tomorrow." Smile

Thank you again for a tremendously interesting and enjoyable campaign and for all the hard work you have and will put into it.
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Baldwin1 on Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:45 pm

Yes I'd like to echo everyone else. The campaign has been excellently managed! I've had great fun in both the campaign and actual battle aspects. It's really easy to get emerged and feel like a real commander when you get to make the strategic and tactical decisions. I agree with most others if we are wanting the battles to be all out engagements we will likely have to roll dice for the lopsided battles. So far no one i think has pulled out a miracle victory with even number of men using the Spanish troops. I won my battle with the Spanish but think i was up 4:1 or more and even that was a costly victory although the terrain was like the "hot gates" to be fair to the Spaniards. With your new job especially more games will have to be "dice rolled". I also agree if one side is the attacker they should at least attempt an assault, if it fails then they can pull back. No one said they have to fight to the last man of course. I think the English moving into Spain could make for some more dynamic and balanced battles. Joint battles with the Spanish could be very interesting.
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:36 pm

Thanks everyone. It seems that apart from a few bad decisions recently, things are not as grim as I'd feared.

Today I sent out everyone's situation report for early September so turn 7 is up and running! Go for it!

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:48 pm

Orders are coming in thick and fast from the Spanish and British commanders. I lack only instructions from Aragon, Castile and Galicia, plus Sir John Moore. bounce

Nothing from the French yet! scratch

I might have to start diseasing a few Frenchmen as a penalty - they are always slower than the Allies to respond!

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Ike on Fri Oct 17, 2014 4:58 pm

My orders have been sent, sir! Having frightened off the Spanish in one direction, I continue my triumph! Razz
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:55 pm

I am just awaiting orders now from Neal, David J, Steve, Martin and Josh K. I've sent those players prompts. I'll give you guys until Tuesday, then move the turn on.

Thanks all.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:04 pm

I want to give all you players a view into the future - how I perceive the game developing beyond 1808 and what is in store for you all. This message applies especially to the Spanish team - you have all been magnificent so far with your terrible troops, corrupt generals, lack of high command direction and personal/political rivalries; this has been quite simply the most interesting campaign I have umpired, and I've run dozens, over all periods. I hope I can publish some awesome snippets of incompetence, stupid bravery and double-crossing when we are done!

What I want to try and judge is two things - first the correct time to slide the campaign over to its next historical phase. Those of you who have studied the real history of the war in 1808 will know that General Dupont surrendered his whole corps to Castanos' army after the Battle of Bailen in August. Following this disaster the French army pulled out of Spain leaving only garrisons in their Pyrenees conquests. The most south-western French force was the garrison of Burgos.

Napoleon was pretty annoyed at this turn of events, as you would expect. Murat went on leave sick and Napoleon committed his entire Grand Armee to a huge new invasion that swept easily back down to Madrid, pushing back the Spanish in a series of heavy defeats. He then turned on Sir John Moore's British corps and it (famously for us English!) conducted a skiful retreat across NW Spain from the Valladolid region to La Corunna where a battle was fought and won against the French (though Moore was killed at his moment of victory). The British took ship out of Spain in December 1808 to return only to Portugal in spring 1809.

I do not wish to railroad or script the campaign at all - my intention has always been to present the historical forces and geography and let you players decide how best to resolve the situation. I do however want to have Napoleon's Grand Armee arrive at some point to replace the rather poor quality 2nd line forces currently in Spain. This army can only be deployed for a few short months. In Jan/Feb 1809 it must march away to Austria to win the battles of Aspern-Essling and Wagram. This quite neatly puts the French team under pressure to work wonders quickly with what they have before their army is replaced again, in winter/spring 1809 with a not so good one.

So... with that very basic plan in mind I want to ask the players - and mainly the Spanish players - if you would like to continue this campaign. I personally want to very much - it's my favourite campaign of the Nap wars by far and I think what we've done so far has been pretty interesting and fun. The haphazrad and not-straightforward set-up of the Spanish is very entertaining, but I can see that the Spanish players might easily tire of repeated defeats - even if the armies bounce back and new ones are formed, no wargamer enjoys overseeing a string of loss after loss.

There is great scope for the Supreme Junta player to really make his mark if he wishes. It is effectively a C-in-C role after all and I want to introduce a simple system to track the incoming supplies and equipment (cloth and leather for uniforms, muskets, powder, shot and cannon) against a 'honour cost' as the Spanish really dislike having to rely on the English! Expenditure of resources on acquiring and distributing equipment would impact resources and infrastructure committed to raising new units out of more volunteers. I want a neatly balanced system that gives the Junta the options (over a sliding scale) of providing a lot of poorly trained and equippped troops vs a smaller number of better trained/equipped ones. I already have a basic scheme in my mind, I just need to get it down on paper. But I'd be relying on a Junta player to commit to doing this sort of admin role.

Part of my plan is to introduce the British and because all players on a side have the opportunity to play in all battles this means the Spanish team get to play in battles with some very good troops and with a good chance of beating the French. This would be offset by less bold strategies and cat-and-mouse play by the Spanish armies and quite possibly more defeats! I want to know if the Spanish/Allied players are happy with that future.

The Spanish army does get a little better over time - it gets issued British muskets and cannon but its real weakness is its officers who are corrupt, lazy and incompetent all the way to the end of the war. Without good leadership, even good troops will not perfom well. Now there were some good Spanish formations but these did not really show up until 1812 and they were the divisions that fought under Wellington's umbrella, such as Morillo's division. Wellington offered to modernise and improve the Spanish army on the lines he was doing with the Portuguese but the proud and arrogant Spanish would never let him become their C-in-C which was his caveat.

We have some potentially interesting 'what ifs' arising here as you can see and our campaign need not strictly follow history (in fact it could get boring if it did). What if the Supreme Junta had allowed Wellington to become C-in-C? What if British officers trained their troops the way they did the Portuguese? What if Spanish armies were formed commanded by British generals with a smattering of British units in?

My intention was to have numerous but mostly poor Spanish armies tying down large numbers of French troops simply by the threat of their existence. A rubbish army can capture an undefended city just as easily as an elite one, so with many French troops pinnned down watching the Spanish and also having to garrison numerous places they are left with a smaller force to contain and combat the British.

I would also be happy to have players swap roles and even change sides when significant 'time skips' take place so you are all free to see how green the grass is on the other side of the fence. Final question to all - does this framework for possible future play in the campaign work for you?

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Uncle Billy on Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:01 am

I'd recommend skipping the arrival of La Grande Armée and jump to the summer or fall of 1809 when they have departed and the French are in control of most of the map and are forced to try to hold on to their gains. I can foresee no circumstance when the Spanish would be able to muster the necessary 3-4 to 1 numerical superiority to have a fighting chance. Anything less and the battle is a foregone conclusion. I'd be just as disinterested in fighting these sort of battles from the French side as the Spanish.

Let's move on a time when tactical planning is actually needed on the battlefield.

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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Hannibal on Sat Oct 25, 2014 2:46 am

I'm a French player who doesn't participate in the SOW battles (lousy internet connection) so my views don't count for much and I am happy with ANY decision.

I know the Spanish are getting trounced on the battlefield, but on the other hand the French are getting trounced on the campaign level- their occupation is currently completely failing. Whether that is adequate compensation for one-sided battles or not I don't know. I'm not the one losing battles.

To throw out another thought- if the French are winning the battles with ease but with no influence on the state of the campaign, should we move to a automatic battle resolution system for almost all battles (except the 3/4-to-1 even fights)? That would speed things along until we reach a point where things are more even.

Alternatively, should the consequences for failing the campaign be stricter, so the campaign situation influences your capacity on the battlefield some more?

Just a few thoughts to get the conversation going, as I said I have very little standing in this discussion, and would love to know what more Spanish players think.

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Re: Technical Campaign Discussion (but not rules Q & As)

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:58 am

Kevin, I see your point. Then again I have alluded to a 'fantasy option' whereby the British take overall command of the Spanish forces and conduct a retraining programme. By about 1810 we'd have a Spanish army that was still partly untrained and part was retrained (to about Portuguese standards). This is about the time of the Bussaco/Torres Vadras campaign and is also the beginning of the phase of the war where the French, as you say, are in control of a lot of territory and its the Anglo-Portuguee who take on the mantle of overall offence.

If players are not put off by the fantasy option I think 1810 would be a very interesting campaign to play.

I want to address this "3:1/4:1" required ratio that keeps getting mentioned. I don't agree with it. Given that in some areas the French are deteriorating and the Spanish are slowly getting better (their raw volunteers tend to gain morale after they've seen the elephant and the Spanish have captured a lot of French muskets and some cannon in sieges) I am seeing a time soon when a 3:1 ratio would be a complete Spanish walkover. A case in point is right now when a French player informed me today he is backing down from a 2.5:1 fight where he is defending high ground.

San Milan was a 2:1 fight and though the Spanish lost far more men, they won by exploiting the tactical position. Battles are not always about killing the enemy, I try my best to give you more subtle games than that Wink

Calahorra is about a 2.5:1 fight. I really think this battle can go either way (hence why I'm creating a scenario).

We've really only had the Spanish crushed in the very early fights when everyone was raw (Atalyuclas, Alagon, Valladolid, Navalcamero), and at Sesena where it was the French that had the 2:1 advantage. The Spanish are slowly getting better. Palafox's army at Calahorra is nothing like the one that was beaten at Alagon.

The 3:1 mindset needs to be revisited; I think holding onto it may be doing the Spanish some harm.

Having said all that, a late 1809 or early 1810 campaign would be different. I'd need to add in more garrison and territory control rules because by about that time the French had upwards of 350,000 troops in Spain, yet could hardly field 70,000 - 100,000 to face both the Spanish in the south and Wellington in the west.

Martin J and I have also been talking on e-mail about declaring a temporary halt in the Peninsular and starting a new campaign in a more central European region so we can use Gunship's lovely Russians and Prussians. A new campaign is a whole different story but one I'm also positive about. However we recognised that by this time next year we'll probably all be playing a different game anyway (though that's not to say a campaign in progress cannot be ported over to use the SoW:WL engine).

More to think about,

More discussion welcomed.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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