Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Campaign Ideas.

Some time ago I made some mention about making a series of postings about campaign ideas. Campaigns can vary from operations lasting a few days, to entire wars.  I like entire wars.  The whole thing places the battles into a broader context, a bigger story, in which the fate of nations hangs in the balance.  The map of Poictesme above suggests a Mediaeval time from 1200 to 1500, say.  But this one I haven't really thought much about.  It is included because I found it printed on the back of another map I shall be including in a future posting on this topic.

In this part of the world, the most successful campaign game was played about 16 years ago, and involved several battles using the DBM rule set.  Called Condotta, it had two strata of players: the rulers who ran the city states, and the generals - condottiere - whom the states hired, and who conducted the battles. The details of the campaign are still extant on line:

Condotta Introduction and Campaign Map

Movement was from province to province in attempts to conquer or to defend them.  Armies comprised homegrown militia and mercenaries, which, of course, had to be paid for from the States' treasuries. As the City Council of Florence, I was none too chuffed about our early military disasters and, after the defection or death - don't remember which - of our field commander, sent a representative (myself) to conduct the battles.   We managed partially to restore our fortunes, but only partially.  Being a largely infantry army, our defeats tended to be disastrous - expensive in men and the treasure required to find replacements.  Lacking a sufficient cavalry, we could not profit much from our victories to visit wholesale destruction upon the enemy.  Our treasury was looking pretty sorry after that last battle, too.  I didn't think we could continue employing the Swiss pikemen for much longer.  I did regret bidding too little for the Illyrian light horse (I think it was) too.

The Florentine City Council sure had plenty to worry about!

For an earlier period, using any rules at all, I bethought myself of this ambitious idea.  Consider a map comprising 216 cities, all identified by a 3-digit number, the digits all being 1 to 6.  Then a number of players roll for their capital cities.  This capital and the cities one road stage from the capital form the player's realm.  In the following map the 'players' (imaginary) have rolled Red-White-Green dice as follows:

Terra Cognita - 216 numbered cities.
(I think there is a 217th with no number...)
RED - 235 - Capital Zorn
LIGHT ORANGE - 621 - Capital Marsala
GREEN - 441.  As that left two cities in dispute, the capital was moved one road stage away, 442 - Capital Gilgo
LIGHT BLUE - 361 - Capital Rushan 
DARK BLUE - 146 already claimed; reroll 122 - Capital Farah
PURPLE - 364 - Capital Bachadok
PINK - 654 - Capital Muxima

That left GREEN with the most powerful kingdom - 8 cities; RED has 7 and all the rest 6.

Terra Cognita and its Seven Realms.  The cities one road stage from the
capitals rolled for constitute the core realms.  The realms expand
from there.

With just 45 of the 216 cities occupied, there is plenty of room for expansion, but at the same time, all except DARK BLUE has a proximate neighbour to worry about.  

Depending on what rule set you're using, each city state points up an army from which are assigned garrisons, city fortifications (I suggest the Capital only, always fortified, is not 'paid' for out of the Army Points allocation you're using), and field armies.  If using,say DBM or DBA big battles, a initial 800 Army Points might go:

200 army points - garrisons.  All towns must have a garrison of at least one non-skirmishing foot element. The Capital has a standing garrison of at least 100 of those AP
200 army points - fortifications (supposing they are to be included in this campaign).
400 army points - field army.  These may be split into smaller field armies of no less than 100 AP, including baggage trains or camps.

Field army maintenance, battle losses and other 'wastage'  might be replenished from a 'treasury' based upon what cities you hold. Gilgo would have an edge, there, with a slightly bigger income than the rest.  But that realm is surrounded in the centre of the Terra Cognita by four none-too-distant neighbours.  'Wastage' really means allocating a garrison for newly acquired cities.  The size of the income might have to be determined by trial and error, but a starting point might be 200 Army Points from the capital, and 100 from each of the other cities.

My first idea, when developing this map, was for an 'Ancients' and/or 'Mediaeval' campaign, using the DBM or, at a pinch WRG 7th Edition rule sets.  But it seems to me that it could equally well go with DBA, HotT (Hordes of the Things), Fantasy... or even the 'Renaissance' - pike and shot - period, so called.  Horse and Musket - why not?  

More on this in another posting.


  1. Archduke Piccolo,

    A very interesting blog entry.

    I am currently thinking about a Napoleonic campaign, and what you have described will be of great help in my deliberations. I look forward to reading more about this in the future.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks, Bob. I have some ideas for a Napoleonic campaign myself, but not in the format I have described here.

  2. One of the most successful campaigns that I've been part of was a Punic Wars campaign played on a map if Sicily divided into areas. When one side entered an enemy held scenario, a random scenario was rolled up. A player could only field as many units as the scenario allowed but also no more than what he had in the area. For example in one case a large invading force rolled up a convoy ambush, lost and was forced to withdraw, in other cases small defensive force was so over match that they ceded the area without wasting a Friday night. Other times a pitched battle was gought. Each turn was 1 season with control of areas and cities contributing to troop numbers for the next campaign season.

    1. What i have in mind for the map above is something very like that, with each city representing the hubs of its hinterland. But it has occurred to me that almost any kind of campaign could be adapted to this format (or vice versa). I realised that you could just about play DIPLOMACY or WARLORD/APOCALYPSE types of games. A SHOGUN type of game would also work. That is going to make my next posting a bit hard to write, actually...

  3. Hi Ion,

    Lovely map as always.

    I think simply rolling that map and assigning towns would be a game in itself ! Could it be used to Napoleonic in central Germany ? You idea of a war with small table rules is more appealing every day.


    1. I'm having to put more thought into this, Paul. There are two complicating considerations. 1. I have a good campaign map of central Germany already, used for a postal campaign years ago that I don't think got off the ground. The other is a fictitious 'Pyrenees counter-offensive' map more suited to my 'Corsican Ogre' rule set. I'll do a posting on those, later.