Monday, August 31, 2009

Mini-Campaigning or "Starting the day before the battle"

This is what I really like to do. Please, let me start the game the "hour/day/week" before the real battle. Give me a hex grid, the troops available, and let me push them toward the enemy. I love the uncertainty this creates. Certainly it is fun to start a battle with all troops placed out, but I believe it is more of a blast when player controlled reinforcements, flank marches, cut supply/communications all effect the table top. A high point of my wargaming career was when my lancers broke thru a French cavalry screen a day before a battle, and arrived behind the enemies line of battle just as we engaged. The pandamonium that ensued was just priceless.
On the flip side, I enjoy the Game-master part of these campaigns. I am looking forward to trying to get this revived again in my growing circle of gaming buddies. Certainly email would let me run games for nearly anybody.
Paul E. has created a yahoo group that is generating a bit of collected knowledge, but seems to be evolving to a strategic campaign discussion board. It is helpful, but the discussion has gone in directions that I don't follow as much. Others love it- stop by, I am sure you will learn more than you expect.
In the meantime, I will be collecting K. Zucker games and any other stray maps I can. These should give me lots of inspiration


Let me start with the disclaimer that I don't paint. I have before, but no longer. Instead, I keep the talented among us with a steady stream of income. Some of my 15mm ACW is "home-grown", but none of my 28mm Napoleonics are so lucky as to have been painted by their current owner.
My templates for collection of my armies are large and glorified "what-ifs". I have collected a large Confederate and Union force that is patterned after a 1862: "What if Jackson had headed east toward Manassas to threaten Washington, instead of starting the Valley Campaign?" . These armies are based toward gaming with Fire and Fury, but I have also flirted with a few regimental games in the beta testing of RF&F.
My Napoleonic army is largely Sash and Saber with a significant supplement of Foundry. I have a few Perry commands, and perhaps some stray Front Rank figures as well. These 25mm Napoleonic era beauty's are fantastic to observe when on the table. I have purchased a few Dutch, British and other German Minor States, but the 800 lb gorilla in the room is the Russians. I am not so secretly waiting to game some 1812 and later years so that the Russian full army can be on display. My "what if" here involves the Teugn-Hausen battle. I have put together the skeleton of a game in which the Austrians arrive a bit earlier and strike at the French a bit further north while Gudin is alone and marching east to west toward and through Teugn. 2 Austrian Corps against 3 Divisions of Davout's III Corps.
For these troops, I am playing "General de Brigade" or "In the Grand Manner". I suspect like so many others, we will just end up making a ton of house rules and calling it a day. Once I get some pictures, you will get to enjoy the spectacle. I have not tried to be a stickler about uniforms. Lots of incorrect for the period figures are present (i.e 1812 Russians used for an 1805 OOB), and lots of uniform choices are on thin ice. Nothing is intentionally flagrant, I just don't sweat the differences in strap colors sometimes, especially when someone else is painting for my enjoyment.