Thursday, February 11, 2010

Campaign Counters

The upcoming campaign in Muckenmire is planned to be a little different from the previous Spitzplatz affair, mainly because I want to split he armies up a lot more. Before, I had two large armies colliding every so often for a major battle, but with this campaign I am hoping to fight more 'small' battles between a few units at a time in various places, to get a bit more strategic interest. To this end, I've made up my hexagon map and drawn it with Google Sketchup. There are a large number of roads and fortresses, and armies will need to have a road running back to their supply source through a succession of friendly fortresses. One problem this posed was that as the armies were split up they'd be pretty short on infantry, and detaching more and more as garrison troops just seemed to likely make things worse.

What with all the painting having been mostly done, the chances of me expanding the armies was precisely zero! So, I decided to break them down a bit more, and represent every regiment on the campaign map with a pair of counters - effectively a first and second battalion for each regiment of infantry and cavalry. This should mean that fortresses get held correctly and a decent force still turns up on each battlefield!

I made counters by simply printing off a grid of squares by using Excel, then I went to Junior General to get pictures of the various troop types, placed them in each box, and printed them out. Although with a bit of work I could have printed the text for each unit, I preferred to hand-write them on myself. Far easier than trying to insert text boxes around nested drawings in Word, which has become a total nightmare every time I've tried to do it!

I also wanted to avoid the 'killer stack' situation where each side forms a monster-sized grand army and can't be stopped, so the endless possibilities for cutting supplies should mean that a variety of smaller armies can elude and frustrate a large single enemy. This will give the personalities a bit of scope for independent action, which may or may not be wise in the strategic sense, but should be fun for the game!

With all this growth on the strategic level, I was also able to fling in a few non-tabletop items which would not be deployed in model form. First up I wanted to include some sappers, or engineers who could help the armies cross the rivers and soggy terrain. I made up one counter for 'Pontooneers' or bridge-building engineers, drew a stylised plan view of a boatbridge (crude and basic, true, but it does the job!) I issued one of these counters to each army, to get them going.

The other big strategic factor is all those fortresses, and struggling around with sieges will be required. As a result, I also issued each army with a set of 'Siege Artillery' counters to serve as the army's siege train. This will represent all the heavy guns, mortars, pioneers, gabions and shovels a man could want. It's possible to besiege a fort without the siege counter, but it's presence will give big bonuses to anybody who tries it.

That covers the armies on the strategic level, so I'll shortly post on my method for setting up the armies and deploying them, plus the initial strategies each side will try to follow. I will also, in the next few weeks, try and give a more detailed Black Powder ruleset example, as some posts have requested a bit more detail on how it plays.


A J said...

Useful stuff. Finding garrisons without depleting the field armies has always bedeviled a wargames campaign. You have a good solution here.

Jim Wright said...


Excellent ideas.

Will the second battalions be garrision / depot formations only, or will they be field formations?

You have some really good ideas for your campaign. I just might borrow a few for my own effort when I get enough figures painted.

I am also reading the "Black Powder" rules. I am interested in your battle reports and opinions using them. I am quiet a ways from fielding an army try them out myself.

Keep up the good work.


CWT said...

Hello AJ & Jim, thanks for the comments!

I was intending to go with my usual regiments on the tabletop, only using battalions as tokens on the campaign map (I won't fight sieges out with miniatures, and it's largely covered by my campaign rules.) However, if two small forces meet I have the option of fielding infantry at battalion-scale to bulk them out and get a decent tabletop battle.

Also, Black Powder is better than my last set of rules at letting me field different-sized units, so that's also an option.