Tuesday 18 April 2023

Recruiting for a Napoleonic campaign (Wavre).

I have been beavering away, working on getting a ‘campaign’ style game, heavily themed upon the situation at Wavre on 18th June 1815 (Prussian v French), up and running.

Each side will have a Corps Commander and four Divisional (Brigades for the Prussians) Commanders, so for it to work, I need 5 players per side, ten in all.

I have a working model and hopefully participants will feel that it delivers the essence of the subject, a bit of fun, the restraint of fog-of-war and dare I say, the frustrations of command.

I am calling this a campaign, but really we are looking at an actual single battle. It is just that a campaign engine serves us well for a multi player game in which each commander is only aware of what is going on in their small part of the battlefield, unless they are advised otherwise. 

The Corps Commander will initially direct the sub-commanders with a general overall plan and from then on, direct the big picture, but the Corps Commander should not become involved in the ‘managing’ of the sub-commander’s formation.

The sub-commander will give orders to their own formation, directing them to move, force march, attack, rest etc. They will be informed by their reconnaissance patrols. When an engagement occurs, I will move things to the tabletop. The commanders will advise me on disposition, battle plan and formation stance (aggressive etc). I see this as just being a couple of paragraphs of text to guide me in representing you at the table. I will then run the individual battles and feedback the outcomes.

I have spent quite a bit of time creating sub-systems that will help manage the campaign in fair way.

Players will have a point-to-point map. When two forces find themselves in the same location (say a village or a crossroads), there will be an action, small or large and this may draw reinforcements in from surrounding locations (marching to the sound of guns).

I will manage the battlefield, which will be set-up with a mix of random terrain elements and fixed terrain, depending on the location (the map terrain will indicate what the battlefield may look like). 

Outcomes will be fed back out to those present on that battlefield …. i.e. those who can see things and it will be their responsibility to accurately report back to the Corps Commander. The Corps commander will be reliant on a flow of information coming into their headquarters.

To have enough forces to do this, I will be drawing upon my Epic Napoleonic figures from Warlord Games. Most are unpainted, so no amazing shots etc, but they will provide a fully functional way to get this done within my domestic setting.

For the tabletop battles, I have settled upon using the Shadow of the Eagles napoleonic rules by Keith Flint.

As formations break and local significant battles are lost, the Corps Commander will be given Corps Break Points. These will accumulate and at some point, the forces of a Corp Commander may fail their Corps Break Test and that will start to see the closure of battle. This mechanic is designed to represent the rigours of combat on a corps and ensure that the campaign does not drag on too long for those involved.

Sub-Commanders will want to keep their Corps Commander informed of developments, who in turn, may wish to change the strategy or have some formations support others, or otherwise control the tempo at which forces are drawn into battle …. reserves anyone?

All communications come via the umpire, for admin reasons and to allow some behind the scenes things to happen like orders getting delayed or the handling of formations routing and rallying etc, but equally important, it helps the player get a proper sense of isolation that any commander would have on the battlefield, being able to see only their part of the landscape and battle and desperately relying on accurate reports coming in.

If you would like to be involved please do NOT mention so in the comments, by all means comment, but just don’t register your interest, it is important to the fog or war that players do not know who each other are. Instead, send me an e-mail via the contact page on my Commanders web site (link below). 

You will hence-forth be referred to by the name of the command that you have assumed. As a player you may find yourself in the heat of battle, or sitting on your hands in a quiet part of the battlefield, it might even be possible that the campaign will close and you have largely been out of things (let’s hope not!), such is the nature of the dynamics of campaign!

If there are more than 10 applicants, then it will be names in a hat (thank you Mrs. Wargamer). 

If you have a preference as to which side or what command level you would prefer, let me know (though not Guaranteed and I may need to settle such things on a die roll). 

There are places for 4 French divisional commanders and one corps commander and likewise for the Prussians, there are 4 places as Brigade Commander and one Corps Commander.

I would suggest that if you do want to get involved that you DON’T do any reading on the battle, as I feel sure that you will only spoil your own fun if your insight becomes greater than the feeds that are being sent to you.

If there are less than 10 applicants, then it won’t go ahead.

I will send full documentation with briefing, map, order-of-battle, how to play notes etc. to the players.

There were 6 people who wanted to be involved in my Midway proposal, which did not go ahead because of low numbers, but I will honour their interest by automatically giving them slots if they wish to be involved in this.

Finally, I would just ask that those who get involved, do deal with coms in a timely way as I will be likely be dealing with global time zones and I have limited time that I can keep any one tabletop game set up.

This is just a bit of fun, so if you are a napoleonic expert, don’t hang your hat on this. I have put a lot of work into getting this ready and I will put a lot of work into running it, with the sole hope of giving the players a good experience without things being onerous for them, so if you do get involved, please just see it for what it is.

I will not be advertising this beyond here (i.e. the natural blog audience).

I will be keeping a campaign diary of progress, which I will present at the end of the game so that all participants get the fuller picture of what they have been involved in and how things unfolded.

I will keep the recruitment opportunity open until Saturday 22nd April (GMT) inclusive.

Thanks for looking. 

By the way, if you try to comment here and get an ‘error’ message, please persevere and make FOUR attempts to publish. I have no idea why, but there seems to be an occasional bug with Blogger that will only allow some comments to publish on the 4th attempt. This can happen even to some of my answers to my own blog! 

Resource Section.

The contact page on my ‘COMMANDERS’ site can be found at the below link. At the end of all of this, I will remove your e-mail addresses from my system. LINK