Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The upcoming campaign

As Stokes put it on his comment to the last posting, ‘What’s next on the imaginary front?’ Well, I’ve been pondering it for some days now, and have decided to push on with a full season of campaigning between Aschenbach and Luftberg. It seems only sensible that if Luftberg claimed the Von Zaub province only to be defeated at Neukatzberg in the fall of the year, there’s every likelihood they’d return next summer to contest the claim more fully.

There’s a single-year campaign system included in the Might & Reason rules which should be perfect to use, but there’s a few considerations to do first. The armies have been set up based on what figures I had spare, but now with M&R there is a proper points system to structure your army. I’ve been uncharacteristically hesitant to the points system, regularly talking myself down from agonizing over it with the thought “The game designer doesn’t have pages and pages of formulas and equations to work out the odds of this – he’s just used some arbitrary points system and playtested until it seemed okay!” The problem is that as it stands the points system seems massively slanted in favour of the Prussians (as Capt. Bill commented on the last post).

Want an example? I put the forces from Neukatzberg through the M&R points system to see how they shaped up, and discovered each side was underpowered. However, while the Luftberg army was at 70% of it’s powers when it was routed, the Aschenbach army was drained down to just 60% of what it should have been. In other words, even though the Aschenbach army didn’t have a single unit destroyed or even badly battered (the Grenadiers going to half-strength were the sole exception) while they trashed all before them, the M&R points system reckons they should have been even stronger, with an extra regiment or two added to the fun. I know that the learning of the rules led to some Luftberg blunders, but I really just don’t think they needed the help.

The Prussians were certainly good, but not by such a vast margin (after all, in terms of pitched battles, even a great commander like Frederick lost as many as he won.) If so, then why should we use the M&R points system with all the potential faults? I’m going to try it out for two reasons: First is that the campaign will allow the more numerous Luftberg forces to manoeuvre over a wider area and get the strategic advantages which come from having more men. The Aschenbach army may be good, but it can’t be everywhere. The second reason is that the campaign rules for commands, supply, fortresses, sieges, etc. are designed for armies sized to the M&R system. Either I conform, or have to rewrite the rules.

Many of the Austrian/Luftberg advantages seem to be ‘off the table’ such as their more numerous commands, higher ‘raider’ values, etc. The campaign will hopefully bring these out, so when the Aschenbach army next fights it’s opponents it’ll be outnumbered, weakened by supply attrition, and face a more tactically aware rival who loves broken terrain, ample reserves, and field fortifications. Certainly sounds more realistic and interesting…


Bluebear Jeff said...

One of the reasons that so many of us like imagi-Nations for the 18th Century is so that "national characteristics" can be avoided.

M&R (which I've not read) would hardly be unique if it seemed to favor the Prussians. Many rule writers seem to have a "favorite army" and write their rules accordingly.

One of the benefits of using imagi-Nations is that we can start everyone on an even playing field.

On the other hand playing with historical armies can be a lot of fun too.

Remember that there are lots of 18th century rule sets. If it turns out that you don't like something about the one you're using, try another one.

(note that there are several free ones on the Net -- so it doesn't always mean more money.)

But, of course, a single game is hardly a fair test. I'd suggest playing out this coming year's campaign (as you are planning). Then if you're not happy with things. re-evaluate matters.

In the meantime I look forward to more reading of more battles and their commentaries from you.

-- Jeff

Capt Bill said...

Check Saxe-Bearstein there is a great concept for campaigning. I liked it so much I passed it along to our group and we are planning to use it on our next campaign. Best of luck...Bill

Bluebear Jeff said...

Thank you for the endorsement, Bill.

I've made a "tiny" link to the post he refers to. It is here:


Furthermore, I've added a Campaign Terrain post here:


-- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein

CWT said...

Good advice, which I intend to follow. I'm keeping pretty close to the Prussians and Austrians as a template while I start out, but I'm planning on evolving things as they develop.

Also, the alternative rules are not a problem as I've already got lots (Capt. Bill has even posted some Beer & Pretzel ones in the last week) M&R is just flavour of the month, and I needed to start somewhere.

I also like that campaign system which you outlined (and I will be using it in the future). I actually remember trying it once for an ancients DBA campaign, and for such a simple system it produced a surprising number of memorable scenarios and battles - highly recommended!

For now though, I'm glad you're enjoying things!