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A Comprehensive Wargames System

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  • thistlebarrow
    In 2006 I designed a comprehensive wargames system to provide me with interesting battles to wargame. So far it has provided 252 and is still going strong.
    Message 1 of 10 , 3 Apr

      In 2006 I designed a comprehensive wargames system to provide me with interesting battles to wargame.    So far it has provided 252 and is still going strong.

       

      It is a very simple system which can be used for any period from ancient to Star Wars, any scale from 2mm to 54mm and any size of wargames table.   It can handle any wargame from skirmish to world war.

       

      This system would be suitable for any wargamer from complete novice to jaded veterans.   The whole concept is that it is tailor made to what you want to do and how you want to do it.

       

      I use it to run a Napoleonic campaign, but it could be adopted for any period

       

      For most of the 40 plus years that I have been wargaming I have been searching for the perfect system, the Holy Grail of wargaming.  I am not saying that this is it for everyone, or perhaps even for any of you, but it has been for me.

       

      If you already have a collection of figures, a table and a set of wargame rules there is no expense in setting up this system.  If you have none, then this is a good way to plan what you want to achieve in time.

       

      The introduction is on my blog now.    You can find it here

       

       http://napoleonicwargaming.blogspot.com.es/

       

      Over the next few weeks I will cover planning and preparation, the campaign system and wargame rules.

       

      If anyone would like to convert the system to their own use I would be happy to give any assistance that I can.  

       

      However even if the whole system does not appeal I hope that some of you may find it thought provoking and that you may be able to use parts of it.

       

    • thistlebarrow
      The first post considers planning and preparation, and in particular setting an objective of what you want to achieve at the end of the process. I suggest
      Message 2 of 10 , 8 Apr

        The first post considers planning and preparation, and in particular setting an objective of what you want to achieve at the end of the process.   I suggest how you might make a start, and use my own planning and objective as an example.

         

        There will be about 10-12 posts and each one will deal with one step in the process.   In each one I will try to explain the basic principle, and then use my own experience as an example.   I have tried to keep each post short and to the point.  The idea is to allow anyone interested in adopting my system plenty of time to absorb each step.

         

        I would welcome any comments or questions

         


      • thistlebarrow
        This week make an inventory of what model soldiers and scenery you have available, and what you need to obtain, in order to achieve your objective. I use my
        Message 3 of 10 , 15 Apr

          This week make an inventory of what model soldiers and scenery you have available, and what you need to obtain, in order to achieve your objective.  I use my own inventory as an illustration of how to tackle this.

        • thistlebarrow
          Having decided on your objective and then calculated how many figures and facilities you have, or are prepared to obtain, the next step is to decide how you
          Message 4 of 10 , 22 Apr

            Having decided on your objective and then calculated how many figures and facilities you have, or are prepared to obtain, the next step is to decide how you are going to organise them.

             

            A lot will depend on your objective and the figures available.  If you want to play skirmish wargames, even if they are in different areas and even periods, then you will probably be able to provide all the figures you will need. You may need more scenery or terrain, but that is not a great problem.

             

            However if your objective is to fight a major campaign, or worse still a series of campaigns, you will need a lot of figures.   If you are unwilling, or unable, to obtain them all then you are going to have to compromise.   However you will have to live with your compromise, so it is worth putting a little effort into how best to achieve your objective with what is available.

             

            I wanted to fight the whole of the 1813 campaign in Germany and Spain, but I only had just over 1500 figures.  Worse still they were painted and based as 36 figure infantry battalions.

             

            This week I explain how I organised them as 20 allied and 16 French corps without repainting or rebasing a single figure.

          • Simon Gilbert
            Hi, I lost count of my army strengths but they suffer from being somewhat large and unwieldy. Most feasible games are two small corps perhaps with a bit of
            Message 5 of 10 , 22 Apr
              Hi, I lost count of my army strengths but they suffer from being somewhat large and unwieldy. Most feasible games are two small corps perhaps with a bit of support vs one larger one. This is going to be adjusted somehow by changing rules chosen for larger games towards war gaming with card counters and a simple, fast-play, high-manoeuvre rule set. The plan is merely experimental at this stage.

              One way around evening games is to reduce table size and army size that is used. The last game I played pitted 24,000 vs 34,000 in a mini campaign where the two forces looked tiny on the table and due to their organisation neither side used more than 65% of its full strength. My players need more training at war games.

              Ciao,
              Simon

              From: paulleniston@... [napoleonicpbemcampaign]
              Sent: ‎22/‎04/‎2017 17:34
              To: napoleonicpbemcampaign@...
              Subject: [napoleonicpbemcampaign] Re:: A Comprehensive Wargames System

               

              Having decided on your objective and then calculated how many figures and facilities you have, or are prepared to obtain, the next step is to decide how you are going to organise them.

               

              A lot will depend on your objective and the figures available.  If you want to play skirmish wargames, even if they are in different areas and even periods, then you will probably be able to provide all the figures you will need. You may need more scenery or terrain, but that is not a great problem.

               

              However if your objective is to fight a major campaign, or worse still a series of campaigns, you will need a lot of figures.   If you are unwilling, or unable, to obtain them all then you are going to have to compromise.   However you will have to live with your compromise, so it is worth putting a little effort into how best to achieve your objective with what is available.

               

              I wanted to fight the whole of the 1813 campaign in Germany and Spain, but I only had just over 1500 figures.  Worse still they were painted and based as 36 figure infantry battalions.

               

              This week I explain how I organised them as 20 allied and 16 French corps without repainting or rebasing a single figure.

            • thistlebarrow
              Hi Simon You could try reducing the size of your tabletop armies. I found that a comfortable size wargame army and playing area for each player is about
              Message 6 of 10 , 23 Apr

                Hi Simon

                 

                You could try reducing the size of your tabletop armies.   I found that a comfortable size wargame army and playing area for each player is about 200-250 figures each and a playing area of 6 foot wide. More than that and a game gets too complicated and bogs down.

                 

                I worked out my wargames and campaign system starting with the table.   We have a 6x6 foot table and there are two of us playing.   The largest army we field is 132 infantry, 32 cavalry and four guns.   They are in four corps, but you could just as easily call them battalions and squadrons.  This gives sufficient width to deploy three “corps” with a fourth in reserve.  

                 

                With these numbers there is sufficient space to fully deploy, and the reserve can be committed as required.   This size game lasts a maximum of 12 moves, and usually takes about five hours to complete.

                 

                Give it a try for a small campaign, say two or three battles, and see how it works out

                 

                I am fortunate that my wife is my regular wargame opponent, and we both fully understand the rules.  It sounds like your opponent(s) are relatively inexperienced wargamers?   If so try to use very simple rules to start with.  Nothing worse than trying to learn new(ish) rules and handle large armies at the same time.   If your rules are simple, and rely on dice more than usual, there is a good chance that the inexperienced player will have better luck and win.   The important thing is that all the players enjoy themselves.

                 

                Once they gain in experience, and start to enjoy the game, you can always introduce them to more complicated rules.


                regards


                Paul

              • thistlebarrow
                This week the blog entry explains how the corps are organised into armies and why the 1813 campaign was chosen. The aim is to use all of the different
                Message 7 of 10 , 29 Apr

                  This week the blog entry explains how the corps are organised into armies and why the 1813 campaign was chosen.   The aim is to use all of the different nations in rotation and also to use the collection of north and south European buildings I have available.

                   

                  As the wargame is the most important aspect of the campaign, the size of the armies in relation to the tabletop space available is very important, as it the ability to be able to wargame any size battle provided by the campaign.  

                   

                  The blog contains a photograph to illustrate this point, showing an example of the largest battle possible with my campaign, which is four corps per side,

                   

                  This is the last blog entry about the model soldiers, next week I explain how I designed the wargames table in relation to the size of the armies and the campaign map.

                • thistlebarrow
                  As part of the planning for my comprehensive wargames system I realised that the size and type of wargames table would be critical. I was fortunate that I
                  Message 8 of 10 , 6 May 03:15

                    As part of the planning for my comprehensive wargames system I realised that the size and type of wargames table would be critical.   I was fortunate that I would have a new wargames table when we moved to Spain, and I would be able to decide beforehand what was necessary to complement the campaign.

                     

                    I start this weeks blog with the statement “size is not in fact everything when it comes to wargaming”, and in fact I have long found this to be true.   One player can only comfortably manage a relatively small area, and command a relatively small group of figures, with ease.   I have found that an area of about 6 foot wide and three feet deep is quite sufficient.  As there would be only two of us taking part in the wargames a table 6 foot by 6 foot would be quite sufficient.

                     

                    By far the largest problem would be transferring the map battles to the wargames table.   This prompted me to settle for a table consisting of two by two foot scenic squares.  Each map square would be one table square.  Providing I had sufficient scenic squares I could reproduce any nine squares on the map with ease.

                     

                    The original 21 squares have proved me right by allowing me to create every wargame we have fought over the past ten years.

                  • thistlebarrow
                    You can use any commercial rules with my comprehensive wargames system, just as you can use any basing system. However you will have to consider how they
                    Message 9 of 10 , 13 May 04:02

                      You can use any commercial rules with my comprehensive wargames system, just as you can use any basing system.   However you will have to consider how they will fit with your campaign system.

                       

                      I have only taken part in a couple of campaigns before I started my own, but in each case the campaign ended abruptly when the first battle had to be fought as a wargame.   I suspect that the interface between the campaign map and the wargames table causes a lot of problem for those who run campaigns, whether solo or with other players.

                       

                      The advantage of writing your own rules is that you can overcome all of these problems at the planning stage of writing the rules.  

                       

                      This week I consider the advantage of writing your own rules, particularly in relation to your proposed campaign system.  In the coming weeks I will look at what I consider the most important aspects of wargame systems to compliment the campaign rules..   

                       

                      The first is what I call “men and supermen”, in other words how to campaign with the best and worse troops.   Getting the balance right between elite, average and poor type troops is essential for the smooth running of the campaign.

                       

                      Next will be the important relationship between wargame and campaign casualties.  What works well on the table may ruin the tempo of the campaign.   Most wargame rules result in destroying the enemy.  But that would mean the end of your campaign after just one battle.

                       

                      Finally will be length of battles in the campaign and on the table.   This is essential for the smooth transfer from map to table, and to estimate when troops will arrive on the table.

                    • thistlebarrow
                      In response to last week’s blog I was asked how I can ensure that I complete each wargame within 12 moves without sacrificing a lot at the tactical level.
                      Message 10 of 10 , 20 May 01:53

                        In response to last week’s blog I was asked how I can ensure that I complete each wargame within 12 moves without sacrificing a lot at the tactical level.   This made me realise that I had not explained the interface between the campaign and the wargame as well as I need to. 

                         

                        So I have added another blog to explain how the wargame is designed to complement the campaign, and to ensure that most games reach a conclusion within the 12 moves allocated.

                         

                        Each game always starts with the two armies one scenic square apart, I call this “no mans land”.   A square is 24”x24”, which is more than long range artillery fire.

                         

                        The rules are designed to allow three phases in each game, and each phase is four moves.   The first phase is the deployment, which is done out of artillery range.   The second phase is advance into artillery range, and the artillery combat.   The third phase is the close quarter battle consisting of skirmish and volley fire. 

                         

                        This sequence usually results in a clear winner and loser.   Normally the morale of both sides is pretty brittle by move 10 or 11.   At this stage brigades start to rout due to loss of morale after battle casualties.  One rout will often have a knock on effect as nearby brigades have to check their morale and often join the rout.

                         

                        If there is still a stalemate one side can order one or more brigades to attack.  This results in hand to hand combat, which always ends in sufficient casualties for one side to break and run.   The outcome is heavily influenced by a throw of dice, so it is a very risky option to take.

                         

                        The wargame sequence and the different types of wargame are explained in this week’s blog entry.

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